News - N - Notes

December 2015

Dear Colleagues,

As I think about this last half of 2015 much of what I feel is a reflection not of the Canandaigua City School District (for once) but of the state of our country, our world. As someone quickly approaching one of those ages that ends in a zero I have seen and lived through a lot of twists and turns, but never have I personally felt such close fear and concern for where we are as a society. The fear isn’t for myself – as I said I am about to be considered “old” (perhaps I am already old to many of you), but what does it mean for our children and their children. Will those little ones in our primary school just grow up with the norm being violence and hatred? I am not going to get too deep here – but please know that I recognize that all of you also have pressures and concerns yet come in each and every day and put that aside, consistently and continually doing what is right for our students. Thank-you.

The Wizards

Our PTSA hosts a (typically) wonderful fund raiser and invites the Harlem Wizards to a family basketball game played against our school staff and community. It has been a huge success over the past two years but something this year was a bit off – and I know many of you attended so you may know what I mean. There were a lot of innuendos that were not appropriate for a family event; at the end there was an incident between a student and a Wizard. I met with our PTSA leadership and they understood my concerns immediately. They are working with the Wizards organization to investigate the overtone of this event; and unless we are 100% certain that the evening will be family friendly and fun next year, the PTSA will be looking for a new fund raiser which our district will then support. I thank the PTSA for their commitment to our schools and their willingness to assist in what for many was an uncomfortable situation. This note serves as an apology from PTSA and me for any sense of discomfort you or your family or your students may have felt.

Holiday Cheer

I am overwhelmed by all of your contributions to Canandaigua families over the holidays. There is no way to quantify the dollars or the work that goes into helping those less fortunate enjoy their holiday. Whether it is the Festivus now held in all our buildings, food basket contributions, adopting a family, the backpack partnership – it all happens because of you. The generosity and support shown by the staff in this district has always been such a sense of pride – and it continues again this year.

Change, yet again

While no one is completely sure what the recommendations from the Governor’s Common Core Task Force really mean, one thing I am pretty sure of – it again means change. We are historically our own worst enemy – our state doesn’t give the time needed to settle into anything. We all know change is difficult and right now we live in constant chaos each time a new task force dictates what needs to happen to us or our students. Most of you know I am big on trend data analysis – well three chaotic years doesn’t really make a trend…… how can a district such as ours improve and push forward, compare and analyze where we are, what we are doing and where we should be, when requirements are not consistent. I know how frustrated I feel; I cannot imagine what any of you who are in the classroom are feeling. Yes, we will get through this one too, but how many do we have to go through before someone deems it is right?


It’s the topic on everyone’s mind. As I write this, it is a gloomy 65° and there is no snow in sight. However, I am not foolish enough to think it will stay this way. As usual, I will try to make my decision on school closing and delay as early as possible, and will always err on the side of caution. I rarely go with a one hour delay as I don’t think it buys us much. I’d love not to have to send you an automated call all winter long – but I won’t bet on that.

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Our Canandaigua family is again expanding. Our congratulations to:

Jenna Bonvell on the birth of her son, Leo George. Jenna is a Speech and Language Therapist at our Primary Elementary school.

Brian Moore on the birth of his son, Preston Michael. Brian is an English teacher at our Middle School and Academy.

Greg Crystal, music teacher at the Middle School on the birth of his daughter, Allegra Ann.

Holiday Wishes

I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season. No matter what you believe, let the spirit of the holiday fill your life. I speak for the entire administrative team and Board of Education when I say thank you. We are so fortunate here in Canandaigua to be surrounded by professionals who truly care about students, first and foremost. Over the break please care for yourself, too.