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Desk of NHP Superintendent Robert Katulak: June 4, 2010

Winding Down the Academic Year

As we wind down another academic year, and we all begin to make plans for the summer vacation, it is often a good time to pause and reflect upon the year that just passed. The year could really be evaluated as a road trip that many of us will be taking this summer.

We started the year with a full tank of gas with student’s enthusiasm, clearly defined district goals, a passed budget and a highly qualified staff on the highway to excellence. At each mile marker we knew we were doing right by students since they were showing learning progress in words, deeds and projects. In early fall, we hit a slight speed bump with a minor reoccurrence of H1N1 virus in the county but our students were healthy and very few students missed school. We entered the interstate highway and continued making great progress with the performance of our fifth-grade students on the New York State Social Studies Assessment, clearly demonstrating their knowledge of content, map, chart, documents and historical pictures and table skills. We were full speed ahead toward our first rest stop with our students displaying service to others during the holiday season through food and clothing drives, and cards and gifts for the unfortunate. We also saw the great job we were doing with educating a well-rounded student as demonstrated by their artistic and musical talents at the Christmas concert.

We hit a speed bump when the governor started to hold back our state aid mid-year, but we survived due to conservative fiscal management of our business office and did not have to borrow money to make payrolls like other districts. We resumed our trip after a nice rest and drove ahead with a detailed map of financial planning. We went to you, our taxpayers and stakeholders, for input on which direction to drive our car/district and how to pay for the journey. We listened carefully, loaded up our trunk with all your ideas, and at the end of journey of fiscal planning arrived at our destination using all of the suggestions with a passed budget. As we traveled the highways, our students experienced learning outside the classroom as well through boarding schooners, visiting museums, parks and government buildings and experiencing and applying their skills and knowledge learning in the classroom to the outside world.

As we entered the last phase of our trip, we had some heavy construction detours and speed bumps but once again, we listened, acted, and worked together to address the concerns of parents and all students.  Our students survived the long home stretch without any overnight stops for the many New York State ELA, Math and Science tests and survived without any flat tires or engine trouble. We are about to reach our final destination but before we do, we need to say thank you to all the mechanics (parents), waitress and hotel clerks (staff), and bankers and auto dealers (you the public) for your support both financially and emotionally to bring us to the end of the year, better educated and happy to live, work and go to school in this great community of New Hyde Park-Garden City Park.