Liberty conducts voluntary water test

One water fountain turned off as a precaution; all other fixtures deemed fine

In response to state- and nation-wide concerns about lead in drinking water, the district voluntarily conducted a water test in April. Orange-Ulster BOCES collected water samples from various sources throughout each of Liberty’s three schools, including drinking fountains, classrooms and cafeterias, to test for lead.

During sample collection, Orange-Ulster BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) recommended that a single antiquated water fountain on the third floor in Liberty Elementary School be shut off. The water fountain was built with a lead fitting that could potentially seep lead into the water.

The fountain was immediately shut off. In its official report, Orange-Ulster BOCES reported that while the district’s water samples were within normal ranges, trace amounts of lead were detected in samples from the one antiquated fountain.

The piping surrounding the fountain was deemed lead-free by Orange-Ulster BOCES, which pinpoints the water fountain as the only source of lead, Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Silver said. The fountain will remain turned off until it and its plumbing can be removed and replaced. Although not considered to pose a threat, a second fountain on the third floor will be replaced so the two units match.

No lead was detected in any other schools or any other water sources at Liberty Elementary School.
Although there is no legal requirement for school districts to test for lead in drinking water, the district tested proactively to ensure students’ safety, especially in light of recent national and local news surrounding elevated lead levels in drinking water, Dr. William Silver said.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead in drinking water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning. For more information about prevention and risks to lead exposure, please contact your family physician or log on to the EPA’s website.

You may also contact Dr. Silver at (845) 292-6990 and speak with his secretary, Tania DeFrank.

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LES prepares for computerized ELA testing

Starting this week, fourth-grade students at Liberty Elementary
School will take computerized tests in English language arts to help
prepare for New York’s official transition to computer-based state
testing next year.

In a memo last fall, the New York State Education Department (SED)
invited all New York schools to try out computer-based testing in
this spring’s field test, to give administrators, teachers,
students and state officials a chance to see how they work in real
school settings.

Liberty Central School District is among more than 900 schools
participating in the field test.

Only fourth-grade students are taking part in the field tests. The
field tests will be available on iPads and administered between
May 23 and June 10.

Districts will have the option of offering online testing for the
actual state exams in 2016-17, and both computer and paper state
exams will be offered through 2020. The transition to
computer-based testing is meant to be slow in consideration of
each district’s technological infrastructure and different
logistical challenges.

This transition stems move from the state’s “commitment to meeting
the needs of 21st century learners, while at the same time
improving test delivery, test integrity, scoring validity, and
turn-around time on testing results,” Executive Deputy
Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin said in the memo.

Field test results do not affect student grades or factor into
accountability ratings for districts, schools or teachers. Rather,
the tests are given to help ensure questions used in future state
exams are appropriate and fair for all students.

The web-based test delivery platform includes accommodations for
students with disabilities, English learners and English learners
with disabilities. Students also will have access to on-screen
math tools, such as calculators, protractors and rulers, approved
for their grade level.

The 40-minute tests will be administered to just one grade and in
one subject and won’t count on student transcripts or toward final
grades. The purpose of the test is to help the district pinpoint
any technical issues and to help get students comfortable with the
technology.

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Liberty Wall of Fame changes induction criteria

For the first time since 2011, the Liberty Wall of Fame has changed its rules regarding the induction criteria. The Wall of Fame selection committee has eliminated the option to induct community and staff members. Instead, the Liberty Wall of Fame will solely recognize distinguished alumni.

Beginning July 2016, the Wall of Fame selection committee will no longer accept or review nomination forms for community or staff members.

The changes are the result of an extensive review of the nomination process that was established in 2011. The review included an evaluation of the nomination system and criteria.

“As a school district that strives to instill the concepts of achievement and excellence in our students, [the Wall of Fame selection committee] felt that an alumni-only Wall of Fame would illustrate what our students may attain through hard work and commitment,” Assistant Superintendent Carol Napolitano said.

The new process will begin in July 2016, when the new nomination forms will be released.

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