Tag Archives: Webster Central Schools

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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WCSD urges new kindergartners to Strive for Five

21 Jul

Children practice walking carefully near buses at a previous Strive for 5 event. (M. Rosenberry)

This is an awesome program, and I highly recommend that if you have a young’un entering kindergarten in Webster this fall, that you put this on your calendar.

(The only thing I DON’T like about this program is that it means that September is not too far away, and I am kind of enjoying my summer.)

The Webster Central School District Strive for Five for School Bus Safety event is coming this August. The program, for 2017-2018 incoming kindergarteners, provides an opportunity for the district’s youngest riders to travel a short distance on a school bus with their parent(s) and to learn important safety procedures for riding the school bus.

The program will start at Willink Middle School, where the bus will pick up participants and bring them to (and from) the transportation department. The buses leave Willink at 6:00 p.m.

Incoming kindergarteners and their parents (no additional children, please) should attend as follows, if at all possible. IF you can’t make your assigned evening, you can come on another, but they district really likes to spread everyone out as much as possible.

August 7 – Plank South
August 8 – Plank North and Dewitt
August 9 – State and Klem North
August 10 – Schlegel and Klem South

Private and parochial schools can attend any one of the four dates.

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Webster mailbag

9 Jun

Just a few notes in the mailbag today. I haven’t been getting a whole lot of press releases lately from local organizations about their upcoming events. I know there’s a lot going on, but if I don’t find out about them until I see a sign about them a day ahead of time, there’s not much I can do!

If your group or club has a special event or fundraiser coming up, and you want some help publicizing it, PLEASE send me an email about it!!

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This Sunday June 11, the The Webster Fairport Elks are having a Flag Day Ritual commemorating all the American flags used in our history, about 10 in all. It’s a great way of educating our youth in patriotism while also giving the opportunity for merit badges.

All Webster residents are invited free of charge. The ceremony will be held at the Elks Lodge, 1066 Jackson Road, beginning at noon on Sunday June 11. It will be about 35 minutes long, and a light lunch will follow.

Please RSVP by email at paul@ontariorecycling.com.

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Klem Road North Elementary School has a new principal.

Laura Ballou web

Laura Ballou

The district recently announced that Laura Ballou, formerly Klem North’s assistant principal, has accepted the position of the school’s principal, effective July 1.  She will be taking over for Steve LaMonica, who was named the new director of physical education and athletics for Webster Thomas High School and Willink Middle School.

Ballou has served as the school’s assistant principal since July 2009. Prior to that, she was an elementary special education teacher in Weedsport CSD and an elementary teacher in West Irondequoit CSD. She also served as assistant principal for two elementary schools in the Katonah-Lewisboro CSD and district director of ESL before returning to the Rochester area to begin her work in Webster.

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And you thought the high school drama season was over.

Several students at Webster Schroeder High School will be closing out ther year with the school’s first-ever student-run play, Almost Maine.

The show, produced and directed by seniors Alaina Messineo and Sarah Smagala and managed by Ally Watson, will be staged just two days before graduation.

Almost, Maine is a romantic comedy created by John Cariani. Here’s a synopsis:

Welcome to Almost, Maine, a town that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States—it’s almost in Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist. Because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it’s just…Almost. One cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter, while the northern lights hover in the sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways.

Webster Schroeder’s show features a cast of 21 students ranging from freshman to seniors as well as five members of the crew. It will be presented on Thursday and Friday, June 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School auditorium. Tickets cost $6 and can be purchased online at showtix4u.com or at the door. All seats are general admission.

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The U.S. is reborn at Plank North

21 May

united states

If you’ve ever attended — or had children who attended — Plank Road North Elementary School, you’re likely very familiar with the huge United States map painted on the playground near the southwest corner of the school.

Depending on how long ago you were there, you might also remember it as a very colorful representation of our great country, each state sporting a bright prime color.

But that hasn’t been the case for a long time. Over the years, the once vibrant map has faded, the colors almost completely unrecognizable.

Plank North kindergarten teacher Peggy Garritano has decided to do something about that. The map sits outside her classroom window, as it has for the 17 years she’s worked at the school. Apparently she got tired of looking at the faded states, so she’s taken it upon herself to restore the map’s original vibrancy.

For several weeks now, Garritano has been coming around 6:30 a.m. every day — weather permitting — to paint a state or two. And even though she’s doing all of the work, Garritano is still able to use the slowly blooming map to teach her students about the United States.

When I was in their classroom the other day, the kids were excited to tell me about the states that had already been completed (including “Montania,” according to one little boy); why Texas would take a long time to paint and Rhode Island a very short time (“Look how little it is!” said one little girl); and apparently they had already taken issue with how the map shows Alaska and Hawaii so close to the mainland.

I’ll be following the map’s progress, including writing an East Extra column when the project is complete. So stay tuned.

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Plank North welcomes return of former student, now a Marine

5 May

Plank North Elementary teacher Marcia Napolitano welcomes her former student.

Here’s a heartwarming story that happened at Plank Road North Elementary School this week, when students got an extra special visit from a freshly-minted U.S. Marine.

For the last three months, the students of Marcia Napolitano’s fourth grade class have been following the progress of Jason Ingerson, one of Napolitano’s former students, as he worked his way through Marine Corps recruit training.

Ingerson, who was in Napolitano’s class during the 2006-2007 academic year, first visited his old classroom back in January, just after he signed up with the USMC and just before he shipped off for boot camp. He answered the students’ questions about his decision to enlist and his family’s reactions, and described the challenges he was expecting to face once he reached Parris Island.

While Jason was away, Plank North Principal Craig Bodensteiner — himself a Marine veteran — gave Napolitano’s students a taste of what boot camp is like, running them through physical drills and lessons on saluting and standing at attention. He also demonstrated the kind of verbal abuse a recruit would have to take from the drill instructor (physical education teacher Kevin Sayers got to play the part of the recruit for that demonstration).

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Last Tuesday, Jason Ingerson returned once again to his old Plank North classroom to greet the students who had helped him through 12 of the most difficult weeks of his life. Standing smartly in blue dress uniform at the front of the room, he answered questions once again. But this time he was a United States Marine.

WHAM Channel 13 was on hand for the reunion, and featured the story as their Tuesday evening Bright Spot segment. You can see that video by clicking here.

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Many thanks to Jennifer Calus of the WCSD for her great photographs.

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Coonan and Heary earn RPO honors

24 Apr

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve praised the tremendous music educators in our school district. Our music program regularly wins top honors for its quality, and today it was announced that two of its finest teachers have earned special recognition from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Every year on their Music Educators’ Awards Night, RPO musicians honor several local music teachers, in an effort to strengthen the relationship between area music educators and the musicians of the RPO.

This year, two Webster music teachers were among the award winners: Jeanne Coonan of Spry Middle School won the Instrumental Music Award for K-12 Band, and Al Heary of Dewitt Elementary School won the Classroom Music Specialist Award.

Jeanne CoonanJeanne Coonan holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College, and has taught Instrumental Music for 35 years (24 years in Webster Central School District). Her experience includes teaching elementary, middle, and high school bands. Her elementary bands received Superior ratings at the Annapolis, MD Music Festival in 1996, 1998, and 2007, performing original commissioned compositions each time.

Coonan is co-founder of the Hochstein Junior Wind Symphony and Hochstein Youth Wind Symphony, both created to give motivated middle and high school students an in-depth performing experience. In addition to teaching, she performs as bassoonist and contrabassoonist for the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, Roberts Wesleyan College-Community Orchestra, and the Penfield Symphony.

Al HearyAl Heary has been teaching vocal/general music for 30 years, and currently teaches K-5 music at DeWitt Road Elementary School. He received a B.S. in Music Education/ Performance from Ithaca College and a M.M. in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia. He has completed three levels of Orff-Schulwerk teacher training at Eastman School of Music, three levels of Kodály teacher training at Nazareth College, and studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria.

The award winners were selected from nominations submitted by administrators, educators, parents and students, which are then reviewed by a committee comprised of community educators and RPO musicians. The three other winners were:

  • M. David Shemancik of Pittsford Sutherland High School — Instrumental Music Award, Band (K-12)
  • Douglas Steves of Oliver Middle School in Brockport — Choral Director Award (K-12)
  • Beverly Smoker, Professor and Department Chair at Nazareth College — Special Award

Congratulations to Jeanne and Al. You are two of the reasons Webster’s music program in one of the best anywhere.

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Oak Tree Award winners announced

13 Apr

The 2017 Oak Tree Awards for teaching excellence have been announced, and the winners are …..

Stacy Russotti, a fifth grade teacher at Plank South Elementary School, and Dave Stacy RussottiKowalski, a seventh grade science teacher at Willink Middle School.

Stacy was nominated by parent Patty Kaptein and received letters of recommendation from Plank South Principal Scott Wilcox and fellow fifth grade teacher Ronnette West, herself a previous Oak Tree recipient.

In the nomination letter, Kaptein wrote,

One special communication that really struck me at the beginning of the school year was in September (Russotti) personally called every student’s family member to check in on how the students where adjusting to her fifth grade classroom and to address any issues happening in her classroom early on. My daughter’s fifth grade class (was introduced) to the Honor Flight Rochester program…(with) students from the fifth grade attending the Honor Flight Rochester welcome home ceremony at the Rochester International Airport.

Dave Kowalski

Dave Kowalski was nominated by Bill Ottman, WCSD director of science and technology, and Brian Zimmer, WCSD director of educational technology and information. He also received letters of recommendation from Principal Gindling and Willink seventh grade English teacher Todd Putnam, who is also a previous Oak Tree recipient.

In nominating him, Ottman said that Kowalski is a

true collaborator… with a deep understanding of the concepts and skills you teach, a love of children, and a willingness and desire to continually challenge yourself to stay current and relevant to your students.


Congratulations to both recipients.

SparX wins top honors

Sparx Innovation in Control award

And while we’re at it, congratulations also go out to our Webster schools SparX robotics team, which recently won the Innovation in Control Award at the F.I.R.S.T. Buckeye Regional held in Cleveland, OH, the first weekend in April.

The award is presented to the team in which their spokesperson can identify and describe the controls innovation and can trace its conception, design, manufacturing/ assembly, or deployment. The control system must be innovative and unique and integrated with the machine, human players, strategy, etc., in concept and execution. The innovation must be practical, addressing the game’s challenge (not just a cute idea), and reliable under the stress of competition.

SparX received a trophy and plaque for the honor.

I got a chance to see this group of young people demonstrating their robotic handiwork at Community Arts Day. Their accomplishments are always impressive.

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Tuesday Webster Mailbag

4 Apr


As is often the case, some news from the schools to lead off today’s mailbag.

Webster Thomas presents Aida

Don’t forget about next weekend’s production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, presented by the Webster Thomas Players.

Here’s the synopsis:

At the Nile’s edge, the enslaved Nubian princess, Aida becomes romantically entangled with shirt expandedthe Egyptian captain, Radames, who is betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. As their forbidden love grows deeper, Aida is forced to find balance between her heart’s yearning for Radames, and her responsibility to lead her people.

Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, Elton John and Time Rice’s Aida is a timeless love story, featuring an award-winning pop/rock score from the seasoned pop duo who brought musical life to Disney’s The Lion King. Rousing rock numbers and heart-wrenching ballads bring the ill-fated lovers into a new era.

The show will be presented in four performances, at 7:30 p.m. April 6, 7 and 8, and a 2 p.m. matinee on April 8.

Tickets are $12, available at Hegedorn’s Market, 964 Ridge Road and online at websterthomasplayers.com.

Meet the Easter Bunny at the pool!

Here’s some great fun for the kids at the Aquatic Center as Easter approaches:

The Easter Bunny will be stopping by the Aquatic Center on Friday April 7 from 6 to 8 pm to visit during the center’s annual floating Easter egg hunt. Weighted and floating eggs will be scattered throughout the shallow end of the pool. Kids can swim, waddle or walk to gather eggs and then trade them for prizes.

Of course, children will also get a chance to visit with the Easter Bunny.

There’s no charge for WAC members. WCSD staff members pay $3 per child, and nonmembers pay $6 per child, with a family maximum of $12. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and can arrive anytime between 6 and 7 pm.

Register online at: webstercentral.revtrak.net, with the course #: SPE-A-WACK.EGG.1-W

The Webster Aquatic Center is located at 875 Ridge Road.

College Night returns April 26

Have a student headed off to college in a few years? You might want to check out this upcoming program.

Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder high school counselors will host College Night for families of sophomores and juniors on Wednesday, April 26, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Webster Schroeder Auditorium.

The speakers will be David Roberts, associate director of freshman admissions at Saint John Fisher College, and Angela Wesley, admissions adviser at State University of New York at Brockport. Both bring tremendous experience and insight into topics of concern as you navigate the college admissions process. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Getting in and staying in college: SUNY vs private colleges; letters of recommendation; the common application; essays, the new SAT and ACT, and other admissions criteria.
  • Essential skills needed for moving on after high school graduation: resilience, perseverance, collaboration, integrity, time-management, self-management, and communication.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers throughout.

Students are welcome to attend with their parents. Webster Schroeder High School is located at 875 Ridge Road.

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Vote for the Warrior Crew NOW!

16 Feb


You may recall a few days ago when I posted a blog about Webster Schroeder’s Warrior Crew. That’s what the school’s uber-peppy student fan section calls itself. Last year the Crew took first place in the annual New York State Public High School Athletic Association “Battle of the Fans” competition, which recognizes top student cheering sections.

Well, the contest is on again and the Crew is once again a finalist, hoping to become the contest’s first-ever back-to-back winners.

Voting is now in progress and only runs through noon tomorrow (Friday). I’m told that it’s a pretty tight race right now, so every vote counts.

You vote by “liking” their entry on social media — Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Here are the links:




So get online (wait, you already are.) So click through and make your vote right now!

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The Yellow Brick Road leads to Spry Middle School this spring

14 Feb


The spring musical season continues in just a few weeks when Spry Middle School presents The Wizard of Oz on March 10 and 11.

Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion will all be there, searching for the Wizard and the glowing Emerald City. Adapted from the famous movie starring Judy Garland, the stage version incorporates all of your favorite songs, like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” and “King of the Forest.” Plus, you’ll also enjoy a rarely-seen dance number, “The Jitterbug,” which was cut from the original movie.

The production is based on the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, with a book adapted by L. Frank Baum. The story is a familiar one: When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route they meet a Scarecrow who needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The Wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help.

The Wizard of Oz will be presented in three shows, Friday March 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday March 11 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., in the Spry Middle School auditorium, 119 South Ave. Tickets are $7, and these shows often sell out, so it’s a good idea to get your tickets early. They’ll be available beginning Feb. 24 at  http://www.ShowTix4U.com. If any tickets remain, they will be sold at the door.

Bringing The Wizard of Oz to the Spry stage would not be possible without the hard work of Artistic Director Bill Ambler, Production Manager Tricia Mungo, Choreographer Jackie Collins, and Music Director Ron Strong.

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