May 2019 Administrative Update
by: Brian D. Russ
We have had a very successful school year, receiving a number of recognitions for our academic and extra-curricular performance. The District’s Values and Vision; Learning Excellence, Respectful Relationships, Effective Communication and Continuous Improvement, continue to be the driving force behind our decision making relative to improving instruction and learning within the classroom. Once again, we were recognized for our academic achievement at both the local level and by national organizations. NYS Education Department and Business First have honored the District for outstanding academic performance as well as US News and World Report ranking East Aurora School District in the top 5% of schools nationally for preparing students for college and career readiness. These achievements occurred despite significant financial challenges faced by the District. I am so very proud of our students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and Board members for their positive outlook and commitment to maintaining educational excellence at all levels.
This past year, the District partnered with East Aurora Educational Foundation to initiate the “Imagine the Possibilities Campaign.” Together, with a dedicated group of volunteers, we were able to raise $100,000 for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) education K-12. I would also like to recognize Bill Miller of AW Miller for his generous contribution of seven 3D printers and two advanced CNC machines as well as the East Aurora Rotary for a munificent donation of $30,000 to support STEAM activities.
The advancement and availability of technology continues to be a top priority. The implementation of the Google Classroom, embraced districtwide, provides our students and staff with interesting and meaningful experiences. Professional Development opportunities allow our teachers and support staff to maximize technology utilization both within the classroom and in other areas throughout District.
Educating the whole child, we offer a variety of opportunities for our students beyond traditional academic programming. We continue to restore electives at the high school and our students have the opportunity to participate in business, technology, art and music classes as well as a wide variety of extracurricular activities including Masterminds, Student Government, Key Club, Model UN, Builders Club and Team America Rocketry Challenge.
In all three buildings, the music departments delivered multiple impressive performances and many students were selected to perform in county and state ensembles. The high school produced two outstanding productions, Bye Bye Birdie and Twelfth Night, both playing to sold-out audiences. The Superintendent’s Art Collection continues to grow and I encourage you to attend the Art Show & Tech Fair on Monday, May 20th where exemplary artwork and technology projects by students in grades K-12 will be featured.
Our interscholastic sports programs, at the modified, junior varsity and varsity levels, continue to be very competitive with our teams consistently qualifying for participation in ECIC, Sectional, Regional and State competitions.
We continue to move forward with Phase 2 of the facilities project. Once completed, each building will be enhanced with an improved learning environment for students and staff. At Parkdale, we are in the process of upgrading the 1955 heating, ventilation, air conditioning and auditorium sound systems. In the Middle School, we have upgraded the music wing and created a state-of-the-art STEAM lab. Additionally, the summer will usher in renovations and reconfiguration of the main entrance, main office, cafeteria, and second floor classrooms, nurse’s and counseling center offices. The High School’s new gymnasium bleachers installation is complete as work continues on remodeling the locker rooms and fitness center. Improvements to the High School’s kitchen, library and music wing are also scheduled for this summer.
Maintaining this level of quality has been challenging considering the financial constraints the district faced in recent years. Fortunately, due to an increase in State funding, the district’s fiscal situation for the 2019-20 school year has improved. Despite the increase, many difficult decisions, relative to personnel and programming, still had to be made while maintaining our commitment to provide students with the best educational experience possible. I would like to thank our teachers, support staff, administrators and Board of Education members for their dedication and hard work in producing a responsible, balanced budget.
The District is proud to present a budget that stays within the tax cap limit. Continued support from the community and district parents is greatly appreciated and will assist us in maintaining our commitment to excellence. I encourage you to stay involved and vote on the school district budget Tuesday, May 21st in the Middle School Cafeteria between 7:00AM – 9:00PM.