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Superintendent Emails and Updates - June 2021
June 25, 2021
Dear Syosset Community,
Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve attended so many of our moving up events and, of course, the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021. It’s impossible not to reflect on this past year, what we’ve experienced, and what we’ve accomplished.
In one of my early community updates, I predicted that if we could “pull together” we would “pull through.” And indeed, we have done both.
I’m extraordinarily proud of how everyone in the Syosset learning community -- parents, educators, facilities staff, and importantly our students -- responded to a global crisis that demanded us to abandon our normal way of life and make extraordinary sacrifices.
I’m astonished by the achievements of our students despite the added stamina, patience and agility that was required of them as the educational environment constantly shifted and evolved. Their resilience this year has been nothing short of amazing.
And maybe most of all, I’m grateful. Grateful for health care workers’ and first responders’ heroism, for essential workers’ courage, and for all those who selflessly served their community; grateful for the Syosset faculty and staff who rose to the challenge of this year’s extraordinary demands; and grateful for how the community supported the school district and our efforts throughout the school year.
Our mission is to prepare students to thrive in both the future we imagine -- and one which may surprise us, as this year certainly did. Our students have proven to be stronger and more resilient than anyone could have ever imagined, and against all odds, they have thrived. Their accomplishments this year, particularly this year, are astounding. I couldn’t possibly list them all in a single email, but I’d like to mention just a few.
- 5 Syosset Students Named 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Scholars
- 38 National Merit Commended Students, and 32 National Merit Finalists
- 3 high school students named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidates
- College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award granted to SHS
- Anti-Defamation League “No Place for Hate” designation earned by both middle schools
- A record number of students qualified for the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)
- 115 recipients of the NYS Seal of Biliteracy
- 2 SHS students recognized as College Board National Recognition Program scholars through the Hispanic Recognition Program
- 61 Syosset students’ artwork selected for the Nassau All-County Art Exhibit
- Syosset named a 2021 Best Community for Music Education for the 20th time
- 34 Syosset students won an overall 117 awards in the 2021 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards Regional Competition
- 3 Syosset middle school students named as finalists in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO) of New York’s Concerto and Vocal Competition
- 29 SHS students selected as 2020 New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All-State musicians
- Athletics: 6 County Championships, 7 Conference Championships, a Long Island Championship, and numerous individual awards including All-County, All-Long Island, All-Conference, All-American and Newsday Player of the Year.
- SHS Association of Creative Thespians managed to produce an evening of student directed One Acts, a New York premiere of a contemporary play, a Shakespeare production, a full-length musical, and several virtual productions this school year.
- New York State Championship for the Forensics team
- 120 medals for the DECA club at the 2021 State Career Conference
- Syosset Central School District named 4th Best School District in NY, 13th Best School District in America, 8th Best Place to Teach in NY by Niche.com.
And as I stated at the High School Commencement on Wednesday evening, our students have proved that a global lockdown needn’t be a barrier to altruism. As proud as I am of the above-listed accomplishments, I have a special place in my heart for our students’ efforts to contribute to the greater good. Throughout the pandemic, Syosset students not only continued their altruistic efforts, but became our community’s Bright Spots just when things seemed their darkest. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much as I have enjoyed sharing them.
I’ve attached a Bright Spot retrospective with some updates. I’m sure there are many more students quietly doing their part to make our community a better place. Please know that I appreciate those efforts just as much.
I know there are many unanswered questions about what school will look like in the fall. As we anxiously await guidance from the State on masks, virtual learning, social distancing, busing and more, we have been planning for multiple scenarios, just as we did last summer. But our hope is to return as closely as possible to the pre-pandemic education we miss.
I will continue to communicate over the summer, though a little less frequently to give your inboxes a much-needed rest. But as soon as there is important information to share, we will reach out to keep you updated and informed.
I hope you all have some fun and relaxing summer plans with loved ones, and I continue to wish good health and safety to you all. Think back on this year and know you truly are:
messages/attachments/fe0cf8cfc0d6c0dd0c2797a130b439a7/2021_Bright_Spots.pdf (182.9 KB)
June 4, 2021
Dear Syosset Community,
As we start the last month of the school year, we find ourselves almost 15 months into a crisis we anticipated might last a year and a half, and we continue to see hopeful signs with each passing day. Over the last 14 days, there have been 570 COVID cases in Nassau County, but just 2 of those cases were in the Syosset-Woodbury community, and only one of those was related to the schools.
Despite many unknowns, we reopened schools under extraordinary circumstances through the hard work, sacrifice and cooperation of the whole learning community, and, little by little we restore activities, like elementary Field Days, that bring us closer to normal. End-of-year celebrations, Moving Up ceremonies at the middle schools, and commencement for the full SHS Class of 2021 will look different, but more familiar this year too. I’m grateful for the community’s support, proud of our students’ resilience, unbelievably appreciative of our faculty and staff, and like everyone, excited for the hope this good news portends.
New Mask Guidance
Late this afternoon, the NYS Health Commissioner issued a letter to the CDC informing them of the State’s intention to issue new guidance that will no longer require students or staff to wear masks outdoors or indoors in schools (though masks would still be strongly encouraged), and asking the CDC to react to the State’s proposal. We now await both the CDC’s response and any changes it may cause to the State’s plans. Please note in the absence of any new guidance -- which has not been made public or issued to schools -- the existing guidance remains in effect.
Moving Up/Graduation Events
By now, you should have received information from the building principals on the plans to honor our students moving up from the middle schools and graduating from the high school. Information on the 5th grade moving up ceremonies will be coming out shortly. Please pay close attention to the information included in the emails, as there are important protocols that will need to be followed to ensure fun and safe events.
This week, the PTA Council held their final meeting of the school year during which they took some time to acknowledge members of our learning community who have given so much of themselves for the betterment of our schools and educational program. One of the awards was presented to the entire District Facilities and Operations team, led by Mr. Greg Hamilton, who noted that because they typically work behind the scenes, it was particularly gratifying for his team’s extraordinary efforts to be recognized in such a meaningful way. Like many this school year, they have truly gone above and beyond to keep our buildings safe and to help us pull through these last 15 months. I’m so grateful to the PTA for acknowledging their hard work and dedication.
Stay safe this weekend!