Tag Archives: Webster Central Schools

Autumn Fanfare: a show like no other

8 Oct

IMG_9545Since I began this blog about ten years ago, I’ve written countless times about the Webster Marching Band. I’ve met and worked with several different band directors over the years. I traded emails with the band booster leadership team. I’m friends with people whose kids are — and were — in the band. So I thought I had a pretty good idea of the talent and commitment is takes to be a part of this prestigious group.

But then I attended my very first Autumn Fanfare and I realized that I was sorely mistaken.

It’s really rather embarrassing for me to admit that the 2018 Autumn Fanfare was the first I had ever attended. But whatever the reasons for that, I finally did make it over to Webster Schroeder stadium last Saturday night for the 33rd annual Autumn Fanfare Field Show and Competition. And I was blown away.

Until that night, most of the times I had see our Pride of Webster Marching Band was when they were, well, marching down the middle of Main Street in a parade, or standing in neat rows at Webster Rural Cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremonies. I had never actually seen them doing their thing on the football field.

It is an impressive sight. Almost 70 smartly-dressed kids moving in sync like a well-drilled Army unit, at the same time PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT. People who pride themselves on being able to walk and chew gum at the same time have got nothing on these kids.

And at Saturday night’s event, we got to enjoy the artistry of six other marching bands as well, from Leroy, Hilton, Orchard Park, Medina, East Irondequoit and Victor,  who together provided 90 minutes of music, pageantry and spectacle.

As I watched and snapped about a thousand photos, these are some of the thoughts I came away with:

* These bands don’t just get out there, walk around and play music. The shows are full musical productions, complete with elaborate set pieces (check out Stonehenge in one of my photos) and detailed story lines (one school even had several performers act out part of the story). The music is rich, and usually presented in a series of movements, guiding spectators through the story’s intricacies.

* Every performance by every school is completely different. One school hid behind their set pieces at the beginning of the show, so it looked like no one was on the field. Another put down their instruments a few times for some coordinated dance moves. There was a huge moon, geometric shapes, and yes, even Stonehenge.

* The shows are changed every year, which means a new story, new music, new set pieces, new choreography, and often new costumes and flags for the color guard.

* Think marching bands are all trumpets and drums? Webster’s 2018 production, “Heart Strings: Tugged and Torn” features violins, a stand-up electric bass and two flute soloists.

* Band parents are as invested in these competitions as much as — or even more than — any sports parent. They are cheerleaders, critics, coaches, and analysts. They are the roadies, helping set up the complicated sets and running out on the field after the final note to break everything down and move it out as quickly as possible. And if you’re school is hosting an event like this, if you’re not a roadie you’re still working hard selling tickets, running the raffle, manning food booths, or selling merchandise.

* And oh, by the way, while you’re competing, not only do you have to remember all your music, where to walk without running into anyone, and how to toss that heavy flag without dropping it, you have to do all of that while a judge is walking through the ranks, sometimes just feet away from you, watching you, JUDGING you, and communicating his observations with the head judge at the sideline. Talk about pressure.

There were winners and losers that night (it was a competition after all). But since pretty much everybody was in a different division — and Webster was just performing for exhibition — the only real competition was in the Small School 1 division between Medina and East Irondequoit, which Medina won.

But for everyone in the stands, the entire evening was a winner. And I will definitely be back again next year.

Click here to see a whole gallery of photos from the 2018 Autumn Fanfare Field Show and Competition.

 

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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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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

Yaravitz

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!

Arya 2

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

Lilli1 (1)

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.

IMG_20180904_090736484

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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Schroeder teacher organizing team for Wilmot Warrior Walk

30 Aug

warrior walk

When it comes to fighting cancer, Kelly Cameron is one of those people who not only faces it head-on, but does so with a “bring it on, cancer, ’cause you’re goin’ down” attitude.

Kelly Cameron is an English teacher at Webster Schroeder High School, and I had the pleasure to work with her for many years at Webster Thomas. Kelly’s a recent breast cancer survivor; so recent that she still has one last surgery scheduled for December, which should (hopefully) take care of it for good.

So basically, Kelly Cameron has kicked cancer’s butt, so now she’s leading the way to help others do the same.

Next weekend, on Saturday Sept. 9, the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute will host its sixth annual Wilmot Warrior Walk — a 5K, 10K and one-mile walk — at Highland Park Bowl, to raise money for cancer research. Kelly is putting together a team of Webster CSD faculty, staff and friends to participate in that event.

But she’s doing so with a specific purpose in mind: to honor two colleagues and friends who passed from cancer.

Kelly explained her goal in a district-wide email:

Statistically speaking, every single one of us will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives. Most likely, we will experience it many times even if we aren’t personally diagnosed as well. Many in my life have fought cancer, myself included. Some have concluded that fight. With the blessings of their families, I created a team for the Wilmot Warrior Walk to honor two of our own teachers: Christine Bohannon and Chris Barnes. We lost Christine in June of 2017 and then Chris almost three weeks ago. The team and its total earnings for Wilmot are done in their honor. Your individual walk or donation can honor anyone.

Christine Bohannon was a teacher at Webster Thomas High School and passed away from B-cell Lymphoma. Chris Barnes taught at Willink Middle School and coached the Webster Thomas High School varsity girls lacrosse team. He passed away on Aug. 8 from colorectal cancer.

Kelly continued with a list of some very good reasons everyone should consider joining the team:

  • You want to honor Christine and/or Chris.
  • You want to honor a loved one who is fighting cancer.
  • You want to honor a loved one who is no longer here to continue his/her battle with cancer.
  • You are living with cancer or are a cancer survivor.
  • You are just an awesome human being who wants to support a great cause!

And she added, “if you’re unable to walk, all of the above reasons are why you should donate :)”

The one-mile walk is at Highland Park Bowl starting on Robinson Drive.  The walk is followed by finisher’s medals, an awards ceremony, and a celebration.  There will be food trucks, activities for the kids, and survivorship/wellness tent activities.  Registration is $35 per person. Participants can register online through Friday, Sept. 8 or the day of the event. To register, click here. You can also read more about the event here.

Kelly added that if you’d like to walk in support of a particular person in your life, you can wear a shirt or ribbon indicating the type of cancer that individual fought or is fighting. A list of those colors, and information about how you can help can be found here at the Bohannon/Barnes Legacy Team Link .

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Webster community mailbag

27 Aug

nick KIt has come to my attention in the last few days that in my blogs about all the 5Ks coming to our little town of Webster, I have neglected to mention one.

It’s the Nick K 5K, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.  It takes place on Saturday September 1 beginning at 8 a.m. at Webster Parks and Recreation, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

Nicholas Kapusniak was killed on March 1, 2014 when a drive-by shooter fired into a group of college students in St. Louis, Missouri. Nick is a former resident of Webster and was attending school at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

The Nick K 5K hopes to draw attention to the violence that is becoming commonplace in our schools and cities. Part of the proceeds will go to local Crime Stoppers in Rochester and St. Louis, with the rest being put towards scholarships in his name at his high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Runners and walkers can register by clicking here. Cost is $25, and includes a t-shirt and other giveaways. Walk-up registrations will be accepted the morning of the race beginning at 7:15AM.

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Put this one on your calendar now so you can get there before they sell out:

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1130 Webster Road (at the corner of State Road) is holding a drive-thru takeout chicken dinner sale on Thursday September 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. It’s a fund-raiser for its Outreach Committee, which supports local charities in the greater Rochester areas. Each meal (from Heintzelman’s BBQ Pit of Ontario) is $12, includes a half-side of chicken, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cornbread.

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When I was out and about today, I decided to drive by a few of our elementary schools to check out the new playgrounds. They’re all finished, just in time for the start of school, and are already being used.

I got photos of the new equipment at Plank North and South, Klem North and South, and Schlegel Road. Check them out below.

Klem North

Klem North

Klen south

Klem South

plank north

Plank North

plank south

Plank South

schlegel

Schlegel Road

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Time to get your PTSA on

24 Aug

front-and-back-of-card

I get emails from our schools’ PTSAs pretty much all summer. But this time of year, in the short weeks before the school year starts, they start coming in fast and furious.

And with good reason. School PTSAs could really use the support of every single family, but typically fall short of getting that.

Long gone are the days when I was a child, when the only things parents (mostly stay-at-home moms) were asked to do was bring in cupcakes for parties and cut out stars for bulletin boards. As classroom needs and teacher responsibilities have expanded, so has the need for an active and engaged parent/teacher organization.

Present-day PTSAs try to support classroom teachers and administrators in their jobs as much as possible, while also providing enrichment opportunities for students and their families. They’ll run after-school clubs and school-wide activities like festivals and dances; they help within-school events, help coordinate class pictures, create the school yearbook and purchase school supplies, and a hundred other support activities.

This all takes people and money. Most PTSAs rely on a core group of parents who do the bulk of the work. They’d love to have more join the effort, even giving an hour or two (or even a half hour) every once in a while for a special event.

But as a PTSA member, you don’t even have to commit ANY time if you don’t want to. Simply showing your support by purchasing a PTSA membership is plenty helpful.  You can even sign up online. And in addition to helping your school, you’ll get a membership card with discounts printed on the back (like 10% off at local businesses, a free Blizzard at DQ, 50% off at Color Me Mine), and will be entered into three prize drawings:

  • Oct. 1 – Four tickets to Webster Theatre Guild’s October production of South Pacific and a $200 gift card to Hedges
  • Nov. 1 – A one-year family membership to the Webster Aquatic Center
  • Dec. 1 – A one-year family membership to the Bay View Family YMCA (includes access to area YMCA facilities!)

So next time you get one of those emails, don’t trash it. Consider joining your school’s PTSA. You’ll be doing a lot to support your kids, their teachers and administrators this school year.

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New school start times instituted for 2019/20

16 Aug

clock

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

14 Aug

Rod DeRose temp photo - uncroppedMore good news from the schools this morning.

First, the school district has announced that Rob DeRose will be the new assistant principal at DeWitt Road Elementary School.

DeRose currently serves as Webster CSD’s extended school year coordinator and instructional specialist for humanities/literacy. He will begin his new position effective September 1.

DeRose began his career in WCSD as a special education teacher at State Road Elementary School, and also served as special education department lead teacher for four years. He lives in Macedon with his wife, Carmella, and three children, Jacob (8), Benjamin (6), and Gracie (3).

The Webster Central PTSA has announced the winners of the organization’s 2018 Student Awards.

Each year the Webster Central PTSA recognizes six outstanding seniors, chosen by high school counselors in a blind selection process from the Common Applications. For each award, one student is chosen from each high school, Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas. Each winner will receive $500.

Webster Central PTSA Pursue Your Passion Award

The Pursue Your Passion Award recognizes seniors working to make their dream a reality, who exemplify the principles of Webster Central PTSA and student CARE behaviors. This year’s winners are Brianna Jones (Schroeder) and Dominic Chiara (Thomas).

Webster Central PTSA Academic Excellence Award

This award recognizes seniors who have demonstrated excellence in academic achievement and are pursuing a college education. This year’s winners are Selena Zhang (Schroeder) and Sarah Fischer (Thomas).

Webster Central PTSA Ann Carmody Award for Outstanding Community Service

As its name suggests, this award is given to a senior who has demonstrated excellence and commitment to community service efforts in and/or outside of school, measured by volunteer hours. This year’s winners are Caitlin Glastonbury (Schroeder) and Katelyn Meredith (Thomas).

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Webster is in mourning

11 Aug

barnesEarlier this week, Webster suffered a great loss when Chris Barnes, a beloved teacher, coach, father and friend, passed after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Barnes was long-time coach of the Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse team, and a teacher at Willink Middle School. He is remembered for both his successes on the playing field and in the classroom, but his main legacy lies in the kind of person he was and how he positively affected the lives of the young women who played for him.

You can read more about all that in a story by Stevie Johnson in the Democrat and Chronicle . I’d like to focus, therefore, on a lacrosse game held last Tuesday in Barnes’ honor.

It was the team’s annual alumna game, which this year was dedicated to Coach Barnes.  All proceeds from t-shirt’s, raffles and food went to the Barnes family.

WROC-TV and WHAM-TV both covered the game. Here’s the transcript from the WHAM story, courtesy Mary Alice and David Moore:

Tuesday night, the Webster Titans showed just how big their collective heart is. They came together to rally around a beloved teacher and coach.

Girls Lacrosse at Webster Thomas is synonymous with Coach Chris Barnes. He started the program in 2003, teaching the young women on the field for Tuesday’s alumni game everything they know about lacrosse.

“He taught me, personally, a lot about passion,” said Webster Thomas graduate Nicole Voci. “Seeing him show up to every practice and every game kind of meant a lot to me, and it made me want to win for him.”

And the players will tell you the lessons from Coach Barnes went beyond lacrosse.

“He’s meant a lot to me,” said graduate Kelsey Quinlan.

Now, the coach’s players are showing him just how much he meant to them, Tuesday’s game was a fundraiser to honor Coach Barnes during what’s become a two-year battle with colon cancer. It never stopped him – he worked right up until his surgery.

“He taught the kids as much about life as he did about lacrosse,” said retired athletic director Scott Morrison.

“His legacy is what he’s passed onto hundreds and hundreds of girls and their families,” said former Barnes assistant and present Webster Schroeder Girls Lacrosse Coach Bryan Hanley, “his spirit and how he handled himself.”

Ever the coach, even when he isn’t on the sidelines, Chris Barnes is still there – in the hearts and minds of his team.

All proceeds from Tuesday’s event will be donated to a charity of Coach Barnes’ choice.

Calling hours for Chris Barnes will be held Wednesday August 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Willard Scott Funeral Home, 12 South Avenue, and the funeral held the following morning at Immanuel Lutheran Church. For details, click here to read the obituary.

lacrosse alumna

Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse alumna

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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

Anson-Kylene-9411

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.

IMG_20180803_093525283

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