Monthly Administrative Updates

October 2021 Administrative Update

Brian Russ

Brian D. Russ 
Superintendent of Schools

As I reflect on the most challenging of school years, I recognize that while we faced uncertainty and experienced a sense of loss, I am immensely impressed with what we have accomplished.  Beginning from the top, our Board of Education has devoted countless hours to ensure that necessary resources were available to create a robust academic program while supporting the social/emotional needs of our students.  Our administrator’s steady, creative and devoted leadership has gone a long way to reassure our students and staff as we progressed through an ever changing learning environment.  Our faculty and support staff have been innovative in their instructional design, created learning environments that are inviting and have gone above and beyond to support students’ personal well-being.  This success is based on a partnership and would not have been possible without the support and patience of our parents.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to our families for their on-going support of the District over the last 15 months.  The numerous notes of encouragement went a long way towards helping us maintain our focus on the academic progress and social/emotional well-being of our students.  As we witness a greater sense of negativity across the country, our community has risen above to maintain a sense of kindness, decorum and mutual respect.  This is essential to ensure a strong partnership and the long-term success of our students and the District as a whole.

We have faced numerous challenges and I am most proud of our students, families and staffs’ dedication and ability to approach each challenge with respect, grace, dignity and empathy. Their capacity to stay focused on the greater good has created new opportunities for our students to grow, not only as learners but, as positive members of the larger community. 

As we look forward to the fall, it is our hope to have all students return on a full-time basis.  This, of course, is based on our ability to maintain a safe environment for our students and staff.  We are working on plans A, B and C.  We will begin meeting with the Reopening Task Force in May once we receive the latest guidance from the Governor’s office and State Education Department.  Keeping you informed of our progress is a top priority. We welcome your input and encourage you to continue to submit questions and concerns via reopen@eak12.org.

What makes our District WNY’s finest is not our scores on assessments, the number of athletic championships accrued nor our Business First ranking.  What makes our District WNY’s finest and East Aurora a wonderful place to live and raise a family, is our people.  Again, I want to thank our students, staff and community for the positive and respectful relationship that we share.  It is the foundation on which our organization is built and will sustain us moving forward!

During the month of June, East Aurora residents and visitors will once again be a part of celebrating our seniors.  We are hoping that the entire community will recognize and support our senior class, starting with the Class of 2021 lawn signs decorating houses throughout the community.  We are grateful to the Mercurio family for their coordination of the senior lawn signs.  We would also like to thank the EAHS PTO, Mayor Pete Mercurio, and the East Aurora Public Works Department for coordinating the hanging of 160 Senior Banners up and down the iconic East Aurora Main Street.  The banners will be on display through the middle of June, then taken down and presented to the graduates prior to graduation day.  Our Seniors are also looking forward to a June 16th event at Parkdale Elementary.  After a picnic lunch, Seniors will participate in a traditional elementary school field day and end the day wearing their caps and gowns and parading past the elementary students and their teachers, providing them practice for what will be a memorable graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 26th.  East Aurora High School’s 135th Commencement Ceremony will take place on the EAHS stadium field.  The socially distant event will follow a traditional EAHS graduation ceremony supported with video projection screens and live-streamed on the EAHS YouTube station. 

Throughout the school year, the East Aurora High School community, led by our seniors, has come together to provide opportunities for our students to engage in school and connect with peers in new and unique ways.  The Spirit Club coordinated a variety of events that enriched the high school experience for students.  Fall Fest and Winterfest were two shining examples of their work.  The Fall Fest, highlighted by a trebuchet designed by EAHS technology teachers, launched pumpkins nearly one hundred yards across our athletic fields.  Winterfest took students outside for sledding and other winter activities.  Countless other opportunities, from movie nights to scavenger hunts, a senior class community service day, homeroom trivia contests, and the Student Government Ultimate Frisbee Tournament were just a few of the new events scheduled throughout the year that provided students with opportunities to forge positive connections in the midst of an otherwise challenging year.  We expect many of these experiences to become new traditions that will be celebrated for years to come. 

One final memento from the 2020-21 school year is the collection of new trees that are currently being planted on the high school campus.  A total of eighteen trees from ten different species are finding their home at East Aurora High School thanks to the senior leadership in our Sustainability Club.  The students learned a lot as they dug holes and discussed the soil and history of the site.  The trees will stand for decades to come as a testament to the perseverance and strength of the East Aurora community.

Thank you to our students, teachers, staff, parents, Board of Education, Superintendent Russ, and the greater East Aurora community as our school year draws to a close.  We are grateful for the successful team approach to support our students this year.  I invite you to watch our Commencement Ceremony on June 26th as we celebrate a group of unforgettable Seniors!