Tag Archives: State Road Elementary School

State Rd. students ROCKED the Kids Heart Challenge!

6 Mar

State Rd. Elementary School recently concluded the month-long Kids Heart Challenge in February, and they blew away all expectations.

Kids Heart Challenge is an initiative created by the American Heart Association to raise funds for research and teach kids about keeping their hearts and brains healthy, through fun and educational activities.

State Rd. phys. ed. teachers Dan Graf and Danielle Carlsen coordinate the event, encouraging students to reach out to friends and family for donations. Every year they set a fundraising goal of $10,000, and every year they exceed it. This year, 162 students participated. So far, they’ve raised an amazing $13,791 and the donations continue to come in. 

Graf and Carlsen make sure their students know that all the funds stay in the Rochester area to support research and education. But more than anything else, they teach the kids about heart health and making good choices. 

“It’s not just about fundraising,” Carlsen said. “It’s more about the educational experience. Learning about the signs of a heart attack, what an AED is. The money is secondary compared to the education they get from the event.”

Graf added, 

Our most important thing is that kids walk out of here knowing what the signs of a heart attack are, making better life choices. … Get 60 minutes of play every day; eat fruits and vegetables, the five food groups; try not to have as many sugary drinks, stay away from drugs and alcohol and smoking. Anything that’s good for your body, we talk about it. We play games with that all February long, and then we reiterate it throughout the year.

Graf has a personal stake in the program’s educational mission. In 2015, several years after State Rd. started participating in Kids Heart Challenge (known then as Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart), Graf had a heart attack and double bypass surgery.

He credits the program for saving his life. One night when he was out with friends, he started having chest pains that radiated up his neck and down both of his arms. He recognized what was happening, and immediately told his friends to call an ambulance.

“I knew every sign and symptom, and I knew that because of the American Heart Association.”

State Rd. Elementary School has been participating in the Kids Heart Challenge since 2003. Every year — even during a global pandemic — they’ve managed to reach and exceed their ambitious fundraising goal. They are truly making a difference in our community.

As Graf tells them every year, “You can do a little, but together we are something that creates a lot.” And just maybe, the things they’re learning today could save a life tomorrow.

Donations are still being accepted. To find out more, click here for the State Rd. Elementary School Kids Heart Challenge page.

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Going back to school — sort of

3 Sep

This has been a very weird start to the new school year for me.

The first day of school for students isn’t until Wednesday, but teachers and support staff were already back all last week, setting up their classrooms, reconnecting with their colleagues, and basically preparing mentally and physically for another unusual school year.

But I’m not there.

Having retired from my job as a library teaching assistant from the district in June, I’m watching from the sidelines for the first time in 20 years. It’s definitely a little weird, and a little sad. But thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I’ve been able to vicariously enjoy those back-to school meetings and strategy sessions.

I saw photos from State Road Elementary School, for example, where staff members held their opening circle outside in the parking lot and playground. Facebook photos from Plank North showed all of my former colleagues clumped up in very familiar discussion groups. Some schools are posting their staff photos, where everyone is packed on risers and clearly grinning broadly behind their masks with opening-day excitement. Others, like Webster Schroeder, had their teachers hold personalized signs indicating how long they’d been in the district.

I even got a special invitation several days ago from Schlegel Elementary School principal Francine Leggett to join my former colleagues when they took a field trip on Wednesday to Jack’s Place playground in Webster Park to explore and reflect upon this year’s theme of “We are crew.”

In short, the idea of “being crew” is that everyone (students and staff) is working together towards the same goal, helping each other achieve and be successful. On their field trip this week, teachers and support staff actually took an important first step toward connecting with their student community by taking a bus ride through every one of the neighborhoods the school serves, before arriving at the playground.

I don’t miss all the meetings, but it was nice to see many of my old colleagues in photos and on the playground. Here are a few photos from that day at the park.

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A shout-out for some great teachers (part 2)

21 Jun

I’m pleased this morning to present Part 2 of my teacher shout-out series, highlighting some great teachers and the amazing job they did this year. (Scroll down the page a bit or click here to see Part 1.) I’ll post Part 3 — the final installment — tomorrow, so you still have time to get your submissions to me! Email me at missyblog@gmail.com.

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

I’m going to start with the only submission I got from a high school…


Providing the right tools for success

I would like to highlight Kristen Hubright, Earth Science teacher at Webster Thomas.

Mrs. Hubright spent an immense amount of time preparing take-home interactive lesson plans and recording video lessons that really helped my son, who is in her Integrated Co-Teach class, become more independent in his learning process. In fact, her science units were designed so well that he was able to work on them without any intervention on my part.

As a science educator myself, having varied resources to offer is an important key to turning out well prepared students. Being able to pause when needed to catch up with note taking, and being able to go back to help understanding are fantastic tools to offer to students across all levels, but especially to provide an equitable space for special ed learners.

— Jenny Hryhorenko

(photo courtesy LinkedIn)

Teaching is her passion

My name is Melissa Orr and my daughters (Arya & Teagan) go to State Rd Elementary. I want to Nominate Mrs. Smith (kindergarten teacher).

This is my second year with Mrs. Smith. My oldest daughter also had her and that was the year that I really got to know her and her love and passion for ALL of her students.

When my oldest started kindergarten, she was very shy and just wanted to be in her own bubble. Mrs. Smith quickly got down to her level and showed her how much fun it was to make friends and explore a whole new world. Now this year my youngest daughter has her and I was over the moon excited when she called me to tell me that she had her in her class! This year brought so many obstacles and challenges and I just wanted one thing familiar for her.

I don’t even know where to begin with her. Mrs. Smith has such an outgoing, fun, loving personality and she clicks and bonds with every single student that walks through her door. The way that the students look at her and she looks right back at them is enough to melt your heart. She connects with each student in her own way and makes her students feel like they are the most special in her class.

To this day my daughters come home from school to show me what they made Mrs. Smith! They talk about her all the time. Sometimes I think they think she is their playmate and not their teacher!!! Her way of teaching these little minds and getting down to their levels is absolutely magical. She takes pride in everything she does. She never gives up, never gets frustrated and most of all is always looking for the fun in everything she does and teaches. To hear my kids come home from school to say to us, look what Mrs. Smith taught me, or showed me, made me and my husband the proudest parents we could ever be.

Without Mrs. Smith none of this could be possible. Watching our daughters grow has been one of the best blessings we could ever ask for. This is why in the Orr household, we love and cherish Mrs. Smith!

— Melissa Orr

Jamie Palmer and friend

A great education is a team effort

We have a whole team to nominate and they are all a very important piece to our puzzle!

My daughter remained remote through out this school year and her whole team was absolutely amazing at working to keep the kids engaged and learning! Her team has worked so well with her that she has grown so much academically this year!

We wouldn’t be where we are without her teachers Erika Bellenger, Deena Fairchild, Marissa Echevarria, Jennifer Scalzo, Rachel Dolan, Lisa Freida, Megan Vos, Ms. Palmer and Mrs. Rosenberry. My child really grew to love reading this year and she absolutely beamed when it was time for Ms. Palmer’s March Madness and then the read-alongs. She was even excited when Mrs. Rosenberry would make an appearance on the screen as well!

We are so blessed to have such amazing teachers, therapists and librarians in our district!

— Kelly Clancy

Prepping young minds for kindergarten

I want to give a shout out to Joanna Sero, the UPK teacher at Klem North. She has worked so hard to make this year as normal as possible, and her efforts have definitely been appreciated. She provided regular communication about what’s happening in class, and posted pictures on Seesaw daily, showing us all the awesome things our son was doing with his new friends. She is so loving and supportive, and we really saw growth in our son this year. He is definitely ready for kindergarten, and she has spoiled us for all upcoming teachers.  

— Sandi Brindisi Johnville

Like an extension of the family

Amanda Plato

I wanted to give a huge thank you to Ms. Brayley and Miss Plato at Plank North for making this year so exceptional for our girls.

Miss Plato was the third teacher to step into this second grade classroom. She is and has been so extremely patient, loving, and kind. As a parent who truly values a child’s emotional well being (especially with the year we’ve had), she has brought so much joy into our daughter’s life. Thank you, Miss Plato!

Ms. Brayley provided a classroom environment that felt like a family. Ms. Brayley provided structure, routine, and a sense of normalcy. We are so thankful Ms. Brayley is available to listen (often times during recess) and have conversations with our daughter about life and activities outside of school. Thank you, Ms. Brayley!

We feel so fortunate to have had to amazing teachers for our daughters this year!

-Anonymous

Substitutes are great teachers, too

Julia had Jaime McKnight as her long-term sub for the first part of the year (at Klem North) while her current teacher, Kelly Wojciechowski was out on maternity leave. Both teachers have been absolutely wonderful both in the classroom and communicating with parents on the outside.

— Linda Meyers

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

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News from the schools

6 Aug

Are you new to Webster? Do you have a kindergartner starting school this September? Don’t forget to register your kids for school.

Children who will be 5 years old on or before December 1, 2017, are eligible to enter school. To attend Webster Schools, students must live in the district with their parents, a legal guardian who is a resident, or meet other requirements such as foster care placement.

Registrations are taken by appointment at the Central Registration Office at Spry Middle School, 119 South Avenue. Call (585) 216-0029 to schedule an appointment. A completed registration packet, along with all required documents, must be provided during the meeting. Packets are available at all WCSD school buildings and on the district website; click on the Central Registration quick link.

In other school news …

When school begins on Tuesday September 5, the Webster Central School District will welcome two new elementary school assistant principals.

Webster CSD is pleased to announce the hiring of two new assistant principals at State Road and Klem Road North elementary schools.

Lucia Kaempffe

Lucia Kaempffe has accepted the position as the new assistant principal at State Road Elementary School, replacing current assistant principal Debra Young, who will be retiring from Webster CSD.

Kaempffe served as assistant principal at Schlegel Road Elementary School from 2003-2009. She has also worked as an elementary school teacher and an adjunct professor at Nazareth College.

Denise Lemcke will be the new assistant principal at Klem Road North Elementary School.

 

Denise LemckeLemcke spent the last two years at Penfield CSD as a K-6 humanities teacher on special assignment, providing leadership in curriculum development and implementation and professional development opportunities for her colleagues. Prior to that, she was a Penfield CSD elementary teacher, and taught kindergarten and first grade at Victor CSD and Guilderland CSD.

 

Welcome — and welcome back — to Webster, and good luck in your new positions!

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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.