February 16, 2018

Dear Newark Families,


Safety and security are always a top priority in any organization that works with young people.  Especially in light of the 18 school shootings just this year, with the most recent tragedy in Florida, school safety is more on our minds than ever.  Over break, I’ll be meeting with Jay Flock, our Coordinator of Student Affairs, to review our safety protocols and after that, we will convene the District Safety Committee to discuss recommendations for any changes or additions to our practices.  In the meantime, please encourage your children to say something, if they see something.  More often than not, they can be the eyes and ears we need to have our pulse on what is happening in the buildings and the community. 


You may have heard by now about Wednesday’s assembly at the High School that was about empathy. When our Principal was asked by some of our students to recognize Black History Month, part of his statement did not come out as intended and offended some in our High School.  I am aware that some parents felt my statement to the press blamed the students for hearing the message wrong.  That was not my intent.  We are owning this and taking responsibility while working to rebuild and repair relationships with students and families.  In fact, the day of the assembly, Mr. Roote apologized to the students and staff and invited any who wanted to come to speak with him that afternoon.  Many took him up on this, but we recognize that the work is not done.  We are willing to dig-in and help improve a difficult situation.  To that end, I have already reached out to the Wayne Action for Racial Equality (WARE) President, Earl Greene.  We will be meeting soon to discuss strategies for how to bring the school community together in the coming days and weeks.


My last bit of news is about a very exciting opportunity.  Our Director of Grants, Mark Miller, entered Newark Central into a contest to win a $100,000 playground for Perkins Elementary.  We are thrilled to announce that his work was so well received that we are one of the five finalist schools in this national contest.  What I am asking is that all people age 18 and over, vote each day until the contest is over on March 15.  As I write this, it seems to be between us and a school in Indiana.  They have 1,514 votes and we have 1,114 votes.  The next closest school is from Glens Falls, NY with 785 votes.  Please click on the link below and forward this, post on social media, send to all your friends and family and encourage them to vote every day.  I’ll send out periodic reminders and the Perkins team has done a great job coming up with some plans for how to get the word out.


Thanks for reading this and for your support of the Newark Central School District.


Matt Cook, Superintendent of Schools