Professional development is good for teachers, students

Teachers smiling at conference day presentation about apps. Parents and guardians may look at the district calendar and see Superintendent’s Conference Days and understandably, may wonder if this is the best use of school time.

After all, days off can disrupt child care and work schedules. And students perform best with a highly qualified teacher at the front of the class.

So, why are these days part of Liberty’s—and every district’s—yearly calendar?

1) They are required by the New York State Education Department (NYSED); and,
2) Ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research about how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources and more.

Research shows that teacher quality is the single most powerful influence on a student’s achievement. According to the New York State Education Department, “it is essential to ensure that teachers are provided with ongoing, high quality professional development to sustain and enhance their practice.”

At Liberty, we believe that effective professional development is more than simply sharing new ideas; it also includes a commitment to fully integrate those ideas into the classroom and the school culture.

The district uses professional development days to review state-mandated material such as anti-bullying or safety training. School leaders also use the time to share information on the district’s new technology, to introduce new curriculum and teaching practices or to build staff culture and the culture of a school. Department chairs use this time to go over their curriculum.

Teachers listen to presentation about health in Sullivan County

Professional development has taken on a more prominent place at Liberty. It keeps teachers up-to-date on new research about how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources and more.

On Friday, Feb. 16, all teachers attended a district’s Superintendent Conference Day and covered topics from becoming a healthier school district to preparing for an active shooter situation to writing clearer learning objectives.

Close up of a teacher's shirt that says "proud to be an educator"

There was also time for teachers to teach other teachers in the field of technology —sharing what they know, exploring solutions to problems and implementing those solutions in the classroom in a way that benefits our students.

As the district explores an endless list of speakers and topics, administrators focus on those that will directly benefit our students and help them find success in careers and college and to be contributing members of our community.

The next Superintendent’s Conference Day is scheduled for Friday, March 9, weather permitting.

Posted on Categories Archive

Alumnus Killian Bloat at D1 Prairie View

A picture of Killian Bloat in uniform for the Prairie View A&M Panthers
Killian Bloat in uniform for the Prairie View A&M Panthers

Liberty graduate Killian Bloat will soon begin his NCAA Division 1 baseball career at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. Killian played his first two years at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. He played right field and pitched for Prince George’s while pursuing his Associate’s Degrees and his dream of playing Division 1 baseball. Near the end of his sophomore year several Division 1 schools showed interest in recruiting Killian including Coppin State University, Central Michigan, Norfolk State University and Prairie View A&M. Killian said’ “I chose Prairie View because no other school could match the money. The weather in Texas is ideal for a baseball player and to reach the next level I believe playing in Texas is my best bet.”

Prairie View A&M University is a historically black university located in Prairie View, Texas, which is northwest of Houston. The university is a member of the Texas A&M University System. In 2016, PVAMU celebrated its 140th year.

Killian graduated from Prince George’s CC with a 3.0 GPA and an AA degree. He currently has a 3.0 at Prairie View. Congratulations to Killian and his family as he joins the ranks of Division 1 athletes from Liberty High School.

LES publishes math curriculum map

The LES math teachers have been busy creating a visual map of the math curriculum so that parents, guardians and others can see the topics covered in the elementary school math curriculum. The topics on the map are linked to more detailed information include a link that explains the module and other links to help adults explain the topic to students.

The map can be found at LES Math Curriculum Map.

Please take a look at the map which is a work-in-progress. More modules will be added throughout the year until the map is complete. You may use the “Select language” button in the upper right corner to select another language. Please send any comments to Jennifer Eisenberg at

Racette wins skiing crown, Johnston qualifies

Senior Olivia Racette captured the Secton IX alpine skiing sectional title on Tuesday, February 13 at Hunter Mountain. Olivia now advances to the state championship at Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua on February 26 and 27. Olivia began skiing on the Varsity team as a seventh grader and was competing for the sixth time in sectionals. She has competed five times at the state meet but this was her first sectional title. She is a four sport athlete who plays soccer in the fall and softball in the spring. In the winter she participates in basketball and skiing. She does all this while maintaining an academic average that puts her high in the “Top 10” of the Senior class.

Racette won every race she competed in this year but placed third in the first race in the championship, the giant slalom. Olivia came roaring back to win the slalom race in a blistering 36.60 seconds which was more than 3 seconds ahead of the next competitor. Competitors are ranked by their combined times and Olivia’s final time was more than 2 seconds better than second place.

Julia Johnston, who has skied well all year, placed eighth in the combined standings. Julia’s finish qualifies her for the state meet at Bristol.

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Board appoints Dr. Tornatore as Superintendent

The Liberty Central School District Board of Education is pleased to announce Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore as the next Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2018.

Dr. Tornatore was appointed at the Liberty Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

During its Feb. 13 board meeting, Liberty Board of Education President John Nichols announced the district’s plans to appoint Dr. Tornatore and read the following statement:

“Earlier this school year, Liberty Central School District staff, students and community members shared at open forums and through an online survey the leadership characteristics they would like to see in our next superintendent.

The board of education used that feedback to develop a leadership profile for the next superintendent. You asked for an instructional leader, an effective communicator and a good manager with a clear vision for the district.

The consultants from the Western New York Educational Service Council assisted us with the search. Together we realized that the candidate who holds those characteristics is already here and has already established a working relationship with our district’s constituents and a love for Liberty.”

In the four months since Dr. Tornatore joined the district’s administrative team, no grass has grown beneath his feet. He immersed himself in all things Liberty by: meeting weekly with Interim Superintendent Carol Napolitano; visiting all three schools for one-on-one discussions with students, administrators and department chairs; and making plans to observe every single classroom.

After he officially takes the lead as Superintendent of Schools on July 1, Dr. Tornatore said his number one goal will be continuing to get to know the district and the community by listening to all perspectives and gathering information. At the same time, he’ll be working to smoothly take the baton from Ms. Napolitano, who this year prioritized improvements in the areas of curriculum development and alignment, data-driven instruction, professional development and more.

Posted on Categories District News

Board appoints middle and high school principals

Picture of new principals Mr. Robert Knuschke (LHS) and Mr. Andy Cameron (LMS)
Picture of Mr. Robert Knuschke (LHS) and Mr. Andy Cameron (LMS) chosen by the Board of Education to be the new High School and Middle School principals.

At its Feb. 13 meeting, the Liberty Board of Education voted to reconfigure the Liberty Middle/High School into two separate schools and appointed Andy Cameron as the Liberty Middle School Principal and Robert Knuschke as the Liberty High School Principal, effective July 2018. (In the picture above, Mr. Knuschke (LHS) is pictured left; Mr. Cameron (LMS) is pictured right.)

In 2011, the district’s board of education made the motion to consolidate the middle and high school to one building with one principal.

According to Interim Superintendent of Schools Carol Napolitano, the decision to separate the middle and high school to two separate buildings comes from a desire to revitalize each school and support and honor the different educational, social and emotional needs and values of our middle and high school students.

“Our administrative focus needs to be targeted and targeted fully to the appropriate grade levels,” she said. “It is the district’s hope that our students, staff and parents find this adjustment helpful.”

The Liberty Board of Education would like to commend Mr. Jack Strassman, who previously served as the principal of the Liberty Middle and High School, for taking on the dual role.

Mr. Cameron comes to the district with 12 years of experience in education administration. Before joining the Liberty  Central School District, Mr. Cameron served as Assistant Principal of  the Rombout Middle School in the Beacon City Central School District in Beacon, NY. Previously, he served as Director of Program Operations for the Florida Union Free School District.

“[The district] will be my home away from home; my extended family,” Mr. Cameron said. “Working together [with faculty and parents] we can help students prepare to become productive members of the community and lifelong learners. I am eager and beyond excited to become part of the Liberty community.”

Mr. Knuschke comes to the district with 16 years of experience in education administration. Prior to joining Liberty, he served as the Middle and High School Principal of the Walton Central School District in Walton, NY. Previously he served as Principal of the Orville A. Todd Middle School for the Spackenkill Union Free School District.

“Of all the skills needed as a school leader, I believe the most important is the ability to build relationships and communicate with staff, students and their families. I am very excited to immerse myself in a new school and explore the culture and traditions of Liberty,” Mr. Knuschke said.



Posted on Categories Archive

General Student Calendar for 2018-19


The general student calendar of the 2018-19 academic year was adopted by the Liberty Central School District Board of Education on Feb. 13, 2018 and amended on April 3, 2018.  This calendar, which will be available in student’s planners, lists the following conference days and holidays:

Sept. 3: Labor Day (Closed)
Sept. 4-5: Conference Days (Closed for Students)
Sept. 6: First Day for Students

Oct. 5: Conference Day (Closed for Students)
Oct. 8: Columbus Day (Closed)

Nov. 12: Veterans’ Day (Closed)
Nov. 21-23: Thanksgiving Break (Closed)

Dec. 24-Jan 1: Winter Break (Closed)

Jan. 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Closed)
Jan. 22-25: Regents Exams

Feb. 15: Conference Day (Closed for Students)
Feb. 18: Presidents’ Day (Closed)

March 15: Conference Day (Closed for Students)

April 15-22: Spring Break (Closed)

May 21: Budget Vote and Election
May 27: Memorial Day (Closed)

June 3: Regents Exams
June 18-25: Regents Exams
June 26: Rating Day, Last Day of School for Students
June 27: Conference Half Day
June 28: Liberty High School Graduation

A note about snow days
The district has ten snow days built into the school year.

If the district uses five snow days by Feb. 8, then Feb. 18 would become a student day.

If the district uses eight snow days by March 8, then March 15 would become a student day and the Conference Day would be moved to June 27 and the Conference Half Day would be moved to June 28.

If the district exceeds its ten snow days by April 12 then the following days will be taken in the following order: April 22, April 15, April 16.

When snow days are not used, the district “gives them back” by closing school on days that were originally scheduled to have school in session.

The give back days would be, in the following order: May 24, May 23, April 23, April 24.

While no one can accurately predict what the winter has in store for us, the district has contingency plans in place. Schedule updates will be available on the district’s website and sent home to parents any necessary changes are made.

Alumnus Tarik Johnson signs with Morgan State

Picture of Tarik Johnson signing to play at Morgan State
Tarik Johnson signs a National Letter of Intent to play football as an offensive lineman and Division 1 Morgan State

Tarik Johnson, LHS Class of 2016, recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at NCAA Division I Morgan State University as an offensive lineman. Tarik has played football for the last two years at Erie Community College in Williamsville, NY. As a 6-foot-4-inch 300 pound offensive lineman, Tarik was hard to avoid and was part of the “brick wall” protecting the quarterback.

Last year Tarik received an offer for a “full ride” from Fairmont State University in West Virginia, a D2 school. Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama also showed some interest but Tarik decided to stay at Erie for his sophomore year. While playing football, he has maintained a 3.5 GPA despite the rigorous demands of the practice and game schedule.

Morgan State University is a historically black college in Baltimore, Maryland. It is Maryland’s designated public urban university. The football team has recently hired a new coach to rebuild the football program and Tarik will be part of that effort.

We congratulate Tarik and his family for this outstanding accomplishment. Congratulations also go to his coaches at Liberty High School who helped him develop his football skills. He is one of only a handful of Liberty Athletes who have competed at the NCAA Division I level. We are always looking for information about the accomplishments of Liberty alumni. If you have any information please email or

FBLA members garner honors

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, 17 members of the Liberty Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) traveled to Tri-Valley High School for an academic competition. All of the students represented Liberty very well and the following earned the following awards:

Cascio Fonseca: first place in Public Speaking.
Ysabel Manzi: third place in Introduction to FBLA
Steven Leal: fourth place in Job Interview
Michael Cohen: fifth place in Business Calculations
Gavin Racette: fifth place in Basic Decision Making

Cascio earned the right to represent the Liberty FBLA and District 3N at the New York State FBLA Conference in Binghamton from April 11-13. Congratulations to all who competed and best of luck Cascio in Binghamton.

Science Olympiad team first in small schools

On Saturday, February 3, the Liberty HS Science Olympiad Team traveled to Ulster County Community College to participate in the New York State Mid-Hudson Region competition. The months of hard work put in by the students paid off as the team placed 11th overall and first in the small schools division.

Each year a dedicated group of students meets to practice for the Science Olympiad, a competition held each spring. Students may build structures or machines to use in the competition or study concepts that may be included in a quiz during the contest. They also learn how to think quickly and adapt so that they can participate in the challenging events at the Olympiad.

The team is coached by LHS science teachers Lucinda Nolan and Gene Madsen. Each Liberty competitor wore a custom designed t-shirt. This year’s shirt was dedicated to the memory of a Science Olympiad Alumni Peter N. Koval who was a major contributor to the Astronomy event.

Listed below are all the team members with their year in school and the number of years they have been participating. Also listed are the events, the students who participated in those events and their place. Check out the picture gallery to see some of the students “in action”.

Team Members


Kelgin Cheh (alt 1 yr)
Ian Cody (3 yrs)
Angelina Fontana (4 yrs)
Rebecca Mielnicki (4 yrs)
Gabriela Nolan (3 yr)
Liang Ouyang (1 yr)
Priya Patel (alt 2 yrs)
Eli Rabadi (1 yr)
Jordan Russo (2yrs)


Tanner Parks (3 yrs)


Nicole Blais (1yr)
Leah Fitzgerald (1 yr)
Gabby Fontana (2yrs)
Jarod Hellerer (1yr)
Gavin Racette (2yrs)


Brooke Nichols (1yr)
John Nolan (1yr)

Mr. Slater’s Class who assisted with Technology

Kelgin Cheh
Marie Lyons
Collin Nietzel
Eli Rabadi
Jon Wilson

Events and Results

Helicopter- Gabby N, Ian, Jon Wilson (14th place)
Hovercraft- John N, Tanner, Marie Lyons (11th place)
Mission Possible- Eli, Rebecca  (10th place)
Mousetrap Vehicle- Gabby N., Jarod H, Kelgin Cheh  (10th place)
Tower- Ian and Tanner (16th place)
Fermi Questions- Rebecca., Jarod  (7th place)
Forensics- Nicole, Angelina  (10th place)
Material Science- Gavin, Jordan  (16th place)
Remote Sensing- Gabby F, Eli  (16th place)
Write It Do It- Gabby N, John  (24th place)
Anatomy and Physiology- Liang, Jordan  (12th place)
Dynamic Planet- Nicole, Gabby F  (12th place)
Game on- Brooke, Gavin  (20th place)
Chemistry Lab- Liang, Jordan  (15th place)
Disease Detective- Gabby F, Leah  (24th place)
Ecology- John, Brooke  (8th place)
Optics- Jarod, Gavin (9th place)
Rocks and Minerals- Gabby N, Angelina  (11th place)
Astronomy-Ian, Tanner  (16th place)
Thermodynamics- Brooke, Leah  (14th place)
Experimental Design- Eli, Angelina, Rebecca  (15th place)
Herpetology- Nicole, Gavin  (17th place)
Microbe Mission- Leah, Liang  (16th place)

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