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Sidney staff prepares for school year
The Sidney Central School District had its first of two days for teachers and staff to prepare for the upcoming school year on Thursday.

Sidney Superintendent Dr. Bill Christensen welcomed back staff during the morning session, which included covering a variety of topics. 

Paula Dewey, president of the Sidney Teachers Association, then talked about the Teachers of the Year awards from 2017-18, which were given to elementary teacher Kari Ahlqvist and music teacher Marjorie Pipes, who retired at the end of last year and was unable to be in attendance. 

After being introduced by the previous winner, Jay Waltz, Ahlqvist talked about her years in education. She spoke about how she feels she is part of a team here and how the staff is in it together. Ahlqvist also talked about how important it was to understand students and their needs. 

“Be patient and listen,” she said. “Students need to know you will listen and care.” 

The district then recognized staff for their dedication and longevity to the district, honoring those who have been at Sidney for 5-9 years, 10-14 years, 15-19 years, 20-24 years, 25-29 years, and 30 years and longer.

Christensen then gave his presentation, discussing many topics that covered construction/capital projects, branding, strategic planning, and engagement, among other items.

One major construction point was the new secure entries at the junior/senior high school and the elementary school.

“We need to make sure everybody is safe,” he said. “Our community will quickly get used to this. This is not meant to strike fear -- it’s meant to show reality.”

For more information on the vestibules, please see this story and the short video

Christensen also spoke about the upgrades to the elementary school with more classrooms and an updated nurse’s office, as well as school-based health being in one central location. 

Sidney has also undergone a branding campaign, which will move to make sure the district has a constant look and feel, including logos, athletic uniforms, and other items used within and out of the district. 

As part of the strategic planning, he talked about the vision, mission, and values of the district. That covered focus areas and what teachers and staff can do to work with students to push them to become stronger in all areas.

“Part of what we are doing is building independence,” he said. 

Sidney is putting kids first across the board he said, and it shows the dedication of the teachers and staff. He noted that while enrollment is down about 9 percent throughout the region, it is actually up 7 percent at Sidney. 

“I want students to feel welcome here,” he said. 

Finally, Christensen also touted the success of the summer camps program, as well as the after-school program. Both of these programs have had large participation numbers and staff has been integral in the success of each.

Teachers continued with professional development throughout the afternoon, and will continue Friday. The first day for students at Sidney is Monday, September 10. 
For a galley of photos from the first day, please see below.  
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Sidney Central School District
95 West Main Street  |  Sidney, NY 13838  |   Phone: 607.563.2135  |   Fax: 607.563.2386
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