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Class of 2019 Top 10 Students

Congratulations to the Fort Plain Jr./Sr. HS Class of 2019 Top Ten Students

Bryce Thibodeau – Valedictorian
Sherry Huang – Salutatorian
Quinn Jones
Emily Abrams
Patrick Murphy
Elijah Jordan
Mackenzie Wintermute
Kevin Staples
Caleb Cochran
Calli Logan

Third-Graders Enjoy Painting Class

third grade class showing off their paintings

Mrs. Sweet’s third-grade class had the marvelous opportunity to receive a professional painting lesson on Wednesday, May 15th. Kathy Canastar, from Little Falls, donated her time to come to teach our students. She has trained under Wilson Bickford, a well-known painter from Gouverneur, NY. Two other volunteers, Lois Scanlon & Jean Ronan, both artists who have both painted with Kathy, assisted the students.

The subject of the painting complemented the current topic in Reading & Science in Mrs. Sweet’s class.

What fabulous products the students produced! Each a unique and beautiful sunset, with a tree & silhouette of a giraffe in the foreground. It was a fabulous opportunity, and all of the students
so enjoyed it!

Eighth-Grade Pathway Exploration

kids in hard hats

A group of eighth-grade students took a trip to the Career and Technical Center (CTC) at HFM BOCES to learn more about opportunities for pathways in the areas of Engineering, Skilled Trades, Construction, and Environmental Conservation.

kids looking at tools

Students were able to have hands-on experiences with constructing a laser pointer and maneuvering an excavator. Students will have the option of attending the CTC in eleventh-grade, but for now, they will have a greater understanding of where their interests may lay.

kids in a classroom

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a fun and motivating trip.

kids learning about construction equipment

Thank you, Jay DeTraglia and Mike DiMezza, for assisting in setting up the trip.

Fort Plain voters approve $20.95 million budget; elect board members

Fort Plain Central School District residents voted in support of the district’s 2019-20 school budget May 21, by a vote of 162 to 30.

The approved $20,950,000 budget plan calls for a 2.2 percent spending increase over the current year’s budget with a 1.49 percent tax levy increase.

Voters also approved two other proposals on the ballot. The use of $377,000 from the District’s Bus Purchase Reserve Fund for the purchase of three new school vehicles was authorized with 158 yes votes and 35 no votes. Expenditures of reserve funds require voter approval; however, since 100 percent of the cost is paid from the fund, there will be no impact on the tax levy.

An increase of $5,000 to the annual appropriation to support and maintain the Fort Plain Library was also approved by voters with 130 yes votes to 62 no votes.

In addition to voting on the budget, residents elected two members of the Board of Education to three-year terms commencing on July 1, 2019 and expiring on June 30, 2022.

Joseph Bartholomew received 171 votes, and Ronald Kardash received 165 votes.

“The Board of Education and Fort Plain school community are grateful for the continued support of our schools by the voters of the school district,” David Ziskin, Superintendent of Schools said. “This budget positions us well to continue our efforts to ensure every student in our schools leaves us prepared for success beyond graduation.”

Eighth-Grade Round-Up

teachers dressed in 20's clothes

The eighth-grade students have had a busy spring, with many special projects and activities keeping them busy!

Students thoroughly enjoyed their latest interdisciplinary unit of America in the 1920s, learning about everything from fashion and fads to favorite foods, moments in history, and cultural experiences.

student with a rocket science experiment

On the Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) front, the students built and launched their own model rockets, learning about the many aspects of propulsion and flight.

teacher helping students

Family Math Night was enjoyed by the many families in attendance, who came together to solve puzzles and play games that integrated math skills.

female students posing

Several of the class’s girls attended the Women of STEM conference at FMCC, learning about education and careers.

eighth grade students in a group

Finally, students traveled to Saratoga Springs to participate in the challenging obstacles at the Saratoga Ninja Lab. Following that experience, they visited historic Congress Park in Saratoga, meeting with retired history teacher Dave Patterson to hear about the amazing history of the Congress Park area.

Fourth-Graders Learn About Circuits and Energy Through Hands-on Experiments

kid's science project on a window sill

In STEAM class, Fourth-graders learned all about the different kinds of energy as well as the transfer of energy and how they work together to make things happen!

The children were able to observe solar energy transferring to mechanical energy with a solar car as well as a solar-powered grasshopper.  They observed wind energy converting to light energy with a windmill generator.

kids working on a science experiment

In addition, the students built electrical circuits that allowed them to witness the transfer of electrical energy into sound, mechanical and light energy.  They had to apply the information learned in class to construct a complete circuit, allowing the electrons to flow from the energy source to the various devices, making them work.

This unit will culminate with the construction of solar ovens in which the children will cook and enjoy some delicious S’ mores!

Kids in a science class

2019-20 proposed budget goes before residents on May 21

2019-20 proposed budget stays below the allowable tax cap

On Tuesday, May 21, residents of the Fort Plain Central School District will go to the polls to vote on a proposed $20,950,000 budget for the 2019-20 school year. The budget carries a 1.49% tax levy increase, which is below Fort Plain’s allowable tax “cap” of 4.2%.

The proposal would increase spending 2.2%, or $450,000, compared to 2018-19. That change is offset by an increase in state aid as well as steps the district has taken to control costs and improve efficiencies. Because of the levy increase is below the district’s state-calculated “cap,” the proposal will require a simple majority of 50% plus one vote to pass.

Budget highlights

Fort Plain will receive an additional $220,313 in Foundation Aid in 2019- 20. Foundation Aid is unrestricted money from the state that districts receive annually that can be used to meet general expenses.

Like other area districts, Fort Plain relies heavily on Foundation Aid, which – combined with aid for reimbursed expenses – makes up more than two-thirds of the district’s revenue.

“We understand that we are operating with finite fiscal resources and continue to be committed to building budgets that remain within our state calculated tax levy limit,” said Superintendent of Schools David Ziskin.

“Our administrative and school teams continually reflect on the allocation of our resources, making adjustments to programming to ensure our greatest areas of need are supported,” Ziskin said. “We believe the 2019-20 budget is closely aligned to our district mission and will improve the education our students receive.”

Resources directed to priority areas

The Board of Education, administrators, and faculty teams at the Junior-Senior High School and Harry Hoag Elementary School continue to identify opportunities for improvement and implement corresponding action plans within each of the district’s identified priority areas. Highlights of areas supported in the 2019-20 proposed budget include:

Priority Area: Safety

  • Security camera coverage of the facilities and grounds will be upgraded and expanded over the next three years. The installment plan allows the district to receive BOCES reimbursement of nearly 80% of the cost of materials and equipment associated with the expanded security coverage.
  • The district will implement a new visitor identification program in 2019-20 that will check a visitor’s driver license or state identification card against a background database, which includes information such as inclusion on the sex offender registry. Once the scan is complete, the system prints a custom visitor identification badge.
  • The partnership between the Fort Plain Central School District and the Fort Plain Police Department to provide a school officer for campuses has improved security protocols and procedures. The 2019-20 proposed budget maintains the presence of a Fort Plain Police Officer in district schools each day classes are in session.

Priority Area: Student social and emotional developmental health

The district has been intentional in efforts to support student social and emotional developmental health. The district has built partnerships with multiple community-based and government agencies to ensure that students have access to support.

Priority Area: Teacher and leader effectiveness

New York state will implement new learning standards for the 2020-21 school-year. Fort Plain is committed to providing a strong transition to these standards. The Board of Education recently adopted a specific goal to ensure students receive robust, appropriate instruction aligned to the new standards:

All teachers will develop a complete curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Learning Standards by September 1, 2020.

The 2019-20 proposed budget includes support for this critically important, time-bound goal through a two-year plan that will ensure our students receive rich, standards-aligned instruction during the 2020-21 school-year. New York will administer the first state assessments that are aligned to the new standards in 2020-21.

This two-year plan includes the following positions, which will be eliminated when the work is complete.

  • A Teacher on Special Assignment will work with all K-8 teachers to develop standards-aligned curriculum. This curriculum will include learning objectives, teaching points, and assessments that are aligned to the new standards.
  • HFM BOCES will provide a 0.2 full-time equivalent curriculum development coach for grades 9-12.

Priority Area: Student, family, and community engagement

Fort Plain will continue to partner with Montgomery County to share the cost of a full-time, 12-month social worker who will provide year-round support for a specific caseload of families. The social worker provides counseling and support to students and their families who have struggled with their transition to the school setting.

Priority Area: Fiscal resources

The 2019-20 proposed budget supports the programming students need to be successful by reallocating existing resources to the greatest areas of need and by leveraging increased efficiencies. The district’s solar energy projects in the Village of Nelliston and at two other sites generate ongoing credits that result in reduced energy costs for the district. The district also performed a state aid audit that resulted in additional revenue.

“The board and administration are committed to supporting efforts to achieve the district mission. Our goal is to provide a strong, relevant education to our students in a fiscally responsible manner,” commented Dr. Ziskin.

“Our proposed budget maintains programs and ensures our greatest areas of need receive the appropriate resources required to deliver on our mission’s promise to prepare every student for success beyond graduation.”

What will you see on the ballot?

Proposition 1: To adopt the annual budget of the School District for the fiscal year 2019-2020 and to authorize the requisite portion thereof to be raised by taxation on the taxable property of the District.

Proposition 2: Authorization to Purchase Buses: Shall the Board of Education of the Fort Plain Central School District be authorized to (a) acquire three school vehicles at a maximum aggregate cost of $377,000.00 (b) expend such sums for such purpose; (c) expend from the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund an amount not to exceed $377,000.00 for such purpose; (d) levy the necessary tax therefore, to be levied and collected in such amounts as may be determined by the Board of Education taking into account state aid received and amounts disbursed from the reserve fund; and (e) in anticipation of the collection of such tax, to issue bonds and notes of the District at one time or from time to time in the principal amount not to exceed $377,000.00 and to levy a tax to pay the interest on such obligations when due?

Proposition 3: Authorization for Increase in the Library Tax Levy: Shall the annual appropriation support and maintain the Fort Plain Free Library be increased by $5,000 to $85,000, which sum shall be separate and apart from the Fort Plain Central School District annual school district budget and be raised annually by a tax upon the taxable property of the school district, and which appropriation shall be the annual appropriation for the library until changed by further vote of the electors of the school district, and such tax shall be levied and collected yearly as are other general taxes and such monies paid over to the trustees of the Library?

Board of Education Election: To elect two (2) members of the Board of Education to a three (3) year term commencing on July 1, 2019, and expiring on June 30, 2022, to succeed Ronald Kardash and Joseph Bartholomew whose terms expire on June 30, 2019.

Polls will be open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, at Harry Hoag Elementary Gymnasium.

Mr. Hanifin’s fifth-grade science class discover a big surprise in an owl pellet

owl pellet

Each spring, students in Mr. Hanifin’s fifth-grade science classes dissect owl pellets. This spring, student Bradley Rumrill came across a big surprise in his pellet!

Owls cannot chew their foods. They swallow their prey whole, and it passes directly from their mouth to their gizzard, which is a lot like a stomach. Any material that cannot be broken down, or digested, is left behind and packed into a tight pellet that the owl spits up. Owl pellets contain bones, teeth, claws, and feathers.

Because owls swallow their prey whole, often entire intact skulls and skeletons are found inside of the pellets. These give researchers clues as to where the owl has been living and hunting. Fort Plain students typically find the bones and fur of mice, rats, moles, and voles inside of the owl pellets. Sometimes, they find feathers and tiny bones from tiny birds that the owl has eaten. Occasionally, they may find the bones of frogs, toads or snakes.

Fifth-grader Bradley Rumrill recently found the intact skull of a creature that none of Mr. Hanifin’s students have ever encountered before. The skull features a long, pointed snout and very sharp, pointed teeth. Information provided by the owl pellet company shows that the pellets our students received were collected in the state of Washington, in the northwest region.

Research by the students has led them to their best guess – a Northern Long-Eared Bat. What do you think the mystery skull is?

Fort Plain Central School Astro-Not-Yet Camp this summer

Teaching Space Travel and Science Skills to the Astronauts of Tomorrow

WHO: Any Fort Plain Central School student entering grades 3-6 in the 2019-2020 school year
COST: Free
DATES: Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26
TIME: 9am-2pm (alternate times can be arranged as necessary)
LOCATION: Fort Plain Junior/Senior High School
REGISTRATION: (registration limited to first 50 students)
DIRECTOR: Patrick Petty, Fort Plain Central School Science Teacher, and NASA Solar System Ambassador

Fort Plain Central School is excited to offer “Astro-Not-Yet Camp” this summer. The camp is a STEM enrichment opportunity with a focus on the science of outer space and space travel. This opportunity is for students entering grades 3-6 in the 2019-2020 school year. Elementary students will get the opportunity to work with older student mentors and take part in fun and engaging opportunities. The camp will take place at the Fort Plain Junior/Senior High School and will be a full day each day from July 22-26!

Activities Include:

  • A modified astronaut reasoning test
  • Identifying the skills astronauts need to be successful
  • Astronaut physical fitness training
  • Simulate working in a space suit
  • Designing/launching rockets
  • Packing for a Mission to Mars
  • Planning a meal in space
  • Preparing and eating dehydrated and freeze-dried foods
  • Designing a Mission Patch
  • Working as a team to simulate a mission in space
  • Writing a letter to an astronaut
  • Hands on experience with space shuttle tiles, pieces of a space suit, models, and other NASA artifacts!


Fort Plain High School Unified Basketball Team

Fort Plains Unified Basketball Game

Applause and cheers from a very enthusiastic audience filled the gym on May 9th, as the Fort Plain High School Unified Basketball team took on Gloversville for the annual in-school game.

The Unified Sports League is sponsored by the NYS High School Sports Section V and the Special Olympics. The Unified League combines students with disabilities and student-athletes of similar age and ability.

The program aims to provide a competitive high school sports experience for students with various disabilities to be able to participate in.

The Unified League goal of “teaching sports skills to students with different abilities in a friendly, supportive, and competitive environment” was evident as the student audience was fully appreciative of the game, while both teams competing supported one another’s players while still maintaining a healthy spirit of competition.

The game is the third season for the Fort Plain High School Unified Basketball team, and they will face off against several local schools in both home and away games. The teams coached by Adam Cutspec, Geoff Snyder, Lisa Petty, and Linda Cole.

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