BOARD INSIGHT: What a story we have to tell at Pittsford Schools!

The prologue to our story can begin no other way than by extending our most sincere thanks for your continued support of our District’s efforts. Every ounce of energy we invest is devoted to what’s best for all our kids and our community. Your nearly 80% “yes” vote tally on the 2019-2020 budget sits among the highest since 1953, with more than 3,500 votes cast. As a community, you place tremendous value on education; you hold us and our District to a high, fair standard. And, it remains both our commission and our honor to serve.

We also thank you for your support of our Board of Education members; we acknowledge the privilege you bestow on us, and we take seriously our solemn oath to serve our community with honesty and integrity, in a fiscally responsible way, for the benefit of all our students and their families, our PCSD staff, and our broader community.

Chapter 1 of our story might be focused on our youngest learners having completed the District’s first year of Full Day Kindergarten. At long last, and only through the fervent support of so many, we rounded out the first-rate educational experience all our other students enjoy. Our Kindergartners now know the full flavor of the Pittsford educational experience right out of the gate.

Our story’s Chapter 2 might be one that some would rather not tell. The story is one of racist behaviors experienced within our District. Admittedly, students in our District have experienced racist acts. The Board of Education President Amy Thomas and Superintendent Michael Pero publicly denounced racism and all racist acts within our schools last Spring. Our Administration took swift corrective action with the students involved. Our Board leadership personally listened to and addressed every issue raised by concerned members of our Pittsford family. Our District has acknowledged and owned every mistake. We have listened to our stakeholders, and we have vowed to our students that we will do better.

Which leads to Chapter 3 of our story. It is in part a tale of redemption. But it is also a tale that defines the path our District has begun, one that provides great promise for a better tomorrow. Just two short weeks after we bid farewell to the class of 2019, nearly 80 District leaders – The Central Office Team, Board of Education, building administrators, instructional leaders, members of the PTSA leadership and PCSD Inclusivity Advisory Committee – came together for two days of learning, reflection, and action. Our work was guided by Generation Ready – a national leader in professional development that works with school districts and their communities.

We were in extremely capable hands. Each consultant comes to Generation Ready with 10+ years’ experience as an educator or school administrator. Generation Ready consultants bring an in-depth understanding of how to effect positive, enduring change in schools in the areas of literacy, mathematics, leadership, cultural proficiency, school improvement, and special education. For our two days together, we worked exclusively on Cultural Proficiency. Over the next several months and years, we will work closely with veteran Generation Ready consultants “to educate a strong, more vibrant generation of students prepared to meet life’s challenges.” This core mission of Generation Ready’s is very much aligned with that or PCSD!

Perhaps the most powerful message from our time with Generation Ready relates to the PCSD story. But the message is not specific to only our story. It applies to the story each member of our community can share. Put simply, the message is this:

Be wary of the single story.

PCSD students and their families, our staff and broader Pittsford community, reflect a diverse, vibrant confluence of beauty, wit, wisdom, fortitude, integrity, and creativity – and so much more. One and all, each in our own ways, contribute all the wonderful attributes that make our community so strong. We also bring our own quirks and idiosyncrasies, our flaws and failures, and our efforts to do our best, be our best, and make a difference in the lives of others.

In other words, none of us is a single story. Our life experiences reveal both our strengths and our weaknesses. Our stories are so complex, full of hope and disappointment. Failure and success. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Failure is success in progress.”

As we begin this new school year, we look forward to the momentum that our progress brings. Drawing from the District’s Vision statement, we can confidently say that We are Student-centered, and all our efforts are directed to provide a Supportive Environment for All. As a District community, we value the Progressive mindset that drives Collaboration among all stakeholders. Only through this collaboration can we achieve the Continuous Improvement we all strive to attain.

As we begin our 2019-2020 school year, we’re eager to join you in adding to our incredible story!