A look inside the LES MakerSpace

Powerful things are happening when Mrs. Treible and Mrs. Terry’s students can conceptualize something, build it, and then write about it, explaining what it is that they have made, and how it relates to their lessons.

Liberty Elementary second-graders Ayelene and Bristol worked together Thursday afternoon, determined to build the sturdiest house.

Using cardboard, scissors, tape and a ruler, they carefully determined where to place each cardboard piece to get it to a certain height. They strategized along the way.

“We can’t cut [the cardboard] yet because we have to plan before we build,” Ayeline said.  “We’re Makers here. That means we figure out how to build things using what used to be junk.”

Ayelene and Bristol were just two of the 40 some second-graders who participated in their first “make-and-take” project using materials from one of the two school’s new MakerSpace labs.

Bristol said she likes the new MakerSpace because “….it feels like recess, but better.”

Press play on the video below to see highlights from Ayelene and Bristol’s MakerSpace class on Thursday, Sept. 27.

LHS internship program creates life ready citizens

Internship – it’s often a word associated with grunt work for recent college graduates, but in Liberty Central School District, it’s just another example of how students grow to become “life-ready” citizens. While many people may envision internship duties as fetching coffee and filing papers, students in the high school’s new Career Exploration Internship Program (CEIP) with Mr. Dan Hart can develop meaningful job skills that align with their career goals.

Spots are still available for the CEIP, a half-year, half-credit or full-year full credit non-paid internship open to all juniors and seniors. CEIP is designed to provide a link between school and possible careers; the program gives students a job-shadowing experience in a variety of careers so that they can become aware of what it is really like to work in those careers.

Students interested in interning go through a process mimicking a job hunt in the “real world.” They must fill out an application, prepare a cover letter and interview for the position. Not every student who interviews is offered an internship and students must maintain GPA and conduct standards to be eligible.

“It’s similar to what many used to call work release or School-to-Work,” Mr. Hart said. “It’s been modified it so it’s a two-part course. It has a classroom portion with me  that gives our juniors and seniors an opportunity to learn work skills, plan and prepare for the future, all while following a professional in their chosen area, seeing what the requirements are for that profession.” Mr. Hart is a business teacher at Liberty High School. He is also the advisor of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America club and acts as the schools Work Based Learning Coordinator through CEIP.

Mr. Hart explained that students who wish to take work-based learning will start by taking skill assessments and interest surveys to see where they may want to pursue a career. Then, under his guidance, they’ll reach out to someone in the community in that field in order to job shadow as part of an unpaid internship.  If during their job shadowing experience they discover that they are no longer interested in the career that they are shadowing, we can find a new placement in a different career of interest to the student.  It is really a nice opportunity that I am able to provide for my students, most times a student might be hundreds or even thousands of dollars into a college degree and decide to change majors and the course work may not transfer over to their new college major.

“They would continue to meet at the high school for their seminar class which would cover lessons on the “soft skills” that employers typically look for: teamwork, adaptability and communication, to name a few.

Mr. Hart also noted that CEIP is great for way for juniors and seniors to dip their toe into the waters of a potential career.

“Not every student knows for certain what they want to do upon graduating – and that’s okay,” he said.

Students should visit Mr. Hart in his classroom (room 313) or e-mail DHart@libertyk12.org. CEIP applications are also available in the Liberty High School guidance office.

 

More about CEIP: CEIP was developed cooperatively between the New York State Departments of Education and Labor and fulfills a maximum of one credit toward a Regents or a Local diploma. It can also satisfy the fourth or fifth credit in a Career & Technical education sequence. The following are examples of internships that CEIP students may explore:

  • Accounting
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Computer Networking
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Education
  • Journalism

Through the program, students will gain an understanding of the importance of a positive work ethic, timeliness and good study habits. In addition, they will have an opportunity to improve their teamwork and human relation skills. While interning, students may experience several different work stations with several mentors. Relationships will be developed between the mentor and the student that will possibly result in recommendation for employment, future careers, and/or college.

Individual student interests will be accommodated as much as possible. Internships may occur outside the school day. Students will need to provide their own transportation. Students must intern 54 hours during the semester and attend a class once a week with Mr. Hart and the other CEIP students for a half credit, 108 hours during the year for a full credit.

Dr. Tornatore presents at NYSCOSS

Dr. Tornatore at nyscoss
Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore, Superintendent of Schools for the Liberty Central School District, presented at the NYSCOSS Fall Leadership Summit in Saratoga Springs. (Dr. Tornatore is seated at the right.)

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore recently made a presentation at the New York State Council of School Superintendents Fall Leadership Summit at the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. Dr. Tornatore presented with Doc Watson the Vice President of Business Development for Right Reasons Technology. The topic of his presentation was the implementation of RightPath to raise Regents test scores in the District.

Right Reasons Technology is a group of educators, trainers and technology professionals who collaborate with local school district to navigate paths to success for teachers and students. Their RightPath program includes four modules which can be used together or in concert. These modules include data informed instruction, instructional planning, professional performance and learning resources and programs.

Know the drill: a guide

Know the drill.

Don’t be scared, be prepared.

Drills are an important first step in keeping Liberty schools, students and staff safe. District staff follow strict, detailed safety protocol during emergency drills. With good training and practice, everyone involved will be better able to react appropriately in the event of an actual emergency.

Drills allow administrators, staff and students to mitigate, prepare for and recover from a variety of incidents. We want our families to have a better understanding of the different drills we practice throughout the year so that they feel more prepared; however, in order to maintain their authenticity, notices of upcoming drills are rarely communicated to district residents. Misinformation can easily spread if when a drill situation occurs at your child’s school. Please know that in most cases, the district will communicate through its various channels that a particular drill has concluded.

If an actual emergency were to occur, parents, students, faculty, staff and community members should rely on the district’s communications channels for information. During any real emergency situation, information will be shared on the district website, the district Facebook page and through mobile messages.

EVACUATION
What more people remember as fire drills are now known as evacuation drills. New York State law requires they be practiced 8 times a year. When the alarm sounds, everyone in classrooms and all building areas must evacuate along a designated route. Students remain quiet; there should be no cell phone use and attendance is taken at the evacuation location. Students return to class once building leaders give the okay.

LOCKDOWN
A lockdown occurs when there may be an imminent threat INSIDE the school. State law requires lockdown drills to be practiced four times a year. All movement within the school is restricted. All students, staff and visitors must report immediately to the nearest classroom, gym or cafeteria. All exterior and interior doors are locked and secured. There should be no cell phone use and rooms should remain locked until they are unlocked by a building leader or police officer.

LOCKOUT
A lockout secures the outer perimeter of the building. Students who are outdoors are brought inside. All exterior doors are locked and windows are closed and locked. In a lockout, there is no classroom disruption. No one is allowed to leave or enter the building unless approve by police or until the lockout is lifted.

OTHER EMERGENCY DRILLS

  • BUS EVACUATION
    Three times a year, all students (whether or not they regularly ride a bus) practice how to exit a bus safety in case of an emergency.
  • SEVERE WEATHER
    In the event of severe weather, students move to an interior hallway and sit against a wall. Cellphones should be turned off.
  • EMERGENCY EVACUATION/ALTERNATIVE SHELTER
    In the event of an immediate evacuation, students move to an alternative shelter nearby. Teachers will walk their classes to destination in town (such as a fire hall or church) and remain there until dismissed by a building leader or police officer. In this case, the district would communicate through its various channels to let parents know when or where to pick his or her child up.

Post it and pass it on: kindness is contagious at LMS

During their lunch periods, Liberty Middle School students put pen to paper to declare what small act of kindness they could carry out today in order to make someone smile.

In doing so, they reminded their peers and their teachers the importance of small kind act such as flashing a smile, holding the door open, giving a compliment or lending a hand…

View more in the video below.

Liberty pays tribute to September 11, 2001

Although our students do not of a direct recollection of the attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, they felt the nation’s hurt during a district-wide moment of silence.

The Liberty Central School District went silent at 8:46 a.m. to to mark the moment when  American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and reflect on the lives that were lost.

While somber day, it also serves as an opportunity to reflect on the resiliency of Americans and of our willingness to sacrifice and assist others in times of need.

The Town of Liberty Parks and Recreation will hold a memorial service on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Main Street Stage.

Speakers and performers will include Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore, Liberty High School “Grandma” Henrietta Phelps, former Liberty teachers Ralph Bressler and Gary Siegel and John Veleber. Mr. Veleber is the senior Vice President at Wayne Bank. He is also a witness from ground zero.

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Liberty welcomes a second school resource officer

School safety just got stronger:  Village police have added another school resource officer to assist Liberty Central School District in an effort to increase safety and security.

In August, Village of Liberty police officer Adam Lake started serving the district full-time as a school resource officer, or SRO. He joins the district’s existing SRO, Devin Brust, in enhancing school safety and providing education and support to students and staff members on a variety of topics, including drug abuse, violence, bullying and theft.

“They’re more than just police officers,” Liberty Middle School Assistant Principal Patrick Sullivan said. According to Mr. Sullivan, who is also the Director of the District Safety Committee, the SROs are here to build positive relationships with students.

For the past five years, one SRO has been serving the district full-time through an intergovernmental agreement between the district and police department. To better support students and staff, Liberty Board of Education members in August agreed to expand the contract to include a second officer.

“The addition of a second school resource officer is a proactive step,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore said. “The community and I view safety of our students and staff as a top goal.”

The move to add a second security comes as a precaution in light of recent school shootings that have occurred across the United States – and at the request of several school officials and families. The district set aside funds for the additional school resource officer in its budget, which was approved by voters on May. 15.

They may be officers of the law, but that’s just one of the many hats an SRO wears. They are here to connect with students and support them through the good times and not-so-good times.

“They’re mentors and informal counselors, too,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Officer Lake and Brust will alternate their posts at the elementary and secondary campuses on a weekly basis. In addition to running the fifth-grade D.A.R.E programs, they will also consult with the district’s various safety teams and host several staff training throughout the year to ensure that all district employees are prepared to respond to drills, evacuations and emergencies.

“We are grateful for the strong partnership we have with local law enforcement,” Dr. Tornatore said. “Knowing that Chief Scott Kinne and Officers Brust and Lake are focused on our safety allows us to keep our attention on educating our students.”

Officers Lake and Brust will continually seek out opportunities to interact with students – in the lunchroom, classroom or around the town.

Though instances of threatening behavior and breaches of security are rare, the Liberty Central School District would like to continue to proactively take the initiative to improve security measures at all of its school buildings. To that end, the district would like families to know that additional suggestions are always welcomed. For more information about the school resource officer program, please contact your school building’s main office or attend the next school board meeting.

School Resource Officers Adam Lake (left) and Devin Brust (right
School Resource Officers Adam Lake (left) and Devin Brust (right) will alternate shifts at the primary and secondary campuses.

Administrators vow focus on support, transparency

Out of the office and into the action:

Liberty Central School District’s administrative team vows new school year will be focused on academic support, transparency

Ready… set… break!

A little after sunrise on Thursday, Sept. 6, Liberty Central School District’s administrative team compared notes and re-affirmed their plans to “divide and conquer” to ensure that every single parent, student and teacher was given a proper “hello” and “best wishes” for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

It was the first day of school for many on Thursday – including the majority of the district’s new administrative team – and their excitement could not be contained.

Unlike the staff, who knew who Assistant Superintendent Tim Bohlke was, the elementary school students weren’t so sure who the happy man in the suit at their school entrance was.

“He looks like the president waving to us” one student said. “It’s got to be the jacket.”

Just a few steps behind Mr. Bohlke was Liberty Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Jackie Harris, and Assistant Principal, Mr. Bob England, who had already claimed a prominent spot at the school’s main entrance – perfect for hugs.

The festive atmosphere continued throughout the other buildings, where School Business Official Georgia Gonzalez made her rounds throughout the middle school where she greeted students in between their squeals and hugs.

If students didn’t get a chance to connect with Mrs. Gonzalez they surely got a chance to chat with Liberty Middle School Principal Andy Cameron and Assistant Principal Patrick Sullivan.  Mr. Cameron stood front and center at the crosswalk, while Mr. Sullivan jumped on and off the arriving school busses.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore, started his day at the Liberty High School with new Principal Derek Adams. Together, they made sure no student was left without a handshake or high five.

“Welcome to your first day of school,” Dr. Tornatore said. “Best wishes for a successful year.”

The district’s new leader has spent the better part of the past ten months on his “listening tour” to hear the concerns and needs from each corner of the county and wants parents, staff and students to know his number one priority is safety and transparency.

“I intend to be a very visible superintendent who works alongside our principals, teachers and of course – the families,” he said.

It was quite the first impression for new Dean of Students Frank Snyder and Mr. Adam Lake, who officially became the district’s second School Resource Officer this summer. Like the rest of the district’s central office administrative team, Mr. Lake plans to drop by every school building in the coming weeks with his partner-in-safety and, no stranger to the district, Devin Brust.

No matter what school they were stationed at, everyone agreed: parents and students were excited to see their surprise visitors.

If you didn’t get a chance to connect with any of our new administrators on the first day, be sure to keep an eye out for them tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 7 – and be sure to say hi!

 

Liberty empowers students to anonymously report bullying with new app

Students and parents in the Liberty Central School District have a new way to anonymously alert administrators and safety personnel of instances of bullying or other negative activity.

The district will begin using Quick Tips, a free anti-bullying app available for download on the Google Play and Apple App Store. Using this app, students can send anonymous reports of incidents such as bullying, harassment, self-harm and violence to school administrators. Users can include photos, videos or screenshots of social media postings with their report. Once a user sends the report, they have the option to provide their contact information or to establish an anonymous two-way communication with school leadership.

Users may download the app on the Apple Store or Google Play store and can enter the activation code, which will be distributed to students and families as the app is implemented. School administrators at each school will mail letter home to district families with more information at the start of the school year.

When it comes to random acts of violence, there are steps our school district and community can take to identify potential threats.

“Maintaining a constant state of awareness of individuals, actions and social media postings that threaten students, staff or schools is the first step we can all take,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore. “I’d like to remind all students that if you witness behavior that doesn’t look right or if you see something on social media that is concerning, please say something. Do not be afraid to speak up.”

The district would also like to ask parents and guardians to should also take the time to remind their children throughout the school year about the Quick Tips online reporting option.

For more information about Quick Tips, please contact your child’s principal or click here to read a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

LMS music classrooms temporarily closed for cleaning

Update: 9/10/18

Students will not be able to use any of the three middle school music rooms or instruments until the air has been tested. We estimate the testing process will take 7-10 days and will post updates as soon as they are available. 

Original Letter: 9/5/18

Dear Families,

We’ve recently received reports of mold in each of our three middle school music classrooms as well as part of the auxiliary gymnasium. While this type of mold can be common and the problem areas appear to be isolated, we are making some classroom shifts while these rooms are thoroughly cleaned and tested for air and moisture quality.

Any middle school student who has music, band or chorus will be directed to a different classroom; ninth period band and chorus will take place in the high school auditorium, while general music classes will take place in room 320 of the middle school.

We thank you for your patience as we take the necessary steps to ensure our classrooms are safe environment for our students and staff.  Once the rooms have been tested and cleared, music classes will take place in their regular classrooms.

We also apologize for the short notice and hope that you can share this information with your child before the start of school tomorrow, Sept. 6. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me in the Liberty Middle School main office.

Sincerely,

Andy Cameron
Liberty Middle School Principal
acameron@libertyk12.org
(845) 292-5400 ext. 2302

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