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Happy Father’s Day!!

State Legislature Session Wraps Up

The following information is from NYSCOSS Deputy Director Bob Lowry on the end of the 2016 state legislative session. Of particular note is the extension of the APPR deadline from 9/1 to 12/31 and a new law to test drinking water for lead in public schools.

The 2016 regular session of the State Legislature ended early Saturday morning. Barring something unforeseen (and more likely unwelcome rather than welcome), the Legislature will not reconvene until after Election Day, and perhaps not until next January.

Here are some of the issues that were resolved in the last few days of the session:
  • New York City mayoral control – a one-year extension was passed by both houses. 
  • Teacher and principal evaluations – both houses approved moving the approval deadline for avoiding loss of two years of state aid increases from September 1 to December 31. 
  • Requirement for schools to test drinking water for lead – A Governor's program bill passed both houses. 
  • BOCES superintendent salary cap – an adjustment was passed by the Senate, no action was taken by the Assembly.
  • Property tax cap adjustments – a bill addressing BOCES capital costs, PILOT payments, and the impact of separate propositions on approval requirements passed the Senate but the Assembly took no action. 
  • New data reporting requirements for school districts – as part of mayoral control legislation, both houses approved limited additional reporting required by New York City, with no new requirements for other districts. 
  • Senate resolution allocating grant funds (“bullet aid”) to school districts and other local entities; I have not seen a similar resolution by the Assembly.
Very late on Thursday and early on Friday I asked Council members and others to contact both their Assemblymembers and Senators to object to possible legislation to impose new financial reporting requirements upon school districts, including a requirement to categorize budgeted spending for each school building. Again, that proposal was not approved.

The issue arose during efforts to resolve one of the biggest end-of-session issues – the extension of mayoral control of the public schools in New York City. The Assembly had passed a three-year extension, the Senate passed a one-year extension with additional reporting requirements for New York City.  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie objected to imposing requirements upon the City not demanded of other districts. We heard from multiple reliable sources that language to impose statewide requirements was being negotiated.

In the end, mayoral control was extended for one year, with limited additional reporting for New York City, which Mayor Bill de Blasio found acceptable, and with no additional reporting for other districts.

I know your calls made an impact on this debate. I did receive reports of what sounded like irritated reactions from a couple Senate offices. Some Senate contacts may not have known that while previously introduced Senate bills would have applied only to New York City, new requirements for all districts were being seriously considered. In any event, my response is that through a few hours of private contacts, we aim to spare legislators from days, months, or years of public criticism.

As noted above, legislation was approved to push the deadline for obtaining State Education Department approval of new evaluation plans from September 1 to December 31. We made a big push to spare districts missing the deadline from losing two years of aid increases by allowing them to conduct evaluations under either the old law or the new law. Our advocacy probably helped prompt the Legislature to act, but we did not recommend delaying the deadline as the remedy for averting aid penalties.

Together with the School Boards Association and BOCES, we devoted a lot of time and effort over the last month to attempting to influence the specifics of the legislation to require schools to test drinking water for lead. There was considerable momentum for legislative action due to reports of high lead content in schools around the state, plus aggressive advocacy by environmental groups.

Districts will be required to test drinking water using entities approved by the State Health Department and to re-test periodically.  Both testing and remediation costs will be eligible for partial state reimbursement through Building Aid formulas. Here is a link to the bill text and supporting memo. Important details will need to be clarified through agency regulations.

NYSSBA, the BOCES and the Council were able to gain changes to the original legislative proposals, including an opportunity for districts which have already tested voluntarily to be excused from initial testing, a clarification that some specific remedial costs will be eligible for state reimbursement, and use of a more generous state reimbursement rate. Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan was helpful in assuring that concerns we identified could be considered.

Finally, I want to share with you my appreciation for the collaboration and assistance from the New York State School Boards Association Governmental Relations team led by Julie Marlette over the past few weeks and throughout the session.

I hope this last week of school goes smoothly for all of you and that your commencement ceremonies make any aggravations you may have experienced this year seem trivial in contrast.

Mary Curry Meets the Pope

Earlier this month, Massena CSD speech therapist Mary Curry and her husband Don had the unique opportunity to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican.  Mr. Curry is a local minister and was part of a group of about 25 evangelical ministers from around the world who were given a private audience with the pontiff.  According to Mary, they also went on a special tour of the Sistine Chapel, and were brought into the "Room of Tears" where Pope Francis prayed after being elected.  Congratulations to Mary for this once in a lifetime opportunity to represent Massena to a world leader.

High School
News & Notes

Senior Picnic
On June 6, 2016 135 seniors were treated to a picnic at the Massena Town Beach. Fun was had by all playing games, reminiscing, and eating barbeque.
Awards Night
On June 8, 2016 the 52nd annual Awards Night took place in the High School Auditorium.  During this prestigious event, 176 recognitions totaling $895,386 were announced. The awards were presented by representatives from local businesses and organizations, along with private scholarships and awards from educational institutions. Jan Normile presented International Baccalaureate stoles to Ethan Marcello, Nicholas McKeel, Sierra Lanning, Nicole Davis and Shane Tarbell for earning full IB diplomas. It was a lovely night. Congratulations to all.
Senior Trip
This year, 29 seniors journeyed to New York City. During the 3 days students saw the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, a Broadway play and tasted the local cuisine. Chaperons were Erin Covell, senior class advisor, Matt Mckinley and Jessica Jarrett. The students arrived back on Sunday, June 12 in time to get enough sleep for Monday morning when their English IV final was scheduled.
Regents Exams
Regents exams began on June 14 and will end June 22. This is the first year all juniors are sitting for the ELA Common Core. The results are promising. It is also the first year all students took the Common Core Geometry regents. Those results haven’t come in yet. Students who took Algebra/Trig this year were allowed to take both the old style regents and the Common Core. Those results are not in yet, either.
Upcoming Events
Baccalaureate - June 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the New Testament Church
Graduation Rehearsal - June 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm at the Massena Arena
Graduation - June 25, 2016 at 1:00pm at the Massena Arena
Junior High
News & Notes

  • The annual awards ceremony was held on Tuesday June 14, 2016. Family and friends, as well as students and staff participated in this event. Students were recognized for excellence in academics, physical education, perseverance, and citizenship. The chorus performed a version of Elton John’s This is My Song and the band played the processional. 
  • On the afternoon of June 14, 2016, the J.W. Leary Junior High School hosted its annual play day. Students rotated through four stations, including water games, snacks area, bounce houses, and field games. The PTO, Yearbook, and Student Council contributed funding to make this happen. Several parents volunteered their time to make this event memorable. A special thanks to the planning committee for putting this together. Thanks also to the staff for assisting in making it a memorable day. 

Final Exams                           June 20-21
Jefferson Elementary
News & Notes


Happy Retirement Mrs. M.
As a tribute to Mrs. Moncibiaz, Jefferson Elementary teachers and staff paid tribute by wearing their "J-crew Wanna bees" shirts. Mrs. Moncibiaz started at Jefferson in January of 2000. She started the "J-crew" basketball team in 2001. For 16 1/2 years she has given her heart to the Jefferson students. We will certainly miss you. Mrs. M. is fourth from the right in the back row.


Principals for the Day

Fourth grade students Samantha Nason and Briallen Harper-Moulton became "principals for the day" on Wednesday, June 15. These amazing readers from Mrs. Hewlett's classroom have each read over 2 million words during the school year.
Beginning with their morning hot beverage at their desks, the substitute principals greeted students as they arrived on buses, monitored breakfast and lunch, visited each classroom to assure the teachers were set for the day, took pictures of various student activities, and completed several classroom observations. They also had time in their busy schedule to call several friends to the office for a "not-so-stern" scolding. Keep reading girls.

Hands-on Experience
Tom Smith and Colby Bowman from the New York State Department of Conservation stopped in to help Jefferson's Kindergarten students explore the life cycle of a frog. Each student had an opportunity to get hands-on experience with lots of smiles

Dear Jefferson Families, 
Congratulations on a great school year! Our Jefferson Jaguar students have worked hard and tried their best! We would like to share with you three great tools to use over the summer.

A great reading tool: The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free reading program dedicated to encouraging kids to leap into reading and read more books during the summer months.  The theme this year is ‘Be a Reading Superhero!’ and students will log their reading minutes, unlock stories from some of their favorite authors and earn digital rewards. Students can access the log in screen and create an account by going to www.mcs.k12.ny.us > Jefferson Library > 2016 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge > Register Here > Choose a Category / Choose a WordàChoose another Category / Choose a Word > Continue > Create A Password > Retype the Password > Select a Security Question > Type your answer > Select United States as Country > Select NY as State > Submit > (If you would like to give the school reading credit, select YES and type in your email address as approval.)
Your child should be all set to enter their reading minutes and participate in the reading fun!
Good Luck! May reading be your SUPER POWER! 
Our great Jaguars have inquired, investigated and learned about a wide range of topics for school and their own interests. An excellent resource (tool) the students have been using, is our school’s databases. What are our databases? The one stop shop for rich literacy material of different formats; eBooks, encyclopedias, newspapers, images, learning sites, etc. Students access the Databases from our school web site www.mcs.k12.ny.us > Jefferson Library > Jefferson’s OPAC/OPALS > SEARCH >
Username: jaguars75            Password: search


An excellent typing tool we have used with our 3rd through 6th grade students is Typing Pal. This is an online program that students can access at any location that has Wi-Fi and a keyboard/laptop to type. Students access the Typing Pal from our school web site www.mcs.k12.ny.us > MCSNet Portal > Typing Pal Online – Jefferson Elementary

Username: (student ID/lunch number)           Password: (student ID/lunch number)

Hopefully this summer will be Jefferson’s reading and technology “summer leap”!

Mrs. Rowley                 Mrs. A. Smith
Mrs. J. Smith               Mrs. LaBarge
Mrs. Layo                    Mrs. Bish

Horsing Around at Jefferson

Thanks to Jefferson Second Grade teacher, Mrs. Dee Cook, there were horses visiting our school. Throughout the school-year, second grade students have been reading about the farm in their Superkid Decodable readers. As a culminating experience, the students were able to participate in an interactive presentation that demonstrated the caring and responsibility involved in owning a horse. Each student was able to feed treats and pet the horses at the end of the presentation.

Seeing History Up Close

The fourth grade students at Jefferson Elementary had the opportunity to experience the Revolutionary era firsthand on the afternoon of June 16th. The three classes rotated through three stations. Mr. Hanss presented what life would be like as a man during that era. Students got to pass around items that were carried with men during that time period. They learned about what the men and woman ate during that time period, how they dressed and how they survived in the wilderness and on their farms. John Miller presented what life as a militia man would be like. He set up a campsite with animal hides, a cooking fire and tent. The students also learned about money during that time period and how coins were cut to make different values. Barbara O'Keefe explained how children in that time period used scraps to design and make toys that were intriguing, but very simple. The fourth graders had the opportunity to play with and make toys from the Revolutionary era. The students experienced a memorable afternoon that helped the knowledge they have learned from the classroom come to life.

J-Day Celebration

The annual end-of-the-year celebration for a job well done at Jefferson is called J-Day. With beautiful weather and a lot of excitement, Jefferson students bounced in bounce houses, raced through inflatable obstacle courses, slid down inflatable slides, enjoyed  snow cones and popcorn, received tattoos (fake), and competed in class races. A few students even had the opportunity to sink our very own Superintendent, Mr. Brady, in the dunking booth. The day began with the seventh running of the Mulvaugh Mile race.
Madison Elementary
News & Notes

Thank you to the Madison Who Club

The parent group has been very busy recently.  On Wednesday June 15th they organized and ran one of the most epic Play Day’s we have had.  Their hard work provided our school community with a chance to have fun together.  The students were treated to traditional field games, bounces houses, a Neon Dance Party and they even had a chance to dunk Madison teachers and staff in a dunk booth.  All had a great time and the Madison faculty and staff would like to acknowledge the Who Club’s hard work with a big THANK YOU.
As if that wasn’t enough, on Friday June 19th, the Who Club held our annual Donuts with Dad event to celebrate our Madison fathers.  Made possible by generous support from Dunkin Donuts, we were able to treat students and their fathers to coffee and donuts.  This event is always very well attended and this year was no exception.  THANK YOU again to the Who Club for your generous support.
Pictures from both events are below:

Mighty Milers Day

Mighty Milers is a program that encourages all of our students to run in order to help their overall health and wellness.  Mr. Matejcik starts every PE class with running which is then logged into the Mighty Milers program.  Students are able to earn rewards for accomplishing goals (completing distance equivalent to a marathon, etc…) like t-shirts and medals.  On Thursday the 16th we held our Mighty Milers Day where students at every grade level competed in a running event behind the school.  Our oldest students ran a one mile course.  Students and staff had a great time.

Thank you for a Great Year Madison Students and Families!!!

The end of the year is upon us and our students have accomplished amazing things this year.  We have watched the incredible progress which they have made in their academics and perhaps more importantly, the great strides they have made as people.  Faculty and staff at Madison feel a great honor to be entrusted with the education of your children and we thank all of our students and their families for allowing us to work with you.
Have a great summer everyone and see you in the fall. 

Mr. Oliver and his pal Bobo were spotted at Donuts with Dad.  Bobo is the grade 4 mascot which Mr. Oliver is terrified of, so naturally they dressed Bobo up like him.  Have a great summer Bobo, see you next year...I’m sure.
Important Upcoming Dates @ Madison
6/20-6/22/2016 End OF Year, Early Dismissal Days
6/21/2016 6th Grade Moving Up @9:30am
Nightengale Elementary
News & Notes

5&6 Play Day-
Nightengale, Jefferson, Madison, and Trinity 5th and 6th graders got together for an afternoon of outside activities. This is done annually to combine all schools and to have some healthy competition between the buildings.


Aiden Henry’s Memorial Benches
After fighting a courageous battle with leukemia since March 2014, our Superhero, Aiden J. Henry, a first-grader at Nightengale Elementary unexpectedly lost his battle on December 1, 2015. Aiden loved to be outside, so Nightengale Neighbors purchased two memorial benches that overlook the playground at Nightengale.

4th Grade Community Walk
Our 4th grade classes went on a community walk to downtown Massena. They visited the Police Station, Town Hall, Massena Fire Department, Post Office and enjoyed lunch at McDonald’s. The last stop for the tour was an hour at Springs Park.

Pre-Kindergarten Moving Up
Our Nightengale Pre-Kindergarten classes had their moving up day on June 16, 2016. We had 36 PreK students entertain parents and families with songs and dance. A special thanks to all our parents for helping to make your child’s first year of school so great!

Nightengale Recycles
Nightengale has recycled over 40,000 drink pouches since 2013. We received a gift  box with recycled bracelets and pencil cases.

Nightengale 2016 PlayDay
This year our Play Day theme is Carnival! We will have popcorn and snow cones. There will be bounce houses, photo booths, and of course...a DUNK TANK! As with anything, we need many, many people to make this come together for the kids.I want to personally thank the Nightengale Neighbors for all their tireless hours, creativity, and vision. Your combined efforts made the 2016 Play Day one to remember.


2016 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
Nightengale School is participating in the 2016 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.  The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free reading program dedicated to encouraging kids to leap into reading and read more books during the summer months.  The theme this year is Be a Reading Superhero! and students will log their reading minutes, unlock stories from some of their favorite authors and earn digital rewards.
Our students are registered and Michelle Rowley is planning to introduce the program during scheduled library media classes.  
Are you ready to become a Reading Superhero This Summer?
District Upcoming Events

6/23—End of Year Assembly—9:00 am—HS Auditorium
6/25—HS Graduation—1:00 pm—Massena Arena
Last Updated: 7/5/16
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