Massena Central School Board of Education Update
December 2, 2016
NYSCOSS State Legislative Committee
I am in Albany today and tomorrow meeting with state legislators and officials from the Governor’s Office to advocate for important issues facing our schools. This includes reforming the Foundation Aid formula, reducing unfunded mandates, and providing more flexibility in academic program requirements. It is critical that we engage in this advocacy prior to the Governor’s budget proposal in January. Tonight, the NYSCOSS State Legislative Committee, which represents all regions in the state, met to coordinate our efforts. I will keep you posted on our work as we continue to develop the 2017-18 school budget.
Junior High Sewer Issue
This week, we experienced a clogged sewer line at the Junior High School which proved very challenging. The clog occurred in front of the nurse’s office and it impacted several faculty and student bathrooms in the area that needed to be closed. Thankfully, other bathrooms were not impacted so school was able to remain open. Upon investigation, there was not a clean out pipe that could be used to snake out the clog as it had been covered in the 2004 project. On Friday afternoon and Saturday, our maintenance crew worked with Perras Excavating to dig up the area in front of the library to uncover the clean out pipe and unclog the line. Our staff will now retile the floor at a later time but the surface has been leveled and prepped to allow school to open without issue on Monday. The Village of Massena also helped us on the problem. I appreciate the team effort from all involved.
The following information is an update by NYSCOSS Deputy Director Bob Lowry on some key educational issues impacting the state and our region.
Betsy DeVos nominated to be United States Secretary of Education; Council shares concerns with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand
President-elect Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Unlike all her predecessors, Ms. DeVos has never held public office or led an educational institution. Nonetheless, her history as a leading advocate and fundraiser for charter schools as well as private and religious school voucher programs have raised significant concerns. Her public record reveals strikingly little about her positions on other education issues.
Council Executive Director Chuck Dedrick sent a letter to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand conveying deep concerns about the nomination and urging them to seek assurances that Ms. DeVos will work to strengthen public schools and not divest them of resources to the benefit of privately held education corporations. We will be making this letter public later today or early tomorrow.
The President-elect has called for a voucher program that would provide $12,000 per student to attend the school of their choice. This proposal would be funded with $20 billion from the federal government by re-programming existing federal education resources and incentivizing states to contribute $110 billion. To give a sense of scale, all federal Title I funding totals just over $15 billion. Ms. DeVos would play a leading role in helping advance this proposal and if enacted and carried out, immeasurable damage could occur to New York's public schools.
A New York Times article noted,
...Ms. DeVos’s efforts to expand educational opportunity in her home state of Michigan and across the country have focused little on existing public schools, and almost entirely on establishing newer, more entrepreneurial models to compete with traditional schools for students and money. Her donations and advocacy go almost entirely toward groups seeking to move students and money away from what Mr. Trump calls “failing government schools.”
The article goes on,
Michigan is one of the nation’s biggest school choice laboratories, especially with charter schools. The Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids school districts have among the nation’s 10 largest shares of students in charters, and the state sends $1 billion in education funding to charters annually. Of those schools, 80 percent are run by for-profit organizations, a far higher share than anywhere else in the nation. The DeVoses, the most prominent name in state Republican politics, have been the biggest financial and political backers of the effort.
But if Michigan is a center of school choice, it is also among the worst places to argue that choice has made schools better. As the state embraced and then expanded charters over the past two decades, its rank has fallen on national reading and math tests. Most charter schools perform below the state average.
And a federal review in 2015 found “an unreasonably high” percentage of charter schools on the list of the state’s lowest-performing schools. The number of charter schools on that list had doubled since 2010, after the passage of a law a group financed by Ms. DeVos pushed to expand the schools. The group blocked a provision in that law that would have prevented failing schools from expanding or replicating.
Here are some other items about Ms. DeVos and the charter school sector in her home state of Michigan:
Governor Cuomo acts on numerous bills
Two weeks ago the legislature sent the Governor 133 pieces of legislation that had passed both houses. The relevant action on three significant bills are discussed below:
Department of Labor overtime rule blocked by federal district court
A federal district court judge in Texas has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor from enforcing a rule that would have increased the salary floor to be identified as an “exempt” employee and therefore be ineligible for overtime payments. The existing salary floor is $455/week and the rule would have increased that threshold to $913/week effective December 1. This would have increased costs for school districts employing non-instructional staff earning between $23,660/year and $47,476/year.
The Obama administration has not determined a future course of action and it is plausible that this issue will remain tied up in court when the new administration takes office. President-elect Trump has signaled he favors exemptions for small business, but because of the uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration, we cannot speculate as to how, or when, this issue will be resolved.
News & Notes
Parent Teacher Conferences/Activity Fair
Each year members of the high school clubs and teams take out their artist skills to create posters for the annual Activities Fair that is held in conjunction with Parent Conferences. This year the turnout was exceptional. The upper left hand picture shows all the students who created posters. The next picture is the poster for the Girls’ Varsity Hockey Team. Mr. Chartrand runs a competition for the best poster where students win gift cards to Tim Horton’s. Every club and team was represented this year. The winners were, Boys’ Varsity Soccer, Girls’ Varsity Volleyball, Spanish National Honor Society and Drama Club.
This year’s Parent Conferences were a success. Teachers reported having as high as fifty parents meet with them after picking up report cards. These are numbers teachers haven’t seen in many years. Nicole LaPage and Danielle Brown presented information on college application, scholarships, and financial aid to parents of seniors.
Google Classroom Workshop
Cathy Donahue led a Google Classroom workshop for 10 ELA and Modern Language teachers. Each teacher is at a different skill level when it comes to technology. Some teacher set up Google Classroom over the summer and were ready to start on September 6, others are just setting it up now. By the end of the workshop all teachers had Google classroom set up and those that are more skilled were taught further enhancements by Cathy. Everyone appreciates Cathy’s role as Technology Instructor. She has been a great support to our teachers by answering questions when they are stuck and encouraging them to try different programs. The greatest advantage to having a Google Classroom is instant access to course notes, assignments, and resources for any student as long as they have a computer and internet. Students who have been out sick don’t have to wait to catch up on their assignments until they return to school.
Cathy presented the following programs and features during the workshop:
· Google Classroom Parent features.
· Ideas to use Google classroom.
· Recap - video app for evidence/explanation of learning
· TedEd - How to create my own lessons from what is already out there.
· Nearpod - Interactive digital lessons.
· Padlet - Back channel way to engage all students to answer questions and/or response to a video. Good discussion starter. Can be moderated by teacher.
The response from the teachers who implemented these programs is positive and state they are seeing increased student engagement, especially with expressing their ideas and opinions in writing.
College Application Day
On November 17 and 18, Julianne White, Title VII Educational Support Specialist, arranged College Application Days. Norma Sunday of the Akwesasne Mohawk BOE, Joni Cole of JOM/SRMT and Julieanne were available to assist students fill out college applications, answer questions about financial aid and provide students with information on internships and scholarships.
The days were very successful with 14 out of 18 participating seniors completing their college application, and most of them have completing financial aid applications. Two seniors have already been accepted to universities and many have completed scholarship applications as well.
Dec 8 – HS Chorus Winter Concert
Dec 13 – HS Concert Band/Jazz/Orchestra Winter Concert
Dec 20 – Native American Day
Jefferson Elementary School
News & Notes
Elementary Musicians and their Directors
Congratulations to Mr. Michael Draper, Mr. Mario Pratti, and the all of the elementary band and orchestra students on the outstanding Massena Central School District All-Elementary Winter Concert held on November 29. This was Mr. Draper’s debut concert as the Massena Elementary Band Director/Teacher.
Pictured on left is Mr. Pratti and Mr. Draper.
Pictured on right are Jefferson Elementary students Christina Rodriguez on the Saxophone and Elanie Closs on the Flute.
Orchestra Selections Band Selections
“French Folk Song” “Selections from Frozen
“Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” “Silent Night”
“Lightly Row” “Deck the Halls
“Jingle Bells” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Mrs Bellinger’s Junior Kindergarten classrooms celebrated Thanksgiving by creating their own turkey hats and inviting guests into the classroom for a Thanksgiving treat. The students invited a special guest whom they are thankful to have in their life. They started the celebration with singing a few turkey songs and then read their student-created book “I am Thankful” to their guest. The class then wrapped up the celebration with a special gift that they made for their guest and shared a sweet treat with them.
Jefferson T-Shirt Design Contest Winner
Congratulations to Emma Tyo
Her “Jaguar” design was selected as the winner of the new Jaguar logo for Jefferson's school t-shirt. She will receive a free shirt with her logo design!
Second Grade Thanksgiving Celebration
Mrs. Bulger’s Second grade students celebrated Thanksgiving by making butter and enjoying what they made with rolls. Students enjoyed cranberries and pumpkin pie.
Block Student Send-Off ( for just a little bit)
Ryleigh Comb, SUNY Potsdam Block II student was given a warm send off by her Grade 2 students in Mrs. Bulger’s class. The students were extremely excited to learn that Ryleigh would be returning soon to complete her student teaching in January.
Art Class on Freight Trains
Jefferson Junior-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students listened to the story book Freight Trains by Donald Crews in art class. After the listening activity, students created colorful freight train collages. These pieces of art are currently on display in main hallway nearest the gymnasium.
Newest Tie Club Member
Students are nominated by their teachers to become members of Mr. Richards Tie Club for making excellent choices, being an exceptional friend, demonstrating character, or trying extremely hard to accomplish a goal. Samantha Nason, Jefferson fifth grade student, recently reached a major milestone for reading an accumulated 1 million words. Congratulations Samantha. We are proud of you!
Mrs. Hubert’s Pre-Kindergarten classroom celebrated Thanksgiving by inviting one special guest to their Thankful Feast. Students made sweet treats to share before the celebration began and proudly displayed their creation on the “Save a Turkey” placemats they made. Students sang “Albuquerque The Turkey” and then enjoyed watching a movie showcasing each student expressing what he/she was thankful for.
In the Picture – Jocelynn LaPradd and her Mother
Fri. Dec. 2 End of the First Elementary Trimester
Mon. Dec. 5 Grade 5 / 6 Chorus Dress Rehearsal for grades JK-2 2:20 in Cafe’
Tues. Dec. 6 Grade 5 / 6 Chorus Dress Rehearsal for grades 3-6 2:20 in Cafe’
Wed. Dec. 7 Friends of Jefferson Family Fun Night 6-7:30 pm
Thur. Dec. 8 and 9 Early Dismissal for Parent/Teacher Conferences
EARLY DISMISSAL DAYS
THURSDAY, DEC. 8TH and FRIDAY, DEC. 9TH
All walkers, transfers, and 1st trip buses at………….……………. 11:15 AM
JK – Gr 6 dismissed at……………..…………………………..……….11:30 AM
SPECIAL NEEDS BUS 231
JEFFERSON ………………………. 11:00AM
DEC 8TH and 9th NO PRE-K AM OR PM
Madison Elementary School
News & Notes
Madison 6th Graders visit live with NASA Administrators
Madison 6th graders (along with students from all over the world) participated in a live question-and-answer webcast with some pretty amazing people including: Charles Bolden (NASA Administrator), Dr. Bill Berry (NASA Chief Historian), Michael Perri (LARC), Julie Williams-Byrd (Electro-Optics Engineer at NASA Langley), Ted Melfi (20th Century Fox producer of "Hidden Figures" movie), and Teraji P. Henson, the actress who portrays NASA scientist Katherine Johnson who helped America win the Space Race in the 1960's.
Our students were able to email the panel questions about what it is like to work at NASA in roles other than astronaut, and about the upcoming movie "Hidden Figures" that focuses on the people behind-the-scenes who have made our space program so great. NASA Administrator Bolden answered Madison 6th Grader, Rebekah Garrow's question about how many people are involved in building a rocket today. Mr. Bolden told Rebekah that there are over 17,000 civil servant employees working for NASA today, and thousands of people in a wide variety of roles including mathematicians, engineers of all kinds, welders, electricians, and physicists are involved in a project like that.
The panel members had a very important message for all the students participating in the webcast; they all emphasized how important it is to be the best you can be and do the best you can in school, to stay focused, to work hard, to push oneself, and that anyone (men and women) from any race or ethnicity, including all of the students participating in the webcast, could enjoy rewarding careers in many different fields working for NASA.
Second Graders in the Spotlight!
Second grade students were in the Spotlight as they read Halloween poems in front of their peers. The students have worked hard to improve their reading fluency by rereading their chosen poem independently, with a partner, and with their teacher. Once they were fluent with their poems, the students added intonation to their poem. The students had a Spooktacular time with this fun learning experience!
Fourth Grade Engineers
Mrs. Albert's 4th grade class was given the challenge to build a bridge that would hold a load. In this challenge, students made the discovery that one shape is stronger than another in holding a load. We then applied our learning from this challenge, to build a vertebrate that was able to stand on an index card using play-doh and toothpicks!
Sixth Grade Astronomers
Madison 6th Graders are studying Astronomy right now. The 6th Graders made scaled models of the solar system out of a roll of toilet paper, illustrating the vast distances between each of the planets and the sun.
Second Grade Technology
Mrs. Matejcik’s second grade classroom was blessed with the donation from Bj's Wholesale Club to help fund their Donor's Choose project for four Kindle Fire tablets. These tablets allow Mrs. Matejcik to engage her students in Math and ELA using the different programs and they bring student engagement to a whole new level. Pictured below is a student reading a book at her guided reading level during their DEAR time. Also, included is a picture of partners working on a math app together during the math intervention time.
The Who Club- Madison Elementary’s Parent Group
The next Who Club monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 6th at 7:00 pm in the Madison library. We meet the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 and try to keep the meetings to an hour. The Who Club would like all interested parents to join them at their upcoming meeting.
Ornament Decorating Night will take place on Tuesday, December 13th from 6:00-7:00 pm in the Madison cafeteria. Students are invited to wear cozy pajamas to the event and decorate ornaments, enjoy a hot chocolate bar with delicious toppings and popcorn. Santa will be making a magical appearance as well.
Also, the Who Club was excited to be able to purchase special Character Ed shirts for Mrs. Chapman and Mrs. Burke to award the students at our first monthly recognition ceremony that took place during lunch on December 1st.
Madison Owl-Standing Character Award
At Madison Elementary School we promote and encourage Character Education. Our teachers and staff lead by example; they demonstrate respect, consideration, and kindness to everyone on a daily basis. We also celebrate success and project a positive can-do attitude. At Madison Elementary, Character Education is real!
Every month our school focuses on a specific character trait. At the beginning of the month, Mrs. Burke, our school counselor, makes an announcement telling the students about the character trait and how they can demonstrate the month’s trait. During the month teachers and staff share books, involve students in discussions and recognize students who are portraying the particular character trait. Below you will see the character traits that we will be focusing on this school year:
At the end of every month the teachers in each grade level nominate a student from their classroom who they feel best exhibits the character trait. The names are sent to the special area teachers and staff to vote on the one student from each grade who they feel should receive the Madison Owl-Standing Character Award for the month. The student and their parents are recognized during lunch at the beginning of each month. We were quite excited to celebrate with the students who received the Owl-Standing Character Award for respect!
Madison Scholastic Book Fair
This will be the only book fair
in the school year!
will be held on
Monday, December 5th to Thursday, December 8th, 2016
from 8:00am to 3:30
in the Madison Library
Special extended hours on Thursday, Dec. 8th
Nightengale Elementary School
News & Notes
Mrs. Converse’s 6th Grade Dodecahedrons
A dodecahedron is the name given to a polyhedron made up of 12 equal pentagons. The 6th graders each made their own dodecahedron in science class. The dodecahedrons that 6th graders at Nightengale Elementary made are out of this world! Their creations are part of a unit on the Solar System. The students used a variety of resources to research the planets, sun, and the moon and then created the 12-sided, 3D figure to display their research findings. Sixth grade student Madelyn Blanchard said, "This was a nice change from the textbook studying. I loved coloring the project. It was fun working together with the other kids to research the solar system."
Box Tops for Education-
A BIG THANK YOU to all students, parents & teachers for making our Box Tops collection a success! We raised just over $500. . .that's a lot of Box Tops!
Our grade-level winners for the pizza party are:
· PK - Kindergarten is Ms. Taraska's class
· Grades 1-3 is Ms. Mailhot's class
· Grades 4-6 is Ms. Denney's class
Mrs. Mailhot’s Class and those “box top collecting kids!!!” Mrs. Mailhot’s Class says, “thank you for the great pizza and drinks, and we are already working toward the NEXT box top challenge!”
Mrs. Taraska’s Class
Mrs. Denny’s Class
Strategic Planning at Nightengale
Sean Brady, founder and president of Prism Decision Systems, Before starting Prism Decision Systems in 1997, Mr. Brady was the manager of strategic planning for the electric power generation business at NYS Electric & Gas Corporation. He also taught for 12 years from Grades 6 through community college. Last spring, Mr. Brady worked with a group of 30 stakeholders from the Massena community for 4 days to develop a district strategic plan. This plan will continue to provide focus for improvement by developing objectives and action strategies for implementing our strategic plan at the building level. As a building, we decided on three improvement areas to focus our attention:
1. Nightengale Attendance Plan
2. Select and Implement K-2 ELA and Math benchmark assessments
3. Increase engagement by providing a rich set or extracurricular and academic supports
Nightengale Giving Tree
There are about 60 tags on the Nightengale Giving Tree this year, each child in need is represented by a # and on the back is gender and grade. Please sign out the tag # on the sign out sheet next to the tree as well as your name and phone #. Gifts are due back Friday December 9th to the main office. Thanks to PTO for decorating the tree. Thanks in advance for generous donations and helping to support Nightengale Families in need during the holiday season.
2016 Lions Club Vision Screening
The Lions Club provides a free vision-screening program managed by volunteers. Current studies show that 80 percent of all learning occurs through the eyes. That is why it is so important that children have the healthy vision they need to learn at their most critical stages of development. All kindergarten students are screened and the results are sent home.
Kindergarten Harvest Dessert Festival
Every year our Kindergarten teachers have parents and guardians come into our classrooms for pie and cider. Our students share stories and songs about giving thanks and then share a dessert with their loved ones.
Before and after school childcare is available for all Grade Pre-k-6 students in the Massena CSD.
The Latch Key Program will be held at the following locations:
6:30am - 8:30am - Nightengale Elementary School
3:00pm - 6:00pm - Nightengale Elementary School
Parent/Guardians must be present to sign their child in and out daily.
The cost is $2.50 per hour per child. A family discount is available for three or more children at a cost of $2.00 per hour per child.
If school is delayed or closes early, childcare will not be available.
For more information about paying for childcare, contact Mrs. Tracey Adams at 764-3700 x3020.
Nightengale Students' Essays Featured on Senator Griffo's Website
We are pleased to announce that students in Mrs. Cathy Ashlaw's class recently had their Thanksgiving essays posted on Senator Griffo's webpage.
See link below.
PKU Awareness Day at Nightengale
1st grader Zoee Cook read a book about PKU to her friends in Mrs. Fountaine’s class. Her sister Clare, has PKU. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare genetic condition that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. Zoee gave all of her friends a bracelets and informational card with Clare's picture.
· Holiday Food Drive from 12/5-12/9. All donations will be given to St. Vincent’s food pantry
· Nightengale Winter Chorus Concert on 12/5/16
· Parent/Teacher conferences on 12/8(12-3:30 & 5-7) and 12/9(12-3:30)
JW Leary Junior High School
News & Notes
JW Leary students from Akwesasne celebrate Mohawk Culture and Heritage
Throughout the day on December 2, 2016 our students were able to be part of several presentations about Mohawk culture and heritage. Siera Thomas, who works at JW Leary with the Johnson O’Malley Program (JOM) arrange for various speakers and leaders from Akwesasne to share culture and history with our students. The event culminated with a traditional Social being help in our Gymnasium which grade 7 attended. Ian Clute led the event where our students were able to see and participate with traditional Mohawk singing and dances. JW Leary welcomed back several of our former students from Massena High School who participated in this event as well.
Pictures from the social:
Junior High Students Prepare Turkeys for St. Vincent DePaul
Sarah Ward and Jenna LaPage (Left). Ben Rogers, Tori Jacobs and Brenden Finnegan (Right).
JW Leary students pictured above are hard at work preparing turkeys to go in the oven. On Tuesday November 22, Mrs. Root and students cooked 6 turkeys for the St. Vincent DePaul community Thanksgiving dinner. It was a good lesson in community service and covered how to cook turkeys for 7th grade family and consumer science class.
November 2016 JWL Students of the Month
Each month 3 students (1 7th and 2 8th grade) are selected as students of the month. These students are selected and agreed upon by the entire JW Leary through a rigorous nomination and review process. Students who are selected must demonstrate the following criteria:
Scholarship: Scholarship is demonstrated by a student's willingness to learn. Scholarship means always doing the best work possible and being committed to putting in the time needed to achieve to his/her potential.
Leadership: Leaders take the initiative to be involved in the school community as well as the local community. They can be characterized also as a student who helps others in their daily activities without motivation for reward.
Character: Character is doing one’s best to make the right choices. “Students with good character demonstrate respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship in their actions.”
The winners for November 2016 are:
Emma Rupert, Grade 7
Emma LaBarge, Grade 8
Shea Scully, Grade 8
A few thoughts about attendance….
As part of our strategic planning process we have been looking closely at the attendance of our students and have discovered that students, in general, in this district miss far too many days of school. There are already over 90 students at JW Leary on track to miss more than 10% of the days in this school year (18+ days). Please think about the following when you think your child may need to miss school (source: www.attendacneworks.com):
12/5--Nightengale Winter Concert--7:00 pm--NG Gym
12/8—Finance Committee Meeting—5:30 pm—CAB
12/14—Policy Committee Meeting—6:30 pm--CAB
|Last Updated: 12/20/16|