Hello Watkins Glen School Community!
I would like to give you an update on the status of our sports team's name and mascot here at WG. I first communicated on this topic in January of 2022. That newsletter can be found at this link.
In November, I communicated that the New York State Education Department (NYSED) ordered that all school districts in the state (who have yet to do so) to remove native mascots and associated imagery from the public school system.
At that time, I stated, “we have heard that our proactive decisions (see the link above) are on track with the State’s directive [; however, we were] advised to pause all work on this topic until we receive additional guidance from NYSED.”
Last week, we began to receive the guidance referenced above. I was notified that the Indigenous Education Mascot Advisory Group was formed, and things were moving fast.
I was encouraged to develop a summary and timeline of the intentional actions taken by our District to move away from indigenous imagery. I did so on March 3, 2023. This morning (3.8.2023), I received word from NYSED that the Advisory Group would not sign off and approve our use of “Senecas” as a team name due to the history and its connection with an Indigenous Nation.
Over the next few weeks, the District will be developing a draft action plan to share with the Board of Education, and it will be our goal to meet all timelines set forth by NYSED to retire “Senecas” as the name of our athletic teams.
While I realize this action may evoke a host of emotions, it is critical that we keep our focus on what matters, the students of our wonderful school community.
I believe this is a significant opportunity for our students and school stakeholders to have a lasting and positive impact on our District. It is my sincere hope that rather than dividing our community, we will all come together to do something historic and great!
As always, you will be communicated with as we move this process forward.
Thank you for your continued support.
Watkins Glen Central School District
Superintendent of Schools