Tag Archives: WCSD

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)

Webster community mailbag

4 May

The Webster Arboretum Association, together with local growers and local garden clubs will host the 2022 Webster Arboretum Plant Sale on Saturday May 7 from 8 a.m. to noon.

A tremendous variety of beautiful, healthy plants from standard to uncommon will be available including annuals, dwarf conifers, hostas, geraniums, tomatoes, and more. It’s a great way to celebrate spring and get some live plants perfectly suited for your garden. And don’t forget … Mother’s Day is Sunday!

The sale will be held at the Webster Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd. Webster.


The Webster Central School District Budget Vote and School Board Election is coming up Tuesday May 17. The vote will be held at Webster Schroeder High School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To view detailed information about the district’s 2022/23 proposed budget, click here.

For the Board of Education election, community residents will be asked to elect three individuals for three-year terms. Nine people are running. The three candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will be deemed elected and will begin their terms of office on July 1, 2022.

Click here to read bios about all of the candidates. You’re also invited to join a live-streamed Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday May 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. The link is: www.websterptsa.org/mtcn2022. If you can’t make it Tuesday, check back on the PTSA website for a recorded video.


The Friends of the Webster Public Library will host their annual Spring Book Sale from Thursday to Saturday May 12 to 14. Hardcover books are just $1, and paperbacks just 50 cents.

Hours are Thursday May 12 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Friday and Saturday are also BYOB Bag Sale, when $5 fills a bag. (Bring your own bag.)


If you haven’t noticed yet, the New York DOT has begun a huge Rt. 104 roadwork project on the east side of town. It involves resurfacing, improving traffic signals, replacing guard rails, repainting pavement markings and crosswalks and more.

This is going to be a summer-long project; they don’t anticipate finishing everything until November. So keep an eye out for workers, obey flagmen, and how ’bout we all slow down a bit when we’re going through the construction zones?

Click the photo below for details. (You can also see the map on the Town of Webster webpage.

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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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(posted 5/4/2022)

Webster Schroeder kicks off spring musical season

1 Feb

Live musicals are back!

Webster Schroeder High School is kicking off the spring musical season with an in-person performance of A Chorus Line, which will be presented in four shows the weekend of Feb. 10.

The high-stepping, Tony Award-winning musical is described on the Webster Schroeder Musicals website as “a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition” which explores “the inner lives and poignant ambitions of professional Broadway performers.”

The show features tunes we all recognize, including “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.”

A Chorus Line” will be presented in four shows, Thursday and Friday Feb. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday Feb. 12 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., in the Webster Schroeder auditorium, 875 Ridge Rd.

Reserved-seating tickets are $13, and are available now at websterschroedermusicals.com.

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There are fairies among us!

4 Jan

Bet you didn’t know … the field behind State Rd. Elementary School is home to more than two dozen fairies.  

It’s true! They live in 26 miniature fairy houses installed along a more than 3/4-mile path that begins near the school’s back door and stretches all along the wooded area that rings the rear of the property. And to be clear, we THINK fairies live in the houses, because no one’s ever seen them. But lots of folks — families and students — still walk the path regularly in hopes of catching a glimpse of the secretive sprites.

The idea to make the fairy trail came from State Rd. kindergarten teacher Jacquie Smith, who for the last eight years has created a very magical “Fairy Day” for her students. It’s part of an entire fairytale unit, and Smith finds ways to work in science, literacy, mathematics, art, even music. Then on one very special day, she transforms her kindergarten classroom into a magical wonderland, complete with twinkly lights, fairy jars, fairy dust, fairy music, fairy wands and fairy stories.

Smith would also take her students to Tinker Nature Park every year to hike the park’s fairy trail and complete a scavenger hunt. It was a highlight for students and parents alike, so when the park’s staff decided to remove the houses in March 2019, everyone was upset.  

That’s when Smith came up with the idea to make their own fairy trail, using the alphabet trail that already existed behind the school. The trail already had 26 lettered posts; all they needed were fairy houses. 

With full support from the administration, Smith got to work. First, an amazing parent, Brian Roode, built 26 creative and whimsical fairy houses. Then on one extra special day, during the lunch hours, every student in the school had a chance to help decorate the houses by painting them or adding decorations. 

The houses were installed on the posts in June 2019, and Smith organized a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new fairy trail. It was a big deal. Former WCSD Superintendent Carm Gumina even donned a pair of fairy wings for the event. Still, Smith wasn’t sure anyone aside from the other kindergarten classes would come.    

“I offered it to the whole school as an optional activity,” she said. “I didn’t want to throw too much more on their plate at the end of the year.” So she was rather surprised when, at the appointed time, every single class came out to watch the ceremony.

It was “the most overwhelming thing,” she remembered.

Two and a half years later, the State Rd. Elementary School Fairy Trail is still there, although a few of the posts need occasional repair due to wind and heavy rains. It’s still an enchanted place, especially for all the innocent new kindergarteners who walk through the school’s front doors every September.

“I love teaching kindergarten because of the magic in here,” Smith said. “They bring the magic into the classroom. They believe and it makes everything else go away.”

One story in particular is a perfect illustration.

“I had one student come in the day after they took their fairy gardens home, and he looked absolutely exhausted,” she said. “He said, ‘Mrs. Smith, I stayed up watching my fairy garden outside to see if there was a fairy.’ And he starts crying. ‘I tried to watch all night and the fairy never came.'”

“I asked him, Buddy, you know the magic of fairies. Did you ever see the tooth fairy? No? That’s because they only come when we’re away or asleep and they leave us hints of magic. So you need to go home and see if you find any hints of the magic.”

When the little boy returned to school the next day, he looked much more rested and cheerful. He reported that he’d found a small speckled stone by the fairy garden. He was convinced it was a hint of magic.

Like that little boy, we should all look for those hints of magic in our lives every day.

Here are photos of a few more of the fairy houses on the trail:

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Webster Marching Band is #1 in the state!

2 Nov

This is why they’re called “The Pride of Webster.”

On Saturday, our very own Webster Marching Band blew away the competition at this year’s state championships, held at the Carrier Dome, earning the title of State Champion of the Large School 2 Division. It’s the first time the band has held the title in more than 30 years.

The band competed against eight other schools in their LS2 division, who attended from all over the state. At the end of the day, only 11 points separated the nine schools. But Webster stood alone at the top, with 90.8 points, a full 1.7 points ahead of second-place West Seneca. 

It was a very satisfying end to a VERY long day for the band members and their parent helpers.  

“Championship day is a FULL day,” wrote Band Director Jerbrel Owens. “We start early in the morning with a hearty breakfast and we then take the long drive to Syracuse. We are on a tight schedule so the students need to move quickly, warm-up, and move again until it’s our time to enter the Carrier Dome.” 

Bowens, himself a Webster grad and former Marching Band member, wrote the winning program, called “Unbroken.” 

Writing it was very fun, but most importantly it was written specifically for our students, which makes them successful as well as challenges them a bit. I believe that this is where the success began. We also work closely with a drill writer who wrote the drill just for our students which made it even more successful. We as staff gave them a “vehicle” and the students drove away with it and won!

I am honored to have written this show for them. 

Bowens’ long history with the band made it easier for him to create the perfect program for this year’s musicians and performers.

I marched in this program from 2009 to 2011, and I came back in 2016 to teach the drumline. This year was different. The same kids that were 6th graders when I came back were the student leaders this year, who I believe led their sections to success. All of the students understood the goal, agreed on that goal and achieved that goal.

This is all on the students. When the time starts at each show, it isn’t the staff anymore, it’s all on the kids. They deserve all of the applause for their actions as a TEAM. 

The Webster Marching Band, now in its 36th season, is made up of 66 student musicians and performers drawn from all four Webster secondary schools: Spry Middle School, Willink Middle School, Webster Schroeder High School, and Webster Thomas High School. Each band season begins with extensive training in the spring, followed by the summer parade season, and finally an eight-week competitive season. The band participated in six competitions this year, and not only did the Pride of Webster win every single one of them (also an historical achievement), they improved their score every week. Breaking the 90 barrier was a fitting end to an outstanding season.

After the performance, the band’s seniors and drum major assembled on the field with the other bands to hear the scores and receive their award. They were welcomed home on Halloween evening with a Webster police and fire department escort to celebrate their championship.

Congratulations to the all of the Webster Marching Band musicians and performers. Your hard work payed off big time. You truly do make Webster proud.

For more coverage of this great accomplishment, check out this video from Channel 8 WROC-TV.

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Webster community mailbag

27 Oct

Halloween is just a few days away, which means that Christmas is just around the corner. The Webster Museum is getting ready.

The Museum recently announced that their Festival of Trees will return this year in person. Last year’s virtual, photographic festival was okay, but it just wasn’t the same as being able to stroll through the museum and see all of the creatively decorated contestants up close and personal.

Here are the details:

  • Families, individuals, Scout troops, classrooms, clubs, organizations, ALL are invited to decorate a miniature Christmas tree using a family-friendly theme.
  • The trees are provided by the museum.
  • Decorating takes place after Thanksgiving and voting begins during White Christmas in the Village on Dec. 4.
  • Trees will be registered to callers starting at noon on November 1. Please call Kathy at 313-3709 and leave a message with your name and phone number so your call can be returned. Call early as number of trees is limited. Please be prepared to supply: caller’s name, email and phone number; decorator’s name, email and phone number; any special needs (location, lights, etc.) You’ll receive a follow-up email about dates/times to decorate.

The Webster Central School District has announced that Interim Superintendent of Schools Brian Neenan has accepted the position as Webster CSD’s new superintendent of schools. The board of education will officially approve the appointment at its Tuesday, Nov. 2 meeting. 

Neenan served as interim superintendent of schools since April 30, 2021. Prior to that appointment, Neenan worked in a dual role as WCSD’s deputy superintendent (2015-2021) and assistant superintendent for instruction (2013-2021). He began his career in Webster as principal of Willink Middle School (2009-2013). Before coming to Webster, he served as an assistant principal at Victor CSD’s junior high school for four years.  


The Webster Recreation Center is hosting a Halloween-themed fitness event this Saturday morning, and everyone is invited regardless of fitness level or Rec Center membership.

The HIGH Fitness class will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and participants are encouraged to wear costumes (although they’re not required). There will be drawings for prizes at the end of the class.

HIGH Fitness is a modern-day choreographed aerobics class that combines cardio peaks, toning tracks, and popular music. Athletic shoes are required and all fitness levels are welcome. The Webster Recreation Center is the only facility in Wester New York that currently offers HIGH Fitness.

No registration is required and Rec Center members and non-members are all welcome.  The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Dr., off of Phillips Rd.


This news also from the Webster Museum about their current exhibit, which is being held in conjunction with the Webster Public Library.

Webster Museum’s Exhibit Committee has curated an exhibit called “Living off the Land.” Artifacts from the museum’s extensive collections, many of them donated by Webster residents, are on display both in the museum’s display case at the Webster Library and at the Webster Museum. The exhibit tells the story of folks who settled here and the items they brought, made or invented in order to make a life for themselves and their families.

The Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the village, is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 pm.

And as long as we’re talking about the library, I just got word about three great adult programs coming up soon.

  • Thursday Nov. 4, 7 to 8 p.m. — Discovering Your Roots: an introduction to genealogy and planning a geneaology vacation.
  • Wednesday Nov. 10, noon: Medicare 101, an introduction and update to the federally administered health insurance program
  • Wednesday Nov. 10, 7 to 8 p.m. — Dream Cakes Cookie Decorating: learn some decorating tips and tricks and amaze your friends and family

Pre-registration is required and there is a $10 charge for the cookie decorating class. Click on the images below for more information.

Finally, a few newsy notes from our neighbor to the south.

Annual Arts and Craft Fair at Penfield Community Center

The Daytime Education at Recreation (DEAR) program at Penfield Recreation will be hosting its second annual Arts and Craft Fair on Saturday Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd.

This event will showcase 53 vendors from around Monroe County selling their hand-crafted wares. Admission is free and is open to the public. Masks are required for this indoor event. Refreshments will be available.

This event is a fundraiser to support the DEAR program at Penfield Recreation, which provides free life-long learning opportunities to seniors in our community.

For more information call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655, option 0.

Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf needs turkeys

Once again this year, the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf will be collecting frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Food Shelf staff are especially requesting turkeys from 8 to 14 lbs., which are the best sizes for their families in need.

Drop off for Thanksgiving will be Saturday morning Nov. 20 between 7:30 and 8:30am at the Food Shelf, 1618 Jackson Rd. Drop off for Christmas will be Saturday Dec. 18 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., also at the Food Shelf. If other arrangements are needed for dropoff, email penfieldfoodshelf@gmail.com.

Turkeys will soon be on sale at local grocery stores, so this would be a great time to pick up an extra one and help those in our community who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. The Food Shelf’s family numbers have increased quite a bit this year, as you can imagine; they’re planning on providing 225 families with dinner for each holiday.

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Autumn Fanfare is a show like no other

4 Oct

The Webster Marching Band’s annual Autumn Fanfare takes place this Saturday Oct. 9, and it’s something you really don’t want to miss.

I attended my first Autumn Fanfare in 2018, which is kind of embarrassing to admit since this year marks the band’s 35th annual Fanfare. But I’d heard so much about it, and mentioned it in my blog countless times, so I decided I really needed to see it for myself.

And let me tell you, it was outstanding.

Autumn Fanfare is what the Marching Band — the “Pride of Webster” — calls the field show and competition it hosts every year around this time. Bands from all over the Rochester area come together for an evening of musical performance. Each band crafts a different presentation each year to showcase its musical and marching skills. But these perfomances also include lots of theatrics, complete with elaborate set pieces and detailed story lines. (Click here to read the post-performance blog I wrote in 2018.)

This year’s Pride of Webster theme is “Unbroken.” The press release explained,

Often in our lives, we find ourselves trapped in a routine/repetitive cycle with no end in sight. Within the vicious cycle, we experience anger, sadness, and self-doubt. The fight to break free from the cycle can be heard in movements one and two. However, when we finally break that cycle we will be free to be who we want to be and we will come out of that cycle unbroken.

Webster’s performance begins at 6:26 p.m., and will include original music written by Band Director and Music Arranger Jerbrel Bowens. The show will also welcome marching band competitors from Greece, East Irondequoit, Medina, Lancaster, and Victor.

Autumn Fanfare will take place at the Webster Schroeder Stadium, 875 Ridge Road. Gates open at 5 p.m., the National Anthem will play at 6 p.m., and the first band will take the field at 6:15 p.m. The evening will conclude with recognition of the Webster Marching Band seniors and awards.

I should add that I just found out that the Pride of Webster is currently ranked #1 IN THE STATE in their class! That’s how good these musicians are.

Tickets are $7 in advance, available at Hegedorn’s, and $9 at the door. It’s a great evening out for the whole family.

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A shout-out for some great teachers (part 3)

22 Jun

Today I present the third — and final — installment 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, and here to see Part 2.)

Thank you to everyone who sent in submissions. I’ve gotten some very nice emails from some of the teachers who’ve been recognized, and I can’t put into words how much your comments mean to them. One teacher wrote, “During a very challenging marathon of a school year, your blog … hugged and resuscitated my fatigued heart.”  

She was very kind to say that. But really, it’s YOUR sentiments and YOUR gratitude that are making the difference to these fine educators.

Teaching more than just the ABCs

We would like to recognize a huge asset to WCSD, Teresa Johnston. She was my son’s AMAZING remote kindergarten teacher, and constantly showed her commitment to and for 5 and 6-year old students through her loving nature. She filled the screen to engage students and teach foundational life-long practices that go beyond phonics and adding (though she did this too!). We are forever grateful to her for the big and little lessons that she taught, and hope that she knows what a big impact she has made!

— Jen Liberatore

A “Broadway performance”

Due to medical reasons within our family we made the decision of remote learning for our first grader. To be honest, we went into the start of school not expecting much learning and the first day was filled with tears of regret…. until we met his teacher.

Mrs. Wagner is a once-in-a-lifetime teacher. Her personality absolutely beamed through the screen. She took on one of the hardest positions a teacher could have…remote teaching. She had the kids engaged and excited to learn every day! My son Blake LOVED remote learning! Each day I was in awe of her and how she was able to keep the attention of such a young age group.

He was also receiving the remote support of literacy specialist Mrs. Zieser. I was in awe of how Mrs. Zeiser could not only keep Blake’s attention but had him excited for his extra reading learning time. Our son was thriving beyond our wildest dreams and on the last remote day there were tears of absolute gratitude.

When school changed to full-time we were given the medical clearance to send our first grader to in-person learning. While excited to be back in school, our son was very nervous for his first day. Until he got off the bus and one of his “superheroes” was there to greet him.

Klem North P. E. teacher Mr. Carpenter is also a once-in-a-lifetime teacher. He was standing outside of Blake’s bus as it pulled into Klem North and greeted our son with a loud and excited “HI BLAKE, WELCOME BACK!” He said his fears were gone and Mr. Carpenter even showed him how to get to his new classroom.

I could send you many more stories highlighting not only the teachers but the staff there as well. From the secretaries Mrs. Pixley and Mrs. Cucchiara and Nurse Peters checking on him his first few days, to his new teacher Mrs. Bourchard welcoming him to the in-person learning experience and supporting him on the experience of being in school. I would often ask how he was doing and she would always respond with how “he” as a child was doing, not just the benchmarks of learning.

There were lunch staff members who came over on his first day of school when “his leg couldn’t stop shaking” and made him feel better. Per Blake, “the custodial staff members were always waving and making the kids feel safe vs. scared.”

Klem North is known as Klem North Stars and that’s truly what these teachers and staff members are. I could take up your entire article with the many stories that Blake would come home and tell me about the teachers and staff members creating an environment of fun. Never once did he say that someone looked frustrated or upset. This year was like a Broadway performance and they all deserve a standing ovation because when that curtain went up each day, they stepped into the spotlight with a smile and excitement and that these kids so deserved. We are forever grateful.

— Jaime Richey

P.S. Music class became a family bonding opportunity. Every time Blake’s little brothers heard it was music time they would run to the computer and join along. Sometimes hidden in the background and sometimes full face in the screen. Instead of it feeling stressful and “inappropriate,” Plank North music teacher Sarah Mossey would greet them with a big smile and hello and make them feel welcomed. They listened, they learned and they got to experience some musical magic! 

This last submission, from Penfield, is a long one. But the story is one that many of us have experienced, and it captures the essence of the amazing job our teachers are doing with our kids, and why we are honoring them.

A thanks to Ms. Heinsler from a grateful grandparent

On Monday, my six-year old grandson, Finn, kicked his teacher. On Tuesday, he did it again. On Wednesday, his parents thought it best if he take a break from school so he spent the day with me, his grandfather. Finn is a beautiful boy; bright blue eyes, with long eyelashes a brilliant smile, even if he’s missing a front tooth, and a curiosity that is boundless. He’s very smart, intuitive, and creative. He has a hard time controlling his outbursts of emotion. Finn is a behavioral health needs child. On that Wednesday I asked him, who are the most important people in the world?

“The presidents,” he said.

“No,” I answered.

“The firemen?”

“No, not the firemen, not the policemen, not the doctors or the nurses, the most important people in the world are the teachers.”

Finn said nothing, but I could see he was mulling this over.

“Without teachers, there would be no firemen or policemen or even the president. Everyone of them had teachers.”

Finn has history. He’s been removed from four day cares and two summer camps. He bit around fifty children in three months. At home he could be very difficult. He kicked out the screen on his bedroom window and went out onto the roof. He emptied shampoo bottles and toothpaste for no apparent reason, and stuffed things in the bathroom drain. He’s knocked the thermostat off the wall twice. If you have a special needs child, then I understand the permanent knot in your stomach. I have it too.

Enter Nichole Heinsler, kindergarten teacher, Scribner Road Elementary School. If you are lucky enough to find a teacher like her for your child, you weep with relief. Yes, she is the same one that he’s kicked, but he loves her, and she loves him. She could have given up on him throughout this very difficult pandemic year. (He’s pulled over bookshelves, and stood on his desk, refusing to do any work he didn’t want to.)

She could have said he’s beyond the scope of her ability or willingness. We’ve heard that before. She could have used any excuse at all and no one would have found fault. She didn’t.

Nichole Heinsler’s positive attitude, her professionalism, and her love for her children make her a miracle to our Finn. She sent home daily reports on Finn. They were honest, both the good and bad. She has become an integral part of Finn’s “team.” And now, one school year later, Finn has an excellent grasp of math, and he’s sounding out words. He now plays restaurant with me and on his pad, he sounds out my order. It’s astonishing to me. Yes, he still has special needs and the work will continue, but thanks to Ms. Heinsler he has a good start, and he’s on par with his peers academically. From a boy who had no interest in learning schoolwork, he now tells me about symbols.

“Did you know, Grandpa, that the eagle is a symbol of strength?”

“Yes, I knew that.”

“And the White House is a symbol of the president?”

“Yes,” I said,” I know that too.” I had to turn away so he wouldn’t see the water in my eyes.

Thanks you Ms. Heinsler. May you live forever.

— Grandpa Joe

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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.

Tell me about your kids’ best teachers, and I’ll spread the word

4 Jun

Boy, has this been a weird school year.

With only a few weeks left in the 2020/21 year, I got to reminiscing about school years past. It’s been a long time since I’ve had kids in the Webster schools; my youngest graduated from Schroeder in 2012. But I still think about some of the most influential teachers my three children had, and all the ways those elementary, middle school and high school educators helped guide them through some difficult years and shape the adults they are today.

Some of those great teachers are still in Webster classrooms today, while others have long since retired or moved onto other careers. But I’m certain that for every one who’s moved on, another amazing teacher filled the gap.

But if you spend much time on social media, you might think that dedicated, inspirational teachers are a thing of the past. This year, our teachers have been taking a beating in some corners of our community, especially on Facebook. Apparently some people believe, for example, that holding half-day classes or remote classes meant that teachers were basically taking a vacation.

But I suspect that’s a very vocal minority, and most people realize the exact opposite is true. Navigating through the constantly-changing challenges of a COVID school year has been a very difficult task. Our teachers should be hailed as heroes for everything they’ve done this year for our students, delivering an outstanding education while supporting their daily social and emotional needs.

If you also believe that, here’s your chance to show your love.

Tell me about a teacher who has made a difference in your child’s life. Someone who has gone above and beyond to make sure this unusual school year was the best it could be. Perhaps it’s the science teacher who spent an extra hour after school to help your daughter finish a tough lab. Or the fourth grade teacher who has a knack for getting to know each student in his class on a personal level. How about that remote teacher who somehow made virtual learning FUN?

Ask your kids who they think their best teachers are, and why. Or better yet, have your kids write to me themselves. It doesn’t even have to be a teacher they had this year. I’d love to hear from seniors who remember their favorite elementary school teachers.

You can email me your thoughts at missyblog@gmail.com. I’ll post your comments in my blog the last week of classes. If you have a photo, send that along as well.

* * *

email 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.