Tag Archives: WCSD

Things are looking good this COVID school year

3 Oct

So we’ve made it to October.

We’re several weeks into the new school year and things — at least from my perspective — are going pretty well.

I’m sure I’m not the only one pleasantly surprised that we’ve gotten this far before having to shut down again due to the virus. I credit that success to the behaviors I have seen in the two elementary schools I work at.

When classes move through the halls, often times the children have their hands out in front of them to maintain social distancing. They are paying attention to the little spots on the floor which tell them where to stand when they’re waiting in line for the restroom. They don’t seem to mind sitting widely spaced from their friends while they’re in their room.

But I’m particularly impressed by the way young students have come to accept the need to wear masks.

The teachers have done a wonderful job making the need for masks seem normal, incorporating it into their class songs and bulletin boards. I haven’t heard about any pushback from the students about the masks (even though the pre-K and kindergarten kiddoes often have to be reminded to pull it up over their noses). Clearly, putting on a mask for school has become as normal for them as bringing their backpack. (Thank you also to parents for supporting that!)

There have been some rough spots, of course. Elementary school arrival and dismissal procedures were rather inefficient for the first week or so as schools tried to streamline their procedures for the large number of children being dropped off and picked up by parents. But things seem to be running pretty smoothly now, allowing teachers their maximum opportunity to be with their morning and afternoon classes.

I understand that accommodating the large number of remote students at the middle and high school levels has also been a challenge which we’re still trying to work through.

Most definitely this year has dealt some very real difficulties to our Webster CSD families, especially those with very young children. But, given the circumstances, I think everyone is doing the best they can.

We just have to keep doing that for as long as we need to. We will weather this storm together.

Schlegel Elementary School staff members rocking their masks for a group photo on opening day.

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PN kindergarten teacher makes the news

5 Aug

Capture

As the the very uncertain beginning to the school year draws near, our local TV stations are naturally trying to gauge the mood of students, parents, and teachers as well.

When WHEC Channel 10 went looking for a teacher to interview, they came up with the a perfect spokesperson for all teachers everywhere who are missing their students terribly: Plank North kindergarten teacher Peggy Garritano.

Click here to see the piece.

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Check out this Community Arts Day slideshow

3 Jun

penguins

These penguins, created by Melissa Pennington’s students at Klem North, are a great example of the art you’ll see in the slideshow.

I love Community Arts Day.

This all-day event, which is normally held every April at Webster Schroeder High School, is a terrific opportunity to reconnect with old friends and neighbors, and check out what’s new with many of our area non-profit agencies and organizations.

But mostly, Community Arts Day is our school district’s annual show-off day. Students from every one of our elementary, middle and high schools have artwork on display, plus there are music, dance and martial arts performances.

This year’s Community Arts Day had to be canceled, of course. But I’m happy to report that you can STILL check out some of our kids’ incredible artwork, albeit virtually.

Our district’s art teachers have each taken a selection of their students’ work and compiled photos of them in this Community Arts Day 2020 slideshow. Click through, sit back and enjoy hundreds of  stunning works of art, including sketches, paintings, sculptures, pottery and more. Every single one of our elementary and secondary schools is represented.

It’s going to blow you away. And best of all, you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas to appreciate them this year!

Here’s the link again.

drawing one

Sample pieces from students in Kate Zalewski’s Drawing One class at Webster Thomas.

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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

craig

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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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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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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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 community mailbag

18 Feb

Some good food and good news from our Webster athletes in today’s mailbag.

St. Martin Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., invites community members to attend their annual FREE Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Tuesday Feb. 25 (which just happens to be Mardi Gras!)

Dinner will include sausages, applesauce, and unlimited pancakes, served from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church. In honor of Mardi Gras, there’ll be beads and make-your-own mask crafts for the kids (and fun-loving adults). Feel free to come dressed in your best Mardi Gras finery!

All are welcome, so bring your whole family, and invite your friends. Call the church at 671-1899 with questions or to reserve seats .

The folks at St. Martin’s are holding this event in appreciation to the Webster community for its continuing support of all of its programs and missions. While the dinner if free, a free-will offering to support the church’s Little Free Pantry will be gratefully accepted.

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Now this notice about our Webster high school athletes doing great things for our community:

On Tuesday February 11, 2020, Webster Schroeder’s Hockey program organized and executed a successful community service even to address a very important topic: mental health.

Two hockey teams. One Webster. One fight. So many reasons. Beneath their armor of pads and skates, there are kind, caring individuals on our hockey teams who came together to raise awareness of NAMI Rochester (the Rochester chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness) in support of mental health.

The WCSD varsity hockey teams shared an important moment on the ice…where everyone was leveled by a single sheet of paper that signified a reason they fight. For someone, or a principle. Stopping and thinking about mental health and someone or a group of someones who are fighting a battle no one knows about. The boys filled out a sign and held it at the start of the game, both lineups facing the flag and recognizing the fight that may be in us all, even if we don’t know it.

Proceeds from the event — which included a raffle, Chuck-A-Puck contest and wristband sales — will be donated to NAMI Rochester.

 

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Webster Youth Sports Council PosterThe Webster Youth Sports Council will host sport psychologist Craig Cypher and a panel of local and regional health professionals for a discussion about “The Purpose of Youth Sports” on Thursday March 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The evening is billed as a “can’t-miss night of valuable sports-related information for parents, coaches and students.”

The panel will be held in the Webster Schroeder auditorium, 875 Ridge Rd. Child care will be available for children ages 3+.

For more information about the panel members, click on the poster.

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