With summer break finally at an end, Massapequa Superintendent Charles Sulc welcomed back students, parents, and faculty for yet another year of learning at first Board of Education meeting of the school year.
At Thursday's meeting, Sulc spoke about the the early unusually start the Massapequa School District had this year, with children back in classrooms just prior to Labor Day.
“We had out first opening ever in August... it was a challenge, in many respects, and it was certainly one of the shortest summers we’ve ever had,” he said. “We were certainly concerned about attendance, but we were very pleased about the overall attendance- on opening day, the absentee rate across the nine schools was 2.2 percent.”
“The rate was only 1.64 percent, which was the lowest among all the buildings and a very pleasant surprise for us,” Sulc added.
After the meeting opened with a moment of silence in memory of the upcoming anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, Sulc helmed a Powerpoint presentation for the assembled Board members and parents at the meeting, outlining the District’s goals for the 2012-2013 school year.
“The road ahead is growing more and more challenging, but our goal is always success,” he said. “We have made tremendous progress over the last 12 years, and that progress comes from a team of people - our teaching and administrative staff, our parents, our Board of Education, our community in general – working together and having a passion. All of that adds up to success.”
Sulc outlined the four major goals of the Massapequa District for the 2012-2013 school year; the first focused on continuing to cultivate high student performance and success despite the constraints and cuts forced by the newly-implemented 2 percent tax cap mandated by New York State on its school districts and the adoption of the new Common Core learning standards to school curriculums.
“We had one of our finest graduating classes ever last year...those youngsters performed and performed,” he said. “Our students were offered more than $40 million in scholarships last year, and we had students going to six Ivy-League schools. On the athletic side, we were a school of distinction again for the fourth year in a row. Music, the arts, community service, a quality staff...that’s all part and parcel of a quality education program.”
The next goal Sulc covered was continuing to develop a comprehensive student support program that fosters social and psychological development of all students, including anti-bullying measures, self-esteem, personal growth, and nutrition.
”For the past 25 years, the number once concern among parents is sending their kids to a school that has a healthy, safe environment,” he said. “We have a healthy, safe environment. Many of the programs that we’ve put into place and continue to support are some of the basis of that environment.”
Goal three for the District is developing the 2013-2014 budget and revenue stream with the clarity and fiscal responsibility needed to support the Board’s priorities while continuing to use technology to improve safety, efficiency, communication, and savings.
“In order to support goals one and two, we need resources...and resources are becoming harder and harder to come by,” he said. “We need a lot of oversight, community involvement, and to be very careful in what we’re doing.”
And the district’s final goal for 2012-2013 is to continue to ensure that educator development in technology is ongoing and high-quality and that the District continues its long-range acquisition of technology to continue to improve education.
“We have made a very significant investment in technology,” he said. “It’s grown and grown over the years...it’s about what things we do with technology, and what new things we can do with technology to help our children succeed.”
Sulc ended his presentation by saying that while the road ahead will be hard, the future of the children makes all the effort worth it.
“The journey going forward is going to be tremendously difficult, with a lot of challenges that we don’t even know about yet,” he said. “But we have a great community, a great staff, and when you look at our graduating class last June, that’s the goal we want every year- success.”