Thursday, November 7, 2019

Can You See ALL the Purple in the Fall Colored Landscape?

We are off and rolling!

Core Beliefs: We Believe Students Come First. Everyone Can Learn. 

Typically, most staff and students find their groove in the month of October. This October was no exception.

Students and teachers are learning more about each other and building on to the community expectations that they laid the foundation for in September. 

We celebrated Homecoming in October, honored our Board of Education's service to our District, and watched as progress continued on our Capital Improvement project. All things in Dryden this Fall are PURPLE! 

#LionPride Winners

Core Beliefs: We encourage creativity, problem solving, and innovation. We act with integrity and accountability. We have high expectations for all. 

In the month of October, we gave away several #LionPride Awards to many deserving staff and students. We gave each of our five nurses the #LionPride Award for all that they did at the beginning of the year to ensure the District was implementing new state regulations regarding immunizations. This was a difficult thing to do in addition to all of their normal duties and we are grateful for them and their work. 

Mrs. Wenzel was nominated for the #LionPride Award by teachers, Amy Federation and Jill Knout. Mrs. Wenzel has been at DES for one year, and in that short time she has worked hard to establish positive relationships with all stakeholders in an effort to move our District forward. 
Coach Jones was nominated by her athletes on the Swim Team for all the work that she has done this past season to support them and the swimming program. She received three nominations from swimmers and two nominations from parents! We are proud to have her on our coaching team. 

Senior Sam Dow took the last #LionPride Award of the month. Sam provided life saving care to a student who was injured during class. Sam provided assistance to the school nurse and the EMTs when they arrived. Sam also checked in with his classmates who witnessed the accident to ensure that they were not suffering from shock. We are so grateful to Sam and our proud to call him a Lion! 

Brains on Bikes

Core Beliefs: Everyone Can Learn. A Safe, Joyful, and Nurturing Environment Promotes Learning and Growth.

The District's bicycling program continues to grow. This year, we have been able to add a new programming option for MS students. Several days a week before school starts, Mrs. Bennett meets a group of MS students who bike on the Rail Trail and the Jim Schug Trail and get their minds and their bodies ready for the academic day ahead!

Fire Safety and  Prevention Month 

Core Beliefs: A Safe, Joyful, and Nurturing Environment Promotes Learning and Growth. We cultivate resilience and build strength of character. Positive Relationships and Partnerships are Essential.

October is Fire Prevention and Safety Month. Our students benefited from the Freeville, McClean, and Dryden Fire Departments generous offers for educational programming, fire house visits, and climbing on and in the Fire Trucks. 

Each department also assisted with state mandated Fire Drills as well! We are so appreciative of their efforts,  our partnership, and their expertise. 

We are lucky to live and work in this community!  

An Amazing Fall Athletic Season 

Core Beliefs: We cultivate resilience and build strength of character. We have high expectations for all. 

Each of our fall athletic teams had a great season both on and off the field of play.

Both the Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer Teams took the IAC Championship on a chilly Saturday afternoon and evening. The girls took the championship in a scoreless game that led to double overtime.

Our Girls Varsity Swim Team had to overcome many obstacles this season relating to some expected project improvements to the pool as well as some unexpected repairs to the pool. However, they persevered and took second place in the IAC Championship.

We are very proud of all of our athletes!

Homecoming 2019

Core Beliefs: A Safe, JOYFUL, and Nurturing Environment Promotes Learning and Growth. Positive Relationships and Partnerships are Essential.  

The theme of this year's Homecoming was "Return of the Pride". The week prior to Friday night's Homecoming Game and Saturday's Homecoming Dance is Spirit Week. Each day, students and staff enjoyed dressing in attire that matched the day's theme which included Disney Day, Red, White, and Blue, and Purple and White Day. 

The traditional Homecoming Pep Rally was held in the High School Friday afternoon and featured games, teacher dances, cheerleader performances, and the Homecoming Court. We want to publicly thank Mrs. Savoie for all of her work organizing the Pep Rally as well as Mr. Lee for his coordination of the teacher dances. The students remarked that the pep rally was the best they had ever had  during their school career. #LionPride ws on full display. 
Friday night prior to the game, students and families could partake in games, eat cotton candy and dunk Mr. Webb, Mr. Colunio, and Mr. Bacigalupi in a dunk tank. 

We also want to publicly thank Mr. Dobush, a parent, who volunteers his time each year to build a display that matches the theme. This year he constructed a full size replica of "Pride Rock" from Disney's The Lion King. In addition, we want to thank the many parent volunteers who helped create an amazing Homecoming experience for our families. 

Homecoming 2019 culminated in the Homecoming Dance held at the High School on Saturday night. We are already thinking, plotting and planning for Homecoming 2020, so get your #LionPride and Purple ready! 

For now, we are going to let our Lion rest up for Basketball Season. We will see you on center court in just a few short weeks.

"Off Their Rockers" 

Core Belief: Positive Partnerships and Relationships are Essential. 

The Dryden Central School District has been blessed with generations of talented, quick witted, and joyful staff members that have served our students and our District well. A couple of times a week, a group of retired staff members who have named their group "Off Their Rockers" meet at restaurants in Dryden to share a meal, catch up on their lives, and LAUGH!

Mr. Bacigalupi has been able to join them on occasion, and he is able to keep them caught up on all the happenings in the District. We are proud to call this group Lions and the pride they have for their work, each other, and our District is undeniable. We are so grateful to this group and everything they did and continue to do for our District and community. They embody #LionPride

Art Display and National High School Film Festival

Core Belief: We Encourage Creativity, Problem Solving and Innovation. 

If you have a chance, please stop by the Dryden Community Cafe to see artwork on display created by Dryden students and staff. There are paintings, drawings, and pottery in the exhibit. 

We also want to recognize Spencer Strickland, an Art Student at Dryden High School, who's film was chosen to represent New York State at the National High School Film Festival in New York City in October. We are very proud of Spencer and his work. He is a credit to his community and our District! 

Board of Education Appreciation Week

Core Belief: Positive Relationship and Partnerships are Essential.

The week of October 21 was National Board of Education Appreciation Week. 

Throughout the week each department and school shared with the Board their appreciation for all the work that our nine member board of education members do to ensure the fair governance and fiscal viability of our District. 

Board of Education members volunteer their time and sacrifice a great deal in service to the Dryden Central School District. We appreciate everything they do! 

Volante Field Capital Improvement Project

Core Belief: We Act with Integrity and Accountability. We have High Expectations for All. A Safe, Joyful and Nurturing Environment Promotes Learning and Growth. 

We are pleased to announce that through the use of  the District's Capital Reserve Fund and NYS Building Aid, we are proposing a referendum to the voter to reconsider installing a multi-purpose synthetic field in place of our grass field. 

The new field would be lined for football, soccer and lacrosse. The new field would not be at any additional cost to the taxpayer unlike the last time the public was asked to consider a referendum on the matter. The new field would offer the District and its students more versatility, more programming options, and be a point of community pride. The field would be accessible to the community and the Town of Dryden Recreation Programs.  

The vote on the referendum for the proposed field will be on December 10, 2019. You can find additional information on the proposed work, dates and times for public information nights, and the times that polls are open on December 10 by clicking on this link: Volante Field Capital Improvement Project.

Apple for the Teacher Award Recognition

Core Belief: We have High Expectations for All. Students Come First. 

We are extremely proud of Lori Welsh, a high school teacher, who was nominated for and won a 2019 Apple for the Teacher Award this past month.

Ms. Welsh embodies the core belief that our students come first. She is always looking for new and creative way to help our students access the curriculum and learn essential teachings.

Ms. Welsh is #LionPride!

Superintendent Coffee Break

Core Belief: Positive Relationships and Partnerships are Essential. We act with Integrity and Accountability. 

Please consider stopping by the Dryden Dunkin Donuts from 4-7 PM on Monday, November 25, 2019 to meet with Mr. Bacigalupi and share any feedback you have about the Dryden Central School District!

We look forward to seeing you and enjoy some donuts and time together!

United States Representative Thomas Reed

Core Belief: Positive Relationships and Partnerships are Essential.

The District was pleased to welcome Unites States Representative Thomas Reed to the District at the beginning of October. Representative Reed spent time touring areas under construction that are related to the capital improvement  project. He also met with high school students and answered questions that they had prepared for him. 

The majority of the Dryden Central School District sits in Representative Reed's congressional district. We were honored to have had time with our representative to the Federal Government as well as make him an honorary Lion for the day! 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year!

Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year!

The Dryden Central School District is proud to welcome back all of our students, their families, and our staff. We are proud to serve our community, our students, and their families. 

In this edition of Points of #LionPride, you will find information about our mission, vision, and core beliefs as well as update information on our Capital Improvement Project. 

You can follow the Dryden Central School District in real time on our social media platforms. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@DrydenLionPride). 

You can find detailed information about the Capital Improvement Project as well as athletic schedules by going to our website. If you should have any questions or concerns, you can go to our website and click on the "Ask the Superintendent" button to share with us your feedback, concern, or question. 

We wish everyone a happy, fulfilling, fun, and safe school year! #LionPride! 

Mission, Vision, and Core Beliefs

In the Spring of 2019, representatives from the community, the staff, and the Board of Education spent two days together crafting updated mission and vision statements as well as establishing our core beliefs, which are the foundation that our mission and vision are built upon. 

The Dryden Central School District's mission is to educate and empower each learner to achieve excellence and build a better world. 

The Dryden Central School District's vision is that we aspire to be the school district others strive to become. 

Our core beliefs are:
  • Students come first.
  • Everyone can learn. 
  • A safe, joyful, and nurturing environment promotes learning and growth.
  • We encourage creativity, problem solving, and innovation.
  • We act with integrity and responsibility.
  • We cultivate resilience and build strength of character.
  • We value diversity and treat everyone with respect, compassion, and dignity.
  • Positive relationships and partnerships are essential.

New Faculty Orientation and Opening Day

Starting in the middle of August, the District began to formally open the new school year with the New Faculty Orientation. All new faculty members spent two days with IT staff, the Leadership Team, and the Dryden Faculty Association in an effort to "on board" our newest staff members with all the information they need to hit the ground running when the school year starts. The cohort also got a District-wide bus tour of each corner of the District. New Faculty Orientation was held on August 19 and August 20.

In addition to the training that is provided to the newest staff members, new faculty had an opportunity to meet with their mentor. In the Dryden Central School District, we are very proud to be able to offer this to our staff.

Capital Improvement Project 

Work has continued on the 40 million dollar voter approved Capital Improvement Project throughout the summer and into the 2019-2020 school year. The work around the project is for the most part on schedule and under budget. We are proud to be partnering with Hunt Architects and Campus Construction. Both our construction managers from Campus and our architects from Hunt continue to work with us closely and are responsive to any issues we bring forward. We appreciate their collaboration as we work to build a better future for our students. 
Work on the project this summer included continued work on the renovation of the locker rooms at the MS/HS construction of a new kitchen at the MS/HS, a new MS cafeteria, remodeling of the MS Cafeteria which will become the new HS cafeteria, new ceiling and lighting throughout the hallways in the MS, refinishing/re-striping the HS gym floors, new boilers at the MS/HS and Freeville, athletic fields, as well as new instructional spaces for music.

In addition, site work progressed to construction of the new transportation center located on Mott Road. 

You can continue to monitor the progress of the project by going to the Capital Improvement Project tab on the website or on all three of our social media platforms. 

Football and Track Come Home

Last year our track and football teams were displaced due to the Capital Improvement Project as work continued on the installation of the new track. The Varsity Football Team was able to play their first home game of the season at HOME last Friday night. They played under the brand new LED energy efficient and very bright stadium lights. The new scoreboard was also a great backdrop for the team. 

At the Patriots Game, the football team honored first responders, law enforcement agencies, and military veterans. The emphasis of this recognition was the service that these individuals provide to their community. 

The evening before the game, the District presented the coaching staff with the first #LioinPride Award of the year for the service that they provide to the football program, the District, and our community. 

International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Mrs. Pamel, the librarian from Southworth Library, invited Mr. Bacigalupi aka Captain Bones and Captain Jack Sparrow to read pirate books and participate in pirate themed activities last Saturday afternoon for International "Talk Like a Pirate Day."

This event was held at the Southworth Library in the Village of Dryden and is a great example of the District's core belief that positive partnerships and relationships are essential! We are fortunate to have a great relationship with so many community partnerships.

Many Dryden Central School District students were in attendance for the event and they each got a free book, learned how to talk like a pirate, and even found some treasure!

Luckily, no one was forced to "walk the plank."

Dryden Family Meal Connection
The Dryden Family Meal Connection is an all-volunteer group composed of current and retired staff members who work together throughout the summer months to organize grocery deliveries every two weeks. These grocery deliveries help to support families in our District with food security. 

All the food is donated to the group from local grocery stores including Tops, Wegmans, and Price Chopper. In addition, the group benefits from several personal donations as well as several small grants.

The group served 50 families this summer. This is the largest group yet. If you have concerns about your own family's ability to secure food for your or your children, please contact the Superintendent at 844-5361 x. 1 or Mary Hicks, School Social Worker at 844-8694 x.1444 for confidential support. 

First Day of School Boards and Opening Day Traditions

The Dryden Central School District capitalized on the recent social media trend in which parents have their students fill out a board with their name, the grade they are going to, and what they want to be when they grow up. 

The Dryden Central School District was more excited than ever to begin this school year, and we wanted to show our excitement as well as spread our enthusiasm in the community for the upcoming school year. These are just a few of the pictures of staff and their first day boards. You can find more on all three of our social media platforms. 

In addition, here are some pictures from the first day of school. You can find more pictures from the first day of school on all three of our social media platforms. #LionPride! 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Celebrations, Good Times, Reflections and Bringing the Year to a Close

Celebrations, Good Times, and Reflections as we bring the year to a close

It is hard to believe that May is coming to a close and June is upon us. The 2018-2019 school year has been full of many amazing accomplishments by our students and our staff.  This blog entry focuses on the District's successes this year, and I hope that you will join us in celebrating with this as the school year comes to a close.

We know that we are on journey of continuous improvement and our work is never done. We are always working hard to serve our families, students, and staff so that they can reach their full potential.

If you have any feedback on how to improve our District we want to hear from you. You can submit feedback by using the "Ask the Superintendent" button found on the website, by calling 844.5361 x.1 or emailing the Superintendent at

Our Blog will be on hiatus until August 2019. Have a great summer!

But First a THANK YOU!

Before we get into all of this year's successes, we would like to say thank you. On behalf of the Dryden Central School District and the Board of Education, we would like to thank our community for participating in our Board of Education election and Annual Budget Vote. We are pleased to announce that the proposed Budget Plan for the 2019-2020 school year passed. 

We could not do any of the things that we are celebrating in this post without your support and approval of the Budget. We are very grateful for your support and do not take it for granted. 

Next year, we will welcome BOE newcomer, Kelly Daley who will be filling the seat vacated by Andy Young. Mr. Young has faithfully served the District on the Board of Education for 20 years. We are very grateful for his integrity and wisdom. He will be missed and we wish him all the very best in retirement. 

Beverly Dodici and current Board of Education President, Margie Malepe were reelected to the Board of Education for another three year term. Now, onto some highlights of the year!

Growth of UPK Program

During the course of this school year, we have been able to secure grants and licenses to grow our UPK
program from one sections to three sections. This has afforded us 46 UPK seats.

For the first time, we were able to offer a UPK seat to every child who registered for the lottery. Our UPK program gives our youngest students a solid foundation as they enter the world of K-12 education.

Next year, Mrs. Andree and Mrs. Humphrey, two veteran DCSD teachers will join the UPK team as they head up the third section of our 4 year old program. We are excited to welcome our youngest Lions in the fall.

Capital Improvement Project

This year The District started work on the voter approved 38 million dollar Capital Improvement Project which is focusing on new roofing, athletic fields, performing arts spaces, HVAC systems, secured single points of entry in each building, and a renovation of many spaces in the MS/HS building.

In addition, the District is building a new Transportation Center on Mott Road. The old Transportation Center will be used as the Building and Grounds Office. The old Buildings and Grounds Office will be torn down to create more and much needed parking at Dryden Elementary School.

For the next two year, we ask that you pardon our dust as we work to build a better future for our students.  

Mission, Vision and Core Beliefs

This year the District spent time with the Board of Education, community stakeholders, and
staff members to develop a revised mission, vision, and reestablish our core beliefs so that we can align decisions to these ideals. You will be hearing more about this foundational work as we begin to "gear up" for the 2019-2020 school year.

#LionPride is alive and well in our Art, Athletic, Drama, and Music Programs!

Art Highlights

This year our Art Program continue to be award winning. The Dryden Central School District was chosen to represent New York State at the National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C. 

In addition, our students work won multiple awards in various programs throughout the year. Community members were able to view much of this award winning work at the Art Show held earlier in May.

Finally, Naomi Cator-Szymanski's art work was chosen to hang in the Honorable Thomas Reed's office in Washington, D.C. The Honorable Reed is a United States Representative in the House of Congress representing the 23rd Congressional District in New York. The 23rd Congressional District includes Tompkins County.

Athletic Highlights 

Our Athletic Programs also had a successful year despite the challenges associated with work being done to our Athletic Fields. Winter and Spring Track sent representatives to State Competitions as did the Golf Program.

Our Football and Lacrosse Teams sent representatives to Regional and State All-Star Games. In addition, many of our team performed well in Tournaments, Sectionals, and IAC Championships including our soccer, cheerleading, swimming, volleyball, and baseball programs.

We also saw the inaugural  season of our Unified Basketball Team which helps to support the idea that all students can participate in interscholastic athletics at the high school level.

Drama Highlights

The High School Musical, The Addams Family won four Cortland Repertory Theater Pavillion Awards. The Pavillion Awards recognize the outstanding achievements in local high school theatre during the school year. 

The production received a Group Award for 'Best Vocal Ensemble in a Musical'. 

Macy Short won an Individual Award for 'Supporting Actress in a Musical'. Thomas Finney, won an Individual Award for 'Featured Actor in a Musical'. Janelle Vuong won an Individual Award for 'Featured Actress in a Musical'. 

Additionally, Hannah Tenant and Naomi Winters both received Peer Awards, which are voted on by cast and crew members. Hannah Tenant won the MVP award for hard work and dedication on the musical. Naomi Winters won the Silent Star Award for leadership, talent, and star status. 

We are proud of each of our award winners! 

Music Highlights

This year continued to be a a great year for our Music programs as well. Both our band and chorus represented the District at regional NYSM
MA Festivals.

In addition to representing the District at these competitions, the music program also performed in local and regional events, including marching in the Dryden Memorial Day Parade and Jazz Desert Night. 

The Dryden Games

This year we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of the Dryden Games. This year the games were held at TC3 and saw participation from not only students from the Dryden Central School District but also students from TST BOCES representing the other eight component Districts in our BOCES.

The Dryden Games are the vision of our APE teacher, Krista Gillette.

Several local businesses sponsor the games, and we are appreciative of all of their support.

This year the Dryden Games were prominently featured in two articles in The Cortland Standard. You can check them both out at our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter sites.

Tompkins Cortland Community College Concurrent Enrollment Program

The District continues to maintain a strong relationship with TC3. One of our strongest partnerships is our concurrent enrollment program. This program grows each year. Many of our students take courses in the High School that give them not only high school credit but college credit as well. 

This year three students had enough college credits to graduate with an Associate's Degree from TC3 before they received their Regents' High School Diploma! 

Dryden Faculty Association contract settled

The District and the Dryden Faculty Association were able to successfully negotiate and ratify a five year contract that will raise the base salary in an effort to attract and retain teachers to our District. The previous contract expired in June of 2017.

Working to Improve Communication, Morale, and a Positive Environment

The Superintendent, Board of Education, and Leadership Team worked on several goals this year. 

The District focused improving internal and external communication in an effort to strengthen trust with all of our stakeholders. In addition, the District focused on staff morale and fostering a positive environment.

This year, the District looked for ways to improve relationships with all staff members and families. The District has been conducting a variety of surveys through the year to monitor our progress. Our data that we have been collecting to monitor these areas indicates that we are on the right track.

In regard to communication and a positive environment:

  • Last May, only 12.1% of staff who responded to a survey believed that communication in their building was effective. This May, 66.1% staff believed that communication in their building was effective.
  • 83.9% of staff that responded to a survey indicated that compared to previous years District level communication has improved. 
  • 82.1% of staff that responded to a survey indicated this May that the District's culture is improving. 
  • At the beginning of the year, 49.2% of staff that responded to the survey indicated that compared to other years, they were more likely to stay a staff member. In May, 69.2% of staff that responded to the survey indicated that they were more likely to stay a staff member. 

In regard to the Superintendent's performance:

  • 95.6% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the Superintendent conducts himself in a manner that makes them proud to be affiliate themselves with Dryden.
  • 91.2% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the Superintendent communicates effectively with all stakeholders.
  • 90.2% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the Superintendent confronts problems and issues with honesty.
  • 92.9% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the Superintendent has the ability to lead the District on a path of continuous improvement.
  • 86% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the Superintendent is interested in and responsive to my needs.
We are making headway, but we always will have more work to do! We wish everyone a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable summer filled with laughter, friends, and family!