Tag Archives: Plank North

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.

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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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Plank Rd. schools’ staff members will play basketball for charity

5 Mar

Plank Rd. North and Plank. Rd. South elementary schools have been neighbors and close friends pretty much forever. But they have never played together.

That will change later this month when the schools host the first annual Battle of the Planks Staff Charity Basketball Game on Saturday March 28, when faculty and staff members from both schools hit the Webster Schroeder High School court for a friendly game of hoops to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The idea for the game came from a conversation a few weeks ago between Plank North principal Craig Bodensteiner and physical education teacher Kevin Sayers as they monitored the bus loop.

“I’d always wanted to do something like this,” Bodensteiner said, and this spring, between the two school breaks, seemed the right time to do it.

“We’re in the middle of March Madness, so everyone is thinking about basketball. And the month of March kind of drags, so we thought this would be a good way to spice things up.” The next step was running the idea by Plank South principal Jennifer Sullivan.

“She’s a former basketball player,” Bodensteiner said, “so she’s very excited.”

We’re talking real basketball here, folks, complete with a referee, announcers, and concessions. About the only thing that might be missing in spots is actual athletic ability. But, Bodensteiner makes sure to stress, skill is not required; what is required is the desire to have fun.

“It’s a great way to bring everyone together,” he said. “Staff members at both schools will enjoy getting together in a non-work environment, and students will love the opportunity to come out to cheer on their favorite teachers, and show some school pride.”

Alumni are also being invited, adding more volume to each school’s cheering section.

It’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of friendly competition,” Bodensteiner said. But, he added,”If Plank North can get the win, that’s a cherry on the top.”

The First Annual Battle of the Planks Staff Charity Basketball Game is scheduled for Saturday March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. There is no admission, but donations are encouraged, and all proceeds will benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital, a cause suggested by Plank North assistant principal Heather Balsamo.

(Big thanks to Kevin Sayers and Shawn Strege, Webster’s Director of Physical Education and Athletics, for so efficiently pulling together the details and arranging for the venue.)

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Webster teachers are “freezin’ for a reason”

30 Jan

polar plunge

We always knew that our Webster teachers are dedicated to our students. And if you’re not yet convinced, just check out what a bunch of them are planning to do in just a few weeks.

Almost a dozen teachers and staff members will be participating in this year’s Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 9.

I’m sure you’ve heard about this annual event. Basically, participants come together at Ontario Beach Park, strip down to their bathing suits (or tutus or Santa suits or whatever they choose to wear), and take a dip into the frigid waters of Lake Ontario. Some just run in and out, others dive head-first. Nobody stays in very long. (I can say that from experience as I did take part in this last year).

What is particularly amazing about this event is that all the participants RAISE MONEY for the privilege of doing this crazy thing. And this year, get this:

WTA

Our Webster Teachers Association (WTA) is currently the top fundraising team of the entire Plunge. 

Yep, as of this writing, the WTA team has raised a whopping $7,540, easily eclipsing the second place team. And the two tippy-top fundraisers of all? Lisa Foster ($2,670) and Bill Ambler ($2070), both teachers at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School.

All the proceeds, by the way, benefit Special Olympics. So all this craziness and fund-raising is helping out our district’s students big time.

The team has raised so much money that the folks at Special Olympics reached out to team captain Dan Crowley and offered to bus them over to the Plunge site. That’s VIP treatment for some real VIP teachers.

It is NOT TOO LATE to donate to the WTA team. Let’s keep them on top! Just click here to see all the team members. You can either donate to one of them, or to the entire team as a whole. In either case, our students will benefit.

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Last year’s WTA team of Polar Plungers.

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Webster schools welcomes Kevin Sherry — and he’s changing lives

20 Nov

Something pretty neat happened at school yesterday which I wanted to share with you.

Earlier this week, Plank North Elementary was fortunate to host Kevin Sherry, author and illustrator of children’s books.

IMG_20191120_103417012It is hard to put into words how animated and energetic Kevin Sherry is. The three presentations he gave to the students were filled with music (he plays the guitar), puppets (he even brought a marionette), stories and much laughter. He bounded across the stage with a frenetic intensity that belied his passion for art and writing.

The kids were enthralled. Thanks in large part to weeks of preparation by Plank North librarian Gretchen Pulver, the students were already looking forward to Sherry’s visit. But by the end of the day, most of them considered him a rock star.

But Sherry’s presentations were not just entertaining. They were inspiring. That became obvious yesterday morning.

Three third-grade boys came into the library to show Pulver a book they were working on, called Blizz at Shore. It was a graphic novel, complete with bold text and large, colorful full-page illustrations. The story line was based closely on one of Sherry’s books, The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet, complete with the same lead character, Blizz the Yeti. They had started working on it shortly after their class had seen the presentation. It was impressive.

It so happened that Sherry was still in Webster, doing presentations at State Rd. Elementary. We decided that he needed to see this book. I made three copies — one for each student — and drove over to State Rd.

Sherry was amazed by the work these third graders had done. He not only signed each of the copies, but graciously wrote an individual message on each. Then, book in hand,  he posed for a photo.

Later that afternoon, Pulver and I went down to the boys’ classroom and presented the signed copies and photos to each of the boys. As you can imagine, they just beamed. When they saw the personal messages and the photos, their eyes grew as wide as their grins. Their fellow classmates applauded.

It was a heartwarming moment, an event that will definitely be something these boys remember for a long time. But I think it may go beyond that. It’s possible that Sherry’s validation of these boys’ writing, illustrations and initiative might just be a pivotal point in their lives.

All because one very kind author took a moment in his busy schedule to pause and say “good job.” Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Who knows? Maybe 20 years from now, they too will be rock stars.

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Work means play at the elementary schools

20 Jul
plank north 2

A view of the work happening at Plank North Elementary (photo courtesy H. Balsamo) 

School’s out, the teachers are taking a much-needed break, and students are spending their days riding bikes, traveling and hitting the pool.

Nevertheless, there’s exciting stuff happening at the elementary schools.

If you drive by your school in the next few weeks, chances are you’ll see a lot of work going on near one of the playgrounds. Each one of the district’s seven elementary schools is getting new equipment this summer.

At Plank North, principal Craig Bodensteiner said the installation should take only about two weeks. “It’s been so long since we provided our ‘wish list’ of the additional equipment, I’m not sure of all the details,” he said, but he thinks the project includes some additional swings and “green/gold fun stations for our kiddos.”

Bodensteiner added that each of the seven buildings asked for different equipment to add some variety throughout the community.

Click here to see several more photos from the Plank North and Plank South work.

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School 17 says Thank you, Webster

31 Dec

Here’s a very nice end-of-the-year feel-good fuzzie, which I received in my email this morning. It’s a video thank-you to the Webster community from School 17 for helping bring Christmas to the children, many whom wouldn’t otherwise get even one present, let alone anything else resembling Christmas.

Click on the image to see the video. May the new year continue to bring more instances of people helping people, every day and in both big and little ways.

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Plank North receives huge donation

5 Oct
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Burlington representatives Lily Fernandez-Travieso and Nichole Kingston present the big check to Plank North principal Craig Bodensteiner in front of the whole school. (S. Rosenberry)

There was some incredibly surprising and wonderful news out of Plank Road North Elementary School Friday morning.

Burlington Stores, Inc., in partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org, donated $10,000 to the school, in celebration of the opening of its new store in BayTowne Plaza.

Two representatives from the new store presented the huge check to principal Craig Bodensteiner during the school’s monthly assembly, attended by all of the school’s staff members and students.

It was a total surprise. No one at the school aside from the administrators and front office staff knew about the donation. The cheers from the assembled crowd were loud and long.

Bodensteiner and assistant principal Heather Balsamo say they don’t know yet what the funds will be used for, but Balsamo did add that the donation “will benefit all of our students.”

Burlington makes a donation to a local school in each Grand Opening market to celebrate each new store location.

What an amazing business, what an amazing program. Clearly Burlington is committed to being a strong community partner, and I for one am going to show my thanks by shopping there.

gang with check

Several WCSD administrators were on hand for the presentation (provided photo).

carma nd wigs

WCSD supervisor Carm Gumina taking one of his famous selfies with some Plank North teachers (provided photo).

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Keeping cool at school

26 Sep

You know you work in a great school district when, on one of the hottest days of the year, one of the elementary school principals springs for freeze-pops for the entire school.

That’s what happened at Plank Road North Elementary School Tuesday. As the outside temperatures flirted with 90 degrees for the second day in a row, temperatures inside the un-air-conditioned school soared as well. Teachers and students alike were melting.

Principal Craig Bodensteiner to the rescue. In anticipation of the continuing heat wave, Bodensteiner hatched his plan Monday evening, and Tuesday morning headed to Wegmans and bought six cases of freeze-pops — almost all they had. He tucked them in the school’s walk-in freezer (he didn’t want to come out, he reported). Then, just before the end of the day, after they had all frozen solid, he and Assistant Principal Heather Balsamo made the rounds to every classroom and handed them out.

All 600 of them.

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Plank North principal Craig Bodensteiner handing out freeze-pops to some very warm and very grateful students. (S. Rosenberry)

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WCSD community comes together to support State Road Elementary

14 Apr

Even in the most difficult of situations, a ray of light often shines through.

I’ve seen that occur repeatedly in Webster. When bad things happen and threaten to overwhelm our friends and neighbors with negativity, we come together as a community to support each other and bring a bit of sunshine to a dismal situation.

An excellent example happened recently when a disturbing incident took place at State Road Elementary School. The details of that event don’t need to be rehashed here, but I would like to bring attention to what happened afterwards.

Realizing that their colleagues were going through a tough time, teachers and staff members at Klem Road South and Plank Road North elementary schools decided to show State Road some love.

On Tuesday April 4, Klem South provided cookies and milk for their State Road colleagues — the ultimate “I love you” snack.

The previous day, Plank North went all out, setting up an entire breakfast buffet in the staff’s lunchroom, including bagels, muffins, yogurt and crock pots filled with oatmeal. Inspirational and humorous quotes sprinkled throughout the room reaffirmed the message of love and support.

The thank-you messages which came flowing into Plank North later that day showed how much State Road appreciated the effort. Here are a few of them:

Just wanted to say “thank you” to our PN friends for treating us with breakfast on Monday! It’s been a tough month, but it has also been awesome to see our One Webster comes together to support each other! — Keary Pender

I am so honored to be part of both of these amazing schools. Thank you Plank North family for supporting my other State Road family! I have already heard from many people over there about how much they appreciated the thought and kindness!! — Lindsay MacKenzie

Your school is so thoughtful! The breakfast & inspirational quotes are wonderful & beautiful. Thank you so much for your generous hearts! — Stephanie Jones

No words can express the gratitude I, and many others, have towards all of you. The spread was amazingly delicious but the posters and sayings were all so appropriate and really hit the mark on how we are feeling. Everything really touched our hearts. We are a community, you celebrate together and grieve together. I am grateful to be part of Webster. — AnnMarie Johansson

State Road principal Christine Noeth-Abele said the support did not stop there.

Our parent community and the PTSA (have) been providing us with love and food (cookie trays, fruit, breakfast, kind words, inspirational posters and flowers). We have had an incredible amount of support from everyone, including district office and our superintendent.

The kindness, compassion and support of the Webster community will never cease to amaze me. We can’t make unfortunate and uncomfortable situations go away but we can help each other through.

I am fortunate to work in such a caring and supportive environment. State Road is truly a family.

THIS is the wonderful school district in which I work, and the wonderful people with whom I spend my days. These are the people who teach and care for your children all day long.

We could not ask for a more caring school community.

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