Month: May 2023
Health Fest 23! to be held in Liberty
Sullivan County Department of Public Health and Action Toward Independence will host “Health Fest 23!,” a community health fair for Sullivan County. The free event will offer events and activities to promote a healthier county in which to live, play and work.
It will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 4, with a rain date of June 11, at Francis A. Hanofee Park, at 129 Sunset Lake Road, in Liberty.
Sullivan 180 will sponsor “Birth and Baby Fest 23” from noon to 1 p.m. in the small pavilion featuring educational presentations and free gifts for new and expectant parents.
For more information, contact Sullivan County DPH at 845-292-5910, ext. 0, or ATI at 845-794-4228.
LPN, social worker, data specialist honored by district
Three more employees were honored by Liberty Central School District during the Tuesday, May 23, Board of Education meeting.
Earning the Excellence in Service Awards were Amy Raymond, an LPN/pre-K coordinator who is filling in for the nurse at the elementary school; middle school social worker Lynne Diener and technical data specialist Teresa Couitt. All three were nominated by multiple people.
Raymond’s hard work and dedication to her job, always with a smile on her face, were cited by several staff members in their nominations. Among their comments:
- “Amy has been working non-stop in the nurse’s office all by herself, but continues to have a smile and never complain about the circumstances,” read one nomination.
- “She takes care of all of our students, and her responsibilities and has been exceptional with being a team player managing multiple duties,” read another.
- “She is a valued asset of LES, and makes a difference everyday for our students,” another nomination read.
- “Amy comes to work with a smile on her face every day… she treats our kids with kindness and compassion. Amy is a very deserving candidate for this award as she goes above and beyond the call of duty each day.”
Of Diener, who works at the middle school, nominators wrote:
- “Lynne has been one of the most valuable members of the Liberty Middle School community ever since she transferred to our building. Her genuine care for both students and colleagues is unmatched. Every time I interact with her she always conducts herself in a professional manner. Lynne works endlessly to make sure students get the help they need.”
- “She is constantly doing what is best for students. She goes above and beyond so often that the concept has become her norm.”
Couitt’s passion for and knowledge of her job, as well as her dedication to the district and co-workers, were mentioned by those who nominated her for the award:
- “Teresa is extremely hard working and is so passionate about SchoolTool! She is an amazing human and cares so much about her work and about everyone around her. Teresa goes above and beyond and deserves this award!”
- “She is always willing to help out in any way she can even if it’s outside of her role. She is a bright spirited person that has a way of finding a resolution to any issue that comes about. Her knowledge of how things need to operate in the office, in SchoolTool and in many facets of the school operation itself makes her an exemplary employee and an asset to the district.”
- “She is not only the SchoolTool guru, she is also kind, professional and cares about Liberty Central School District. I don’t know what I would have done without her help and understanding.”
Each month, staff members nominate others they believe are going above and beyond, be it a single act of excellence or kindness or a continuous work ethic.
We congratulate these employees on their awards.
Committee recommends new mascot: Redhawks
The Liberty Central School District mascot committee met Thursday, May 25, and voted on its recommendation for the next mascot.
After taking into account the recent votes of the community, students and staff, as well as past discussions, the committee unanimously decided to recommend Liberty’s new mascot to be the Redhawks. The proposal will go before the Liberty Central School District Board of Education on June 13. The mascot design and details have yet to be determined and will be unveiled at a later date.
Library plans June, summer events
Liberty Public Library has several events planned for June and throughout the summer.
- Middle and high school students will be able to enter the Teen Zone on Wednesdays, June 28 to Aug. 9. Open to students in fifth though 12 grades, the library will be open from 1 to 2:15 p.m. for games, art projects and hanging out in the air conditioning. Students are also invited to participate in the summer reading challenge. They can pick up a reading log at the library to record their summer reading and earn chance to win gift cards. The Teen Zone will kick off with a meeting from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 7. Games, art projects and snacks will be provided, and students will be able to learn about and sign up for volunteer opportunities at the library this summer.
- On June 10, parents and guardians are encouraged to bring their second to fourth graders to the library from 1 to 2 p.m. for STEM Day. Stations will be set up so the students can explore different activities and STEM sets, including City Engineering and Design Building Set, Castle Engineering and Design, Electronics Kit — Snap Circuits Jr. and Keva brain builders design.
- Board Game Day will be offered for elementary students after early dismissal on Friday, June 16. From noon to 1 p.m. students, accompanied by a parent or guardian, may play classics such as Chutes & Ladders, Uno, Crazy 8s and Monopoly with their friends.
- There are also several events planned throughout the summer.
- K-4 Stories, Crafts & Activities will be offered at 1 p.m. Tuesdays, June 27 to Aug. 8 (excluding July 4, as the library will be closed for the holiday. Attendees will be able to explore a variety of topics found within the library shelves: from decoding fingerprints to excavating fossils and more. Kids will also track their reading and earn prizes.
- Toddler/PreK Storytime will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesdays, June 28 to Aug. 9. There will be stories, songs, games, dancing, crafts and other activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
- Legos at the Library will be at 11 a.m. Fridays, June 30 to Aug. 4. Students are invited to create using the library’s Legos.
- At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6, the library will host a family show, “StoryFaces.” In StoryFaces, Christopher Agostino paints the faces of audience volunteers to illustrate the stories while he tells them! Stories include the classic fable about kindness, Aesop’s “The Lion and the Mouse,” and Agostino’s original folktale, “Coyote Makes Some Friends,” in which Coyote discovers that not only is it good to be helpful, it can also be the start of an adventure. For more information, visit thestorybehindthefaces.com/storytelling-show/
- A second family show, “Hudson Valley Reptile,” will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3. Attendees will have a chance to see reptile such as snakes, lizards and turtles from the Hudson Valley Reptile & Rescue Organization. Learn more at www.hvreptilerescue.org/home
- Students may also pick up a reading log at the front desk and earn prizes if they can’t come to programs.
- Children should be accompanied by an adult at the summer programs for children.
All programs are free and are held at the library at 189 N. Main St. in Liberty. For more information, call 845-292-6070 or visit www.libertypubliclibrary.org.
Liberty mourns the loss of a LHS student
Dear Liberty family,
It is with profound sadness that I write this letter to let you know that one of our high school students, Javon Islam, passed away from a medical complication the evening of Monday, May 22. Our sincere condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Javon.
During this time, as the school community processes the tragic news and copes with grief, the school district will offer counseling and bereavement support services to all of our students and staff. We are speaking to students in groups. Counseling spaces will be available in each building for students and staff. The countywide crisis team will be available throughout the buildings for additional support. Support services will continue the rest of the week.
We will also offer an opportunity for students to gather and support each other in the gymnasium after school. Students who have already left for the day may come back for the after school gathering.
A student death is a difficult and challenging situation that can generate a high level of anxiety and distress for some students. If you feel that your children are having difficulty coping with this news, we encourage you to talk with them about their thoughts and feelings to help them work through their grief or concerns. Please also consider monitoring and discussing your student’s communications (social media, phone, emails, text messages) to further assess their potential needs.
If you feel that your student needs to speak to a counselor or other caring adult, please do not hesitate to call our schools and let us know. Additionally, you should feel free to contact the school’s counseling offices at the below number for guidance on how to handle and talk about any grief or concerns that your student may be experiencing.
- Sheila Wormuth, Director of Guidance: 845-292-5400, ext. 2034
- Liberty Elementary School
- Mary Bayer, School Psychologist: 845-292-5400, ext. 2523
- Jim O’Connor, School Counselor: 845-292-5400, ext. 3251
- April Scardino, School Counselor: 845-292-5400, ext. 3315
- Liberty Middle School
- Michelle Behrman, School Counselor 6/8: 845-292-5400, ext. 2310
- Linda Krokus, School Counselor 5/7: 8-45292-5400, ext. 2110
- Erin Hadjstylianos, School Psychologist: 845-292-5400, ext. 5415
- Lynne Diener, Social Worker: 845-292-5400, ext. 2307
- Liberty High School
- Kellie While, School Counselor A-Gam: 845-292-5400, ext. 2009
- Meaghan Anstee, School Counselor Gan-M: 292-5400, ext. 2007
- Markella Nikolis, School Counselor N-Z: 845-292-5400, ext. 2010
- Amy Dworetsky, School Psychologist: 845-292-5400, ext. 2321
- Gina Castelonia, Social Worker: 845-292-5400, ext. 2032
- 24-Hour Mobile Mental Health
- Community resources
- Sullivan County Department of Community Service: 845-292-8770
- Grief support from Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties: 845-561-6111 or 800-294-0157
More information about the grieving process, courtesy of the Countywide School Critical Incident Stress Management, can be found on our website: https://www.libertyk12.org/department-services/guidance-departments/the-sullivan-county-cism-response-team/
This is a difficult time for everyone, but I know our students and staff will lean on each other as they fondly remember Javon. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me, your building principal or your child’s school counselor. Please see our website for contact information: https://www.libertyk12.org/contact-us/
Dr. Patrick Sullivan
Superintendent of Schools
LHS junior to intern at NASA-funded SEES program
A junior at Liberty High School is looking to do big things in Texas this summer.
Jayla Edwards, who plans to be an aerospace engineer, was selected for the Student Enhancement in Earth and Space science summer internship.
Only 95 of the nearly 2,000 applicants from across the nation were selected for the competitive program, which will run July 8-22 at the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research.
SEES is a collaborative effort of UT/CSR and NASA. The internships are organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs. The program combines the strengths of collaborators to enrich teaching and learning of STEM.
“The NASA SEES internship stood out to me because it allows high school students to work on issues prominent in actual NASA missions and gain valuable experience and knowledge that will be useful in college and in a career,” Edwards said.
The program pays for housing at the University of Texas for onsite teams, all meals, local transportation and has travel scholarships for those who can not afford the flight to Texas, Edwards said.
“We are all proud of Jayla’s accomplishment,” LHS Principal Derek Adams said. “We encourage our students to explore all options to further their knowledge, and this internship is a perfect example of that.”
Students will work with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research from data received from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites as well as designing Mars habitats, lunar exploration and analysis of images from the International Space Station.
Students work remotely with their project scientist before the on-site internship, complete an Earth and Space Science course, and complete a Python coding course. During the two weeks the students will work at UT/CSR, they will conduct hands-on activities, field investigations, collaborate with NASA-funded scientists and engineers, and work on various NASA missions.
“I hope the program will provide me with the opportunity to gain the skills I will need in the future and give me a chance to see what kinds of things I will be doing in the future,” Edwards said. As part of the Mars Rover Resource Utilization Team, “I am very excited to be working on a project that is so similar to NASA missions that I desire to be a part of.”
It won’t be all work. The student will also listen to talks from scientists and engineers, visit the NASA Johnson Space Center, and go to an escape room, Edwards said.
“Our mission at Liberty is ‘to empower each student to contribute and thrive in a diverse community by pursuing their potential,’” LCSD Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan said. “With this internship, Jayla embodies our mission and our Liberty Pride.”
Lessons connect LMS students with others across the globe
At Liberty Middle School, students in fifth and sixth grades are partners in learning with students from across the globe, thanks to Level Up Village.
The mission of Level Up Village is to “globalize the classroom by facilitating cultural collaboration between students from around the world.”
To do that, each class is divided up into groups of about four students. Level Up Village provides a basic lesson outline and an online platform where the interactions take place. Each course is divided into tasks, with each 10-week course consisting of five tasks. Each group is given question prompts, which they use to write a response and record a video of themselves discussing the prompts. Videoes, of no more than two minutes per group, are posted weekly on the platform. The groups will then watch the videos from the partner groups in the other country, after which the students create a response to their partners’ video and they do the same.
Liberty began using Level Up Village last year.
It is offered as an enrichment activity within the High Achiever MTSS pillar of the LCSD strategic plan. “It works perfectly for fifth and sixth grade MTSS enrichment groups,” LMS School Media Specialist Jill Parks said.
The first course, taught by Parks, was STEM-based. Sixth grade students worked with a class in Zimbabwe, where each group researched current public health issues in their area.
Sixth grade ELA teacher Samantha Abplanalp led a course on education, leadership and community service using the book “I am Malala” and working with a group of students in Columbia.
Earlier this year, Parks worked with a group of fifth grade students on a course called “Kenya and New York: Connecting with Communities Around the World,” which focused on environmental concerns.
Most recently, Parks has been working with fifth graders focusing on human rights using the book “Esperanza Rising.” In this course, students are working with a group in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Students said they have learned a lot about other cultures and how other people live by taking part in the Level Up Village courses.
“I have learned that my life is easier than many others,” fifth-grader Brycen Smith said. It taught Hayden Smith, “to appreciate what I have.”
They found out there are similarities between the groups of students, too. “Students in Ukraine like the same sports as we do,” Antoni Klys said. And “they have the same holidays as us,” Zalaina Nash added.
The course also gave students a chance to read a book they may not otherwise have been exposed to, Claire Ferguson said.
Many students also enjoyed the technological aspects of the projects, with many students citing the video-making as their favorite part.
Not only did they gain an understanding about other cultures and technology, the students also learned cooperation and collaboration by working in groups, they said.
Participants in the latest project also recognized how current events were impacting the students halfway around the world.
“(In Ukraine), they have lots of students that left,” Lilly Kehrley said.
“They still have hope and made videos for us even though they were in a tough condition with the war between them and Russia,” Meily Valencia added.
Learning directly from students in other countries helped change some LMS students’ thinking, they said. “These programs made me think differently because I know more about people around the world and how our decisions could affect them,” Aiden Herandez Mejia said.
“This program is very student-centered. They take ownership of their work,” Parks said. “They like learning about other cultures straight from global peers their own age.”
Students will continue to have a chance for that global interaction, Parks said.
“I have already agreed to do at least two more courses next year,” she said. “My goal is to incorporate more technology on our end with programs like WeVideo, and Canva, so our students can create even better video presentations.”
Sports schedule, and results, for the week of May 22-28, 2023
Our athletes will be in action in baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field this week.
Here is the schedule and results, if available:
Monday, May 22
4 p.m.: Varsity baseball sectionals vs. Spackenkill at Spackenkill High School
4:30 p.m.: JV baseball vs. Tri-Valley at Tri-Valley Secondary School
5 p.m.: Boys and girls varsity track and field vs. multiple schools at Liberty High School.
Tuesday, May 23
9 a.m.: Boys varsity golf sectionals vs. multiple schools at Powelton Club Clubhouse
11 a.m.: Girls varsity golf sectionals vs. multiple schools at Apple Greens Golf Course
Wednesday, May 24
10 a.m.: Boys varsity tennis sectionals vs. multiple schools at Goshen Sports Complex
11 a.m.: Girls varsity golf section finals vs. multiple schools at Apple Greens Golf Course
4:30 p.m.: Modified baseball vs. Sullivan West Central at Liberty Middle School
4:30 p.m.: Modified softball vs. Sullivan West Central at Liberty Elementary School
Thursday, May 25
9 a.m.: Boys varsity golf sectionals vs. multiple schools at McCann Memorial Golf Course
10 a.m.: Boys varsity tennis sectionals vs. multiple schools at Goshen Sports Complex
2 p.m.: Boys and girls varsity track and field section finals vs. multiple schools at Roundout Valley Central School.
4:15 p.m.: Modified softball vs. Fallsburg at Liberty High School
4:30 p.m.: JV baseball vs. Sullivan West Central at Liberty High School
Friday, May 26
4:15 p.m.: JV baseball vs. Monticello at Monticello High School
Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28
No events scheduled.
The schedule is subject to change. Check the Liberty schedule on the Section 9 website for the latest.
LES teacher earns MHSSC Teaching Excellence Award
Liberty Elementary School teacher Robbi Philips was awarded a 2023 Teaching Excellence Award by the Mid-Hudson School Study Council on Thursday, May 18, in Rockland County. She was one of just a dozen teachers selected from many nominees across the seven counties that comprise the council.
“Liberty is very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable, respected and effective teacher as Robbi Philips,” Superintendent Patrick Sullivan said. “Her willingness to go above and beyond to make Liberty a great place to learn is an asset to us all.”
Philips has been teaching at Liberty for more than 23 years. In February, she was awarded one of the LCSD’s Excellence in Service awards. Over the arc of her teaching career, she has been a special education teacher, reading teacher, interventionist, instructional coach, department facilitator, union representative and perennial leader. She is also an active member of the district’s strategic planning committee, the Liberty Elementary annual priority planning committee, the social-emotional wellness committee, and a building representative for the local teacher’s union.
“Teaching is meeting the needs of students in the way that works best for them,” Philips said. “I want every child I meet to know that they are valued, loved, and that they are capable of whatever they want to accomplish.”
Philips is a reading teacher and a facilitator for the ELA department and MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support). She is leading her colleagues through the seismic shifts from balanced literacy and guided reading to the science of reading where explicit, systematic instruction in how letters represent sounds is the most effective way to fundamentally teach kids how to read words.
These shifts are very challenging, LES Principal Robert England said, and Philips is that trusted colleague and expert to bring those seismic shifts in practice forward for the benefit of all Liberty students. “Her outsized effect on the growth and capacity of the Liberty professional learning community has improved their collective efficacy and sped up curriculum implementation by months or perhaps even years,” England said.
Her work with many new and untenured teachers is a particular piece of her legacy, England said, as teachers are not entering or staying in the profession. Philips’ ability to enter into trusted coaching relationships to support and develop new teacher pedagogy is a significant and powerful way she has chosen to give even more to Liberty, he said.
“I do my best to support my colleagues in helping all students to reach their full potential,” Philips said.
Philips’ passion for teaching is a family tradition. Her husband, David, is a teacher at LES, and there are multiple generations of teachers on both sides of the family. Their son Caleb is working in higher education at SUNY Plattsburgh; another son, Andrew, is an elementary school teacher; their daughter, Rebecca, is a college student and substitute teacher when not in semester session; and their youngest, David, is a junior at Liberty High School.
“To receive this award is truly an honor,” Philips said. “I am thankful to work in a place where I am blessed to be part of an amazing family of colleagues and administrators.”
A message from the principal on senior activities
Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:
It’s an exciting time for our Class of 2023! The following letter includes information about the remaining senior events culminating in our graduation ceremony.
- Cap and Gown Parade: Thursday, June 1, 4-6 p.m.
The Senior and family (all cars arriving together if possible) will drive in the bus lane at the LHS entrance. The Senior pulls up to the front of the high school, stays in the car, and will be given their graduation Cap and Gown. The Senior then slowly drives through the rest of the bus lane and exits school grounds while LHS faculty and staff cheer for them.
- Senior Assembly: Monday, June 12, 6-8 p.m. in the David E. Panebaker (LHS) Auditorium
The Class of 2023, LHS staff, and parents/guardians are all invited to attend the Senior Assembly. Seniors wear their Cap & Gown to the event and need to arrive by 5:30 p.m.
- Senior Walk and Senior Picture: Tuesday, June 13, 8:10-10:30 a.m.
The Class of 2023 is invited to walk through each of the Liberty school district buildings as a class for the last time in their high school career. The experience includes the showing of a compiled video of their elementary experiences produced by 4th grade teacher, Mr. Philips. Seniors wear their Cap & Gown. LHS Senior Picture- Seniors report to the LHS gym at 8:15 a.m.
Seniors return their Chromebooks if they have no other tests.
- Senior Trip: TBD
- LHS Live Graduation Ceremony: Friday, June 23, 2023
Where: LHS Football Field
- Weather related back up plans:
- Plan B – Rain date of Saturday, June 24, depending on weather and field conditions.
- Plan C – Shift into the gymnasium depending on weather and field conditions. If shifted into the gym, only the eight (8) ticket holders may attend. Extra tickets can be exchanged from one graduate to another if they will not use them all.
- 5:00 p.m. for Graduates to rehearse and take a class photo (that will be hung in the hallway at LHS)
- 6:00 p.m. for guest arrival. Eight (8) guests per graduate for field seating. Additional guests may attend to sit outside of the track fencing if held on the football field. If shifted into the gym, only the eight (8) ticket holders may attend. Extra tickets can be exchanged from one graduate to another if they will not use them all.
- 7:00 p.m. Ceremony
- Guests enter through the Middle School Gymnasium entrance (just like football games).
- Each guest must bring their ticket to the track entrance gate.
- Any change to the event due to weather will be made by 3 p.m. on June 23.
- Save any flower bouquets for your graduate until after the ceremony.
- Graduates will be mailed a 5×7 photo of them receiving their diploma at graduation.
- Individuals requiring handicap access should park by the red administration building where golf carts will be stationed for transport to the field.
- Weather related back up plans:
- Directions and Tips for our Graduates:
- Wear your cap and gown, and remember your tassel, sashes, and cords (school issued).
- Students may only decorate the top of their cap. No other changes, decorations, or additions are allowed other than what is school issued (e.g. National Honor Society sashes).
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking through grassy, unlevel areas, and stepping onto metal bleachers.
- Bring anything you may need to help your cap stay on or keep your hair in place (bobby pins, etc.)
All the Best,
Derek Adams, Principal