School board to meet Feb. 27

The next Liberty Central School District Board of Education meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in the HS Media Center at 5:30 p.m.  The Board anticipates to enter into executive session immediately, and the regular meeting (open to the public) is expected to resume at 6:30 p.m.

The agenda will be available on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, at Board Docs.

Posted on Categories District News

New technology brings history to life

Liberty Central School District sixth-graders in Samantha Abplanalp’s social studies class recently had the opportunity to interview Egyptian pharaohs.

No, they didn’t travel in a time machine. They used ChatGPT.

“The idea of using AI can be scary, but I know that students will begin using it at some point in their academic career,” Abplanalp said. “I thought it would be better to teach students how to use AI appropriately now.”

In sixth grade, students learn about early humans and ancient civilizations, from Mesopotamia to ancient Egypt, then China, Greece and Rome. Abplanalp, who has been teaching at Liberty Middle School for three years, tries to make learning fun.

Using technology is one way Abplanalp works to keep her students actively participating in class. “I find that students are much more engaged in their learning when they are doing projects and collaborating with others,” she said.

Interviewing a pharaoh

In the pharaoh project, students are creating posters using facts garnered from credible sources on the internet. Students were provided a graphic organizer to plan the poster and write the facts that they found. They created interview questions that they would ask their pharaoh if given the opportunity. This is where ChatGPT came in. Students met in small groups with Abplanalp and asked their questions to ChatGPT.

To help students get accurate answers, Abplanalp asked ChatGPT to be the pharaoh and to reword responses for sixth graders.

“I think it was interesting because it acted like Cleopatra and told me that she purposely made a snake bite her because she was worried the Egyptians were going to kill her anyway,” student Zalaina Nash said.

After asking their questions, students had to decide whether ChatGPT answered their question and if it seemed accurate. They had to use an additional source to determine whether it was correct.

“I looked the same question up on a different website and got a different response, which showed me that ChatGPT might not always be accurate, just like we talked about in class,” student Madison LaMantia said.

“Before using ChatGPT in the classroom, I always discuss with students that it can provide inaccurate information, just like other sources that can be found online,” Abplanalp said.

AI in the classroom

Students were shocked by how fast ChatGPT responded to their questions, Abplanalp said. Many students were looking forward to the interviews, and they were really excited when fact checking and finding that ChatGPT generated an accurate response, she added.

“It was a fun assignment where students got to play around with technology while also learning that AI can have errors,” Abplanalp said.

Her students had used AI previously when studying the Indus River Valley. They asked questions, and Abplanalp typed them into ChatGPT. She read the responses aloud, and the class discussed how some of the questions couldn’t be answered since archaeologists themselves were unable to answer those questions.

The program actually inspired the pharaoh activity, Abplanalp said. “When I was thinking about how ChatGPT could be used in the classroom, I played around with it to see what ideas it could give me.”

She typed in “‘How can I use ChatGPT in the classroom?” and one of the ideas generated was having it pose as a historical figure.

Students work on posters while sitting at or standing near desksThe program helped spark ideas for students as well.

“I like how Chat GPT tried to figure out when Cleopatra’s birthday was, and I like how it gives you extra information. This helped in my research because it gave me more ideas of what I can put on my poster,” student Milana David-Colon said.

“I look forward to seeing how else AI can be used in the classroom,” Abplanalp said. “I know that AI is becoming a big part of the world around us and as technology continues to advance, there is no question that the use of AI will continue to grow.”

Beyond social studies

The class uses Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES curriculum, which is an integrated social studies and ELA curriculum. Abplanalp said her initial ideas come from the curriculum, and she tries to add in engaging activities.

Since the social studies curriculum integrates ELA, students spend a lot of time reading, writing and answering comprehension questions. “Sometimes students don’t even know if they are in ELA or social studies,” Abplanalp said.

The curriculum in different classes often align and work off of each other. In the spring, when students begin learning about ancient Greece in social studies, they begin reading “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan in ELA. The novel discusses the Greek gods and goddesses.

“When students begin reading, the lines between social studies and ELA really blur and the kids seem to enjoy how the two blend together,“ she said.

And it is more than ELA lessons that cross over into social studies. The ChatGTP project showcases the importance of fact-checking and accuracy. Students also learn about the geography of the world, different cultures and how history impacts the world today. Students are able to see the similarities and differences between ancient civilizations and they can even compare them to our lives today.

Using aligned curriculum, explicit direct instruction and supportive teaching methods are all part of the district’s five-year strategic plan and its supporting Middle School Priority Document to improve academic outcomes.

“I often think back to when I was in social studies in elementary school. I can still remember many of the engaging activities that my teachers did in the classroom, from dressing like Greek gods and goddesses to building a replica of the Great Wall of China, I was given the opportunity to be creative while learning, and those are the lessons I will never forget,” Abplanalp said. “As a teacher, I want my students to not only retain what they learn, but to enjoy school and the learning process.”

A message from the superintendent

Earlier this evening, Thursday, Feb. 22, Liberty Central School District was informed of a statement made by a parent while at Liberty Middle School after school hours that created a safety concern.

The Liberty Police Department was immediately contacted. After an investigation, LPD determined that there is no threat to the safety of our students and staff.  Also, LPD has taken appropriate law enforcement action and will be issuing its own communication detailing its actions.

We take all safety concerns seriously and encourage that if anyone sees or hears something concerning, they notify a trusted adult or a member of law enforcement.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick Sullivan

Superintendent of Schools

Education goes beyond facts and figures at LES

From task-tacklers to productive problem-solvers, dozens of students are honored monthly during Liberty Elementary School’s Character Counts Awards ceremonies.

The awards grew out of LES’s commitment to the Leader in Me (LIM) framework, which began during the 2019-20 school year and empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. At that time, the school had monthly “Star Student” awards, but they had no connection to core tenets of  character development, LES Principal Robert England said.

The following year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Character Counts awards began. The awards reinforce the concepts of LIM, celebrate student efforts in those areas, educate parents and demonstrate commitment by and to staff that this is important, England said.

“At Liberty Elementary School, we’re teaching students to think about their own thinking and make conscious and strategic choices,” he said.

LIM and the Character Counts awards support Liberty’s five-year strategic plan pillar of Culture and promoting the mission and vision of the district.

Earning an award

The building toward the awards begins during the first eight days of school, during a “social emotional orientation.”

Students are introduced or reintroduced to the Eight Habits used by Leader in Me, which are based off of Stephen R. Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and related books. Those first eight days also give the students an opportunity to get to know each other, their teachers, the staff and the school building, through scavenger hunts and other hands-on activities.

Each month, classes building-wide focus on learning one of the eight habits and reinforcing the previous one. Each classroom teacher has the opportunity to select two students for the awards each month, one for each habit that was the focus that month. If a teacher feels no student meets the criteria for one or both awards, an award will not be given for that habit in that classroom.

A student can win both awards for the month, but that hasn’t happened, England said. Students can and have won more than one award in a year.

Being Involved

A woman kneels on the floor with her arm around a child holding a certificate as another person takes a picture.  Another child holding a certificate is in the background.Parents and guardians of that month’s winners are invited to attend the ceremonies, which are held in two parts—kindergarten, first grade and multi-age rooms, and second through fourth grades. The ceremony is also live streamed. The aim of having parents and guardians engaged with the awards is for the habits taught at school to continue and grow at home.

Students, staff and families cheer loudly as each recipient’s name is read, and the winners go to the front of the gymnasium to receive their certificates as well as a small prize.

Students take a leadership role in the awards by naming the awards. They are invited to offer suggestions for fun names for each habit’s award. The suggestions are reviewed by the Culture Committee/Building Leadership Team, which narrows down the list to three or four names on which the students vote via survey.

Tying it together

This year, LES began recognizing students with perfect or near perfect attendance during the ceremony. That reinforces the first three habits, which focus on internal choices of personal responsibility, goal setting and self-management. Those who chose to be on time and in school every day or only miss one day are recognized for their dedication to making school and their learning a priority, England said.

Each student also has “Wildly Important Goals” as part of the Leader in Me. These goals, personal and academic, help students measure their progress, as do the students’ self-reflective Personal Leadership binders. In the binder they have prompts to help them think about where they are excelling and where they could improve.

“Leader in Me prompts us to be our better selves,” England said.

A man speaks into a microphone in a gym as people sit on the floor and other watch from seats above.The awards also help students realize they will not always be perfect, he added. They become self aware of their failing and acknowledge they need to take steps to improve.

The Leader in Me principles are also reinforced by “Caught Being a Leader,” which praises students who choose to do something positive when they thought nobody was watching.

The year is capped by the Field Day in June, where the next three habits, which focus on interactions with others, are reinforced in games and activities.

Focusing on the seventh habit, “Sharpen the Saw,” (taking care of yourself), the school has replaced sugary drinks with flavored water stations, which have been a hit with students, England said.

The results

There have been positive, tangible results since Leader in Me and the Character Counts awards were established, England said.

“Our referrals have dropped dramatically,” he said.

And the curriculum integration of Leader in Me into other subjects has led to academic improvement with more students consistently reaching math and reading goals.

Students are supportive of each other, and that reinforces LIM work done in the classroom, encouraging other students to do better, he said.

“In the end, the singular purpose is for children to realize that their past or current conditions don’t need to dictate their future,” he said. “We want each and every student to have a positive vision of their futures no matter what their circumstances might be. We want our students to feel  empowered with a self-directed plan, measurable goals and an internal belief that they can overcome any obstacle to meet their potential.”

Easter bunny visits planned in Liberty

Children will have two opportunities to visit the Easter Bunny next month in Liberty

Sullivan Catskills and the Greater Liberty Chamber of Commerce is hosting a visit with the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9. It will take place at the Spring Marketplace at Liberty Mall at 15 Sullivan Ave. Children will be able to see the Easter Bunny and more than 40 local vendors and artisans will be on hand selling their wares. The market will close at 5 p.m.

The following weekend, Liberty Elks Lodge 1545 will host its annual Easter event from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the lodge on Darbee Lane. All children up to age 10 will receive an Easter basket while supplies last. Lunch and family photos will be available for all those who attend.

Registration open for Camp Invention

Camp Invention, a weeklong STEM-focused program for children, will return to Liberty Elementary School this summer, with a new program, “Illuminate!”

From Aug. 19 to Aug. 23, children in grades K-6 will collaborate to take on fun, hands-on STEM challenges, from designing a light-up ball game to tackling global water challenges to starring in a prototyping game show.

It is open to all children, including those outside of Liberty Central School District, entering kindergarten through sixth grade.

Registration can be done online at http://tinyurl.com/LEScamp2024. The cost is $270. Use promo code SUM25 by March 27 to save $25. There are also $100 scholarships available. For more information on the program, scholarships or registration, email Camp Director Stefanie Benjamin at sbenjamin@libertyk12.org.

Children keep all of the projects they make at Camp Invention. More information on Camp Invention is available at https://www.invent.org/programs/camp-invention.

More than 200 named to LMS second-quarter honor roll

The following Liberty Middle School students were named to the honor rolls for the second quarter.

Honor Roll students have an overall average of 90-96. The Principal’s Honor Roll requires an average of 97-100.

Eighth grade

Principal’s honor: Colten Jay Allen, Sophia Duarte, Belle Gandulla, Tyler A Juron, Shea-Leigh Kristiansen and Adriana Ponce Agredano.

Honor: Angeliz Arriaga Munoz, Irwin Barragan Rojas, Zachariah Bickham, Gabriel Bossert, Alyssia Boyles, Jared Briggs, Ted Caycho Jr, Hope Corbett, Keven Cordero Lima, Ezra Dilworth, Michael Feijo, McKayla Figueroa,  Brooke Golzak, Starriah Harris, Leah Herbek, Hunter Kavleski, Lena LaGattuta, Peter Miralle Jr, Jessey Miranda, Anai Perez Sanchez, Kourtney Perry, Jayla Ramon, Peyton Rivera, Baileigh Steinberg, Samantha Vidalis, Mason Williams, Jackson Wilson and Alonso Yupanqui.

Seventh grade

Principal’s honor: Samantha Bull,  Luca Burgio, Phillip Burrous Jr, Amelia Cole, Joshua DiBartolo, Grace Fitzgerald, Sara Liddle, Elizabeth MacNamara, Olivia Matuszak, Sariah Ocasio, Jacob Pennell, Everett Schwartz, Alena Tarabichi, Anthony Valdez Calle and Sophia Vasko.

Honor: Nathan Alvord, Evelin Castillo Hernandez, Matthew Decker, Casity DiBartolo, Laudy D’Oleo, Alexandra Galeas Osorio, Jasmine Garcia-Reyes, Anthony Gavidia Reyes, Yoscari Gomez Mejia, Miles Harman, Victoria Henry, Mariana Joya-Reyes, Damien Keating, Alexandra Kelly, Selkir Molina Gonzalez, Alex Olivares-Reyes, Javier Ortiz Paz, Aaron Ponce Flores, Rudis Reyes Lazo, Kimberly Rodriguez, Quinn Santiago, MaKaidyn Smith, Emma Tacti and Wayne Toscano-Gardner.

Sixth grade

Principal’s honor: Madison Montgomery Allen, Genesis Caiza Viracocha, Amy Cortes Cruz, Mya Davis, Claire Ferguson, Gavin Grant, Antoni Klys, Matthew Kolarik, Harper Matuszak,Angelick Rivera and Brycen Smith.

Honor: Alexander Alvarado,  Conner Baum, Faith Boyles, Cinfuentesm Maria, Jeremy Correa, Jonathan DiDonne, Ethan DuBois, Makayla Fuentes Serapio, Analina Garcia, Michael Garzon Valle, Chase Golzak, Danahia Gonzalez Gonzalez, Vina Graham, Liam Greaves, Jacob Grossman, Damier Harrington, Aiden Hernandez Mejia, Jolisa Hernandez, Luna Pixie Hulse, Lilly Kehrley, Brody Kelly, Sidra Koen James, Liam LaGattuta, Corinne Lake, Madison LaMantia, Denis Leon Aldana, Briana Lojano Inga, Gabriel Joseph Lotz, Ixchel Marin Gonzalez, Pricilla Matute, Riot Thomas McCoy, Atticus McNamara, Ava McNett, Adner Mejia Aguilar, Americus Mott, Pearl Mott, Zalaina Nash, Erika Panama, Ruben Paz Lopez, Luke Poley, Valeria Ponce Vazquez, Fabian Reyes Banegas, Myla Rielly, Aiden Satz,Namarpreet Singh, Hayden Smith, Ana Sosa, Angel Terraza Raymundo, Erick Torres Garcia, Nakai Toscano-Gardner, Meily Valencia Bamac, Nahum Vallejo Sandoval, Eric Vargas Martin, Evan Vidalis, Markel Woeckener and Ethan Zheng,

Fifth grade

Principal’s honor: Elisa Barragan, Owen Brust, Farrah Conklin-Degraw, Dia D’Agata, Avery Decker, Tristian Degroat, Delilah Flores-Serapio, Mia Grant, Tyler Kavleski, Aubrie Keating, Megan Martinez Gomez, Karen Mosso, Randy Panchana, Scarlett Ratner, Raegan Wagner and Sophie Zayas.

Honor: Muhammad Awais,  Guiliana Birkett, Emma Boyles, Andry Caal Chub, Katarina Card, Riley Church-Bradley, Raymond Cottman Jr, Gregory Dasraj, Marcel Davis, Conor Deis, Ellis Dilworth, Ronal Dubon Duque, Royce Fingers, Madelyn Garcia Cuellar, Ely Garcia Garcia, Lilliana Garzon Ferrufino, Dariana Gonzalez Suarez, Astrid Guardado Diaz, Anabel Hernandez Fuentes, Madison Hernandez, Isabella Intranuovo, Hudson Jardon, Dylan Joya Reyes, Mateusz Klys, Makenzie Knack, Kaleb Laidley, Leandro Leon, Keidy Llano Luciano, Alexandria Lyden, Daisuke Mapes, Ayanelson Mazariegos Cuz, Abel McClain, Bentley Moore, Alisha Morales, Samuel Negroni, Paul Odior 2nd, Denali Owens, Makaela Parsons, Lily Paynter, Joseph Portillo Larios, Milsi Ramirez Martinez, Jordanno Rivera, Kailani Rivera, Aaliyssa Rodriguez, Sherlene Romero, Caleb Rusin, MaKynlie Smith, Reinier Staton, Marjorie Tejada Servellon, Sophie Grace Toledo, Katherine Valdez Calle, Belinda VanGordon, Carolina Vera Rivera and Subhan Zeeshan.

 

Sports schedule, and results, for the week of Feb. 19-25, 2024

As the season winds down, there are few games on the schedule. This week we have basketball in action.

Here are the schedule and results, if available. Livestream links are included where available.

Monday, Feb. 19

No events scheduled.

Tuesday, Feb. 20

No events scheduled

Wednesday, Feb. 21

5 p.m.: Girls Varsity Basketball vs. S. S. Seward Institute at Liberty High School

Thursday, Feb. 22

No events scheduled

Friday, Feb. 23

No events scheduled.

Saturday, Feb. 24

No events scheduled

Sunday, Feb. 25

No events scheduled

The schedule is subject to change. Check the Liberty schedule on the Section 9 website for the latest. 

Faculty, staff learn on students’ day off

Liberty Central School students didn’t have to answer the morning bell Friday, Feb. 16, but that was not the case for the faculty and staff.

It was a conference day full of learning and working to improve faculty and staff skills and knowledge to enhance their students’ classroom experience.

“It is important to offer time for our teachers to become students by offering vital professional development opportunities,” Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan said.

The day started in the high school cafeteria with breakfast for all district staff.

Faculty and staff then broke into professional development sessions based on school or job description.

Elementary and middle school teachers started by working on their curriculum maps, which outlines the expectations and standards for each subject and grade level.

A woman stands to the right of screen with a display about educational superheroes as a teacher sits in the foreground
MaryAnn Brittingham presented “Strategies for Working with ‘I Don’t Care’ students, to high school teachers during the Feb. 16 conference day.

At that time, high school staff took part in a workshop with education consultant MaryAnn Brittingham, who focused on working with students who have an “I don’t care” attitude, explaining what is behind it and providing strategies to approach these students with a different mindset

Middle school staff was next for Brittingham, who addressed problems with students whose difficult home lives may impact their behavior in school. She explained methods to de-escalate situations and discussed: “What is under anger?” “Window of tolerance” and “The 3 R’s to assist in de-escalation.”

After lunch, Brittingham then spoke to elementary staff on understanding and handling attention-seeking and manipulative behaviors among students. “Utilizing and Documenting Tier 2 Behavior Interventions in the Classroom; Put the Game on the Table” aimed to help staff decipher the underlying needs behind such behavior and find ways to address them.

Brittingham finished the day working with middle school administration and student services staff on  implementation of strategies and accountability measures.

A group of teachers sit at a circular table working on Chromebooks
Elementary teachers worked collaboratively on curriculum maps during the Feb. 16 Conference Day

Other professional development opportunities included training for new substitutes, teacher assistants and aides, strategies for English Language Learners classrooms, using the DESSA/Aperture social and emotional screener, working with education consultants PLC Associates on Explicit Direct Instruction methods for giving transparent learning targets, breaking down complex concepts and setting up clear instructions for learning and more.

LCSD holds regular conference days to offer faculty and staff professional development in support of the five-year strategic plan. The sessions cover all pillars of the plan — curriculum, coherence, culture and MTSS, or Multi-Tier System of Supports.

LCSD seeks input on use of ARP-ESSER funds

Liberty Central School District is gathering input from the community regarding the district’s use of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP-ESSER) funding. To review how LCSD allocated the funds, visit the LCSD ARP-ESSER plan webpage.

LCSD residents and staff are asked to take this quick, anonymous survey to offer their feedback.

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