Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dr. Stopinski May 12 message

Today's message from Dr. Stopinski...

Community Members:

As we near the end of the 2019-2020 school year, we are faced with many challenges in celebrating many of our traditional events. Concerts, athletic seasons and field days have been canceled. Award ceremonies, honor society inductions and moving up days have all been moved to a virtual model. One of the most frequent questions of late has been what are we doing for our seniors and what about the graduation ceremony?

I want to thank Mr. Bell, High School Principal, Mrs. Albee, School Counselor and senior class co-advisor, and Mrs. O’Connor, senior class co-advisor for their efforts this past month making certain we recognize our seniors and plan for special recognitions in these final weeks of school. Thank you to the community for adopting many of the seniors and to those organizations who have donated towards the effort.

We have been exploring multiple options for the commencement ceremony since the first weeks of April. As you can imagine, each option has had its benefits and challenges. Please know that we have carefully considered each option through the lens of the guidance we continue to receive from the Governor's Executive Orders and guidelines from various health agencies. My hope is that we can obtain permission to gather as a school community to celebrate this important milestone. In an effort to capture the commencement ceremony, we are putting a contingency plan in place to create a digital ceremony if it is deemed we are not allowed to convene.

The current guidance for all schools in Niagara County prohibits the District from assembling for a commencement ceremony as we have in years past. We continue to plan and prepare for a ceremony on June 27 or July 25 in hopes that we will have permission to proceed. A ceremony will likely not take place on school grounds, rather plans are being developed and presented to hold the ceremony at the Sunset Drive-In where we may be able to provide appropriate social distancing and opportunities for a more traditional graduation ceremony. In the event we are not allowed to hold a more traditional ceremony, we are preparing a virtual ceremony so that we can capture this important day for our graduates and families. I encourage community members and students to reach out directly with Principal Bell at the High School for the most current plans for our seniors.

These are challenging times for each of us. I know that if we continue to communicate and support each other we will grow as a school community. As always, I hope that you will make an effort to reach out directly or follow me on Twitter @DrStopinski

Dr. Hank Stopinski

Superintendent of Schools