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Superintendent's Message
Massena Central School Board of Education Update
April 22, 2016


Strategic Planning Meetings
 
This week, we began our strategic planning process when a group of 30 parents, teachers, students, Board members, administrators, and community members met together at the Chamber of Commerce building on 4/19-20.  It was a busy two days as we worked with Sean Brady, president of Prism Decision Systems, to develop our mission, vision, and core beliefs that will guide our operations in the future.  The process led to some excellent discussions about the learning environment we want to promote and the expectations we have for staff and students.  Toward the end of the second day we focused on the key measures of success such as student attendance, kindergarten readiness, and graduation rates.   We will be exploring these indicators and others in our second set of meetings on 5/12-13. 
 
I want to thank all of the participants of this important project including Board members John Boyce and Rhonda Rodriguez.  It has been a productive endeavor which has benefitted from the wide range of perspectives within the group.  I am confident the process and product will be helpful in guiding our decisions about programming and operations in the years to come.
 
Here is an article about Sean Brady’s presentation at the Board of Education meeting on Monday night.
 
Massena High School Receives Silver Distinction in US News & World Report
 
This week, we learned that Massena High School was one of only five high schools in the North Country to receive a silver distinction in a report published by US News & World Report.  The ranking is based on student college readiness, student-to-teacher ratios and academic and extra-curricular opportunities. Massena finished 190 out of 1,205 public high schools in New York State.  Congratulations to our students, staff, and community for this prestigious distinction.
 
Here is a link to a Courier Observer article about the report.
 
SUNY Potsdam TESA Conference
 
On Saturday, I participated in the SUNY Potsdam TESA Conference which connects college alumni who have become educational administrators with prospective teachers who are ready to enter the field.  It was an excellent conference which supported the newest crop of educators while also providing the opportunity to meet some prospective candidates in our current hiring process.  College President Esterberg and Alumni Board President Dave Vroman welcomed us to the conference which is being held in the university’s bicentennial year.  I was partnered with a vice-principal from Smith Falls Ontario for our two sessions and learned insights into the current state of affairs in the Ontario education system. 
 
The topics of discussion for the conference included:
 
SESSION I: The Beginning Year: How to Establish Yourself as a Teacher of Excellence

Interviewing tips                                              Job search process
Willingness to relocate                                     Substitute teaching
Being flexible                                                  Graduate school
Making a good first impression                         Experience
Resume                                                          Cover letter
Social Media
 
SESSION II: The Future: How to Continue to Meet the Demands of the Teaching Profession
 
APPR                                                            Observation expectations and process
Common Core                                                 Unions
Goal setting                                                    Faculty meetings
Working with others                                         Parental involvement
Seeking feedback                                           Finding a mentor
Self-assessment   
 
St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Update
 
Below is an update from the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.  It includes information on some upcoming professional development.
Book of the Week:
 
Cell Phones in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Educators
By Liz Kolb

Bring student cell phones out of pockets and backpacks and into the learning environment. Students are walking around with incredible computing power. Their cell phones are calculators, internet browsers, video cameras, calendars, social media devices, and so much more. Why then are educators not taking advantage of these powerful, accessible, and engaging tools in the classroom? Luckily some teachers have started, and through their experiences, you too can learn how to use cell phones to broaden your students’ educational experience and increase motivation and engagement.

In Cell Phones in the Classroom, mobile learning enthusiast Liz Kolb starts out by sharing case studies that illustrate practical ways teachers and administrators from schools around the world are using cell phones for classroom projects, homework assignments, and communication with parents. She also includes resources such as sample lesson plans, tutorials for mobile-supported web 2.0 tools, strategies for involving students without cell phones, and guidance on planning and preparation. After reading through the case studies and lists of web 2.0 resources, you’ll be overflowing with ideas for your own classroom.

Access the full list of available e-books books here.

Please contact your librarian or Kelly Wilson (kelly.wilson@sllboces.org) for the password, and find more useful online books at INFOTRAC.

 
FINAL REMINDERL: SLL BOCES Regional Staff PD Day 4/29
  • The RSE-TAC will be offering two sessions aimed at special educators although both would be valuable to general education classroom teachers. 
    • Designing Around the Edges - Specially Designed Instruction is the intentional and purposeful planning of instruction to ensure that students with disabilities have meaningful access, participation and progress in the general education curriculum.
    • PBIS Overview/Refresher - This overview/refresher is designed for educators interested in implementing PBIS at their school building and/or district and as a review for those currently implementing. 
Audience Offering
Art Teachers PK-12 Art Teacher Regional Conference
Counselors Northern Zone Regional Conference
English Teachers 6-12 Preparing Students for the 21st Century Literacy
Math Teacher 6-12 TBD-Math Teahcer Conference [Still in ear stages]
Music Teachers 6-12 SLMEA Regional Conference
PK-12 Educators NYSCATE Google Summit
Paraprofessionals - Teacher Assistants and Aides Helping Students with Written and Oral Communication (Half Day - AM and PM Sessions)
Paraprofessionals - Teacher Assistants and Aides Back to Basics: Respect and Understanding (Half Day - AM and PM Sessions)
PreK Teachers PreK Teacher Work Session
Physical Education Teachers Physical Education Teacher Regional Conference
Special Education Teachers Designing to the Edges; Creating Meaning: Students with Disabilities
Special Education Teachers Overview of Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS)

 
News From NYSED:

NYS 3-8 ELA and Math Computer Based Field Test Administration Training
  • Questar will facilitate a Test Administration Training webinar on the following dates:
    • Tuesday, May 3 from 10-:00 – 11:30 AM
    • Thursday, May 5 from 3:00 – 4:30 PM
  • Target audience:  District and School Test Coordinators of schools participating in the 2016 3-8 ELA and Math CBT Field Test, as well as district/RIC/BOCES professionals supporting CBT field test administration in Spring 2016.  
  • This training will provide schools, districts, and support professionals with information pertaining to preparation and administration of the 3-8 ELA and Math Computer-Based Field Tests in Spring 2016.  
  • The webinar will include information on:
    • Navigating the Admin site
    • Student/teacher/class data
    • Locating and printing student user names and passwords, access codes and proctor passwords,
    • General best-practices for securely administering an assessment on a computer. 
  • Please note that space is limited; if multiple people will be attending the webinar from the same location, please only register once.  
  • The webinars will be recorded and one recording will be made available for future viewing.
    • To register, please click here.


The School Curriculum Development Network
  • SCDN is pleased to share the spring edition of Learning Leadership, a newsletter focused on the implementation of the new New York State Science Standards.

REMINDER: Counselor of the Year Award
Food for Thought
  • A major theme that has risen to the top of many conversations (Instructional Rounds, Common Core, DTSTE, Science and Social Studies Standards and more) focuses on rigor. 
    • What is rigor?  What is it not?  The article 4 Myths About Rigor in the Classroom provides a short, concise answer to both of these questions and provides a lot of food for thought. 

High School
News & Notes

 
Gateways
 
Each year the high school senior class attends Gateways at SUNY Canton’s Roo House. Gateways is an event where students participate in mock interviews with interviewers from a variety of careers. Mr. Michael Violi, HS English teacher, was on hand to act as an interview. Students are required to create a resume and cover letter to present at interviews for careers they are interested in. Previous to attending, the English teachers provide the students with tips on how to dress, how to introduce themselves and how to answer the interviewers’ questions. With the information they gain from this experience they are required to complete a follow up activity for credit.
 
Spanish National Honor Society
 
Inductions into the Spanish National honor Society were held on April 14, 2016. Students were honored at each level for their high performance in Spanish class and on assessments. Mr. Boyle, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Jarrett were honored by the students for their quality teaching and the impact they have made on each of their lives. Mrs. Brown presented cords to each of the seniors which will be worn by them at graduation. Mr. Boyle reminded us that this was the first of the many awards ceremonies Massena High School has at the end of each year. This is the first reminder that graduation is just around the corner.
 
Parent Teacher Conferences
 
The second Parent Teacher Conferences were held on April 21, 2016 from 4pm-7pm. This is the first year for trying two Parent Teacher Conference dates. One of which replaced Curriculum Night. Admissions officers from Clarkson, SLU, SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam were available to meet with parents. Although attendance was not as high as our November date, teachers still feel it is worthy of continuing. Parents who were in attendance were also in favor of continuing. It’s hard to compete with the first day of warm weather, which may have been a factor.
 
JW Leary Junior High School
News & Notes

 
Tony Cafarella’s 7th grade Social Studies class took a break from learning about the American Revolution, to learn about present day politics. They learned the purpose of a Presidential Primary as well as background information on the candidates. After each student did their research, they had some interesting discussions about who would make the best candidate and why. The final activity was a vote done on a Google form Tuesday. Mr. Cafarella shared the somewhat unpredictable results with his classes on Wednesday as they finished up their research.
 
 
On April 19th, and 20th Anne Root, Dak Zaza and Burt Peck represented the junior high school on the district’s strategic planning committee. Among the items that they worked on are the district’s mission statement, vision statement, and core values. This will be part of an ongoing effort to help chart the future of the MCSD.
 

JH teacher Beth Reyes recently worked with Catherine Donahue to incorporate Plickers into her classroom activity. The lesson was dealing with writing topic sentences and Mrs. Reyes utilized
this technology to enhance the lesson.

 
On April 19, 2016, Physical Education teacher Michelle Trimboli and health teacher Katherine Hayes recently attended training for the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities in St. Lawrence County Initiative.  The Health Initiative and New York State Department of Health have provided a five year grant called "Creating Healthy Schools and Communities in St. Lawrence County." This grant is aimed at reducing major risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses like chronic diseases. 
 
The goal is to implement multi-component evidence-based policies, place-based strategies, and promising practices to increase demand for and access to healthy, affordable foods and opportunities for daily physical activity for all New Yorkers. There are four reasons for focus on schools in this grant: healthy students are better learners, schools can influence eating and physical activity behaviors, healthy, successful students help build strong communities, and all students deserve the opportunity to be healthy and successful.  
 
The strategies for this grant include revising/implementing/assessing local wellness policies to improve the school environment, establishing Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP), and increasing access to healthy, affordable foods and increase school districts' ability to meet federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 nutrition standards for foods sold outside of school meals.
 
On April 21, 2016 Norine Hull’s Earth Science Regents class raked and picked up garbage around the Junior High School in celebration of Earth Day.
 
 

 
 
Career Day                                    April 28, 2016
 
Poverty Simulation                        April 29, 2016
 
Spring Dance                                May 6, 2016
 
Boston Trip (Field                          May 12-15
Experience)
 
 
Jefferson Elementary School
News & Notes

 

 
Battle of the Books Champions
Book Worms

 
Jefferson Elementary is extremely proud of all four of its teams that competed in the annual Battle of the Books competition held at the Massena Public Library on Tuesday, April 19. Students in grades four through six, who were willing to read 20 specific books from a list provided by the North Country Library,  were able to form a team and compete.  We are especially proud of the "Jefferson Book Worms Part II" team. Alorha Shantie, Emmalee Coffin, Brahm deConing, and Alyssa Fountaine will now represent our local area at a competition in Gouverneur. The Book Worms were coached by Jefferson teachers Barb Hewlett and Cathy Dix.  Good Luck Worms!
 
  
 
Friends of Jefferson Family Carnival
The Jefferson Parent Group, Friends of Jefferson, sponsored a Spring Carnival for our families on Friday, April 15. This fun-filled event was very well attended and there was fun had by all. The students competed in games as they collected valuable tickets. These tickets were eventually cashed in for a tasty reward on their way out. Bounce houses, fishing, and tossing games were just a few of the events.

 

 
Spring Recital
 
Jefferson Elementary's Band and Orchestra held their Spring recital on April 20. Students in grades five and six are able to begin their musical instrument career at the elementary level. The Orchestra is directed by Mr. Amalio Pratti and the Wind/Percussion was directed by Mr. Kendrick Beckstead. This performance was especially important as it was the final concert at Jefferson for Mr. Beckstead. He completes his 32 year teaching career at the end of this school year. Thank you Mr. Beckstead.

   

Earth Day
 
Several Jefferson classrooms braved the raindrops on Friday to celebrate Earth day. The students worked cooperatively to pick up garbage from around the school grounds.
 
Math & Movement
 
Jefferson Elementary is hosting a Math & Movement Family Fun Night on Thursday, April 28 from 6-7:30pm. The Math & Movement Family Fun Night is a high energy math and reading event. Children use fun floor mats and wall charts to learn math and reading concepts through movement. At the Family Fun Night, parents will move from station to station with their child while engaging in fun and educational kinesthetic activities. The Family Fun Night boosts math and literacy skills, fosters an "I can do math!" attitude in students, and teaches parents fun ways to tutor children at home.
 

 
Volcano Eruption
 
Students in Ms. Stoffel's Science class finished a mini unit on volcanoes. The students learned to label the parts of a volcano, the types of volcanoes, and types of lava. To finalize the unit, students tested different mixtures of acids and bases. Ms. Stoffel's class ended their volcano unit with a bang by using the mixture that produced the best carbon dioxide lava flow.
 
Jefferson Calendar Events:
 
Wed. April 27             6th Grade Senior Photos
Thur. April 28             Math & Movement Fun Night  6-7:30pm
Fri. April 29                Staff Development Day
Mon. May 2               Tulips for Teachers Day
Tue. May 3                Friends of Jefferson Parent group meeting 6:00pm
Wed. May 4               Grade 5/6 Choral Concert
Fri. May 6                  Jefferson 5/6 grade dance
 
 
Madison Elementary School
News & Notes

 
 

Madison Hosts 4th Annual Grade 6 Astronomy Night

Massena’s “4th Annual 6th Grade Astronomy Night” was held at Madison Elementary School on Wednesday, April 20th.  6th Graders and their families from all three elementary schools were treated to three very special guest presenters, as well as being able to see authentic lunar rocks and meteorites on loan from NASA Johnson Space Center, a space shuttle tile, and a cool “tour” of the night sky in the inflatable Skylab Planetarium.  Guest presenters included Mr. Clark Stearns, local astronomer who showed the students his homemade telescope and taught them about stars, galaxies and the planets in our night sky;  Dr. Joshua Thomas, Astronomy professor from Clarkson University who had the students out of their seats enjoying demonstrations about planets and moons; and Mr. Joel Danko from the Massena Nature Center who taught the students about the constellations in our night sky and shared ancient Greek and Native American legends about those constellations.  The Madison Who Club graciously provided refreshments for the evening.


Students in Mrs. Grewell’s third grade class are blogging! Students are blogging via Kidblog- a secure classroom blogging space where students can safely publish their own writing. Each week students in Mrs. Grewell’s class have a blogging assignment, in which they have the week to complete. So far students have responded to prompts about their weekend plans, vacations, favorite foods, and even how they felt about a picture of the beach in the dead of winter. Students love that part of their homework is done electronically. They also love the fact that they can edit their text font, color, add pictures, and create their own fun avatar. In addition to publishing their work online, students also have the opportunity to read and comment on their classmates’ work. This is one of their favorite parts. Comments may include likes or questions about classmates writing, or even editing suggestions. Overall, it is a wonderful writing experience for kids, where they can exercise their digital citizenship, all the while learning and having fun!


 
 
6th Grade Science, Technology and Math

6th Graders at Madison Elementary School are currently studying the Solar System in their science class. To put a new technology twist on an old idea, Madison's three 6th grade classes, with help from their science teacher, Darcie Fregoe, created a scale model of the solar system by printing out replicas of each planet using Mrs. Fregoe's 3D printer. The students painted the 3D printed planets to help them better resemble the real planets in our solar system. They then worked with math teacher, Justin Shope to create a scale of the distances each planet should hang on display in a hallway at their school to really understand what the solar system looks like.
 
Important Upcoming Dates @ Madison
4/13-15 NYS Math Testing
4/20 6th Grade Astronomy Night
4/21 6th Grade Spring Photo's (they are used on the moving-up certificates too)
4/21 Ogdensburg Command Performance at HS for grades Jk-3 (Alexander Who's Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Going to Move)
4/27 Madison Art Club
4/29 Professional Development Day - NO School
 

Nightengale Elementary School
News & Notes

 
New York State Tests
 
I want to thank all the students who participated in the NYS Math and ELA tests. Our students worked very hard and tried their best. I am very proud of my Nightengale children. Once we receive the state test data, our schools will use this data to evaluate our programs, highlight our strengths, and identify ways for us to improve.
 
Pennies for Autism
 
Reagan Clute Francis, a 6th grade Nightengale student, came to me with an idea to do something for individuals with autism. She worked hard organizing a penny drive for our K-6th grade students. Reagan felt compelled to do something for students who have autism. Her brother, Reece, a MCS student, has autism and he was her inspiration for this project. We contacted the St. Lawrence NYSARC chapter and they will be sending out someone from their agency to meet with Reagan on Monday.  We were able collect almost $200.00 for individuals with autism.
 
Ogdensburg Command Performance(OCP)
 
Our JK-3rd grade students watched the performance Alexander, Who’s Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Not Going to Move. Approximately 250 students from Nightengale attended. The students enjoyed the show and asked to have “a play once a week.”


 
Nightengale Elementary Concert
 
Our 5th and 6th grades had a wonderful turnout for our Spring Concert. Mr. Draper had the chorus dancing and singing to, “It’s a Grand Ole Flag” and other memorable tunes. Mr. Pratti led the orchestra in their first, for many, musical performances. Mr. Beckstead led his farewell concert with his amazing band students to several beautiful songs. Mr. Beckstead and his musical expertise will be missed at Massena Central School. The Nightengale Staff wish you the very best retirement has to offer!!!
 
Earth Day Celebrations at Nightengale
 
Tyla Staves, grade 3, is showing off her Earth Day project! She as well as the other students in Mrs. Ashlaw’s class are preparing to pick up trash on the John Storie Trail. All the students in Mrs. Ashlaw’s class wrote a message to our planet Earth.
 

 
Things happening at Nightengale…..
  • Bus Drill 4/26
  • Grade 6 picture day 4/26
  • Pre-K Field Trip to Nature Center 4/27
  • Staff Development Day 4/29(no school for students)
  • May 2nd-6th Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Birds of Prey with Mr. Manske 5/4
  • Patriotic Day-wear red, white, and blue 5/6 
 
Upcoming Events
 
5/2—Facilities Committee Meeting—4:30 pm—Madison Elementary School; APPR Negotiations with MFT—6:00 pm—CAB
5/5—Finance Committee Meeting—5:30 pm—HS Student Affairs; BOE Meeting—6:30 pm—HS Room 314
Last Updated: 5/3/16
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