It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2016-2017 school year. In partnership with our supportive community, our mission is to ensure the success of all of our Commack students. Our focus continues to center upon a choice of academic paths and myriad opportunities for social growth through athletics, clubs, and volunteer work that supports and prepares all of our children for whatever they would like to accomplish in their futures.
Our students' awards and accomplishments reflect our values as a school community, and go beyond easy-to-measure indicators. Most of our graduates (98%) go on to college, earning over $45 million in scholarship grants. The Class of 2016 boasted National Merit Finalists, Intel Finalists, President's Award winners, athletic championships, and national and international honors and awards for art, music, science, math, engineering, history, and writing. We are fortunate to attract educators of the highest quality to motivate and mentor our students on a daily basis. Our expanded course offerings at the High School include the International Baccalaureate Program, AP classes, and college level (for credit) courses. This work was recognized by the District Administration publication which named Commack as a "District of Distinction." From kindergarten to high school, we are teaching our students to think critically and globally, and to find solutions to complex problems.
Advocacy efforts to reduce mandated testing continue, led by our Board of Education, PTAs, and administration, and we are making some headway, but we need to increase the pressure on our elected officials. I have personally testified at the local, state, and federal levels for a fair alternative and to increase local control of the process. Valuable classroom time is lost in preparation, administering, and grading these tests, causing unnecessary and unfunded expenses for school districts. I urge all parents and community members to join us as we lobby for relief from high stakes testing.
Technologically speaking, we look forward to unveiling our new Commack School District Website in the fall, and the integration of Office365, a Microsoft platform that ensures student and staff data privacy, our top priority in the academic environment. We upgraded our technology infrastructure and software to build capacity for the increased use of mobile devices, and are adding the necessary hardware to provide a robust and dependable computing environment.
Communication between parents, staff, and community member is of the utmost importance. Stay in touch with us! I urge parents and guardians to update contact information on the Parent Portal, and to opt in for text messaging and non-emergency phone calls. Community members can also sign up for emails and text messages so that we can inform you of the many school, community events, and opportunities.
I look forward to another great school year, as we nurture our students’ love of learning and continue to be amazed by their discoveries and accomplishments. Please know that I welcome your ideas and input, and that you can contact me directly at any time. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald James, Ed.D
Superintendent, Commack Schools