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Schlegel teachers and students reconnect at drive-by

22 May
Even Whiskers, the Schlegel Rd. mascot, came to the event. Here he greets students with Schlegel Assistant Principal Robin Jennings,

Last night was a really fun night.

The administrators at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School got permission from the district Powers That Be to hold a drive-through event at the school so that staff members and students could reconnect.

The event officially began at 5:30, but staff members started showing up a good hour early to festoon their cars with signs and balloons and set up bubble machines and music. By the time families started driving in, cars were lined up around the school’s parking lot and bus loop. More than 80 staff members were there, representing pre-K through 5th grade, OWL, custodial staff, paraprofessionals, band and orchestra, secretaries and district sentries.

Everyone practiced proper social distancing — parking at least 6 feet apart and staying with their cars — and everyone wore masks. The masks made it hard to see all the smiles, but the distance didn’t damper the excitement at all as family cars streamed by for a full hour and a half.

Schlegel is one of the two schools where I work as a library teaching assistant, so I got to be there. Let me tell you, it was a delight to see all those little faces again in person (not on Zoom) and it was heartwarming to see those faces light up when they saw us.

It was a perfect way to ease the ache in our hearts from not seeing our students every day, and was something that both students and teachers desperately needed.

The slideshow below doesn’t capture the party atmosphere completely, but you get a good sense of how many people were there and how much everyone misses everyone else.


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Virtual relays keeping schools connected

14 May

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Plank Rd. North principal Craig Bodensteiner heading out for his relay leg.

A little while ago I posted a blog about a fun way we Barry’s Runners found to stay connected during the pandemic. It was a 12-hour virtual relay, based on 24-hour relay organized last month by Rochester Running Company.

The idea was simple: sign up for a half-hour relay “leg,” run or walk or bike during your appointed time, then “hand off” the virtual baton to the next relay participant via a text or phone call.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Every single runner commented about how they appreciated the excuse to get out, to be a part of something greater than themselves, and have a purpose.

The following week, my Plank Rd. North principal Craig Bodensteiner asked if anyone had suggestions about how to keep the staff connected as the pandemic dragged on. I immediately knew that a virtual relay was perfect.

We ran our Plank North Virtual 12-hour relay on Tuesday, April 28. Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., 40 staff members, plus a lot of family members and furry friends, logged more than 105 miles.

robin

Even the Schlegel mascot, Whiskers, joined in the fun with AP Robin Jennings.

I’ll bet you know where this is leading….

We had SO MUCH FUN, I then suggested to my Schlegel Rd. principal, Francine Leggett, that we also have a staff relay. That one was even more successful. On Thursday May 7, more than 70 Schlegel Rd. staff members — plus a lot of family members and furry friends — logged an amazing 223 miles.

Everyone at both schools sent me a photo of themselves, or their sneakers, to mark their accomplishment. I put them all together in videos. If you have students at Plank North or at Schlegel, they might like to watch them and see all their teachers!

Click here for the Plank North video

Click here for the Schlegel Rd. video

And stay tuned. Teachers had so much fun and liked the idea so much, you might actually see them organize a virtual relay for their students!

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News from the schools

11 May

It’s a really weird school year, but some things remain the same: it’s time to start looking forward to September.

If you have a child who will be entering kindergarten, NOW is the time to register. It’s especially important to help your schools know how many students to expect this fall, so they can determine class sizes and work out any other logistics as they prepare for an unusual new year.

Kindergarten registration is under way right now. If you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before December 1, 2020, that child is eligible for kindergarten enrollment for the 2020-21 school year. Parents can download a kindergarten registration packet by visiting WCSD’s Student Registration web page at www.websterschools.org/registration.

School registration is based on residency. Webster students attend the school assigned to their home address. Use the School Locator Tool on the Student Registration website for placement information.

The safest method to submit registration paperwork is online, however, the district understands this is not possible for all parents/guardians. Therefore, completed kindergarten registration forms (along with all grade levels) will be accepted at Webster CSD’s Buildings and Grounds facility, 110 Sanford Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Social distancing requirements will be followed in order to ensure the health and safety of all parents, guardians, and staff members. Registration forms are located on WCSD’s Student Registration web page.

Please do not drop off any original documentation; copies will only be accepted. Student Registration staff members will reach out via email or telephone with any follow-up questions regarding submitted registration paperwork. Email Carla Watkins, District Registrar, with any questions: carla_watkins@webstercsd.org.

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Alexandra TasberWebster Schroeder High School has a new assistant principal.

Welcome to Alexandra Tasber, who has accepted the position as Schroeder AP (alpha E-K), effective July 1. She is replacing current interim assistant principal Jim Vitale.

For the past 11 years, Tasber has worked with the West Irondequoit Central School District as an English Language Arts (ELA) contact and classroom teacher at Dake Junior High School. During summer 2019, she served as WICSD’s 7-12 summer school principal and worked for many years as a summer school ELA teacher.

Tasber lives in Rochester with her husband, Dave, and two children, Lydia and Kellen.

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A heartfelt message to Schlegel Rd. staff

10 May

Last week was Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week. It’s normally a time when students like to do something special for everyone who works at their schools. Obviously that wasn’t able to happen this year as it normally does. But one neighborhood came up with a creative way to share their appreciation.

The families from Eastwood Estates (Bannerwood Dr and Halesworth Lane), organized by the Miller family, got together to give a life-sized thank you to their Schlegel Road Elementary School teachers and staff.

eastwood

In the email they sent, they wrote,

We are so thankful for each of you and the investment you have in our kid’s lives! Your incredible hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed (especially in this season of remote learning, new instruction, and uncharted territory)! I’m speaking for my family, but I’m sure the neighbors would agree, we miss having our kiddos being loved on in person by the Schlegel staff each school day. You all are doing such a wonderful job adapting to this new normal! Thank you for being amazing and for teaching, guiding, and partnering with us!

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Seniors are getting celebrated in a big way

1 May

senior 1

Webster Schroeder senior Anya Swinson with her lawn sign.

If you’ve been on Facebook at all today, guaranteed you’ve seen some videos of a great event that’s happening all over town today.

Webster School District representatives are driving all around town today in a mini-parade led by a loudly-honking school bus, handing out lawn signs recognizing every single one of our high school seniors — more than 700 of them.

The school bus is being followed by Webster Schroeder teachers/staff, Webster Thomas teachers/staff, and PTSA volunteers in their cars. The parade is expected to continue until about 3:30, so keep an eye out in your neighborhood!

Click here to see video of the delivery to the home of Webster Schroeder senior Anya Swinson, who will be attending Mercyhurst in the fall. The Webster Central PTSA purchased the signs.

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Webster administrators tops in the field

25 Apr

Congratulations to Spry Middle School assistant principal Jackie Saunders and Schlegel Road Elementary School Principal Francine Leggett for being recognized recently by the School Administrators Association of New York (SAANYS) as outstanding administrators.

SSANYS named Saunders Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year for Region 11, and Leggett Elementary Principal of the Year.

According to the SSANYS website, the organization recognizes educators who “demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and have made exceptional contributions to the educational process.”

Normally, last week these ladies would have been feted at an award ceremony at Midvale Country Club.  The fact they’ll probably be getting their awards in the mail does not diminish the accolades they have earned and greatly deserve.

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Seniors, show your signs!

19 Apr

I  love this story, which I saw this week in the Webster Herald.

The Webster Central PTSA has purchased a lawn sign for every graduating senior in our district, from both Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high schools.

This from the PTSA:

The Webster Central PTSA believes this is an opportunity to show our students the power of community in these unprecedented times and unify our youth across the district. We hope the signs will bring smiles to the faces of seniors, their families, and neighbors, as well as encourage our high school seniors to reflect on their accomplishments and journey through Webster Central Schools.

The principals of each high school will be reaching out to to students to arrange for the sign pick-up.

It’s a simple way for our schools, and our community, to show how proud we are of our young people, and to give the Class of 2020 some recognition in these difficult times. Watch for them as they start sprouting up in our neighborhoods.

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WHAT am I going to do with the kids? (Part 2)

19 Mar

We have to keep these kids reading.

hartsville

This Little Free Library is on Hartsville Lane.

That has been made a lot more difficult now that we don’t have easy access to our school libraries or the public libraries. BUT… we DO have an abundance of Little Free Libraries.

I’m sure you’ve heard about these. Basically, they’re exactly what the name says:  diminutive libraries packed with books and magazines free for the taking.  They look kind of like large birdhouses (or some other fancy design) with wide Plexiglas front doors, stuck on top of a pedestal, and can be found in front yards, at community centers, near schools and parks.

The idea is simple.  You go up to one of these book boxes, poke through the books, choose one you want, and take it home.  When you’re done with it, you can return it, or perhaps replace it with another one.

There’s a website you can visit to see where all of the officially registered Little Free Libraries are located. But I know for a fact that there are a lot more little libraries in our town than are on that map — ’cause it costs money to register them. For example, many of our schools have one outside.

So why not check out the map and start your own Little Free Library tour?  It’s a great way to keep getting “new” books for your whole family.

P.S. Don’t be afraid to extend your search into our neighboring towns. Irondequoit and Penfield, for example, have a whole bunch of Little Free Libraries.

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Strike up the bands!

11 Mar

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Members of last year’s Willink Student-Parent Band warm up before a rehearsal.

Whether you like to play — or just listen to — great band music, here are two events you’ll want to know about.

The Willink Student-Parent Band will hold its annual spring concert this coming Saturday, March 14 in the Willink Middle School cafetorium, 900 Publishers Parkway.

The band is celebrating its 26th year in 2020, continuing a tradition which began in 1994, bringing students, family and community together to create music and have fun.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $2 and can be purchased either from band members or at the door.

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Our very own Webster Village Band is kicking off its season, having just released its 2020 rehearsal schedule.

Rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm, usually in the Willink Middle School band room. They’ll begin this Thursday March 12 and run through June 4, with a concerts scheduled pre-season concerts scheduled for April 23 at Calkins Rd. Middle School in Pittsford and May 7 at Cherry Ridge Senior Center.

The all-volunteer Webster Village Band is comprised of more than 50 members,  under the direction of Tom Indiano and Associate Director Sue Siegmund. They’re always looking for more musicians to join the group. Additional information is available from Harvey Cohen, at hcohen@rochester.rr.com. Plus, you can see more rehearsal information on their website here.

village band

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Hot chocolate in the morning, courtesy Webster Schroeder PTSA

7 Mar

hot cocoa #1

So how great would it be for someone to welcome you to work in the morning with a cup of hot chocolate?

That’s exactly what happened Thursday morning at Webster Schroeder High School when the school’s PTSA surprised students by offering them hot cocoa as they entered the building.

Schroeder PTSA Chair Stacie Peters explained in an email that the event was meant to be a kind of “pick-me-up” during what can be a dreary time of year for students.

“This time of year we are dealing with cold weather and very little sunshine,” Stacie wrote. “We thought this timing would be good for the students because it’s in between the Winter and Spring break.”

Stacie continued in her email,

There is nothing that says love like the inviting, comforting scent of hot cocoa with marshmallows on a cold winter morning! We had music playing and as soon as kids started coming in they were greeted with smiles and a cup of hot cocoa! They all loved it and with the music and fun vibe it was just a feel-good start of the day for all the students, many staff came to have a cup as well.

Schroeder PTSA wants to let our students/staff know we care about them and we are so happy to do these little pick me ups throughout the year. We feel if the students are happy, teachers are happy and that can be a ripple effect as their day goes on spreading happiness. Events like this make it possible for secondary parents to still feel a part of their child’s school, that connection is invaluable.

While sponsored by the PTSA, the event had wonderful support from Webster Schroeder principal Paul Benz and a dedicated team of parent volunteers.

Webster Thomas High School PTSA held a similar event for Thomas students in February, and word it it was a tremendous success. Photos from that below:

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