October 2018 

Dear Sackets Harbor Central School Community, 

We begin each school year with a review of our District’s Mission which is to empower our students to embrace life’s challenges with knowledge, character, and a commitment to learning as they become contributing citizens in the American democratic way of life.  We hope to fulfill this mission working alongside our parents and families, businesses, civic organizations, and local higher education institutions.  Each new school year brings a fresh start and a renewed focus on our District’s goals and we are looking forward to what lies ahead in this 2018-2019 school year!   

Speaking of what lies ahead, our Eleventh Annual Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 9th starting at 8:15 am. All community members are invited to attend as we pay tribute to active and retired members of all branches of our Armed Services.  The American Legion Auxiliary and our District invite any and all members of our school community to join us in giving thanks to these brave and dedicated men and women.          

As much as I don’t want to remind you that winter weather is right around the corner, winter weather looms near.  This is the perfect time of year to finalize your winter/emergency plans should the need arise for a delayed opening, closure, or early dismissal due to inclement weather or emergency situations.  All parents/guardians should receive a notification from Sackets Harbor Central School in the event of a delay, early dismissal, cancellation, or closure.  If you do not receive the notification via email, text, or phone call, please contact the school to have this rectified.  All weather related notifications are also shared via our Facebook Page and with local radio stations, with the Watertown Daily Times ( and with Newzjunky (  You can visit any of these sites to get the latest information on school closures, delays, cancellations, or early dismissals.  These decisions are not always easy but they are always made, first and foremost, on the basis of safety.   I thank you in advance for your support and understanding with this process.

The Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff have been very busy this fall working on variety of projects to ensure that our school district is the best it can be for our community.  The Capital Project continues to make great headway.  Phase I is nearly complete and we have initiated the Phase II portion of the project.  We made a number of improvements to enhance building efficiencies as well as the safety and security of our school community.  For instance, new locksets were placed on all doors to ensure a quicker and more efficient lockdown response.  There will be additional safety-focused efforts in Phase II.  Please visit our website ( and click on Capital Improvement Project Updates under the “District” heading for a full description of the project and the latest updates.  

SHCSD will soon be submitting the Expanded Pre-Kindergarten Grant with hopes of being awarded in November 2018.  Should we be awarded grant funds, we are required, under the conditions of the grant, to begin the program in January 2019.  In anticipation of this possibility, we are asking our school community to spread the word.  We may have eighteen slots to fill and need folks to start thinking about this possibility.  While there are no guarantees, we remain optimistic as we are one of the few schools in New York State still without a Pre-Kindergarten Program. 

We are wrapping up tax season, monitoring our current budget and working on the start of the 2019-2020 budget.  We would like to recognize Margaret Kelly, School District Tax Collector, for continuing to do a wonderful job ensuring a smooth and efficient collection process.  The District and Village of Sackets Harbor again supported a shared-municipal agreement to have tax collection take place in Village Offices.  This has allowed for increased hours and a stable location for our residents.  Thanks to Mayor Reilly and to the Village Counsel for their continued support of this agreement.  

I want to take a moment to also recognize those community members who go above and beyond for our District. Our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) led by Brenda Derouin, Leslie Gayne, Kathy McKeever, and Jennifer Hunter work so hard to plan events, activities, and fundraisers to enhance the school experience.  We appreciate their leadership and the volunteerism of many other devoted community members.  From Picture Day to Grandparents’/Special Friends’ Breakfast to Activity Nights, the countless hours they donate is so appreciated. 

Our Booster Club, led by Sarah Derouin, Courtney Brunet, Connie Flint, and Patricia Gibbons continues to raise money to support our student athletes and athletic programs.  This past fall, they organized an under-the-lights Senior Night Game to pay tribute to our seniors.  It was two wonderful nights of night soccer.  Regardless of the outcome of the games, it was a great experience for our athletes and for our spectators.  I thank them and those who have volunteered for our Booster Club. 

The fundraising efforts of Mr. Geraci, SHCS Band Instructor, his students, and our Band Boosters to raise money for the purchase of new marching uniforms is paying off!  It is because of the rigorous efforts of our Band Boosters, including Dean DeVito, Marietta Kitto, and Buffy Peterson, volunteers including Dave and Connie Flint, Joe and Marie Fedorko, Tim Scee, James Blodgett and many others, as well as other community organizations such as Watertown Savings and the Warthogs Motorcycle Club, that we are well on our way to meeting our goal.  Our student marchers may be sporting a new look this spring!

With an eye toward the future, the Board of Education, district administration, faculty and staff hope to can capitalize on our strengths and continually improve to enhance our already outstanding educational program.  I look forward to working with our faculty, staff, and students this year to promote resiliency.  This partnership, combined with a concerted focus on this topic, will support the healthy development and academic achievement of all of our students.  Working together, we can ensure that our students will have the best possible educational experience.     

Sackets Harbor Central School District is a special place and I am humbled and honored to be the superintendent.  We continue to have amazing educators, the most caring staff, a supportive community, and, most importantly, the awesome experience of working with our students each and every day.  I wish you all a wonderful holiday season ahead.  I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming concerts, basketball games, and other events, of which we have no shortage! 

Warmest Wishes,

Jennifer L. Gaffney












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