The College Board’s National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Program (HSRP) has recognized Liberty High School student Benjamin Quackenbush.
The junior has been given the prestigious honor as 2018-19 National Hispanic Scholar for his excellence in academic achievement and superior college entrance exams.
Ben was among 5,000 academically outstanding students from more than 250,000 Hispanic or Latino juniors who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. To be eligible, students must be at least one-quarter Hispanic or Latino, achieve a minimum PSAT/ NMSQT score for their region and have a cumulative junior grade point average of 3.5 or higher to be designated as scholars. The HSRP honors these outstanding students and makes their information available to subscribing colleges and universities.
Liberty would like to congratulate Ben who continues to demonstrate academic excellence. Ben expressed his excitement about the recognition and acknowledged how perseverance during the day-to-day is what led him to his PSAT success.
“I’ve made it a point to study hard throughout the year,” he said. “To study hard and study better while paying special care to slowing down to better retain information.”
Modest as ever, Ben noted that he considers himself to be a strong test taker.
“It is an advantage,” he said. “I missed a few questions at the start of the test but I didn’t let that bother me and eventually I got into a rhythm.”
Ben also attributed some of his success to his teacher, Ms. Caro.
“She let her students know what to expect and that really helped” he said. “It’s a fast-paced test and it’s important to be aware of that to avoid feeling anxious.”
Ben said that he encourages sophomores to take the test to prepare for the fast paced environment.
“I’d tell [sophomores] to take the test, not worry about specific problems, and go back to it later if there is time,” he said. “Just let go of your anxiety and get the test done.”
Ben, who is also a member of the Liberty High School’s debate team, is planning to attend a university in Upstate New York to study something in the STEM field. Although he does not know what his specific concentration will be, he said he loves math and science and is certain that a STEM related profession is in his future.
Taking the PSAT/NMSQT test allows sophomores and juniors to see where they rank academically in comparison to students all over the state and country. For some who achieve national standing, it is a good time to make selections of colleges or universities as being a National Hispanic Scholar opens the door to many opportunities.
Congratulations to Ben!
School nutrition has a huge juggling act in trying to offer health options while still appealing to student tastes. To that end, the district’s Food Service Department is happy to offer a flavored coffee bar to students and staff at Liberty High School. This will begin in April.
Students can choose among three 10-ounce coffee flavors for 75 cents. Coffee will be discounted to $0.50 if a student selects a breakfast meal. Staff may purchase a cup of coffee for one dollar. Half and half, milk and non-diary creamers will also be available. Each cup is under 60 calories. Flavors are unsweetened, and may include breakfast blend, French vanilla or “snicker kicker.”
Under state guidelines, a 10-ounce cup of coffee is the largest size that can be served to students during school hours.
On Thursday, March 15, Liberty Elementary School hosted an event designed to bring families together to have fun while learning called Math & Movement. It is a multi-sensory approach to teaching math and reading the uses physical activity and visual elements. In short, it pairs learning math and reading with being physically active to make it more memorable and enjoyable – for the whole family.
Nearly one hundred families attended the event, which was run by over 20 elementary school volunteers.
The program uses specially designed floor mats and banners that enable students to hop, walk, crawl, or dance their way to mastering math and reading concepts.
Among the reasons for a program like this is that eight of ten children are what’s known as kinesthetic learners, meaning that they learn best through movement – and the program taps into a child’s natural kinesthetic learning style.
The program is based on research that shows that moving during learning facilitates muscle memory, an important factor with younger children whose abstract thinking skills are not fully developed. Studies show this type of activity allows teachers and students to feel more energized, focused, and prepared to learn.
According to Liberty Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Harris, the Math and Movement Family Fun Night was just that. “It was a night of math, physical activity, family, smiles and laughter all around,” she said. “Our goal for the future is to bring this multi-sensory approach into the classroom and change the way we practice fundamental math and literacy skills every day for every student at Liberty Elementary School.”
According to Jennifer King from Math and Movement, Liberty’s event on March 15 was the largest family fun night they have hosted.
“The excitement from students, parents, teachers and administration was contagious,” Mrs. King said. “It was our pleasure to bring Math and Movement to Liberty Elementary!”
The event was made possible through a grant and was no cost to the district. The event would not be possible without the help of SueAnn Boyd, Healthy Schools Coordinator from Cornell Cooperative Extension and the school’s math department. Together they worked with Barbara Blakey and the Liberty Networking Group for months to make this event happen.
“We waited with great anticipation for the evening to arrive and when it did, it was even better than I had imagined,” Mrs. Harris said.
Members from the Liberty High School National Art Honor Society are hosting I ❤ Art Night for the students of Liberty Elementary School. It will be held in the cafeteria wing of the elementary school on Thursday, March 22 from 6-8 p.m.
Students are invited to create a number of artworks at stations, participate in games and smile for the cameras with silly props. Light refreshments will be served. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required so that we can plan for the needed art materials. If you plan to attend, please complete the registration form that was sent home to elementary parents and return it to Liberty Elementary School by Tuesday, March 20. Students must be accompanied by a guardian and should bring a smock and a bag.
The Liberty Performing Arts and Music Department will present the popular musical “Hairspray” on March 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. in the Liberty High School’s auditorium.
Set in 1960’s Baltimore, a young Tracy Turnblad (Brandi Crespo) is obsessed with “The Corny Collins Show” (Cascio Fonseca) and when a chance to audition come up she goes for it. Instantly transformed into a teenage sensation, she makes it her mission to integrate the television show. Hairspray, with its rousing production numbers and confrontation of social issues of the decade, makes it one you will not want to miss.
The other cast members include Michael Fritz (Edna), Stephanie Krom (Penny), Olivia Racette (Velma), Chloe Ricco (Amber), Michael Perez (Link), Jamar Islam (Seaweed), Brianna Jackson (Little Inez), Eleisha Grave (Motormouth Maybelle), Seth Desrochers (Wilbur), Emily Kinne (Prudy), Jeremy Lieberman (Mr. Pinky), Anthony Carrion (Harriman), Rebecca Mielnicki (Matron), Kaivon Cooper (Gilbert), Kahir Cooper (Stooie), Eboni Penn-Cosentino (Cindy), Melanie Graham (Lorraine) and Jeet Patel (Duane).
The show also features: Aakeyah Anderson, Tyler Black, Kelgin Cheh, Megan Culton, Gabe Desrochers, Maleiah Drayton, Katarina Fonseca, Gabby Fontana, Daylene Maron Garson, Corrine Hellerer, Charlyanna Johnson, Seriya Jorge, Suzy Kehrley, Abigail Kelly, George Lopez, Emily Lutz, Rory Magie, Christian Marvel, Ysabel Manzi, Sophia Medina, Alexus Parisella, Auyshi Patel, Destiny Pearson, Chase Racette, Jayden Ramsey, Jordan Raynor, Abigail Simmons, Johnnay Stubbs and Tracy Torrens.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 292-5400 ext.2000 or at the high school’s main office during regular school hours. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, I am writing to assure you that the safety of your children and our staff and employees is our number one priority and something that we work at constantly.
While we cannot detail all aspects of our security plans, I do want to take a few minutes and remind you about what is in place and provide you with some information about our ongoing efforts.
Training and Protocols
We review security protocols with staff throughout the year and, as you know, practice response drills to a variety of different situations with our students. We have comprehensive building- and district-level safety plans and an active district safety committee. This committee includes district administrators, police and fire officials, operational staff and teachers.
We utilize the intercom or “buzz in” procedures in our buildings, and continue to review where, and when, building access should be more restricted. As part of our ongoing work, we will be identifying additional training and/or exercises that can enhance our emergency preparedness. We are also discussing the possibility of upgrading to our security system, resulting in improved capabilities across all our schools.
Strong Relationship with Police
We have a strong working relationship with the Village of Liberty Police Department and do not hesitate to call law enforcement to our schools as needed. Police are regularly in our buildings for specific issues and events and we regularly seek law enforcement guidance in how we can be proactive and provide staff with the most up-to-date training. Our School Resource Officer patrols each of our school buildings regularly.
If You See Something, Say Something
It is also important to emphasize that our students and families are a critical part of keeping our schools safe. We encourage students to talk to an adult at school whenever they have a concern or notice something that does not seem right, and we ask all of you to do the same.
Supporting Students and Staff
We encourage our students to be actively engaged citizens who are knowledgeable about multiple viewpoints surrounding current events. We strive to teach them how to participate in our democracy through a variety of ways, including addressing lawmakers through letters, creative works that help express how they feel and having discussions. Through these kinds of experiences, our students learn the skills they need to form, support and express their own personal positions on issues.
To that end, while we are not endorsing any particular viewpoint, we respect students’ rights to express themselves and their desire to memorialize the lives that were lost at Parkland last month so long as it is done in a safe, peaceful manner.
I know I share this sentiment with the entire district: every time we hear of a tragedy such as this one in Parkland, Florida, our hearts ache for everyone involved. I cannot say or underscore enough, the safety of our students is my number one priority as Interim Superintendent of this district. If you have any questions today, or in the future about safety practices in our schools, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office or your building principal.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
On Friday, March 9, Liberty Middle School fifth-grade teacher John Chewens received a surprise pre-deployment farewell celebration from his students and colleagues.
Mr. Chewens, a Lieutenant in the Army, will soon deploy to the Middle East what he’s anticipating will be a 14-month tour.
Fifth-grade students, teachers and guidance staff threw Mr. Chewens a surprise send-off which included a surprise visit from his parents.
Surrounded by his parents, colleagues, friends and students, Mr. Chewens was presented with an Army Build-A-Bear that will keep him company on his travels .
According to state law, if a district should need to use more than its allotted snow days, it will need to “take back” certain vacation days to ensure that students attend 180 days of school. To that end, Friday, March 9, Monday, March 26, Tuesday, March 27, Wednesday, March 28 and Monday, April 2 will now be regular school days for all Liberty Central School District students and employees.
If there are any more inclement weather days this winter, the district will take back days from its spring recess in March.
The “take back” days* are, in order:
- Thursday, March 29
*These changes were selected as a way designed to work around state assessments, Regents preparation and AP exams.
Liberty Elementary School teachers and staff treated students to a reading inspired flash mob to spark excitement for Read Across America Month and to remind them about the joys and adventures that a great book can bring.
Assistant Principal Mr. Robert England triggered the celebration, launching into the choreography of “Gotta Keep Reading,” a parody song of “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas. One by one, teachers joined in, dancing with their favorite children’s books and encouraging students to clap along.
Following the dance, Interim Superintendent of Schools Carol Napolitano led the students in the Reading Pledge, a promise to love reading for the rest of their lives.
District residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 15 to vote on the proposed budget and elect three Liberty Board of Education members for the seats of Jennifer Desrochers, Karen Hook and Joyce Teed. All the seats are for 3-year terms.
The vote will be at-large, meaning that the three candidates with the highest amount of votes will fill the three vacant positions.
All interested candidates must file a petition and must be:
• a qualified voter of the district;
• at least 18 years old;
• able to read and write;
• a resident of the district for at least one year prior to the election; and
• the only member of his or her household on the schoolboard.
All interested candidates must file a petition and must NOT be:
• a convicted felon;
• a member of another public office position;
• removed from a school district office within one year of the election; and
• a current employee of the district.
Nominating petitions must be signed by at least 25 qualified district voters. Petitions are due to the District Clerk, Tania DeFrank, before 5 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2018.
Are you considering running for a school board in Sullivan County?
The Sullivan County School Boards Association (SCSBA) will host a free workshop for any resident of Sullivan County who is planning to run, or considering running for a Board of Education position. The workshop will be held on Monday, March 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sullivan County BOCES, Conference Room #1, located at 6 Wierk Ave. in Liberty. Please RSVP by Thursday, March 16 to SCSBA Executive Director Tania DeFrank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-866-6946.