Lancaster Central School District

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  • COVID-19 UPDATE 03/27/20

    March 27, 2020

    Dear Lancaster Families,

    The purpose of this correspondence is to update you on recent developments in the Lancaster Central School District and New York State with respect to the coronavirus pandemic.

    School Closing Update

    • On Sunday March 15, 2020 all Erie 1 and Erie 2 BOCES superintendents collectively closed their school districts until April 20, 2020.  
    • The following day, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1, 2020.
    • Today, Governor Cuomo extended his executive order until April 15, 2020.  Our district will abide by the governor’s orders and will await further direction from him as to our district’s reopening beyond that date. 

    District Communication Update

    • Phase 1 - Our primary channel of communication has been and will continue to be the school district website or at (https://www.lancasterschools.org/Page/24793).  However, we have and will continue to use Code Ed phone calls, our email mass notification system, Twitter, and Facebook to keep parents and students apprised of changing developments.  If parents have yet to register for our mass communication emails or Code Ed phone calls please update your contact information, or visit  (https://parentportal.wnyric.org/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fdefault.aspx).
    • Phase 2 - All the school and district buildings have been closed since Friday March, 20, 2020.  However, each building principal and main office clerical staff are working remotely checking email and voicemails on a daily basis.  In the event that you do not know who to call or contact on a given matter, please leave a voicemail at your child’s school main office or send an email to the building secretary or principal and they will be able to assist you once the message is received.

    Food Service Meal Program Update

    • Phase 1 - The food service meal program (drive-through pick-up at Lancaster Middle School location) started on March 17, 2020.
    • Phase 2 - We continue to serve bag lunches and breakfast meals daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at our drive-through (Lancaster Middle School location) and have added meal drop off via bus to our neediest students.  As of today, in 9 days, we have served just under 7,300 breakfasts and 7,300 lunches, averaging around 800 per day. I am so proud of and thankful to all the staff who have selflessly dedicated themselves to providing this service for our community’s children. 
    • If you know any children 18 or under who need access to these meals and are unable to do so, please encourage them to leave a voicemail at 686-3246 or review the March 16, 2020 letter on the COVID-19 page of the district’s website  for more information. 
    • Meals will continue to be offered in this manner, Monday through Friday, through the school closure.  Meals WILL be offered during the days previously scheduled as Spring Break. The only exception will be that no meals will be served on Friday, April 10, 2020.  However, double meals will be provided the preceding Thursday.

    Continuity of Instruction Update

    • Our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the Lancaster community; however, we must do all we can do to fulfill the mission of the Lancaster Central Schools as we strive to maintain continuity of instruction and support our students and families.  
    • Teachers continue to collaborate and to provide alignment for all students in the same grade level or course. Please visit the District’s website or go to (https://www.lancasterschools.org/domain/1824) for weekly plans to help your child(ren) stay up to date.
    • Phase 1
      • For students in grades K-6, our teachers worked diligently to create review packets that were distributed to students on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 via afternoon bus routes. It was truly a team effort. At the same time, we planned our transition to eLearning as we knew this process would not be sustainable.
      • For students in grades 7-12, many of our teachers already utilized Google Classroom as a means of communication and instruction with their students. The main focus was also on providing review work as we continued to build internal capacity to support students and teachers.
    • Phase 2
      • As part of the transition to eLearning for all students K-12, we sanitized, packaged, and distributed well over 1,200 Chromebooks on Friday, March 20, 2020.
      • We have collected and created resources for teachers to utilize to support eLearning in addition to our Tech Mentors are meeting virtually each day to offer our teachers assistance.
      • On March 30, 2020 all students in grades K-12 will utilize Google Classroom as the primary vehicle of providing instruction in a digital format. At this point, our teachers will begin to introduce instruction that is essential for success at the current grade level/course and in subsequent grade levels/courses. 
      • We all have worked diligently over the course of the past two weeks to build our capacity to provide eLearning to our students and families. Please continue to be patient as this has been and will be a learning process for us all. 

    Facilities Update

    • Phase 2 – With the executive order going into effect at midnight on Friday March 20th, we moved into Phase 2 of our facilities plan.  All district buildings have been closed since the end of the day on Friday, March, 20th.  We are continually sanitizing spaces that are in use.  Our plan is to keep the school buildings closed until students return at which time we will go back to Phase 1 which is our heightened daily cleaning regimen.  
    • Students, coaches, advisors, and staff have been instructed not to hold practices or encourage gatherings and that directive is being continually reinforced.  We do not discourage use of our school recreation facilities (track, playgrounds, fields, etc) but we do want to continue to emphasize and to have people recognize the importance and to honor social distancing.  
    • Signs were placed on all playgrounds today in cooperation with the Town of Lancaster to indicate that the equipment is not sanitized.   

     

    Other Notable Updates

    • The State Education Department (SED) has announced the suspension of all grades 3-8 testing for the remainder of the school year. No guidance has yet been released on Regents exams.
    • The College Board has developed free online Advanced Placement (AP) review courses to compliment remote work provided by teachers. The College Board is developing secure 45-minute free response exams for each course that students will be able to take online. The College Board website has more information on AP courses or visit (https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates).
    •  

    Please practice social distancing, stay well, and stay home.  Thank you to all first responders and essential employees for your dedication to the Lancaster community and selfless work.  Further updates will be forthcoming as more information becomes available. 

     

    Sincerely,

    Michael J. Vallely Ph.D.

    Superintendent of Lancaster Schools

     

Welcome

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

    Each of the last seven years the LCSD has held its annual Day of Kindness (DoK).

    As the day approached, I began to ponder the imprint this event has left on our students. Imagine a kindergartner being exposed to events, service projects, activities (in the classroom, at home, and in the community) for seven consecutive years. Put another way, what has the impact been on those students who were among the first to celebrate our DoK in 2014?

    Richard Davidson, Ph.D., a Harvard psychologist and neuroscientist said one of the best ways to cultivate happiness for oneself is to be kind toward others. “It turns out that the research actually supports that.” 

    Similar to Lancaster’s kindness initiatives, Dr. Davidson cites research working with four and five years olds to teach them simple skills of mindfulness and kindness early in life, “because it’s our conjecture that if they’re taught these skills at that point, the possibility that they will really be very enduring is much greater.”

    Como Park Elementary Principal, Molly Marcinelli notes, “The Day of Kindness has had a very positive impact on our students. Nevertheless, the things we do all year have the most influence. We conduct several service projects a year with school-wide assemblies to introduce the projects so that our students understand what they are doing and why. We are proud to be a State and National School of Character. We embed good character into everything we do.”

    Hillview Elementary is trying something new, participating in “The Great Kindness Challenge,” a national program. Students completed a "Kind Acts" checklist at home. Those who turned in the completed checklists were recognized with kindness pencils. Hillview can now be recognized as a Kindness Certified School.

    Court Street Elementary was proud to welcome Julia Harris back for a DoK assembly. Julia suffered a traumatic brain injury in fourth grade. After being hospitalized for seven months, she was given a hero’s welcome back to Court Street and carried on with her education. At the age of 27, Julia has gone on to become a motivational speaker, with an accompanying website called, License2Smile.com. “We can make the world a better place for ourselves and others if we can all learn to smile more.”

    Districtwide in our second year we launched the Family Fun Night at the Russell J. Salvatore Field House. Families are treated to pizza and beverages, desserts provided by our Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, and a host of activities provided by our Leadership Academy and Student Union, students who would have been at William Street School when we held our first DoK.

    Today, many of those same students are responsible for planning the activities that make up not only the evening event, but also to help make DoK activities at the other schools a success.

    Seniors shared memories of looking up to the leadership students who visited them and performed skits and other mentoring activities when they were younger and how it inspired them to want to pursue a leadership role, not only at LHS, but also in their college studies.

    Coming full circle, all of our schools have created leadership teams, from elementary onward. Leadership and service activities are held at every school, reaching out from classroom to community.

    Jake Lis, a senior in the Leadership Academy remarked about the impact the DoK had on him, recalling positive messages being posted on lockers at WSS (this year shaped like butterflies). “I kept all of mine because I knew if I was ever having a bad day I would just look at it and it would make me feel positive and I want to do that for other people,” Jake said. “I just think it’s a really nice gesture and it really helped me a lot.”

    The two young ladies responsible for making 1400 butterfly cutouts for WSS lockers aren’t prepared to stop there. They have planned random acts of kindness for each school to complete their project.

    It is nearly impossible to quantify all of the traditions that have grown out of our DoK, but a few that come to mind are Band Against Bullying, now in its eighth year, a friendly competition held among local schools at UB. More recently, a pop-up clothing shop called “Legendary Looks” has emerged. Gently used clothing has been donated and is part of an inclusive ‘store’ for all students…some to gain work skills, others volunteer hours. The beauty of Legendary Looks is that students don’t pay a penny for anything they shop for. Students from every background have an opportunity to shop, whether they just need to freshen up their wardrobe, or if there is a financial need; no stigma attached.

    In all likelihood, I could fill this entire page with all of the kind deeds and events throughout the years. There is no doubt in my mind there has been a cultural shift as a result, in sustaining kindness—spreading it throughout the community—students taking that energy with them into the next phase of their lives—and passing it down to children of their own. The motto we began with was “Kindness is Contagious, Help Us Spread It.” Looking back, I feel we’ve lived up to that motto. See more DoK coverage on Twitter @LancasterCSD.

    Sincerely,



    Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

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