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Deal N ortli Color.rie laculty, StalT and Administt atol.s

As I writc this letler on a cool!.Augusl mor.ning, it is a gentle reu.indet: that we al.e appr:oaching Lhc 201 2-20 1 3 school year', I hope you all hacl a suulnlel thal was rcstlil ancl lestolative. Although we face substantial challenges in upcon.ring sohool yeal,I cannot tl.rir.rl< of a lnote talenled, dedicaled, and l.raldwolking gloup of colleagues to wolk through these r.nany issues. 'l he collective power that we have is the antidote 10 the'1randa1e madness" thrt seeurs all 1oo pervasive. I kow lhat daily I am inspiled by all ol'you ald that Lhe inspiration. unclersta<1ig. and knowledge that we provide each other will enable us noljust to Inect n'andates. bu1 to live up 1<l the Nolth Colonie missor.r fot our. students:


a'd neccssa.y support to engage in r:elevant, challenging work which contributes to their acadellic and social-emotior.ral glowtli atrcl development.
ln living out lnissiot.t to i1s flullest, litelally, all rnust neali all, 'l'hc neecl to cleliver a high quality edr"roation I'or all our students is more important than ever. 'I'ruc. they recd to |ave 1he t'eqr"risite skills that will enable them to be competitive in a shifting and unsettled global ecouon]y; however. ancl more importantly, wr need t attend to their'hearts, r.ninds. ancl souls to ensure that wc begin to nil'tul'e a society that is kinder, mole cornpassionatc, and civil. 'fruly, that is whal it mealls to leave no child behind, yct we cannol do this noble elrdeavor iu isolalion. While Hollywood may celebrate the heroes aud heloiues laboring irr isolation in movics such as To Sir. with l.ove. Dead Poets Societv, Stand and Deliver'. and Dar.rgerous Minds, this n-rodel is neitl.rer. heathy 1r'the plofssional nor sustainable fr'the olgar.rization; tl-Lr"rs, our nission s1a1cm<:n1 Ir oul faculty and stal

students a'e provided the oppol'tunity

All suII, teaclers, and administralols ale palt of a lalger learning commur.rity wor.king togethel to build colleotive capacity (as opposed to herces and heroines actiug ir.r isolation) in o.der to provide a high-quality, r.eleva't, equitable eclucation for all studenis.
1'l'tl'oughout the plevious school yeal and tluoughout thc summer. a district 1ea-r of adr.ninistlators and leaohers has been working hard to negotiale a N colonie Annual Profssional Perlormance leview that is compliant wth New Yorh State education law. 'l'lie spiril ofthese Degoliations has been positive ancl p|oductive. 'l'he philosophy of ,A,PpR in North Colonie is to pt'omote ongoing, oollegial, r'eflective dialogue in oldel to ellhance tcacher and inprove studelll Iearning. 11 is locused on promotillg professional learning and iollabor.alio. As such. observalions and evaluations must be locused on the primary goal oi encour.aging prolssional dialogue and learning alound the teaching crafi. It is no1 a series of inspcons to sort out aud assigu numbers wth intention of'punishleul or sanction. bu1 inipr1ant part of the distlicl missioll to s-lstain and glow the collective capacity of i1s teachilg stal Wilh that focus
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and a1'n1ed with dre resealch slalirlg that good teaching is the single lnosl ilnoflaut determinant in il.nprovirtg studeut achievemenl, we will create a documcnt and plocess lLrlly aligned with the distlicl urission. Discussion o1'1he,APPR plan will be a key component of'the lr st day of thc September workshop day.

Dignity for All Students Act

In 2010 additions to education law prohibited disclir.r.rination againsl ar.rd harassment o1' ol perceived laoe. color', weiglrt, uatioual otigin, elhr.ric glour. r'eligion. leligious practioe, disability, sexual or'enlalion. gendcr'. ot'sex by school entployces or otliet students on school propelLy ol at a school linction. Fulthermole, these additions to education lrw stipulaled that districts do the following:
slr-tdents based ou actual

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Ievise codes of conducl and adopt policies jntended to creale a school envilonnent fiee for.n discriminalion and harassrnent Adopt gr-iidelir.res to be used in school tlaining ptoglams to: o laise awareness and sensitivity ofschool employees to these issues o enable er.nployees t prevent and respond to disclin.rinalion o[ harassment approplialely l)esignale af least one staff mer.nbel in eaoh school to be in non-disoriminatot'y instructional and counselit'rg n.rell.rods and handling

The law also t'equired distlicts by July 1. 201 2, to levise exisling policies, where necessaly develop new ottes. and to l.rave the plan approved by the Board of'Education. Throughout 1he 2011-12 school year', a dislrict commitlee offaculty, adnrinistratols, students, and palents met 10 l'eview existiug policy and clevelop procedules arld slruotures to el'surc corlpliance. A levised policy and regulation document was submitted to the Boald of Bducation lr'lheir appt'oval at the .lnne lloard of llducation mecting. Part of the secoud clay of Seplember wolksl.rop day will be devoted to ploviding faculty and stafftlaini:rg and awareuess on the elernents ofthis important legislarion and the districl policies and As always, and consistent with oul mission. wc will go beyond t'nere compliance and wolk urleleutingly to plovice a leal.ring envilonrent that is sal, secure, and welcouring for all sluclents.

Common Core Learning Standards

'l-he Court.l.tott Core Standal'ds will providc tcachers and parelts a cotsistctt and clear undet'stattdiug ol'what sludeuts are expectecl to lcarn. The standalds ale rigolous and relevant t<t the Ijves of students. '1'bey reflect the knowledgc and skils studenls neecl l'ol sucoess in collegc and cateels. l,ast year, faculty and administrators u'orked to begin the plocess olaligning curlicttlulrl, insfruction and assessment with the Cortmon Clore. 'l'his was extended lhis slll'l'll.ller as teachers and administlators wolhed diligently on this Common Cole alignment. 1-his it.nplementatiott, cor-rpled with professional devcloprlent to understand ancf internalize the instluctionai shills necessitated by the Coll.u.non Core. will remain a oentral district objectivc lor 1he upcoming sohool year.

Parent Communication
We will continue to use our erllcrgelcy phone nolificatioll sysletn to notify our lmilics of cmelgencies, sucr as early closings. ol to provide theln with additional nol.-en.ergenoy ir.rformation about the dist'ict. We continuc to utilize 1he School News Nolifer'(SNN). an<1 par.ents have the opporturlily 10 sign up for this selvice thlough web site. SNN allows palents 1tl lcceive tequcnt aud periodic updates about school events. closings, or ernelgeuoics via euail ol'text lllessage. The Parent Poltal, available through our student inlolmalion system. is open lr'use by all of oul schools. It provides palents with access to inl'orr.nalion abo-rt theil child's pt'ogtess. Mst importar.rtly, nevet fotget the value o1'direot communication with parenls ovel the phone ol ir.r person thlougl.t pat'enl lreetirgs and sohool evenls. Seeing a face ol hearing a voice still lhe most powet'ful uteans of commuuicating a nlessagc and establishing a lelationship.

District Involvement and Budgct

Thc Boat'd of Educafion meetiugs ale held monthly and committec nteetings

topics sucl.r

as curriculum. br-rdget, and long lange plarlning ale legularly lleld belween these monthly nleetittgs. We onooutage you to attend thcse r.neetings as tlley provide out school'ri1y rvilh a way in which 10 gain lmiliality with important issues concerniug the district. l'he clistriot wetr page lists dales and localiou of all Board of Education lL.L.trgs.

This past year school distlicts throughoul New York State faced 1he challenge ol'provicling quality educatiott with diminished resoLrrces. Due to its solicl financial rlanagemen1, this djstr.ict was able to minimize the impaot of the crisis. This year we *,ill continuc to opetale with tlie adclitional constraint of a 2o/o Iax oap. 'I-he substantial cl.rallenge we ancl other districts face is that of maintaining and snslaining our.. prograrr. For Irst lilne, we dipped int our: eser.ves to -l'his balance our budget. is not sustainable and a key goal for tle dislrict is to quickly establisli a plau to ensute sustainability and avoid the "educalional insolvency" that may begin to hit souie ol oul neighboring distf icts witlii the uext two yeals. We ercourage you to check the web site ancl palticipate aclively in the budget ptocess.

lnstructional Coaches
Fot the upootning scl.rool year. tle Board ofEducatiol apploved six instl'r-rctonal ooaclies at the elen.entary level to wolk across the six buildings as we implemcnt the Courmo Core Leartritrg Standalds in Matl.rernatics and lJnglish Language Arts.'l'he cotrche,t.fbr ELA ure Rntlt ll.ctnkin, Lathum Ridge and Southg(.tle; Kiertn Ryan, Boght litls tnd L,oulont ille; 111 PutriciLt wonter, Blue creek and Forrs Ferry. In Math, our inslrl4 criotl{tl cooches are.lulie ])t)ter, ogltl Ilill.s tnd Latlunt. Ridge; Renalu Relyeo, 3r. Creek and it t, Ferryt: anl 1.,11,"u Sulinefti,

Lotttlonville nnd Sotthgute. The coacl.res will work collabolatively with teachels to assist wi1l.r thc followng:

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Creatng culriculum modules and sarnple lesson plans Gatlrel'ing coruesponding materials required jn order to design instruction alignecl with lhc Common Core Sharing lesson and unit plans with teachers tlrroughout the distr.icl cting as a tesource to teachers who request coaching

'l-his past sulnl.ttel the coaches have met legulally 1o rJevelop plalls and stlatcgies to support colleagues in impleurcr.rtation ol'the Common Cor'e. l'hey will be in the truilclings in the days ol'school 1o intt'oduoe themselves and to begin to work with or-u'elemenlaly lcr"tlty.

Curriculum and lnstruction

SuurnleL l'eltresenLs a liure fol intcnse examinatiou, retrospecLion, ancl as needecl, r.cvisjor.r o1'district curricula. A suppoltive lJoard ofBducation has annually provicled the funcling 1-or this valuable investl.1en1 in tcacrir.rg ar.rd learning. lhis sumlner'. worksl.rops u,er.c lcused 6 addlcssiug dist'ict ob.ieotives, aligning curlicnlul.n witli the Clomn.lon Clore. oonlinning collegial clialogue, ancl oollabolating and innovating to enhauce student learnir.rg.

'l'hlotrghout the sclrool yeal the dist iot Stal Developmenl Courntittee wotks conliuuously 1o it$rove our curliculurn aud instruction. l'lris cor.nrtriltee continually wor.ks 1o provide new ways lr'staff 1o aud gtow professional knowledgc. As palt of its wolk, the comlittec stt'ives to oreatc muhiple avenr-res 1r plolssional glowth. Thesc include tlaclitional worl<shqr days, altel school workshops aud coLu'ses as well as book slucy and othel r.nole erbctlded acl
ongoin g sustained plofessior.ral developr.nent.

Mole ancl tl'tot'e. we need to sharc out.extensivc, commou ltnoweclge about good iustruolior.ral pllcfices. We Ireed rnore oftcl.r to gather feachers together to look a1 stlclcl.t \\,orl(. examllc what is going well. addless areas o1'couoern. plovidc lime fol collabolatiotr, ac.l el'r'rPower oul'teach.]rs as corlsul'lnale professionals to share knowledgc and slr.ategies in a cotlt.tlr-ttlity of leamng prolcssionals. Michael lullan, a leadir.rg ecluoalion thiuker. and f'orrel. polioyn.raker in the educatiou offioes of Ontalio Provirce, urakes the case lr collabor.ation succnctly and dilectly: "Yott cannol have sludents as conlinuoLrs lcarners an< cffeclive oollaborators. without teachers having the char.acteristios.,'
altd llle stluctules Lo aoconrplish this will be a focus ol'tl.ris co'ui1tcc etltile district, It is fultdauental to nourishir.rg out' prolssiolial lives ancl thus positively inlpacting out sludenls' achievement.

Ct'ealittg the



Somc Final Thoughts

New York'lit.ttes colulnnisl Challes Blow best sumled up the esscnce o1'teaching in a May 4,2012 column entitlecl. "'l'caching Me About -l-eaching." L.r the piece he sang the piaises of his lnothet, a thilty-for-u year veleran ol service to public eclucation. Ht also intended it s pr.aisc lor cach aud cvcry tcachcr.
"She wasr.r't iust teaching school bu1 lil lessons. For ller', it was about nor.e than fots and fltgules. lt was about the love o1'lealning ancl the love ofself. It was the grcat enfangle. educatiol't in the grandest fi'ame, what sticks with you when all else falls away. As Albelt Ilinstein once said: "Education is what lelnaius after one has l'orgolten whal one has learned in scl.rool."

She showed me what a great teacher looked like: proud, exhausted, underpaid and overjoyed. For great teachers, the job is less a career than a calling. You don't become a teacher to make a world of money. You become a teacher to make a world of difference."

I know that fundamentally all of us got into this profession for the same reason: to make a world of difference. I offer my best to all of you for a wonderful year of inspiration, challenge, and transformation. It is with this spirit and collective will that we will sustain our focus on teaching and learning and prepare for the upcoming school year with hope, vigor, and enthusiasm. Instructional staff will participate in two days of professional development and preparation prior to the start of school on Tuesday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 5. The opening ofchool and the first day of attendance for students will be Thursday, September 6. Kindergarten students will report on Friday, September 7.

D. Jodeph Con Superintendent of Schools

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