Information for high school families on the upcoming school year

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:

Welcome to Liberty High School and the 2023-2024 school year, home of the newly minted mascot, the Redhawks! I hope everyone has enjoyed summer, and is ready for what the new school year will bring. We again have a full high school with about 575 students in grades 9-12. We strive to have a safe and student centered learning environment where students are able to fulfill their potential, build their creativity and productively enjoy the high school experience. To this end, we must focus students being in the place they learn the most, which is class with their teachers.

As you enter this school year, I encourage students to take advantage of the many exciting opportunities that we offer in their most enriching formats including an array of 15 college classes equating to 46 college credits, and an extensive offering of athletic teams and extra-curricular clubs. We also want students to engage in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens/People that we use from Leader in Me. The habits will help students reach their potential and successfully graduate from high school with the skills necessary to be productive members of society.

Private Victories

The first three habits are private victories, which are:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
    • Take responsibility for your life and things in your control- come to school everyday, on time; engage in your classes; complete your assignments
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
    • Define your mission and your goals in life- join activities outside of your schedule as we have many sports and clubs offered.
  • Habit 3: Put first things first
    • Prioritize, and do the most important thing first- follow the rules and keep everyone around you safe.

Faculty and Staff Changes

We are excited to have several new faculty and staff members joining us this year:

  • Jessica Edwards – Special Education teacher
  • Ashley Holloway – English teacher
  • Jennifer Tyles – TESOL – Newcomer Program teacher
  • Heather Russell – Math teacher
  • Frank Kean – Math teacher leave
  • Paul Turner – World Language- Mandarin teacher
  • Dan Hart – Business Teacher (returning from retirement)
  • Irais Leon – Teacher Assistant
  • Ana LaGattuta – Teacher Assistant – Newcomer Program (returning from retirement)
  • Amanda Alejandro-Marvel – Teacher Aide
  • Michael Fritz – Teacher Aide

This year Mr. Matuszak, is our Assistant Principal who will be the administrator for grades 10 and 12. Mr. Peters, our Interim Assistant Principal, will be the administrator for grades 9 and 11. We continue to search for a full time assistant principal. They are your Assistant Principal if you are in their designated grades, but you can reach out to any of us for assistance or support with anything.

Please seek your school counselor and guidance staff to help support your needs whether they are academic, social-emotional, or non-school related. The counselors and assignments are as follows:

  • Kelli White: Last name beginning with A-Gam
  • Meaghan Anstee: Last name beginning with Gan-M
  • Markella Nikolis: Last name beginning with N-Z
  • Gina Castelonia: Social Worker
  • Amy Dworetsky: Psychologist

Reminders, Updates, and Daily Operations:

These are highlights from our student handbook, which is provided through FamilyID and is available at any time on our website.


This year we will begin using electronic hallpasses through a system called E-Hallpass. E-Hallpass will allow students to monitor student whereabouts while limiting our use of paper products. Students will have access to E-Hallpass through classlink on their school issued chromebook, or personal device.


It is always the easiest to learn and complete expected assignments with on time, daily attendance. Having a habit of daily attendance matters more than ever. Going to school is an opportunity for your student to build routines that help reduce stress, connect to their friends and  teachers, and engage in learning. Students who attend school at least 90% of the time are more likely to pass their classes, pass their NYS Regents Exams, graduate high school, and have good relationships with parents and teachers. Missing as little as two (2) days per month can affect meeting these markers. Graduating high school has positive influences including, more career opportunities, more money earned during their lifetime, more soft life skills and coping skills, and more civic engagement.

Academic Expectations

Students will be held accountable through our traditional grading practices including grade averages generally consisting of assessments and activities that will calculate learning growth and achievement, effort, and attendance. It is expected that all students actively and fully participate in the coursework and complete assignments with academic integrity. Specifically, students are to complete their assignments using academically appropriate resources (i.e.- scholarly resources that provide accurate information).

New Courses

More information about our course offerings can be found in our Program of Studies . The following are additions and changes this year.

Mandarin Exploratory

Our world language department has offered a sequence of Spanish language classes with the four and five level classes resulting in college credit. This year, we also offer a Mandarin exploratory course with the goal of adding a Mandarin 1B course next year (to sequence with Mandarin 1A in the middle school).

Newcomer Program

This year we are introducing an in-house Multilingual Learner Newcomer Program. This program offers high school students who have limited or no English language skills extra support to develop their language skills before moving to mainstream, English-language based classes.

Seal of Civic Readiness

We are offering the Seal of Civic Readiness at the high school. The New York state initiative aims to provide “civic education that empowers all students to make informed decisions for the public good as members of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.” Our students will be able to receive the Seal of Civic Readiness, a formal recognition that a student has attained a high level of proficiency in terms of civic knowledge, civic skills, civic mindset and civic experiences.

New Mascot

After receiving community, student and staff input, we were able to choose a new mascot at the end of last year. We are now the Liberty Redhawks! There will be more updates forthcoming from our District Office as plans are created and confirmed.

Structured Study Halls

Students are expected to use their structured study halls as an academic support where they engage in academic activities such as homework, preparing for tests/quizzes, reading, peer tutoring, extra help, etc. Study hall is an electronics red zone and students are not allowed to be on their personal electronic devices unless authorized by the study hall teacher and actively engage in academic activities.

Electronic Devices and Cell Phones

Electronic devices have become an integral part of the educational process through the use of school issued Chromebooks. Use of school issued electronic devices is inextricably linked to greater success in the acquisition of skills and competencies and prepares students for post-secondary education, the workplace and life. Conversely, personal electronic devices such as cell phones, can be the most distracting issue in our classrooms and hallways today. In addition, they can create unsafe situations when students are in motion. Below are the zones we use to give students the responsibility to adhere to the privileges of personal e-device usage at the appropriate times. More information can be found in our Student Handbook.

  • RED ZONE – No personal e-device use allowed. This includes classrooms, structured study halls, and emergency events.
  • YELLOW ZONE – Students may use one earbud paired with their personal or school issued e-device.  Use of devices (talking, texting, watching videos, taking pictures and videos, etc.) is not allowed while students are in the hallway/stairwell, or walking for their own and others’ safety.
  • GREEN ZONE – Students may use personal/school issued e-devices in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct, including appropriate use of social media.


Students who violate this protocol regarding cell phones and electronics devices are subject to appropriate disciplinary consequences. Due to the nature of safety concerns while students are in motion and while they are in the hallway/stairwell, or walking, students found to be using their e-devices will be asked to turn in their device. Their e-device will be placed in an envelope, with their name on it, and placed in a secure location. At the end of the school day, the student will be given their e-device upon their request. If a pattern of behavior emerges, a parent or guardian will be notified to pick up the e-device and a referral will be written.


Chromebooks must be charged and ready for use upon entering the building each day. Google Suite and the range of applications such as Classroom, Calendar, Gmail, and many others will be used consistently.


Students will be allowed into the school at the High School Main entrance beginning at 7:30 a.m. Beginning at 7:55 a.m. students will be allowed to proceed to their lockers. Homeroom will begin at 8:05 a.m. and the first period will start at 8:15 a.m.

Hallways, Lockers and Backpacks/Coats

Backpacks and coats/jackets are only allowed during arrival and must be placed in the student’s locker during the school day.
Gym lockers can only be accessed between 7:55 a.m. and 8:05 a.m., other than when a student has a corresponding physical education class, or when their team is released early.

Early Leave Request Procedure

If a student must leave school before the end of the school day, they must adhere to the following procedures:

  • If more than 24 hours from the date requested, students must have an email from their parent/guardian to the main office ( or bring a note from a parent/guardian to the Main Office. An administrator must approve the request prior to the student dismissing. The reason for the school/class absence must adhere to the Board of Education policy as outlined in the Student Attendance Policy.
  • If less than 24 hours from the date requested, a parent/guardian must enter the building to pick up their child. If the parent or designee listed on SchoolTool is unable to pick up the child, they will call the HS main office to gain administrative approval. The reason for the school/class absence must adhere to the Board of Education policy as outlined in the Student Attendance Policy.
  • The written note or email should clearly state the reason for the early leave request, the specific time requested, if the parent/guardian is giving a second party permission to pick up the student and the arrangements for transportation. Only those individuals authorized by parents on their SchoolTool profile may pick up the student; however, an emergency contact may not request to sign out a student without verification from the parent/guardian.  The individual picking up the student must sign the student out at the Main Office.
  • If a student is driving (and has official permission to do so), the student will leave at the approved time.
  • Students who have permission to leave school early must wait in the classroom until their transportation arrives. The Main Office will notify the classroom when the student’s transportation arrives.
  • Any student with an approved early leave must sign in at the Main Office if he/she returns to the school before the end of the school day.  Students will not be allowed to leave and return during study halls, lunch etc., as Liberty High School is a closed campus.

Important Dates

Please refer to the printed Liberty calendar and our website for important dates. A few upcoming events include:

  • Sept. 5: HS ENL Family Orientation,  David E. Panebaker (LHS) Auditorium, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 5: LHS Freshman/New Student Orientation, David E. Panebaker (LHS) Auditorium, 6-8 p.m.
  • Sept. 7: First Day of School for Students
  • Sept. 12 & 13: LHS Picture Days
  • Sept. 18: PM P.R.I.D.E. Tutoring Program Start Date
  • Sept. 20: Student Council Blood Drive, LHS Band Room, 9:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 28: LHS Open House, 6 p.m.

Welcome Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027 to Liberty High School, “A Great Place to Learn!” Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

All the best,

Derek Adams, Principal