Yorktown Schools Chief Wishes Students 'Rewarding' New School Year

Regarding school renovations, Dr. Ralph Napolitano writes than "an amazing amount of work has occurred over a short period of time and we are very pleased with the progress."

As Yorktown students prepare to set foot in school next week and begin the 2012-2013 school year, Yorktown Superintendent Dr. Ralph Napolitano writes a letter to his students and their parents, wishing them a "rewarding" school year.

In his letter his updates the community on what projects officials have been working on over the summer – installing the new turf field and running track, designing a new security entrance, changing all hallway ceilings and lights, and placing new lockers at the high school.

Napolitano said he looks forward to welcoming the children back to school at the . 

Here is his letter as posted on the school district's website:

Dear Parents and Students, 

I hope that you are well and enjoying the summer. As always, this summer we have been busily preparing for the return of our students. The high school and middle school campus has been a particularly busy place since many renovations are occurring there. At the High School, a new security entrance has been designed to further ensure our students’ safety. All hallway ceilings and lights have been changed and the students will have new lockers. The building looks very impressive and quite new in appearance. Additionally, the new turf field and running track are being installed which include upgraded and updated drainage to prevent flooding in these areas. An amazing amount of work has occurred over a short period of time and we are very pleased with the progress. 

All of our other buildings have been cleaned, polished and shined in anticipation of our staff and student return. The maintenance and custodial staff has been attentive to every detail and specification outlined by the building administrators, teachers and the Director of Facilities and Grounds. All buildings have had security alarm systems installed and ready to be activated. Although minor renovations have occurred everywhere around the District, as you read, the major work occurred at the High School building this summer. 

During the summer, the Board of Education presented its goals and as customary, the administrators designed an action plan to ensure that the goals would be implemented and completed by June, 2013. As is always the case, the Board goals are focused on curriculum and instruction, finance, communication, technology and facilities. Curriculum and instruction initiatives reflect new State mandates and Board policies. Technology and facility upgrades are attentive to 21st century learning standards that will better prepare our students for life after Yorktown. We are very excited about the children returning and beginning the 2012-2013 school year. 

As I have always done in the past, I am writing a message that I hope you will consider and take to heart for the new school year. As you have read before, I always enjoyed the writing of the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia. What I particularly liked and related to was his attention to strong family and community values, the importance of friends and the need for all of us to consider how we can contribute and make a difference in the world. He always wrote about everyday life situations and occurrences that all of us could have experienced and can definitely relate to. I would like to share one of my favorite Dr. Buscaglia life lessons with you and your children. It makes good sense to me and I hope also to you. 

In an excerpt from the book The Best of Bits and Pieces edited by Arthur F. Lenehan, Buscaglia speaks about his admiration for the late Julia Child who many of you will remember as a great TV chef. Before Rachael Ray, Lidia, the Iron Chef and Emeril Lagasse there was Julia Child. Recalling a story about her, Buscaglia tells his readers that he loved Julia’s attitude. “Not only is she a great chef, but she has a wonderful outlook on life.” Buscaglia explains that on a particular evening, he was watching Child prepare a soufflé on television. His eventual point is that millions of other viewers were watching her too. He said that Julia immediately gets to work beating and whisking and scrambling and dropping things on the floor, just like we do at home. “Julia does everything in a wonderfully human manner.” As the soufflé is baking, Child makes small talk with the audience and then says, “Okay, it is ready.” Wouldn’t you know the oven is opened only to reveal a collapsed soufflé. Consider this is all going on live and in front of a studio audience. Then Buscaglia makes his point. Child does not go bonkers; she does not cry and sink into a depression. She does not carry on for everyone watching to see. Instead, she simply says “Oh well, you cannot win them all, better luck tomorrow, Bon appetit!” And, then she simply digs in. 

Buscaglia’s point is a poignant one. He sees what just occurred as a reminder that this is the way we need to live our lives too. Instead of constantly beating ourselves up, regretting the past, worrying about the future, etc.; we simply should say “Bon appetit” and move forward. We are not perfect people; we are going to make mistakes, but tomorrow we will have a chance at the “new soufflé” called life. Take it easy and take it one day at a time. 

Julia Child has three gifts that Buscaglia alludes to and that make so much sense to me. Child has a positive attitude; she is absolutely resilient and she keeps it in perspective. What better gifts can you give to your children this year: a positive attitude, resilience and perspective. Always endeavor to keep small matters small and don’t exaggerate their importance. I remember as a child when I made something larger than it really was, my mother’s response was always the same. She said, “Tonight my prayer is going to be that this is the biggest problem you face in your life. If that be the case, you will have the greatest life ever.” I got the point and message. This was a small matter and I needed to keep it small. Swindoll once said “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Always stay in charge of your attitude.” 

This is my message to you for this year. Like Buscaglia and Child, we will all make mistakes, poor choices and not always perform to our standard. Rather than get ourselves or more importantly our children down or overly upset, why not make “Bon appetit” the euphemism for “tomorrow will be a better day;” we will fix it, improve it, change it and do it over again tomorrow, but for today “Bon appetit!” 

I will look forward to seeing all of you on September 5, 2012. I can’t wait to welcome your wonderful children back. I wish you a very rewarding year ahead. I have missed you over the summer. 

With warmest regards, 

Dr. Ralph Napolitano 

Confused September 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Dear Dr. Napolitano, I am writing to you in the hopes that perhaps this school year will be different. Perhaps you, your administrators, staff and teachers will teach our children about life. What it means to save a penny. How not to be wasteful with your parents' tax dollars. How, although important a turf field and running track might be, it pales in comparison to one's safety and learning capacity. Teach them about bullying. That goes for adults too. I would like to see you take charge and reduce the redundancies we see. Stop sending the same mailings to homes with more than one student in a house hold. Reduce the number of staff members it takes to do the same job. Make teachers that have been in the school system work to earn their extraordinary salaries instead of coasting to their retirements and golden pensions. Hire new teachers to replace those that don't want to work. Take a salary cut for yourself and your deputy superintendent of schools. Many of us are out of jobs, disabled or old. By law we have to keep paying school taxes and hence your wasteful spending. We can't keep affording you a better life style than we live. Do something for us for a change!
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