Recycling Program Continues (September)
A successful paper
recycling program begun last school year at the Junior / Senior High
School is in full swing again this fall.
The program began in March, 2008 as a community service
project and fund-raiser for the class of 2010. Each Wednesday before
classes begin, ten student volunteers
empty recycling boxes - half of which were donated by Home Depot -
from each classroom into bins. In turn, the bins are emptied by
Green Fibre, a company that recycles the material into insulation.
The class receives $25 per ton for its work, collecting $300 for the
last completed quarter. Money received will help finance the class’
senior trip. Paper products collected are books, cardboard,
magazines, office paper, telephone books, newspapers, and beverage
Class advisor Melanie Pombrio credited the students’ hard work for making
the program a success. “The kids really do a great job. They’re
always ready to work on Wednesday mornings with no complaints. The
program is both raising money for the class and helping the school
to go green.” When the class graduates, Pombrio said, the plan is to
hand off the program to the incoming freshman class.
Ninth and twelfth grade
English teacher Tammy Keene, an Attleboro, Mass. native,
graduated from Attleboro High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree
from Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, and a master’s degree from
Lesley College, Boston. Before accepting her new position in Fort
Plain, she taught eighth grade English in Boston. “Everyone is very
friendly, very welcoming,” Keene said of her first week in Fort
Plain. “I like the small school environment and small class sizes.”
She lives in Gloversville.
Social Studies teacher Kolbe Gray grew up
in Ephratah and graduated from Johnstown High School. She earned her
bachelor’s degree from
SUNY Oneonta and is working on-line for her master’s degree through
the University of Phoenix. During the 2007-08 school year, she was a
long-term substitute Social Studies teacher in Fort Plain. This year
she is teaching Global Studies to students in grades 9 and 10. “The
kids are great and the staff is very professional and welcoming,”
she said. Gray lives in Ephratah with her husband and son.
First-grade teacher Melanie Perry is
a Johnstown native and a graduate of Johnstown High School. After
graduating from Fulton Montgomery Community
College, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Indiana University and
a master’s degree from California State University Dominguez Hills,
Carson, Calif. She began her career teaching pre-school in
Hollywood, Calif. and then taught first grade in Redondo Beach,
Calif. before moving back to New York state. She is a long-term
substitute for Diane Reynolds, who is on sabbatical until January.
Perry said she would love to continue her career as an elementary
school teacher. Of her first week at Harry Hoag, she said: “I love
it. The kids are great and the staff is wonderful. Everything is
going smoothly.” Perry, her husband, and their two daughters live
Reading Teacher Amanda Manieri grew up in
Scotia and graduated from Burnt Hills - Ballston Lake High School.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s
degree from SUNY Albany. Manieri taught in Cohoes City Schools
before coming to Fort Plain as reading teacher for students in
grades 1-6. “It’s exciting to start a new position. I really like
teaching here,” she said. “Fort Plain is different from Cohoes, in a
good way.” Manieri lives in Cohoes.
teacher Katie Heimer grew up in Johnstown and is a graduate
of Gloversville High School. A graduate of Fulton Montgomery
Community College and SUNY Brockport, Heimer was a student teacher
at Fonda-Fultonville Central School before attaining her first
full-time teaching position in Fort Plain. She teaches physical
education at all grade levels, coaches modified girls’ soccer; will
coach girls’ junior varsity basketball in the winter; and will
co-coach girls’ varsity softball in the spring. ”I feel very lucky
to be here at Fort Plain Central School. I couldn’t have asked for a
better school to begin my teaching career,” she said. Heimer, who
will be married in March, lives in Johnstown.
A national initiative that uses a
positive approach to school-wide discipline has begun its fifth year
at Harry Hoag.
Interventions and Support (PBIS) encourages good behavior through
positive reinforcement and consistency.
The first few weeks of school are dedicated to teaching students
rules and expectations or “Topper Traits:” be safe, be responsible,
be respectful, and be prepared. Students learn how these traits
apply in the classroom, in the cafeteria, on the school bus, and in
all other parts of their school day.
“Since the start of this
program, discipline referrals have declined steadily at Harry Hoag,”
said Counselor Colleen Conti.
Throughout the school year, students who
are “caught” following the Topper Traits are rewarded with Topper
Bucks. They can spend these “bucks” at the PBIS school store
for toys, books, and school supplies (grades K-3 only); on monthly
raffles; or for special school events such as dances.
Conti said program evaluation
is one key to the success of PBIS. “Each year the code of conduct
and PBIS program are reviewed and revamped to fit the needs of the
student and staff. Without this annual evaluation, the program would
not be as successful as it has become,” she said.
Spanish teacher Sara Ackroyd
has introduced Spanish cooking and culture to the afterschool
program at Fort Plain Junior High School this year. The Tortilla
Espanola shown here is an omelet made of eggs, onions and potatoes,
in olive oil. Ackroyd aligns activities
in the afterschool program with the curriculum in her classes. The
after school program not only gives Ackroyd the chance to do many
things there is no time for during the regular school day, but it
gives students who are not taking Spanish a “taste” of Spanish
culture and language.
School business helps third world business
The school store at Fort Plain Junior /
Senior High school recently held its grand opening for
the 2008-09 school year. This school year, store proceeds will go to
Kiva.org, which loans funds to entrepreneurs in developing
countries. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending
website, empowering individuals and organizations to lend directly
to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.
“This effort will help Fort Plain High School
students connect with people in developing countries and help
alleviate poverty,” said faculty advisor Kathie Dekalb. The
store, operated by student volunteers in grades 7-12, sells healthy
snacks and a few school supplies.
Every student in Junior/ Senior High School
had the opportunity to cast an unofficial vote for President and the
House of Representatives in the school’s National Mock Election.
Along the way, they learned about the voting process and if their
opinions matched those of fellow students and the general
public. Some Harry Hoag elementary students also voted for
STORIES AND PHOTO..
SADD Wreath Sale a success (November)
The annual Students
Against Destructive Decisions Christmas wreath sale at the Junior /
Senior High School came to a successful close Nov. 25 with about 130
wreaths sold. Proceeds from the sale help finance the
post prom party in May.
Purpose of SADD is to make students aware of consequences of drinking and
driving, taking drugs, or any destructive decision.
Students prepare meal at local church (December)
On Dec. 6, seventh grade students
used their cooking skills and their energy to give something back to
the community. Fifteen volunteers prepared and served a ham and
scalped potato dinner at
Manna House at the Fort Plain Reformed Church.
Using measuring and baking skills taught in
Maria Burton’s Home and Career Skills class, they also prepared
pumpkin bread to serve at the meal and made an additional 80
mini-loaves for people to take home with them.
“Students worked very diligently on
this project and were excellent representatives of Fort Plain
school. They remembered the ‘golden rule’ and treated everyone with
respect. They learned about giving of themselves to the community,
enjoyed the work, and are willing to provide this service again,”
Burton said. Class co-advisors Louise Clute and Burton
assisted the students.
On Dec. 10, all third and fifth
grade students listened to a presentation about snowplow
safety by Larry Carpenter, New York State Department of
Transportation highway maintenance supervisor.
Carpenter told the students it is not safe
to stand next to the road when a snowplow is passing by, because
they could be hit by ice, stones, other objects in
the road, pieces of the vehicle or plow that have come loose, plus a
whole lot of snow. Also, Carpenter said, it is very unsafe to build
a snow fort or tunnel near the road. He also talked about how
snowplows operate, how trucks are loaded with salt, the different
types of plows, work the DOT performs in the summer, how to read
markers, and some of the difficulties DOT workers encounter.
Other advice Carpenter
gave included always wear a seatbelt; watch, but don’t walk or bike
into a work zone; and don’t ever play in pipes or culverts.
Following the talk, students had a
chance to sit in a snowplow, blow the horn, and ask DOT worker
Matt LaCoppola about the operation of the plow.
Holiday fund-raisers very successful
Fort Plain students and staff held their
annual “Elf Auction” Dec. 17 to raise money for the Salvation Army.
Student Council members and others were auctioned to other students,
faculty, and staff. On Dec. 18, the elves performed tasks such as
cleaning lockers, carrying books, wrapping Christmas presents,
etc. for the winning bidders. The elves raised more than $1,500 for
the cause. Combined with bell-ringing at area businesses and
collections in schools, Fort Plain students and staff helped
contribute more $4,000 to the Salvation Army, easily topping last
year’s total. Auctioneer Justin Smith is shown asking for bids on
Julia Jackson and Marie Sinchak.
“With the economy the way it is, to be able to
raise $4,000 is a real tribute to the students. I’m extremely happy
with their effort and for the tremendous support we received from
the Fort Plain community,” said Coach Craig Phillips, who helps
organize holiday fund-raisers at the school.
In addition to funds collected for the Salvation
Army, students collected thousands of non-perishable food items for
Fulmont Community Development Agency’s food bank.
Transportation department recognized for
The New York
State Department of Transportation has again recognized the Fort
Plain Central School Transportation Department for having exceeded
DOT goal of having at least 90 percent of vehicles pass semi-annual
bus safety inspections during the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Of 42 vehicles inspected during the year,
41, or 97.6 percent of the district’s vehicles passed the
inspection. The statewide average for similarly-sized carriers for
this period was 91.7 percent. Fort Plain was one of 761 of 1,136
similarly-sized carriers to exceed the 90 percent goal.
“Your commendable performance
indicates a strong dedication to safety and a commitment to sound
maintenance standards and practices. I encourage you to keep up the
good work,” said Donald A. Baker, director of the DOT Office of
Modal Safety and Security, in a letter announcing the recognition.
“This recognition is
a tribute to the hard work of chief mechanic Chaz Ruszkowski and
everyone in our transportation department,” said head bus driver
“This is one of the safest bus fleets in New York
State. This means that each and every department employee did what
it takes to achieve these results. The administration school board,
and students appreciate it,” said Superintendent of Schools Douglas
The district’s transportation department
also achieved this recognition for the 2008-09 fiscal year. Besides
its own fleet, Fort Plain maintains several vehicles for St.
Johnsville Central School.
Department employees include Head Bus Driver Gordon
Eggleston, Tom Hajczewski, Roger McDuffee, Kermit Mosher, Guy
Barton, Ed Whiteman, Ron Petit Jr., Thaddeus Pyzik, Chaz Ruszkowski,
Jerry Fox, Mike Cardamone, Scott Crewell, Sarah Christman, Jerry
Vandewerker, Gert Johnson, Bill Bailey, Anna Weaver, Heather Crewell,
Ron Petit Sr., Jack Calbet, Paul Villeneuve, Loren Miller, Paul
VanAvery, Doug Simmons, Mark Saltsman, Mike Surnear, Jeffrey
Ruszkowski, and Chris Mayton.
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