Interim Superintendent Dr. Raymond Colucciello
Greater Amsterdam School District Interim Superintendent Dr. Raymond Colucciello, who stepped in to fill a 15-month term while a comprehensive search for a new superintendent is carried out, began at the district April 1, 2019.
School/COVID-19 Update to Community/Staff – May 8, 2020
I hope you are all staying healthy. COVID-19 has brought many challenges to our Greater Amsterdam school students and staff, and of course, to our families. Teaching remotely, providing Internet access to homes, incorporating Chromebooks into daily instruction, video communications, feeding our families, social distancing, wearing masks, constantly washing our hands … and the list goes on. But through all of this, we have risen to the challenge ever mindful each day of our most important concern – the health and safety of everyone.
Last Friday, Governor Cuomo made the decision to keep our school buildings closed to regular classes for the remainder of this school year. So, we will continue to provide our students with a strong remote instructional program and are planning end of year virtual ceremonies to celebrate their successes. Our Seniors are currently considering various options for graduating the Class of 2020 – keeping in mind the governor’s prohibition on large gatherings at this time. Our hearts are with our students and our community so stay tuned.
The next challenge we will face is the financial strain COVID-19 has placed on our families and our school district. As we prepare next year’s district budget and realize the loss of millions of dollars in state aid to schools, there is the potential for losing 25-30 staff members including administrators, teachers, aides, secretaries and custodians. With the closing of businesses and other unexpected costs due to COVID, our state faces a serious economic crisis. So in June, we will be presenting to our voters the best possible budget our community can afford.
Also, for the first time ever, COVID-19 has forced our district budget vote and school board elections to be done through absentee ballot only instead of traditional on-site polling. Please check your mail in the coming weeks for our budget newsletter and voting ballot with instructions on what to do. Regardless of this change, please exercise your right to vote.
In the meantime, our district has formed a committee of more than two dozen staff members called SAFER – which has already begun putting together a plan for reopening our schools whenever that time comes. Part of that duty will be creating a plan for students to recover their locker and personal items before the summer. More news will be coming on that.
I want to leave you with this: Throughout this pandemic, I know that our Board of Education and staff have and will continue to put our 3,678 students and their families FIRST. Our job is to do whatever we can to make things better for them.
I am proud to say that during the last several weeks, our district, with the support of our parents, has done a simply terrific job. No one could have predicted this event, and the shift we made has been remarkable. Yet, school is about relationships and social interaction. Those are sorely missed.
Finally, we are all mindful that our main mission is to do our best for our students. They are learning a life lesson at an early age on having to face disappointment and adversity and how to learn differently. Through this they will also learn that the adults in their lives are here to help them. We’ve got their back. We’ve Got This. Be Safe.
March 23, 2020 – Coronavirus update
This has been a busy and trying time for all of us so I wanted to take a minute to reach out to everyone. I have so many people I want to thank.
First I thank all of our students, teachers, parents, and community members for following the important advice of our County Health Department and Governor Cuomo. Be vigilant in what our leaders and health experts say, but please don’t panic.
Thank you to our teachers for reaching out to our students both in video messages and by keeping them learning. Hundreds of Chromebooks were passed out on Friday and more distribution dates have been established for those who couldn’t make it then.
Thank you to our food service workers and volunteers who have so far served some 3,000 pickup meals to our students at our food distributions sites. Plans are being made to distribute some meals by transportation crews to certain areas of our district and weekend meals will be provided beginning Friday.
Thank you to our cleaning staff for working diligently to sanitize our schools and offices.
To our essential health care workers and first responders, we can’t say enough about all you do for us. You are the true heroes through all of this. If you are in need of child care, please complete the survey on our website by midnight Tuesday. More details will follow.
And finally, please look out for one another and be sure to continually check our website for the latest news and updates. Check out the district Facebook too. Feel free to reach out to me – email of call if we can help you. Be well everyone. Thank you for your time.
Dr. Raymond Colucciello.
Welcome Back to School Message from Dr. Raymond Colucciello – September, 2019
It is with great pleasure that I welcome all of you to the 2019-2020 school year. I look forward to an exciting year ahead and working alongside our staff to make a lasting impact on the thousands of students who fill the halls of our schools each day.
This year we welcome 76 new staff members to our team. This means that we have 76 new voices of encouragement for our students, in addition to the already dedicated team of employees that work for our district.
In response to the recent results of the 2019 Grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics test results from the New York State Department of Education, I am pleased to report that the district saw an increase in achievement for most subgroups and district-wide on the mathematics exams. These results can be contributed to the investment made in new math curriculum for grades K-8, instructional coaches and standards-based teaching practices aligned with the NYS math modules and National Council of Teachers and Mathematics.
While the percentage of students achieving proficiency in ELA tests district-wide stayed generally unchanged overall from 2018 to 2019, the district is working to achieve proficiency in ELA through improvement plans that address instructional areas for school improvement. Additionally, we have invested in a new ELA curriculum for grades K-5 and a new ELA curriculum for grade 6. The district is also offering professional development opportunities and additional support from instructional coaches for staff.
We will continue to work towards increasing student success by focusing our efforts on attendance improvement, parent engagement, increased resources, and maintaining a focus on the whole student. I want to encourage parents to join us in providing a positive learning experience for your child(ren) through participation in parent-teacher conferences, PTA, and other district events.
I look forward to a great year. My door is always open, reach out to me – call, email or even stop by.
Dr. Raymond Colucciello.