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November 01 2012

  Be the Hero

When Schenectady teachers returned from summer vacation to begin the 2012-2013 School Year, many heard the words of Superintendent Larry Spring for the first time.  But it took only a matter of seconds to learn what his expectations are and what his message to staff was and will continue to be.

On opening day, Spring had 148 chairs in the Proctor's Theatre roped off.  Those chairs represented the students who dropped out of school last year and who won't be seated in that same theatre on graduation day.  While he emphasized that the district dropout rate must decrease and the graduation rate increase, he spoke optimistically and told his teachers that he believes in all of them.  Almost two months later, the teachers and administrators continue to buzz about that huge empty block of chairs, and admit that actually seeing the empty chairs roped off had a huge impact. Many say they can't get the visual out of their minds. 

On that morning, Spring spoke about the challenges that the teachers face and soon after sent them on their way -  back to their schools and classrooms with a challenge to tackle.  One that, in the end, would not only make a huge difference to one but would add up to a huge difference for many.   He encouraged each of the 1,300 educators, administrators and other staff members in the auditorium to focus on moving one student from below standard to standard.  He told the teachers to think about the one student that is hard to like and has built a wall. "Think about reaching him or her," said Spring. 

"We are about to write the 2012-2013 school year," Spring added.  "Be the hero.  I call all of you to be the hero of the story."

Some schools have accepted the challenge and are already tackling it head on.  Hamilton Elementary School, for example, began an afterschool mentoring program in which teachers remain after school to work with and serve as mentors to low achieving students.  According to Principal Michelle VanDerlinden, more than 30 teachers answered the call and are serving as mentors to students.  The Daily Gazette recently printed an article and a follow-up editorial about the school's efforts.

Superintendent Spring is on a quest to find our schools' heroes and let them know how much he appreciates their work.

Throughout the school year, he will be  recognizing district employees who do something a little special, go above and beyond and is casting him or herself as a Schenectady hero. 

On October 31, he surprised Pat Johnson, a paraprofessional at Hamilton Elementary School and Laurie Leone, nurse of Woodlawn Elementary School. 

+ October 31

+ December 20

+ February 06

March 20

2012-2013 Heroes

March 20 2013
Lisa David
Pleasant Valley Elementary School

Chris Turcio
Elmer Avenue Elementary School

February 06 2013
Jocelyn Pranis
Lincoln Elementary School

Joan Feurstein
Yates Magnet School

Kim Enlow
Yates Magnet School

December 20, 2012
Sarah Johnson
Schenectady High School

Kevin Shannon
Schenectady High School

Corinna Heggen
Schenectady High School

Jim Kramer
Schenectady High School

October 31, 2012
Pat Johnson
Paraprofessional
Hamilton Elementary School

Laurie Leone
School Nurse
Woodlawn Elementary School

 

 

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