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A message from the superintendent

December 9, 2022

Dear Students, Parents, Colleagues and Community Members,

From my family to yours, wishing everyone joy and happiness during the holiday season! May you take time this month to enjoy those you cherish most while making wonderful memories. We certainly have a lot to be grateful for as a community!

The early 2020s brought extraordinary challenges to all families, staff, teachers, school leaders and communities as a whole. With the pandemic complications behind us, it feels good to have a renewed focus on the District vision, to prepare all students for success beyond graduation.

The first half of the 2022-2023 school year was a productive time and as we approach the December vacation, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported FPCSD to make our many successes possible.

Throughout the fall, school teams regularly met to discuss teaching, learning and best practices to support student achievement. The administrators had thoughtful planning sessions dedicated to improving academic and social-emotional learning. The students had full access to learning and participation in co-curricular activities and athletic competitions.

Our long-standing FPCSD traditions resumed. Fifth graders hiked Kane Mountain and the National Honor Society was able to run a Blood Drive for community service. Student athletes felt support from live spectators. School visitors returned to enjoy activities like the Kindergarten Finger Food Feast, Morning Program and the Pacers Program. It was a rejuvenating feeling to see the campus buzzing once more with traffic from school-related and community-affiliated events.

As we continue to make plans for the future, we will keep our focus on what is most essential, the wellbeing of our school community members and our commitment to deliver robust instruction that prepares all students for success in whatever path their future holds.

If you wish to be part of conversations about FPCSD’s mission and vision and related action plans, I invite you to join me on January 11th at 5:00 p.m. in the Harry Hoag Library for another Community Conversation. The focus topic will be The Student Experience: Engagement and Advancement.

Again, I am truly honored to serve as your superintendent. I remain committed to shaping a future where our students prosper.

Warm Regards,
Mrs. Crisman

Olivia Sweet honored with NASA’s “You’ve Got Perseverance!” award

Olivia seated at computer

Fort Plain 8th grade student Olivia Sweet has been honored by NASA with a 2022 “You’ve Got Perseverance!” award.

On Dec. 6, she spoke with NASA engineers and scientists in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. She also received a personalized message from the Perseverance Rover that is currently on Mars.

Olivia was nominated for the award based on how she has demonstrated determination, grit and perseverance in her academics and personal life. She is listed on NASA’s award webpage.

Congratulations Olivia!

NASA graphic with rover and words You've Got Perseverance!

Guided reading students find sinking a foul shot is no easy task

group of students holding books

A boy named Eddie Ball has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win a million dollars. All he has to do is sink one foul shot during half time at the NBA finals. Eileen Kretser’s 5th grade guided reading class recently discovered that this is no easy task.

The students are currently reading the book, “The Million Dollar Shot,” written by Dan Gutman. This week, they tried their hand at sinking a shot in a basketball hoop in the Harry Hoag gym.

“The students had fun taking foul shots to understand and connect with Eddie Ball,” Kretser said. “They quickly learned it wasn’t easy. They find out this week whether he sinks the shot and wins the million dollars.

“It’s a great book. Check it out for yourself!”


student holding basketball in gym

student holding basketball in gym

student holding basketball in gym

student holding basketball in gym

student holding basketball in gym

student holding basketball in gym

Is it bullying or is it conflict?

Is it bullying or is it conflict? How do you tell the difference and what do you do? Harry Hoag students recently learned about this important topic from their 6th grade peers at the Dec. 2 Morning Program.

The 6th grade students wrote, produced and presented an original, role-play skit that involved their audience in determining, “Is it bullying or is it conflict?” They were introduced by School Counselor Stephanie Macherone, who also participated in the role play and moderated the discussion.

View a video of the presentation below.

4 students role playing in gym

students and school counselor perform role play while other students look on

Refreshed HS library enhances student learning, collaboration

students seated at tables in library

Visitors to Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School’s library media center will find a brighter, more welcoming and functional space for student learning, collaboration and meetings.

Tapping into American Rescue Plan funding, the district was able to purchase additional furniture for the library media center that is colorful, comfortable, lighter in weight and easily moved and combined to create a variety of learning, meeting and working spaces.

Existing furniture and shelving in the were rearranged to improve students’ access to library resources, provide space for both individual study and group learning, and – combined with the new furnishings – create an environment that is more attuned to how students learn today.

“We wanted to restructure the library media center to be a space designed to embrace 21st century learning,” said Fort Plain Superintendent Lauren Crisman. “Education should be collaborative. We want our students to learn vital communication skills and use multiple forms of literacy (media, technology, information) to think constructively about the learning tasks that they are asked to complete.”

view of the librarian's desk with students working beyond at tables

“Our library media center provides an inviting place for students to study, learn, read and explore,” said High School Librarian Tariyka Chaulk. “Last school year, we rearranged the library space to make it more student-centered. By putting the desk off to the side, students are the first thing you see when you walk into the library.

“Although the room is just a giant square, we tried to create little pockets for different student gatherings. Large groups and classes can gather in the back. Pairs or individual students can sit at the high-top tables near the windows.

“We even have small conversation areas where student groups have gathered to plan or brainstorm school events. And just like every library, we have open tables for students to work on assignments. I hope the new layout will help students we don’t see frequently feel more comfortable in the space.”

The updates and changes to the library media center are a hit with students, who find it to be a more engaging space that is better suited to their needs and learning styles. “I like the layout and color scheme,” said Kristin Sanders, a 12th grade student. “The chairs are a lot comfier, and the furniture looks more modern. I really like the tall tables by the window.”

“I really enjoy the new furniture in the library,” said fellow senior Madison Delgado. “Everything is comfy, yet still allows students to be productive. The tall table and chairs are my favorite so far.”

Tenth grade student Gracelynn Rice said, “The tables are smooth for writing and the chairs are colorful and comfy. There’s more space to work. The tall tables and chairs are cool, too.”

Cameron Mussey, a 10th grade student, added, “I like how you can move all the furniture easily, and the tables are nice. I like how they’re square, too, so you can fit more people. The new chairs are comfy, too.”

“It’s so fun! The chairs are very comfy and the desks are great for writing,” said Lyrique Busch, an 11th grade student.

The library media center is located just past the high school’s main entrance, with large windows that let in the sunlight, ample space and an extensive collection of books, reference materials and online resources for students and staff. For more information, visit the library and media center webpage.

students sitting at high-top tables next to big windows

Update Jan. 11, 2023
In the photos below: More furniture, including moveable tables with storage and cabinets have been added to the library.

moveable table with storage and storage cabinets

distant view of moveable tables, with students seated around one, and 2 adults talking in the foreground


Students’ Friendsgiving floats make 8th grade team proud

What is colorful, creative, has a bunch of wheels and rolls to student-performed marching music? Why, the Fort Plain 8th Grade Float Parade, of course!

Before leaving for the Thanksgiving break this year, 8th grade students took part in a grade-wide project where they were asked to design and build parade floats.

The students were placed in groups based on what they considered to be their strengths in school, as well as their interests. Once their groups were formed, they began to plan and build their design. Each group was randomly assigned rolling bases that they had to use for the base of their float. These items were things that you could find in school that rolled, such as laptop carts, rolling chairs, wheelbarrow, and other items.

Students were shown a video of Macy’s Day Parade floats to gain inspiration. Once their design was drawn up and a plan was put into place, students used materials from different classrooms to construct their floats. Their finished product needed to consist of a float that rolled and also represented the category they were given.

“The day before vacation, each group lined up in the gym and paraded their float around while Mr. Burrello and members of the high school band played ‘Mickey Mouse March’,” said teacher Adam Cutspec. “Several faculty and students took the time to come down and take a look at what the 8th graders had created.

“To celebrate all that they accomplished, the entire 8th grade class had a ‘Friendsgiving’ during their lunch period. They feasted on traditional Thanksgiving food that was provided by Mrs. Cooley and her 8th grade Home and Careers classes, as well as by the cafeteria staff.

“This was a new project put together by the 8th grade team that was meant to focus on creativity, teamwork, and problem solving, and the whole team was extremely proud of what the 8th graders created.”

Upcoming December events & important dates

Please note the following upcoming events and important dates:

  • December 9: Yearbook Dance for the High School, 7 p.m.
  • December 19: DARE Graduation, 2 p.m. at Harry Hoag
  • December 20: Winter Concert, 6 p.m. at the Jr./Sr. High School
  • December 22: Special Visitors at Morning Program at Harry Hoag
    *Note: Morning Program will be held on Thursday, Dec. 22, for the last week of December.
  • December 23, 26-30: No school – vacation
    *Offices will be closed on December 26 in observance of Christmas.
  • Athletic Events can be found on the athletics webpage.

FPCSD remembers Lloyd VanAlstine

Fort Plain Central School mourns the passing of Lloyd VanAlstine, who retired after serving the district as a mechanic and school bus driver. He was beloved by the children who rode his bus and their families, and he will be missed by our community.

For more information about Mr. VanAlstine, visit:–VanAlstine?obId=26446900#/celebrationWall

Stephen Gray’s NHS project brings Thanksgiving dinner to 25 families

Andra Fuhs, Stephen Gray and Mason Gray with donated turkeys and food

The High School National Honor Society requires each member to complete a community service project sometime during the school year. November was senior Stephen Gray’s month and for his project, he wanted to provide families in need with Thanksgiving dinner.

Stephen worked with fellow NHS students, faculty and staff members, and the Loaves & Fishes Pantry at the Reformed Church of Fort Plain. Stephen and the team gathered enough donations to put together Thanksgiving dinner supplies for 25 families!

Stephen thanks all of those who generously supported his project.

In the photo: Andra Fuhs, Stephen Gray and Mason Gray deliver the donations to the Loaves & Fishes Pantry in Fort Plain.

– Article and photo submitted by Will Ryan

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