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Superintendent Updates

Aaron Johnson high fiving students

Feb. 1, 2024

Dear Families:

I hope the new year is off to a good start for your family as we move into February. Our students and our staff often deal with more illness in winter months, so I hope this finds you healthy. We have several updates and highlights below, but I wanted to share a couple directly from me.

The first, and most important, is a sincere request of parents/caregivers of students at our junior and high school levels. Based on behavior data and student feedback, vape use by students continues to pose a significant health risk. According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control in 2021, almost 40% of surveyed students reported vape use. The Truth Initiative which is America’s largest nonprofit public health organization reports the following health issues related to vapes and e-cigarettes:

  • Users have double the odds of being diagnosed with depression
  • Vaping worsens symptoms of depression
  • Nicotine use is significantly associated with higher levels of conditions like ADHD

Please have a conversation with your child about the dangers of vaping. I know it may be uncomfortable, but as you can see, it’s vital. Years ago, vaping was initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking. It is not – and we continue to learn of even more about the damaging health effects, especially for our youth.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the flavors and stabilizers in e-cigarettes can cause unknown inflammation to delicate lung tissue and it is sometimes irreversible. In extreme cases, people have died. If you need assistance or guidance, we have counselors who can help. Need to take a first step? Contact your building Principal to help guide you in the right direction. Thank you.

February is Black History Month. Students will be learning and celebrating Black History this month and beyond through planned instruction and building activities. Black History is one of eight Heritage months in our district, kicking off with Hispanic/Latine month in September. You can read more about that below.

Finally, this Sunday is the Polar Plunge at Ontario Beach State Park. It supports a great cause – Special Olympics, New York – and I am so proud that almost 80 students and staff signed up to participate and we’ve already broke the $6,000 mark in donations! It genuinely shows how much we care, how even being a little cold – or uncomfortable – can make a difference.

To read the rest of this update, click here

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools