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Notes from the Superintendent

Welcome to "Notes from the Superintendent," an online newsletter to the community from Superintendent Neil O'Brien. To receive these notes from the Superintendent as they come out, please click here.


August 22, 2017

Dear Friends,

September marks the start of a new journey for students and educators. It is a time to begin anew with energy and enthusiasm at the opportunities to learn and grow.

Personally, this will be my 30th year working in public schools and my 14th as Port Byron CSD superintendent of schools. Even with the long tenure of time, I still feel the rush of excitement and anticipation for the new year. It will be a watershed year for me due to the fact my last child, Caitlin, will graduate this spring. Therefore, this September is a beginning for me, but next June will be an ending in more ways than one.

The upcoming school year has some exciting new initiatives that represent our commitment to continue to finds ways to help our students become successful citizens in the 21st Century. The most obvious is our 1:1 program in the West building. Every student will have Chromebook computer to assist in their learning at school and home. In order for us to integrate the technology into instruction, our teachers have been working with Michael Dingman, a technology integration specialist from the Central New York Regional Information Center (CNYRIC) this summer.

The hiring of two social workers, one for each building, also demonstrates our commitment to helping students and families outside of the classroom. The greatest teaching and technology will not make a difference if students and families are over-burdened with social, emotional or financial issues. It is our goal to make better connections with the service providers located in Cayuga County so that we can assist families and students.

Outside of the big and apparent changes are many subtle behind-the-scenes work that is as important to ensuring student success. We recently launched some significant new curriculum work in the high school that takes advantages of Gates Foundation funding through a partnership with a charter school organization in New York City. As a matter of fact, a team of our teachers went to New York City this summer to work with some of the trainers and fellow teachers.

During the coming weeks, Mrs. Podolak, Mr. Jorgensen and I will discuss in our eNews columns the many educational, operational and personnel changes the district is experiencing this school year. In addition, please make sure you "like" our Facebook page ( and follow us on Twitter (@PortByronCSD) to receive district updates and building information.

The district calendars are in the mail and should arrive in the next couple of days. The calendar is filled with great information to assist you throughout the year. West student schedules will be in the mail later this week and will be available online in the SchoolTool portal late Wednesday afternoon.

I look forward to welcoming everyone to the first day of school.