Thomas M. Ramming
Grand Island School
We Have Much to be Thankful For
Readers of previous articles have probably noticed that I
usually discuss our direction, plans, and goals for the future.
The theme is typically – “This is where we are, and this is where
we’re headed.” This article,
however, will represent a departure from that theme.
During this holiday season, it is important to reflect on
what we, as a school community, have accomplished and give thanks to those who
have supported us in our efforts.
Academically, we are continuing to move ahead.
More high school students are taking a full schedule of courses and
enrollment in Advanced Placement courses continues to grow.
The Board of Education, acting on the recommendation of teachers and
administrators, voted to “raise the bar” by requiring almost all students,
beginning with the Class of 2007, to score “65” or higher on five Regents
Exams in order to receive a high school diploma.
Our middle school continues to be one of the highest ranked middle
schools in Erie County, with student achievement improving in each of the last
three years. Elementary students
are learning more and performing better on the State assessments in Math and
English/Language Arts at 4th grade.
Technologically, students across the District are using our new, high-speed Internet connections to conduct research on-line. This is now possible because of the commitment the voters made to our students in passing the 2004-05 District budget. Over 75% of the cost of connecting our schools with fiber optic cable is reimbursed through federal and state aid. In addition, computer access is now provided to students in libraries, computer labs and many classrooms.
The emphasis on character and respect has resulted in a
school-community collaboration, the Community Enrichment Council, to help
support Grand Island’s youth and their families. At Connor Middle School, the Viking Values – Be
Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe – have created a more positive learning
environment and reduced disciplinary incidents by 50 percent.
Our music and art programs continue to thrive.
In early October, our High School String Orchestra put on a fantastic
performance that was enjoyed by over 100 seniors at the Golden Age Center.
Later in the month, at the New York State School Boards Convention held
in Buffalo, our senior high chorus performed in front of an audience of over
1000 convention goers and artwork from students at Sidway was on display at the
Convention Center. This spring, our
High School Wind Ensemble will perform at the Music Educators’ National
Conference – Eastern Division Convention – a very prestigious, by invitation
Once again this fall, our student athletes performed
admirably. The boys’ volleyball and soccer teams advanced far into the Section
6 playoffs while our girls’ soccer team once again won the Section 6 Class A
title. The Grand Island football
team, after a bit of a slow start, finished strong with wins over Sweet Home and
Lakeshore. While winning is
important, even more important is the opportunity provided to all students who
participate in interscholastic sports to build character, learn teamwork, and
None of these accomplishments would have been possible without –
· Great “kids” from strong families;
· A supportive community that values its youth and helps to provide them with the resources and guidance they need to achieve success; and,
Teachers, administrators, and support staff who are working
“harder and smarter” everyday to meet the needs of all students.
During these next few weeks, please take some time to be
thankful for what we have and, working together, what we have accomplished.
Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our students and may you enjoy a wonderful holiday season!