Massena Central School Board of Education Update
September 30, 2016
Hall of Fame Weekend
It was a great weekend with many of our alumni back in town to be honored as our newest inductees into the Massena Hall of Fame for athletics. The induction ceremony in the high school cafeteria on Friday night was well attended by friends, family, coaches, and other members of the community. Congratulations to our individual honorees Scott Manley, Erin Corcoran-Catanzarite, Meghan Corcoran, Tyler Coffin, Bruce Serviss, and Jason LaBella whose accomplishments during their years as athletes in Massena were exceptional. They were joined by the 1962 and 1963 baseball teams and 1976-77 hockey team who posted outstanding records including a state championship for the latter. The induction speeches were heartwarming and the group was treated to a variety of events including a reception at the Massena Fire Hall and breakfast on Saturday in the high school cafeteria. The Varsity Football Team did their part in this memorable weekend with a thrilling 44-42 victory over rival OFA boosting their record to an impressive 5-0 on the season. Reportedly, this was the first victory over OFA in over ten years. Special thanks to Martha Slack and Tim Hayes for organizing this special time for our former athletes. They along with the Hall of Fame Committee (Joel Nicola, Joe Macaulay, Al McGrath, Larry French, & George Trippany) did an outstanding job.
Creepy Clown Craze
This week, we received a correspondence from the New York State Police in regard to a creepy clown craze that has been spreading across the country in recent months. Reportedly, individuals dressed as clowns have been in sighted in various states and there have been threats made through social media.
According to one of our local officers:
“Though I’m not familiar with any “sightings” in the Troop “B” area, The St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office has an active criminal investigation involving Facebook threats. The office has received several complaints from the Edwards-Knox, Potsdam and Hermon-DeKalb Central School students who have received threats via Facebook from accounts with user profiles depicting clowns. The threats first surfaced the middle of this week, and typically warns that the clowns will come to the students' homes to beat them up. The Sheriff’s Department know of at least two different accounts and believe all of it to be the work of juveniles. The threats don't appear to be viable.”
Here is further information from the NYS Intelligence Center about the issue:
Open sources indicate that Law Enforcement Agencies, in nearly a dozen states across the U.S. have received reports of unusual activity involving individuals dressed as clowns. The phenomenon, that appears to be fueled by social media, has caused disruption on school grounds and generated fear within communities. Law Enforcement agencies within New York State have acknowledged receiving reports of unusual clown sightings.
287 Wallace Hill Rd, Plattsburgh, NY
The number of reported clown sightings has increased since August 2016, and it appears to be gaining popularity as a practical joke. Open sources suggest that roughly half of the clown sightings reported to law enforcement are believed to be a hoax. The remaining reports are confirmed sightings and encounters, some of which have been captured on video. Although several false reports have been made, media sources report twelve arrests across the country.
Agencies within New York have acknowledged receiving reports of suspicious clown sightings, with at least one agency receiving a report of children being harassed by an individual in clown attire. On 09/29/16 Fairport Central School District, NY dismissed rumors that clown sightings had begun popping up in the area. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigated after a Fairport student reported an alleged suspicious scenario to a district employee. The report was found to be unsubstantiated. Beyond NYS, schools in Reading, Ohio were closed earlier today after a woman reported being attacked by a subject dressed in clown attire. The woman told police the attacker also made threats against students and teachers at the local high school. Officers were unable to locate the suspect but did reach out to the school to advise of the report. Similar incidents have been reported to Law Enforcement across the U.S.
Open sources suggest the initial clown sightings were attributed to a “Fuzz on the Lens” publicity stunt and the upcoming film “31” produced by Rob Zombie. After these were publicized, several other sightings began. While the original stories reported the clowns were standing and then disappearing, several of the new reports reflect an escalation of this new phenomenon. With Halloween approaching it is likely this trend will continue through October.
Here is a link to and NBC News report for further information. This is not a joke as many people have been threatened and perpetrators arrested across the country. Our hope is that it does not become an issue we will need to deal with here in Massena.
Massena High School
News & Notes
Once again, the high school experienced a smooth opening day. Link Crew, again, was on hand to help direct freshman to their lockers and first period classes. When the first period bell rang at 7:40, all students were in their classes. I can’t say enough for the service Link Crew provides to the high school, with Freshman Orientation and their help on the first day. These students are dedicated to helping our freshman make a smooth transition to the high school. Thanks to the BOE and Mr. Brady for continuing to support this program.
Chasing the Dragon
On the evening of September 8, 2016, “Chasing the Dragon”, a video dedicated to the heroin epidemic, was shown in the high school auditorium. Following the video, a panel of students, parents and professionals who are affected by the heroin epidemic shared their experiences. A significant amount of collaboration between the high school, the US Attorney’s office and the St. Lawrence County Drug Coalition had to happen in order for this event to take place. Approximately 120 people attend the event and came away with a different perspective of the life of a heroin addict. If you haven’t seen the video, it is available on youtube.
Thanks to Marilyn Morey of the US Attorney’s office for bringing the video and panel to us. To Kristin Colarusso-Martin and Felicia Dumas for arranging various drug agencies to be available in the lobby with information for the attendees. To Mayor Currier for his hard work with the coalition. To Jon Hunkins and Jason Beckstead for making sure the auditorium and lobby were in perfect order!!
Addie Russell Visit
Assemblywoman Addie Russell visited the high school on September 13 to talk with seniors in Jon Putney’s PIG and Econ classes. The topic of her talk was making right choices to ensure success high school and beyond. Ms. Russell saved time for students to ask questions. The students were interested in her job, how much she gets paid and the level of difficulty.
Thanks to Jon Putney for making all the arrangements for this event.
Once again the High School guidance counselors arranged for representatives from various SUNY schools to speak with students about the variety of disciplines and activities they offer at their colleges. For seniors who have not yet begun the process of applying to college, this is a perfect opportunity to focus their search. Students were given time to ask questions.
Students Council met early this year to elect officers, which in turn provides a student representative to the BOE. Senior Camryn Peets was elected president of Student Council and became the student rep to the BOE. Junior Rachel Hurlbut was elected vice president and became the student alternate to the BOE. Both girls were sworn in on September 15, 2016. Good Luck to Camryn and Rachel.
National Honor Society
Ms. Karen Cook and Ms Becca Violi will be overseeing NHS this year. They have already met twice to elect officers and determine which community projects they will work on. They have chosen to continue with the Recycling Project they worked on in conjunction with Mayor Currier last year. They also will be creating a video on the district's new mission statement, vision and core beliefs. Once completed, the video will be available for the community to view.
Freshman Academy was reinstituted this year thanks to the support of the BOE and Mr. Brady. The purpose of Freshman Academy is to support incoming freshman in making a smooth transition to the high school. The teachers of the Freshman Academy meet daily 4th period to discuss student needs, develop curriculum and plan upcoming projects. As the year progresses, teachers will use this time to meet with students and parents as needed. Amanda Mittiga has spent countless hours over the summer and into September to get this program up and running. I have challenged the freshman teachers to incorporate more projects into the freshman curriculum. The first project is coming up on October 6, with the whole freshman class participating. More to come in the October News and Notes.
JW Leary Junior High
News & Notes
Grade 7 Climbs Azure Mountain
On September 28th and 29th, the PE department took Team 1 and 2 7th graders hiking up Azure Mountain. We use this trip as an introduction to lifetime activities. Hiking is a cost-free activity that is readily available to us in the North Country. We also use this trip as a way to get to know one another as we have 4 schools merging together in 7th grade. WEB leaders volunteer their time to help kids up the mountain as well as check in with the 7th graders to see how things are going in their first month of school.
Red Cross Babysitting Course
Team 2 seventh graders are finishing up the American Red Cross Babysitting Course as part of the Family, Human Development and Work unit in Family and Consumer Science class. Students have improved communication, leadership and thinking skills learning about families, child development and reacting to emergencies. One class even got to hold and play with Mrs. Roots' infant and toddler grandchildren.
Student Council Elections in Full Swing at JW Leary
J.W. Leary Junior High mentoring program helps seventh-graders transition to new school (Beckstead article from 9/29/2016 Courier-Observer)
MASSENA — A mentoring program at J.W. Leary Junior High School has proven to be a success in helping incoming seventh-graders adapt to their new surroundings.
That’s the word from coordinators and students who are or have been part of the school’s WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) efforts.
“Last year I was an eighth-grader. I was a WEB leader. I really enjoyed the leadership responsibilities that came along with being a WEB leader,” student Violet Reyes said.
“Two events that I thought were very valuable were the seventh-grade orientation and the Christmas greetings we put on all the lockers. I know that coming to the junior high as seventh-graders can be kind of nerve-wracking for many kids. I think our help at orientation decreased some of their stress, just to make the transition a little bit easier,” she said.
Student Ethan Firnstein, also a WEB leader, said they’re able to pair up with students who are struggling to get them back on track. It could be a bullying problem, a learning issue in the classroom or even trouble opening their locker, he said.
“We tell school officials and we take care of it,” he said.
WEB has been part of the junior high since 2013, matching eighth-graders up with seventh-graders to help them through that transitional year.
“It’s under the umbrella of what they call the Boomerang Project, which is a national initiative. Our junior high at J.W. Leary started WEB in 2013, so we’re going into our fourth year of using WEB at school. We thought it was a great place to start because this is where all of our elementaries combine for the first time — Jefferson, Madison, Nightengale and Trinity. All these students meet together at the junior high when they come to seventh grade,” said teacher and WEB coordinator Christine Sweet.
As a coordinator, Ms. Sweet said they find eighth-graders who want to be mentors, and those students have to go through a screening process.
“They mentor the seventh-graders coming into our building to help that transition to be more smooth, more comfortable for them. Not only do they meet at orientation in August and help them get a tour of the building, see their lockers and work on that combination, but they’re connected with a group of students that they will stay with for their whole first year of seventh grade,” she said.
Teacher Wendy LaShomb, another WEB coordinator, said students who want to be WEB leaders need to have strong communication skills, a willingness to lead, and be responsible enough to manage a group of students, but also accountable through all phases of the program during the year.
In addition, Ms. LaShomb said, they need to be a positive role model, dedicated, self-confident and self-directed.
“We hold a WEB meeting for seventh-graders where they actually fill out an application and they turn it in. They have a deadline. They have to write why they want to be a WEB leader,” she said.
In May, all of the students who applied are invited to take part in activities that show their leadership ability and how they interact with others. WEB adults discuss each individual applicant, and those who are selected go through three days of training in the summer before the seventh grade orientation.
A number of activities take place during the school year, including a back to school dance in September, WEB follow-ups each month, Christmas magnets that are attached to the lockers of team members, some type of tournament in February and March, Red/White Night in June, and an Azure Mountain hike in the fall.
Principal Alan Oliver said WEB is a program that makes a big impact on students.
“I’m very happy and proud of the school, and there’s not anything going on there that I’m any more impressed with so far than the work that the WEB program is doing,” he said.
News & Notes
Association of Math Teachers of New York State Annual Conference
Dee Cook, Jefferson Elementary Second Grade Teacher, has been selected by a panel of educators and professional developers to be a part of a select team of math teachers who will have an all expense-paid conference in Rye NY.
The AMTNYS Conference is a two day opportunity for Mrs. Cook to attend presentations as well as presenting several break-out sessions. This year the conference is being held in Rye, NY which is down toward NY City. SUNY professors have selected only 12 teachers to be part of this group who will co-present at the conference. This is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. The link http://www.amtnys.org to the conference website will answer most of your questions rather than listing the information here. The grant will pay the registration fee, including AMTNYS membership, lodging, travel costs, and meals.
SLU Tutors began on Tues. Sept 27
Jefferson Elementary is fortunate to continue this year with a partnership with Saint Lawrence University. Three SLU Math & Reading Tutors began on Monday, September 27! These college students will be working with the reading interventionists to provide small-group interventions every Tuesdays/Thursdays from 8-12:00.
Newest Tie Club Members
Congratulations to the newest Tie Club Members.
Fourth Grader, Vincent O'Brien was nominated for the tie club for being an exceptional friend to a fellow classmate.
Third Grader, David LaDue, was nominated for being the week's reading point leader in his classroom.
Congratulations and keep up the great work!
Apple Week at Jefferson Elementary Pre-Kindergarten
Students in Mrs. Hubert’s Pre-Kindergarten class spent the week learning about apples, complete with their very first field trip to Kaneb’s Orchard. At the orchard, students learned about how apples are turned into cider. Each student was able to participate in grinding and pressing apples into juice using an old-fashioned cider press. Students enjoyed sampling apple cider and donuts at the orchard and left with a bushel of apples for their classroom. The apples were then used to make applesauce in preparation for their annual apple festival. During the apple festival, families are invited to gather together to participate in an apple craft with their child, sample homemade applesauce, and watch their child recite apple poems.
Creating Healthy School and Communities (CHSC)
The Massena CSD has received grant funding through a program entitled, Creating Healthy Schools and Communities which is sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative (SLCHI). It is a five year grant, funded by the New York State Department of Health, which will provide $2,500 per year to each of our five schools beginning this year and running through 2020. The purpose of this project is to address access to healthy, affordable foods and opportunities for physical activity in selected high-needs school districts and the communities where the students and their families live.
Jefferson Elementary was able to purchase a variety of fun activities to excite our students about being active. Pictured are students hopping on a skip counting mat, and participating in a newly purchased game called "Drive and Dunk." If you look closely, you will spot our superintendent, Mr. Brady, participating in the ball game.
Grade Four Garden Club
Jefferson’s third annual garden was successful! The garden was well cared for over the summer by the fourth grade teachers, which led to a bountiful produce in September. The timing could not have been more perfect. The fifth grade students (which were the garden club members in fourth grade) had the opportunity to harvest tomatoes and green peppers. In collaboration with the fifth grade teachers and the incorporation of math and science, the garden club members used the produce to make homemade salsa. The students enjoyed the fruits of their labor and learned that fresh is always best! Retired fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Diane Toth, made a guest return appearance to assist with the salsa preparation.
Upcoming Jefferson Calendar Events:
Oct. 5 Dental Sealant Program Begins at Jefferson
Oct. 6 11:45 student dismissal for Staff Development
Oct. 7 No School For Students-Staff Development Day-Google Summit
Oct. 10 No School - Columbus Day
Oct. 12 Fire Prevention Safety presentations at Jefferson beginning at 9:30 am
Oct. 13 BOE Meeting @ 6:00pm
Oct. 19 Unity Day-(National Anti-bullying Day) - Everyone wears orange
Oct. 20 Jefferson Picture Day
Oct. 21 Friends of Jefferson 5th and 6th grade dance
News & Notes
Pre-K Apple Picking
On September 28th, both am and pm Pre-K classes went apple picking at Kaneb’s Orchard in Massena. The students were able to pick apples, drink cider, and taste apple cider donuts. The following day the students invited their families in for an Apple Festival. The children made applesauce to serve to their guests.
Every Friday, one student from each classroom is chosen to be "Noble Nighthawk" that day. This means they have demonstrated positive behavior, work ethic and friendship in the classroom. The student chosen wears a medal for the day, gets a prize and their photo taken.
Curriculum Night at Nightengale-
Thank you to those of you who were able to make it out for our Curriculum Night. It is a great time for parents to meet their children’s teachers and get some insight into the specific grade level curriculum.
On September 12th we had the Tardy Brothers Juggling Act. This group was a brother team that combined high energy juggling with character development using inspirational stories.The team addressed topics such as goal setting, bullying, and the importance of education.
Nightengale 2nd Annual Monster Dash--
EVENT: The Monster Dash Costume 5K Fun Run/Walk
START TIME: 10:00am EDT
PRICE: $20.00 Race Fee + $2.50 SignUp Fee
REGISTRATION: Registration ends October 28, 2016 at 11:59pm EDT
Summer Reading and Math Pizza Party
Students who completed their Summer Contract, in English Language Arts or Math, will be rewarded with a movie, popcorn, and pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch. The Summer Contract Party will be held at Nightengale Elementary School on Thursday, October 6, 2016. The following students completed their packet:
Nightengale “Hannaford Helps”
Don't forget the "Hannaford helps" program!
Through December 3rd, when you purchase 4+ more qualifying products, you receive $3 (or more, depending on how many products you buy) -- after you checkout, the cashier will give you a slip and you then put it into Nightengale's slot at the front of the store.
Mrs. Reilly, our School Nurse-
Mrs. Reilly is hard at work with back to school screenings. Please note: if your child is in grades Pre-K, JK, K, 2, 4, 7, 10 or newly enrolled they are required to receive a health appraisal. We also request those student send in a Dental Health Certificate completed by his/her dentist. If you choose to have your child’s NYS required health appraisal completed by his/her Medical Provider, it must be to school within 30 days from the start of school. Sports Physicals must be completed by the school’s Medical Provider. Vision, Hearing, and Scoliosis screenings are also completed by the school nurse according to NYS requirements. Please note only abnormal findings will be reported home.
Every year I am amazed at how wonderful our school looks with the fantastic and original bulletin boards throughout the building. Here are a few samples of our creative teachers fine work.
News & Notes
Thank you Dr. Zysik and Staff
The students and staff at Madison Elementary would like to thank Dr. Zysik and his staff for their continuous donations to our school.
Science is Sweet at Madison Elementary!
Students in Mrs. Jennifer Earl's fourth grade class applied their knowledge of the scientific method to conduct an experiment to determine which color is most dominant in a bag of Skittles candy. Formulating and testing a hypothesis was delicious fun!
Pre-K Apple Pickers!
Students in Mrs. Wilmshurst’s Pre-Kindergarten class have been reading all about apples. This week they visited Kaneb’s Apple Orchard. The students had the opportunity to press apples to make apple cider. Tasting apple cider and donuts was delicious fun, too!!
Madison Elementary P.E. Class Rocks!
The Mighty Milers program is off and running at Madison for the fifth year. Children run during PE or recess and can earn prizes for reaching certain distances set by the New York Road Runners (NYRR). As of this date our school has run over 2,000 miles! We are also starting rock climbing in PE! Here you see some of our 6th grade students in Ms. Watson's class using our rock wall.
Meeting the New Principal
Mrs. Chapman enjoyed going into every classroom to introduce herself to the students and to read her favorite picture books to each class. The students in second through sixth grade listened to Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds and discussed the lessons they learned from the book such as teamwork and problem-solving. Students in prekindergarten through first grade listened to the story Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Mrs. Chapman told the students that she is excited to see every student in school every day just like the owl babies were excited to see their mommy. Mrs. Chapman is very happy to be at Madison and she cannot wait to meet families at the Pumpkin Decorating Night on October 18th from 6pm to 7pm in the Madison cafeteria.
Madison’s Buddy Bench
With the support of our parent group, The Who Club, and our Principal at Madison Elementary, we will be bringing the “Buddy Bench” to our school. Buddy Benches were the idea of an eight-year-old Pennsylvania student named Christian B. and have been used on playgrounds nationwide to help students make connections with their peers. In a 2013 Scholastic News article, Buddy Benches are described as “a special bench where students can sit if they are feeling bored or lonely. It’s usually brightly colored and labeled “BUDDY BENCH” in big letters. Other students can then go to the bench and ask them if they would like to play or talk.” For more information about this story, please see:http://magazines.scholastic.com/news/2013/12/Buddy-Bench
As a part of this project our School Counselor, Mrs. Burke, plans to go into the classrooms to teach our students about the new “Buddy Bench”. Her intentions are to teach the “rules” of the “Buddy Bench” to our 4th grade students first and have a select group of 4th graders teach the younger students using skits. The “rules” of the “Buddy Bench” are simple. The “Buddy Bench” is used for students who may not have someone to play with that day. For example, his/her friend is absent; he/she is feeling lonely or even if he/she is shy and not sure how to ask to join in a new group. Another rule is, if you choose to sit on the bench in hopes of meeting a new friend and someone comes over to ask you to play he/she must get up and go play with that person or group who asked first. The idea teaches our children to be more observant and mindful about their surroundings and who may be feeling left out or alone and transfers these skills to other areas of their day. For instance, if someone is sitting alone in the lunchroom, they may notice and go sit with or invite him/her to sit at their table. This skill can also transfer to the neighborhood playground where children learn to invite someone to play if he/she notices someone alone.
Please visit the following website: www.buddybench.org to check out and learn more about the “Buddy Bench. We are excited about this “Buddy Bench” and hope to have it installed this fall; it will be a great way for both our students who are not sure how to join in a group become part of a group during recess and for our students to learn and practice looking out for those students and implement friendship strategies to be sure everyone feels accepted and part of the whole group.
10/3—BOE Facilities Committee Meeting—5:00 pm—CAB
10/6—Staff Development (Half Day)
10/7—Staff Development (Full Day) Google Summit
10/13—BOE Meeting—6:30 pm—HS Room 314
|Last Updated: 10/11/16|