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Update from Clarence CSD May 27, 2022

Dear Clarence School Family, 

As we prepare to turn our calendars from May to June, we are reminded that we have much to be thankful for in our school community. This is a time of year that is filled with student celebrations, and I have tried to capture a handful of them from the past week in my Friday message. However, after talking with a number of parents in recent days about the tragedy that occurred in Texas, I did want to provide a bit of additional detail on how we approach the topic of school safety here in Clarence.

First, we are committed to hardening the shell of school to protect against unwanted intruders. We have secure main entrances in each of our facilities, camera systems, safety teams, drills, and specific procedures in place for checking visitors in and out of our buildings. While many of these things did not exist when you or I may have been in school, they have become common practices in most K-12 settings. Additionally, we are fortunate to have two School Resource Officers (SROs) who spent years serving as NYS Troopers. In recent days, both individuals have modified their schedules to provide an increased presence at student arrivals and dismissals—particularly at our Elementary Schools. Both “Officer Mike” and “Officer Dave” are familiar faces here in Clarence, and they have the ability to keep us safe without alarming our youngest learners. Further, we would like to thank the Erie County Sheriff’s Office as well as the NYS Troopers for having their officers stop by our schools on a regular basis this past week. Their presence has been appreciated, and we hope they know how much we value the critical role that they play in keeping our community safe.

As important as it is to harden the exterior shell of buildings, it is equally important to soften the experience that children have within the walls of our schools. We want each one of our students to feel connected to their peers as well as the adults who have made #ClarenceProud home, and we are committed to providing learning experiences that are joyful, engaging, and rewarding. Furthermore, we know that there are times when students might need a bit of extra support. When this happens, we have added key mental health personnel to a team of counselors, psychologists, and social workers who are quite simply the best in the business.

Because I am not a parent myself, I can only imagine what it has been like this past week as you have put your sons and daughters on the bus each morning. I want to assure you, however, that we are actively evaluating our safety procedures as well as our security measures to make sure they meet the needs that currently exist in schools. We know that school safety is a collective responsibility, and we will continue communicating as well as asking for feedback as we move forward.

Seal of Biliteracy

We are proud to announce that next month, 64 students will graduate with the New York State Seal of Biliteracy. The designation recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English. The intent of the Seal of Biliteracy is to affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society, encourage the study of languages, and ensure that students have opportunities to develop twenty-first century skills. The number of students receiving the Seal of Biliteracy is a real point of pride for our District, and it is a credit to the work of our French, Latin, and Spanish educators.

Clarence Center Elementary School Teacher Wins Regional Science Educator Award

Please join me in congratulating Mrs. Michelle Layer on receiving the “K-8 Outstanding Teacher Award” from the Western Section of the Science Teachers Association of New York State this past week. Michelle is a lifelong learner who recently completed the New York State Master Teacher Program, and she has distinguished herself as a leader, mentor, and passionate educator in her years of service in Clarence Center Elementary School. The quality of a school will never exceed the quality of its teachers, and Michelle is one of the reasons why Clarence continues to be a top district in Western New York.

Excellence in Athletics and the Arts

The past week has highlighted the fact that Clarence continues to be a leader in both athletics as well as the arts. For example, in the days ahead, our Track and Field team will compete in Sectionals, both our Boys and Girls Lacrosse teams will play in the Sectional Finals, Jack Bova will travel to Flushing to take part in the Boys Tennis State Championships, and Rosie DiNunzio, Victoria Leach, Annika Michel, Emily Morelli, and Kylie Dean will travel to Saratoga for the State Championships at McGregor Links Country Club. We wish them the best, and hope they know how proud we are of their accomplishments.

In addition to athletics, the talents of our Red Devil students have been on display this past week at the 1st Annual Celebration of the Arts as well as the traditional Concert at Kleinhans Music Hall. The latter would not have been possible without the financial support of the Band Boosters (led by Co-Presidents Chris Brophy and Cindy Magera), and it was an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. If you would like to begin your long weekend with a sense of awe, please check out this clip from the Finale of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony—I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Weekly COVID Report 

Below you will find the number of COVID cases that were reported this past week by both the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) as well as by families administering rapid home tests. As a reminder, please feel free to stop by one of our buildings or the District Office if you would like to pick up free antigen tests.

  • 5 individuals at Clarence High School tested positive
  • 4 individuals at Clarence Middle School tested positive 
  • 1 individual at Clarence Center Elementary School tested positive 
  • 1 individual at Harris Hill Elementary School tested positive 
  • 2 individuals at Ledgeview Elementary School tested positive 
  • 3 individuals at Sheridan Hill Elementary School tested positive  

Finally, on Monday we will observe Memorial Day to honor the men and women who have died in service to our country. The occasion is a reminder that we have much to be grateful for in America, and I thought you might enjoy this quick clip from the Student Assembly at Ledgeview Elementary School this morning.

Hoping you enjoy the long weekend, Red Devils.

Matt Frahm 
Superintendent of Schools