As Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else." This is very true, but even more important than knowing where you're going is knowing where you stand right now. Last month, we focused on the destination -- and our Panthers did an exceptional job determining exactly where they want to go, as you can clearly see:

But, if you aren't AWARE of where you are now, how can you draw a map connecting where you are now to where you want to be? Last month, we SET the goal, but before we can talk about how to GET the goal next month, we need to take an honest look at where we are now so that we can establish a starting point in our journey towards our goals.

Our 2020 vision is an 87% graduation rate and 65% of our students proficient in reading and math competency.

Let's take a look at where we currently are in our journey, so that we can plan the best route forward:

Our five-year average graduation rate

(numbers are rounded):

2014: 65%

2015: 70%

2016: 79%

2017: 77%

2018: 86%

Our goal:

This year, we seek to be 86% or higher!

Our ELA proficiency rates are:

(grades 3-8 are based on Lexile level, grades 9-12 are based on ELA Regents Exam Proficiency)

Grades 3-8

June 2017: 29%

June 2018: 33%

June 2019 Goal: 50%

Grades 9-12

June 2017: 75%

June 2018: Not yet released by NYSED

June 2019 Goal: 85%

Our Math Proficiency Rates are:

(grades 3-8 are NWEA-projected proficiency, grades 9-12 are Regents Exam proficiency)

Grades 3-8

June 2017: 17.7%

June 2018: 18.4%

June 2019 Goal: 50%

9-12 Proficiency

June 2017: 76%

June 2018: Not yet released by NYSED

June 2019: 85%

Attendance matters! We need to be HERE if we expect our students to learn and our students need to be here if they are to learn! We strive for less than 5 absences, which equates to less than a 3% absentee rate. Where are we now?

Our staff rates are as follows:

Chase: 4%

High School: 3%

KLR: 2%

Cooke: 2%

RJK: 1%

Congratulations to our excellent attendance winners for the month of September at RJK! A Monticello Bagel breakfast is coming your way this October, keep up the great work!

Our district-wide student attendance rate is 6%, more than double the rate we expect if we are to reach our goal. Please make sure that your Building Leadership Teams are discussing how to improve attendance of our students :)

Now that you are AWARE of where we currently stand and where we want to go, what changes can you make in your classroom, in your home or in our community to help us reach our goals?


A HUGE thank you to our whole community for being a part of what has become one of my favorite traditions here at Monticello: the Panther Pride Ride. From our transportation department, who hauled us all around, to our cheerleaders whose voices drew crowds outdoors, to our educators who spent their Saturday helping our kiddos make fond memories of school, we were blessed to have a whole crew of folks who made this day a shinning example of why #MonitcelloRocks

October Spotlights

Kudos to our October spotlights who exemplify awareness. These Panthers are constantly keeping tabs on where they are now, so they can plan where they want to go next. #MonticelloRocks because of you!

"The George L. Cooke Elementary is aware of Sue Rodriguez and the impact she has on MCSD. On a daily basis, Ms. Rodriguez demonstrates her AWARENESS of the needs of the staff and students at Cooke. Whether organizing meetings, delivering materials, listening to concerns, or providing guidance, Ms. Rodriguez is always prepared.

Ms. Rodriguez is aware of the connections necessary for success from the district level, building level, each teacher, and ultimately each student. She takes her responsibility for providing support through committee work and professional development seriously each and every day.

We are aware of the important work that Ms. Rodriguez engages in every day and are grateful that she is an integral part of the Cooke Family," - Cooke Leadership Team

"Guidance Counselor Jeff Mannino consistently demonstrates awareness for his students' academic readiness, achievement, and individual needs. His depth of experience and knowledge provides him with the ability to identify a multitude of pathways for students to choose from to achieve success. His genuine care and support for students results in students achieving success and receiving supports that enrich their lives. Jeff is a valuable contributor to our data discussions that has resulted in creative solution finding, increased student success, and improved efficacy in team effort," - MHS Leadership Team

"Making mindful decisions while being sensitive to his audience, Robbie Keesler positively impacts students on a daily basis. Whether he is teaching eighth-grade social studies, or just chatting with students in the hallway, Mr. Keesler embodies awareness and empathy in all that he does. Robbie works with his grade level colleagues to ensure that all students are successful," - RJK Leadership Team

"MHS student Michelle Bryant is a driven young lady who is aware of her current footing in her journey towards her goals. She keeps those goals at the forefront of her mind with every decision she makes. Despite many challenges throughout her educational career, she continues to refuse to let defeat get the best of her," - Special Programs Leadership Team

"Joanne has a very keen sense of Awareness and plans, develops, and monitors a variety of behavioral supports and delivery options to meet the needs of students Joanne is a master Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA). Joanne consults with and teachers instructional team members regarding pro-active, educational, programming and behavioral supports. Joanne is a true model of what an effective, collective, and appropriate method of collaboration is. Additionally, Joanne is a taskmaster and navigates through all five buildings in our district to ensure she responds to the individual needs of students. Joanne deeply studies students’ behaviors and works diligently to build a plan to improve these behaviors. We are grateful for Joanne’s solid skills and her ability to empower faculty and students," - PPS leadership team

"Mrs. Kurthy is the instructional coach at Chase elementary. Mrs. Kurthy arranges and facilitates all of our pre-assessments and benchmarking assessments that allow all of us to be aware of each student’s academic status in terms of knowledge and skills. Our pre-assessments include NWEA Reading, NWEA Math, the Reading Inventory, and our writing benchmarks. This information is used by teachers to make instructional decisions about content, skills, and grouping including academic intervention instruction," - Chase leadership team

Oct. 22 Staff Conference Day

Whether you drive a bus, teach a class, prepare food, keep our hallways safe or lead a team, each and every one of you plays an integral part on our team. Our kiddos need each one of us to be our best selves if we are to help them become their best selves. With that in mind, our special programs team has been hard at work planning a day that we hope will help you discover (or rediscover!) new hobbies and interests, learn new skills and make you proud to be a Panther.

Although exact schedules will vary by department, most of our team will participate in a wellness activity in the morning, followed by the first-ever Monticello Color Wars in the afternoon. Wellness activities will include: yoga, nutrition classes, financial planning, tai chi, zumba, belly dancing, hula hooping and more! We will spend the afternoon competing in fun challenges such as kickball, trivia, dodgeball and a scavenger hunt, cumulating in a Family Feud-style showdown. The winning building team will receive bragging rights for an entire year and the inaugural Panther Pride trophy.

Each building must create a team of seven Family Feud players for our final showdown. Please tell your principal ASAP if you are interested in being a part of your building's Family Feud team. Principals, please let Jackie Beamer know who will represent your building by Oct. 5

A full list and description of wellness activities and color wars activities will be available in My Learning Plan on Oct. 10. You must sign-up for your choice of activities in My Learning Plan by Oct. 17. If you do not sign up by this date, you will be assigned activities. Employees without access to My Learning Plan will use a sign-up sheet that will be available at their department's office.

On Oct. 22, please dress comfortably in your building's color (see image below).

Oct. 22 Schedules by Department:


7:30 - 8 a.m. - "Grab and Go" Breakfast

8 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Program: Handle With Care

1 - 1:50 p.m. - Lunch - BBQ

2 - 3 p.m. Program: Handle With Care wrap-up

Transportation & Plant Operations

8 - 8:45 a.m. - Wellness activities

8:45 - 9:15 a.m. - Break and "Taste of Monticello" Breakfast

9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - LGBTQ Training

1 - 1:50 p.m. - BBQ

2 - 3 p.m. - As Per Directors' Instructions

Food Service

7:30 - 10:30 Breakfast Set Up and Clean Up

10:30 Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Color Wars Activities

2-3 p.m. - Final Showdown, Auditorium

All Other Teams:

8-8:45 a.m. - Wellness Activity

8:45 a.m. - "Taste of Monticello" Breakfast

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 - Welcome and Keynotes

10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. - Color Wars

1 - 1:50 p.m. - Lunch - Miller's BBQ

2- 3 p.m. - Final Showdown, Auditorium

Upcoming Events

Oct. 8 - Columbus Day (no school)

Oct. 10 - Full descriptions and locations of conference day activities available on My Learning Plan

Oct. 17 - Deadline to choose activities on My Learning Plan

Oct. 22 - Staff Conference Day - please dress in your building's color (see image above)

Nov. 7 - Last Day to Register for Capital Project Vote/Voter Registration Day

Nov. 14 - Capital Project Vote

Capital Bond Referendum

We are painstakingly AWARE of the challenges our buildings face, which is why were were able to plan a road map towards our goal of safe and innovative, 21st-century learning spaces. On Nov. 14, our residents will vote on the proposed capital bond that will address many of these structural challenges.

Please encourage your own friends and family to become AWARE of learn more about the proposed project by visiting our website or by signing up to receive notifications via text or email in the upcoming weeks. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about this project.

Model Schools Message


You are all cordially invited to AWARENESS!

In the month of October we turn our attention to awareness. Our model schools team benefited greatly with the time to reflect on our own practices and how rigor, relevance, and relationships supports student outcomes. It is not uncommon to hear from adults how kids these days are not connected to the world around them and that kids only think of themselves. Are we as educators aware of the role we play in making that connection or in other words making learning relevant? Fall Creek Middle School presented their idea of “Forging Community-Student Relationships through Project-Based Learning.

Fall Creek Middle School’s Real World Connections focus on:

• Student Interest

• Student Experience

• Improving Real World

• Relating to Clients

• Interacting with assessors

• Interacting with people who know

Our new Alternative Education program at RJK Middle School is working to bring awareness to these students through creating projects that connect students to their learning while making the community a better place. Awareness of community needs and Awareness of student interest will be the essential starting point for school community improvement projects.

There are so many reasons why #MonticelloRocks! Be on the lookout as the school year progresses for students, staff, volunteers and any other community members who make Monticello rock. Send a photo of this person in action, and 2-3 sentences explaining why he or she rocks to communications@k12mcsd.net and we'll spread the word! Follow @WhyMontiRocks on Twitter to see all the reasons why we rock!

Be Well! Happy October!

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