Bodley grad completes infantry training

Army Pfc. Sean L. LaBeef, a 2005 graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton, has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, LeBeef received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions.

Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

LaBeef is the son of Charles Knapp and Yvette LaBeef of Fulton.

He earned an associate degree in 2008 from Herkimer County Community College.

Lions barbecue benefits scholarship

The Fulton Lions Club has announced it will host its eighth annual chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 9 at the Fulton Polish Home.

The barbecue benefits the club’s Mary and Harold “H” Dowd Memorial Scholarship, said Don LaBarge, Fulton Lions president.

“This year, the tickets may be purchased in advance,” LaBarge said. “All tickets purchased before Jan. 9, 2014 will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Struppler’s Market gift card, or a Struppler’s $50 Valero gas card.

Barbecue Chairman Ken Ruscitto is selling the advance tickets; he can be reached at 427-1629.

Chicken dinner tickets may also be purchased for at the door for takeout, Ruscitto said.

Local delivery of five or more dinners may be pre-arranged by contacting any Lions Club member in advance of the event or by calling Ruscitto at 427-1629 on the day of the event.

In addition, there will be a 50-50 drawing that day.

The chicken, as last year, will be barbequed by Jim Aluzzi of Kristen’s Kitchen & Catering, Fulton, who is donating his time and equipment.

Each dinner features chicken, baked beans, salt potatoes, macaroni salad and dessert.

“We also want to thank Chris Satchel and Mimi’s Drive–In for donating macaroni salad to our event,” said Lion Charles McIntyre, event co-chair.

“Harold ‘H’ Dowd was a member of the Fulton Lions Club for more than 40 years,” LaBarge said. “ He served both our club and our community with dedication, selflessness and good humor.

Mary Dowd was an honorary Fulton Lions Club member who always opened her home to the club and to foreign exchange students for years. The Fulton Lions have established a scholarship for a graduating Fulton high school student in their name to be awarded on a yearly basis.”

For more information, contact Ruscitto at 427-1629. For more information on the Fulton Lions Club or membership with the club, visit fultonlionsclub.org.

Community Band performs at G. Ray Bodley

The sounds of the holiday season will once again be heard at 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 15 at the annual Fulton Community Band Christmas Concert in the G. Ray Bodley High School auditorium, said Steve Chirello, president of the Fulton Music Association.

The concert is free.

The Fulton Community Band will perform several new arrangements and old favorites including Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” “Sounds of Christmas Joy,” “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “Great Songs of Christmas,” “The Hallelujah Chorus,” and more.

The band also will perform “A Christmas Auld Lang Syne” in remembrance of Jack Walsh, longtime city clerk in Fulton, and Muriel Allerton, former Fulton mayor.

Walsh died in 2012 and Allerton died this year.

The Roamin’ Catholic Choir, under the direction of Dolores Walrath, will sing in the concert and will feature “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Christmas in 3 Minutes” and more.

“The evening will end with a rousing Christmas carol sing-along with the band, the choir, the Hamer Sing-a-long group and the audience, Chirello said.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend, Chirello said. For more information, call 342-2294.

Homeschool program finishes fall co-op

Oswego County LEAH (Loving Education at Home) announces the completion of its Homeschool fall cooperative.

Twice a year, homeschool students gather at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Fulton.

Classes are offered from preschool to high school, with a nursery available.

Once in the fall and once in the spring, area homeschoolers gather on eight consecutive Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

This year’s fall co-op ran from Sept.  17 to Nov. 12 and was comprised of nearly 150 children.

These three hours are divided into three 45-minute class periods with multiple choices available for each grade level.

Parent taught classes such as Shakespeare, Reader’s Theater, Magnetism and Electricity, Sewing and Gym were just a few of the class subjects available this co-op.

Co-op provides a chance for social interaction and supplements studies done at home.

Anyone interested in co-op or joining LEAH is invited to visit its website at homeschool-life.com.

LEAH is a nationwide homeschool group was founded in 1983 to allow homeschoolers to connect with, support, and encourage one another.

Oswego schools alive with the sounds of holiday music

This is the time of year for Oswego school district students to display their musical talents.

All concerts are open to the public.

Here is a concert list:

7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, Fitzhugh Park band, orchestra and chorus

7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, Kingsford Park band, chorus and orchestra

7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, Charles E. Riley band, chorus and orchestra

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, Oswego Middle School choral

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, Oswego High School orchestra

7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, Oswego High School choral

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, Oswego Middle School band and orchestra

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, Oswego Jazz Band

Honor Society offers peer tutoring at G. Ray Bodley High

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The National Honor Society Chapter at G. Ray Bodley High School offers free academic assistance to students at the school through a tutoring program.

The peer-assistant program is managed by honor society member volunteers and is offered three days per week — Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — during the students’ 22-minute guided study hall block.

Students in grades nine through 12 can receive hands-on help through the tutoring program in several subject areas including algebra, geometry, English, social studies, science, French, German and Spanish.

Honor Society Adviser Nate Fasulo oversees the tutoring program and said it is mutually beneficial for both the tutors and the students.

It increases student collaboration as well as reinforces essential college and career-readiness skills such as independence and accountability.

“We encourage our students at GRB to utilize any and all academic recourses to be successful in school,” Fasulo said.

“Our honor society student-tutors are a great resource for students needing some hands-on help with homework or understanding course content,” he added.

For the honor society students, peer-tutoring provides an excellent opportunity to help with interpersonal skills and face-to-face communication skills.

In addition, the students’ participation in the peer-tutoring program fulfills a portion of their NHS community service requirements.

To maintain membership in National Honor Society at G. Ray Bodley, students must participate in at least 12 volunteer hours during a school year.

Through the peer-tutoring program, honor society members can earn up to one hour of volunteer service each school week.

Learning’s a blast at Lanigan Elementary

Sixth-graders at Lanigan Elementary School are having a real ‘blast’ in class this school year.

The students, turned budding scientists, tackled an out-of-this-world science project where they each crafted and launched their very own rocket.

The school’s sixth-grade teachers coordinate a rocketry project each year in conjunction with the classroom study of Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion:

An object at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it and conversely, an object in motion will stay in motion unless an external force acts upon it.

Force is equal to mass times acceleration of an object; and

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The students construct model rockets over the course of several school days using kits from the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES Science Center.

The teachers then host a NASA-inspired launch day for the students.

Parents are invited to join the students for their launch day.

Many of the younger grade levels at the school join the excitement as spectators.

Fulton school district staff brainstorms ways to boost graduation rate

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

With a focus on student achievement, Fulton City School District teachers and support staff recently met to discuss factors that contribute to students meeting graduation requirements.

With this was discussion of boosting the graduation rate.

The fall staff development day provided an opportunity for school personnel to examine some of the root causes as to why some students do not finish high school in four years.

Teachers, guidance counselors, school-home liaisons and special education counselors from kindergarten through 12th grade studied student data in a comprehensive way.

“We wanted to look and identify with our student support staff … just what were some of the barriers to kids completing (high school),” said Geri Geitner, Fulton district director of student support programs.

“So we brainstormed that and then we looked at specific kids from the time they entered our district all the way through. We had all of their information and data, and identified for each kid where we started to see things fall apart.,” she said.

A wide variety of factors played roles in student achievement, according to the data collected during the staff development day.

Academic, behavioral, social, emotional, family and attendance issues were all identified as factors that influenced the outcomes.

Geitner said staff members not only looked at when those issues started to surface, but they also discussed some of the preventive strategies that are working for students facing similar circumstances.

“We looked at kids with similar risk factors that had graduated and (examined) what made them successful and how they were able to overcome barriers and complete their high school graduation requirement,” Geitner said.

“We looked at the kids who didn’t pass Regents exams and attendance was really the common factor,” said G. Ray Bodley High School Principal Donna Parkhurst.

She noted that students who missed 15 days or more were among those who had the most difficulty.

Another subgroup, those who are categorized as having low socioeconomic status, also struggled to earn a diploma on time, Parkhurst said.

To address some of the issues identified as risk factors, the district has conducted thorough training and development using the work of renowned educators Eric Jensen and Ruby Payne.

“We’ve done extensive professional development around both of those researchers and have focused on strategies for implementing some of their (recommendations) school wide and district wide,” Geitner said.

In addition to holding staff development days and utilizing the research developed by respected educators, the district has implemented its own strategies to boost the graduation rate as well.

“We’re really trying to implement the response to intervention framework … to monitor progress, identify students who are struggling and trying to put corrections in place as soon as those challenges come to light,” Geitner said.

Parkhurst noted there are also credit recovery and grade recovery options for students who have fallen behind.

Teachers offer assistance after school and there are tutoring options available to help students stay on track.

While there are plenty of options available to help students succeed, one of the more unique strategies was implemented last year with the introduction of college and career readiness portfolios.

The electronic portfolios began with seventh-graders in 2012-13 and serve as a goal-setting initiative.

“It gets them thinking about their long-term goals earlier on … engaging them in that conversation,” Geitner said. “Each year the students have a different section of the portfolio to complete. (It includes) objectives and information about career and college options.

“They can print it out and use it for their own benefit if they were to apply for a job, to enter the military or to apply for college, so they can use them for their long-term planning,” she said.

With an intense focus on student achievement and improving the graduation rate, Fulton school administrators are confident the right strategies are in place and staff development days serve a key role in helping the district meets it goals.

“One of the biggest benefits (of the recent staff development day) was that it was a K through 12 approach, so that kind of collaboration was very beneficial,” Geitner said.

“We gained a lot of insight from the elementary and middle school staff to supplement what the secondary and high school staff knew about the kids when they were here, so that was really helpful,” she said. “It also helped us focus on areas where we could continue to improve and grow our transitions, not just between junior high and high school, but transitions all the way along.”

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