Is H1N1 at Randolph Central?

For the first time today, our attendance has taken a dip which may or may not indicate that our turn for H1N1 at Randolph Central School is here. We are up to 14% absent in our elementary school as compared to last week when we averaged 7% and we’re at 11% in the high school when we averaged 5.6% last week. We’ll watch our numbers closely this week to see if today is an anomaly or a trend.

What we do know is that we have some children who have been identified to have Influenza A. This may also indicate H1N1. Either way, it’s important that we again review what will help prevent the spread and possibly the severity of the flu–stay home if you’re sick and stay home early in the illness.

I’ve been reading about H1N1 since last year and listening to my colleagues who’ve had it affect their school districts before ours so that we can learn as much as possible. This doesn’t make me an authority on the topic but with responsibility for our entire school community, I need to be well informed. Please realize that if you have questions or concerns specific to H1N1, you should contact your family doctor.

Here are some things that I’ve learned from listening to my colleagues and from reading sources such as the guidance from the CDC which you can read here. We recently included guidance about H1N1 in our school newsletter too.

  1. Stay home when sick.  Flu symptoms may include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. In H1N1 flu infection, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.
  2. Wash your hands frequently.We have Beverly Bennett from the Cattaraugus County Health Department coming in to work with our PK-3 students for a hand washing clinic in our elementary school on October 21, November 2 and 4 .
  3. We are routinely and effectively cleaning all of the rooms in our buildings.
  4. Based on the guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health, it is highly unlikely that we will close school.

Stop, Drop & Roll with These Third Graders

Check out this WONDERFUL way that teacher Kevin Hind found to use technology to engage kids and help them to OWN THE CONTENT. I particularly love the way these third graders work hard to come up with something unique in each answer. It also allows our parents to see what’s happening first hand and besides, who can’t use a reminder of fire safety lessons?

Randolph Elementary Third Graders Rock and Roll!

Can’t We Do It Ourselves?

IMG_0047Can’t we do it ourselves?” This was the question I asked months ago when talking to Mark Voorhees, our district’s construction manager from Campus Construction about the landscaping outside of our new addition. We could have included the work as part of our capital project and paid for a professional landscaping company but that would have totaled $15,000-$20,000. That amount seemed exorbitant to me–I’m a gardener!–and we could buy a lot of technology equipment for classrooms with that much money. Well, much to my surprise and delight, Mark Voorhees came back to me about a month later and asked, “were you serious about doing the landscaping? Because I think we could do it.”

With Mark on board volunteering his effort (and let me say now that Mark worked harder than anyone else the last two days) and a crew of willing teenagers working at Randolph Central this summer through Chautauqua Works, we figured we could tackle it. Dave Davison, our high school principal climbed on board, and we had an honest to goodness work crew. Unskilled, yes–enthusiastic, definitely.

Our Work Crew

That left finding a local nursery where we could buy our plants and materials and John O’Brien at Robert’s Nursery in Falconer came through in every imaginable way. He sold us everything at 10% off but better yet he hand drew a design for each of the nine beds, delivered everything and brought three of his men (thanks Troy, Dean and Richard!)  to teach us the proper way to plant it all—for no extra charge. It certainly helped that the whole Robert’s Nursery crew graduated from Randolph Central! Total cost? $4000. Quite a bit better than the projected $15,000-20,000 to hire someone to come in and do it, don’t you think?

As a bonus, I got to know Steven, Tim, Cody, Jeremy, and Travis better. They worked right alongside us for two full days, in the pouring rain Wednesday and in the resulting mud Thursday.  We’ve got one more day’s worth of work today but I’d say it was worth it in every way. I returned home physically exhausted, filthy dirty and feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride in our buildings that will last a long time. We still have construction going on so it’s not quite the show place it will be with the port-a-john, dumpster and cement mixer blocking the view, but it will be.

Randolph has always taken great pride in our facilities. I’m hoping that the beautiful gardens we’ve created together will perpetuate that feeling and perhaps soften the disappointment so many felt when the steel siding first went up. Following, have a look at our progress, but better yet–stop by and see for yourself. We hope to finish this afternoon when the rain lets up.

MANY, MANY THANKS TO THE ENTIRE CREW! You gave us something worth taking care of and so much better than beds of grass to mow.

Work on Entry DriveIMG_0054IMG_0050Working As A TeamGarden by Robert'sEntrance to the New Technology Addition

Lady Cardinals at State Finals

I couldn’t make it to States this weekend to support our Lady Cardinals Softball Team in the State Finals, but I may as well have changed my plans because it’s all I can think about this morning. I’m heading to the Arts and Crafts festival early and hoping to catch it on Jamestown radio station 101.9.

I wonder if all of Randolph is thinking about our girls this morning? It’s such an incredible opportunity and Randolph has had it time and time again. I’ve been to the State Finals for wrestling and it’s an amazing experience. All of their hard work and dedication carrying our athletes to the finals–just goes to show that our kids can accomplish anything. State finals, admittance to the best universities, any career they can can imagine. I hope they see at least a glimmer of their potential. That’s probably the most important thing they learn during their K-12 years. Are you helping them see that potential or squelching it? Thank you to every single member of our community that’s working hard every day to help them see it.

Play hard and have fun today Lady Cardinals!