Celebrate Success at LES

From dance and music to theatre and the visual arts, the performing arts can give students a unique means of expression and emotion, and allowing them to explore new ideas, feelings and cultures.

Art education can help enhance students’ minds, which is why the Celebrate Success Committee at Liberty Elementary School wants to make sure all of their students are exposed to the performing arts.

Last month, students and staff sold specialty coffee, beverages and gourmet cookie mixes as of a Celebrate Success fundraiser. Congratulations to the following top selling students, who were recently surprised with a special celebration and prize during the Dec. 16 elementary winter concert.

Tyler Smith from Mrs. Skelly’s Pre-K
Hope Corbett from Mrs. Knight’s K
Brianna Novello from Mrs. Magie’s Pre-K
Luca and Carmela Burgio from Mrs. Magie’s Pre-K and Ms. Benjamin’s second grade, respectively.

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LES chooses Artist of the Month

Every month, one student will be chosen by Ms. Euker as Artist of
the Month. Students are chosen based on good behavior, hard work and
passion. Chosen students will receive a certificate and have their
artwork is displayed in the lobby of the Elementary school’s main

Congratulations to Berlin Andrade-Ortega in Mr. Philips fourth
grade class!

Art teacher Mrs. Tracie Euker said that Amelia was selected as the
Artist of the Month because she is artistic and creative and very
helpful in the art room.

“Berlin is ten years old and loves to draw and color. She thinks
art is wonderful and you can tell by her artwork which is creative
and colorful,” Mrs. Euker said.  “Berlin has a wonderful
drawing style and is a great role model for her classmates.”

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Every Student Succeeds Act replaces No Child Left Behind

For the first time since 2001, the United States has new federal
legislation governing education.

On Dec. 10, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student
Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing the No Child Left Behind Act
(NCLB). The bipartisan bill passed both houses of Congress by wide
margins earlier this month. This came after three failed attempts
to replace NCLB since it expired in 2007.

According to news reports, the new law serves as a framework –
with provisions addressing school accountability, testing,
learning standards, and interventions for low-performing schools –
and gives states and local school districts greater control and
discretion when it comes to the specifics of how these provisions
will be implemented.

Transitioning to ESSA will not happen overnight.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, states will be required to
have accountability plans for schools. These plans will need to
include a number of academic factors (e.g., graduation rates, test
scores, English-language proficiency) AND at least one additional
factor such as school climate or access to advanced coursework.
When reporting on these factors, states will have to break down
the results by student subgroups, including different ethnicities,
students with special needs, and students with economic
disadvantages. In addition, while NCLB set national goals for
learning, the new law allows states to set their own goals for
things like proficiency on exams, graduation rates and closing
achievement gaps.

It is unclear how this new law will impact changes to New York’s
education system that are being considered. This fall, the state
Education Department sought feedback on the state’s learning
standards, and just last week, Governor Cuomo announced the
recommendations of his Common Core Task Force, which include
overhauling the state’s learning standards and assessments.

Key things to know about the new education law

• Students will continue to be tested in grades 3-8 in ELA and
math and once in high school, and states must continue to break
down data based on a set of subgroups.

• States will have more discretion to determine how to weigh
tests, whether and how to evaluate teachers, and how to turn
around low-performing schools. However, the new law lays out
guidelines for state interventions in low-performing
schools/districts or schools with low graduation rates.

• Just as under NCLB, the new law doesn’t require states to adopt
any specific set of academic standards.

• Schools will still be required to have a 95 percent
participation rate for state exams; however, it will be up to the
states to decide how this factors into school accountability. In
addition, rules or regulations relating to test refusal or
“opt-outs” are left to the states.

Copyright 2015, Capital Region BOCES School Communications
Portfolio; All rights reserved. For more information or permission
to use, call 518-464-3960.

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Fourth graders review PBIS data

As hands fly up from the audience, the discussion moderator descends in
a purposeful frenzy, grabbing a microphone off the podium and
running it to the next speaker in line. Her feet moves quickly,
brows furrowed, concentrating hard at the task at hand.

When each speaker approaches the microphone, they clear their
throat and speak candidly about making amendments to the Liberty
Elementary School (LES) handbook. This scene could be set at a board of education meeting, but members of the audience are sitting “Indian-style” on a gymnasium floor and the panelists are all less than five feet tall. The fourth grade speakers are all part of the PBIS (Positive
Behavioral Intervention and Support) student panel, an open forum
discussion with LES Principal Jackie Harris, LES Assistant
Principal Victoria Curry and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Silver.

For the past few months, fourth grade students have been reviewing
their schools’ PBIS data and analyzing the student handbook line
by line to determine whether or not the handbook’s rules are
addressed with enough detail.

Students took the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns to top
administrators about the procedures outlined in the handbook
regarding subordinate behavior in the school and on the bus.

The forum resulted in very tangible results: a pledge to move
forward with revisiting the vocabulary in the handbook to make it
easier for young students to understand.

The forum was organized by reading and writing teacher Mrs. Jodi

“Through this lesson, students learned about the power of the pen!
They wrote their letters with such conviction and passion with the
hope of making their school an even better place,” she said.
Listening to them made my heart swell; they were all so proud for
trying to make a difference.”

The module for this lesson suggested that teachers have their
students review data from a school in New Jersey. However; Mrs.
Fiddle-Lieberman and the fourth grade teachers thought it would be
more effective their students studied their own school’s PBIS

While preparing for the panel, students broke into subgroups and
wrote letters to their administrators to express their interested
in an amendment to their school handbook based on their findings.

By preparing for and presenting at the forum, each student met the
following Common Core State Standards:Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an

  • experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and
    relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes;
  • speak clearly at an understandable pace; and
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and
    convey ideas and information clearly.

“Our fourth graders not only used real data to determine real
school issues and offer solutions, but they presented their
information like experts,” Mrs. Harris said. “Their work has the
potential to improve our school for everybody.”

Some students expressed concerns for stricter discipline,
saying they have witnessed inappropriate behavior in the bathrooms
and on the playground. Others raised suggestions for improving bus
behavior, such as hiring extra monitors or letting students play
with iPads or similar devices to decrease bullying situations.
“I love that they came prepared to discuss problems and
solutions,” Mrs. Harris said. “They gave us valuable information
and suggestions.”

Mrs. Curry agreed, adding: “I am so proud to have been a part
of this panel. The fourth graders were articulate and thoughtful
in their discussion. Their teachers prepared them well for this

For pictures from the panel, visit the district’s Facebook page.

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Students speak at SC BOE annual dinner

On Monday, Nov. 30, two seniors from Liberty High School, Danielle
Rabadi and Gillian Williams attended the Sullivan County School
Board Association annual late fall dinner to speak about what
learning looks like at Liberty Central School District.

The dinner, held at Monticello Central School District, was open
to all superintendents, principals and board members from every
school district in Sullivan County.

Students from each district were selected and asked to present a
speech that discusses his or her experiences at school and how
those experiences helped mold them into the young adults they are

“Life at Liberty has allowed me to develop leadership skills
needed to further friendships and success in college and beyond,”
said Danielle.

In her speech, Danielle talked about how a stronger focus on
academics can improve upon the foundation that the district has
built, while Gillian focused on the ways that Liberty’s teachers
and course offerings have prepared her and her friends for

“I spoke to several alumni while preparing my speech,” she said.
“We all agree that our years at Liberty prepared us for life after
high school. I feel ready for college.”

“It was a special evening,” said Liberty Middle/High School
Principal Jack Strassman. “It was great to hear a variety of
students talk about the strengths of schools in Sullivan County.”

Visit the
district’s Facebook page
for a preview of Danielle and
Gillian’s speeches.

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LES holds UNICEF fund-raising drive

The third grade classes from Liberty Elementary School hosted a
UNICEF drive this past fall. Students in third grade received small
donation boxes and asked friends, family and community members for
donations to UNICEF in an attempt to raise as much money as

In addition, students took their fundraising effort to the streets
by going door-to-door on Halloween night throughout the community.

The students’ dedication to their fundraising project paid off.
Once all the donations had been counted, the group managed to
raise $457.83. After UNICEF tripled the donation, the grand total
came to $1,373.49, all of which will go toward improving access to
safe water and sanitation facilities.

However; one students’ efforts in particular seemed to go above
and beyond, according to third grade teacher Ms. Alyssa Cinque.
One of her students, Colin Doeinck, became very passionate about
the cause and rose over $300 all by himself.

“My neighbor works at a popular chiropractor’s office, so I asked
if I could put a donation box in his office. My mom, dad and
grandparents helped, too, and I emptied my whole piggy bank for
the cause.”

For two months, Colin and his peers counted each penny, nickel and
dime as the donations rolled in, and they began to get excited
while considering all the good the money could do. For example, it
costs $400 to install a pump in a village to provide clean water
for dozens of families.

“My favorite part of the UNICEF fundraiser was passing my goal,”
Colin said. “It makes me happy to help kids get clean clothes,
food and water – things that my friends and I have but they



UNICEF works in 100+ countries to give children and families
clean, safe drinking water; teach healthy hygiene; and provide
access to toilets and sanitation.

Learn more about
UNICEF Water 101 here.

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“CyberAlly” anti-bullying presentation on Dec. 17

Liberty Middle and High School parents are invited to attend a 90
minute anti-bullying presentation on Thursday, Dec. 17 hosted by the
schools’ guidance department.

The presentation, called “CyberALLY” will be given by Judy Balaban
from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the
Liberty High School cafeteria.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an advocacy organization which
offers bullying and cyberbullying workshops.

In effort to prevent cyber bullying, ADL created CyberALLY, an
interactive training for youth in middle and high school.
CyberALLY is designed educates students develop strategies for
protecting themselves against cyberbulling, urging them to prevent
cyberbullying—and take action against it when they see it
happening to others.

At the Dec. 17 presentation, Ms. Balaban will speak more about
CyberALLY, bullying, cyberbullying, and how parents can help their
children protect themselves against cyberbullying and take action
if they know if someone is being bullied.

For more information, please contact Guidance Director Molly
Messina at mmessina@libertyk12.org or 845-292-5400 ext. 2010.

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Vaccination against meningococcal disease required

Beginning Sept. 1, 2016, students entering seventh and 12th grades
must be vaccinated against meningococcal disease in order to attend
school in New York state.

The state Department of Health notified school districts on Nov.
24 that a new law, approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in October,
requires immunizations against meningococcal disease for children
at ages 11 or 12 and again at 16 years of age or older, as
recommended by the national Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices. The law is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, 2016.

The New York State Department of Health plans to work with the New
York State Education Department and other partners to draft
regulations and create materials to help implement this new
requirement. Parents can anticipate more information about which
students will be affected by this law and any waiver options once
details become available.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that can
lead to meningitis (inflammation of the lining covering the brain
and spinal cord) and bloodstream infections such as septicemia.
Symptoms of the disease include a high fever, headache, vomiting,
a stiff neck and a rash. The meningococcus bacterium is treatable
with antibiotics, but each year it causes approximately 2,500
infections and 300 deaths in the United States. Those who contract
the disease may experience permanent brain damage, hearing loss,
kidney failure, loss of arms or legs, or chronic nervous system

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the
highest rates of meningococcal disease to be among preteens,
teens, and young adults, as well as among infants with certain
medical conditions. The new law targets many in this age group and
aligns with the CDC’s recommendation to vaccinate 11- to
18-year-olds against meningococcal disease.


Copyright 2015, Capital Region BOCES School Communications
Portfolio; All rights reserved. For more information or permission
to use, call 518-464-3960.

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