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Fort Plain Jr. High School Student Handbook – 2022-2023

Welcome to 7th Grade!

Administrative Team

Superintendent – Mrs. Lauren Crisman,
Principal – Dr. Deborah Larrabee,
Director of Special Education – Mrs. Katrina Canallatos,
Director of Student Engagement and Athletics – Mr. David Bertram,

Respect, Responsibility, Effort

Respect: Be respectful to every member of the FP team. Those members include: Teachers, staff, and students.
Responsibility: Be responsible for your actions, your work, and your school. You can and will make a difference.
Effort: Always put forth your best effort 100% of the time.

Fort Plain’s Mission is:

To provide each student with the opportunity to develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically in a safe, orderly and positive environment.

Fort Plain’s Goal is:

To prepare every student for success beyond graduation.

Key Contacts at Fort Plain Jr.-Sr. High

All teachers have voicemail. Caregivers who wish to contact a teacher should call the main office (518-993-4000 ext. 2124) and ask to be connected with the teacher’s voicemail. You can also connect with us through email and ParentSquare.

Deborah Larrabee
Ext. 2125

School Counselor
Kayla Mahoney
Ext. 2130

School Psychologist
Lara Gordon
Ext. 2131

Mental Health Counselor
Colleen Cushing
Ext. 2127

Main Office
Darcie Jenks
Ext. 2124

Louisa Downes
Ext. 2118

Tara Hayes
Ext. 2122

David Bertram
Ext. 2117

Gary Ruszkowski
Ext. 4001

IT (Tech Support)
Donnie Herringshaw
Ext. 2300

Geoff Snyder
Ext. 2107

Matt Holden
Ext. 2110

Family & Consumer Sci.
Cory Cooley
Ext. 2208

Alexandra Mosher
Ext. 2112
Casey Russom
Ext. 2116

Laurie Capece
Ext. 2213

Julieanne Sincavage

Dalton Burrello
Ext. 2103

Dale Smith
Ext. 2212

Melanie Pombrio
Ext. 2105

Social Studies
Brad Niles
Ext. 2301

Special Education
Carol Connelly
Ext. 2102

Dorene Goodwin
Ext. 2113

Lynette Palmeri
Ext. 2214

Rachel Heroth
Ext. 2310

Wendy Stokna
Ext. 2309


  • For safety and security all students enter school through the front doors only. Doors open at 7:30 a.m.
  • Please do not drop your student off prior to this time. Students shall proceed to the cafeteria or gym.
  • The bell rings at 8:00 a.m. If students are not in class at this time, they are tardy and will need to report to the attendance kiosk for a late slip.
  • Once a student has accumulated five (5) tardies, they will be assigned to lunch detention to make up for their lost time from school.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Sports and clubs are a great way to become involved. Participation is a privilege, not a right. Eligibility is based on a student’s individual class averages every 5 weeks.

  • Failing one or more classes will place a student on the Eligibility List.
  • If on the list, a student must have their teacher’s sign off on ALL of your subjects each week (Mondays) with a Pass or Fail.
  • If a student is failing two or more subjects a week, privileges will be taken away (No athletic contests, field trips, etc.)

Modified Sports available to 7th graders include: basketball, baseball, bowling, cross country, football, soccer, softball, softball, swimming, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Clubs available to 7th grade students include: student council, tech club, drama, chess club, GSA, library club, and multimedia club.


Attendance is important. Did you know chronic absence – missing 10% or more of school days due to absence for any reason – excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, can translate into students having difficulty achieving in middle school and graduating from high school?

When absent from school, regardless of the reason, the student must bring a note stating the reason for the absence to the attendance kiosk the morning the student returns to school. The first three (3) absences for the school year may be excused with a parent note. After the first three, a professional note will be required for the remainder of the school year in order for the absence to be excused. Five (5) tardies/early departures is equivalent to one unexcused absence.

Beginning in September 2022, automated messages will be sent to families to alert them of a student’s absence. Caregivers can reply via ParentSquare or by calling the school to identify the reason for absence.

If a student is absent, it is the student’s responsibility to complete missed assignments. The missed work can be located on Google Classroom. If an absence is known ahead of time or for an extended absence, caregivers may request work be gathered by contacting Mrs. Downes.

Behavior Guidelines

All students are expected to behave in a manner that will reflect favorably on the school, not only during school hours, but also at any out-of-school activity connected with the school, including but not limited to school functions, field trips, and athletic games.

Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair and consistent in an effort to be most effective in changing student behavior. As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. When determining disciplinary action, authorized school personnel will consider the student’s age; the nature of the offense; the circumstances that led to the offense; the student’s prior disciplinary record; the effectiveness of other forms of discipline; information from parents, teachers and/or others; and other extenuating circumstances.

Disciplinary penalties include, but are not limited to warnings, notification to parents, detention, suspension from athletics or other activities or privileges, in-school suspension, removal from class, short or long-term suspension from school, counseling, peer mediation, and referrals to outside agencies.

Safety: Students are expected to behave in ways that are safe for themselves and others. Students, parents, faculty and staff are expected to follow the expectations outlined in the Code of Conduct to ensure the safety of all in the school. Likewise, all persons involved with the school are expected to respect other people’s property.

Cooperation: Students are expected to cooperate fully with teachers, staff,  administrators, and other adults in the school not only when they are in the classroom and in the school building, but also when they are on the playing fields or school buses. Students are expected to always be polite and helpful when dealing with others.

Orderly movement: Students are expected to move between classes and other activities in common areas, inside or outside of the school, in an orderly and timely manner.

Bullying: Fort Plain Jr.- Sr. High School recognizes that safe learning environments are necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. Our school strives to provide safe learning environments for all students and all employees. All incidents of bullying, cyber bullying, and hazing are strictly prohibited and need to be reported immediately.

Bullying vs. Conflict 

Everyone experiences conflict from time to time. It is a normal part of life. Learning to deal with it in a healthy way helps students master the social skills they need. Unlike conflict, bullying is not a normal part of life. Bullying is an abuse of power and has significant consequences. There is nothing healthy about bullying. In fact, there are some distinct differences between bullying and conflict. Being able to identify these differences is important for knowing how to respond to our students. Students should notify a trusted adult so we can help mediate the situation.

Normal Peer Conflict
Equal power or friends
Happens occasionally
Actions are accidental
Not serious
Remorse; will take responsibility
Interest in repairing relationship
Both play an active role
Not trying to gain something
Effort to resolve the problem

Imbalance of power; not friends
Repeated negative actions
Actions are purposeful
Serious threat of physical or emotional harm
No remorse; blames the victim
No interest in repairing relationship
Incident is mostly one-sided
Seeking power, control, or material items
No effort to solve the problem


All students are expected to be in the cafeteria through their scheduled lunch time. Classes are still in session so hallway behavior should not distract or disrupt our learning environment. Cafeteria behavior should be no different than your behavior in the classroom. The Code of Conduct contains more information about cafeteria expectations and the consequences for violating them.

Cell Phones

Please do not contact (call or text) your student during the day. If you need to contact your child, please call the main office at 518-993-4000 ext. 2124.

We acknowledge that electronic communication devices such as cell phones are increasingly common and provide students and their families with a sense of security and safety through immediate and direct communication. However, cell phones have become a distraction for our middle school students and they take time away from instruction and student learning. Therefore, cell phones are not to be used during the school day.

A student who brings a cell phone to school must keep it off and in their locker or otherwise concealed. If a student is seen with a cell phone, the phone will be taken to the office for safekeeping for the remainder of the day. A subsequent offense will result in a caregiver having to come to school to pick up the student’s phone. Please refer to the Code of Conduct for further information.


Chromebooks provide students the opportunity to connect their learning to all resources and information available online, anywhere, at any time. At the start of the year, each student will be issued a Chromebook. The device will travel to and from school with them. Chromebooks are to be used for school related activities ONLY. Students are responsible for charging and caring for their Chromebooks as outlined in the Technology User Agreement. The Chromebook, email/Google accounts, are the property of the Fort Plain School District and, as a result, may be subject to inspection at any time. Students should have NO expectation of privacy of materials found on a Chromebook, their Google Drive or gmail account. Supplied devices are an educational tool and not intended for personal use such as: gaming, social networking, or high end computing.

Students who violate the Technology User Agreement may lose the privilege of using a school issued device. In addition, if a student engages in prohibited conduct related to the use of technology, and damage to the device occurs, the caregiver may be billed for the cost associated with repairs or replacement.


  • At 2:38 p.m., students are dismissed from school. Bus riders need to board their school buses quickly.
  • Students must remain on sidewalks.
  • For safety and security reasons, cars picking up students should not be lined in the visitor parking loop prior to 2:15.
  • Once buses depart, a school employee will direct car riders to exit the parking loop.
  • Once a student has accumulated five (5) early dismissals, he/she will be assigned to lunch detention to make up for their lost time from school.
  • If you are going to make dismissal changes for your child, please call the main office by 1:30 p.m. or send a note with your child to turn in to the office upon arrival at school.

Dress Code

  • Students and their parents have the primary responsibility for acceptable student dress and appearance. A student’s dress, grooming and appearance shall:
  • Be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process.
  • Ensure that pants, shorts, and skirts are of appropriate length and underwear is completely covered with outer clothing.
  • Recognize that brief, revealing or see-through garments are not appropriate
  • Include safe footwear at all times.
  • Not include hoods since they obstruct a student’s identity.
  • Not include sunglasses.
  • Not include items that are vulgar, obscene, or denigrate others on account of actual or perceived race, color, religion, religious practice, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, sex, weight or disability.
  • Not include pajamas, bedroom slippers, robes or blankets
  • Not promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal or violent activities.
  • Head wear (such as baseball caps) may be worn during school hours based on staff discretion within the classroom. Hats are to be removed in the cafeteria, during assemblies, and when reciting The Pledge of Allegiance. Students who fail to abide by these stipulations may lose this privilege.

Administration reserves the right to address issues that may arise on a case by case basis A complete list of dress code guidelines is available in the Code of Conduct.

Dropping Off Items for Students

If a student needs an item dropped off (instrument, binder, lunch, etc.), please make sure you have already labeled the item with your student’s name prior to dropping it off at the attendance kiosk with Mrs. Downes.

Field Trips

The purpose of field trips is to enhance learning and/or reward students for academic excellence and/or behavior. Keep in mind that participation in a field trip is a privilege, not a right. The teacher is responsible for guidelines and can prohibit students from attending the field trip based on, but not limited to, excessive absences, extreme or excessive discipline issues, and lack of academic effort. Students must have prior written permission from a caregiver for all school sponsored field trips. Students are responsible for making up any course work they missed while on the trip.

Health Services

Tara Hayes, a registered nurse, is on staff to serve student health needs.

A student who becomes ill or injured while in school needs to report to the school nurse before calling or texting a caregiver to come and get them or leaving school on their own. A student must be released by the school nurse.

Students may not have any medications (prescription or over the counter) on their possession during the school day. All medications must be brought to school by a caregiver in the original labeled container, with a written physician note.

To participate on an athletic team students, by law, must have a sports physical on file with the school nurse. The physical can be performed by a family doctor. Students also have the option of having a free sports physical performed by the school physician. Students will be given advance notice of physical dates.

Inclement Weather

Information on school closures and delays will be made via:

  • ParentSquare
  • School website (
  • School Facebook (Fort Plain Central School District)
  • Television

It is imperative that your child knows how he/she is to get home on these abbreviated days.


  • Each student will be assigned their own locker.
  • Students have time between classes to access their lockers.
  • Do not share lockers or combinations with anyone.
  • Students will be issued a lock for gym class.
  • Students must make sure their lockers are closed and locked before leaving them. Do not leave it in a ready-open position!
  • Do not bring valuable items or large amounts of cash to school.
  • Fort Plain Jr.-Sr. High School is not responsible for stolen, lost, or damaged property.

Although students are assigned lockers, they remain the property of Fort Plain Schools and are subject to search by administration.

Parent Communication

Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School is committed to partnering with families to support student learning. We strive to provide our students with the best educational environment. We welcome open communication and invite parents to meet with the team or an individual teacher to discuss student needs. Please contact Mrs. Mahoney so these meetings can be scheduled during our teachers’ planning time or before/after school. Conferences with administrators will also be by appointment only.

Open communication between families and schools enables us to work together to support student wellbeing, development and success .Here are some online tools to help foster effective communication:

  1. Parent Portal is a web-based service that allows families to access information about your child’s schedule, report cards, progress reports, attendance and discipline.
  2. ParentSquare is a simple and secure way for families to stay informed about everything happening at school. Receive all school and classroom communication via email or text.
  3. Google Classroom is an easy way to check your child’s assignments and individual grade, and receive guardian summary emails about their student’s work in class.

Safety and Security

Keeping students safe and maintaining a secure learning environment is a priority. Fort Plain’s safety team has developed a plan to keep the students and staff of Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School safe in the event of a crisis. Periodically, we will conduct drills to ensure that the students and staff can execute our plan in case of an emergency.

All schools have a locked single point of entry through which students and visitors enter.

Security cameras to help deter violence and vandalism are in place at the junior-senior high school. Cameras monitor student activity in high traffic areas both inside and outside of the building (There are NO cameras inside classrooms, bathrooms or locker rooms).

Thanks to a partnership with the Fort Plain Police Department, a safety officer (S.O.) works full time in the district when school is in session. The S.O. patrols school facilities for the purpose of providing visibility, maintaining security and deterring criminal activities.


The school bus ride is an extension of the school day. Students must behave appropriately as passengers on the school bus. Riding the school bus is a privilege, not a right, and proper behavior will guarantee the continuation of this privilege. Misbehavior, on the other hand, will be dealt with in a timely manner and may result in suspension of bus privileges. Students are expected to follow all rules set by the FP School District and the bus driver. The Fort Plain School District utilizes video cameras for the purpose of monitoring student behavior on school buses. Refer to the complete Code of Conduct for further information.

Students will not be allowed to get off the school bus except at their original destination unless arrangements have been made prior through the main office or with the bus garage.

As a rule, your child should know each day how they will get home. However, during the course of the day if something changes and your child will be taking a different mode of transportation home that is not his/her normal mode of transportation, the office must be notified by 1:30 in order to notify your child.


All persons on school property or attending a school function shall conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner. For security reasons, all persons visiting the school during the school day are required to first check in at the attendance kiosk at the main doors for a visitor’s pass. Identification is required.

Student Tips for Success

Here are some tips to help your student have a successful start to 7th grade:

  • Listen to your teachers
  • Be respectful, polite and kind
  • Do your homework
  • WALK in the hallways and on stairs
  • No hoods
  • No cell phones, earbuds/headphones
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
  • Learn a new sport
  • Get good grades
  • Choose your friends wisely
  • Do not get involved in drama
  • Stay healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Find a trusted adult to talk with when you have a problem
  • Talk with someone at home and keep them informed about your 7th grade life
  • Come to school and have fun!

Caregiver Tips for Success

Here are ways to keep your child on track for success as they enter 7th grade

  • Attend school meetings and events
  • Get to know your child’s teachers
  • Visit school website often
  • Get and stay connected
  • Support homework expectations
  • Help your child get organized
  • Encourage kindness and inclusion
  • Know your child’s friends
  • Take attendance seriously
  • Set limits: cell phone, social media, video games
  • Talk to your child about school.
  • Encourage your child to get to know the school counselor
  • Make it clear students are expected to follow school rules and policies
  • Check your child’s homework, but don’t do it for her.
  • Give your child a quiet place to study and do homework
  • Protect your child’s sleep

    More Tips for Caregivers

Common homework excuses…and some effective responses!

I don’t have any homework.
Let me see your Agenda, or let’s sign in to Google Classroom and see what your teachers posted.

I already did it!
Great! Show me.

I left it in my locker.
Let’s go back to school and get it.

I handed it in already.
I will send your teacher a message on ParentSquare to confirm it was handed in.

It’s not due tomorrow.
Great! Then, if you do it today, you’ll have more free time when it is due.

My book is lost or stolen.
Call a friend.

I don’t understand it.
You can call a classmate or email your teacher.

I forgot to write my assignments down.
Call a friend or we can check your teacher’s Google Classroom page.

I have soccer practice, I don’t have time to do my homework.
Well, then make sure your work is complete. Otherwise, you’re not going to practice.