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A positive learning paws when Cooper comes to campus

police officer talking to students with dog on leash

Harry Hoag students had a few very special guests at their recent Morning Program. Therapy dog Cooper and Detective PJ and Lieutenant Ryan from the Schenectady Police Department presented to students in the gym and also visited some of their classrooms.

Cooper is a two-year-old labradoodle who was donated to the Schenectady Police Department. He began training as a puppy to become a therapy dog. Cooper provides people with affection, comfort and support. On the job, he helps police officers, community members and children cope with stress, anxiety and other big emotions.

Cooper is nonjudgmental and assists people in recognizing their own fears and issues. He creates a more relaxed environment where both children and adults feel more comfortable sharing their feelings.

A therapy dog has positive effects on a person’s mental and physical health by:

  • Lowering heart rate
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Helping regulate emotions and behavior
  • Helping form healthy relationships
  • Decreasing distractibility
  • Improving appropriate tone of voice
  • Lowing behavioral, emotional and verbal distress

After working with Detective PJ during the day, Cooper is part of his family at home.

police officer talking into microphone to students in gym

police officer, dog and student

police officer talking to students with dog on leash near students

Race horses provide lessons, opportunity to help

student petting a horse that is looking over a fenceStudents in Kolbe Gray’s and Lucas Santiago’s History of Sports/Sports Statistics class culminated their study of horse racing with a field trip in May to Saratoga Springs to learn more about the horse racing industry, horse breeding and thoroughbred retirement.

At the Oklahoma Training Track in Saratoga Springs, the students watched practice sessions, learning about the different exercises and workouts performed by horses based on their racing schedule.

During a barn visit, the students got a behind-the-scenes look at where workers and horses stay and live when they are not working. They met a pony rider, Mary Keiser, who has worked for many years at the Oklahoma Track, and learned about ponies and their role at the track. Santiago noted, “The students were able to get up close with some of the horses and even got to feed them!”

At Sugar Plum Farm, the students saw where the process all begins. They learned about the breeding industry and a typical day in the life of a breeding farm worker.

At the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the students were given a guided tour of the history of horse racing as it pertains to American history. They also had a special guest appearance by famed jockey Ramon Dominguez, who has ridden more than 21,000 horses, won close to 5,000 races and made almost $200,000,000 in his career.

At 18 Karat Farm, as a culminating activity, the students learned about the start of the charity, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, or TRF. TRF  helps owners of thoroughbred horses, providing a farm where retired racehorses can live out their rest of their lives.

The students had the following thoughts about their field trip:

Stephen Gray said, “The Oklahoma Track was my favorite place because we got to actually see them run. It was cool to see the future of the sport at the beginning of their racing careers and we also got to see some pretty good trainers. I didn’t know that they had a logo type on their silks to identify the trainer of the horse.”

Ezekiel Brown added, “It was awesome to see the horses and the jockeys warm up. I have never seen an animal run that fast in my life. It was awesome. There’s a lot of rich history behind the Oklahoma Track and the history we learned that was behind Saratoga was also awesome.”

Vivian Nunez said, “I enjoyed hearing the story of how the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm came to be. The walk throughout the horse paddocks and getting to pet the horses was really fun. They were so sweet.”

Anthony Paradiso added, “I really enjoyed the breeding farm to see how the racing bloodline is done. I think it is always nice to see the origin of where everyone’s stories begin. Personally, that is why it was my favorite because it’s the start of something amazing. Some of those horses can be future winners.”

Alex Smith said, “I enjoyed the museum tour and the video that was played in the theater box. It was a very cool video with very fun presentation. It was very informative and interesting.”

“On the behalf of our class and Fort Plain School District, we want to thank our hosts at TRF and NYRA – Kim Weir, Sharon Dominguez, Maude Walsh, Keith McCalmont, Stephanie Cowser and Stephen Geissler – for making this field trip possible and giving our students a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Santiago and Gray. “Our class was able to donate $500 to the TRF as a thank you for hosting us!”

students standing in a group in front with jockey of display of racing silks
At the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame with jockey Ramon Dominguez

students inside a horse barn listening to an adult
Learning about horses, barns and the racing industry

students standing in a group outside a building
Group photo!

For more photos, visit our Facebook album.

Class of 2023 Senior Spotlight

Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School celebrates the Class of 2023 with our Senior Spotlight! Spotlights are also displayed on the digital display in the high school lobby, highlighted on morning announcements and shared on social media.

Check back often as spotlights will be added through the rest of the school year.

photo of and info about Vivian

photo of and info about Richard

photo of and info about Anthony

info about and photo of Brianna

info about and photo of Craig

info about and photo of Isaac

photo of and info about Rylee

photo of and info about Ethan

photo of and info about Sadie

info about and photo of Madeline

info about and photo of Nalzon

info about and photo of Amber

info about and photo of Ryleigh

info about and photo of Alexandra

info about and photo of Lilith

photo of and info about Stephen

photo of and info about Jacen

photo of and info about Iyanna

photo of and info about Alexis

photo of and info about Amelia

photo of and info about Andra

photo of and info about Madison

photo of and info about Cameron

photo of and info about Jakub Battisti

photo of and info about Adrian Benson

photo of and info about Americus Cotton

Girls on the Run support others – and each other

students creating colorful paper placemats

Fort Plain’s Girls on the Run team’s theme on Friday, May 19, was supporting others in the community. In view of this theme, they created cheerful and colorful placemats for an area nursing home.

students creating colorful paper placemats

Girls on the Run members also participated in a team-building activity (pictured below) that showed how they support one another.

students setting up a group activity involving chairs and supporting each other

How did it go? Watch this video:

Participants and volunteers agree: Girls on the Run is so much fun!

Girls on the Run is a twice-weekly, afterschool program for 5th and 6th grade students where trained volunteers lead girls through interactive lessons and movement activities, culminating in a celebratory 5K in June.

Congratulations to our 2023 National Honor Society inductees

student speaking at podium while NHS member students stand in a group on stage

Five Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society at a May 17 ceremony, in recognition of their scholarship, leadership, service and character.

Congratulations to the following students on their induction:

  • Madeline Heroth
  • Ethan Hubbard
  • Brady Keane
  • Monika Kuczynski
  • Matthew Paul

Senior National Honor Society Members for 2023 are:

  • Americus Cotton
  • Andra Fuhs
  • Stephen Gray
  • Rylee Herron
  • Ethan Kilmartin
  • Anthony Paradiso
  • Natalie Thibodeau

The chapter’s officers and senior members led the ceremony, for which National Honor Society advisor Kolbe Gray provided an introduction.

Serving as this year’s National Honor Society officers are Anthony Paradiso, president; Stephen Gray, vice president; Ethan Kilmartin, treasurer; Andra Fuhs, secretary; and Natalie Thibodeau, public relations.

Fort Plain’s chapter of the National Honor Society was chartered in 1954.

NHS member students stand in a group on stage

Water testing update

May 17, 2023

Dear Members of the Fort Plain Community,

On Sept. 6, 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that requires public schools in New York State to test for lead in all water outlets currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking.

On March 23, I informed you of the results of water testing completed at FPCSD. At that time, I shared that several faucets and fountains failed to meet the standards. We worked closely with governing agencies and followed the prescribed intervention steps to address the failed tests. We recently retested the equipment that failed the first test and found that some of the water access points have been fixed; however, there are a few areas that still show signs of contamination.

Visit our health services webpage for information about the risks associated with lead, as well as complete test results.

Please be assured that all outlets that tested above the state’s level have been taken out of service, or marked with appropriate signage, and will remain so until the remediation and retesting are completed. The District is going to replace the fountains, faucets, and/or piping in the persistent areas of concern.

We take these findings very seriously and will work with all governing agencies and consultants to ensure that we address the areas properly and efficiently.

If you have any questions, please contact my office at 993-4000, #1000.

Lauren Crisman
Superintendent of Schools

A positive, wellness-centered approach to mental health awareness

Just like physical health, promoting one’s emotional well-being takes skill, resources and knowledge. Fort Plain Central School is observing Mental Health Awareness Month in May with a proactive approach to support community wellness.

At Harry Hoag, students and staff are observing Mental Health Awareness Week from May 15-19 with themed days that offer positive coping tips and tools.

  • Mellow Monday’s tip was to wear your pajamas to relieve stress. The hallways were colorful and relaxing!
  • Twin Tuesday advised students and staff to team up against stress by dressing like a friend or someone in their house, because they are not alone.
  • Be Someone’s Superhero Wednesday encouraged dressing like a superhero, because in someone’s eyes you are their hero.
  • Tie Dye Thursday will have students and staff wearing tie-dye colors to represent a range of emotions, and it’s okay to feel them.
  • On Friday, all are encouraged to wear green for mental health awareness.

The Jr./Sr. High School has been observing Mental Health Awareness Month using a host of daily activities meant to deepen each student’s personal set of skills. Each week features Mindfulness Monday, Thankful Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thursday Tips and Feel Good Friday. Activities range from learning about self-care tips and sleep resources, to practicing mindfulness and deep breathing, understanding the importance of developing resilience and relationships, and many other exploratory activities aimed to deepen our understanding of how to promote mental health.

The Jr./Sr. High School Counseling Office offers daily tips during announcements and coordinates each day’s activities. Students can participate in activities during their lunch periods and via the Counseling Office’s Google Classroom links to reliable resources.

The Montgomery County Public Health Department teamed up with the school on a mental-health-themed poster contest and the lunch-time activity on May 25 will feature visits and information by community partners including Catholic Charities, Family Counseling, Domestic Violence/Human Trafficking Prevention, the Mental Health Alliance and the HFM Prevention Council.

District residents approve budget and transportation proposition, elect 3 to Board of Education

Fort Plain Central School District residents voted to approve a proposed $23,320,000 budget for the 2023-24 school year by a vote of 88 to 21 on May 16, 2023.

They also approved a referendum by a vote of 90 to 17 authorizing the district to acquire three school vehicles at a maximum cost of $450,000 with the funds to be drawn from the Bus Purchase/Capital Reserve Fund. The purchase will have no impact on the tax levy and will allow the district to replace aging buses and minimize maintenance costs.

Voters elected three members of the Board of Education to fill vacancies for three-year terms running from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2026. The elected candidates are Brenna Kirkpatrick (96 votes), Anthony Crouse (86 votes) and David Przestrzelski (84 votes). Write-in candidate Justin Smith received one vote.

The 2023-24 budget preserves the district’s academic programming and services designed to meet student needs. It shows an increase of $800,000, or 3.55%, over the current-year budget, with a 1.20% tax levy increase.

“The district’s goal is to prepare a responsible budget that supports all learners to have a positive, productive school experience,” Superintendent Lauren Crisman said. “The budget will achieve the goal by securing the staffing required to offer quality, relevant educational programs to all students; supporting student development by maintaining a robust social emotional support system at all developmental levels; and ensuring athletic and extracurricular programming continue.”

All are invited to an evening of wonderful music at Fort Plain Central School’s Spring Concert

All in the community are invited to enjoy a Spring Concert musical spectacular on Wednesday, May 24, when Fort Plain’s talented grades 5-12 students will perform music of many styles, from popular pieces to traditional ensemble music, beginning at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Performances will feature the 5th Grade Chorus, 5th and 6th Grade Band, the Jr./Sr. High School Chorus, and the Jr./Sr. High School Band. Highlights will include featured soloists and a duet at the Jr./Sr. level for both band and chorus. The band and chorus will each perform selections from classic Disney movies.

“All are welcome to attend our spring concert, including families, friends and members of our community,” said music teachers Dalton Burrello and Julieanne Sincavage. “This will be our last performance of the school year, so we hope everyone can come and enjoy the music.”

Harry Hoag announces grades K-4 Summer Math and Literacy Camp

Greetings Families of Harry Hoag First- Fourth Graders,

Harry Hoag is excited to offer Summer Math and Literacy Camp to support our learners who are currently in Grades K-4. Students who attend our camp will have the opportunity to do fun literacy and math activities to deepen their understanding of core grade level concepts.

Camp Details

  • Dates: (Start date is a Monday) July 10- August 3 (Mondays – Thursdays only)
  • Hours: 8:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Place: Harry Hoag School
  • Schedule:
    8:30-9:00 Arrival/Free Breakfast is available
    9:00-11:00 Math and Literacy Camp experiences
    11:00-11:30 Recess and/or Computer Lab
    11:30 Dismissal/Free Lunch is available

If you are interested in having your child attend Summer Math and Literacy Camp, please fill out this linked form.

You will receive an enrollment confirmation letter in early June.

I encourage you to take advantage of this free opportunity to enrich your child’s summer vacation. Students who participate in our morning camp will be able to sign in to the Fort Plain Summer Recreation Program in the afternoon. Registration for Summer Recreation is a separate process.

If you have any questions, please call me at (518) 993-4000, ext. 3059.

Proud to be your Principal,
Mrs. Coppolo

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