Tag Archives: Plank South Elementary

Oak Tree Award winners announced

13 May

Congratulations to this year’s Webster Central School District Oak Tree Award recipients, announced earlier this week.

This year’s winners were Michele Parry, a fourth grade teacher at Plank South Elementary School, and Denise Warren, a special education teacher at Webster Thomas High School.

Parry and Warren were greeted by representatives of the Oak Tree Committee, teaching colleagues, and others with flowers and a cookie cake. Each recipient will receive a $500 stipend, a hand-lathed pen, and an acorn pin. The honorees were also congratulated by the Webster CSD Board of Education at its May 3 meeting. 

Thirty-eight educators were nominated by students, teachers, and community members for this year’s award.

The Oak Tree Award spotlights excellence in teaching at the elementary and the secondary levels and is jointly sponsored by the Webster Teachers Association and the Webster PTSA. The first Oak Tree Award was presented in 2000 and is a once-in-a-career honor.

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(posted 5/13/2022)

At the final bell, a shout-out for some great teachers

20 Jun

I think you’ll agree with me that our teachers are superheroes.

I mean, recall that a year ago March, on a week’s notice, they were asked to finish up the year by going completely online. Then came this school year, and they’ve had to juggle Covid restrictions, remote lessons, and half days or half weeks, all while doing their best to deliver as much learning and critical socialization as possible. And despite all those challenges, they’ve persevered and done an amazing job.

There’s been so much noise and bluster on social media recently about how our teachers have been sliding by. But most of us know the truth. Webster teachers are the best. So I wanted to counter all that noise with some of our own making. That’s why I asked parents to send me stories about some great teachers who have touched their childrens’ lives.

I’m pleased to present the first installment of that list today, and will post a second tomorrow. Feel free to continue to send me your stories (with a photo of the teacher if possible) and I’ll add them to the list!

(By the way, these passages have been edited only slightly for punctuation and grammar. The sentiments are otherwise unfiltered, and straight from the heart.)


Remote teaching excellence

Due to remote learning, I was able to see firsthand how awesome the Klem North music and band teachers are. 

Tiffany Polino has more passion and more energy than any teacher I’ve ever known. Her music classes are engaging, encouraging, and full of student participation. She states her CARE expectations in positive ways, always with a smile on her face. During one fifth grade session she asked the kids to name some topics they were interested in exploring. My son mentioned he was interested in learning how to play the guitar. So, Tiffany dedicated one session a week to the small “guitar cohort.” I was amazed she was willing to put aside her original plans to tailor lessons to student interest. 

Diana Mee eats, breathes, and sleeps her love of band instruments. She makes amazing assignments that go above and beyond the normal “practice your instrument for 20 minutes a day.” She also assigned songs based on student interest. My son learned how to play Disney songs for his little sister and Taps to commemorate Memorial Day.

Diana encourages students to email her with questions and responds to the emails right away. She always speaks positively and sought ways to engage her band students even though they could not play together in person during remote learning. 

Both of these teachers are doing an amazing job at promoting a love of the arts in Webster. 

— Courtney King

A heartfelt mid-year welcome

Barbara Sykut is my twins’ third grade teacher at Plank South! We bought a house here in November and they joined her class in the midst of the year. She was so happy to have them and has been absolutely amazing! She is retiring after this year and we feel so lucky to have had her before she leaves.

Thanks for everything Ms. Sykut!

— Skylar Bethany

Making kids the priority

I have a son who attends fifth grade at State Rd. During the pandemic he was remote. When Webster announced schools would be opening we got word he may have to attend a different school. My son Richy was scared and wanted to stay remote if that was to happen. The principal (Christine Noeth-Abele) said she was trying to get all the kids back and would do her best. She’s awesome.

Then I found out that a teacher was coming back from retirement just to help out. Mrs. Feeley. She is amazing. She came back just for the kids and to make sure they were able to attend their home school. I am so grateful and so is Richy. She has been awesome making sure they get what they need and making sure the extra things they were missing being remote were taken care of. She makes snacks for the kids and is always kind and Richy tells me he wished he had her since day one.

That’s a great teacher to come back from retirement to just help out the kids.

— Nikki Johnson

One classroom, two great teachers

My son Tanner is in kindergarten at Schlegel in Miss Eckert’s class.

Miss Eckert

Miss Eckert and Miss Goodness, the TA, have been absolutely amazing.Tanner has had a hard time adjusting to school and has had a really hard time managing his emotions and understanding what is appropriate at school. Both of these incredible women have gone above and beyond to help Tanner and make his kindergarten experience positive.

All school year, Miss Eckert and Miss Goodness supported Tanner in his journey and tried many different things to help with his behaviors. It takes a very strong, companionate, determined, and patient person to work with these small children and help them learn new routines and manage emotions and just show them how to feel good about themselves and the people around them. We were so lucky to have two of those people this year. They never gave up on Tanner and I am so grateful for them.

— Caira Kinnear

Providing stability during a difficult year

I would like to recognize Brianne Cipura at Klem North who chose to teach a grade level she never taught before in order to loop to first grade with her kindergarteners. By volunteering to stay with these kids, she gave parents peace of mind entering this bizarre school year. Regardless of what choices administration made, we knew her class would be a welcoming and safe place for our kids.

My family is very grateful for her.

— Kelly Prato

Over and above during shutdown

My daughter Gabriella wants to send a shout out to her fourth grade teacher from last year (at Klem South).

Elizabeth Karlof Coene was able to build and sustain relationships with her students that transcended the COVID-19 school closure, and certainly went above and beyond to ensure that my daughter felt that connection before, during, and after the shutdown. She is a treasure!

(The photo is Mrs. Coene with Gabriella at the beginning of fourth grade.)

— JoAnna Joy

Finally, this submission from a student

Mrs. Dupont is the best teacher. She lives near me and she plays with us at school. I like seeing her at soccer. I like that she teaches me everything.

-Raelyn (plank north kindergartener)


Part 2 of my teacher shout-out series will be posted tomorrow. Please continue to send me your submissions (with pictures if possible), and I will keep posting them as long as I get them!

Email me at missyblog@gmail.com

mail me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Webster Tuesday mailbag

27 Jun

mailbagHere are a few community notes of interest.

Webster Brownie Troop Makes Blankets for Children in Need

Webster Girl Scout Brownie troop 60392 recently made knotted fleece blankets to donate to Project Linus, which then distributes them to children who are critically ill, have been traumatized, or are experiencing another form of need.

The 11 third-graders from Plank South Elementary made this a featured part of a sleepover event. They then donated them to Project Linus through Cafe Sewciety Quilts on Empire Blvd.

Troop 60392 Blankets

Pictured in the photo (from bottom left clockwise) are Megan Kelly, Ella Ellsworth, Kate Sayers, Becca, Dolan, Gianna DeMarco, Sophia Hachee, Olivia Salafia, Ashley Huss, and Avarie Chalachan. Not pictured: Mackenzie Mihalitsas and McKenna Simmons.

Webster Marching Band Boosters Host Food Truck Rodeo

The Webster Marching Band Boosters have announced their second annual Food Truck Rodeo, scheduled for Friday July 21 from 5 to 9 pm in Webster Schroeder High School’s front parking lot.

The Marching Band Boosters sponsor various fundraising events throughout the year to help pay for the Webster Marching Band’s equipment, show productions, and competition-related trip expenses.

Eleven food trucks have already signed on for the event, including Macarollin, Tuscan Wood Fired Pizza, Rob’s Kabobs, The Meatball Truck Co., Midnight Smokin’ BBQ, Meat the Press, Le Petit Poutine, WingNutz, Abbott’s Frozen Custard, Kona Ice, and Smoothies Plus.

There will also be face painting for the kids, a visit by a West Webster Fire Department truck, and live music provided by the Aaron Rizzo Trio. Admittance to the rodeo is FREE, and all proceeds from the food trucks will benefit the Marching Band Boosters and Webster Marching Band members.

Webster Schroeder High School is located at 875 Ridge Road.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.