Tag Archives: WCSD

Luncheon concludes first collaborative community reading project

31 May
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Webster community members and their student reading partners.  

I had the privilege to attend a very nice event on Thursday afternoon, the culminating luncheon of the first-ever community reading project.

Organized by Webster Schroeder English teacher Eileen Connolly, the project paired 25 adults from the greater Webster community with 25 students in Connolly’s 10th grade Here and Now English class. Every participant read the same novel — My Dog Skip by Willie Morris — over a period of four weeks in May. Reading assignments were assigned each week. Participants answered questions related to each assignment, recording their answers in a spiral notebook. The book and notebook were then delivered back and forth between adults and students every week so each could see what the other had written.

At yesterday’s luncheon, the adults and students met each other for the first time. My student partner was Kaylee Ziemniack, and I was pleased to be able to spend a few minutes getting to knew her at the luncheon.

Because it was just the first time for the program, there were a few glitches. But in general, it was a terrific experience and clearly adults and students alike got a lot out of it.

I asked Connolly to provide her thoughts on how things went and if she plans to run the program again next year. Allow me to quote her email directly:

Especially because it was our first time through, I was exceptionally pleased with how the program went. While we had a couple of bumps with delivery, every student and every adult read and responded to all parts of the novel. The opportunity to meet the people they’d been corresponding with was a little scary, but students enjoyed meeting and talking to their partners. Once we finished our luncheon, some of the participants also tried their hand at some blackout poetry using text from the novel.

The program gave students a low stress opportunity to do some reading and having adult feedback kept them interested. Students were always excited to open their envelopes and see what their partners had written. Many adults shared their own memories of childhood and provided some context for kids whose experiences are sometimes, but not always, very different from their own. Even the chance to see that people (other than teachers) actually write in cursive was an eye-opener for some students. Student readers had a chance to view how skilled and mature readers and writers interacted with the text. That provided excellent models for all of our students. …

We hope to expand the program to some English 10 classes at Thomas High School as well. I am thrilled that almost every adult said they would not only participate again but promised to get a friend or two involved.

I am so grateful for the many people who supported the program including our Principal Mr. Benz, Secondary Director of ELA, Larry Wahl, District Courier Jimmy Lehman, and my colleague Linda Law. … (Also) the staff of the offices at all the school pick up and drop off points. They didn’t have any advance notice and were very supportive too! At Schroeder, the front office staff, Kelly Dinsmore and Emily Zicari, were wonderful too!

Most of all, I want to extend my genuine gratitude to each and every community member who accepted our challenge to participate. The program taught my students that there are community members who care enough to take an interest in their work and lives. They gave of their most precious gift: time. There is no way to measure the value (short and long term) of that gift.

I would also like to add a thank you to the staff at the Webster Public Library. I arranged to have my packet dropped off there several times, and they were very accommodating.

I’m already looking forward to next year, and encourage others to come on board when Connolly ramps up the program again.

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At the luncheon: Me and my reading partner Kaylee Ziemniak; Noah Vercruysse and his partner   Meredith Feary. Claire Belmont is photo-bombing. 

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Webster’s SparX team heads into competition season

2 Mar
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Webster CSD’s SparX robotics team

Webster’s high-flying robotics team is heading to space.

The One Webster high schools 1126 SparX FIRST Robotics team has been working hard for weeks to prepare for this year’s competition season, which begins the weekend of March 14-16 with the Rochester area regionals at RIT.

This year’s theme is “Destination: Deep Space.” The goal is to use the 130-pound robots to deposit cargo (13-inch playground balls) into a rocket ship and cargo ship. Each match lasts 2-1/2 minutes, and robots can score extra points by climbing up blocks. Six robots from different teams compete for points at the same time on the same field.

Our Webster SparX team is comprised of 47 students and 21 adults, who for the last six weeks have been working together to design, build, test, and practice operating a robot capable of completing the Destination: Space challenges. Following the RIT competition, the team will travel to Cleveland’s Buckeye Regional the weekend of March 28.

All SparX events are free to attend, and these kids would love to see (and hear) some Webster fans in the crowd.

For more information about the robotics program, visit www.FIRSTInspires.org, and to learn more about our local team, visit www.GoSparX.org.

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High schools’ fight songs update!

12 Jan

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A couple of days ago I posted a blog about Jason Hammersla, a 1995 Webster graduate, who has written two songs which he hoped might be adopted as alma maters for Webster Schroeder and Thomas high schools.

At the end of that blog I asked readers to let me know of any such songs exist for either or both of the schools. On Friday morning, I got an email from Webster Thomas principal Glenn Widor, who informed me that Thomas does indeed have an alma mater, which is sung at every graduation.

I further heard from Thomas music teacher Brenda Nitsch that Kyle Sackett ’08, alumnus of the Thomas vocal music program, wrote the song while studying music education and performance at Fredonia.

Here it is:

Near the shores of Lake Ontario stands a school which we hold dear.
Webster Thomas, we’ll make a promise to always keep you near.
With every teacher, staff and student our moral compass will be aligned
And together we will fight with her colors blue and white!

Live forever Titan pride!

I still haven’t heard anything about a Schroeder alma mater,  however. If I do, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the link again to my previous blog where you can see what Jason wrote.

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Webster community mailbag

21 Nov

Before I get into a pile of holiday events, here are a few feel-good stories about some great things our kids are doing for the community.

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Back: Lucy Ellsworth, Aubrey Rugg, Sydney Herman, Molly Murphy, Addison Ball, Molly Clausen, Annabell Jacobus, Sophia Sherman, Mikayla Young. Front: Averye Rugg, Emma Kimball, Bray Dreschler. (Provided)

Webster Brownie Troop 60670, a third grade troop based at Plank South Elementary School, went to Wegmans last Wednesday to buy a meal for a Webster family in need of a Thanksgiving meal. For many of the girls, this was their third year doing this. They created a budget, learned about healthy food options and price shopped while in the store.

Jessica Ellsworth, who sent the photo, wrote,

These girls are no strangers to community service. In the past they have gone to Hope House, made toys and collected donations for animals in the shelter, made birthday bags (cake mix, frosting, candles, party hats, etc.) for the food pantry and rang the bell for Salvation Army.

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A group of 18 Webster Schroeder students got together recently to provide Thanksgiving meals to 20 families at Mt Hope Family Center (MHFC).

On Monday, several MHFC vehicles arrived at Webster Schroeder’s main office to pick up boxes and bags with all the fixings for 20 Thanksgiving meals that would be provided to at-risk children and families supported by MHFC. The groceries were purchased by Webster Schroeder students who began fundraising for these Thanksgiving meals last month.

This is the seventh year students have partnered with MHFC to raise funds to supply Thanksgiving meals for those served by the organization. They personally reached out to other Webster Schroeder High School clubs, sports teams, organizations, faculty, staff, and Webster businesses to raise more than $2,400 for the Thanksgiving meals. Extra funds raised will provide holiday gifts for children from each of the 20 families that receive a basket.

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Holiday special events are beginning to come fast and furious. The ones I’m telling you about today won’t be happening for a week or two, but I wanted to make sure you got them on your calendar.

Country Gardeners of Webster will host their annual sale Saturday December 1.

Presented jointly with the Klemwood Garden Club and the Webster Arboretum Association, the sale will take place at the Webster Parks and Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to noon.

The sale features a variety of creative wreaths, sleighs, table arrangements, cases and other unique items hand crafted from fresh, seasonal greens. It’s a great opportunity to buy a decorative piece for your home, or perhaps housewarming gift. This sale regularly sells out, so get there early. Admission is free.

The Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

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There are three upcoming dates on the Webster Village Band schedule you won’t want to miss.

First, watch for them on a float at Webster’s annual Parade of Lights along Main Street on Saturday Dec. 1. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at Phillips Rd. and travels west along Main. The band will play Christmas favorites along the parade route.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the band will perform a concert at Eastview Mall in Victor from 7 to 8 p.m. They’ll be in front f the J.C. Penney Store, playing Christmas favorites and other popular tunes.

Finally, on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. the band will hold their annual Christmas Concert 
at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road. It’s always the last and most spectacular concert of the season. You’ll hear plenty of holiday favorites, including a special reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” narrated by Barbara Midura. Light refreshments will follow the concert.

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The Pickled Paintbrush, one of the Village of Webster’s newest shops, will hold a Gingerbread House Workshop on Saturday, December 8.

Two classes will be offered, from 3 to 4:30 and 6 to 7:30. Bring the whole family to decorate a gingerbread house complete with all of the candy trimmings. Cost is $35 per family, which includes one gingerbread house. Additional gingerbread people cookies will be available to decorate for $5.

There will even be live holiday music, courtesy my good friends Dave and Patty Wyble.

Spaces are limited, so register early. Click here for more details and registration information. The Pickled Paintbrush is located at 36 East Main St., Webster.

By the way, the last time we heard from The Pickled Paintbrush, it didn’t even have furniture. Here’s what it looks like now, in photos I took last weekend at their opening celebration:

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Since we’re talking about cookies….

The Women’s Club of Webster will hold their 26th Annual Christmas Cookie Sale on Saturday Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon (or sold out) at the Webster Public Library.

Many varieties of homemade holiday cookies will be available. The cost is $9.00 per pound. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the club’s scholarship funds and many other programs in the Webster community.

The Webster Public Library is located in the Webster Plaza at 980 Ridge Rd. Entrance is at the back of the plaza.

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Notes from the schools

13 Nov

I’d like to pass along three reminders from the schools today, starting with the Webster Thomas High School fall play.

the-admirable-crichton-eshhk4cp.luzThis year’s production is The Admirable Crichton by Sir J.M. Barrie.

When an aristocratic family and their servants are trapped on a deserted island with no hope of rescue, they try to rebuild their rigid Edwardian society. Will the same people be servants? Will the same person be master? The play, from the writer of Peter Pan, is a whimsically funny, and sometimes tragic. exploration of the role of social classes.

The Admirable Crichton will be performed this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road. Tickets will be available at the door.

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Know a great teacher? It’s now time to begin your Oak Tree Award submission. The Oak Tree Award recognizes teaching excellence in Webster schools. Two winners (one elementary and one secondary) are recognized annually and each receives a $500 award. Learn  more and get your submission started by clicking here.

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unnamedPTSA calendars are still available, and they’re still just $5 each!

This is a great way to stay in the loop for all of the district’s special events. It’s filled with student artwork and has lots of space for you to add your own events and reminders.

The calendars are available at Hegedorn’s Market, and at school events all through the fall. If you purchase your calendar at your school event, all proceeds benefit your school’s PTSA.

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Webster community mailbag

27 Sep

A handful of quick notes in today’s mailbag.

The first is from our friends at ROC & Soul Fitness in the village.

stretch for a causeThis Saturday Sept. 29 they’re hosting a special Mommy/Daddy and Me yoga class to benefit a local Webster family. It’s called Stretch for a Cause, will be about 45 minutes long and will be for all levels of yoga. It’s especially designed for children ages 5-12, who will also be able to get some yoga warrior tribal face paint.

All proceeds from this special class will benefit Claudia Chateauneuf, a 7-year old Webster child who is battling PANDAS Syndrome, a pediatric autoimmune disorder. Donations will help defray the cost of Claudia’s upcoming treatment in New York City.

Hosting a Mommy/Daddy & Me (family) yoga class will allow Claudia and her friends to participate in class. It will begin at 1:30 p.m.. ROC & Soul Fitness is located at 43 East Main Street in Webster (next door to Village Bakery).

For more information, visit Claudia’s GoFundMe page with more information about her story.

Oak Tree Award

Here are a few items from the schools:

Nominations are now being accepted for the Oak Tree Award, recognizing exceptional teachers.

Co-sponsored by the WTA and Webster Central PTSA, the Oak Tree Award recognition program is an annual award that is designed to recognize teacher excellence in Webster CSD. Any Webster resident or district employee, current or former student, parent, teacher, or administrative colleague may nominate a teacher for the Elementary or Secondary Teacher of the Year Oak Tree Award.

Award nominees must meet the following criteria:
~ currently teaching in a full-time position in Webster Central Schools
~ have a minimum of five years teaching experience in WCSD
~ plan to continue to teach the next school year in, or retire from WCSD
~ be a member in both the Webster Central PTSA and the WTA

Teacher nominees who meet these criteria will receive an Oak Tree Award application and directions for completing the application process.

Nominations may be made via the Google form found here or on the WCSD website. You may also print the form and send it in print form or request an alternate format, if Google forms are not an option.

Veterans Dinner

Veterans and active duty service members and their families are cordially invited to a free dinner in their honor. on Thursday November 8.

Spry Middle School Student Council and Spry Builders Club, along with the Webster-Fairport B.P.O. Elks #2396 are sponsoring the meal as a way of showing their appreciation for our nation’s servicemen and women. The event will take place November 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Spry Middle School, 119 South Avenue, Webster.

Reservations are appreciated; please call Ms. Ritzmann at Spry Middle School at 216-0093.

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Dust off those yearbooks

18 Sep

The yearbook staff at Webster Schroeder High School needs your help.

This year marks the 100th year of the Webster Schroeder/Webster High School yearbook. To commemorate the occasion, the yearbook club would like to feature all of the past yearbooks in this year’s edition.

Problem is, many of those yearbooks are missing from their collection.

That’s where you come in. They’re hoping that there are folks out there who can help them fill in the gaps, and let them borrow (or better yet, donate) the following missing volumes:  1919, 1921, 1927, 1932, 1937, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994.

If you have any of these yearbooks and would be willing to donate or loan them to the school, please contact yearbook club advisor Stephanie Metz-Miller at stephanie_metzmiller@webstercsd.org.

Also, rumor has it that there was one year among those in which the yearbook wasn’t published. If you have that information, Mrs. Metz-Miller would love to know that as well.

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The verdict is in.

In one of my blogs last week, I mentioned that Plank North Elementary School has a new Pioneer mascot. He was introduced at the school’s Friday assembly the first week of school. He didn’t have an name, so the students were given the opportunity to propose one.

Ballots were collected all last week and principal Craig Bodensteiner announced the winning moniker yesterday on the school’s morning show.

May I officially introduce Pride the Pioneer!

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Thoughts and images from the first days back at school

7 Sep

Well, we made it to the end of the first week back at school, and from all accounts that I heard, it started out pretty good.

I invited people to send me stories and photos from opening day, and I received several heartwarming messages and super cute photos. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to email me. I’m pleased now to share those emails with you all.

Three brothers together 

Moorman

Ryan, Nolan and Brendan Moorman

Alicia Moorman was pleased as punch to report that all three of her boys are now in the same school, Plank Road North Elementary. Ryan is in 5th grade, Brendan is in 3rd, and 4-year old Nolan just started preschool.

This is the only year they’ll be together before Ryan heads off to middle school next year. “Ryan and Brendan were happy to be back with their friends,” Alicia wrote. “And Nolan was excited to be going to his big brother’s school and meet his new friends.”

Reconnecting with favorite teachers 

This nice story also comes from Plank Road North. Laura Simmons wrote that her daughter Harleigh was “excited and ready to go” for her first day.

Harleigh Simmons

Harleigh Simmons

She moved up to 5th grade with her teacher (Mr Crowley) and most classmates and said it was great to start out knowing her teacher and friends.

When we had out evening mommy/daughter chat before bed she was full of news about one of her favorite teachers who teaches music at Plank North. News about her cats and how she has been learning how to operate the pump controls on the firetruck. That she was the only girl driver… She is all about girl power and I loved that Harleigh has such a role model to reiterate that girls/women can do anything! Now I have a little girl who wants to be a fireman like her teacher and her Papa.

An encouraging note on a scary day

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Hannah Yaravitz

This was one of my favorite emails. It’s from Tara Yaravitz, who told me about an extra special teacher at Klem South Elementary and what she did for her former students, including her daughter Hannah.

At the end of last school year, fifth grade teacher Meghann Piwko bid goodbye her students, who were moving on to Willink Middle School. But she wasn’t going to let them start the new year without one last boost of encouragement. Tara described what happened that morning.

“My daughter started sixth grade today and received a letter in homeroom this a.m. from her fifth-grade teacher from last year encouraging her, still teaching her life skills, and building confidence in her.”

Piwko had written a personal letter to each one of her former students, delivered them to Willink, and made sure they were awaiting the new sixth graders in homeroom Tuesday morning.

Tara was clearly touched by the teacher’s thoughtfulness.

“I think it’s such a lovely idea and gives (the students) a sense of comfort on a day that is full of anxiousness and worry and fear of the unknown. …  As a parent I think that’s so special and truly shows how much her teacher cares about her and her other classmates from last year.”

New to kindergarten? No problem!

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Anya Orr with her family

Proud grandma Rebecca Parzynski sent this photo of her granddaughter Anya Orr, who’s all smiles as she poses with her dad Joshua, mom Melissa and little sister Teagan.

Anya started kindergarten this week at State Road Elementary School. Rebecca reported that Anya “was nervous, but had a great day.”

New school, new friends

Samantha Privitera sent along this photo of her daughter Lilli on her first day of school in second grade at Schlegel Road Elementary. It

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Lilli Privitera

was a brand new school for Lilli, who had just transferred over from Plank North.

Looks like she was pretty excited to start the year, and since I work right across the hall from her classroom at Schlegel, I can attest that it was a good day!

It was a red carpet morning

All the students at Schlegel Road Elementary started the day on a high note, actually. They received a royal welcome when they filed off their buses Tuesday morning.

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Red carpet treatment at Schlegel

A red carpet had been set up stretching from the curb to the school’s front door, lined by all of Schlegel’s administrators, staff and faculty members, who were holding balloons, clapping noisemakers and cheering loudly.

It was the first day of school for staff, too! 

I was reminded of that a few times as I was putting together this feature. Matter of fact, one of the first emails I received made that point for me right away. Shannon Peterson wrote,

“I’m a secretary at DeWitt (Elementary) and was excited to see the kids and parents today. The first day of school

Shannon Peterson

Shannon Peterson and Lillian Bradbury

is just as exciting for us in the offices. Some students were excited to wave to me in the hall, some were excited to show me how tall they grew, their special outfit for today or just to say hello.”

She snapped a photo of one of those students, Lillian Bradbury. “She delivered a hug to me and made my day!” Shannon added.

And over at Plank North — the second of the two schools I work at — Principal Craig Bodensteiner and Assistant Principal Heather Balsamo made sure that the schools’ staff members also felt special. To show how much they love their teachers, and how much they were missed over the summer, Crag and Heather gave each one an “all star teacher” t-shirt.

On the Monday night before school my colleague Susan Padgham had this to say about the family that is Plank North:

“I work with some amazing teachers and who genuinely care for their students’ well-being, along with academics. Their tireless perseverance shows daily. Tomorrow we will all be united in wearing our green & gold school colors along with the quote ‘I am the difference.’ Another reason to be PROUD to be a Plank North Pioneer!”

Here’s the staff photo we took that morning:

Plank N staffSubstitutes unite

 

Lest we forget that we have some outstanding substitute teachers in our district, I received this message from one of my favorites, Pat Clemens-Sweetland, who told me what she did on day 1:

“Some retired teachers and substitute teachers that haven’t been called yet celebrated by meeting for breakfast!” she reported. “T’s seemed to be the ‘place to be'”!

Finally, a shout out to our hard-working school PTSAs. These dedicated volunteers took some time out on Labor Day to go around to several of the schools and create some inspirational chalk art to welcome the kids back. Here are a few examples:

And a quick reminder from the PTSA that calendars are now available at Hegedorn’s as well as at school events. The handsome publications are just $5 each and have all the important district events so you’ll never miss out.

Plus your $5 helps support our schools.

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New school start times instituted for 2019/20

16 Aug

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It’s a done deal.

Yesterday the Webster Central School District officially announced that the proposed change in school start times was approved at the August 14 School Board meeting.

What that means is that beginning with the 2019/20 school year (NOT this school year), the secondary schools’ day will run from about 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 pm., and elementary schools from 7:45 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. (Depending on the school, that time might vary by 5 minutes or so.)

This from the district’s press release:

Throughout the past year, elementary and secondary work groups have been meeting to research the scientific evidence that supports this start time change for our students, along with the implications for our academic program, district transportation, childcare, athletics, and elementary activity period. Rest assured, teams will continue to meet throughout the 2018-19 school year as we communicate to you how this change will occur beginning with NEXT FALL’s 2019-20 school year.

For more information, click here for the WCSD website link. You can also check out this story recently posted in the D&C.

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News from the schools

4 Aug

back-to-school-school-clipart

It’s August. We can officially start talking about school again.

First, if you’re new to the district, or if you have an incoming kindergarten student, make sure to remember to register your children. School starts on September 4, so It’s important to do that right away.

Children who will be 5 years old on or before December 1 are eligible to enter school. Students are assigned to schools based on their primary residence. If predetermined class sizes have been reached, a new entrant or an existing student whose family has moved to a new address within the district may be assigned to an alternate Webster school for the school year. (That’s another reason to register early!)

Registrations are taken by appointment at Webster Central School District’s Central Registration Office, located on the third floor of 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 here on the district website.

Remember, children will not be able to start school in the fall without being registered.

And if your new student is a kindergartner, don’t forget to attend the Strive for Five for School Bus Safety Program next week to help your young’un get used to riding a school bus. For more information, check out my blog here.

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Changes are happening at Webster Thomas High School

Clark-Susan web photo

Dr. Susan Clark

Dr. Susan Clark, a former Thomas math teacher and most recently one of the school’s assistant principals, is moving on. She’s been appointed the new Webster Central School District Director of Mathematics and Business. She’s taking over the position vacated by Eric Blask.

Replacing Dr. Clark at Thomas as new assistant principal is Kylene

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Kylene Anson

Anson. Anson is currently assistant principal for Willink Middle School’s Blue House. Before coming to Webster, she was a special education teacher in East Irondequoit, and then assistant principal at Victor Senior High School.

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Finally, I snapped this photo yesterday at Plank Road North Elementary School, where it looks like the new playground is almost complete. All of our elementary schools are getting playground upgrades this summer, which will make the start of the school year even more exciting for the kids.

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