September 2019 - Welcome Back:
Dear Warrior Nation,
As we settle in for the 2019-2020 school year, we are off to a wonderful start. Just a few short weeks ago we began with our Welcome Back Picnics at Prospect and on the Main campus. Judging by the turnout, and the smiles, I’d say they were both a smashing success. Next year’s events look to be bigger and better. We have tentatively set the 2020 Welcome Back Picnic dates for August 26 and 27. Save the Date!
By the time you receive this edition of the Powwow, we should be able to officially announce the ribbon cutting ceremony date
for the STEAM wing dedication and grand opening. The construction crews are working at a feverish pace to turn these spaces over to us in the next 30-40 days. Mid-October is our target date and barring any unforeseen events, we should hit this target. The Seneca Intermediate Office space is just a few short days or weeks away from inspection and clearance. We will move the Seneca office staff as soon as we can to free up the music spaces they are currently occupying in the transition period. Prospect continues to see major renovations and the contractors were able to accelerate a major HVAC portion of the project without disrupting instruction. We anticipate turning over the old library into the new main office sometime after Thanksgiving and then jumping right into to the soon to be old
office space demolition. This school year the District has added a fifth District Goal. This goal will focus on Health and Wellness with particular attention on attendance. In a recent U.S. Department of Education study, chronic absenteeism is identified as a significant obstacle in student learning and academic success. The building block that must be in place to meet student achievement and high school graduation goals is attendance. Physically being present in school is one of the most basic conditions for a student’s success – if students are
not in school, they are not learning what is being taught and could be falling behind in earning the course credits needed to graduate [Lauren Bauer, Fellow - The Hamilton Project]. As a district with rising achievement rates, increased graduation rates and student participation levels to be rivaled, school attendance is still a priority.
Prospect, Seneca, High School and District Office personnel are readily available to help our students and staff model exemplary attendance. We ask parents and the community to similarly assist us in this goal. Some key benefits of good attendance are: September and October attendance rates are proven reliable predictors of attendance for the entire school year; reading levels are positively impacted by consistent school attendance; sixth graders with high attendance
rates in one cited study are almost 70% more likely to graduate High School in four years; and students who improve their daily attendance rates are more likely to experience higher levels of academic achievement. Attendance matters!
Thank you for being here and supporting our students.
Robert J. Breidenstein
Dear Salamanca Community,
As you read this final Powwow edition for the 2018-2019 school year I hope you are as eager for some dryer, sunnier weather as I am. This spring was far too damp for my tastes.
Bringing the school year to a close is always a tad bittersweet. On June 28 we sent off the Class of 2019 with tremendous hope and aspiration. The seniors have been a remarkable ensemble cast of brilliant, service oriented students who have left their mark on our district. This class was instrumental in the resurgence of service organizations such as Key Club, and the revitalization of our fine arts program and the growth of our STEAM platform.
The Class of ’19 has left the district in a great position for the Class of 2020. We will all wait with breathless anticipation to see what and how they impact our community.
On May 21, the Salamanca Community overwhelmingly supported the school budget proposition and the Vets Park renovations. Nearly 9 of 10 community members supported these two propositions that clearly have their eye on the future. THANK YOU WARRIOR NATION!!!
We are busy planning the implementation of the community wishes for the next phases of construction. The STEAM and Seneca Intermediate office additions are on schedule to open shortly after the 2019- 20 school year begins and construction at Prospect is ramping up, starting with the main office and secure front entrance renovations. It will be a busy summer for sure!
Looking ahead to July and August, we have our annual Welcome Back Picnics scheduled for August 27 (Prospect) and August 28 (Seneca & High School). More details will be forthcoming as we have a few surprises planned for the picnics. School resumes for all students on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
Enjoy the summer, read lots, play often, enjoy your family and friends and be safe!
Robert J. Breidenstein
Dear Community Members,
On May 21st, the community will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed Salamanca City Central School District spending plan of $42,418,500 for the 2019-2020 school year. This budget identifies and funds priorities in teaching and learning, athletics, security infrastructure upgrades, technology purchases, transportation services and community access for our facilities.
Similar to the past budgets dating back to 2011, this budget contains NO TAX increase and once again significantly decreases the financial burden on our entire community. The school tax levy has decreased by over 91% since 2011 while services and supports continue to meet the needs of Salamanca learners.
Over the past few years, our financial planning has aided our academic progress, community engagement and growth as a district.
1. The District has incorporated into this budget proposal the following student-focused priorities: Maintain all current academic programs at Salamanca High School, including more than 15 college credit bearing classes and Advanced Placement programs for students.
2. Replace all retiring teachers and add key instructional personnel in reading, math and transportation services.
3. Expand and increase student electives in Technology, particularly with the implementation of a comprehensive STEAM Pathway curriculum for grades K-12.
4. Replace high mileage buses and vans, which are at the end of their safe operation.
5. Maintain staffing positions and low class size ratios Pre-K-12th grade.
6. Explore additional mental health services for at-risk students.
7. Continue to invest in staff and student professional development and enrichment activities to maintain a robust curriculum.
8. Install additional security cameras, and safeguards in each building to provide maximum safety for students, staff, and guests.
9. Maintain a School Resource Officer in every building to make sure our schools are safe.
10. Listen to the community to make our schools better and more academically competitive within our region and county.
11. Upgrade athletic equipment and enhance athletics as a source of tremendous community pride.
The District has been able to demonstrate growth and progress this past year and once again with your support, we will strive to meet our academic and instructional goals. As always, we will set a place for you at the table, please join us.
Robert J. Breidenstein Superintendent
Dear Warrior Nation,
Over the past five months, students, staff, parents, community members and the school district have been in active planning mode for our upcoming capital project referendum on May 21, 2019 from noon to 9 p.m. in the High School gymnasium.
While principals and teachers continue the excellent progress academically in the classrooms, planning with Hunt architects and Turner Construction is taking into account the instruction, athletic and security needs for our future Warrior students based upon your suggestions.
On March 5 at the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting, we will review the current project work at the High School/Seneca Intermediate and the soon to break ground work at Prospect. Additionally, we anticipate a significant conversation to occur about Veterans Park, Athletic and Security upgrades for the main campus, and a classroom addition at Prospect.
On April 2, a decision on the full scope of the May Referendum will occur. The input from the community has been instrumental in our planning. Looking forward with a 5-10 year lens, the district is showing great growth in graduation trends, increased enrollment, visionary planning for STEAM curriculum and literacy while continuing to address cultural awareness in our community. The May referendum will further reinforce the importance of this work.
We deeply value our partnerships with our community, whether it is with the Seneca Nation, City Hall, parents and staff and citizens. Salamanca is again on the move in pursuit of excellence.
Thank you for your support.
Dear Warrior Nation,
It hardly seems possible that the 2018-19 school year is approaching the halfway point. About the time the community receives this newsletter our High School students will be sitting for January Regents Exams, completing mid-terms and amazingly preparing for the spring sport season in just a few weeks. Time truly does fly.
I would also like to take a brief moment to update the community on our progress in determining the scope and improvements for the Spring Referendum. As we look to make a sizeable investment into Vets Park, district-wide athletics and additional security upgrades at Prospect, Seneca, High School, Transportation and our Buildings and Grounds facilities, the community is invited to provide your thoughts too.
Seven Community Forums were schedule for January in addition to seven forums (held in November and December 2018) to discuss Vets Park and five planning meetings (held in October and November 2018) with students, athletes, staff, administration, Nation and City personnel.
There are a number of key elements that the community has noted for consideration in the Spring Referendum. These areas are:
1) Improvements at Vets Park, including fields, team rooms, concession stands, storage, scoreboards, fencing, practice fields, lighting, parking, bleachers, dugouts, press boxes, a new playground and preserving the stone bridges in the back corner of the park. Additional conversations have been had about a walkway for the community to use.
2) District-wide athletic upgrades include re-surfacing and expanding the existing track from 6 lanes to 8 so Salamanca could host future sectional track and field events, and resurfacing and expanding existing tennis courts from 3 courts to 4.
3) Security upgrades will continue with the installation of secure entrances at the High School and District Office spaces as well as additional cameras, and lighting.
4) Considerable conversations have been happening to look at space needs at Prospect Elementary School. Enrollment is up nearly 11% in the past 15 months and this will have an impact on the number of Pre-K classrooms (currently 3 and projected to rise to 4), a dedicated space for Elementary STEAM as well as Seneca Culture and Language instruction.
5) Looking on the Main Campus, Seneca Intermediate and the High School work will likely include the remaining portions of the roof that need to be replaced, including selected window replacements for both energy efficiency and security purposes. The three 1991 science rooms are due for renovations as well as the “old industrial arts room” and replacement of the Seneca hallway tiles to mirror the rest of the main campus building. The Fern Avenue purchases approved by the community in December would see an expansion of the existing gravel parking lot (for Seneca as well as additional parking for Track & Field and Soccer events).
6) Work is also being reviewed for a bus garage expansion to accommodate a larger bus fleet, maintenance areas and long overdue work at the Greer Maintenance facility.
Work, planning and conversations will continue for the next few weeks as the District has engaged Hunt Architects-Engineers & Land Surveyors, Turner Construction and bond agents to determine the full scope of the Spring referendum. Your input is welcomed and encouraged. Please feel free to come to the remaining forums, a Board meeting or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert J. Breidenstein
Dear Fellow Warriors,
I am delighted to share with you some significant news, worthy of celebration!
Supporting the 4 A’s: Academics, Arts, Athletics and Accountability are driving forces in our success. I would like to confirm the rumors: YES enrollment in the district is up quite a bit since last school year. Currently from this time period last year to October 1 of this year, enrollment has surged by over 140 students. This represents an increase of slightly more than +10% of total enrollment.
Some of the reasons for the growth can be attributed to higher county wide birth rates dating back to 2013 and 2014, students who had previously left Salamanca have returned, a number of staff members electing to enroll their children in our system, the work we have done within our STEAM, robotics and other technology programs, athletic program expansion, Extended Day opportunities, as well as our ever expanding music program.
Speaking of Extended Day and our music program, Archery participation has surged to over 100 archers and the program will soon be offered at Prospect Elementary School. Not to be outdone, our enrollment and participation numbers in band, 4-5, 6-7 and 8-12 are also experiencing a sizable increases.
Total enrollment is not the only area seeing dramatic increases. Our 3-8 state assessment data is in for 2017-18 and virtually every demographic area has seen double digit increases. In some instances, I am sure the principals and Dr. Beehler will soon be sharing, some data points showing 20%+ growth in proficiency scores.
We know Mastery Learning at the high school has doubled and doubled again in the past two years, as well as continued increases in our total student and Native American graduation rates. Every key performance demographic is up.
Only two items continue to decrease (and this is a good thing) – dropout rates and school taxes. Last week we sent out tax bills and 370 residents received a tax bill with ZERO due; 110 residents received tax bills between $.01 and $2.00. We continue to work hard to provide our community more services, more supports with better, sustained results.
In the coming weeks, you will hear about our proposed Capital Project Referendum (tentatively on December 18, 2018) to partner with the City of Salamanca and Seneca Nation of to enter into a long-term sub lease for the athletic fields at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
With the support of the community in December, we can undertake the necessary planning and bring to the community in the spring a plan to make a substantial investment in the fields, concessions, parking, lighting, sound system and scoreboard at Vet’s Park. More details will be forthcoming in the next 30 days.
We hope we continue daily to earn and keep your trust. We’ve created excitement about our community and can see the future taking shape right before our eyes.
Dear Fellow Warriors,
September is an exciting time of the year. The weather will soon become a tad cooler, the leaves slowly begin to change colors, football, soccer, volleyball, and swim athletes are in peak form, and our students have returned. This is by far my favorite season.
Excitement is in the air as well, and we will shortly have a ground breaking ceremony for the new Seneca Office addition and STEAM addition at the main campus. Many months of planning and conversations have occurred to get us to the point of children returning, construction plans receiving State Education Department approval and talks of future facility work continue with enthusiasm.
You will notice a number of new faces in district. Yes, I am referring to staff who have completed a rigorous and intense hiring process, but I am actually more specifically speaking about new Warrior students. First time and returning Salamanca students from Ellicottville, Gowanda and elsewhere continue to re-enroll daily. I am pleased to announce our District enrollment is UP from June of last school year. This represents the first time in many, many years that enrollment is on the upswing. This is a source of great pride and optimism.
But Warrior Pride is visible elsewhere too. In addition to increased enrollment, graduation rates have risen again, mastery level proficiency on High School Regents exams (from 3 years ago) have doubled and doubled again.
September is truly an exciting time of the year, but Salamanca is an exciting place to be! Welcome back one and all. Please come join us in our journey and pursuit of continuous improvement and progress! Go Warriors!
Robert J. Breidenstein
Welcome back my fellow WARRIORS. The start of the 2018-2019 academic school year will begin in short order and we are excited about what our future holds as we await the return of our students and staff. I hope you have been able to rest and relax this summer and are equally excited about our return to school on September 6. This summer, our wonderful instructional and leadership teams have spent countless hours devoted to rigorous professional development to build upon our past successes. We will soon break ground on community approved renovations at the Main campus, and work continues on the necessary planning for improvements at Prospect, including air conditioning, a new cafeteria/kitchen and library. Every day in Salamanca, growth is visible because everyone is pitching in, helping, asking questions and getting involved.
We’ve had time to catch our breath and reflect on our combined success and look forward to a successful new school year! We hope you will join us in our amazing journey as we educate our children.
Robert J. Breidenstein
Dear Salamanca Community,
A little over a month ago, in a school district unknown to the nation and in a town we did not know existed, the very fabric of our country was torn. Our hearts wept. As parents we lost sleep and as educators we saw the tenor of conversation about what schools represent change in seventeen horrifying minutes. For over twenty years, school violence has knocked on our nationwide doorstep. Parkland, Florida and its parents and students have propelled our nation to re-examine how we operate.
In Salamanca, like Any Town, USA we must be vigilant and deliberate in protecting schools, children, staff and our community. For the past seven years, as a district with thoughtful leadership from our Board of Education members, both past and present, deeply caring administrators, teachers, parents and engaged students we have made progress in protecting our schools.
Salamanca has had School Resource Officers as trained law enforcement individuals in our schools for several years. We have expanded the roles of our mental health professionals. School counselors, Nurses, Social Workers, Drug & Alcohol counselors, Family Support Workers, Attendance Officers, Administration, and Agency Partnerships with the Nation, Hillside Children’s Services, Berkshire Farms, Salamanca Youth Bureau and small class sizes make our schools personable, welcoming and engaging. These attributes in our schools are strong deterrents to violence.
Establishing positive, productive and caring schools and being proactive are the best deterrents to school violence. Knowing our students, their needs and concerns allow us to mobilize a literal army of supports when a child or their family is in crisis. Simply put, when a child is in crisis, unlike recent news, “we do not take no for an answer”. Our staff advocates daily for our children.
There is however more work to be done. We have begun the process to add through our budget conversations to add a third School Resource Officer so each school will have dedicated law enforcement on staff. We have collaborated with Chief Westfall to display a higher visible presence of Salamanca PD on campus and at events as a drive by force. We have spoken with students about the climate of the buildings, especially at the main campus, and we continue our Trauma Informed Schools initiative to better understand the needs of our neediest students.
Critical mass, led by vocal students from Florida and at home has resonated across our country and to the White House which compels us to collectively demand action. On March 23 Salamanca will host a forum at 9:00 am in the High School LGI with Congressman Reed, Senator Young, Assemblyman Giglio, Law Enforcement and other elected officials to discuss many topics, including safety in our schools.
Please join us in these conversations.
Robert J. Breidenstein
Dear Salamanca Community,
Over the past six weeks, a multitude of events have occurred utilizing technology to improve our instructional skills as educators, advance STEM understanding and to effectuate a high degree of communication with our community. I would like to highlight three (3) particular activities that support our District Goals of Instruction and Engagement.
First, during the week of October 23rd, Prospect Elementary School teachers had the opportunity to engage in rigorous professional development on Guided Reading. Guided reading is 'small-group reading instruction designed to provide differentiated teaching that supports students in developing reading proficiency'. The small group model allows children to be taught in a way that is intended to be more focused on their specific needs, accelerating their progress. What made this training particularly interesting is how it was done.
The Guiding Reading trainer worked directly with students demonstrating highly engaging instructional strategies while approximately 15 teachers observed the instruction remotely. This allowed the visiting teacher to model highly effective teaching and our Warrior staff to observe, comment and dialogue with each other without interfering with the actual instruction. In essence it was double and triple the bang for our instructional buck. Second, over a two day training in mid-October eight members of our staff including members of the Cattaraugus County Sherriff’s Department participated in Drone Training. The interagency opportunity was a shared services endeavor that will lead to our staff becoming FAA Drone certified and be able to assist local municipalities in drone search and rescue operations, site inspections, geo-map our school district and a host of other technological interventions. Additionally, our staff will be able to instruct our students leading to student FAA certification as a licensed drone aviator.
Lastly, you have hopefully noticed our growing footprint on effective, timely and relevant social media communications. In this regard, I would like to commend our Communications staff and students, including Ms. Metzler, Mr. Sponeybarger, Mrs. Hill and our media classes. Digital technology and communication is not the wave of the future, it is embedded in every activity we undertake. Highlighting the importance of immediate social media outreach was how our communication model dealt with the community lock-out and shelter in place on October 25, 2017. Quick, timely and relevant information helps us maintain order and insure safety is our priority. It also helps instill a sense of confidence within our community that we want you to know what is happening, whether it be academics, athletics, transportation or campus security. So if you are not “liking” us on Facebook or have not yet downloaded our “app”, I encourage you to do so.
Robert J. Breidenstein Superintendent
September 2017School began today, bright and early in morning hours, the heavy fog was slowly lifting, our newest and returning Warriors arrived on campus. Greeting our students was a legion of community members cheering, rooting and high-fiving with reckless abandon. Even some diehard teenagers managed to show the ever so slight upward raised smile. Pretty remarkable for the opening day activities. Today begins the first day of the 2017-18 school and it is a chance for expolration, inquiry, nenewal and opportunity. I encourage all students to try something new whether it be a club, sport or activity; I welcome returning students to a place where they should feel right at home; I can't wait to meet our new students and I especially want to thank all our staff from our custodians and cleaners, teachers, drivers and mechanics, clerical, administration and Board members for all your individual and collective work this summer to allow us to open without a hitch. Our Warrior Staff deserve a hearty thank you for a job well done! For our parents and community members, thank you for entrusting us with your children. We will work hard to make every day special and if by chance we miss this mark, we want you to feel as though you can confide in us to help us do better each and every day for each and every student.Welcome back~Go WarriorsBob Breidenstein
August 2017 Welcome Back!
Welcome back and welcome to the start of the 2017-2018 academic school year. I sincerely hope you have been able to rest, relax and recharge your learning batteries to hit the ground running on Wednesday, September 6th when all students return. This summer, our talented instructional and leadership teams have spent countless hours devoted to rigorous professional development to build upon the successes that have begun to emerge. Math and ELA results for grades 3-8 have not yet been released by NYS but we anticipate noticeable growth and progress. Notable accomplishments our entire learning community should be proud of show student attendance has improved at each of our schools, High School graduation rates are at 83% and up significantly from a year ago, and a 4% drop out rate reflects tremendous improvement from prior years. In addition we're proud to announce the passing of a Capital Improvement Referendum, and a new collaboration with the University of Buffalo, SNI, the National Science Foundation, and the National Science and Math Institute to offer upper level science and math courses in the fall, and funding for a physics after school program. And it doesn't stop there as we are now part of a $2.25 million dollar Community Grant with JCC to offer more educational opportunities to the community at large. Community and student engagement have evolved to include a community Thanksgiving dinner, welcome back picnics for families and more public participation at assemblies.
It should be evident that great things are happening every day in Salamanca! This progress is a direct result of everyone pitching in, helping, asking questions and getting involved. We've had time to catch our breath and reflect on our combined success and look forward to a successful new school year! This District is moving in the right direction. Please join us as you are invited to be an active part of your child's education.
Robert J. Breidenstein
June 2017 - That's a Wrap!
Dear Salamanca Community,
The past few weeks have flown by. It hardly seems possible that the Prom, The Se4nior Trip to Disney, Moving Up Day, regents exams, graduation, Capital Project Referendum and graduation parties are all solidly in our rear view mirrors. June always seems like the longest month with the fewest available days. But now they are done and we can proudly celebrate success in a multitude of arenas. As we reflect on our individual and collective progress, I am pleased to acknowledge:
- The opening of the new Seneca Playground
- An 83% graduation rate, up significantly from a year ago
- A 4% drop out rate, a dramatic decrease
- Over $500,000 awarded in student scholarships
- $2,225,000 Community Grant with JCC
- The five year UB Physics After-school grant to promote science skills
- Students permitted to dress in Native American Regalia for graduation
- Passing of the Capital Improvement Referendum
- Passing of the Annual Budget vote
- Dramatic performance increases in Algebra assessment rates
- Key club, Trap club begin, Community-wide concerts to celebrate and debut "The River Seneca" by Rosanno Galante
- Fine art, club and activity participation has increased substantially this year
It should be evident, that great things are happening every day in Salamanca. This progress is a direct result of everyone pitching in, helping, asking questions and getting involved. Letâ€™s all catch our breath, reflect on our combined success and look forward to September! Wishing the entire Warrior Community a wonderful, safe and relaxing summer.
Robert J. Breidenstein
May 2017 -Dear Salamanca Community,
On June 20th the Salamanca community will have an opportunity to vote on and support the 27.5 million dollar capital improvement project to upgrade, repair, renovate, and enhance our schools.
Over the next few weeks, the community will have an opportunity to participate in and hear at multiple forums why this project is important for our students, for our building infrastructure, and the instructional growth already evident in each of our buildings.
A group of community members formed an Ad Hoc Committee who volunteered time over the last year as they reviewed and explored opportunities to improve our district. Their insight, comments and guidance have been instrumental in helping to formulate this well-thought-out plan to help improve our district. Students in our Warrior Vision Media Production class have thoughtfully and creatively compiled a video outlining the important elements of this project. The video they have created will be viewed at each of the community meetings as well as posted onto our Facebook page and district website. I would encourage each community member to take about eight minutes and view the video.
As we wind down the academic year it's important to note that there is still much work occurring in each of our buildings. Soon we will celebrate the third annual Warrior Awards Banquet on June 6 at the Seneca Allegheny Events Center; the annual Seneca Nation of Indians Graduation ceremony on June 8; the Kindergarten Celebration on June 20; and of course graduation on Friday, June 23 where our graduates of the class of 2017 will be honored and recognized.
June will surely be a very busy month and we look forward to seeing each and everyone of you at the multitude of celebrations as we conclude a wonderful school year.
Sincerely,Robert J. Breidenstein,SCCSD Superintendent“Where learners become leaders”
Dear Salamanca Community,Spring is finally in the air. After a long winter, finally seeing the trees begin to bloom, the robins in the air and the athletes be able to go outside and practice and compete I’d say, "It’s about time!"
The onset of spring also mean preparations are well under way for the prom, senior trip, county-wide National Honor Society banquet and graduation. Each of these events are hallmark signs we are in the academic home stretch.
The progression of the calendar can also be measured by the work begin performed by our building principals to begin the hiring process for next school year. Retirements, promotions and additional staffing positions will see nearly twenty new warriors hired or moved into exciting and needed instructional and/or staffing positions. Administration will certainly be busy.
Celebrating the amazing work our staff undertakes each day to create opportunities for our students, I would like to share two items of "newness" and "exploration". The District, Seneca Nation of Indians and the University of Buffalo will be partnering in a five-year Physics Exploration National Science Foundation Grant to staff, create and fund an after-school physics program that will annually culminate with a field-trip to the largest particle super-collider in the United States. We will also be partnering with the Seneca Nation of Indians and the National Math & Science Institute to begin Advanced Placement courses this fall leading to greater opportunities to earn college credits for the 72% of our students who go on to collegiate settings.
Great things are happening in Salamanca. We are moving in the right direction. Please join us in our journey and remember to follow us on twitter @SCCSDWarriors.
Dear Warrior Learning Community,
This year, the students at Prospect and Seneca Elementary Schools have been utilizing a program called AIMS Web to help track academic progress in ELA and Math skills. Aims Web is an online program that targets the areas of reading and mathematics using a technology suite of programs to validly measure the Common Core Standards in a reliable manner. There is a scientifically reliable approach utilized to gauging an individual child’s success, growth and proficiency based on national benchmarks. In January, Ms. Pavone, Prospect Principal and Mrs. Siebert, Seneca Principal, presented an overview of the success of the children attending these two schools and compared their progress along national trend lines of growth. What the data clearly showed was in nearly every instance, the children of Prospect and Seneca schools had substantially closed the achievement gap and in certain grade levels, like fifth grade exceeded national trends for student achievement.
Looking toward the achievement levels at the Jr/ Sr High school the growth factors are more elusive, but signs are pointing towards progress. On February 14th, after this edition of the Pow Wow has already gone to press, we will highlight the movement at the secondary school. Having my office in the hallways of this building, I can attest, and I suspect any visitor would concur, the mood, behaviors and conduct of our seventh to twelfth graders is visibly improved. It is important to recognize that meaningful instruction occurs when students are on time to class, ready to learn and engaged with high quality instruction. In this venue, the staff, administration and students are as Covey says, “tending to first things first.” This is a focus on instruction and learning.
Fondly,Robert J. BreidensteinSuperintendent Salamanca City Central School District“Where Learners Become Leaders”
Dear Parents:As we approach the winter months, I want to communicate with you the important issue of weather-related emergency school closings. As a parent, I am keenly aware of the many plans for childcare that come with snow and other inclement weather conditions. I want to take a few moments to outline our procedures for closure and delays. In the southern-tier we all know - "Winter is Coming"For a significant period of time (November to April), district transportation personnel and I closely monitor road conditions beginning as early as 4:00 AM. This includes roads in all towns in our school district. In inclement weather, district personnel speak with the NYS Department of Transportation, Salamanca DPW, state and local police personnel as well. If there is a safety concern, I speak directly with transportation personnel. I have driven the respective routes as a ride along passenger and am aware of the difficulty weather plays in navigating to some of the roads and streets within the district. Safety is our main priority.
In the vast majority of circumstances, the decision to close or delay is made by 6:00 AM. and posted on our Website, Facebook page, Twitter account and called into the local television and radio stations. A listing of these emergency closing contacts (social media, radio and television stations) can be found on this correspondence. This year we will also make announcements via Blackboard Direct (robo-call).Decisions to delay are made for one of two reasons: (1) when the weather bureau has indicated that the conditions present between 6:335 - 8:00 AM will be temporary and improving weather is expected, or (2) the weather bureau has expressed uncertainty and I feel we may need more time to make a decision on whether school should be closed. The decision to delay can change into a closing, but once the decision to close is made, the discussion ends and the decision to remain closed will stand, regardless of subsequent weather patterns.
There are a few more points that I would like to make:
1. School buses are very safe for children to be in - they are heavy, well maintained and driven by well-trained and qualified individuals here at Salamanca. In inclement weather conditions, students are much safer in buses than in cars.
2. Snow itself rarely closes school. The fact that there is a snow storm approaching shouldn't be overly concerning. Visibility, road conditions, ice build-up and the status of plowing are more important issues to consider. Eight inches of snow or more in this area is no unusual.
3. Cold weather and the wind chill factor make the decision to close or delay very complicated as there is no "magic" number or temperature to automatically close or delay school. We truly factor into the decision all aspects of the current weather patterns and conditions.
The district understands that many families need to make alternate arrangements for their children when school is delayed, canceled or dismissed early. These are stressful times for many parents. The whereabouts and safety concerns of children are paramount for parents and educators. The best advice I can give is to work on developing a network of support than can react and adjust to changing conditions when weather becomes a problem. Planning ahead is critically important -for parents and the school district. As a parent, I know it is not easy.I want to reiterate that parents are the final authority as to whether or not it is safe for your child to go to school. If you believe that the weather is too unsettled, your best decision may be to keep your child home.
Robert J. Breidenstein
November 2016 -
Dear Salamanca Community,“The future of the economy is in STEM,” says James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C. “That’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be.” To better prepare our future leaders, engineers, software developers, programmers and technicians, the Salamanca City Central School District has recognized the urgency of STEM programming. STEM has many variations and focuses instruction in four or five key areas Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and sometimes the Arts. Design, planning, programming and aesthetics are critical components of these 21st Century skills that will lead to high paying, jobs in Western New York, the energy corridor in the southern tier and Pennsylvania and across the country. STEM/STEAM workers use their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, or math to try to understand how the world works and to solve problems. Their work often involves the use of computers and other tools and typically requires a more collaborative rather than an independent approach to solve complex problems.
Salamanca has expanded program offerings to include robotics, advanced science courses, software programming and is working with staff, local colleges and universities to offer advanced electives in mathematics. Students are currently experiencing STEM/STEAM programming that includes 3D printing, engineering and coding. Over the next year these offerings will continue to expand and continue to filter down into elementary level programs for students at Seneca and Prospect. The future STEM/STEAM leaders of tomorrow are today’s students. As this field of study explodes, it will be exciting to see our students grow and master highly technical skills.
Robert BreidensteinSuperintendentSalamanca City Central School District
October 2016 -
Dear Salamanca Community,Over the past few months I have been actively trying to become more in tune with my inner technological self and tip toe into the world of twitter and tweeting. Admittedly, I find this medium of social communication a bit daunting. But as stated at one of the recent Presidential Debates, a candidate replied the use of Twitter is a perfectly acceptable form of communication used by millions of people. Like any form of communication the message, messenger, content and timing of the text can have a significant impact on how meaning is derived. Social Media in and of itself can be the most effective and efficient mode to communicate ineffectively. Texts, Tweets and posts once out there are a Nanosecond away from viral status. My learning curve is steep and I have come to understand tweet cautiously and be mindful of auto correcting. This past week at my son’s Parent Weekend at the University of Rochester, I tweeted a picture of a selfie of us waiting to hear a presentation by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenski from MSNBC. Little did I know by tweeting it to #URMW16 that it would be instantly displayed in front of a room of 1500 people also waiting for Joe and Mika. Needless to say, my son was digitally displeased with my foray into social media.I follow a blog called The Principal of Change by George Couros. He is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker and staff development expert. He tweets, blogs and comments weekly on a variety of leadership topics. This week he spoke of “On Doing Your Best”. Seemingly a simple question but truthfully it is far more complicated. Doing your best invariably invites criticism, from others; it causes self-doubt and can be frustrating when the results are not immediate. Normally George ends with a summative point that wraps up his message in a nice neat package and with this message he nailed it- he stated: “Doing your best in any capacity requires you to- be humble, build relationships, focus on what's best for kids no matter where or who you are learning that from, do this and you will be awesome. The more awesome you become, the more it will spread and influence others. That is true leadership and it can come from any position.”In Salamanca, this year it is clear we have some amazing staff members being awesome every day! Walk the halls and you see it. Attend a football game and you will hear it in the pep band and see awesomeness in so many other capacities. Come join us and together we can celebrate success each and every day.Remember to follow us on Twitter at SalamancaWarriors@SCCSDWarriors.
September 2016 - WELCOME BACK!-
Dear Salamanca Community,The start of the 2016-17 school year will mark a substantial transformation within our buildings. The return of students has been the culminating event of preparation, hiring, professional development and planning that has occurred in the past eighty or so days. While this summer was one of the hottest on records, the weather did not slow down the efforts of our administrators and staff to be ready to greet children.You will note several major changes this year, the least of which was the grand opening and dedication of the new Seneca Elementary School Playground near the Foy/ Nugent Memorial, as well as the addition of nearly thirty new staff members spanning a wide range including: teacher assistants, clerical staff, teachers, instructional coaches, and nurses. The principals and teachers spent a great deal of time this summer interviewing and screening dozens of highly qualified and energetic candidates, 394 to be exact. As a result the pool of new SCCSD teachers is remarkable! Over the next few editions of The Powwow we will highlight new staff as well as recognize and re-introduce you to some veteran Warriors.
You will also see a dramatic philosophical and institutional course correction as we implement Safe & Civil Schools and Kagan Learning Structures. These tools will require all of us, staff, administration, BOE members, students and the community to re-examine our core beliefs and educational expectations, while still celebrating historical traditions. It is safe to say, we have hit the proverbial “reboot” based on community, staff and student comments about what needs to change and what needs to be preserved that makes us unique and special as a district, as schools and individuals. Over the next few editions of The Powwow we will highlight these new programs and offer ways for the community to be involved.
A change you will most definitely observe is a focus on “Cell Phone Zones” that substantially limit cell phone use by our students and staff during instruction time. We are paying better attention to timeliness and getting to class on time, as well as respect, tolerance and responsibility. These adjustments will serve as the framework for our drive to higher degrees of academic and educational success.Best wishes for a great school year. Please join us and see the amazing renaissance in each of our buildings.Fondly,Robert J. BreidensteinSuperintendent
Dear Salamanca Community,It seems hard to believe the 201617 school year is over. There is much that we can reflect upon as a school community and celebrate as we wrap up this year and gear up for the 2016-17 academic year to begin. The Class of 2016 has been a stellar graduating class; they have accomplished a high degree of success and will no doubt leave Salamanca prepared to begin a new journey as our newest alumni. We wish our graduates well!
We have seen and will continue to see new staff join our Salamanca instructional community and see a few veterans begin their retirement after years of faithful, dedicated and committed service to our school, community and children. Congratulations to our retirees: Mrs. Coppersmith, Mr. Tomblin, Mrs. Seitz Monroe, Mrs. Freaney and Mrs. John. Your dedication and concern for our students will be deeply missed.
The 2016-17 school year will be here before you know it and great things are waiting just around the corner. For our students and faculty, enjoy the summer, read a lot, play a lot, relax a lot and we will see you all in September!
Fondly,Robert J. BreidensteinSuperintendent
Dear Salamanca Community,Every so often, after twenty-seven years in education, I am left speechless and overwhelmed by the magnitude of something spectacular. These moments rarely happen and even more infrequently happen in close proximity. But this past month, great things have materialized seemingly from out of the blue. These are powerful events that cause you to realize the impact of our actions.
Earlier this month the Seneca staff and students challenged the District office personnel to a Lip Synch Battle promoting Character Education. It was a splendid afternoon of laughter, positivity and community. The Seneca staff, parents, students, technology department and many adults celebrated in good natured competition and came together. It was truly, and I mean truly an epic sight.
This week for the first time in a long, long time, the Salamanca Track team captured a League Track and Field title in the CCAA. Accomplishments like this only happen when every athlete, coach and parent puts aside individual success and works collaboratively as a team. It is impressive to see dozens of athlete’s function as a well-oiled, effective team. The results are measurable and palpable. Along the same athletic lines, there has been a growing interest in starting a Girl’s lacrosse team in the District. After a quick survey nearly 30 female athletes in the District have affirmatively responded with a resounding – YES we support this.
Saturday night, May 14, 2016, over 100 of our students attended the Prom at Good Times in Olean. Admittedly, I was quite apprehensive about the venue. I am sure other adults had a similar first reaction. But upon arrival I witnessed something quite unexpected and spectacular. The venue was transformed into a fabulous, fun-filled forum and our students had an absolute blast. I was moved and impressed and proud of our students who had a vision for how THEIR prom would unfold; overjoyed that they all made great choices and best of all- it was an evening where memories for a lifetime were made.Finally, while touring Washington DC, our eighth graders, unprompted, approached a number of service men and women to introduce themselves, shake their hands and thank them for their service to our country. Often times, we lament about “kids”, but more often than not, they when left to choose between right and wrong, make the correct decision. Our Warriors always rise to this level.
Great things are happening in the District and I personally invite everyone to join us. Come and be a part of our renaissance and renewal.Sincerely,
Robert J. BreidensteinSuperintendent
April 2016-Dear Salamanca Community:
It seems like an increasing rarity where there is time to reflect and ponder. With a teenager in the house, aging parent issues and the constant distractions that land on our plates, self-reflection and time to plan are scarce commodities. However, of late there has been an albeit and brief few moments to simultaneous look back to spring ahead. Staring long the proverbial “looking glass” there are some mile markers of some urgency to point out.
First, as we close out on year one with three new principals and a new curriculum focus, I am seeing and hopefully you are too, the positive movement within many of our classrooms. This is especially poignant in our PK-6 classrooms with Our Daily Five, Data Team Targeted Conversations, Character Assemblies, and expanded uses of technology. The results are less obvious at the 7-12 building but nonetheless they are still evident. From Flipped Classrooms, major diagnostic and pedagogical improvements in math, choral and instrumental concerts noticeably enhanced and extended learning opportunities after school, progress is happening. This begs the question: “What is next?”.Our buildings in concert with PLC Associates have launched School Improvement Teams (SIT), and the District Comprehensive Improvement Team (DCIP) as well as the Facility Ad-Hoc groups are simultaneously working to improve academics and look at needed security, technology, and site work. Both paths are critical to each other’s success and are inter-connected in so many ways. Success is mutually related.Second, September is right around the corner. For the District to continue to make progress and conquer long-standing issues of achievement, learning, behavior, discipline and attendance, it will take an entire community. Teachers, administrators, parents, and school board members cannot do it alone and they should not have to. We desperately need everyone’s help, including the most important set of players: the students. Pre-K, first, ninth, remedial, enriched, second, fourth and everyone in between are needed to stand up, step up and get involved. The challenges we face have not materialized overnight nor will they change overnight. With everyone pulling together we will see growth sooner than you might think.
Please as always, join us at the table; we have a place set for you.Sincerely,
Robert J. Breidenstein
March 2016-Dear Salamanca Community Members,
As we look forward to the changing seasons from the long, cold winter to a bright, sunny spring we can also look forward to the not so distant future of the closure to another school year. The selection of courses for the underclassman for next year, the Prom, Senior Trip, Odyssey of the Mind State Championships, DECA Nationals, Moving Up Day activities, Concerts and of course planning for Graduation 2016 are well underway. These milestones will be upon us in no time.
Soon it will also be budget time as the community will have an opportunity to vote on the 2016-17 school district spending plan. This year's plan is heavy on adding new staff and needed positions to address academic, social and emotional and achievement concerns. Some of these new positions include ELA and Math Coaches for the Jr/Sr High School, an additional full-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten section, maintaining low class sizes Pre-K-6th grade, keeping the behavioral psychologist, social worker and attendance officer in the budget (prior grant has expired) and an additional Drug/Alcohol Counselor to address a growing addiction need our community is dealing with.The Board of Education and leadership team has heard the community's demand that we invest heavily in our academic programs to fix generational deficiencies in achievement and performance. These efforts also include settling all outstanding collective bargaining agreements with the teachers and administrators. This budget is committed to helping bring a much needed remedy to these concerns.As always, we invite you to join us at the planning table, "We will set a place for you, please consider joining us."Fondly,Robert J. BreidensteinSuperintendent
February 2016-Dear Salamanca Community Members,
In January, the Board of Education had an opportunity to debrief following the Capital Project Vote in December. The resounding commentary leading up to and shortly after the voters rejected the Unified Campus proposal was heard loudly and clearly by administration and the School Board members.Consequently, the Board of Education will convene a District-Wide Ad Hoc Committee of community stakeholders to discuss the next steps. The Ad-Hoc committee will be open to the community, and include: Board of Education Members, School Staff& Personnel, Students, Parents, Members of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Community Members, Business Leaders as well as representatives from the district architectural firm, construction management firm. The committee will have a facilitator and co-chairs to help steer the committee to a recommendation for the Board of Education to consider. A tentative timeline has been discussed with a possible capital project vote no sooner than March 2017. It is possible the Ad Hoc Committee may need more time to reach its recommendations.
It is clear that a unified campus is not an option that will be considered at this time, however, there are repairs and improvements that are still considered a priority items. Items such as security upgrades, camera and infrastructure improvements, roof maintenance and repairs, boiler repairs, windows and doors (especially at Prospect) parking lots, entrances, etc. are needed.
The involvement of community members with ideas, thoughts and suggestions on the scope, design and use of our facilities is necessary. Any and all community members are invited to the first informational Ad-Hoc committee meeting on March 29, 2016 in the Jr/Sr High LGI at 7:00 pm. Inside this edition of the Pow Wow is a more detailed account of the academic and staffing improvements that will target higher levels of student achievement and instructional progress.
The Community spoke loudly on December 8th and I offer an open invitation to the Salamanca Community to come and join us on March 29th as we move forward to maintain our facilities, improve our programs and respond to community concerns.
Fondly,Robert J. BreidensteinSuperintendent
A Public Forum from 10:00 am to 10:45 am in the LGI on the Indian Policy and Procedures Plan will be held. We will review the IPP document (eligibility for Impact Aid). The presentation will be identical to the October 2014 forum that was previously held with questions following the presentation.
The District is partnering with several area schools and CA BOCES in a Teaching is the Core Grant. Teaching is the Core Grant will assist teachers and administrators focus on targeted instructional improvement with a concentration in Intermediate (grades 4-6) Mathematics and ELA instruction.
11/4/14:Reminder- Tuesday, November 11, 2014 is a school holiday with no students or staff in attendance to celebrate Veteran's Day
Please note Parent Teacher Conference dates at the Jr/Sr High have been amended to 10/21 & 29The elementary parent Teacher Conference Dates remain as scheduled for 11/19 & 20 and by appointment as requested
8/19/2014 The Salamanca City Central School District received notification today from the New York State Education Department that we have been awarded a $180,000 grant to fund a full day section of Universal Pre-Kindergarten for 2014-15. This will permit the parents of 4 year old children to enroll in one of 5 half day programs (AM or PM sessions) or based on need, a full day program. If you have questions please contact Prospect Principal, Ann Marie Anderson or Director of Curriculum, Mary Elizabeth Koch at 945-2400.
8/12/2014 Reminder the first day of student attendance for the 2014-2015 school year in all Salamanca Schools is Wednesday, September 3, 2014.