Harry Hoag School is proud to announce the 2020-21 second quarter Honor Roll, to which 20 students were named, and Principal’s List, to which 28 students were named. The Honor Roll and Principal’s List recognize outstanding achievement and effort. The students received signed certificates from Principal Lauren Crisman and Superintendent John Bishop.
Congratulations to the following students:
Larry Sanders III
At their meeting on February 10, the Fort Plain Board of Education approved plans to resume full-day, in-person instruction for grades 1-6 at Harry Hoag School, beginning on March 8. A remote-only option will remain available for families who need it.
“Our plan to resume full-day, in-person instruction at Harry Hoag aligns with our district’s Reopening Schools Guiding Principles,” said Superintendent of Schools John Bishop. “Those principles are to: Keep health & safety as a top priority. Maximize student – teacher contact time. Collect feedback from stakeholder groups. Use data to inform decisions.
“The revised reopening plan follows the guiding principles to: Engage through outreach to stakeholder groups, Inform by sharing current data and collected information, and Evolve by revising our instructional plan.”
The district has scheduled half-days of school at Harry Hoag for February 23, an A day, and March 2, a B day, to provide time for teacher and building preparation. The superintendent noted that the half-days were scheduled on an A and a B day to have the least impact on Harry Hoag families. Buses will depart at 12 p.m. on these days.
Fort Plain engaged Harry Hoag stakeholders by reaching out through a building survey, a hybrid learning feedback form, and faculty workshops and stakeholder meetings, all for the purpose of listening, learning, soliciting perspective and targeting areas for growth.
“We value and appreciate the partnership of our parents, families, faculty, staff and the community in our decision-making process, allowing us to provide this opportunity now that COVID-19 positivity rates are declining in our region,” said Bishop. “We look forward to bringing our Harry Hoag grades 1-6 students back together for the second half of the school year.”
The district informed stakeholders by sharing feedback about remote learning, both what has been working well for children, and challenges such as internet connectivity and parent schedules; data related to COVID-19 infection rates and concerns; and how to maintain a safe school environment that also maximizes the time students spend with teachers.
“When we examine our Reopening Plan and how we will educate our students for the balance of this school year and into the future, the decisions are guided by the Board-adopted improvement levers,” Bishop said. “They include safety and student social-emotional developmental health; family and community engagement; curriculum development and support; use of data to inform and improve instruction; and fiscal resources.
“We do this all to fulfill our mission: To prepare every student for success beyond graduation.”
Fort Plain Central School bid farewell to three long-time employees who are retiring this week from decades of serving the district. Staff and students alike extended their congratulations and best wishes to John Fureno, Dawn Surnear and Philip Thibodeau.
John Fureno is retiring from teaching fifth grade math at Harry Hoag School. He has served Fort Plain for several decades as a general education teacher for multiple grades and as an athletic coach.
“John is a role model for us all, always smiling, always embracing the day with a positive, can-do attitude,” said Lauren Crisman, Harry Hoag principal. “In addition to teaching, John has been a valuable member of the FPCSD athletics department. He has served as a multi-season coach, investing in our young athletes by coaching the sports of golf, bowling and baseball.
“Colleagues and students alike regard John as one of the most kind, endearing and caring faculty members to ever walk the hallways of Harry Hoag Elementary School. He will be deeply missed by all.”
In bidding goodbye to a dedicated teacher, coach and colleague, Fort Plain wishes John all the best in his retirement.
Proud dad: John is at left in the photo below, taken at his son’s graduation from Fort Plain.
Dawn Surnear is retiring from her position as head cook in the Harry Hoag School kitchen. She began working for the district in 1999, and has served more than 21 dedicated years in the food service department. Dawn joined the Fort Plain staff because the school hours worked well with her own children’s schedules, and because she enjoys cooking and working with children. She worked her way up from a part-time position to full time and then to head cook.
“Throughout her career, Dawn has enjoyed trying new recipes and helping kids to try new things,” said Lauri Broady, school nutrition director. “She is known for her creativity and the kitchen decorations that have brought joy to students for many years. Dawn has always been a person to step up in a time of crisis, helping in the district in times of everything from floods to COVID. Her dedication to our school community has been admirable, and she will be missed by all.
“Please join us in wishing Dawn well in her well-deserved retirement and her plans to do more traveling, enjoy projects around the house, and continue her love of creating painting, crafts and gifts of all kinds,” Broady added. “Congratulations, Dawn!”
In the photo below, Dawn on the job and at a retirement celebration. Note her shirt: Lunch Ladies Rock!
Philip Thibodeau is retiring from teaching health and physical education (PE) at the junior/senior high school. He has taught in the district for 24 years. In addition to teaching, Phil has coached the Hilltoppers in a variety of sports including varsity and modified girls basketball, junior varsity softball, modified soccer and modified, junior varsity and varsity baseball. In 2016, his coaching abilities helped the varsity baseball team become the Class D NYSPHSAA state champions.
“Phil is a quiet force, for good, as a teacher, a coach and a colleague,” said Dr. Deborah Larrabee, Jr./Sr. High School principal. “His uncommon empathy for his students makes him an educator who will long be remembered by those whose lives he has touched.
“He is witty, quick to laugh, and just as quick to say the thing that will get others laughing – often at their own behaviors,” Dr. Larrabee continued. “Phil graduated from Fort Plain in 1983, and returned to his alma mater to help the young people of the community he loves and dedicated himself to. He will be missed, but forever remembered. Thank you, Phil Thibodeau.”
Charlie Karker, athletic director, has known Phil as a Fort Plain student and a colleague. He said, “Phil was known to be very diligent and determined to accomplish what needed to be done in order to become what he wanted to be as an adult and a human being. The same can be said of Phil, the athlete. He was very coachable, did what was asked, and led by example – qualities every coach wants from their athletes.”
Karker quoted football coach, Lou Houltz, to summarize Phil’s philosophy of teaching and coaching. “Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
Phil helped foster students’ abilities, attitudes and motivation to help them succeed in school, in sports and in life. Fort Plain will not be the same without him. Fort Plain wishes him a retirement filled with health, fun and happiness.
Farewell to Phil: Philip Thibodeau on the job at Fort Plain, photoed shortly before his retirement.
Thank you to all who participated in the January 27 online Parent Forum to share the results of the recent Hybrid Learning Feedback Form and discuss the evolving instructional program at Harry Hoag School.
At the forum, Superintendent of Schools John Bishop and Harry Hoag Principal Lauren Crisman discussed the feedback received, addressed concerns and questions from parents and guardians, and noted that any changes from the current hybrid learning program would not take effect until March at the earliest. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for students and staff remains the district’s top goal.
The online Parent Forum was similar to those conducted in late August, and was broadcast and recorded on YouTube at https://youtu.be/xaJmskxbDA4.
“The purposes of the forum were to engage, inform and involve our stakeholders in the district’s goal of providing a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff,” said Superintendent Bishop. “We appreciate all who participated and will keep our school community apprised as we continue to develop our instructional plan for Harry Hoag.”
The instructional plan and schedules at the junior/senior high school will remain unchanged this school year.
Anyone who was unable to participate in the forum and has questions, may call or email the Superintendent’s office.
Each week at Snack Bag time, Lisa Petty’s Life Skills classroom in Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School is a whir of activity as students organize and count, assemble and package, and decorate dozens of bags of meals and snacks to be sent home on Thursdays and Fridays with students in need.
Thanks to the generosity of the Canajoharie Loyal Order of Moose Lodge, the Snack Bags will continue to head home each weekend. On December 9, Doc Davis of the Moose Lodge visited the high school to present a $1,000 donation check to Principal Dr. Deborah Larrabee, Life Skills teacher Lisa Petty and Life Skills teacher assistant Lori Shults. The Moose Lodge is a charity organization, and their donation to the Snack Bag program is just one of the ways they have shown their commitment to the community.
“We are so grateful to Doc Davis and the Moose for their generous support of the Snack Bag program,” Dr. Larrabee said. “Their donation helps us continue a program that serves 19 high school students and 25 elementary school students, helping them with meals and snacks each weekend. The program is also an important instructional activity for our Life Skills class.”
“Our students enjoy getting the Snack Bags weekly,” said Harry Hoag Principal Lauren Crisman. “Each bag is decorated by a member of Mrs. Petty’s class. The students look forward to seeing the unique designs, and they always show appreciation for the delivery. We are grateful for the partnership.”
In addition to preparing the Snack Bags, the Life Skills class delivers them to the elementary school, walking them there when the weather permits.
Prior to the pandemic, the Life Skills students were assisted in preparing the Snack Bags in their classroom by visiting clients from Liberty ARC. Lori Shults, who previously worked with Liberty, praised the partnership. “Many of the clients formed friendships with the Life Skills students and would specifically ask for the Snack Bag assignment.”
“Without the help from Liberty this year,” said Lisa Petty, “our class has risen to the challenge on their own, filling 44 bags each week with tasty fare such as ravioli, cereal, applesauce and pudding, and fun items like goldfish crackers and cookies. We are very grateful to the Moose Lodge for their donation to help us continue the Snack Bag program.”
In addition to recognizing the Canajoharie Moose, Dr. Larrabee noted that Fort Plain faculty and staff have also been very generous in assisting the Snack Bag program and thanked them for their ongoing support.
In the photo at top: Doc Davis of the Canajoharie Moose Lodge (third from left) presents a $1,000 check to Life Skills teacher assistant Lori Shults, as Life Skills teacher Lisa Petty (far left) and Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School Principal Dr. Deborah Larrabee (far right) look on during a Dec. 9, 2020 donation ceremony at the school.
In the photo below, Life Skills students and their teacher Lisa Petty pack Snack Bags in their classroom.
Harry Hoag School is proud to announce the 2020-21 first quarter Honor Roll, to which 22 students were named, and Principal’s List, to which 32 students were named. The Honor Roll and Principal’s List recognize outstanding achievement and effort. Congratulations to the following students:
Larry Sanders III
Dear Members of the Fort Plain School Community:
I hope you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Given the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in our state and region, it is important that we reconnect about how we can work together to keep our schools open and our students learning and growing.
Schools have been recognized by Governor Cuomo and nationally for successfully taking precautions to help control the spread of the virus, and your partnership in these efforts is most appreciated. Thank you.
State and local guidance
I’d like to share information about new guidance from the state on tracking and slowing COVID-19 infection that could potentially impact our school community.
As part of its Micro-Cluster Initiative and Cluster Action Initiative to slow the spread of the virus, New York State is designating certain geographic areas as Yellow, Orange or Red zones. The zones are based on the prevalence of COVID-19 and take into account multiple factors including numbers of positive tests, hospital capacity, etc. The zones come with certain restrictions and protocols aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, including school-based COVID testing.
While our community is not currently within one of these zones, it is helpful to be aware of this information should it be designated in the future. Our school district continues to work with the Montgomery County Public Health Department and HFM BOCES to stay informed of the guidance and how it affects our students, staff and community.
A proactive partnership
We also continue to work proactively to prevent and limit exposure to the virus in our schools. As I noted earlier, your partnership in this effort is invaluable.
We can all help to promote health and safety in our schools and community by:
- Wearing masks, practicing social distancing and frequently washing our hands.
- Adhering to guidelines for sizes of family and social gatherings. (In his Nov. 30 news conference, Governor Cuomo noted that 65% of recent COVID-19 cases have been attributed to small gatherings).
- Observing updated travel regulations, including quarantine and/or testing requirements.
- Staying home when we don’t feel well or are having symptoms, and keeping our children home when they are experiencing the same.
Our number one goal in Fort Plain is to provide the safest possible environment for teaching and learning, in order to keep our schools open.
Thank you for your support.
Superintendent of Schools
Fort Plain Schools’ annual early release drill, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 24, will be held on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. This is a change from the printed calendar sent in late summer.
This is a friendly reminder for all Fort Plain parents and guardians that physical health exams are mandated by New York State for all students who are newly enrolled in a school district or who are in grades pre-k or kindergarten, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. This includes students who are enrolled as in person, hybrid or remote learners.
Please return completed physicals to the school nurse’s office as soon as possible. More information on physicals is posted on our health services webpage, under Health Screenings.
Dear Members of the Fort Plain School Community,
On Thursday, November 12, 2020, the district was informed that a member of the school community had tested positive for COVID-19. Fort Plain Schools were closed on November 13 for deep cleaning and disinfection of any potentially impacted areas. Instruction was provided remotely for all students.
In working with Public Health we are implementing our Short-term remote learning plans through November 24. The health and safety of the students and employees of the Fort Plain School District are our highest priorities. In person classes will resume on November 30, 2020.
During the remote learning period, transportation will continue to be provided for all out-of-district programs, including special education, career and technical education, PTech, AgTech, and Adirondack Academy. Meals will be provided for students of both schools and may be picked up at either Harry Hoag or in the Village Office parking lot in downtown, between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon. The main offices will remain open.
Fort Plain School District has been working in conjunction with Montgomery County Public Health to review policy and procedure for COVID-19 exposure, and is following their guidance. Montgomery County has provided the district with additional PPE and cleaning supplies. Students and staff who have been identified as close contacts will be contacted by the local health department in the county where they reside.
We ask that our community remain diligent with wearing masks and washing hands frequently. Please note that if you do not receive a call from the health department, you have not been identified as a close contact. Also keep in mind, this is one positive confirmed case at this time and does not rise to the level of an outbreak or cluster.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we move forward.
Superintendent of Schools