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Rumble of Thunder—Moving forward

December 14, 2017Photo of Dr. Hughes

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

– Socrates

As we all know, change can be difficult. As humans, we are conditioned to fight or flight when confronted by danger. For many, this can include the uncomfortableness, fear or anxiety that change may bring. However, there is a third option when confronted with change; move towards it and accept it.

Over the past few years, there have been many changes. Central Valley was born out of the economic need to change by the merger of two long-time rivals. We are currently deep into a capital project to provide all our Thunder with facilities that will support their growth throughout the 21st century. We have teachers and staff on the cutting edge of technology integration in the classroom. It has not been about the technology but about how it can change the role of teacher and student. Simply using the methods of stand and deliver but with shiny technology will not successfully prepare our Thunder for the future. A focus on personalized learning is making that happen. True transformation and measurable success is taking place thanks to your efforts.

To better prepare our Thunder, we have constantly looked to improve what we do. There are easy decisions like adding our Naval program or adding AP/college courses so our students can even compete with students in far wealthier communities. The tough decisions are those that
require us to tear down the silos that separate classrooms, grade levels and content areas from each other. The changes to a team teaching and collaborative model have not been easy but they are clearly benefiting our students and each other. By working together, we are able to learn and
grow professionally, even though it’s never easy to admit we don’t know everything. That’s what change and growth is all about.

I can’t help but smile every time I enter a classroom to see our students learning from great teachers or as our students discover their passion through extracurricular activities. That personal connection with our students is the key to what we do. It’s why we added benchmarking and
BrightBytes to determine how to help each student succeed. Every single person, whether they are a teacher, aide, bus driver, custodian, food service worker, secretary or administrator, can and does have an impact on the lives of our Thunder. The question is whether the story that child
tells someday, after they have grown and moved on in life, is filled with laughter and love or contempt due to a bad experience. We make that choice every single day by how we deal with the daily pressures and life’s tribulations. We must keep the focus on what is best for our Thunder, not adult issues that simply confuse our educational mission.

In our daily lives, we are confronted with choices whether to continue doing things the same way or to step outside each of our comfort zones and accept new challenges. Coming to the “valley” was a challenge for me and a huge change. I was leaving a place where my children were born,
and made many wonderful friendships, some that I know will last a lifetime. Once at CV I was overwhelmed by the kindness of so many here. That’s not to say we haven’t had any disagreements but those are easily overcome when we focus on what is important, our Thunder.

The time has come for me to step outside my comfort zone once again. As was reported in the Buffalo News yesterday, I will be taking over as the superintendent for Frontier, Home of the Falcons, at the end of January. This will again bring significant changes not only for my family and I but for each of you as well. Immediately there will be many unanswered questions about what the future holds for CV. I have no doubt that if Central Valley stays on the educational and fiscal path we set over the past couple years, Central Valley will continue to improve and rise to the top in the valley. I want to thank each of you for being a part of my life and allowing me to be a tiny part of yours. No matter where life might take the Hughes clan, Central Valley and Thunder pride will be in our hearts.

Rich