Interim superintendent Walter Dansby issued his first message to staff today, announcing the district's annual convocation event at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center will not take place. Traditionally, the district brings in a motivational speaker and holds two convocations -- one for elementary schools and one for secondary schools -- just before classes begin for a pep rally of sorts for staff. Last year's convocation cost the district $29,000 and included New York University professor Dr. Pedro Noguera.
"I have heard from many of you that you would like to have an additional day before school starts to work at your campuses," Dansby wrote to staff. "You have told me that your focus needs to be on improving the academic achievement of our students and the best way for you to do that is to have more time at your school and in your classrooms when you return."
Aug. 16 will be a campus work day, but a pre-recorded convocation message will be sent to campuses for principals to play for staff at their convenience.
Dansby also wrote about upcoming challenges and changes facing the district -- such as new state tests, five new schools, the new Gold Seal programs of choice and ongoing financial concerns. His message can be seen here.