Mr. Randall W. Squier
Superintendent of Schools
This fall will see our education community transformed as never imagined. Twenty percent of our students will be learning remotely on a daily basis. Movement in our classrooms and schools will be limited. The many protocols we have established to help everyone stay safe in our schools are unprecedented. We will move forward one day at a time. We will adjust as needed. Patience will be tested. Flexibility will be required. Together we will continue to inspire every learner every day.
Our work continues to help every kid every day be successful. This takes the talents of many people. When we work together and find solutions collaboratively then our power to positively impact learning grows even more. Learning, collaboration, results are the big ideas that guide our work. In our classrooms we continue to clarify our curriculum, streamline our assessments, quicken our response for interventions and expand our enrichment. This is accomplished each morning as our teacher teams meet to answer the four learning questions that professional learning communities ask. We know being a professional learning community is not easy and are committed to collectively improve everyday. This work is too important and we know by BEing a PLC our kids will have extraordinary success.
C-A High School has seen some major physical changes the last year. Our $15.6 million capital project started last summer has created learning spaces that will support teaching that will redefine learning. We continue to expand our work in having every student every year engage in at least one project that involves research, writing, presenting/advocating and producing. Reading and writing expectations continue to rise as we are in year 3 of implementing a common writing expectations in grades K-8 and using a building wide writing rubric in the HS. We have expanded mental health services and created more equitable counseling assignments district wide. Becoming better every day for every kid.
This spring saw C-A receive accolades from ISTE for our digital badge initiative that began in April as we began to o
our faculty as they redefine how they teach each day. The results are evident and evident in the right areas; graduation rates, completing college credit courses, reading at/above grade level, mastery of classroom learning, service to community, and participation in extra-curricular activities. Our students are more than a test score(and colleges say this too) and so we are looking forward to rolling-out in the fall digital portfolios for every student so they can showcase their whole story.
As you read this, students will have begun another year at Coxsackie-Athens Schools. We celebrate the kickoff of each new school year as an opportunity for students and staff to have a fresh start. We know it is important to provide students an opportunity to
begin on a winning streak so they can build on this early momentum throughout the year. Teaching and learning is a complex process, but everyone agrees it begins by winning the hearts of the students. Kids won’t learn from people they do not like.
Fortunately at C-A we have teachers and staff who truly care about all kids. They personify what is best about the people who work at C-A. We recently worked to synthesize these positive behaviors and came back to three key values(behaviors) that we feel clearly identify who we are. We have GRATITUDE in knowing we have an enormous responsibility each day to help kids be successful and there is no better satisfaction than working in a school where kids come first. We understand each child has a story and by getting to know each of our students our EMPATHY for their challenges and successes guides our support for them. Finally, we know that in order for us and our students to continually improve everyday we must HAVE HOPE and TAKE POSITIVE ACTION.
These core values along with five anchor strategies(learn more about these at https://www.cacsd.org/domain/524 ) provide us the lens and filter in our daily decisions and actions as we strive to be a school that inspires all learners to achieve extraordinary success. We invite you attend the many events we host throughout the year and see our students in action.
I encourage you to visit our website at www.cacsd.org to learn more about our schools and to access our calendar of events and sports schedules. Follow us on Facebook at Coxsackie-Athens Central Indians as well as Twitter @coxathschools and Instagram @coxathschools.
Thank you to voters for approving our recent bond proposal. The $15.6 million project will allow the facilities in our high school to match the great programs being offered there. The school budget planning is in a holding pattern as we await a final state budget. In the meantime, we continue to provide tremendous opportunities for our students. Whether it is the drama club, after school enrichment offered by volunteers, or our popular athletic programs, students have many choices to excel. In our classrooms, we continue to match our course offerings to the needs of our
region and interests of our students. C-A is a great place to learn and we are on our way to becoming extraordinary by remembering to pause and celebrate our successes and look for ways to improve each day.
This year C-A continues the work we have begun that has resulted in steady consistent improvement in student learning. This is measured in terms of the number of students reading at or above grade level in our schools and how many students are graduating and not dropping out. The last three years we have seen 84%+ of our students reading at grade level across the district. This compares to <80% five years ago. Our graduation rate have averaged 88%+ the last four years compared to ~79% the previous five years. To get to higher achievement, it takes school wide action, action that involves the full faculty and support staff. We are proud of our results now, but know it is not ok to stay here. We still have too many students not engaged in learning that has meaning for them. We will continue to work from our foundation of being a place that engages, enables and empowers all learners. We will continue to shift our behaviors that align to our five key strategies in order to inspire all learners to achieve extraordinary success.
Inspiring all learners to achieve extraordinary success is what Coxsackie-Athens is trying to accomplish each day. The work we do is grounded in five key strategies. These are : working as a professional learning community, supporting a growth mindset, creating pathways to success, converting to a digital environment and expanding student centered approaches to learning. Along with helping our students develop the attributes of being a self-directed learner, C-A is poised to become not just a good or great school but an extraordinary place to learn.
Coxsackie-Athens Central will be starting our fourth year of a digital conversion. Some of our innovative practices include 1:1 mobile learning at the secondary level, expanding real time data access to all teachers and parents, online common assessments, digitizing backroom functions, migrating to cloud services, paperless board meetings, distance learning, online credit recovery, and expansion of our social media presence. C-A continues to shift its practices towards a digital ecosystem with plans to enhance our library media services, and leverage technology to better align our assessments, curriculum and data.
In the last three years our graduation rate has increased and the number of elementary students reading at/or above grade level has increased as well. This is due to establishing clear measureable 3-year goals at the governance level that are translated into annual performance targets at the building level. The buildings then LINK their strategies and action steps to our five district wide strategies to build coherence. This results first approach has created a sense of accomplishment among teachers and has begun to build momentum towards are vision of inspiring learners to achieve extraordinary success.
Coxsackie-Athens Central has a proud and distinguished educational history, but we know we can always do better. We are committed to supporting our teachers as they find more effective and more engaging ways to improve the skills and knowledge of our children. We will provide classrooms where the instruction is engaging, the culture is empowering and the technology is enabling. We will be a place where partnerships with higher education, business and other regional assets are integrated into the daily learning of students and adults. Our schools will be a place that inspires all learners to achieve extraordinary success.
I look forward to strengthening our partnership with you, so together we ensure success for each student.
Please do not hesitate to come up to me and tell me, how we are doing.
Another school year brings excitement for students as they take another step forward in their education. Each step represents a new set of challenges to overcome. Our educators at C-A are ready to support each of their students as they progress through a more difficult curriculum that leads to a foundation of knowledge and skills that prepares them for college or career. I have challenged each educator to continue to look for what is right in each student and be their hero. When they “tell their stories,” teachers will first ask if their students have their own stories and what they might be. Our stories influence our attitudes and behaviors. If we look for what is good and believe what is best in our students they will show us their best.
It is very apparent our schools are valued by the community. The C.A FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION (CAFÉ) has had a fantastic first year of operation. The PTO’s have provided our teachers and students with valuable resources. Packed houses at the drama club production, and our concerts, shows the community enjoys watching our students excel. A group of parents, staff and students have been working on updating our district’s mission, vision and commitments. We will then develop annual performance targets aligned to three year goals that affirm our commitments, and move us towards our vision. Please review our budget documents and make our website or Facebook page a regular stop as we are updating our pages often. Many of the pages you can connect via RSS to stay on top of what is happening in your schools.
January 4, 2013ffer our instructional staff opportunities to earn micro-credentials to demonstrate learning. National School Boards ranked us #3 in the nation for our overall digital conversion efforts. We are grateful for these accolades, yet we know digital tools are a means to an end. That end is having every kid, every day be successful. Successful in the classroom, the stage, and the playing field. I'm proud of
Happy New Year!
We are fortunate to have schools that strive to make each kid feel welcome.
In public schools across the state including here in Coxsackie-Athens, there is concern that the Class of 2012 may have received the best education that districts will be able to offer for the foreseeable future. With a lack of leadership in Albany to provide equitable and adequate funding for schools and meaningful mandate relief, districts are running out of time and options. I need your help in delivering this message to state leaders!
As you may know, we have already begun to develop the school district budget for 2013-14. After three consecutive years of cuts to staff and programs, eroding state aid and increasing mandates threaten even deeper budget cuts in the coming year. An entire generation of children is likely to have compromised educational opportunities unless there is swift and significant change in the way New York State supports public education.
With power in numbers, we need to reach out to our elected representatives to remind them of their responsibility in supporting quality public education for our community. I have aspirations for my three children currently attending C-A schools. I know you do as well. Let the governor's office and our elected officials know that we need equitable funding of our public schools.
November 1, 2012
I am very excited about the Coxsackie-Athens Foundation for Education’s gala. The foundation raised $20,000 to be used for teacher grants. This is a great group of people who have invested so much time to enrich education in our schools. http://www.c-afoundation.org/
This month the 1st quarter marking period ends for grades 5-12 on 11/9. The first tri-semester for grades K-4 ends 11/30. All 5-12 parents should have received a letter explaining how to access student grades, attendance, and discipline reports via e School Data (eSD). If you have any questions how to access this information online contact the help desk at email@example.com
We appreciate your understanding as we have changed our instructional calendar to accommodate additional training for teachers as we implement our new evaluation system. I understand the difficulty of arranging child care when school is open for a ½ day session. We are committed to making sure each c
lassroom has a highly effective teacher. In order for that assurance to occur, we must have a comprehensive, fair evaluation system. Teachers must understand how they will be evaluated. We have invested in an evaluation system that provides teachers and principals with over 40 hours of video showing exemplary instruction. This will assist us in making sure every C-A teacher is evaluated based on a common set of expectations.
This may have been one of the busiest starts of a school year for most of our teachers. New state evaluation requirements have caused teachers to:
· Create or re-design assessments to use as a baseline data point.
· Design student learning objectives (SLO’s) or performance targets they will be evaluated on.
· Learn how to use a new student management system that will collect the necessary data that is reported to the state.
The “what” of the new state regulations, often referred to as APPR makes sense. Effective instruction is based on assessing students early and then monitor progress towards mastery of an agreed upon curriculum. The monitoring through assessments informs the teacher’s instruction and provides the school with necessary data to provide precision interventions for students who need more support.
“How” the state has asked schools to implement the APPR has caused much consternation across the state. Each school must negotiate the details of the evaluation plan, instead of relying on one state-wide template. We continue to negotiate our plan with our teacher association and have made steady progress. With little time to implement, our first go at baseline assessments did not provide the useful data teachers need. We are committed to improving the next time, and improve again the next time after that; the process for assessing student learning and tracking their results throughout the year.
August 27, 2012
The summer has been very busy in our schools. Classrooms and hallways are cleaned and polished. Supplies have been arriving daily. New teachers and staff are being hired. I encourage you to use this website as your information headquarters for all things C-A. You can also access updates via our Facebook page. Let us know what you want on our website by contacting your child’s school office.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend the inaugural Wall of Honor inductions on October 20th at 6pm at Dionysos in Athens. The Coxsackie-Athens Foundation for Education (C.A.F.E.) is sponsoring the dinner event. A live auction will also occur. The C.A.F.E. is raising funds to support innovative educational programs. You can find out about this event by going to the C.A.F.E. website.
We took time to put together a compilation of our celebrations from the previous year. You can see those here in our summer online newsletter.
This is a good time to start building the routines necessary for a successful school year. Starting your bedtime and waking up routines as well as meal times now will go a long way in making for a smooth transition as classes begin on September 6th.
May 18, 2012
Thank you to everyone who voted in the recent budget vote. The positive vote places responsibility on me to ensure the community has a positive return on their investment. I will work with our staff to do whatever is necessary to make our schools an extraordinary place for our students and a system our community is proud of.
April 1st, 2012
Our new website was launched on April 1st but we hope this site is not foolish. The goals for this site is to provide our school community a place to visit to find current factual information about our schools. As we launch different components of this site in the next months, parents will be able to access all their child's data, grades, lunch accounts and teacher web pages. Teachers will be able to use this site to access their gradebooks and other student data.
We will be adding content weekly, so we hope you will visit often,
Let us know what you think about our website by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org