Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Autumn Update

It is hard to believe that we are past Thanksgiving already and heading into December! As you may recall, the district, prior to NYS mandating water testing, conducted our own testing in an abundance of caution in order to check the safety of our water across all buildings in the district. I was pleased to report then that our results showed that our water was safe, and in areas that were a concern, remediation steps were taken. Now, under the new law, we are testing again. Hundreds of samples were sent to a certified lab and you will be hearing the report from each school over the next several weeks and months. Keep an eye on our website for information about this process and test results.

I am proud to say that Erwin Valley construction has progressed smoothly and that the new cafeteria opened for business on Monday, November 28th. The EV Lions also have a new, more secure entrance way, similar to what is in place at the high school and middle school. On top of that, we opened the new wing with walls in the fall...this was a long time goal of the district's facilities planning and it is great to know we have significantly improved that space for teaching and learning. 

It is also winter concert and play season and the HS Band was recently invited to London to play in the 2018 New Year's Day parade! That along with our recent athletic achievements and signings shows that there is a lot to be proud of at CPP! 

I also want to thank you if you took our online survey at www.corningareaschools.com. We are committed at CPP to listening and will always work to improve what we do each and every day, but we cannot do it without your input. If you have not taken the survey, I encourage you to visit our website for the links for the various stakeholder groups. As always, my door is open so please contact me with any questions at 936-3704 ext. 1001. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Making CPP Inclusive for All

            This fall has been a hodge-podge of participating in different events, from presenting to School Board members throughout this state with our very own Dr. Dale Wexell to our PowerUp event recently.  A couple of events stand out however. 

            I had been asked to participate in two local forums on race, one sponsored by the Faith to Face Church in Corning and the other by the Elmira-Corning NAACP.  First, it was an honor to even be asked to participate.   Any leader knows that after ten years people begin to tune you out, so I was pleased that I still have enough juice to be considered.  Second, in this crazy era of change in our country, listening is a skill which has been lost on most Americans.  The conversation those two evenings taught me a great deal and I learned that while we are trying hard each and every day to have a school community where every individual feels valued, we have a lot of work to do.  Look for more action from the district in this area in the days and weeks to come.  We have a responsibility to make C-PP an inclusive environment for all.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Water Testing Results Show CPP Water Is Safe

Dear C-PP families:

As you will recall in a letter sent to you in February, the District took a proactive approach to test our water for lead. This was in response to concerns raised across the nation as to lead levels in drinking water in communities and schools. The testing of water in the District is complete and as promised, this is our follow-up communication with the results and analysis.

I am pleased to report that our results show the water in our schools is safe, and in areas where there were results  exceeding the “action level” where some form of remediation is recommended, we have already taken steps to do that as outlined below. Out of 253 initial samples, 22 were found to exceed the action level for lead and/or copper (10 for lead, 10 for copper, and 2 for both lead and copper) per Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

After this round of sampling, we changed several faucets, bubblers, and one drinking fountain, re-flushed and sampled these locations again.  This resulted in only four areas exceeding the action level.

·         1 fountain at Erwin Valley for copper     
Remediation: a filter is now installed to remove copper
·         1 fountain at Administration Building for copper
Remediation: a filter is now installed to remove copper
·         1 deep sink at Carder Elementary for lead, not used for drinking
Remediation: a filter is now installed to remove lead
·         1 prep room sink at Middle School, for copper, not used for drinking
Remediation: a filter is now installed to remove copper

All samples from other areas of the District did not exceed action levels for lead and copper, per Federal guidelines. The District will continue to take a proactive approach in making sure our water sources continue to be safe, and fall within all recommended guidelines. Although testing was not mandated by any federal or state agencies for our District, we believed it was important for us to analyze our own situation for that added assurance. We share in the commitment with you, to protect our children and staff.

 As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Monday, March 21, 2016

    Water Testing at CPP

    The Corning-Painted Post Area School District is testing our water at each District building this month. We feel strongly regarding taking a proactive approach to ensure the quality of water in our buildings is safe.

    Although there has been news about poor water quality in schools in the media lately, most notably in Flint, Michigan, we will test for the following reasons:  we believe that as we begin our elementary capital project, having this information will help us determine how we want to handle current water stations and sinks in the buildings, and we want to be proactive in identifying any potential areas of need while current construction is underway. 

    We will be testing specifically for lead and copper at all sinks, drinking fountains and entry points at each individual building.  The samples will be drawn by our BOCES Safety and Health Specialist, and we will be using EPA protocols for the samplings.  Further, we will also use a lab certified through the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) for New York State and Pennsylvania for sample analysis.  As we receive results, we will share them with the community, the Department of Health and all parents. If we see results that exceed applicable environmental standards, these sources will be shut off immediately and remedial measures will be taken.  This could include providing fresh water to staff and students for drinking and hand washing if necessary.   

    I want to stress that we are taking this action only because we feel strongly that we all need to know with certainty that the water available to children and staff in our school buildings is 100% safe.  We expect to have results sometime in April and at that time you can expect a follow up communication relative to those results. 

    If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly at 936-3704, ext. 1001.  Any and all thoughts and questions are welcomed.

    Wednesday, February 24, 2016

    2014-2015 Annual Report

    A link to C-PP District’s first Annual Report is included in this blog post. We are pleased to share the highlights of our 2014-2015 school year with everyone in our community!

    One of the most significant events in 2014-2015 was the official opening of our consolidated middle and high schools. This long-awaited occurrence was the culmination of an extensive construction project on the campuses of the former East and West High Schools. While it represented a significant milestone in the District’s history as everyone transitioned from well-loved traditions at their former buildings to a new culture at C-PP Middle School and C-PP High School, our staff and students came together with an “All In” spirit that set the tone for the year. The facilities at both schools are beautiful and functional, and will serve the children of our community well for many years to come.
    Today, we are charged with preparing students for success in a world that is vastly different than the one previous generations faced upon high school graduation. More than ever before, students need to leave our schools with a clear plan for their futures. The administrators, teachers and staff at C-PP are dedicated to helping every student achieve his or her potential and to ensuring that they are ready for college, career, the military or whatever goals they choose to pursue. Toward that end, we continuously seek to improve our curriculum and programs to ensure that all students at every level are engaged in learning and performing to the best of their abilities. We mean it when we say that “students are the center of all we do.” In 2014-2015 we developed a comprehensive Master Plan that will guide the District to 2020. Implemented in the current school year, this plan lays the foundation upon which we can continue to build and sustain an educational environment of which everyone can be proud.
    With nearly 5,000 students to educate and an array of school facilities to maintain, we have an enormous responsibility to our kids, their families and our larger community. We know that school quality is essential to the health and prosperity of our region. All of us who work in the C-PP District are committed to delivering our best for our students every day. We greatly appreciate the efforts of those who partner with us to make that happen. C-PP is a fantastic place to be, where students, parents, teachers, staff and community partners work together on behalf of our kids. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support. I invite you to read the full Annual Report to see what we accomplished together last year.

    View the Annual Report in Booklet form or in the format of the PowerPoint presentation to the Board of Education.   

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

    Stars Can’t Shine Without Darkness

                We are a year and a half past the opening of the new high school and middle school and seeing the video below, which was produced by the New York State School Boards Association, took me back to the time prior to the vote.  People in C-PP have been very lucky.  There is no doubt that there are many adults who felt a great loss with the combination of the high school and middle school.  But the buildings were built for another time and both high schools were seeing all-time lows in terms of enrollment.   To maintain and INCREASE program options and keep our best people, there was no choice but to consolidate.  See, the reality is that it is the people in the building who make the memories and to reach their full potential as teachers they need a facility which supports the education of today.  Take a look at the video below:   
                We went truly into the darkness prior to the opening of the new schools, but the brightest stars – our teachers who are on the front lines with kids - certainly are shining today.  As Superintendent, it has been an honor to just watch them create and meet the needs of kids in this ever changing world.
                NEXT STEP:  Provide a talented elementary staff facilities that support the student needs of today.

                I am an incredibly lucky Superintendent.  I have great teachers and I know it!