Imagine If

The unofficial beginning of the new school year for the Newark Central School District _ the annual Superintendent’s Conference Day _ got off to an wonderfully upbeat start August 31st with lots of positive information being shared with new and returning staff at an early morning assembly in the Newark High School auditorium.

To view the full article with photos and text from opening day, visit:

 Exciting highlights included news that:

            • 80 new staff members will begin working in the NCSD this new school year.

            “This has not been an easy feat, but certainly a rewarding journey that has yielded 80 new staff members to our Newark family and we, once again, extend our warmest welcome,”  Superintendent Susan Hasenauer said.

             Later in the program she highly commended the work of Christine Bennett, Executive Director of the Human Resources Department, HR Assistant Susan Carr and HR Secretary Christine Acquista in accomplishing such a herculean hiring task in preparation for the new school year.

            • Thirty-five professional development opportunities were provided for new and existing staff members this summer.

            “Our instructional coaches and teacher leaders have done an unbelievable job this summer exposing both existing staff and new hires to multiple robust professional learning experiences in both the Red’s Academy and through New Teacher Orientation,”  Hasenauer said.

             • At their annual August leadership retreat administrators reviewed NSCD measures and goals data; updated the district’s comprehensive improvement plan and each building plan added additional action steps _  related to the strategic plan   _ to build upon last year's growth.

            “During this process, we identified gaps that will become areas of distinct focus and we took time to celebrate our successes, experience vulnerability and share what makes each one of us proud,” Hasenauer said. “Most importantly, we gained an understanding of the compelling role appreciation can play in our school community. Amy Rupert, a master certified coach said, “I believe there are two universal things that ignite excellence within people: recognition of their uniqueness and acknowledgement that they matter.

            “If we believe effective communication and sustained connections foster a sense of importance, contributing to the success of ‘every student every day,’ then we must foster a sense of belonging for our entire school community. Appreciation is one way that all of us can emphasize what is good for our school community, as well as what is good and heartfelt for the individual.  While I personally recognize fostering appreciation begins at the top, it takes each one of us to support each other.  And, the exciting news is, that anyone can make a difference in their workplace, regardless of their position. And, when leaders actively pursue teaching their staff how to communicate authentic appreciation in the way desired by the recipient, the entire culture improves and engagement of both students and staff increases.

            “While some people like to be publicly recognized, others do not. Appreciation can be shown in many different ways, such as through words of affirmation, time, through service or gifts. Regardless, what the research has made clear is that all people like to be recognized for their specific individual efforts in a way they are open to receiving it.  That requires each of us to take the time to truly understand each other. 

            “I mentioned earlier the work of our instructional coaches and teacher leaders who have worked tirelessly to support and build the craft of their colleagues. And while I am unsure of each individual’s appreciation style, I would like to share with all of you the impact their work had on others in our organization.  Because of you…

            “We also completed an exercise where we thought about individuals in our district who may not be in leadership positions, but consistently exhibited leadership qualities that support our staff and students regularly.  Often times that may be your colleague who shares a lesson plan, offers an idea or recognizes that you went above and beyond to complete a task that betters our environment or learning space for our students or ourselves. So, as we think about how we appreciate our colleagues, I'd like to ask that you take a moment and think about the first name that pops into your head when you think about leadership or support in our buildings. In the coming days, I ask that you let these individuals know what their leadership means to you, as there may be nothing more precious to each one of us than feeling as if we truly matter.

            “I wanted to touch on this first and foremost because none of us can do the work that we need to do alone and we need to truly appreciate the people who stand beside us each and every day.  It takes a village to accomplish what we need to accomplish if we're going to continue to strive to make Newark the best school district that it can be. Our students deserve our best each and every day.” 

[A First For Newark]

              Hasenauer said she was excited to announce that on November 4th, in collaboration with the Village of Newark, the school district would be holding its 1st Annual Student Leadership Conference at Newark High School.

            “The conference will be open to all students in grades 9-12 who wish to increase their leadership skills, learn how to set goals and understand how they can become a vital part of their community to share their voice, ideas and thoughts in a way that leads to positive change by utilizing their own personal strengths,” she said.

             Keynote speaker, Chris Koch,  a paraplegic, will share his story of resiliency and how he has not “let limitations or obstacles in his life stand in the way of achieving his goals and dreams and encourages others to do the same so that they don’t hold themselves back from connecting with others and making an impact on their community.” 

            Hasenauer encouraged  interested NCSD staff to present at one of 25 different sessions.

            Anyone interested in presenting should let Hasenauer know by September 8th. Also, if you would like to  volunteer, please let Stacy Warren know by the same date at 315-331-3217. 

[ Challenges, Not Obstacles Await Educators As Technology Advances]

            Just as she has done many times,  Superintendent Susan Hasenauer reminded staff they are the “true backbone of our district.”

            “No matter what you teach, you have the innate ability to foster what may not be able to be captured in assessment data - student curiosity and creativity to build skillful individuals and strengthen citizenship amongst our school community, At no point can we underestimate that a great educator is one of the most important resources we can provide students.”

            But she said great challenges await educators in a world where lightning-fast strides in technology have and will continue to radically change the way we live.

            She showed a video about “The Jetsons,” a futuristic, animated sitcom that premiered in the early 60s about a family that lived in 2062 and had a robot named “Rosie” for a maid and tons of then unimaginable space-age conveniences like flat screen televisions, smart watches, flying cars,  jetpacks, video calls and conferences, drones, holograms, laptop computers, 3-D printed food and more.

            Amazingly, nearly six decades later, much of what Americans thought was entertaining fantasy is now reality.

            Hasenauer aptly noted that the district’s Kindergarten teachers would soon be welcoming members of the Class or 2036 when it is projected that 65 percent of the jobs they will work at don’t even exist because of technological advances.

            She said automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to impact various industries, potentially leading to the displacement of many jobs. Repetitive and routine tasks are likely to be automated, which could affect jobs in manufacturing, data entry, customer service and more. However,  she said, new jobs related to designing, maintaining, and overseeing automation systems are likely to emerge. The ongoing digital transformation will create opportunities for jobs related to technology, data analysis, cybersecurity, and software development.

            “The demand for professionals who can manage and leverage digital technologies will increase. Advancements in genetics and biotechnology could lead to personalized medicine, creating new opportunities in genetic counseling, bioinformatics, and related fields. New roles could emerge in designing, programming and maintaining these vehicles. Emerging technologies such as blockchain, virtual reality, augmented reality and biotechnology could lead to the creation of new industries and job roles that we can't predict fully yet.

            “While automation might replace certain technical tasks, jobs that require creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and complex problem-solving will remain in demand. These skills are harder to replicate with technology,” Hasenauer continued. “I share this with you because the future of our students involves more than just test scores or meeting proficiency. While it is essential that we use our data to make informed decisions that lead to growth, that is only one piece of the puzzle. 

            “It is equally important, if not more, that we recognize the skills our students need to be able to compete in the global economy.   

            “What does that mean for classroom teachers? Simply put, we as educators must model these skills.  If we expect our students to take risks, we must too.               

            However, there is guidance…

            “If we look at our District Comprehensive Improvement Plan, Strategic Plan or building level plans, you will see our action steps and professional development opportunities directly correlate with these skills. 

           “Our Year Two Technology Integration Plan focuses on professional learning activities that yield higher levels of proficiency in using digital tools and emerging technologies, such as AI. 

            Our focus on using higher level questioning to define and distinguish different levels of cognition and increasing student discourse through differentiation and SDI support a student’s ability to analyze complex situations and devise innovative solutions that will be highly valuable and support creativity and innovation. Furthermore, increasing student discourse supports strong communication skills.

            “Our tiered supports, MTSS (Multi Tiered Systems of Support) coaches and the implementation of designated programs/times that support Social Emotional Learning (SEL) help build interpersonal skills, empathy, and the ability to understand and manage one's own emotions. SEL competencies must not viewed as a separate entity, but one of the core elements in all classes.                     

            “We believe in an environment that fosters equity and access, where diversity is valued and respected and all are empowered to engage and contribute to their school community.  We believe in strong connections where all stakeholders feel valued, heard and share a collective responsibility for student success. And, we believe in demonstrating safe, responsible and respectful behavior to sustain our integrity and character for ourselves, our school and our community. 

            “This environment doesn’t happen by chance – we must create it.  If our values are seen, heard and felt daily in our classrooms and schools, then as the world becomes more interconnected, our students will have a greater understanding of different cultures, global perspectives and a greater ability to collaborate.

            They will also have an immense opportunity to consider the ethical implications of their actions and their impact on communities and the environment.

            “With data-driven decision-making becoming more common, understanding how to interpret and analyze data will be valuable for both teachers and students. 

            “The use of data to design student groupings and construct learning experiences and high-quality lessons that are based on targeted instructional needs help students understand their own learning targets and the criteria needed for success.  It also allows students to have ownership over their own learning as they look to meet and exceed the standard aligned with their own achievement level, allowing for both remediation and acceleration simultaneously.

             “Given the pace of change, being open to new ideas, comfortable with ambiguity, and quick to adapt to new circumstances will be essential. As adults, we can struggle with change.  The truth of the matter is, change is truly the only thing that stays the same.  Therefore, modeling for students how to adapt and be flexible with a positive mindset can lead the student to feel comfortable enough to identify opportunities, take calculated risks and think independently or like an entrepreneur even within traditional settings. 

            “It’s fascinating to look back at how “The Jetsons” predicted many aspects of our modern world. In fact, they were way ahead of their time, predicting many things about the future that are, in fact, accurate.

             “Luckily for us, we aren’t in the business of predicting the future, we can however educate and engage today to empower for tomorrow.  Even though we are in a time where teaching and learning is changing rapidly, we make the choice to embrace a world where creativity and innovative thinking will be more valuable than rote learning of any depth. And although the rapid changes and increased complexity of today’s world present new challenges and put new demands on our education system, I believe we are ready to try new things, open new doors and most importantly support one another on this journey. Never underestimate the power of appreciation and imagination because what was once futuristic is now reality.  Have an amazing year!

            In closing, I will leave you with this videoand ask you one last question:  What sentence can you put YET at the end of?

                                                [Academic Outcomes To Celebrate]

            Krista Lewis, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction shared good news about the standing of NCSD schools.

            Based on various types of assessment data from the last two school years, Newark High School and Lincoln Schools have maintained their ‘good standing’ status.

            Newark Middle School, Perkins and Kelley Schools have improved their status from needing comprehensive support and improvement to needing targeted support and improvement.

            She said both findings are worth celebrating.

            “. . . We know that when we set common goals with celar actions and work together to monitor and respond to the needs of our sudents, we can, and will, continue to help our students grow and achieve at higher levels,” Lewis said.

            “As your return to your buildings and kick off this new year, you will have the opportunity to look at your respective building data and that will tell you a more conclusive story of what actions need to occur to make the continued improvement happen.

            “What I hope you remember as you begin that work is to find the reasons to celebrate and pause to process the reasons for those and be encouraged by them. This data shows what our students are able to accomplish with quality Tier 1 instruction and targeted interventions both at the Tier 1, 2 and 3 levels for both academics and social emotional learning. It also represents what our students can accomplish with the support of a very capable, dedicated and caring staff.

            “And THAT is definitely something to recognize, appreciate and celebrate!

            Hasenauer agreed.

            “As you can see, there is reason to celebrate _ our data shows our students are growing and gaining a foundation that is continually getting stronger.”

                                                    [Safety and Security Matters]

            Hasenauer, Director of Technology Mike Newman and Joe Otero, Director of Security for the NCSD proudly chronicled tremendous strides that have been and are being made in safety, security and technology.

            Most notably, in response to input it received from parents and community members this spring, the school district’s Safety and Security Structure has been expanded to include rigorously trained security personnel including the addition of four who will be armed.

            More information on this will be forthcoming.                                   

            Hasenauer reiterated how the NCSD prioritizes student and staff safety and security and has distinguished itself as being in the top 5 percent of the state in terms of safety and security practices.

            As one example of its leadership, the NCSD is the first in the region to employ a multi-faceted, proactive approach to violence prevention, including the implementation of a Behavioral Threat Assessment Team Model along with safety-related upgrades in technology, security infrastructure and communication systems.

             “Our technology needs to match what these individuals need to be successful in their roles,” Newman said in reference to the district’s beefed-up Safety and Security Structure and expanded staff.

            His points were  succinctly outlined in PowerPoint slides seen here at the right.

            Many changes have ensued, including the enhancement of both district-wide and building level emergency response plans to ensure consistency among all five schools; staff readiness to handle emergencies through extensive training; and local and state compliance.

            Since one of the most important components of the protocols is staff readiness, emergency response tabletop exercises have been held at each of the five district schools to ascertain how well-prepared staff is through practice simulations and threat assessment discussions.

            Otero introduced some of the new security personnel _  all who are experienced in law enforcement and or security _  who will be joining the district and how they are being prepared to work in the NCSD.

                        [Friend Of Education Awarded To Village Of Newark Crossing Guards]

                        Another highlight of the Superintendent’s Conference Day was the presentation of the 2023 Friend of Education Award to the Village of Newark Crossing Guards.

            Hasenauer, who presented a plaque to the three guards who were able to attend, said all  of them perform an invaluable service of keeping students safe throughout the school year in all kinds of weather.

            They include Steven Bagshaw who covers Lincoln School students on North Main Street; Linda Peters who covers Perkins School students on West Maple Street; her husband, John Peters, who covers South Main Street at Maple; Linda Mascioli and Monica Lyon, who cover Kelley School students on West Miller Street; and Mary Kay Harley fills in as a substitute as needed.

            Bagshaw, Mascioli and Harley, who attended

the event, received a standing ovation as they came

forward in the NHS auditorium.

                       In addition to nice comments made about the guards by Hasenauer and school principals, Newark Police Chief Dr. Richard Martin later said: “I can't thank these folks enough since they are out there in all types of weather conditions. Whenever I have covered for a Crossing Guard, the kids always ask me where the Crossing Guard is and when they'll be back. So, there is no doubt that they make some strong connections with the children. They are all true assets to the Village.”