Return to Headlines

Superintendent's Message: Welcome To The New School Year

photo of matt sickles


On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire staff of the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District, welcome to the 2019-2020 school year.

The official opening of school brought a lot of excitement, but the work of kicking off a successful year started long before students returned to campus on Thursday, Sept. 5.

One of the many areas our staff has rallied around is the new K-6 administrative structure announced last spring. About 40 elementary teachers and staff came together as part of a K-6 Transitional Committee to increase communication, better align curriculum, and reshape how Midlakes Elementary School will best serve students and their families.

With the generous support of our community, we added a counselor at the Elementary School to work in the newly created Pupil Support Office. New teaching positions help us meet the enrollment growth of our youngest students. We established a transitional kindergarten program and added an assistant principal to support the leadership of the Elementary School.

These additions help better support the entire student population with an increased focus on social-emotional wellness and academic support.

The structure mirrors what was already in place at the secondary (7-12) grade levels. Also, we believe the new structure will help students and parents as they transition to seventh grade, where the systems and supports will be similar.

Internal teams are collaborating in other areas. For example, a committee of about 40 teachers and staff are working to revise and enhance literacy curriculum across grade levels to meet the New York State’s Next Generation Learning Standards.

There’s also a concentrated effort on K-5 English Language Arts, which includes the implementation of a new reading and writing program and a family literacy night in December at the Elementary School.

Our work to support all students and get at the issues that hinder their success is the focus of the Systems of Support Committee. Ali Hearn of the Midwest Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Network met with staff over the summer to increase the District’s capacity to prevent behaviors that interfere with learning, promote a positive learning environment and better assess the impact of both on the social and academic success of all students.

On September 3, we welcomed teachers and staff back with two days of interactive professional development opportunities highlighted by an inspiring talk by staff developer and former teacher Jack Berckemeyer on how humor and optimism can build impactful relationships and successful student outcomes.

While we’ve already made strides in these areas we must maintain the momentum by encouraging everyone to stay involved. We have a caring and committed staff who go above and beyond to help our students. We are grateful for their support and the support we feel from the community. Our efforts cannot stop here. We encourage parents and guardians to remain involved and invested in their student’s work and pull in the same direction as our teachers and staff to help every student reach their educational potential.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s progress or overall school experience, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help. We need everyone. Reach out to our teachers. Contact your school building. Together, we can have an amazing impact on our students and have a great 2019-2020 school year!