New Year, New Energy in Amityville

New Year, New Energy in Amityville photo

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly wished the staff a “happy new year” as they returned for the start of the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 30, five days ahead of students.

At the annual convocation in the high school auditorium, the district’s approximately 700 staff members gathered to hear about the accomplishments of the past year and what’s ahead for the coming year. Dr. Kelly spoke about the construction work that will soon be starting at the high school to add a new gymnasium, science labs and classrooms, as well as renovations to the existing building, all part of a $69.9 million bond passed by voters in March 2016.

“The end result is going to be so fabulous for our students and for our community,” she said of the work which also includes upgrades to the middle school and three elementary schools. 

The district is entering the third year of the five-year strategic plan, “Putting Amityville on the Map.” Dr. Kelly said that there are measured successes in the plan’s three areas: student achievement, school culture and climate, and parent and community partnerships. Principals and directors will discuss progress and present data at an upcoming Board of Education meeting.

“Our district has made tremendous strides in all areas,” Dr. Kelly said. “We have much to be proud of and we have much to be optimistic about. We are well on our way to putting Amityville on the map and achieving our vision of becoming a high-performing school district.”

Dr. Kelly cited the district’s inclusion on the College Board’s AP District Honor Roll for its student participation and achievement in Advanced Placement courses. She noted the award-winning art and music programs, partnerships with area colleges, and athletes who are recognized equally for sportsmanship and scholarship as they are for their athletic accomplishments.

She spoke about the importance of building positive relationships and called on every staff member to “be that one person who makes a difference” in the life of a child. Keynote speaker Dr. Ruby Payne, an author and educator, provided staff with tools and strategies to deal with the emotional realities of students. She taught them several calming techniques and provided copies of one of her books.  

Staff members participated in professional development workshops throughout the day and teachers also had time to set up their classrooms for the start of the new school year.