Massena Central School Board of Education Update
December 16, 2016
Lock Down Drills
Over the last two weeks we have conducted lock down drills at the High School and Junior High. Drills have also been held at the elementary levels this year. These trainings, which are required by the NYS Education Department, allow us to practice our responses in case of a true emergency. They includes participation of our local police department. To make this an authentic experience, we do not inform the staff, students, or parents before the event.
In this era of social media, parents and other members of the community often immediately know when there is a lockdown at the school. Some become concerned that there is a real problem which is impacting the safety of their children. That is understandable. However, if we are to be best prepared in the case of a real problem, we need to make these drills unannounced. Once the drill is near completion, we do post information on the webpage and use our communication avenues to inform the parents. We ask that parents exercise patience and understand that we will provide information whether it is a drill or actual emergency situation. The safety of our students is very important to us.
Assembly Holds Hearing on College Tuition and Debt
Recently, the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee heard testimony on rising college costs and student debt with an eye toward easing the burden on students in the state, who on average owe $32,200 in student loans.
Potential ways of addressing the problem include increasing state support for colleges and universities, expanding the state's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) from $5,165 to $6,500 and helping students complete their course of studies on time.
State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher asked lawmakers to increase support for the state’s public university system so that it is not forced to raise tuition on students, which it has done in each of the past five years. She said that the total cost of a SUNY education, including room and board, has increased by 35% over the last eight years, from $17,880 to $24,201.
School Aid Legal Challenges Update
Here is an update from NYSCOSS Deputy Director Bob Lowry on two legal challenges that have been issued in regard to school aid. Both could have a significant impact on our future operations in Massena depending on outcome.
There are two cases, one brought by a collection of small cities (the Maisto case), the other brought by a coalition of groups, including the Council (the NYSER case -- New Yorkers for Students' Educational Rights).
The trial court judge in Maisto rendered a negative decision, completely ignoring the precedents set by CFE.
Here's an explanation: http://schoolfunding.info/2016/09/ny-trial-court-rejects-sound-basic-education-claim/.
The small cities have to appeal and will.
NYSER is not as far along, but the last court decision was favorable to us, rejecting the state's request to have the case dismissed.
Here's an update on the NYSER case -- http://schoolfunding.info/2016/09/ny-appeals-court-affirms-plaintiffs-right-to-proceed-with-the-nyser-litigation/
Massena Federation of Teachers’ Holiday Donations
Recently, the MFT distributed 50 angels from our local angel trees/St. Vincent DePaul so that local children will have something to open for Christmas. Pictures here is MFT President Erin Covell and HS Guidance Counselor Bob Jordan preparing to distribute the gifts.
On December 1, 2016 New York State United Teachers in conjunction with First Books also donated over 500 brand new books to the three elementary schools and junior high school. The timing was optimal as many of the teachers will give the books to students who cannot afford a new book. A big thank you to NYSUT and First Books.
Camp Colby Scholarship
Attached is a summer camp opportunity at Lake Colby in Saranac Lake for students who are 11-13 years of age. To be considered, students are required to write a one page essay entitled, “Why I’d Like to Attend Camp Colby. The camp offers a variety of outdoor experiences with lessons in science and problem solving.
Rural School Association Newsletter
Attached is a copy of the Rural Schools Association newsletter for December, 2016. It contains information about the widening poverty problem in our state as well as the issues that public school are experiencing in hiring certified teachers. We are currently experiencing the latter issue in the areas of special education. Despite two different recruitment efforts we cannot find a certified teacher for a special education position at the high school.
The following is information from NYSCOSS Deputy Director Bob Lowry in regard to several important developments impacting public education.
Ken Andrews once again invited the MCHS Mixed Chorus to perform with the Orchestra of Northern New York for their "Holiday Magic" concert series. The MCHS Mixed Chorus performed with the orchestra on Friday, Dec. 9th at Hosmer Hall at the Crane School of Music, and again on Saturday, Dec. 10th in the MCHS Auditorium. The concert series was a huge success by all measures and both the orchestra and conductor Ken Andrews had high praise for our students! The left photo shows Kenneth Andrews working with the Mixed Chorus before the performance at Homer Hall. The right photo is the Mixed Chorus performing at Hosmer Hall with Soprano, Colleen Skull and ONNY. This is such a great opportunity for our students to perform with a professional orchestra.
Michael Nearny Presentation:
As a closing activity for the Freshman Academy Unit on Heroin Addiction, Michael Nearny, psychologist from Long Lake present to students and faculty how the human brain plays an important role in drug addiction. Mr. Nearny has spent many years working on research to support the claims that the human brain is responsible for many forces with males and female adolescences that make drug usage desirable. This presentation was sponsored again by the US Attorney’s Office in Albany as a way to support the efforts of the St. Lawrence County Drug Free Coalition and the Massena Police Department in the fight against drug addiction. Pictured in the right photo are: Kristin Colarusso-Martin of the coalition, Emily Gagnon from the US Attorney’s office, Chief Adam Love of the Massena PD, Michael Nearny, Lexie McGregor, student rep to the coalition, Amanda Mittiga, Freshman Academy Coordinator, Marilyn Morey from the US Attorney’s Office and Sarah Boyce HS Principal.
Freshman Academy was reinstituted this year in an effort to increase academic support to incoming freshman. Teachers who are participating in Freshman Academy have a scheduled common planning period each day. During this 42 minute period, teachers collaborate on interdisciplinary projects, discuss student needs and meet with parent and students. Currently, the team has held 10 parent meetings and 12 student meeting. I believe their ongoing attentiveness to our students’ progress is the reason for the increase number of parents in attendance at Parent Night. The team has organized two projects so far this year, Fright Night in October and Drug Awareness is November. November’s project was a collaboration with the St. Lawrence Co. Drug Free Coalition, The Massena PD and the US Attorney’s Office.
Students of the month was created to award those students for their efforts in maintaining proficiency in their courses. Pictured above from left to right are Lindsay Montroy, Meg Wilmshurst, Hunter Pryce, and Josh Daniels for October; Claudia Haverstock, Max Szarka, Andrew Cook and Sam Rusaw for November. These students were treated to hot chocolate and donuts donated by Dunkin’ Donuts and their picture was taken by students from Kara Warren’s PR Class for placement in the Courier Observer. Current discussion involve college visits, a third interdisciplinary project and activities to increase leadership skills in freshman students for next year.
Newest Member of the Cheerleading Squad and 1000 points
Keslie Miller, pictured right, has always wanted to be a member of the Massena Cheerleading Squad. Keslie’s teacher, Roxanne Howard, decided to make that dream come true for Keslie. She approached coaches Sandy Brault and Tammie Jo Villnave with the idea and they made it happen. Keslie’s first game with the squad was Monday December 12 at the Men’s Varsity Basketball Game against Gouverneur. The same night that Dante Viskovich became the 6th basketball player to score 1000 points in the history of Massena Athletics. Way to go Keslie and Dante. We are proud of you both.
Native American Presentations
Native American students from Trista Girard’s English III and AIS classes provided presentations on Native American culture. Topics of the presentation included Residential Homes, Beadwork, Iroquois Confederacy and Lacrosse stick making. The students also provided fried dough, hash and corn soup, traditional Native American dishes. Georgia Oakes in seen to the right getting fried dough for those in attendance at the presentation. She and her father provided the fried dough. Rain Hill is pictured to the left answering questions about her presentation. The presentations were very informative and those who attended went away with new information they had not heard in the past. The food was great too.
JW Leary Junior High
News & Notes
On behalf of the Faculty and Staff at JW Leary we would like to wished you all a happy and safe holiday season. It is a honor to be able to work with the young men and women of Massena and we appreciate the trust you place in us every day to help your children to learn and grow. We have been working hard so far this year (students and staff alike) and taking time to rest and recharge with family and friends is well deserved by all. Enjoy the break and we will see you next year.
Massena Girls Travel Basketball Plays in Syracuse
JWL Leary students playing for the Massena Basketball Association Travel Team had the honor of playing at halftime during a womens home Syracuse basketball game versus Niagara recently. (JH students pictured above are Skarlett Wilson, Kailey Peets, Madison Ward, Josie Condon, Grayce Trimboli, Laylah Bingham, Joey Abrantes, Tori Jacobs, Mara Brown, Shaylena Mandigo, Rhea Bautista, Faith Halladay, Haliegh Armstrong and Aryssa Hopps)
85+ Club at JW Leary
JW Leary is thrilled to announce the return of the 85+ club. The club seeks to recognize and reward students who have earned an average of 85 or higher in every single class. The club had become defunct in recent times due to the cost involved with organizing these activities for our students. Thanks to a supportive Parent-Teacher Organization and the efforts of Mrs. Witkop, Mrs. Morgan, and Mrs. Czajkowski were able to arrange for our first trip in several years. For $6, eligible students will be able to see Rogue One during school on Wednesday, December 21st. These trips are designed to recognize the exceptional efforts of our students. Students eligible for our first outing of the 2016-17 school year are listed below.
1/27/2016 Junior High will have an Early release for Professional Development
Please note that JW Leary will have an early release day on 1/27/2016. We will be dismissing at 10:30am. This early dismissal does not appear on the district calendar. Please make appropriate arrangements for your students on that day.
JW Leary gets into the Spirit of the Season!!!!!
Monday 19th: wear RED
Tuesday 20th: wear GREEN
Wednesday 21st: wear a CHRISTMAS TIE, SCARF, HAT
Thursday 22nd: wear an UGLY SWEATER
News & Notes
Providing Feedback for State Assessments
Jefferson Fourth Grade Teacher, Barb Hewlett, recently accepted an invitation to participate in the New York State Education Department’s Passage Review Meeting for the New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) Test. This review was conducted jointly by the New York State Education Department and Questar Assessment, Inc.
During the Passage Review Meeting, committee members reviewed passages that have been selected for use in developing ELA items for the spring 2019 tests. Participants read the passages and recorded their comments. They were asked to comment on the quality, complexity, appropriateness and fairness of each passage. There was also a group discussion regarding each of the passages led by a facilitator from Questar.
The meeting took place over the course of two days; Tuesday, December 13 and Wednesday, December 14, 2016 in Albany.
Jefferson Strategic Planning
The Jefferson Elementary Strategic Planning team is well underway with three selected target areas. The team’s focus will hopefully improve student attendance while increasing parent engagement with the school.
Develop a plan to improve student attendance.
Develop a plan to improve parents’ engagement in their child’s education.
Provide a rich set of academic supports and activities.
The team is focusing on developing a plan to improve parents’ engagement in their child’s education and recently distributed a survey to parents to gather feedback. This survey was distributed through email as well as a paper hardcopy delivered home with the students. The team anxiously awaits the results of the survey as they prepare to respond to the feedback.
Sample questions included
How do you prefer to receive information about your child’s activities and experiences at school?
Do you have enough access to the school and teachers by phone, by e-mail, and in person?
If you found it difficult to attend any school activity, is there anything we could do to make it easier for you to attend?
Are there other ways that you would like to be involved in your child’s school experience?
Do you have a special skill or hobby that you can share with the class or school?
Are you satisfied with opportunities for family involvement in your child’s school?
Have you been invited to participate in classroom activities? If not, would you like to?
Mr. Jake Spriggs, Public Relations Assistant for Massena Memorial Hospital, presented an assortment of hats, mittens, coats, and scarves to Mrs. Jane Bain. Mrs. Bain, Massena Central’s Head Nurse, will assure that the donations go into the hands of boys and girls in need.
Thank you very much Massena Memorial for this kind donation.
Fourth Graders Donate Items For Families in Need
Each year around the holidays, we offer our fourth grade students a chance to model our character education theme for the month of December: Compassion and Generosity. In years past, we have donated items to the Massena Humane Society and have had food drives for a local food bank. This year, our students brought in gifts for a family in need. The children and their families sent in about 50 gifts for this family. We are proud of our fourth graders and their generous hearts.
Jefferson Elementary Chorus
Winter Holiday Concert
Dec. 6, 2016
Directed by Mrs. Nora Darling, Jefferson Elementary’s grade 5 and 6 chorus recently presented an outstanding Winter Holiday Concert. With standing room only in the crowd, the largest chorus ever at Jefferson performed a variety of heart-felt songs.
· Kindled by the Flame
· Angels Among Us
· My Favorite Things
· Believe-Polar Express
· Rock Around the Jingle Bells
· Christmas Medley
Newest Tie Club Member
Jefferson Elementary Second Grade Student, Nicholas Gilbert, is the newest member of Mr. Richards’ Tie Club. Nicholas has reached 670,000 words read and 130 Scholastic Reading points benchmark. Congratulations Nicholas and keep READING!!!
Around the World Math Challenge
Miss Courtney Johnston’s first grade classroom practiced improving their math fact fluency by competing in several rounds of “around the world” math fact challenge. As Miss Johnston presented a math fact flash card, two students compete to be the first to solve the fact. The fastest fact whiz moved on to challenge the next student. The competition was exciting and motivating.
The expectation for first grade is for students to fluently add and subtract numbers to 10.
Pre Kindergarten Holiday Preparation
The Jefferson Pre Kindergarten students were recently busy getting ready for the holidays. Led by their teacher, Mrs. Hubert, the students brainstormed many ideas that would put them on the “nice list.” Mrs. Hubert helped them put their ideas into a letter to Santa.
· Help mom and dad (fixing or cooking things)
· Help grandma and grandpa
· Eat all of our supper.
· Clean up my toys/room.
· Listen to my mom and dad and give kisses and hugs.
· Make cards.
· Play nice with my siblings.
· Be kind to my friends.
· Listen to my teacher.
· Be kind to my siblings.
· Donate some toys.
· Give toys to my sister.
· Be nice to my pet.
· Help my friends.
· Smile at my bus driver.
Pre Kindergarten Evening Holiday Celebration
Although the temperature outside was freezing, there was plenty of warmth felt inside as the Jefferson Pre Kindergarten students invited their families to an evening holiday celebration. Students and parents enjoyed donuts and hot chocolate as they each decorated their own tasty Christmas tree. Massena Central School District Superintendent, Mr. Patrick Brady, was the chosen guest-of-honor to read the traditional ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.
Jefferson Elementary School Staff Mannequin Challenge
We’ve got Spirit. How about you?
Jefferson Jaguar Mannequin Challenge
News & Notes
Fourth Grade Researchers
Students in Mrs. Hartman’s fourth grade class have been studying about vertebrates in Science class. The scientists in Room 309 researched a vertebrate of choice, identified the classification and used the Internet or an encyclopedia to answer various questions about the species. Students then made a poster board displaying the information they found.
Recognition for Perfect Attendance
Seventy-two Madison students had perfect attendance for the first trimester of school! Students who were not absent, tardy, or dismissed early from school for the first trimester were recognized in their classroom. Students who have perfect and good attendance in trimester 2 will be recognized again in March. At Madison Elementary we know that attendance is very important! Pictured are students from Miss LaCombe’s third grade class that received a certificate for perfect attendance.
It's a Winter Wonderland at Madison!
Students have been enjoying the fresh blanket of white on our playground this week. Our Owls have used fabulous teamwork strategies to roll the biggest snowballs and create some giant snowmen!
Ornament Decorating Night
The Madison Who Club hosted their annual Ornament Decorating Night on Tuesday, December 13th. Students and their families were treated to a hot chocolate bar filled with delicious toppings, courtesy of our friends at Tarbell Management Group and Tim Hortons. They enjoyed popcorn while creating some precious keepsake ornaments. Holiday magic filled the air with the arrival of Santa Claus. Students eagerly shared their Christmas wishes and had their photo taken with him. Thank you to all the families that came out to share in the merriment!
First Grade Bucket Fillers!
Mrs. Sova’s students filled up their classroom bucket with warm “fuzzies” so they celebrated all of their kindness and bucket filling qualities! Madison Elementary students receive bucket fillers when they show acts of kindness inside and outside of their classroom.
Madison Library Media Center Webpage
The Madison Library Media website will amaze you with all of the resources provided for the students. Click on https://goo.gl/VUIFH3 to access databases, browse e-books and browse interesting web links.
When you click on the bright yellow highlighted, Madison Library Media Center link, you are connected to the Madison OPAC. Center for great resources, reading, and new facts.
#1 Keyword Search box allows user to see all/any material held in Madison's library.
#2 Blue search icon on the left leads you to Madison's databases.
Username: mdlibrary Password: search (all lowercase no capitals)
#3 Icon showing books flowing out of a laptop brings up all of Madison's e-books.
#4 Snap icon is for teachers to borrow materials from BOCES Library Resource Center. (Classroom book sets, kits, on-line videos and more.) Username: (first initial, last name) Password: media
Thank you to Madison's past librarian, Virginia Clary, for creating the OPAC explanation snapshot. Please contact Mrs. Michelle Rowley, Librarian, if you have any questions.
Upcoming Events in January:
Tues. 3 Who Club Meeting 7pm in the Madison Library
Thur. 5 Owl-Standing Character Recognition Assembly
Mon. 16 No School– Martin Luther King JR’s Birthday
Tues. 17 First Lego League Open House@5:00pm at Madison
Thur. 19 Board of Education Meeting @ the High School-6:30
Thurs, Fri.26&27 Early Dismissal– Professional Development
News & Notes
Nightengale Mighty Milers
Jeffrey Slack, Nightengale PE Teacher
Nightengale has joined the Mighty Milers Club. The Mighty Milers program is a FREE running program for kids of all fitness levels from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. It's designed to get kids moving and prevent obesity and illness. Participation in Mighty Milers helps kids build their self-esteem, and learn to make and reach personal goals. Over the course of a program cycle, children in Mighty Milers set goals to run and/or walk a certain distance and earn rewards for reaching milestones along the way.
Nightengale Holiday Concert
The Nightengale Entertainers, conducted by Ms. Caitlin Walton, proudly presented the Nightengale Elementary Winter Concert on December 5, 2016. These students worked very hard to learn the music. We were all so proud of the work they accomplished.
Nightengale Student Council Food Drive
I wanted to thank our Nightengale community, once again. Our Student Council collected 1,060 food items during the food drive. All donations were given to St. Vincent’s Du Paul. Many thanks to all who donated to the drive!!
Pictured in photo:1st row- Gia Portolese, Kristen Oliver, 2nd row-Ella Tusa, Hunter Young, Sal Perretta, Tallen Currier, Olivia Miller Back row-Morgan McGowan, Maddie Blanchard, Arden Amo-Rush,Sophia St. Hilaire, Jake Linstad, and Advisor Melissa Power
First Snowman of the season
Thank You to Mr. and Mrs. Hamelin
Last week Mr. and Mrs. Rick Hamelin donated three Kindles to Mrs. Perretta’s classroom.
They will be using the Kindles in 2nd grade as supplements and enrichment for Math and ELA.
The current educational apps we are using are:
-Xtramath (math supplement)
-Spellbot (spelling enrichment)
-Vocabulary spelling city (spelling supplement)
-2nd grade learning games (math and ELA supplement)
-Archaeologist- Jurassic Life- games for kids (enrichment)
-Word epic (spelling enrichment)
-Fun Spanish: Language Learning Games for Kids (enrichment)
-Kids Tangrams (enrichment)
-Seesaw (portfolio for student work)
-Padlet (interactive/collaborative workspace)
Mrs. Winston, School Counselor
Thanks to all of you that helped with the Giving Tree and/or donated gifts to the Giving Tree last Friday!
Nightengale Spirit Sticks
Spirit Sticks are small custom-embroidered patches that students can earn, collect, and display on a Nightengale embroidered key chain. Spirit Sticks promote school spirit and participation by providing meaningful extrinsic rewards with lasting value, beyond the school year.
We are very excited that our PTO came up this idea for our school. The PTO donated a custom Nightengale Elementary keychain forall students. Students will have the option to purchase different Spirit Sticks to reflect all their unique likes and personalities. The PTO will be selling Spirit Sticks on popcorn days.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the PTO via their facebook page or email at NNPTO84@yahoo.com.
Noble Nighthawks December 16, 2016
-No School on 12/23/16
12/19—Facilities Committee Meeting—5:00 pm—Junior High Library
12/23-1/2—Holiday Break; No School
|Last Updated: 1/11/17|