State of the District

State+of+the+District

Dante Del Vecchio, Contributing Writer

On March 15, 2022, Dr. Michael Hynes presented the first-ever State of the District in Port Washington.  The presentation was held in the Schreiber Auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for an audience that included parents, faculty, students, and board members.  During the live-streamed presentation, which began with a few technical difficulties, Dr. Hynes presented a four-part view of the district to set the stage for future endeavors.  The presentation parts were “By The Numbers,” “The Past (The Audit),”  “The Present (Developing the Plan),” and “The Future (Pursuit of Excellence).”  The speech opened with general remarks, introductions to the Board of Education, and a brief timeline for the future. 

“We’re going to make a really really good school district great,” said Dr. Hynes.

To start off his presentation, Hynes ran through headlining statistics relating to the district, including that Port Washington schools have students enrolled who originate from 41 different countries; he also revealed that there are a total of 5,239 students.  The five elementary schools have between 450 and 520 students each, while Weber has 1,198 students, and Schreiber has 1,648 students.  Hynes summarized his “By the Numbers” slide by discussing the importance of these numbers, as well as how he will ensure that future plans benefit all students. 

The next slide focused on the past as well as the recent audit.  

“We don’t want to dwell on the past,” said Dr. Hynes. 

Still, he maintained that it was important to understand the deep inner workings of the district.  Hynes discussed meetings that he had conducted with various community groups from fall 2019 to winter 2020 and said that these meetings helped form the basis of how he planned to tackle issues.  Key issues were the use of technology, social media, downtime, and developing a social and emotional support system.  Dr. Hynes summarized his points by stating that he felt the district had an immense amount of potential and that he had been hired to change and improve these conditions. 

Dr. Hynes then detailed his plan for the present and his development of what he called his Strategic Plan.  

“Strive for excellence, create consistency, and target desired and refined benchmarks and measurable outcomes for student success,” said Dr. Hynes.  

With applause from the audience, Dr. Hynes announced that Sousa had been selected as a model school for the Ruler SEL emotional intelligence program and that it was only one of six in the world.  Dr. Hynes additionally wanted the students to focus on news beyond Long Island in the form of global updates.  

For the 2022-2023 school year, the superintendent emphasized that the curriculum would be rigorous. 

“We want to challenge students.  We want them to take courses that they never thought they could take before,” said Dr. Hynes.  

There have been several new hires, including Assistant Superintendent and Director of Guidance Lorrie A. Director.  Major initiatives for the next school year include curriculum mapping, diversity work with NYU Metro, a PANORAMA survey for feedback from students, parents, and staff alike, ensuring college preparedness, and filling new positions for the school year.  The initiatives aim to assist students in the forms of improved leadership, risk-taking skills workshops, social responsibility lessons, and more.

“We aren’t fixing the past, we’re embracing the future,” said Dr. Hynes. 

The final section of the speech, “Pursuit of Excellence,” discussed the implementation of the strategic action plan.  

“Everything we do is predicated on our portrait of a graduate,” said Dr. Hynes.  

To improve this portrait of a graduate, Schreiber is increasing professional development and other similar programs.  The aim is to have accomplished these goals by the 2026 school year.  Frequent cabinet and administration meetings are a key part of this plan; in particular, the superintendent explained that he now meets with administrators every week as opposed to monthly.

Dr. Hynes wants next year to be the inception of his Strategic Plan.  Using the PANORAMA survey data as well as surveys of current seniors, Dr. Hynes will adopt the plan.  The Strategic Plan contains many of the same themes Dr. Hynes has mentioned previously, notably a commitment to excellence, global citizenship, and a strong commitment to community.

In the final moments of his speech, Hynes announced the next State of the District, which will focus on the implementation of his Strategic Plan, would take place in fall 2022. 

“It will be very different,” said Dr. Hynes.  

After 45 minutes, the State of the District concluded with Dr. Hynes taking a few questions from the audience and board.