Roy M. Seitsinger, Jr., Ph.D., Superintendent
Welcome to Preston Public Schools
In my second year as Superintendent of Preston Public Schools it is important to recognize what a great community Preston is and what a wonderful group of students, families, and staff we work with every day. In the 2017-2018 school year the district accomplished much. The Board of Education set the first ever Strategic Plan. The Plan will guide the district over the next five years. There are seven major areas of focus: A. Safety and Wellbeing, B. High Quality Learning Environments, C. Curriculum and Instruction, D. Community Partnerships, E. Branding/Marketing, F. District Operations, and G. Technology. The work will be embedded in a learning environment that holds in its center the whole child. We also were able to approve a five-year capital improvement plan that will help maintain a quality learning environment and repair district assets. The Board implemented a new budget process, initiated a complete policy review, created a Finance Committee, and endeavored continuous transparency for all its processes. Our overall partnership and cooperation with the town has deepened.
When we think of our important choices about children we reflect on the following metaphor. The Palm: A metaphor being used in our district to keep us focused on our core mission is shared in the following way: Hold your palm out in front of you and visualize the face of a person you love. Place that visualization in the palm of your hand and gently close your hand. Bring your closed hand close to your heart and remember this: Whenever you are making a decision about children, recall what you hold close to your heart and in the palm of your hand. If you make decisions based on the one you love and hold so dear you will never go wrong. You will always do well by the children in your care.
As a school district, it is evident that the entire team of educators, parents, and community members are committed to ensuring student well-being, quality learning experiences, and the simple joys of life for all children. This commitment is demonstrated through a supportive district budget, a dedicated staff, and community leaders that recognize the importance of a 21st century education. It is my honor and privilege to support, continue, and expand on, the many positive attributes of Preston Public Schools.
Our two school buildings, Preston Veterans’ Memorial School (PK-5) and Preston Plains Middle School (6-8) enroll a little over 440 students. Upon completion of the eighth grade program, Preston students have the high quality options of attending Norwich Free Academy (Designated High School), Ledyard High School, Ledyard Agri-Science High School, Grasso Vocational Technical High School, Norwich Vocational-Technical High School, New London Science and Technology Magnet High School, or Marine Science Magnet High School.
The district will continue to place emphasis on developing a strong school-home partnership and partnerships with the greater community. Parents are welcome in our schools and play an active role as evidenced by the presence of parent volunteers and two active parent-teacher organizations. Our efforts always pay dividends and complement our sustained commitment to the 4 C’s – communication, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration.
As Preston Public School District moves forward I thank you for visiting this website. It is one of many methods we use to communicate our student centered mission. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like further information about Preston Public Schools. Be safe. Be well.
Central Office Directory
Roy Seitsinger, Jr., Ph.D. - Superintendent
Carmela F. Smith. Ed.D. - Special Education Director
John Spang - Finance Director, Freedom of Information Act Officer
Victoria Schwery - Fiscal Assistant
Mike House - Director of Maintenance
Gloria Homiski - Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent
Margie LePage - Administrative Assistant to the Special Education Director
What Happens on Snow Days
What Happens at My House on Snow Days Redux
(Read: Weather Days)
As many have noticed, weather patterns are changing, appearing more erratic and more extreme. We have advised families to always have a foul weather plan ready to implement as we respond to many nuances of weather influenced decisions.
At my house (and every superintendent’s home), on a “non-routine weather day,” I hop out of bed at 4 AM (meaning I did not sleep well and am likely already awake), and contact the Director of Transportation and Supervisor of Building and Grounds. (Their not great sleepers either)! We review the current status – heat, roads, busses etc. If the weather is questionable I may also contact our local troopers and the First Selectman. The First Selectman also comes into play especially if road conditions are impacted by wind damage, limbs down or power outages. I also review the most current weather forecast through a web-based app and a retired military meteorologist that has volunteered to advise superintendents through the issuing of an email report. I then start to reach out to our local cadre of superintendents. We review each other’s readiness and almost always promise to call back to confirm our decisions. Of course, our first assessment is based on the readiness of the high schools, especially NFA. As Norwich public schools goes, so goes NFA. This has a significant influence on us because the high school routes must run first.
While ruminating our four AM status utmost in our minds is student safety, family routines - especially for parents that work, and also staff that are about to get on the road. The first school bus typically leaves the yard at 5:45 AM. That means that our mechanic, Director, and drivers need to be at the garage no later than 5 AM. Thus their capacity to drive safely from home must be considered. It is important to have a decision on or before 5:30 AM. Of course, deciding the night before is the best, but not always practical. The tension between New England weather patterns, having 184 days of instruction, and staff, family and student obligations is taught. In the end there is coordination with many aspects of our greater learning community and municipal resources.
After the decision is made we implement our media blitz. A Blackboard connect message is sent. TV, radio and media posts are implemented. I post on Twitter. Gloria covers the web page and other local outlets. The information is sent to the media, such as WFSB and WCTY, who list the school cancellations or delays. Of course, we have a backup phone tree that we can use as well.
If you see NFA listed, Preston Public Schools will have the same cancellation or delay of usually 2 hours. If Preston has a delay or cancellation, all schools we transport to are automatically on 2-hour delay or cancellation for transportation. It is very rare that we would have a 90-minute delay, folks seem to struggle with the math. One hour delays tend to have little impact so 2-hour delays seem much cleaner.
None of this considers the dynamics of “routine” daily adjustments that must be made based on vehicle performance or students changing addresses or driver absence. This is handled with expertise by our transportation director.
We encourage all staff not to make predictions to students on days before a storm arrives about school closings or delays. We live in New England where the weather can change rapidly from snow to no snow, ice to no ice, depending on the temperature.
In the end, our purpose is to have our children and staff be as safe and as comfortable as possible, so that they can experience undistracted positive learning in an environment that is secure, warm, and dry, lack of sleep notwithstanding!