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Stepping In Where Needed

As one of the tasks to complete the quest of hiking all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks, Anthony Sirianni tackled three mountains in one day.

“It was a tough hike,’’ he said of the 20-mile day.

When Sirianni talks to Clinton Central School students about the hardships of staying on course to complete their goals, he speaks from experience.

Sirianni started his new job as one of the district’s social workers at the start of 2021. A graduate of New Hartford, SUNY Poly and Syracuse University, Sirianni comes to Clinton after seven years working with students in iCamp.

Through that, and having played vs. Clinton as a lacrosse player for Whitesboro and then New Hartford, plus enjoying hikes in Root Glen, Sirianni he knew the area and district.

“I can hit the ground running,’’ he said. “When I heard the position came open I jumped at it because I know what a great district this is.’’

Taking on the task of a new job as a social worker in a school district during a pandemic brings a number of sets of challenges. Sirianni said the key, no matter what else is happening, is communication.

“I am building those strong ties with kids, parents and the faculty,’’ he said.

“Video chats and over the phone as well. Being new does actually help because I can introduce myself to the students and I’m someone new they can talk to.’’

The majority of his day, Sirianni said, is assessing how students are doing.

“Being inside at home develops social isolation,’’ he said. “Loneliness is a health crisis in itself.

“There is a great impulse to be social at that stage. So they use technology to fill in from being together,’’ he said.

Students are used to having structure and separation in their lives, which have been erased or blurred, Sirianni said. “Home was home, school was school. Now home is also school.

“That comes with distractions and challenges no one thought about a year ago. Some parents are working from home or able to be home. Others not, so the students have to manage themselves,’’ he said.

While much focus is on what students are missing out on, Sirianni said there is reason to highlight what they are learning. “They are becoming self-directed, self-managers, the value of getting outside and enjoying a walk by themselves….


The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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