As the Mount Markham Central School District prepares to begin the 2021-22 school year, Superintendent Joe D'Apice has never been more excited to see students back in the classroom.
"The team has been busy preparing all summer for this year," D'Apice said. "With all the problems from Covid, I'm really looking forward to being an instructional leader again."
Last summer D’Apice started his role as the district’s superintendent. Unfortunately for D'Apice, the pandemic prioritized most of his focus.
Keeping students safe and healthy has always been his number one priority, but the additional energy and work required to navigate quarantines and contact tracings drew his focus away from a more integrated experience with the District.
"I was hoping last year was just a weird anomaly with Covid," D'Apice said. "My passion has always been instructional leadership. I don't know how much different this year is going to be.
“The main priority has been keeping the school open and keeping students healthy. As much as we want Covid to be over with, I think managing that and mitigating the risk is our primary focus," he said.
Despite the overhanging problem of the pandemic, the MMCSD is ready for students' return.
"We're really excited about the federal funds reaching school districts recently," D'Apice said. "That opens the door for a lot of opportunities. We'll offer an after-school and before-school program for students. We'll have a lot more research based intervention to close those gaps created during Covid."
D'Apice stressed the importance of offering those programs as well as the summer program for students.
"We had at-risk students and these programs were targeted for them," D'Apice said. "Over 10 percent of our student population was in over the summer, and what we experienced last year was subpar at best. With this federal funding, it allows us to think outside the box to help our kids."
In any other circumstance, a first year as a Superintendent...