Students launch homemade water rockets

Blue, cloudless skies made an impressive canopy over Liberty on Oct. 31 as students who are enrolled in the Physics of Toys took turns launching homemade water rockets.

Along with big smiles and high-fives from the participants, there was a lot of applause coming from those observing the blast-off process.

The rocket project promotes the study of engineering concepts including inertia, gravity, air resistance, acceleration, momentum, free fall calculations, ballistics and more.


Los muertos walk in the middle school

By William Fleck
Liberty High School English Teacher


Halloween is not the only time the spirits may walk among us…at least, not at Liberty Middle School, where students in Cielo Canola-Murphy’s Spanish classes learn about El Dia de los Muertos by creating artistic displays.

According to Kristina Puga of NBC News, the origins of El Dia de los Muertos—or “Day of the Dead”—date back to the Aztecs, 3000 years ago. More recent celebratory customs come from central Mexico.

“It’s not meant to be a spooky holiday and it’s not Halloween,” Puga writes. “Those who celebrate it believe that at midnight on October 31, the souls of all deceased children come down from heaven and reunite with their families on November 1, and the souls of deceased adults come visit on November 2.”1

For Canola, a 9-year LMS veteran, teaching about the holiday addresses both academic and personal standards.

“As a Spanish teacher with Latino heritage I feel that it is important to share with my students the meaning of this holiday, which falls at the same time as Halloween, but is different since it does not include the same imagery, customs, or pumpkins,” she says. “El Dia de los Muertos is more of a memorial type of holiday. It’s a time to remember and honor ancestors, and celebrate their lives. This holiday is a very loving way to demonstrate how important they were—and still are—in the family and community.”

To that end, 8th graders at LMS make sugar skulls. They also create what Canola says are “amazing displays to understand and respect the different beliefs and traditions of the Latin-America culture.”

To do so, Canola reaches out to the community…in this case, sugar artist Kim Simons. Simons, a Liberty graduate who has appeared on The Food Network nearly a dozen times—and is a painter and sculptor in addition to being a Master Cake Artist—has taught art classes at BOCES and a slew of other venues, including Busch Gardens in Virginia.

“Kim is a friend of the family who is a cake artist, and she was excited to assist me in this amazing classroom project,” Canola notes. “Kim got involved a few years ago, and now—year after year—I can’t wait to work along with her and my 8th grade students.”

On October 29, Canola’s 8th graders worked on their displays in class. Simons brought in a specially designed 20-inch cookie of her own to inspire them, and the students followed suit by decorating cookies provided by Canola.

“I was able to demo for the class the way we do in the professional cookie world,” Simons explains. “The kids were able to follow, and they did some awesome creative work! I really enjoy doing this.”

The students were excited, as were the teachers.

“I want to thank Kim for helping with this amazing lesson,” Canola beams.



1 Puga, Kristina. “What’s El Dia de los Muertos? It’s Not Scary and It’s Not Halloween.” NBC November 1, 2017. Web.


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LES conducts off-campus evacuation drill

On Tuesday, Oct. 30 the Liberty Elementary School successfully conducted an off-campus Emergency Evacuation Drill as part of its Emergency Response Plan.

This drill took place during the school day and lasted approximately 55 minutes. School officials are happy to report that the drills went smoothly and congratulations are in order for our students and staff.

The school district’s lockdown, lockout and evacuation protocols are developed with the guidance and assistance of the Liberty Central School District Safety Committee and the Village of Liberty Department.

Please note that the Oct. 30 drill was just a practice for staff and students. Our goals, at all times, are to protect the safety of our students and staff.

If you have any questions, please contact the main office of the elementary school.

Posted on Categories Archive

Teachers paint positive messages on bathroom stalls

Motivational messages of hope, kindness and unity are now artfully splashed across the fifth- and sixth-grade girls’ stalls.

While students were catching up on their homework, teachers and staff from Liberty Middle School were hard at work in the school bathroom.

Educators recently stayed late after work to transform an ordinary bathroom into a positive, uplifting space. Drawing inspiration from social media, the teachers painted positive message on each bathroom stall on the fifth- and sixth-grade floor.

The stall project was the brainchild of the Liberty Middle School Student Council.  The project will continue and art will soon make its way to all of the stalls in the school.

Calling all veterans for special assembly Nov. 9

On Friday, Nov. 9, at 8:30 a.m. Liberty Elementary School students will don their red, white and blue and honor our Veterans with an assembly featuring patriotic songs.

If you are a Veteran – or know a Veteran – that would like to attend and participate, please call 845-292-5400 ext. 6325 to let us know his/her name, branch of service and contact information.

In addition to the assembly, the Liberty Elementary School will be taking a collection of the following items and donating them to Veterans in need at the Veterans Hospital at Castle Point. Students may bring these items in and place them in the box outside the main office:

• toothbrush
• toothpaste
• shampoo
• body wash
• body lotion
• puzzles
chocolate and/or hard candy
• large print word find and/ or crossword puzzle books

We greatly appreciate your help in honoring and supporting our Veterans.


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Stay informed about school closings and delays

The decision to delay the opening of school, dismiss early or close school for the day due to weather conditions is never an easy one. Our priority is always the safety of the children.

When school is closed or delayed because of weather or other emergencies, early morning announcements will be made over the following local radio and TV stations:

WSUL (98.3)
WVOS (95.9)
WDNB (Thunder 102.1)
WPDH (101.5/106.1)
WRRV (92.7/96.9)
WCXP (97.7)
WOLF (97.3/94.3)
WJFF (90.5)
WCZX (97.7)
WZAD (97.3 The WOLF)
WRWD (107.3)
WRNQ (92.1)
WBWZ (93.3)
WKIP (99.3)
WRWD (1370)
WKIP (1450)

WCBS (channel 2)
WNBC (channel 4)
WNYW Fox (channel 5)
TWCN (cable 6)
WABC (channel 7)
WBNG (channel 12)
WRNN (channel 22)

School closings, delayed openings and early dismissals also will be:

  • posted on the district website (; and
  • announced via SchoolMessenger’s automated phone messaging system.

Additional Notes:

  • You may also call (845) 292-5400 to hear a taped message to update you on school delays and closings (closing announcements will follow the initial greeting).
  • If you need to make changes to your contact information, please notify your child’s teacher.
  • With a two-hour delay, morning Pre-K is cancelled.
  • With an early dismissal, all after school activities are cancelled including the Liberty Boys and Girls Club at the elementary school.

Each winter storm brings its own unique set of challenges, which district officials take into account when deciding whether to open school on time. Behind each decision is a delicate balance of educational and safety priorities, first-hand observations and weather forecasts.

The decision to delay or close will be no later than 5:15 a.m. If there is a delayed opening but weather conditions continue to be a problem, the district will determine whether to close by 8 a.m.

We are sensitive to the inconvenience to parents and/or guardians who must make arrangements for their children if school is delayed, dismissed early or closed but safety must take precedence over all other considerations. Parents who deem roads unsafe for travel due to weather should use their own judgment and bring their child to school later.

Posted on Categories District News

Nominations sought for alumni Wall of Fame

Do you know an alumni who deserves to be honored on the Liberty Wall of Fame? Nominate them!

The district is currently accepting nominations for its Wall of Fame, which the district established to honor outstanding Liberty alumni who have made a lasting contribution to the district.

Nominees will be judged on exceptional accomplishments or significant contributions within their school, community or personal life.

Inductee(s) will have a plaque displayed on the Wall of Fame, located in the David E. Panebaker Auditorium lobby at Liberty High School. The district will recognize the honorees during a special ceremony and breakfast reception prior to graduation in June.

The district will accept nominations until 3 p.m. Jan. 25, 2019.

Nomination forms are available at this link. Paper copies can be picked up at the district office at 115 Buckley St., Liberty. For more information, contact Alyssa Pagano at 845-292-5400 ext. 2055.

Students participate in cooking lesson

October is National Farm to School Month. For four weeks, millions of school communities around the country celebrate the movement that connects children to fresh, healthy food and supports local agriculture and Liberty is no exception.

Chef Michael Bel, Director of the Culinary Arts Program at SUNY Sullivan recently donated his time to teach Liberty Elementary School students how to create quick and healthy meals that feature locally grown fruits and vegetables as the main ingredient.

The Catskill Edible Garden Project (CEGP) hosts after-school “Chef in the Classroom” events in Sullivan County schools as part of National Farm to School Month.

Chef in the Classroom is a hands-on way to get children excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show that children who actively engage in cooking are more likely to try new foods.

CEGP is a partnership between Catskill Mountainkeeper, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, and Sullivan Renaissance.  The project works with schools and community organizations to design edible gardens as living, outdoor educational and gathering spaces.

Volunteers needed on Oct. 27 at Liberty Public Library

Join Sullivan Renaissance and volunteers from throughout the community for “Make a Difference Day” on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 9-11 a.m. at the Liberty Public Library, 189 North Main Street, Liberty.  As the library prepares to renovate and expand services, volunteers will help with boxing books.

Anyone interested in helping on Saturday should contact Anne Louise at 845-295-2405 or email her at

“Make a Difference Day”, created by The Points of Light Foundation, is one of the largest national days of service in the United States. For the last 20 years, the event has been acknowledged on the fourth Saturday in October, with the goal of uniting people to make a difference in public spaces while improving the lives of others through service, increasing the strength of the community and promoting civic engagement.

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