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!

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