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COVID-19 Updates

For the latest COVID-19-related updates and information, visit our Important Updates webpageARP-ESSER Funding Plan

Design project pulls many skills

hands holding packaging box with student-designed logo

When students in Kreig Heroth’s Technology and Design class at Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School were challenged to design a product to assist individuals with operating a zipper, their project pulled in a lot more skills than the device itself.

The central task was to design and fabricate a product that makes it easier to pull a zipper for individuals affected by arthritis or other factors that could make using a standard zipper difficult. The students created their assistive zipper pulls from wood, wire, and even a magnetic hook and handle design.

Then they went further. Considering their potential customers and their needs, the students named their products, created logos and branding, and designed packaging to hold and market their creations, using recycled computer boxes. A student also crafted a wooden display box for his product.

“They had a lot of creative ideas, not only for their zipper pulls, but for their product packaging and marketing,” Heroth said. “The class is really enjoying this project.”

View our complete photo album on Facebook

student building wooden display box

2 students holding zipper pull prototype

hand holding zipper pull in package


Celebrating National Heroes Week with Sergeant Smith and K9 Bud

children with K9 Officer Bud

Harry Hoag Elementary students enjoyed an extra-special morning program on October 8, when they celebrated National Heroes Week. Teacher Ashley Bargstedt introduced Sergeant Smith with K9 Bud to the students. Sergeant Smith then showed them what Bud can do and talked about Bud’s role in police work. Thank you to our local heroes!

Officer Smith with Officer Bud

Officer Smith with Officer Bud

Surveying grade 7-12 students

Now that students have returned to school for full in-person learning, we would like to see how they are acclimating and allow them to share any concerns, needs or ideas by responding to a brief survey focusing on the social-emotional needs of grades 7-12 students. You may recall a similar survey was sent last year.

The survey will be administered the week of Oct. 12 during the school day, and it will help us continue to provide our students with the supports, services and resources they may need. Last year’s survey provided much useful information, and the district appreciates all who participated.

Parents or guardians who do not want their child to participate in this year’s survey, or who have questions, should please contact the guidance office at 518-993-4000, ext. #2131, by Oct. 6. Thank you.

Students roll out Hilltoppers Coffee Cart and it’s a hit

students serving staff from their coffee cart

They like to brew it, serve it, sell it, and some like to drink it. Coffee is a hit with Dorene Goodwin’s Life Skills class at Fort Plain High School, where the students officially rolled out their Hilltoppers Coffee Cart business on Friday, Sept. 24.

Under the tutelage of Ms. Goodwin and teacher aides Kim Phillips, Brittney McIntosh and Brittney Allen, the students started on the first floor of their building on their first day of business. Each Friday, they will be serving up coffee, tea and hot chocolate, after preparing the beverages in their classroom’s kitchen and stocking their cart with sweeteners, creamers, flavors, cups and lids. On their first Friday in business, the students also offered free blueberry muffins to customers.

Throughout the week, the students take orders from school faculty and staff, prepare their products and build skills beneficial not only to the success of their business, but to school and life in general. “They are learning about dealing with people, taking orders and handling money, among other skills,” Ms. Goodwin said.

When asked about their favorite part of the business, the students gave a variety of responses. “It was good; I liked it. My favorite part of it is we are all working together,” said Page, who worked as a cashier on day one. “In my old school, I collected money in our grocery shop, where we also sold school supplies.”

Dustin said his favorite part is “putting the lids on the cups.”

Raul “likes to do the checklist,” checking off teachers’ names when the students delivered coffee orders to classrooms.

Zach said he likes “to push the cart and work together” with his classmates. “He was captain of the ship,” Ms. Goodwin noted.

The best sales people love their products. Zach said he likes coffee, as does fellow student Liberty. “I wanted some coffee because it looked so good!” she said.

As the year continues, the class will be growing their business and bringing the Hilltoppers Coffee Cart to more sections of their school. While the venture is a new one, it is already a hit in the hallways of Fort Plain High School.

“This is a wonderful learning experience for them, and they are having fun!” said High School Principal Dr. Deborah Larrabee.

students standing in their classroom's kitchen area behind the coffee cart


Update October 13, 2021:

The students are now serving their whole school

The students’ venture is such a success that they have expanded to serve the entire high school building. They are enjoying running their new business and their new customers, like Mr. Elliott on the third floor, are very happy as well.

Mr. Elliott smiling with Ms. Goodwin and Life Skills students at their Coffee Cart


Congratulations All-Star golfers!

Congratulations to the following golfers for being chosen as Western Athletic Conference (WAC) All Stars:

Girls—1st Team: Jordan Brown
Boys—1st Team: Austin VanGorder
2nd Team: Seth Rivkowich and Owin Landry

Great job, Hilltoppers!

Well-worn t-shirts tell a tale of forensics

3 students holding up their well-worn t-shirts

What can you learn from a t-shirt that has been worn every day for a week without being washed? Plenty!

Students in the Forensics and Criminology class at Fort Plain H.S. recently conducted a lab involving the Locard Principle. “The principle is a famous forensics fundamental idea that when two objects come into contact with each other they exchange material,” explained Kevin Bogus, who teaches the class with Dale Smith.

Mr. Bogus and Mr. Smith ran an experiment where their students wore white t-shirts, which they designed themselves, for an entire week. The students first made predictions of what kind of fibers, materials or substances they would find on their shirts. Then they examined  the shirts with hand lenses and microscopes to identify, as Mr. Bogus said, “what fun and interesting things they picked up all week.”

Check out their Facebook photo album for more photos.

3 students looking at shirts, one through a microscope

A student holds a fiber and looks at it

Interim Superintendent: Our nurses follow established COVID-19 protocols

September 23, 2021

Dear Members of the Fort Plain Central School Community:

As we move into the fall season, Fort Plain remains committed to keeping our schools safe for in-person learning for all of our students, all of the time. To continue to meet this goal, we must protect the health and well-being of everyone on our campuses by limiting their exposure to possible illness, including COVID-19.

Our school nurses follow established COVID-19 protocols to determine whether a student or staff member needs to be sent home. If a student or staff member exhibits any of the symptoms or signs listed below with no other explanation for them, they will be sent to the health office for an assessment by the school nurse.

If the school nurse determines that the student or staff member exhibits the following symptoms indicative of the COVID-19 virus, they will be isolated from others and sent home immediately:

  • Fever over 100 degrees
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Persistent cough
  • Headache, congestion, sore throat

Please be reminded to keep everyone safe and healthy, students or staff members should stay home when they have signs of any illness, and they should contact their healthcare provider if symptoms do not resolve after 48 hours. Individuals may be asked to provide a doctor’s note to return to school.

If a student or staff member has been tested for COVID-19, they should remain home until the test results are confirmed negative. If a student or staff member is diagnosed as being COVID-19 positive, before returning to school, they must satisfy isolation protocols (typically 10 days) and have improving symptoms. They also must be fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication, per the New York State Department of Health.

Our goal remains to keep our schools open and safe places for teaching and learning. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Jeffery Ziegler
Interim Superintendent of Schools

Sept. 10 visit with “Ground Zero” author inspires and informs students

A virtual visit with an award-winning author has inspired Harry Hoag students to delve into a history-based  novel. They also gained an insider’s view of how a book is researched, organized and written.

On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Mrs. Colvin’s fifth grade Guided Reading class participated in a virtual visit with Alan Gratz, the author of “Ground Zero.”

“We learned how long it took Mr. Gratz to research information to write this book,” Colvin said. “He also showed us how he separates all the information he collects and sorts it into the chapters of the book.

“He also talked about the storyline of the book. After Mr. Gratz’s presentation, my students are ready and very excited to start reading ‘Ground Zero’.”

Alan Gratz on video screen talking to students in classroom

Information about “Ground Zero” is posted on Alan Gratz’s webpage.


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