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Update from Clarence CSD January 20, 2023

Dear Clarence School Family,

It seems hard to believe, but we are only a week away from starting the second half of the 2022-2023 school year! Before that happens, however, our secondary students will be taking a range of midterm exams in many of their courses. While the assessments might lead to a bit of understandable student stress, they are an important part of our instructional program. In addition to giving students an opportunity to showcase what they have mastered, the exams also give us important information on what our kids are absorbing, processing, and retaining. To help your child do their very best on their midterms, I wanted to pass along a handful of study tips you might consider reinforcing at home.

  • Avoid the urge to procrastinate—begin studying as soon as possible.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Find a space that is conducive to studying.
  • Put away distracting devices to improve concentration.
  • Experiment with study methods to find what works best.
  • Be confident and try your best!

Dignity for All Students Act

Last week, I wrote that a number of our students had self-reported challenges in the area of “Relationship Skills” when they completed the Social-Emotional Resiliency Questionnaire this past fall. The results were not surprising, and we know that school is a natural place for students to make friends, maintain healthy relationships, and work through challenges with their peers. Unfortunately, there may be times when students experience incidents of bullying, harassment, or discrimination.

To help ensure that all students are safe and protected while at school, New York State passed the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) a decade ago. DASA outlines a set of measures that must be implemented in schools, and it gives very specific guidance on identifying experts in all buildings who are trained in how to handle bullying related issues.

While speaking with a parent group a few days ago, a handful of folks suggested that I pass along information on our DASA Coordinators, our Report Form, and our BOE Policy in an upcoming Friday message. I thought the recommendation made a lot of sense, and wanted to include a link to the information as well as an assurance that our faculty and staff do whatever it takes to create a learning environment in which all students feel safe, seen, respected, and cared for.

Bright Spot

Every now and again, it’s nice to highlight a real “Bright Spot” at #ClarenceProud as a reminder of all the good things that are going on in our school community. Just over a week ago, 19 of our Middle School and 38 of our High School Engineering Technology students attended the annual Tech Wars competition at Niagara County Community College organized by local Technology Education teachers.  Over 800 students from Western New York schools competed in design and problem-solving events that included large and small bridges, VEX robotics, cardboard chair design, trebuchets, on-site CAD design, CO2 cars, and mouse trap cars—to name just a few. The experience was a terrific opportunity for students to expand their understanding of what goes into engineering design, and we are proud of all our learners who competed.

Clarence in the News!

  • A few weeks ago, we shared the wonderful work of bus driver Patty Reitz—a Clarence colleague who has crocheted 7,082 hats over the years for students at Harris Hill. WGRZ picked up the story and aired a really nice piece on Ms. Patty earlier today. We wanted to pass along a link to the clip, and to thank local reporter Heather Ly for coming out to meet a really special Red Devil educator. 

  • With the upcoming Bills playoff game against the Bungles (I mean, Bengals—old habits die hard), journalist Abby Fridmann reached out for pictures and videos of Clarence students wearing Bills gear for WIVB to use in its Sunday “Countdown to Kickoff” program. We sent them some top-notch footage, and we will be watching to see if our students end up on TV this weekend! (For a sneak preview of our Bills spirit, however, check out these links from Clarence Center, Harris Hill, Ledgeview, Sheridan Hill, the Middle School, and the High School.)

Enjoy the weekend and—GO BILLS!

Matt Frahm
Superintendent of Schools