Monthly Administrative Updates

May 2024 Administrative Update

Brian D. Russ, Superintendent of Schools

by Brian D. Russ
Superintendent of Schools

It’s been an exciting, productive year, and as I reflect on the past nine months, I do so with a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

As always, we continue to focus on offering new opportunities to enhance our students’ learning experiences. Sustainable Agriculture was launched in the fall of 2023 and is off to a great start. Our students, along with the support of two science teachers, have created a small working farm based on regenerative farming practices. The space includes a chicken farm and greenhouse. The chickens produce eggs, and are processed and sold to create revenue to sustain the program moving forward. There are plans to expand the program to include a tree farm and bee hives over the next few years.

Extracurricular and athletic participation are at an all-time high. From Parkdale to the high school, our students are enjoying participating in clubs, the musical, choral, and instrumental performances, and numerous athletic opportunities. This fall was particularly productive and successful for our sports teams. Girls and boys cross country won the team titles, while Amelia O’Leary took home the individual cross country championship. Our boys soccer team also won the state title for the first time in the history of the school district. The performance on the stage and field has been quite impressive and is the result of our students’ hard work and dedication.

We also continue to make the social and emotional well-being of our students, staff, and community a central focus. It is our mission to create the most welcoming environment possible—a culture of compassion and support. With this in mind, we will continue our work in the areas of social-emotional learning (SEL), restorative practices, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) The social, emotional, and mental wellness of our students remained at the forefront of our planning as we moved through the school year. We will continue with training this summer, and the program will be delivered in the classroom and through related activities. 

Restorative practice is a powerful approach to discipline that focuses on empowering students and repairing harm through inclusive processes that engage all stakeholders. We made significant progress this year and will continue to train additional staff members this summer.

The New York State Board of Regents launched an initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools across New York State. We continue to focus on providing an experience for our students that supports equal access and opportunities by creating a caring environment that is built upon trust and respect.  All students must feel that they are welcome, that they belong, and that they are supported in all aspects of their school experience.

I continue to work with my student advisory group, which advises me on how to improve the school climate and culture. I appreciate their insight and find their input to be invaluable as I work with our teachers and administrators to create an environment that supports all members of our school community.

These numerous successes are the result of our collective efforts. I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to lead the district and for the support we receive from our parents and community. This would not be possible without your continued commitment and dedication to the cause.