Michael R. Cornell

Mr. Michael R. Cornell
Superintendent of Schools
Follow the Superintendent on Twitter


Wendy Heslink 
Executive Assistant to Superintendent

As the weeks of August turn into early September, our collective attention at home and here at the Hamburg Schools turns towards the dawn of another school year. It is your children who bring the joy to our work and we look forward to welcoming our students back to school on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

I have used this space in the past to talk about the imperative of Modern Learning for all students. I’d like to take this opportunity to talk more specifically about the benefits that modern learning will have on each student, and it is important to begin by stating a couple of the realities that our students will face after they’ve graduated from High School.

  1. Our students will have many different jobs in their lives, most of which don’t exist yet
  2. The requirements placed upon the modern work force and the typical post-secondary learning environment highlight the need for skills and dispositions not traditionally taught or assessed in schools
  3. The world is increasingly characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity

With this in mind, our educators will continue to employ research-based tools and strategies that empower our students for their future by requiring them to:

     • Be creative and critical thinkers

     • Be productive collaborators

     • Be effective communicators

For example, students will be more likely to be confronted in class with authentic and complex problem solving opportunities, designed to invite them to work through uncertainty and confusion. For their part, students will become used to the idea that pushing through frustration and learning from their mistakes in their pursuit of solutions is as highly valued as an “A” on a traditional test. Also, classrooms are starting to look different. Desks are already less likely to be arranged in rows, and, in fact, students are less likely to even be seated at a traditional desk at all. Student choice and student voice, along with more authentic and performance-based assessments, have become prominent features in classrooms from PreK-12.

There is a Chinese proverb which says that society should “not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in a different time.” The core of the Hamburg Central School District’s commitment to educating your child to become a “modern thinker who creates, cares, solves and discovers” (HCSD Vision Statement) is formed by purposefully designed instruction, which includes:

     • Student Agency — students making meaningful choices about their learning. As a result they are collaborating, creating, making and publishing in authentic ways.

     • Self-efficacy — students experience failure as an opportunity to learn through more information, time and resources

     • An emphasis on strong relationships — students have productive, enduring and engaging relationships with their peers and their teachers

2019-2020 marks the third year of our modern learning initiative. Over the course of this time, our focus on instructional strategies that support deep and transferable learning have also yielded outstanding scores on Regents and Advanced Placement exams, as well as on the 3-8 NYS Assessments. Additionally, our students continue to be well equipped to follow the post-secondary option of their choice. 

For more information about our Instructional Commitments, Action Steps and “Look Fors,” please go to and click on the “Strategic Plan” tab. For regular updates on what’s happening in classrooms throughout the school district, and other important news about the Hamburg Central School District, follow me on Twitter @Hamburg_Super. You can also follow our Office of Curriculum and Instruction on Twitter @HCSDLearns.

As always, we appreciate your partnership in the learning and growth of the students of this community. We can’t wait to see your children on the first day of school, which is Wednesday, Sept. 4.


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2019 West Corporation. All rights reserved.