Category Archives: Our Schools

Hannibal school district tests communications program with parents/ guardians week of Nov. 25

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Hannibal Central School District officials have been exploring a variety of options to provide immediate communication with families when issues arise, and soon a new tool will be in place that will provide the mass communication service that the district has been seeking.

During a meeting Wednesday evening, school board members reviewed the new communication tool, Global Connect, with the district’s director of technology, Matt Dean.

Dean said the cloud-based technology allows the district to call, email or text important information to parents, staff, board members and others. It can hold up to five different contacts per person.

The system will go through several test runs before being implemented, Dean said. Test calls went out to administrators last week, and more are expected to go out to staff this week.

“The test on Friday for the 18 (members of the administrative cabinet and school board), I think it went pretty well,” he said as he played the recorded test message on his computer. “The sound clip is a .Wav file, so it can be uploaded to the district’s website as well.”

With a successful initial round of calls, the district is gearing up for the final and largest component of the communications system — the community portion — with test calls planned for parents and guardians during the week of Nov. 25.

A flier will be distributed next week for students to bring home as a reminder.

“We will be sending a message out to all the contacts currently in our system,” Superintendent Donna Fountain said. “If parents do not receive a call by Nov. 29, contact (globalconnect@hannibalcsd.org).”

Fountain said if the community test calls go well, the district could implement the new notification system in the beginning of December.

Hannibal girls’ varsity basketball hopes to return to playoffs

By Rob Tetro

The Hannibal girls’ varsity basketball team has two goals for the 2013-14 season.

Hannibal will be looking to build off of last season’s five wins effort and achieve their ultimate goal — returning to The Sectional Playoffs.

Hannibal comes into the season with a very experienced team, with eight returning players and seven of which are seniors. Coach Justin Enirght said senior leadership will provide the Lady Warriors with the stability any team needs to endure the ups and downs of a long season.

Enright compares the high school basketball season to a marathon. With this in mind, when practice begins, he expects his players to be physically prepared for what can be a long, strenuous season. Nearly all of Enright’s players took part in fall sports such as soccer or cross country, so most of his players begin the season in solid physical condition.

Seniors Gabby Griffin and Devin Sorell have been named team captains. This is the first time in Enright’s tenure as coach that he has named captains for the season. Usually, he names captains for each game while rotating captains throughout the season based on performance and leadership.

But, he considers Griffin and Sorell natural leaders as they have experienced the ups and downs the program has endured during the past few seasons. Griffin and Sorell also were also key parts to Hannibal’s sectional championship team two seasons ago.

“They know what it takes to make a run this year,” Enright said.

While assessing the schedule that awaits his team, Enright doesn’t pull any punches. He considers the Lady Warriors slate of opponents to be quite challenging. “The Class B girls’ basketball league is extremely competitive, but we look forward to the challenge.”, Enright said.

The most exciting aspect to Hannibal’s girls’ varsity basketball team is its depth. Enright said this is one of the deepest teams he’s ever had at Hannibal. However, he also likes how his younger players compliment his eight seniors.

One drawback is the Lady Warriors appear to lack height, which is a conflict Enright has dealt with before. “Like we have in past years, we will have to rely on our speed, quickness and good guard play to make up for our overall lack of height.”, he said.

Fulton modified football ends season at 3-3

 By Rob Tetro

After losing to Cortland and Cazenovia to begin the season, the Fulton modified football team went 3-1 to close out the seaon.

Coach Jeff Waldron said Fulton showed steady improvement throughout the season. After Cazenovia rolled past the Red Raiders, Fulton made a lot of adjustments.

Defensive coordinator Joe Meeks installed a new defense while offensive coordinator Harry Meeker made a few adjustments on offense.

Fulton’s adjustments quickly paid off. After starting 0-2, the Red Raiders earned wins over Jamesville-DeWitt, Chittenango and East Syracuse Minoa and then lost a heartbreaker to Christian Brothers Academy in their last game of the season. The Red Raiders scored what would have been the game winning touchdown with just a little time remaining. However, a block to the back penalty nullified Fulton’s touchdown allowing Christian Brothers Academy to hold on for the win.

The Red Raiders finished the season with a 3-3 record.

Coaches said  there were 46 players on the team this season, all of whom showed great work ethic. Overall, Fulton was a young, inexperienced team with only a handful of returning eighth-graders.

It was quite the opposite a season ago. Waldron came into the season with the tough task of replacing numerous eighth-graders who went on to have great seasons at the junior varsity level this season. In fact, players such as Travis Rice and Jarred Crucitti were a few freshmen that ended up playing at the varsity level this season.

Looking ahead, Waldron said if his team can remain as cohesive of a unit as they were this season, a bright future lies ahead.

Waldron points out that many coaching changes have been made within the program during the last few seasons. However, he feels very strongly that these coaches are determined to improving the program from top to bottom.

Waldron said Fulton Pop Warner Football is now on the same page with the schematics that are being developed with modified, junior varsity and varsity players. He suggests that connecting concepts with Fulton football players, Pop Warner on up, can lead only to good things down the road.

“I think that when all of the levels are working toward the same goal, it can only strengthen the program.”, Waldron said. “There is still a lot of work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.”

“Flipped” math classroom a hit in Fulton

By Ashley M. Casey

Two Fulton Junior High School math teachers presented on their new system to teach seventh- and eighth-graders math at the Nov. 12 school board meeting.

Todd Parks and Pamela McHenry explained the concept of the “flipped” classroom, in which students complete guided note worksheets with video tutorials at home and then do assignments in class, where the teacher is there to assist.

Since last year, the two teachers have been using the online calendar Tockify and the website Sophia.org to create the video tutorials. They found inspiration from other teachers’ video tutorials on YouTube, SchoolTube and TeacherTube.

“I love it because students can go at their own pace, so a student who gets it like that can move on, and others can rewind it and watch it again,” McHenry said.

The “flipped” system also has been beneficial to students who have been absent or who participate in alternative education programs.

Junior High principal Ryan Lanigan said the program was working to “meet the diverse needs of the 21st-century student.”

A handful of students and parents gave their testimonial of the flipped classroom as well.

“I’m liking this (system),” said eighth-grader Alex Stoutenger. “You can print out your homework if you didn’t get a copy in class.”

“He’s a type-A personality like me, so that organization is very important,” said Alex’s mother, Angela. “When you have a busy lifestyle as we have, it makes it easier to go at your own pace … It builds your self-confidence.”

School board member Rosemary Occhino, who is a former educator, said she was “so impressed” with the flipped classroom concept.

“You are truly creating students that are college- and career-ready,” she said. “I can’t imagine the magnitude of the excitement of the seventh- and eighth-graders.”

Parks and McHenry said they plan to expand the concept and are working with teachers from other subjects.

3 schools on LAP list

Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment Betsy Conners shared with the board the district’s plan to improve three schools that are on the Local Assistance Plan.

These schools — the Junior High School and Lanigan and Fairgrieve elementaries  — are in good standing with the state, but are in danger of losing that standing if they do not improve academic achievement and  other areas.

Conners said the building teams from each school completed an extensive self-assessment to determine the areas of concern.

The district followed a rubric of five of the state’s “6 Tenets of Effective Schools:” school leader practices and decisions, curriculum development and support, teacher practices and decisions, student social and emotional developmental health, and family and community engagement.

The final tenet deals only with the district level of organization and was not relevant to the LAP discussion.

The district is working with consultant Pete Backus and Oswego BOCES Special Education School Improvement Specialist Tracy Mosher to get the three schools back on track.

Much of the schools’ issues involved students with disabilities, and Conners said that was “just a symptom of a bigger problem.”

Throughout October and November, the district has observed 115 classes and is seeking the school board’s approval of the DSRDRT and the plan to improve the issues identified. The board is set to adopt the plan Nov. 26.

The district seeks to provide more professional development and instructional support, including a new math instructional specialist. Administrators will also meet with the LAP schools monthly to gauge their progress.

Although it was not identified by the state as a LAP school, the district will examine G. Ray Bodley High School’s standing as well.

“We will be, in December, taking our high school through this process, not because they’re on a LAP, but because of the graduation rates,” Conners added.

Other items

Energy report: Representatives from Siemens Industry, Inc. presented their findings for the 2012-2013 energy performance report. Overall, the district saved $274,527 in energy costs by replacing lighting systems, reducing overnight energy use and installing solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of every school building except G. Ray Bodley High School. The only school that did not exceed Siemens’ guaranteed energy savings was the Junior High School, and the district and Siemens will examine how they can reduce energy usage there.

thy Nichols reviewed the results of the district’s external audit for the previous and current school years.

Last year, pool revenue was not being turned in with the deposit, but the district has determined to leave the “honor system” of a sign-in sheet and money drop box in place despite the minimal risk of losing money.

The district also discontinued a “meal deal” policy in which students who bought a certain number of lunches could get one free.

This year, the district is looking into internal control self-assessments, keeping an eye on the school lunch fund (which lost money last year in part due to a student boycott) and streamlining the employee salary notification process.

Alternative school: Oswego BOCES’ middle school alternative education program is relocating to the Erie Street school. The program will occupy four rooms on the middle floor.

“It’s a nice, old building. It’s got a lot of charm,” said Superintendent William Lynch. “The classrooms are spacious.”

He said other county districts who send students to this program — such as Phoenix, Hannibal, Oswego, Mexico and Central Square — find Fulton’s central location convenient.

BOE appreciation: Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared the week of Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 to be School Board Recognition Week. Lynch said that week fell between Fulton board meetings, so he chose to recognize the board at the Nov. 12 meeting. Board members received cards and gifts from students and school administrators.

Policy updates: Lynch also read updates to the district’s Accident Prevention, Hygiene Precautions and Procedures, and Emergency Plans and School Safety policies. The changes were largely stylistic and included references to community members and not just students and school employees.

Coming up

Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, and three of his Assembly colleagues will host an informational forum on state education reform 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Baker High School in Baldwinsville.

Three panels — teachers, administrators and parents — will address Barclay and fellow Assembly members Robert Oaks, R-Macedon; Gary Finch, R-Springport; and Ed Ra and Al Graf, two Long

Island Republicans. Community members who wish to speak may bring 10 copies of written testimony to share with the forum.

Lynch said he plans to submit testimony on the Fulton City School District’s behalf.

The next regular school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at Lanigan Elementary School.

Meeting on state Common Core educational standards set for Nov. 18

The minority members of the state Assembly education committee are putting on a discussion on the Common Core education standards at 4:30 p.m. Monday Nov. 18 at Charles W. Baker High School, East Oneida Street, Baldwinsville.

Assemblymen Will Barclay (R-Pulaski), Robert C. Oaks (R-Macedon) and Gary D. Finch (R-Springport) will join education leaders to discuss  the implementation of curriculum based on the Common Core standards and other relevant educational topics.

In addition to Barclay, Oaks and Finch, Assemblyman Ed Ra, ranking minority member on the Education Committee and Assemblyman Al Graf, education committee member will attend.

The forum will last about two hours.

Kenney Middle School students build ‘em’ and then knock ‘em down

Kenney Middle School in Hannibal fielded 13 teams at the annual “Build ‘Em and Bust ‘Em” bridge building competition held Nov. 9 at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology.

About 600 students from local elementary, middle and high school students competed.

Working during study halls and after school, student teams designed and built balsa wood bridges in the Kenney Middle School Technology Education classroom under the direction of technology teacher Gregory Bailey.

There were specific competition guidelines that all students had to follow to build the balsa wooden bridges. The winning bridges at the event were based on their efficiency, determined by the mass of the bridge divided into weight the bridge could support before failure.

This hands-on activity takes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education outside the class, with an emphasis on teamwork and design.

Hannibal’s Kenney Middle School students competed in two categories. Twenty-one students made up the eight teams representing Kenney in category I. These teams competed against 115 other teams of of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders.

The teams were; The Bridge Busters – Bradley Wiggins, Jake Kelly and Logan Hayden 90th place; The Unstoppable Warriors – Faith Smith, Mackenzie Stienbrecher and Tory Pavo 70th  place; The Pretty Little L’s – Kelly Loveland, Alexis Lindsley and Miranda Lindsley 65th place; The Creators  – Matthew Thompson Ayden Cleary 57th place; The Camo Kings  – Joey Cerillo and Ryan Whitcomb Hunter Dumas 56th  place; Awesome A Cutizie #3- Alivia Diefenbacher and Alyssa Emmons 47th  place;  the Golden Gate Bridge Builders – Blake Donhauser and Phillip Nosko 27th  place; And the highest placing category 1 team, placing 7th  was The Bridge Builders team of Noah Kuc, Ryan Nosko and Zach Shortslef.

Kenney Middle School had five teams competing in Category II, grades 7 and 8, against 58 other teams.

The teams were: The Purple Twinsies – Christina Thompson & Nora Kingsbury 44th place; The  Rainbow Zebras -Brayden Lambry and  Jon Mills 43rd place;  The Crusher – Colby Pavo and Andrew Huller 35th place;  The Galloping Gertie Repair Crew – Hunter Donhauser and Zachery Williams 22nd place.

The highest placing category II team placing 21st  was The Piggy Bank Bridge Crushers team of Stephen McCombie & John Ruggio.

Fulton boys’ modified soccer has successful year

By Rob Tetro

Going into this season, Fulton boys’ modified (white) soccer team had three goals.

Coach David Wallace said the team set out to expand its knowledge of the game of soccer and develop both individually and as a team. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, Wallace hoped his players could come away from the season with more of a passion for the sport.

This season featured some memorable moments for the Fulton boys’ modified (white) team, including a win over Oswego and erupting for six goals against Skaneateles. The team also concluded the season by playing on the turf at the Fulton Athletic Complex.

When Wallace thinks about what his players will bring to the higher levels of Fulton boys soccer, it’s clear to him that enthusiasm and positive attitudes are two qualities that stand out.

“The players moving on to (a) higher level soccer (team) next season will be bringing a positive attitude and enthusiasm for the game of soccer.”, Wallace said.

Fulton girls’ soccer team looks forward to next year

By Rob Tetro

At the beginning of the season, things didn’t go quite as planned for The Fulton Girls Junior Varsity Soccer Team.

According to Coach Mike Malette, Fulton started off the season with 5 straight losses. In those 5 losses, they scored only 3 goals.

However, The Lady Raiders turned things around during the final 11 games of the season. They had 8 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties to finish the season with a 8-6-2 record. Fulton scored 40 goals during the 11 game stretch.

The Lady Raiders had six players who contributed to more than 10 goals this season.

The team was led by Sabrina Verdoliva, who had six goals and six assistants. Following Verdoliva were Cheyenne Hotchkiss and Mallori Kitts with six goals and five assists each.

Tori Izyk scored five goals with two assists. Erin Nicholson scored seven goals and has two assists. Emily Bush had four goals and two assists while  Sarah Tallents, Brittany Alton, Taylor Kesterke, Emilee Hyde, Rebecca Segouin, Kaylin Pafumi and Paige Noel also tallied points for Fulton this season.

This season, the last line of defense for the Lady Raiders was Goalie Erin Baker, who saved 130 shots while allowing only 31 goals. Paige Rowlee relieved Baker from time to time. Alongside Baker and Rowlee, Gina Babcock, Miranda Prosser, Sammy Tanner, Lexi Caruana, Sarah Rice and Meg Nicholson were also key defenders for Fulton.

With the conclusion of the season, Fulton’s Varsity Team says goodbye to only six seniors (three were starters). Lena Pawlewicz, Christine Hotaling, Amelia Coakley, Julia Lee, Meriah Dishaw and Sarah Halstead left their mark on the Fulton Girls Soccer Program.

This means there are limited spots available for Mallete’s quality players who hope to move up to varsity next season.

Seventh- and eighth-graders played on either Fulton’s girls junior varsity soccer team or varsity soccer team this past season.

Looking ahead, Malette is excited about the future of Fulton girls soccer.

“By the time all of the JV players from this year move up, the varsity team should be looking at a full complement of talented players.”, he said.