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Skaneateles teachers, students return to school

Board of education members and Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel greeted teachers and students on opening day for students. From left: music teacher Karen Veverka is greeted by board member Sue Benjamin, Judy Pastel and board president Kathryn Carlson.

Board of education members and Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel greeted teachers and students on opening day for students. From left: music teacher Karen Veverka is greeted by board member Sue Benjamin, Judy Pastel and board president Kathryn Carlson. Lori Ruhlman

“Long before we heard of the common core learning standards … we collectively went out into the workplace, observed what was needed for success and developed our commencement expectations, our blueprint for student success,” Carlson said. “Long before the state gave us the concept of APPR, we had high expectations for ourselves.”

Carlson told teachers and staff members that they have been a constant amid the change. “You have never wavered from your commitment to do the very best you can for every student who enters your classroom or work area. It is because of you that we have achieved the level of excellence for which the community is so justifiably proud.”

As Pastel welcomed new staff members, she told them they were joining “an incredibly strong staff … the finest there is in New York State.” Pastel said that in her first year in Skaneateles, she learned the district was and is “ahead of its time.”

The commencement expectations that were crafted by people in the district and the community in 1991 were “right on,” she said. “If we formed a subgroup now and sat down to craft expectations, I don’t believe we could craft anything more pertinent today.”

She said the staff “hit a grand slam” last year and that “we are going to build on that this year, as the challenges continue.” Pastel urged staff to “continue to support each other … and we will do an outstanding job.”

The key, Pastel said, is to work together and to support each other. “I believe with every fiber of my being that we control our own destiny … and that we will continue to do phenomenal things for children.”

Carlson said that while change is inevitable, it brings opportunity. Referring to the new vision statement of the board of education, she said good things will come from change “because we are here together and are committed to becoming a school district of choice in CNY, the state and the nation, because we want bold futures for all our students, because we continue to strive for unparalleled excellence in all our programs and in all we do, because we do this by treating each student as an individual with individual desires, skills and needs, because we work together collegially and with our community partners … we can and will make this the best year yet at Skaneateles Central School District.”

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