June 18, 2012
Dear Huntington Students, Staff, Parents and Community Members:
It has been a busy and event-filled year that will soon come to a close as we say farewell to Huntington High School’s Class of 2012. It seems like only yesterday that I drafted a letter thanking all of you for welcoming me into the Huntington school community. I write this letter with gratitude for the support that you have provided me and for each other throughout 2011-2012.
I am proud of the progress we have made, yet realize that we have much more to accomplish. Our students have experienced success in the classroom, in the arts, and in athletics. Our graduating seniors will be moving on to some of the finest post-secondary institutions in the country, many with scholarships in hand. Student achievement in all disciplines has been impressive, whether associated with nationally recognized science research and history competitions, math Olympiads, essay-writing, mock trials, award-winning musical performances and artwork, or state-recognized athletic performances.
We have worked together to build and support a 2012-2013 budget that will keep our outstanding programs and support services intact, despite the relentless impact of a broad range of costly state mandates and non-discretionary financial obligations. We have constructed multi-year capital improvement and technology plans to ensure that our facilities are appropriately functioning and that we are able to prepare our students for success in a constantly changing digital environment, as well as enhance our ability to communicate with district constituents both rapidly and accurately.
Nonetheless, I am well aware of the challenges we currently face and those that are likely to lie ahead. We live in a time when financial challenges are the norm and education is under constant scrutiny. The tax cap era has commenced, so we must continue to plan and manage our budgets responsibly and with efficiencies in mind. Additionally, we have important work to do in terms of facility use planning and maintenance.
Performance accountability is undergoing a transformation statewide, with a more significant and appropriate focus on college and career readiness. We are working to finalize an Annual Professional Performance Review Plan for teachers and administrators. We are also in the final stages of formulating a Response to Intervention Plan designed to better ensure that every child receives what he or she needs, both academically and socially. Dignity for All Students Act guidelines, along with locally developed practices and curriculum adjustments, will help us to maintain an environment in which all students have the potential to thrive. Curriculum writing and professional development will continue to foster instructional program alignment with the Common Core Standards, as well as with the demands of an increasingly technological society. And all of this just scratches the surface …
Once again, I am grateful for your support throughout the year. Huntington is a wonderful place to live and to raise and educate a child. I look forward to our continued progress as a district and to working together in the years to come.
Please enjoy a safe and relaxing summer. I extend my heartiest congratulations to members of the Class of 2012!
James W. Polansky
Superintendent of Schools