Rotary Club gifts 200 seedlings to students

The Liberty Rotary Club celebrated Arbor Day by giving away more than 200 seedlings to every fifth-grade, ESL, ABLE and self-contained special education student in the Liberty Middle School. In addition to the seedling, each student also received an Arbor Day pencil, sticker, flower pot and pamphlet with directions on how to plant their tree. An Arbor Day poster was also for each classroom. Special thanks to Jeff Hall, whose ESL students packaged the seedlings for their fellow students.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs worldwide. The motto of Rotary is “Service
Above Self.”

To find out more about Rotary check out
To inquire about joining the Liberty Rotary Club, call Judy Siegel at (845) 798-0783. To find out more about this Arbor Day activity, contact Bill Silver at 860-930- 4162 or Jack Strassman at 845-292- 5400 ext. 2302.

Julia Almodoval wins grand prize in poster contest

Liberty Middle School student Julia Almodoval recently received the Grand Prize winner in the 24th Annual Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling & Drug Abuse Poster Contest, sponsored by the Administration and Prevention Services.

More than 200 posters were submitted from other students throughout Sullivan County.

The contest was divided in three Grade Categories: Elementary, Middle and High School in both languages English and Spanish.

Julia’s poster was professionally reproduced and distributed in all schools in Sullivan County and New York state.

No students injured after bus gets stuck in ditch

At approximately 3:20 p.m. yesterday afternoon, one of our buses was involved in a minor collision near the White Sulfur Springs School.

The bus took a tight turn and its back wheel was momentarily stuck into a ditch. Emergency Medical Services were dispatched as a precautionary measure due to the amount of bouncing that students had experienced.

Twelve students were on the bus. Students were checked at the scene for injuries and were transported to their regular bus stops by a different bus after their parents were called and the students were given medical clearance. Of the twelve students, one expressed discomfort after bumping into the seat in front.

Our district buses and drivers are provided through Rolling V Transportation Services. Questions about this incident or transportation services in general may be directed to the main office of your child’s school.

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Cheh earns Presidential Scholarship from RIT

LHS Guidance Counselor Kellie White stands next to LHS student Kelgin Cheh. Cheh is wearing a Liberty red and white Baseball uniform and hat. Liberty High School senior Kelgin Cheh has been chosen from hundreds of applicants to receive a prestigious scholarship from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that will provide up to $40,000 in support during his undergraduate years.

Kelgin, who plans on studying engineering, will join a group of distinguished students that RIT believes has the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Kelgin believes that this scholarship has been years in the making. A three-sport scholar athlete and musician since the seventh grade, Kelgin says he feels extremely excited and proud that his work is paying off.

Realizing that today’s high school students have to face some serious obstacles when applying to college – such as finances and fierce competition – Kelgin explained the strategy behind his high school course selection.

“I wanted [RIT] to know I was a good applicant,” he said, reflecting on the times he’s eaten his lunch on the go to attend orchestra practice. “I wanted to work hard and prove that I was a well-rounded and highly capable student.”

Kelgin says he encourages his peers to take the time to apply for scholarships, despite “the added weight and stress of applying.”

“It’s worth it,” he said. “[Students] just have to breathe through it as they do it.”

College scholarships come in all shapes and sizes, but last year, over $3 billion in grant funds went unused. There are scholarships out there – even for those who may not qualify for merit, scholar or needs-based scholarships.  Check out this short video to learn about the resources available for finding all sorts of scholarship opportunities.

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Strassman to retire as educator but not as role model

One of Liberty Central School District’s respected educators is hanging up his badge. After 20+ years of arriving early, staying late and greeting students and teachers with a handshake and a smile, revered Liberty’s Middle/High School Principal Jack Strassman will be leaving at the close of this school year.

A fixture in the district for 23 years, Mr. Strassman has always been a spokesperson for Liberty Pride. He bleeds red and white. His students, staff and colleagues love him, have learned from him and will miss him tremendously.

Mr. Strassman started his career in education in 1979. He worked in New York City before joining the Liberty community as elementary school principal in 1995. During his tenure at Liberty, he’s served as elementary school co-principal and middle school co-principal, middle school principal and high school principal before becoming the sole principal of the middle and high school.

Mr. Strassman is the epitome of what it means to do your job with consistency and a genuine love for a school and community. If you were to ask him what his best memories at Liberty were, you’d need to block off an entire day to listen to his stories.

In fact, his office is steeped in Liberty history from top to bottom. In his gallery of Liberty relics, he proudly displays photographs, newspaper clippings, awards and accolades, student artwork and letters, graduation programs, yearbooks, gifts and other memorabilia.

“I just remember having lots of fun and being so proud,” Mr. Strassman said as he flipped through old photos and school memorabilia, recognizing names and faces from 15+ years ago. “I think your best moments are when your school, your faculty, your staff and your students are recognized.”

Everyone remembers the teachers who inspired them to pursue greatness/ Instead, Mr. Strassman remembers the students who inspired him. He reflects often on the classes that he had the pleasure of growing with from elementary to middle to high school. Some of them he’s still quite close with and many of them he hired as teachers.

Now he’s getting ready to retire. But don’t think he’s going sit at home relaxing. Walking, hiking and catching a baseball game are among his favorite activities, but he’ll be doing much more than that. He has plans to hike the red rock canyons in Utah, sample the freshest foods in California and catch some rays in Florida.

With heavy hearts, teachers, students and their families will bid farewell to Mr. Strassman on graduation day, June 23.

What would the MakerSpace look like at Liberty?

Educators at Liberty are reimagining learning environments as innovative spaces for students to get creative and use their imaginations in hands-on learning projects. To that end, the districts proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year would include the creation of Makerspace

The 2018-19 proposed school budget includes funds that would create a MakerSpace – a creative workshop that contains elements found in a woodshop class, science lab, computer lab and an art room – for students in grades K-8.

For several years, there has been a national focus on education and careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Most recently, this focus has come to include the arts, resulting in the implementation of STEAM-based programs in the Liberty Central School District.

If the budget is approved on Tuesday, May 15, the district will create three MakerSpace labs for grades K-4, 5-6 and 7-8.

At the heart of the Makerspace movement is a culture of participatory learning. Makerspaces provide both students AND teachers with opportunities to exercise elements of participatory learning, such as:

• heightened motivation and new forms of engagement through meaningful play and experimentation;
• opportunities for creating using a variety of media, tools, and practices;
• learning that feels relevant to students’ identities and interests; and
• co-configured expertise where educators and students pool their skills and knowledge and share in the tasks of learning and teaching.

What would the MakerSpace Lab look like in each school?

Grades K-4:

The elementary MakerSpace would provide a 21st century learning environment for students with resources, to learn, create, and share. The MakerSpace would become a course for grades 2-4 students to replace the traditional computer course.    Students wuld be assigned to the space maker lab one full trimester each year in grades 2-4. The lab will also be open to students during recess periods to continue project work, as needed.  Materials offered would include coding kits, invention kits, literacy kits and every day items and art supplies from batteries, foil and tape to marbles, playing cards and popsicle sticks.

Grades 5-6:

The District’s current library curriculum, described below, is already organized to incorporate technology and STEM strategies, concepts and activities. The items requested will further enhance this curriculum.

Mondays: (Monster Monday) Students work towards being able to find books and other library related resources for academic and aesthetic growth.

Tuesdays: (Tech Tuesday) As our school follows a 1:1 iPad model, our learning target is technology related. Students work towards finding and using reliable, vetted sources of information (i.e. reference eBooks,subject specific databases, almanacs, encyclopedias). Students also learn the importance of technology, specifically computer coding, and how it fits into everyday life.

Wednesdays: (Wonder Wednesday) Our students work towards the skill of paraphrasing. The class is exposed to and discusses a quote by a famous person (i.e. Stephen Hawking, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou), interprets the quote in their own words, learns about the life of the person, then gives their own thoughts about said quote, in turn connecting it to the famous person’s life.

Thursdays: (Thinker Thursday) Students work on their creative problem solving skills with various STEM activities.

Fridays: (First Chapter Fridays) Students learn about specific authors and are exposed to books by that author.

Grades 7-8:

Activities in MakerSpaces range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in MakerSpaces include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.  MakerSpaces share core capabilities, so that people and projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:

  • A computer-controlled laser cutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts
  • A larger (4’x8’) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture- (and house-) sized parts
  • A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas
  • A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make three-dimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards
  • Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors

These would work components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management.


Each school’s MakerSpace would be incorporated into its curriculum, allowing every student an opportunity to take part.



Proposed budget maintains programs, upgrades technology

On Tuesday, May 15, residents will head to the polls to vote on a $48,849,113 proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. This proposed budget presents an increase in spending of $2,936,104 (or 6.40 percent) over the current year’s budget. If approved, it would result in a 2.71 percent tax levy increase in the coming year – below the district’s maximum allowable tax levy limit as calculated under the state’s “tax cap” formula.

Maintaining financial stability

The proposed budget maintains all existing academic programs, establishes startup funds for the creation of an elementary after-school program, and creates positions for a K-8 music teacher; an elementary Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teacher; and a second School Resource Officer position.

Upgrading technology

If approved, the 2018-19 budget would bring several technological advancements to the district. Below is a summary.

  •  All classrooms would be outfitted with a new interactive 4K SmartBoard, a New PC and Document Camera.
  • Personal Computer for labs in the middle and high school would replaced
  • Two iMacs in the middle and high school would be replaced.
  • The district would purchase equipment needed to provide MakerSpace labs elementary and middle schools. The middle school lab would have state of the art equipment capable of making high end designs.
  • The district would have a significant increase in the capabilities of its internal network.  The technology department would begin providing 10GB access to all switch rooms providing more bandwidth for students.
  • The district hopes to improve and increase the capabilities of its computer and network security.  If the budget is approved, the district would implementing a new cyber security system and an enhanced web filtering system.
  • The employee badge system would be upgraded.
  • Door alarms would be installed in the elementary school.
  • The district would purchase an additional hundred iPads.
  • The technology department would upgrade its physical server RAM in effort to provide quicker response times on the computer and iPads.
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What is the difference between dean and assistant principal?

The district received an inquiry about the Liberty Elementary and Middle School’s Dean of Students position and the difference between a dean and an assistant principal.  We thought it was an excellent question, and wanted to share the answer with the entire community.

The position for the Liberty Elementary and Middle School Dean of Students was financially allotted for and created in 2016-17. The district created a position that would allow the dean to split his or her time between the two schools and work with building principals to enhance student learning and emphasize respect and safety.

The dean does not focus on academic activities and instead concentrates on promoting good attendance rates, identifying behavioral problems and addressing those issues with students and parents to create positive outcomes.

Many districts, like Liberty, have found value in having a dean position, as the demand on our principals has become greater with the addition of new state requirements, more reports, grant work and a larger staff to observe. These are things that do not fall under a deans’ position.

The latest description for the Dean of Students position, as advertised in an employment posting from March 2018, is below:

The Dean of Students is responsible for maintaining a positive, caring, orderly, and supportive student culture and learning environment. He/she will proactively communicate with teachers and visit classrooms to promote positive behaviors and mitigate problem behaviors. The Dean will work with the Principal to facilitate professional development offerings that promote sound behavioral management practices in the classroom. He/she will work with other administrators to ensure that the school’s policies and procedures for holding all students to high behavioral expectations as stated in the Code of Conduct are understood and promoted with consistency.

The Dean of Students proactively circulates and is highly visible in the school’s common spaces during school hours, overseeing student arrival, departure, cafeteria and recess. He/she will communicate with students’ families as necessary to keep families abreast of any observed changes in an individual student’s conduct.

The Dean of Students performs all other duties consistent with the goals and objectives of this position. His or her salary is determined by LAA contract.

Specific questions about the dean’s role at your child’s school should be directed to your building principal.


Interact Club Walk-Run has been cancelled

Update – the Interact Run-Walk for May 6 has been cancelled.

Rebuilding the lives they once knew is now a daily task for many residents across the island of Puerto Rico. To that end, the Liberty High School Interact Club will be hosting a 5K run to raise funds for the Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Fund.

The Liberty High School Interact Club will be holding a 5K walk or run and children’s obstacle course and fun run in Liberty on Sunday, May 6.

Here’s what you need to know about the charity run on May 6:

  • Walkers will take off first at 8:30 a.m., followed by the runners at 9 a.m. The walk-run route begins and ends at the high school and travels down Yaun Avenue, Chestnut Street, North Main Street and up West Liberty Road, and Winthop Avenue.
  • The children’s obstacle course and fun run will take place around 9:15 a.m. along the Liberty High School’s main sidewalk. Children of all ages can participate in this run-at-your-own-pace obstacle course that features jump ropes, hula hoops and basket balls.
  • Prizes will be given to the top three male and female overall finishers and to the top three male and female finishers in the following age groups: 10-Under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.
  • The race costs $20 per runner and walker and $15 per person in a team of five or more. The price will enroll you in the race but will also earn you a t-shirt and snacks. You can pre-register via EventBrite (coming soon) or by contacting Penny Medina at
  • You can also register on the day of the race (May 6.) Day-of registration takes place at 7:30 a.m. at will cost $25. T-shirts may not be guaranteed if you register on the day of the race.
  • Sponsorship opportunities are available. Interested sponsors should contact Dan Hart at
  • 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Fund.


The high school’s Interact Club is a program of the Liberty Rotary Club that encourages service among youth, foster an active interest in the community, and offer opportunities to develop as leaders.




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Contingent budget would mean $2,680,796 in reductions

If the budget is defeated, the board has three options: present the same budget for another vote; submit a revised budget for a vote; or adopt a contingent budget.

If the budget is defeated twice, the board must adopt a contingent budget, by law. Under the tax levy cap law, if a district adopts a contingent budget, it cannot increase its tax levy from that of the prior year by any amount – a zero percent increase.

For Liberty, a contingent budget will cut approximately $2,680,796 from the proposed budget. The district would be subject to various limits and controls on how the money within the contingent budget is spent, and would have to charge fees for public use of school buildings and grounds.

“If a district must adopt a contingent budget, there can be no increase in the tax levy,” said Interim Superintendent Carol Napolitano. “We’d have to make significant reductions to our program budget should we have to adopt a contingent budget.”

Under contingency, the district would be subject to various limits on how the money within the contingent budget is spent, and would have to charge fees for public use of school grounds.

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