Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.Superintendent of SchoolsLancaster Central School District177 Central AvenueLancaster, NY 14086District Clerk/Secretary:Sandra Janik716-686-3201
Dear Lancaster Parents, Family, and Friends...The end of the school year can be a time of excitement as students advance to their next level - either a new grade, a new building, or a new future in the workforce or college. It can also be a time of reflection. As I look back on the school year, I want to honor the unparalleled dedication of our faculty and staff who serve the Lancaster community and our students. Our students deserve to be commended for the manner in which they took full advantage of the many opportunities offered to them, however unconventional it may have been, through advanced coursework, athletics, music, or extracurricular activities.
Our goal this year has been to maximize learning and the student experience. Together, our students, staff, and families have faced challenges with a growth mindset, adaptability, fortitude, and grace. Teachers found new ways to teach, connect with, and challenge our students, while students found new ways to learn and engage with their teachers and classmates. Our parent community took on new roles and worked tirelessly to support their children and schools. When you look back at this time, I hope you will feel the same sense of pride because, despite every challenge, our district remained resilient.
Once again, Lancaster High School was named a 2021 Best High School by U.S. News World Report. Our graduation rates are among the highest in Western New York, and 85-90% of our graduating seniors plan to attend a two- or four-year college or university. The Class of 2021 was awarded close to $10 million in scholarships, and nearly 75% of our graduating seniors will earn a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, the highest in school history.
At Lancaster Middle School, advanced coursework for eighth graders in Living Environment and Algebra I lays the groundwork for students to take high school advanced courses in math and the sciences. This year, 221 students will earn Regents credit in Living Environment while 152 students will earn Regents credit in Algebra I.
At all levels, our students have learned through in-person, synchronous, asynchronous, or fully remote instruction. Creative and entertaining asynchronous instruction was developed to complement in-person synchronous learning from our teachers. Our remote students received the same amount of instruction as students under the hybrid learning model to keep them on pace and maximize learning.
To make this all possible, we were able to begin a one-to-one Chromebook initiative for all students K-12. Keyboarding instruction, an initiative started years ago, continues for all students in grades 2, 3, and 4 and has proven quite useful over the past year and a half. Compared to previous generations, our youngest students have a technology literacy that is unparalleled.
A strong tradition at Lancaster has been to support the local and global community, and each year the students of the district raise tens of thousands of dollars and spend countless hours to support local charities and causes. This year has been no different and our students have done a fantastic job.
In addition to the classroom, all clubs, organizations, and athletic teams that could participate this year did so. The Lancaster faculty, staff, coaches, and advisors have supported our students on the stage or virtual stage, playing field, rink, pool, track, or court, and they have continued to create experiences and make memories that will last a lifetime.
In athletics, numerous student athletes were WNY Scholar athlete award winners and honorable mention recipients based on their excellence in the classroom as well as the field. All varsity teams have earned NYS Scholar Athletes team awards, which means the overall team GPA is over 90%. Our students continued to sign letters of intent to continue competing at the collegiate level.
Looking ahead to the summer, the community and Board of Education support for over the past decade has allowed us to put the infrastructure in place to conduct K-12 summer school programming. Now we plan to expand our offerings and the number of students we can service to best support their learning and fill any instructional gaps that may have occurred.
Finally, to our graduating senior class of 2021, you have demonstrated a depth of character that the entire Lancaster community can be proud of and celebrate. Please know that you will forever be remembered for your strength and tenacity as you navigated a senior year that was far from what you had ever envisioned. You have left a legacy of tradition, pride, and excellence. On behalf of the LCSD Board of Education, our district, and the entire Lancaster community, we salute you and are honored to have had the privilege of educating and serving you for these last 13 years. You have made an indelible mark on the LCSD community, and we wish you well as you embark upon this next exciting phase of your journey.
Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.