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Update from Clarence CSD May 19, 2023

Dear Clarence School Family,  

They say that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” With this sentiment in mind, I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to vote this past Tuesday. Because of your support, we will be able to continue providing the types of school experiences here in Clarence that make our District special. Additionally, I would like to congratulate our re-elected Board members, Tricia Andrews and Dawn Snyder. They are both dedicated members of our current governance team, and one would be hard-pressed to find Trustees who care more about our students, staff, and families. Both Tricia and Dawn will also be joined by the newest member of our Board, Cindy Magera. A Clarence graduate, Cindy has served as the Band Booster Co-President for six years, volunteered in classrooms as well as a youth sports coach, and she will no doubt bring to the table an excellent sense of what children need to maximize their potential.

(PS: If you’d like to see some great footage from our 66th Annual Jack Hesslink All-Elementary Track Meet, check out this video of Clarence Center, Harris Hill, Ledgeview, and Sheridan Hill students in action. It’s an event we look forward to each spring, and it wouldn’t be possible without our incredible Physical Education Department.)

Making the Move to Middle School

If you are the parent of a secondary student, you know the jump from Elementary School to Middle School can come with all sorts of academic as well as social changes. To make the shift as smooth and successful as possible, Beth Chelus (6th Grade House Principal) has been working with a team of colleagues and students on reimagining the transition process. An important step took place this past week as 5th graders from our elementary schools visited the Middle School to talk with 8th graders, ask questions, meet teachers, and tour the building. The visits were one of the many events we offer to help students during the transition, and families of 5th graders should look for a letter in take-home folders over the next few weeks outlining summer orientations and future transitional events. The information will also be available on our website and through our PTO communications.

Measurable Results Assessment

Starting on May 22, our school will be administering the Measurable Results Assessment (MRA). This assessment is a survey designed to provide insights into the progress of our school.  

In order to provide a holistic picture of what is going on in our school, the MRA includes three different surveys; 1) one completed by all school staff, 2) one completed by students in grades 4 through 12, and 3) one completed by the families of students in all grades. We hope you will participate so we can use the feedback to make our school community an even better place for students and families.

Please follow the instructions in our district letter containing the link needed to complete the MRA survey. You will only need to take one survey as it relates to your oldest child within the district.  

Red Devil Recognitions

While it would be impossible to capture in writing all the accomplishments of our students and staff, I did want to highlight a handful of special recognitions that took place this past week. The individuals below are the “best of the best,” and we hope you will offer a congratulations if you see them out and about!

  • Each year, our Board of Education hosts a Student Recognition Awards Ceremony for learners who have earned distinction for specific achievements in the classroom, athletics, or extracurricular activities. On Monday, our Board honored this incredible group of students, and we hope they know how proud we are of their achievements.
  • After a year-long search process, the Board of Directors of the Youth Orchestra Foundation of Buffalo, Inc. appointed Lou Vitello to be the new Music Director for the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra. Mr. Vitello’s selection is a tremendous personal honor, but more importantly, a chance for talented area musicians to experience the rewards of preparing and performing advanced repertoire. The best part? Mr. Vitello can lead the Orchestra while keeping his “day job” here in Clarence—ensuring our students can continue to learn from one of the best in the business.
  • Congratulations to Jason Lehmbeck on receiving the Liam Frawley Emerging Athletic Director Award from the New York State Athletic Administrators Association on Wednesday. Mr. Lehmbeck was honored at a ceremony in front of his Section VI peers, and it is tribute to all the work he has done in support of Red Devil athletics here in Clarence.
  • On Thursday night, seniors Chelsea Fuchs, Erica Guenther, and Aeryn Zahn were honored for having the 3 highest grade point averages in the Clarence Class of 2023 at a regional event hosted by the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents. Because “the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary,” we could not be more impressed with their focus and dedication.
  • On Friday, Assemblyman Mike Norris stopped by to recognize Jim Cramer (Engineering Technology Teacher) with a citation for Teacher Appreciation Week. If you don’t know Mr. Cramer, he is an educator in the High School who is beloved for his positive attitude, willingness to help others, and passion for his craft. Having taught everything from woodworking to metal fabrication, Mr. Cramer makes sure his students learn through teamwork and problem-solving—skills they will need long after graduation. 

Finally, if you are looking for a guaranteed smile to end the week, check out this quick video from Harris Hill. (For those who might not know, each year a mother lays her eggs in the center courtyard. When the ducklings get old enough, our staff members set them on a path to independence with a private escort through the building. We wish the ducks safe travels, and we look forward to seeing the mother again next spring!)

Hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend, Red Devils.

Matt Frahm 
Superintendent of Schools