Superintendent's Message

May 26, 2021

Dear Binghamton Families,

The final weeks of the school year are an exciting and joyous time in our buildings, as the growth and learning of our students, and the hard work of our faculty and staff, culminating in the form of well-deserved year-end celebrations. While COVID-19 prevention remains at the top of our minds, it is exciting to be able to once again host in-person events for our students and families. It’s a positive reminder of how far we’ve come since the onset of this pandemic, and it’s wonderful to see light at the end of what’s been a very long tunnel.

While there is plenty to feel hopeful and excited about, it is critical that we don’t discount the fact that this pandemic has profoundly affected the mental health of many individuals and continues to do so. May marks Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a time to fight stigma, offer support, educate the public, and advocate for those living with mental illness. In the Binghamton City School District, we strive to support, educate, and nurture the whole child. Social and emotional health is key to improving student outcomes.

Parenting through a pandemic has been a tremendous challenge, but there have also been some silver linings. Families have enjoyed more time together, and a slower schedule with fewer events and activities to juggle. New challenges will emerge as we gradually emerge from stay-at-home pandemic mode to resuming traditional activities. While many kids are excited to return to school, sports, and social events, others may experience anxiety or feel overwhelmed by the change in routine. It is important to move at a pace that is comfortable for your family.

We must continue to take care of ourselves and those around us. Check-in with your children, friends and family often, for both your benefit and theirs. Connectedness is strongly linked to higher life satisfaction. Build self-care into your daily schedule by exercising, staying hydrated, and eating nutritious foods, but also, finding at least a short time each day doing something that you truly enjoy, such as reading or taking a walk outdoors. Most importantly, if you find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and encourage others to do the same.

As part of the district’s commitment to engage stakeholders and support the social, emotional and academic needs of all students, we are seeking your input into how the district best uses the stimulus funding it will receive over the next three years. These funds can be used to address the mental health of its students, family engagement, addresses academic concerns as a result of lost learning time, and facilities improvement so that our buildings are in the best condition possible in the event of another health threat. Please consider participating in the ThoughtExchange survey, found here.

I hope the upcoming holiday weekend will bring you some time for relaxation, enjoyment, and self-care. You deserve it!

With Patriot Pride,

 Tonia Signature
Tonia Thompson, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools
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