District Newsletter



Central Schools
Volume 12, Issue 2
In January, the kindergarteners learned about pets and pets at work! Trooper Brian DiLorenzo brought his police dog, Pit, to kindergarten for the children to learn about dogs that work. The children learned about Pit’s job and Trooper DiLorenzo answered the children’s questions. The children also had the opportunity to pet Pit! Michael and Roberta Barnard from Sidney brought in their seeingeye dogs, Stella and Ivy. The kindergarteners enjoyed learning about Stella and Ivy’s training and the tasks that Stella and Ivy do to help Mr. and Mrs. Barnard at home and in the community. We would like to thank Trooper DiLorenzo as well as Mr. and Mrs. Barnard for taking the time to visit the kindergarteners. The children enjoyed learning about pets!

March 2009

On Monday, February 9, the Sidney Central School District was forced to close for the day to repair a water main break on campus. Thanks to the quick response from the village, district employees, and local contractors, the water main was repaired by late morning with no damage to the district facilities. The understanding and cooperation from the community, as well as the efforts of all of these people are sincerely appreciated! As a result of the unexpected day off on February 9, the Sidney School District has now used five out of six allotted snow days. Therefore the Sidney School District Board of Education has revised the original school calendar for the month of March. As previously planned, there will be a half-day of school on Friday, March 20. The afternoon of that day will be for district-wide parent conferences. On Friday, March 27, there will also be another half-day of school. The afternoon of this day will also be for district-wide parent conferences. Friday, March 27, was previously planned for a Superintendent’s Conference Day, which has been cancelled. Parents are asked to please change their calendars to reflect this change and make sure students are in attendance on March 27. This change will give the school district one more snow day, for a total of two days available for the rest of the winter. If Sidney CSD needs to use more than two days, they will have to look at the spring break in April to make up the days missed.

Calendar Change for Sidney Schools

Pets at Work

Winter Fun

Ms. Pallischeck’s 5th grade class enjoying their physical education unit on cross-country skiing.

The administrative team has looked at the Executive Budget Proposal from Governor Paterson to identify how to balance the anticipated revenue and needed expenses to provide for our educational program. We looked closely at our budget from last year and created a rollover budget using estimated increases for elements such as benefits, petroleum, contractual provisions, etc. Now that we have more specific numbers, we have identified a gap between anticipated expenditures and anticipated revenues. The Executive Budget Proposal proposes a $546,887 state aid reduction from last year’s allocation for the Sidney Central School District. We know that New York State is facing one of the largest budget deficits in history, and the Governor has been very specific about “shared sacrifice” for every state agency. However, our state aid reduction was larger than we anticipated. The State legislators are working on the budget daily and looking closely at all of the cuts Governor Paterson is proposing, but we must move forward with the Executive Proposal as we prepare the school budget for 2009-2010. A first look at the rollover budget resulted in an estimated tax levy increase of over 13%. We examined class sizes, enrollment projections, and program provisions closely. Since last year, our elementary enrollment in grades K-5 has decreased by 10, our middle school enrollment has decreased by 12, and our high school enrollment has decreased by 4. We have added a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, which is being funded 100% by state aid. We also have looked at a demographic study which predicts that our enrollment will continue to decrease over the next several years.

Superintendent's Message Finding Balance

As a result of our study, the administrative team has made recommendations to the Board of Education that would result in reducing the budget by over $400,000. These recommendations include the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Lay off two teachers (English and Math) - due to decreased enrollment and current class sizes Reduce one district office account clerk to .5 FTE Reduce field trip costs by 50% Eliminate meals for Monday Instructional Technology courses for staff Reduce number of athletic contests (eliminate a total of 20 contests)—will be implemented throughout New York State

Proposed Reductions


07-08 Elementary School Middle School High School District 475* 276* 402* 08-09 489* 256* 425* 1,171 09-10 10-11 486 248 396 1,130 1,140 475 246 383 1,104 1,113

Bring home 5 BOCES students to create 15:1 class at the high school 2. Move teacher conference budget line from the general fund to the Title IIA federal grant 3. Contract with BOCES for Network Support Services and Teacher Substitute Registry 4. Move two special education positions to IDEA grant (anticipated income due to Federal Stimulus Package) Proposed Budget Reductions = $447,648 Budget Additions = $47,000 (one LTA and one teacher aide) Total Proposed Budget Reductions = $400,648 Estimated Tax Levy = 7.32% (3.85%) (First number is estimated tax levy which includes MeadWestvaco, which was on the PILOT program in the past (Payment in Lieu of Taxes). They are coming off that program this year. Number in parenthesis indicates estimated tax levy to community residents and small businesses.) We have scheduled a community forum and presentations at Board of Education meetings in the future, and the community is encouraged to attend. There will be budget presentations at each Board of Education meeting in March, and we will also put the budget presentations on STV so everyone has access to the information.

Other Sources of Revenue

Board of Education Meetings
High School Library, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 Tuesday, March 24

1,153* 1,146*

Demographic Study 1,184
*Actual total (all others are estimates)

High School Cafeteria, 9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 —Sandra M. Cooper, Superintendent of Schools

Community Forums


Sidney Central School District

In our last column, we noted the African proverb that says It takes a village to raise a child. We also noted that given the economic challenges facing all of us today, it will take our entire school community working together to find the balance that Superintendent Cooper often references in her budget presentations. As of this writing, there are still a great many unknowns facing us as we begin to formulate this year’s budget. How deep will the cuts be in New York State aid? What will be happening to many of the components of the budget that are beyond our control from energy costs to health care? What will the final elements of the proposed Federal stimulus package mean to our educational programs and the mandates that are also beyond our control? All of these questions come amid a backdrop of job reductions and cuts not just nationally, but throughout our region as well. Even though many of these questions remain unanswered, we cannot sit and wait. We must continue with our efforts to recommend a budget to the taxpayers of our district that is as equitable as possible without significantly impacting the programs that are essential to our children and their future. Transparency is a buzzword in government these days. Again, Sidney was ahead of the curve with last year’s budget process. From the countless community presentations to the videos running on STV to the radio call-in shows that took place, there was a sincere attempt to communicate as many details as possible to the entire community at every step in the process. Best of all, the dialog that resulted from those efforts was invaluable in helping to shape the final budget that the voters overwhelmingly approved. As suggestions were made by staff or community members, those suggestions often found their way into the revisions that were being made. Rather than being a static document that changed very little over time, last year’s budget was what we characterized as very organic. The Board of Education encourages you to attend one of the upcoming budget presentations that will be taking place over the next month. With so many revenue questions remaining unanswered, there will be as many difficult decisions as last year—perhaps even more. The more firsthand knowledge we all have as participants in this process, the better we can all work together to find a budget that the community can support. And the more participation and input we share, the more perspectives and ideas there will be to help shape the final budget that will be submitted to the voters in May. All of us can certainly agree that our children are our future. We owe it to them and to ourselves to make decisions today, even in the midst of adversity, that will enable them to have a tomorrow where each one can realize his or her full potential. Please join us in helping to shape that future. —Gary Schoonover, Board of Education

Board Corner

The Chenango County School Boards Association and the DCMO BOCES recently recognized Catherine Treffeisen at a Sidney Board of Education meeting for her completion of the jointly sponsored School Board Academy. The two-year, six-session program includes sessions on higher standards, finances, boardsuperintendent relationships, special education, BOCES and personnel issues. Catherine completed the program and received a certificate of high honors from DCMO BOCES Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Marki Clair-O’Rourke at the January 27 regular meeting of the Sidney Board of Education. The higher standards facing schools and students today require increased knowledge and skills of school board members. The School Board Academy is designed for school board members who want to develop a basic understanding of the board’s role as a policy maker and educational leader in a time of change. The School Board Academy is targeted at those individuals who have begun their board term within the past two years. As a result, program offerings will deal with the fundamentals of school board service. Check the BOCES website to see program offerings at www.dcmoboces.com/ dcmoboe/BOEMain.htm.

Board Member Completes School Board Academy Program at BOCES

The Sidney Central School District is in need of the following: • Substitute school nurses, RN required, $18/hour • Substitute teachers (certified—valid NYS teaching certification; non-certified— preference 2-4 year college degree) • Substitute bus drivers • Substitute bus monitors Please apply at the Sidney Central School District Office, 95 West Main Street, Sidney, NY 13838 or call 607-563-2135. EOE

Substitutes Needed

Sidney Central School District


At the January 13, B o a rd o f E d u c a t i o n meeting, Superintendent Sandra Cooper presented Board President Parsons w i t h t h e N e w Yo r k State School Boards Association’s Leadership Development Recognition award. In their letter, NYSSBA stated, “The program comprises several levels and types of acknowledgement. Members qualify for recognition by participating in varied NYSSBA developmental activities, such as the Academy for Public School Governance, Board Officers Academy, School Board Institute courses, legal conferences, regional workshops, or district level custom improvement programs. Members earn credits for participating in each developmental event or activity.” It was with great pleasure that Superintendent Cooper presented Mrs. Parsons with this prestigious award for completing 40 credits of NYSSBA developmental events qualifying her for the initial level of award—the Developmental Achievement Citation. Congratulations Board President Parsons!

NYSSBA Leadership Development Recognition

• Recently, Dr. Samuel retired as our chief school physician. • Dr. Elizabeth Blasco, with Bassett Health Care, replaced him as our school physician. • Athletic physicals performed by your personal physician will now be accepted. • The school will still provide physicals for sports. • You will receive a mailing regarding the new athletic physical policy. Please answer the survey on athletic physicals and return. • Forms will be available online at the Sidney Central School District website. • Athletic physicals are good for one year. • A health history report form must be completed and turned in to the school nurse prior to each sport season. • If you have questions, please contact the school nurse or athletic office.

The Warrior Facts on Athletic Physicals

Go Warriors!

On Friday, February 6, the Sidney Central School District welcomed a new staff member. Trooper Sara Stedman joined the staff that day as our new School Resource Officer (SRO). Trooper Stedman is being shared with the Unatego Central School District through the New York State Police. The New York State Police and both school districts have entered into a partnership to enhance the personal safety of the faculty, staff, students and parents in the District. The duties of the SRO will include, but are not limited to: • Training students in conflict resolution, restorative justice, crime awareness, and anger management; • Presenting educational programs to school employees, parents, and school board members; • Building relationships by being a liaison between the State Police, Local police, and the schools; • Assisting schools with security concerns and identifying physical changes in the environment that may reduce crime in and around the school; • Assisting in preparation of response plans and responding to criminal activity in and around the school (as per the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act); • Developing crime prevention efforts for students; • Assisting in developing school policy that addresses crime and recommending procedural changes where appropriate; • Assisting the school in meeting requirements mandated by New York State Law. By being present in the schools, a SRO has the ability to build relationships with students and staff that is not possible for other police officers. By being seen in the hallways and cafeteria, a SRO offers the students an opportunity to meet a law enforcement officer in a positive way rather than when involved in a police matter. A SRO can also work with the school administration to solve problems quickly and work with the District to prevent problems by establishing a presence in the school buildings. Trooper Stedman will also work closely with the Village of Sidney Police Department to maintain open lines of communication and collaboration. We are most appreciative of this opportunity and we thank the New York State Police for providing us with a School Resource Officer. Trooper Stedman can be reached at Sidney Schools at 563-2135, ext. 4776 —Sandra M. Cooper, Superintendent of Schools

Welcome Trooper Stedman


Sidney Central School District

16-Year-Old Blood Donors Could Save Thousands of Lives

The Pool Continues its Splashing Success!

Sixteen-year-olds may now donate blood at American Red Cross drives in New York State and Pennsylvania, potentially doubling the amount of blood donated by high school students. High school students currently account for about 13% of the blood collected in the New York-Penn Region of the American Red Cross, donating almost 50,000 units of blood last year. But since the Region must collect at least 7,000 units each week in order to meet the needs of local hospitals’ patients, the eligibility of 16-year-olds could help save thousands of additional lives. All 16-year-old donors are required to bring a completed consent form with them to their donation appointment. These forms require the initials and signature of a parent or legal guardian. Consent forms are available from the school’s blood drive student recruitment team or advisor, or can be downloaded directly from the Red Cross website at donatebloodnow.org/16. By allowing students to donate one year earlier, thousands of lives may be saved. A single blood donation is split into three components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) and therefore may help save up to three different lives. These components are used by patients in need, usually within a few days or weeks of collection. Accident victims, cancer patients and premature babies often require red blood cells or blood products during their treatment. It is important that all students, regardless of age, prepare for their blood donation by eating a balanced and nutritious meal and drinking extra (non-caffeinated) beverages before their appointment. Students are also encouraged to eat iron-rich foods like red meat, green vegetables and peanut butter in the days and weeks before their donation. The next school blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The Sidney High School pool has been bubbling with excitement after the fall session. Kindergarten through 8th grade made vast improvements in their swimming skills and diving abilities. The students finished their sessions with anticipation for the return of the spring session. The high school students were given the opportunity to take part in swimming activities over the winter. Their options included stroke skills, hydro fitness or water sports and games. This year we have also included lessons in kayaking! We were fortunate to have many people from our staff and the community offer their kayaks for the lessons. Students have been able to learn how to enter, exit and maneuver safely around the pool, giving them a lesson they can use the rest of their lives. A special group of students were honored at the January 13 Board of Education meeting for their outstanding academic achievements. These students maintained an average of 95 or above for an entire school year, thus being named to the Superintendent’s List for four quarters out of four quarters during the 2007-2008 school year.

Four for Four Club

Adult Lap Swim, Monday-Friday 6:15-7:30 a.m. Community Swim, Monday 6:00-8:00 p.m. Staff Swim, Tuesday 3:15-4:15 p.m. Community Swim, Wednesday 6:00-8:00 p.m. Staff Swim, Thursday 3:15-4:15 p.m. Sidney Central School District

New Pool Hours

Congratulations to these students: l-r: Annie Pysnik, Erica Howard, Kim Young, Zach Smith, Adam Bordeau, Kevin Davie, Jon Gorshack, Jillian Young, Brynn Davie, Bethany Karl, Nicole Smith. Missing from photo: Lyndsay Delello, Luke Hansen, Bethenie Pinney, Chelsea Pixley, Alair Omahen and Nicole Townsend. 5

It is hard to believe we have begun the Spring Semester here in the High School. January was a busy month of planning and preparing for the Regents Exams, mid-terms, and local final exams. Report cards did go home late with students due to the fact that we had a snow day during testing week; so many tests had to be finished during the week of February 2. On Tuesday, February 24, we had our quarterly awards. Students were recognized for their academic achievements—Honor Roll, High Honor Roll, and Superintendent’s list. Students who achieved these honors received an award and a coupon for a free ice cream sundae on our next sundae bar day. Just a sweet treat to congratulate them and encourage them to keep up the good work! The High School Shared Decision Making Team is in the midst of discussing the possibility of weighting grades of upper level courses for the next school year. This is a concept that has been discussed over the course of many years, but the SDM Team has worked hard to develop a plan in hopes that weighted scores will encourage students to challenge themselves with more difficult courses. We will have more information later this year on weighted scores. If any parent or student is interested in serving on the High School Shared Decision Making Team, please contact me. Finally, I want to stress to parents and students the importance of fully preparing for school each day. This includes not only bringing to school all of the necessary work and supplies, but also making sure that students are leaving home things that are not appropriate for school. Students should not be carrying any type of pocket knife or other weapon to school. This means that these items should not be in their backpacks, lockers or cars. These items, although mistakenly brought to school with no intent to do harm to others, are in violation of the Federal Gun Free Schools Act, and students found with any such items may be subject to criminal charges. As always, my door is always open. I encourage students, parents, and community members to email, call, or stop in the high school office to say hello, to ask questions, or to express any comments or concerns. —Annette Hammond, High School Principal

Sidney High School Principal’s Message

Students to Play at Jazz Festival

On Saturday, March 7, six students from Sidney High School will join students from five other area high schools, as part of the 5th Annual Catskill All-Star Jazz Festival. This is a select festival and represents some of the finest jazz musicians from a five county region. Sidney students this year include Megan Gray (Tenor Saxophone), Kevin Davie (Baritone Saxophone), Zach Smith (Trumpet), Jeff Olson (Trombone), Chris Bartolillo (Bass), and Taylor Lissandrello (Drums). The concert will take place on March 7 at 2:00 p.m., in the Sidney High School auditorium. Admission is free, so bring along a friend and enjoy the awesome sounds of the 5th Annual Catskill All-Star Jazz Festival!

Stage Band to Perform in Regional Jazz Festivals

The Sidney Stage Band will be competing in two regional festivals in February and March. On Thursday, February 12, the Stage Band participated in the FondaFultonville Jazz Festival. There, they participated for honors, along with several jazz ensembles from the upstate and capital regions of New York. On Friday, March 13, the Sidney Stage Band will be competing in the 22nd annual Oneida Jazz Festival. There, they will perform for a panel of distinguished judges, as will other bands from across the state! If you’re interested in attending the Oneida Jazz Festival, please feel free to contact band director Gregg Norris, and he can give you directions on how you can come and support us.


Sidney Central School District

Congratulations to Erica Howard, the 2008 HOBY Ambassador from Sidney High School. On May 30-June 1, 2008, Erica attended the leadership seminar at RPI in Troy. While there, she participated in workshops, activities, and community service projects with other school winners from across eastern New York. The Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar motto is Empower—Lead—Excel. Their focus is on Leadership for Service. The organization’s belief is that one of the most powerful ways to show leadership is through service to others. The challenge for all HOBY Ambassadors is to continue their HOBY experience long after the seminar concludes. Being named a HOBY Ambassador is a prestigious honor and we are very proud of Erica’s accomplishments! Erica, an 11th grader at Sidney High School, is the daughter of Ken and Ellen Howard of Masonville. Also, congratulations to Corbin Curley, the 2009 HOBY Ambassador from Sidney High School. Corbin will be attending the leadership seminar this coming May. Corbin is the son of Edward and Carol Curley of Sidney. Congratulations as well go to JC Merced, who has been named as an alternate should Corbin be unable to attend. JC is the son of Colleen Merced of Bainbridge. Corbin and JC are both 10th graders at Sidney High School.

Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Ambassadors Named

The annual Cabaret Exhibition was held on Tuesday, March 3 in the High School Community Room. The exhibit was open before the concert Ceramic Totem and remained open for Maquette by casual viewing throughout Chris Bartolillo the evening. In addition to work like these pictured here, numerous observational drawings, acrylic paintings, paper-maché figure sculpture, multi-media collage boxes, and more were on display. Following the art show, our High School Music Department presented our annual Cabaret Concert in the High School Gymnasium. The concert featured all of our performing high school music groups, including a combined chorus of students and staff members! Coil Built Vase by Ceramist Nam Kyung Kim Self-portrait by Portfolio Student Cassie Hoblitz

Cabaret Exhibition

Community Day of Caring

Several students participated in the Community Day of Caring held on November 8 at Keith Clark Park! The students comprised of members of Tri-M Honor Society, Art Club, Student Council, and National Honor Society. The students, members of Rotary, and members of Sidney’s Focus on Youth organization, came together to rake leaves around the walking path, place woodchips around trees, and clean up the park for the community to use. Although it was a rainy day, everyone pitched in and worked together to bring the park back to life! If you happen to see the following students walking around make sure to give them a smile or a quick thank you for their service— Bethenie Pinney, Zach Smith, Kevin Davie, Corey Pate, Kathryn Jump, Jeffrey Olson, Megan Gray, Erica Howard and Rebecca Rivera! A special thanks to faculty members Gregg Norris, Colleen Crisell, and Erica Gregory for helping out that day! 7

Sidney Central School District

Six members of the Sidney High School Student Council and the Student Council advisors attended a New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities conference in Saratoga Springs, from November 23-25. This is the second time the High School Student Council has attended this conference. For three days, these six students went to a variety of workshops and heard diverse speakers share their ideas of what good character is and how to achieve leadership in schools. The students that attended this conference were Bethenie Pinney, the President of Student Council, Erica Howard, Rebecca Rivera and Linda Marin from the Class of 2010, and Joseph Lanza and Joe Shupperd from the Class of 2012. On November 23, the students participated in various ice-breaker activities and the opening of the Survivor Leadership Conference—Outwit, Outplay, Outlead. There was an exciting scavenger hunt around Saratoga Springs that led the Sidney students and advisors to outwit other school districts. Great minds were at work! The students also listened to Micha Jacabson, who presented the program R.E.A.L: Responding with Enthusiasm and Acting with Love. Students ended the day with a dance. On November 24, the students attended district meetings, had student led workshops and roundtables, and listened to two showcase speakers and keynote speaker Mawi Asgedom, the founder of Mental Karate, a training organization that challenges youth to create their own inspiring journeys. Asgedom spoke from experience as he is originally from Ethiopia, fled during the time of civil war, lived in a refugee camp, entered the United States, and became a student at Harvard University. The students also participated in a Semi-Formal Dinner and Dance. On November 25, the students worked on a community service project on Celiacs Disease, creating recipe books. Finally, the conference ended with a multi-media presentation and a commitment to excellence. The conference was an excellent experience for all. The members of Student Council were kept busy with little sleep for three days. They brought back new ideas for the Student Council to implement. They also challenged all students to exhibit leadership qualities—Outwit, Outplay, Outlead.

Student Council Trip to Saratoga Springs

The fifth grade is presently completing the D.A.R.E. program. Officer Gorshack comes in each week to teach the students about staying drug free. He is also teaching the students how to make healthy choices and smart decisions in their daily lives. The students enjoyed making murals to teach others what they have learned so far in the program. In March, they will take part in the D.A.R.E. graduation where each class will perform a skit that incorporates everything they have learned throughout the program.

D.A.R.E.ing to Be Drug Free


Sidney Central School District

Dear Middle School Parents, We have now passed the half way point and are coming around the bend to the home stretch of the 2008-2009 school year. It is always informative to look at where we have been to determine if we are on the right track to get to where we want to go. Academically, your children (our students) have been doing very well. In the first quarter we celebrated as 58.4% of the students in the Middle School achieved honor, high honor or superintendent’s list status. That means that over half of our student population had an overall average of 84.5 or higher. For the second quarter we slipped a bit with 48.9% of our student population qualifying for these honors. You should be proud of your sons’ and daughters’ academic accomplishments so far this year. Looking forward, academically, I want to share with you my experience with grading trends over my 20 years of experience as an administrator. The slip that we saw in the second quarter will continue into the third quarter. Grades will typically go up in the fourth quarter as the end of the school year comes into sight and panic sets in. I say this not in a defeatist way as if to say, “Oh well, that’s just what happens,” but rather with the positive approach that “forewarned is forearmed.” The first step to solving a problem is to recognize the problem. If we know this happens, what should we do about it? We encourage you continue to be vigilant about encouraging and supporting your children in regard to their school work in the third quarter. Continue to go on PowerSchool to check grades and assignments. Continue to ask them about homework, how their day went, and what they are studying. Continue to be in contact with teachers about missed assignments and what can be done to help your son or daughter. Continue to encourage your son or daughter to stay after on Tuesdays and Thursdays for extra help. You have been doing an excellent job so far, keep up the good work. We appreciate your partnership in this undertaking and desire that your child experience success in his or her middle school experience that will carry over to the high school experience. Our parallel focus this year has been to become a United School of Character. We have encouraged students to think before they speak and to ask themselves three questions before they say something to someone else. The questions are—Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? We tell the students that if the answer to all three of these question is Yes concerning what they are about to say, then they should go ahead and say it. But if even one answer is no, then they should not say it. So many problems and hurt feelings arise from carelessly spoken words, words spoken to hurt, or words spoken to make ourselves look better than another. In the fall, we had a presentation of Rachel’s Challenge encouraging kindness, thanks to the generous support of community groups and our PTSO. In February, we had a presentation by Dr. Michael “Mykee” Fowlin who talked about understanding and accepting differences instead of stereotyping others. We have been participating in Project Wisdom; a program designed to start the day with positive, character related thoughts and ideas. We have been spending much of our advisory time at lunch on character education. Our desire is to help good brains develop in our youth as they grow into adults of good character who are able to attain their fullest potential and make the world a better place. —James B. Walters, Middle School Principal

Middle School Principal’s Message

Sixth Grade News

Sixth grade student, Alyssa Cranston, created a model of an eco-friendly home as a special project to share in science class. She included a recycling bin, solar panels to heat hot water and a scooter in the garage. She also displayed a television set in the house labeled off as she explained, “Electricity is made from burning coal.” She also made a windmill to demonstrate how natural resources can be good sources of energy. Students in sixth grade have been studying air pollution and its effects on the environment. Alyssa took the initiative to make this project all on her own.

Our next set of New York State exam dates in the Middle School are March 9-13. This week will be for NYS Math exams for grades 6-8. Eighth grade parents, please be looking for a permission slip for a trip to the Masonville BOCES. We will be going on the morning of March 20 (half day). We will have the opportunity to see all of the Vocational Education programs offered at BOCES, as well as take a tour of the new buildings. This is a great opportunity for students to ask questions and start thinking about what they would like to do in the future. Please sign and return the slip as soon as possible.

Middle School Counselor News

Sidney Central School District


We were off and running at Sidney Elementary School during the months of January and February. Our third, fourth and fifth grade students completed the NYS ELA test during the week of January 12-16. The students worked very hard and I am extremely proud of them. Our fifth grade students did an outstanding job on the NYS Social Studies test. The students scored at or above the proficient level with a score of 87.5 percent. Great job fifth graders! Our third, fourth, and fifth grade students will be taking the NYS Math test the week of March 2-6. Please be mindful of scheduling appointments during this week. We combined our November and December awards assembly due to a snow storm in early December. We introduced our character education theme on trustworthiness. The students have been doing a great job and are being recognized daily for showing trustworthiness. Students in grades K-5 were treated with an assembly on Anti-Bullying on January 16. The presenter, James Warren, used many astounding magic tricks and illusions to teach students about the seriousness of bullying along with effective strategies for coping with bullies. He encouraged students to support one another at school by refusing to participate in harassing behaviors. The students were a great audience and really enjoyed the program. We continue to focus as a building on our CATCH program. We are working on finding several ways to infuse health and wellness lessons along with physical activity into our daily routines. Our students recognize the terms Go, Slow and Whoa. These are the names that we use to help students recognize different kinds of healthy and not so healthy foods. Please ask your child about Go, Slow and Whoa. As we continue to move forward with our CATCH program, please take time to talk with your child about the importance of eating healthy and being physically active. Below are some tips for you to try as a family. Involving the whole family is the best way to promote better eating habits and healthy activities for your children. A whole-family approach simply means that everyone—parents and kids alike—work together as a team to achieve good health and well-being. • Lead by example. Adult family members are important role models for healthy eating and exercise. Talk about why you eat fruit as a snack, take an exercise class, or go for walks. • Start young. Don’t wait until your child is at an unhealthy weight to institute good eating and activity habits. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight than to lose pounds later.

Elementary School Principal’s Message
• Be active together. Make it usual for the family to be active, not sedentary. Being active as a family allows kids to expend energy in a positive way, and adults reap the health benefits, too. • Cook together. It may be impractical to do it every day, but invite kids into the process of preparing food. Little kids can learn math skills by measuring and they’ll begin to understand the chemistry of cooking. They’ll also gain an understanding of healthy ingredients. • Eat together. Eating a meal as a family sends the right messages about nutrition. Kids will see their parents eating healthy food and may be inspired to try new foods. They will also come to see mealtime as a time for socializing and sharing. Parents get a chance to offer nutritious food, note their child’s likes and dislikes, and tune in to their child’s triumphs and troubles through conversation. If you’re trying to build healthier family habits, a goal chart is a good way to keep score. A chart, posted in a spot like the refrigerator, can remind family members to pay attention to eating and exercise habits. Choose family goals, such as exercising every day and eating fruits and vegetables. Keep track of who meets their goals and praise those who do. And when the whole family achieves the goals, do something fun together to celebrate. As always, reading continues to be a major focus for us in the Elementary school. Our students are reading at a phenomenal rate each day and meeting the goals for our 100 Book Challenge program. Below are the five important skills for a beginning reader. • • • • • Phonemic Awareness. The ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words. Alphabetic Principle. The ability to associate sounds with letters and use these sounds to form words. Fluency with Text. The effortless, automatic ability to read words in connected text. Vocabulary. The ability to understand (receptive) and use (expressive) words to acquire and convey meaning. Comprehension. The complex cognitive process involving the intentional interaction between reader and text to convey meaning. Thank you for all your cooperation and support! —Corey Green, Elementary Principal

Family Goals Chart

READ . . . READ . . . READ . . .

The 5 Big Ideas in Beginning Reading

CATCH Family Tips


Sidney Central School District

Testing Our Worldly Knowledge

For the 21st year, the National Geographic Society held its National Geographic Bee for students in grades four through eight. During December, the Middle School and Elementary School conducted School Bees to determine the 10 finalists who would compete in the District Bee. The District Bee was held in January. The contestants included fifth graders Connor Gregory and Jillian Hornbeck; sixth graders Seth Arnold, Katie DeShaw, Tyler Griffin and Cole Matthews; 7th graders Rosie Gatto and Trevor Northrop; and 8th graders Rob Bidwell and Hunter Sowersby. The District Bee eliminates contestants until there are two finalists. The two finalists who competed in the Championship round were Connor Gregory and Trevor Northrop, with Trevor winning the Bee. Trevor took a written examination to try to qualify for the State Bee, and we will find out the results in March. The students with the top 100 scores will be invited to compete in the State Bee in April. Many thanks to Ms. Claudia Jenkins for organizing this exciting event!

The students in Mrs. Birdsall’s 3rd, 4th and 5th grade physical education classes hit the slopes for an adventurous challenge of cross-country skiing. Skis in hand, students climbed the hill to the fields on campus where they found bright sunshine and fresh powdered snow. Strapping on their skis, they hurried to race across the fields or try their hand at the gentle slopes near the ball diamond. Despite some slips and spills, everyone seemed to enjoy the experience. Many thanks also to Ms. Pallischeck and Mrs. Cooper for joining in with the fun.

Slip Sliding Along!

The UPK class has been learning about w i n t e r w e a t h e r. During this unit we made ice crystals, predicted how long water in ice trays would take to freeze, and learned that rubbing ice cubes in baggies would help them to melt faster. We also made GO Snowmen using fruits and vegetables for the CATCH program. We have read many books and used the SmartBoard™ for different winter activities. Sidney Central School District

Learning about the Weather

January was Bullying Prevention Month at Sidney Elementary School. We had several activities planned to reduce incidents of bullying. James Warren, a professional magician and speaker, visited our school and used astounding magic tricks and illusions to teach students about the seriousness of bullying, effective strategies for coping with bullies and encouraged students to support one another by refusing to participate in bullying behaviors. Classroom character education lessons from counselors Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Gravelin focused on the types of bullying and strategies to stand up to bullying if the students are victims or bystanders. Students voluntarily signed an Anti-Bullying Bulletin Board pledging to treat others with respect, refuse to bully, report bullying, and include others. The forth and fifth grade chorus performed a song, Don’t Laugh at Me, at our school-wide character education assembly. This song sends the message that we should choose our words carefully because they can hurt others. We are very proud of our students who have taken the pledge to stand up against bullying.

Elementary Counselor News


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Board of Education Nancy Parsons, President Catherine Treffeisen, Vice-President Steven Anderson Kimberly Ayres Eric Brandl Gary Schoonover Terri Theobald Superintendent of Schools Sandra M. Cooper School Business Manager Dorothy Iannello Newsletter Editor Sheri Kinsella

Current Resident or ECRWSS Postal Customer

At the February 2 Superintendent’s Conference Day, the Sidney Central School District staff attended a presentation entitled You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me by Dr. Michael Fowlin, a.k.a. Dr. Mykee. His one-person show dealt with the issues of race, discrimination, violence prevention, personal identity, suicide, gender equity and the emotional pain felt by special education children. In a moving performance, Dr. Fowlin impersonated personalities to give the audience a first-hand look into the minds of these individuals as they shared their stories. He focused on how we approach differences and encouraged his audience to look through a different lens. Fowlin didn’t intend to get into this line of work. He’s been an actor since age 11, but studied clinical psychology in college. While working toward his doctorate at Rutger’s University in New Jersey, he became a summer camp counselor for teens. The teens were having problems with issues of diversity, so the camp asked Fowlin to give a presentation on the subject. It was an effective hit with the teens, who then asked their schools to host Fowlin. His show You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me has been taken to schools

Michael Fowlin Makes a Difference!

around the East and Midwest and has been seen by over a million people. Fowlin’s original and powerful presentations bring a heightened awareness of issues that face students and staff members. But Fowlin wants to do more than challenge stereotypes. His show was more about our connection to one another and that we’re not as separate as we think we are. All of our stories are connected to one another. Dr. Fowlin asks us to really appreciate and celebrate our differences, rather than just tolerating. He advocates that we move beyond tolerance to acceptance. Dr. Fowlin has left us with a challenge to reach out to others, smile and say hello to at least 10 people each day that you don’t usually say hello to, and to recognize people for their inner beauty. He encouraged people to do something beyond the ordinary by reflecting more and taking more risks. Dr. Fowlin reminded the staff, “Every child needs to have one adult that makes that child feel like the most important person on earth.” On Tuesday, February 3, Dr. Fowlin presented his program in a modified version to the Middle and High School students. His goal with both students and staff was to make people feel less alone and to make them feel like they have a voice in any conversation. It is our hope that this will happen and his program will truly make a difference with everyone who attended!

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Sidney Central School District 95 West Main Street Sidney, New York 13838