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Update from Clarence CSD November 17, 2023

Dear Clarence School Family, 

If you make it to the end of this Friday email, you will find a handful of updates related to academic tutoring, graduation pathways, potential assessment changes, and community partnerships. While they are key components to the business of education, we know that the best parts of school involve the relationships and experiences that will last a lifetime. After all, as the saying goes, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” As the week comes to a close, I wanted to share a number of the events from the past week that made me laugh, hit me in the heart, and reminded me how grateful I am to work with world-class colleagues. I hope they have a similar impact on you, and that they make you proud to be part of this school community.

  • On Wednesday, Clarence Center celebrated one of our beloved bus drivers, Miss Darlene, with a fancy lunch for her and her family. Miss Darlene has impacted thousands of students during her career as a bus driver, and she will be retiring after 24-years of service to the District.

  • Since the start of the year, our Harris Hill students have been earning points through the “Pawsitive Pack Program.” As a school-wide recognition, our Huskies had a chance to spend time with two of the cutest pigs ever from Greg’s U-Pick Farm.

  • Because Buffalo Sabres Captain Kyle Okposo is a fan favorite for many here at #ClarenceProud, our Ledgeview learners wished him well in his 1,000 NHL game on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.

  • To showcase all the different cultures that are represented at Sheridan Hill, the Sharks hosted an “International Night” on Thursday evening. Complete with food, dancing, poetry readings, and passports, the occasion was a way to celebrate the diversity that exists in Clarence. (On a somewhat related note, check out this link to see how the High School’s Culture Club is bringing together students for games and building new friendships.)

  • On Tuesday night, the Board of Education spoke with students who run the Middle School Newscast. The group couldn’t have been more impressive, and they showed how learners are creating a sense of belonging and joy for their peers. 

  • On Thursday evening, High School students put on a theatrical production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” The show is based on the novel by Mark Haddon, and it is a moving story that explores issues of family, truth, neurodiversity, and how everyone has the ability to achieve greatness.

  • The well-known educator Roland Barth was noted for saying that “The nature of relationships among the adults within a school has a greater influence on the character and quality of that school and on student accomplishment than anything else.” I’m not sure whether Mr. Barth ever heard of “Flannel Day,” but I do think he would have chuckled if he had seen the images coming out of Clarence Center, Harris Hill, Sheridan Hill, and Ledgeview this morning!

National Honor Society Buddy Program

When it comes to academic support, there are few things more impactful than peer mentoring/tutoring. Leveraging the power of one-on-one attention, study after study have shown that peer mentors/tutors can help students develop their study habits, boost their grades, and in the process, improve their confidence and self-esteem. 

Recognizing the need for a peer mentoring/tutoring program here in Clarence, a High School student started the National Honor Society Buddy Program back in 2020. Operating out of the Clarence Public Library each weekday afternoon from 3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m., the program currently connects interested elementary and middle level learners with High School volunteers. The program is free, personalized, and interested parents can sign their child up by filling out this online form.

NYS Blue Ribbon Commission Releases Report on Graduation Measures

In 2019, the Board of Regents put together a Blue Ribbon Commission to review the graduation requirements that currently exist in New York State. Engaging students, parents, teachers, and administrators, the Blue Ribbon Commission ultimately generated a list of 12 different recommendations that were released on Tuesday. While many news organizations that picked up the story tended to focus on the potential fate of Regents Exams, the actual report provides thoughtful commentary on graduation pathways, assessment flexibility, and life-ready learning experiences rooted in financial literacy, the arts, civics, career and technical education, and culturally responsive instructional practices.

So, you may be wondering, what does this actually mean for your child?

Well, for the 2023-2024 school year, it doesn’t change any of the requirements that currently exist for students in New York State. Instead, between now and next spring, the Board of Regents as well as the State Education Department will begin the process of deciding which recommendations to accept, modify, or deny. We will keep you updated if there is any related news out of Albany, but we wanted to make sure you were aware of the report’s release.  

Clarence Chamber of Commerce Seeking Award Nominations

We pride ourselves on maintaining positive partnership with community organizations, and for years, the District has been a proud member of the Clarence Chamber of Commerce. Serving more than 300 member businesses in and around Clarence, the Chamber operates with a focus on providing the programs, resources, and connections that businesses need to succeed. Because of our association with the Chamber, we wanted to pass along the nomination link for its Annual Awards which will be presented on March 21, 2024. Nominations must be received by Friday, December 1, and the Chamber would like to highlight the fact that it has recently added an “Educator of the Year” category. 

It’s Almost Turkey Time!

If you are looking for a couple last-minute ideas for having fun and making a difference this Thanksgiving, I might suggest running in Clarence’s “First Annual Turkey Trot” tomorrow morning (click here to register), or “Turn a Teacher into a Turkey” by donating to the High School Student Council’s Food Drive. Both events are guaranteed to be a blast, and they already have students, teachers, principals, and even a Board of Education member making some pretty interesting outfit choices when coming to school. 

Finally, please join me in wishing our undefeated Varsity Boys Football Team the best of luck as it travels to Williamsville South tonight to take on the East/World of Inquiry team from Section V. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m.—let’s go, Red Devils!

Have a great weekend.

Matt Frahm
Superintendent of Schools
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