Lancaster Central School District

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  • Dear Lancaster Parents, Family, and Friends...

    Summer is always a busy time for Lancaster schools and the summer of 2019 was no different. The following is a synopsis of some of the ways we have moved forward in preparation for almost 6,000 excited young people to board our buses and 958 employees to come through our schoolhouse doors. I can’t wait! It’s going to be another great year!

    The people (faculty, staff, administrators, parents, students, and community) make Lancaster a wonderful place. A place that is, in my opinion, second to none! At the end of the last school year, we said goodbye to a fantastic group of faculty and staff. We will miss them dearly and their impact on Lancaster is far reaching; however, it’s exciting to welcome the next fantastic group of faculty and staff to the Lancaster family. The expectations for those joining the Lancaster Central School District have been set high because our students deserve the best. All told, we have hired more than 40 new support staff and just under 30 new teachers. Additionally, we’re fortunate to welcome Lancaster Police Officer Stacy Maute as the new school resource officer at the high school. 

    We are fortunate to offer in-district summer school programs that run K-12 for general education and special education. Not many school districts in Western New York have these programs, let alone the breadth of offerings. These programs and the wonderful educators involved offer a unique learning experience to best meet the individual needs of our students. At the elementary level, the approximately 90 elementary summer school students participated in project-based learning experiences. Teachers kicked off the summer with training on project-based learning and were able to weave standards and skills into projects and field trips, which were compelling to our youngest learners. In addition to working with our faculty, students also had the benefit of working on literacy skills with interns from Canisius College. At the middle school level, about 40 students began the program by answering the following, “What have you always wanted to learn about?” The answers led the students to expand their horizons, learn about, and present on diversity around the world, including other countries, cultures, geography, and cuisine. The teachers then guided, supported, and coached students to connect their questions to the core skills and concepts of mathematics, ELA, science, and social studies. The students also participated in field trips to New Era Field and WNED studios to augment the classroom learning through a focus on STEAM. At the high school level, the overarching goal was to provide opportunities for students to earn credits lost during the school year. Once again this year, approximately 100 students participated. Overall, more than 100 credits were recovered while just as many Regents exams were taken.

    Summer curriculum work engaged teachers in every discipline from K-12. Close to 200 teachers worked on 68 summer curriculum projects geared toward increasing student learning and learning while collaborating to align both horizontally and vertically. At the elementary level, our English as a New Language (ENL) teachers created classroom resources for our English Language Learners (ELLs) to use in the general education setting, our reading specialists constructed a summer reading program to combat ‘summer slide,’ and classroom teachers developed supplemental materials to the science kits. At the secondary level, teachers from just about every department worked on updating AP curriculum, revising current curriculum to increase the rigor, adding curricula and programs to bolster the social-emotional learning of our students, reinforcing our student’s digital citizenship skills, and creating curricula for new courses. It was exciting to see that many of the projects stemmed from the Legendary Day of Learning staff development day held in March. In special education our teachers collaborated to create curricula for self-contained classrooms, build daily living skills, develop instruction to enhance the growth mindset, and increase our students’ executive functioning skills.

    We are working on wrapping up our sixth-consecutive summer of major construction. Faculty, staff, and students at Como Park Elementary, Court Street Elementary, John A. Sciole Elementary, and the high school will see the progress of the last phase of our 2015 capital improvement plan. Construction progress pictures from throughout the summer have been posted to Twitter @LCSDSuper. Most notably, Como Park, Court Street, John A. Sciole and high school students will be welcomed back to brand new, completely remodeled library media centers. At Court Street, the main office was refreshed and portions of exterior sidewalk were replaced. The high school was closed for the summer as work occurred throughout the building’s classrooms, hallways, crawl spaces, offices, and large instructional spaces. Along with boiler room equipment and classroom unit ventilator replacements, the nurse’s office was renovated and the field house received a new floor. In addition, the construction of the black box theater, art gallery, multipurpose gym space, and pool that has been underway throughout the last school year is completed. Legends football fans will get to enjoy a new concession stand and bathrooms for the 2019 season, constructed in the corner of the former transportation building. Our buildings and grounds staff has worked tirelessly and around the clock to get buildings, classrooms, fields, and facilities ready for your return.

    Safety is and has to be our number one priority. Since 2013, the district has taken on an aggressive plan to increase security through numerous capital improvements, procedure updates, drills, and new protocols. This year, the district, and each building will take the next step in ensuring the safety and security of our schools, students, and staff. Specifically, all buildings will focus on implementing the recommendations from nationally recognized safety expert Don Shomette. 

    I’m looking forward to seeing all of you and working together to make 2019-2020 our finest year ever! Welcome to all, especially our newcomers, the Class of 2032! Happy New Year everyone!

    Sincerely,


    Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

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