Letter from the Principal

Brandon Wojcik

Good Afternoon North Collins Jr.-Sr. High School Families,

Welcome to November, ending what has been one of the most miserable and wet Octobers I can remember. By the time you read this article, we will be close to completing our first quarter of the school year. The end of each marking period is a time for celebrating accomplishments for many of our students. But for some, the thought of the mailman delivering a progress report to the house inspires fear and anxiety. When you pair that with the fallout of the last 18 months, there is the potential for kids to lose sight of what’s really important, and that’s their mental health and emotional well-being. I have shared with you previously our commitment to work through the negative academic influence this pandemic has had on our children for the past 18 months. Now I want to take a minute to let you know about some of the things we are planning to combat the social and emotional impact this experience has had on them.

Extracurricular Clubs - We have allocated grant funding to increase our extracurricular budget in order to allow for more and frequent after school clubs and activities. Teachers have done a great job creating new clubs and other opportunities for students to get involved and socialize with peers over similar interests. We had an all school club fair the day of homecoming, where kids had an opportunity to browse different booths and sign up for what interests them. Class advisors will also be organizing 4 grade level, after school activities throughout the year. This kicked off (literally) yesterday with a kickball game between the sophomores and juniors. Please help us get your student involved, these clubs make a difference and have a huge impact on their emotional well-being.

Field Trips - I have directed our staff to plan all field trips as we would in a normal year. For field trips requiring a financial contribution from parents, we are requiring travel insurance just in case. If we don’t at least plan for these trips, we know they won’t happen. This includes our 8th grade field trip to Washington, D.C. Our 10 th graders were to be the first recipients of this grant funded educational adventure back in 2020, and we haven’t forgotten them. This year we are planning to take both the 8th grade and 10th grade students to our nation’s capital. We will continue to follow state and local regulations and support these trips as long as we can continue to do it safely.

Team-Building Activities - In another effort to promote the social and emotional well-being of our students, we used grant funds to take each grade level to a ropes course. A team from the YMCA at Camp Weona helped the kids with team building skills geared towards helping them make connections with one another, increase motivation, encourage creativity and improve communication. These trips were a huge success and we received great feedback from the students. We are working on their request to make this a yearly event.

Dances and other events - We had over 130 kids attend our welcome back fun and games night on the turf. Our homecoming parade and girls’ soccer game under the lights was also a huge hit and very widely attended. Thanks again to Winter’s Rigging for providing the lights for this game and the outdoor welcome back night. I am also very grateful to the North Collins Community for coming out and supporting these “get back to normal” events. Your continued support means so much to our staff and students. We also successfully and safely executed our first indoor dance, opening up the possibilities for more events.

Peer Mentoring and Peer Tutoring - This year our building will be engaging in another new experience for students. Our new Peer Mentoring program will provide students in grades 7-9 with strong and stable mentor relationships that will positively influence their experience and development. This program will also provide students with the motivation and opportunity for greater engagement in the school community, which leads to a greater success academically and socially. Support and guidance will be provided by upperclassmen leaders in grades 10-12, who will be fully trained in the roles and responsibilities as mentor. The tutoring program will follow shortly thereafter, keep an eye out for this opportunity.

College course credit opportunities - Our amazing teachers worked hard this summer to offer even more opportunity for college credit. Federal grants are also allowing us to pay for these opportunities over the next 3 years. We have been fortunate to add Canisius College, SUNY Fredonia and Hilbert College to our list of post-secondary partners. Students can be awarded college credit for 13 classes before they graduate, most of which are transferable to other colleges. That’s an entire year of college with no cost to students or families. Please contact the guidance department to sign up for these opportunities. A year of college can cost families between $15,000 and $30,000 in tuition alone, so please take advantage.

This has been a tough 18 months for all of us. Although I can’t guarantee everything we are planning this year will be able to happen, I thought it was important for you to know that everyone here is committed to taking care of our students and making sure we are addressing their needs on all fronts. As always, we appreciate any feedback or suggestions you have on how we can continue to serve the needs of our kids and our community.

Regards,

Brandon Wojcik-Principal

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