Supt Message

Dear West Genesee Families,

Recently, I was reminiscing about past years and the good fortune to travel with large groups. Experience through my career that included longer trips and extended stays were similar to those I remember as a student. Locations providing fond memories include trips to Cedar Point, Ohio; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Plymouth, Massachusetts; Piscataway, New Jersey, and more.

What I saw on those trips as an adult was similar to my memories as a youth; bonds that formed and cohesion that resulted within a group. As an example, two individuals walking through Quincy Market in downtown Boston, who otherwise may not notice each other in the hallways at school, would acknowledge one another. This may have been because they were wearing similar spirit wear, the increased recognition from traveling for hours, or they valued a familiar reference when in an unfamiliar setting. What was heightened was a sense of “team”.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. “ H.E. Luccock

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi

Similar to the above quotes regarding an orchestral ensemble and from a famous football coach, two unrelated and recent events took place in Glens Falls and our own WGHS gym. The first being our Boys’ Basketball Sectional and Regional Champions at the NYSPHSAA Finals and the other, our award winning Varsity and JV Winterguards and Drumline during the Winter Showcase. Both arenas were filled with energy, excitement, and an overwhelming sense of “team.” Kudos to these student teams who have formed and worked together for such success, but also thank you for bringing that out in our community. These are examples of much larger groups that came together to define a greater sense of team on their behalf.

We can learn from our students and the opportunities they provide our community to come together, to form a team. As we sit in the stands and root for them, the focus is on the common positive and hope for their success. I submit that we don’t (or shouldn’t) focus on a negative of their opponents, rather our hope for their experience of a well-executed performance from hours of hard work in preparation.

As seasons change, so too are the groups our students join. They quickly form strong alliances and common purpose, with the skillful hand of the coaches and directors that guide them.

Let us learn from that which we promote for and see from our kids; forming bonds, recognizing common goals, exercising flexibility to those with whom we interact, and focusing on positive results from our efforts. As a team, we can continue to grow in a range of areas with the result being more than the sum of our parts. Let’s go, Wildcats!

Thank you,

David C. Bills, Superintendent of Schools

Please notice the Social Media Tips below that I shared in the last e-Newsletter. Let's keep the conversation going with our youth in order to keep everyone safe!

Social Media Tips

Ways to support our youth with social media:

1) Speak to your children about reporting any concerning posts or suspicious activities on social media to a trusted adult. It is important that children understand they will not be punished for reporting a post and that we will protect their anonymity as we investigate the concern. It is also important for students to refrain from sharing or otherwise passing along inappropriate posts, as it contributes to a violation of the WGCSD Code of Conduct.

2) Explain how TIP411 works to your children. Tip411 is an anonymous communication tool that allows students to report serious concerns to schools. Tip411 will provide an option for those students who may not have a trusted adult to relay their concerns. (Note: At times, there may be follow-up questions. Because of the anonymity, it is important to check back to the original TIP411 report.)

3) Encourage your children to seek the truth regarding information online and reporting questionable posts to trusted adults rather than sharing misinformation that causes more confusion than clarity.

4) Speak with your children about school shootings and other tragic events and the fear we all feel as we navigate this unfortunate reality of online threats. Having an open dialogue about school safety is important, especially when threats occur. Here is a link from Child Mind Institute that can help guide that sometimes difficult conversation: How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings | Child Mind Institute.

5) Please relay any social media threats to school administrators so we can begin our investigation and involve the police, if necessary. We take each threat seriously and have a protocol to address each incident. As information becomes available, the District will provide updates to parents.