June 2020 Administrative Update
by: Brian D. Russ
I have to say this has been one of the most interesting and challenging school years of my career. The school year was progressing nicely and we were experiencing great success in all areas, academics, professional development, athletics, and extra-curricular activities, etc. We were in the process of closing out our capital facilities project and our buildings and grounds have never looked better. Spring sports were just beginning and we looked forward to an exciting season ahead. Then it happened, the Covid-19 virus.
As the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority, on March 15th, we made the decision to move to a remote learning model. The District’s Values and Vision; Learning Excellence, Respectful Relationships, Effective Communication and Continuous Improvement, continue to be our guiding force as we work through our current situation. Virtually overnight, teachers and administrators were required to develop a new learning model, one that included traditional methods and online learning experiences. While it has been a challenge and certainly something we have never experienced before, the process has been quite successful. Each level, elementary, middle and high, has developed a learning plan that is age appropriate and focused on the needs and abilities of our students. Our one-to-one chrome book initiative and utilization of the Google classroom have proven very effective tools and enhanced our students’ learning experience. Teachers, support staff, principals and directors continue to work together to review, evaluate and adjust as necessary. They have done an amazing job of making the very best of an extremely difficult situation.
We recently learned that school closures will continue for the remainder of the current school year. While we are disappointed, I am confident that our students will continue to experience quality instruction and support. As we look forward to September and plan to return to school, we realize that it may not be learning as usual. We are assembling a task force of teachers, administrators, board members and parents to consider what the return may look like and how to properly prepare.
In addition to our learning plan, we are responsible for providing food service to children up to 18 years of age throughout the district and child care for first responders. Our Food Service Director, along with food service staff, teacher aides and bus drivers prepare and deliver nearly 25,000 meals each week to families districtwide. We are so proud of their dedicated service. We have also set up a system to assist first responders in obtaining day care for their children.
It is important we continue to stay focused on the numerous successes achieved throughout the district both prior to and following the onset of Covid-19. These accomplishments occurred despite multiple and significant challenges faced by the District.
Once again, we were recognized for academic achievement at the local level as well as by national organizations. NYS Education Department honored EAUFSD for outstanding academic performance. US News and World Report ranked East Aurora School District in the top 5% of schools nationally for our proficiency in preparing students for college and careers. I am so very proud of our students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and Board members for their positive outlook and commitment to maintain educational excellence at all the levels.
The District is proud to present a 2020-21 budget that stays within the tax cap limit. Due to the current circumstances, all voting will occur this year via absentee ballot. A ballot and instructions will be mailed to each eligible voter throughout the District. Please review the material very carefully. The absentee ballot must be returned to the District by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 9th. The last few months have presented many challenges. Our collective efforts have ensured our continued success. It’s all of us, students, teachers, support staff, administrators, Board of Education members, parents and community organizations working together to get the job done. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such an amazing organization and thank you for your continued support. We will get through this and in the end, be stronger and more resilient.