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Superintendent's Message

Superintendent Brady

Massena Central School Board of Education Update

September 29, 2017


Massena Central Hall of Fame Induction


On September 15th, the Hall of Fame Committee honored the 2017 inductees and their families in a stirring ceremony at the high school cafeteria.  Athletic Director and Master of Ceremonies Gavin Regan welcomed the group and spoke of the great tradition of Massena Central athletics. Four individuals, Mark McConnell, Caity Smith McGregor, Emily Riley, and Christopher Wiley as well as two teams, the 2004 girls’ soccer team and 2007 golf team, were then celebrated for their accomplishments.  During their acceptance speeches, many spoke of the great support they had from coaches and their families.  They took pride in the tribute and the opportunity to be a Red Raider.  After the ceremony, the Massena Fire Department held a reception in their honor.  


It was a great weekend of activities despite the Hall of Fame football game being cancelled when the Tupper Lake team pulling out due to injury.  Thanks to the Hall of Fame Committee, AD Gavin Regan, the Massena Fire Department, and all involved with the event.  


Here is a Courier Observer article about the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.


Massena Recognized As One of the Best Towns in New York for Homebuyers


This week, the Village of Massena received news from LendEDU, an independent on-line marketing group that it was ranked among the top 250 towns in New York State for homebuyers.

LendEDU uses licensed data to analyze hundreds of New York towns based on a number of factors deemed important for homebuyers such as income and population projections. 

Massena ranked #176 on their list


The full report and methodology can be found here:


Facilities & Grade Reorganization Study Update


At the Board of Education meeting on 9/21, a question was asked about who could attend the building tours scheduled before each of the Advisory Committee meetings for the Facilities & Grade Reorganization Study.  These tours, which will be led by the building principals, are for the Advisory Committee and any member of the public who will be attending the meeting.  The first one is scheduled for Jefferson Elementary at 5:45 pm on 11/1 with the Advisory Committee meeting to follow at 6:30 pm. The focus of the meeting will be on instruction.


Here is a link to the materials from the first Advisory Committee meeting on 9/20.  We welcome and encourage members of the community to attend these important meetings.


Board of Regents Update

The NYS plan for Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was approved for submission to the U.S. Department of Education. 

  • The plan includes new school quality measures related to school climate, such as chronic absenteeism and school suspension rates, and a proposal to consider graduation rates for students who take more than four years to complete high school. 
  • More information can be found at the  ESSA web page.


The Next Generation Learning Standards for math and English language arts were approved.

  • 2017-18 is an awareness year
  • No assessments will change until Spring of 2021
  • Many documents will be provided to assist teachers and administrators know the revisions that were made to the Common Core Standards.  This will NOT require "starting over again."


The new Learning Standards for the Arts (2017) were approved.

  • The new standards will be used development a new ARTS "pathway" to graduation.
  • The standards will go into full effect in 2018-19.
  • The new arts standards will stress "conceptual understanding" as explained in the presentation on the changes.


Commentary:  Plans for helping teachers to learn about and understand the expectations of the new standards are currently being made. It is anticipated that professional development for introducing the Learning Standards for the Arts will be available during the winter 2017-18.  

High School

News & Notes

Freshman Orientation

The class of 2021 was welcomed to Massena High School on August 31, 2017. Link Crew Leaders and Mentors engaged the students in a full day of activities ranging from balloon popping contest to a tour of the high school to lunch in the courtyard. Freshman Orientation was created to give incoming freshman a day to familiarize themselves with the high school before the first day of classes. Link Crew Leaders are an integral part of this day by providing activities and tours. They also become a familiar face that freshman can connect with throughout the year when they have times of being overwhelmed.

Freshman Academy

The 2017-18 school year is the second year of the reinstitution of Freshman Academy. Coordinator, Amanda Mittiga is keeping the Freshman Team busy scheduling yearly events. To date the team has met with Amber Baines of the St Lawrence Co. Drug Free Coalition, the US Attorney’s Office, Deb Donatto, Boys and Girls Club, and Nate Currier, Horizon’s to discuss collaborative events for the year. Amber is working with the team to involve students in the Trunk or Treat event the coalition is sponsoring next week. The US Attorney’s office will work with the freshman again this year on the “Chasing the Dragon” Project. This year the Freshman Team will add college visits during October and November. Amanda has arranged for visits to SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Canton, SLU, Clarkson and Paul Smith’s.

Boys and Girls Club/Horizon’s Connection

Our incoming freshman is the first group of students to come to the high school that have been a part of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club since its creation. Deb Donatto met with the Freshman Academy and high school guidance counselors to discuss how the Boy’s and Girl’s Club operates and the importance that is placed on academics, as well as socialization. During the meeting, the three groups came up with ideas on how to provide the Boy’s and Girl’s Club with homework assignments which students must complete before socializing. Google classroom is one of the best ways for the B&G tutors to see assignments. Nate Currier was also on hand to introduce the Horizon’s program that provides students with activities such as cooking, hiking, skiing and many more. The connection between these three groups is one more way to for everyone to work together to provide avenues for students to be successful.

Diversity Events

Last year, two diversity events were scheduled at the Community Center that brought a large number of students, from every grade level, and faculty together in order to promote diversity awareness. We found these events to be very successful therefore, they will continue this year. Three dates in October and November have been selected to hold the events. The focus will be on the freshman class since they have not had exposure to the events.

Five-Year IB Review

Representatives from IB international will be at the high school October 5 & 6 to meet with stakeholders in this premier program. Stakeholders include high school and district administration, IB teachers and coordinator, students, past students, parents and BOE members. Jan Normile, IB coordinator has been working hard preparing for this event. Some of the areas  the program will be evaluated on are teacher collaboration, professional development, courses offered and the success rate of our students.  Once the review is completed, the high school will be given a report card, which will be shared with the community.

WWNY Arts All-Star

Joseph Marcello was selected as the first 2017 North County Arts All-Star.  Craig Thornton from Channel 7 news will be at the high school with a team Friday, October 6th in the afternoon for an interview with Joe. Band Director, Jon Hunkins, recommended Joe for this honor based on his achievements as a percussionist.  Joe, a junior, has played percussion in the in concert band, jazz ensemble, the annual musicals since he was a freshman. Joe has also reached the highest level for NYSSMA and was selected, along with Emily Allen, vocals, to attend the NYSSMA All-State conference in Rochester, NY this November. Each year in late August approximately 900 students are notified that they are selected to participate in the NYSSMA Conference All-State. In the world of music, this is a very prestigious honor to be one of 900 out of all the students participating in music programs across New York State.  Best of luck to Emily and Joe. Please check the website for a date and time when WWNY will air the interview with Joe Marcello.

Upcoming Events

Oct 3 – College Fair for seniors in Ogdensburg

Oct 5&6 – IB Five-Year Review

Oct 10 – OCP performs To Kill a Mockingbird for the high school

Oct 13 – SUNT Potsdam College visit for freshman

JW Leary Junior High School

News & Notes

Grade 7 Climbs Azure Mountain

On September 28th and 29th our seventh graders had the opportunity to climb Azure Mountain with their teams.  Each team climbed Azure, accompanied by their WEB Leaders, in an effort to help build a sense of community at the Junior High.  The trip also exposes our students to hiking which is a healthy and low cost activity that is widely available in the North Country.

Winners of the Student Council Primary Election

On Friday September 29th, primary elections were held to choose the final two candidates for our Student Council Officers for 2017-18.  The winners (pictured below) will now have two weeks to campaign which culminates with a speech prior to the election in front of the entire student body.  Congratulations to all who ran.


Faith Halladay Aiden Kepper

Vice President:

Alyssa Fountaine     Sunny Thompson-Garrow


   Kristen Oliver     Madeline Tusa


  Logan Dobbins     Liam O’Neill

Mr. Cafarella’s classes learn about Native American Culture

As part of a lesson on the traditional cultural diversity of Native Americans, the seventh grade students of Mr. Cafarella’s social studies class are studying how Native Americans traditionally adapted to their environment. This year students focused on the Lakota Sioux. This group of Native Americans traditionally hunted buffalo. For this reason, Lakota housing had to be portable. In class, students built mid-scale sized teepees that can be folded up and moved from location to location.

October 4 Parent Meeting

On Wednesday October 4th at 7pm there will be a meeting for parents in the Junior High cafeteria to provide information about our field experience trip to Boston this year.  The trip is open to all Junior High students. Parents considering sending their student(s) should attend.

Important Upcoming Dates


Boston Trip parent Meeting, 7pm (Cafe)


Indian River Fruit Fundraiser Begins


½ Day Staff Development (10:45am dismissal)


No School- Columbus Day


PTO Popcorn Fundraiser Begins


JH-Picture Day


Student Council General Election and Assembly

Jefferson Elementary School

News & Notes


Adaptive Technology

The Smartboard is a wonderful adaptive technology tool that is used daily in Mrs. Goodrow’s classroom in order to utilize classdojo, abcya, gonoodle and more! All of her students can interact with the Smartboard to work on social, academic, and physical goals.


Pictured below right, Ally is using her Gait Trainer (that works on her standing, walking skills to improve coordination and strength) to choose songs during end of day free time using the Go Noodle Website on the smart board.


Pictured below left, Kyla is using the Smartboard to use to work on math skills (categorizing, counting) while also working on her hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.


Pre Kindergarten Apple Exploration

Pre-Kindergarten took their very first field trip to Kaneb Orchards. While there, students learned how apples are made into cider. Each student took a turn adding an apple to an old-fashioned apple cider press. Pre-K students sampled apple cider and Kaneb’s famous apple cider donuts. After eating the goodies, the children gathered around apple trees and learned about how apples grow and are harvested.


The Kanebs kindly donated a bushel of apples to each Pre-K class to return with to school. The Jefferson Pre-K students took their apples and made homemade applesauce. Families gathered at the annual Pre-K “Apple Festival,” where they sampled the homemade applesauce, created an apple craft, and recited an apple poem.

Hovercraft Project


Jefferson grade six students were treated to a surprise field trip without having to leave the school. Working all day in teams of 6 in the gymnasium, taking a break only for lunch and recess, students assembled parts, problem solved, and communicated while each serving in a unique assigned role. The ultimate goal was to zip across the gymnasium on a thin layer of air.

See Links below:

The Hovercraft Project

Newspaper Article


Jefferson Attendance Initiative


  •         Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
  •         Missing just a day or two days every few weeks increases the chance that your student will not  read or master math at the same level as their peers.  
  •         By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.  
  •         By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.


As part of the district’s Strategic Planning Process, one focus area is attendance. Each school in the district is charged with the task of reducing chronic absenteeism by increasing student attendance. The Jefferson Attendance Committee (JAC) has initiated a three-tiered plan to meet student needs. Each tier requires a higher level of support.



We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school, from health concerns to transportation challenges. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time. We promise to:

  1.       Celebrate good student attendance with a variety of incentives.
  2.       Track attendance daily to notice when your student is missing from school.
  3.       Communicate with you through:
  • a phone call and letter when a child is absent 3 times in a trimester (approx. 13 weeks).
  • a letter and/or parent conference to discuss attendance strategies when a child is absent 5 times in a trimester.
  • a letter, conference, and intensive intervention plan when a child is absent 7 times in a trimester.


The first intervention tier, Tier 1, involves taking accurate daily attendance, setting an attendance improvement goal, monitoring daily attendance trends, communicating with parents, and celebrating classroom successes. Classrooms are competing each week to have the highest attendance average. A jaguar trophy will be presented to each week’s highest attendance average classroom as well as the most improved attendance classroom. Classrooms are also accumulating “perfect attendance cards” each day that all students are present. The class with the most perfect attendance cards at the end of each trimester will win a special celebration for all of their hard work. “Pop-Up Challenges” will take place without notice to celebrate good attendance with special rewards.


Jefferson is proud to announce that our daily attendance average has already improved +2% from this time last year. Our goal for the month of September was 97%. As September comes to an end, our actual attendance average is 97.8%.

Keep up the great work!!

Upcoming Events:

Tues. 3 Friends of Jefferson Parent Group Meeting 6:00

Thur. 5 Early Dismissal (Professional Development) 11:30

Thur. 5 Grades 3-6 attend Ogdensburg Command Performance at H.S 9:00

Mon. 9 No School Columbus Day

Wed. 11 Jefferson Fire Prevention Day

Thur. 19 Jefferson Picture Day

Thur. 19 Board of Education Meeting 6:30pm

Fri. 20 Jefferson Grade 5-6 Dance 6-8:00pm

Mon 23-Fri 27 Red Ribbon Week

Mon 23-Thur 26 Jefferson Book Fair

Wed. 25 Family Night Book Fair 6-8:00pm

Wed. 25 Friends of Jefferson Halloween Fun Night 6-7:30

Tues. 31 Jefferson Halloween Parade 2:10pm


Madison Elementary School

News & Notes


Teambuilding in P.E. Class

Students at Madison worked on project adventure activities in P.E. class.  Pipeline is an activity where the students need to work together to get different types of balls from one end to the other using only the pipes provided.  The task focuses on teamwork, cooperation, communication, and focus.  

Math and Measurement in Grade 2

Mrs. Matejcik’s students worked on their first unit for math, measurement. They worked with a partner to measure their body and record their answers in their math journals. In addition, they played an inches and feet game. Their job was to spin the spinner and then depending on which measurement it landed on they had to move their playing piece to the closest object on the game board that could be measured with that measurement. If they landed on an object on the board that was located in the room, they were then tasked to measure the object to discover its actual length.



Students in Mrs. Plantz’s class are pictured learning to draw what they see, not what they know with a quick self-portrait in Art class.


The Hovercraft Project

The fifth and sixth grade students at Madison put on their thinking caps this past Wednesday.  Each student was assigned a team that was composed of a hand-selected team leader who—under the supervision of the project leader—was responsible for managing his or her team members, each of whom were assigned their own unique roles for the building process of a hovercraft. Working together to implement instructions developed by The Hovercraft Projects' Executive Director, Matt Chase, the teams competed to build a rideable hovercraft, in just a matter of hours! Cognizant of today's educational environment, The Hovercraft Project meets CORE curriculum requirements and promotes interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Mr. Chase discussed with the students many key concepts that they needed to use during the project and in everyday life. He and the students discussed what teamwork looks like and what makes a successful team.  Students were to analyze what made their team successful or why the team had challenges.  The students and teachers had a wonderful time learning during this project.

Upcoming Events:

  • 10/5- Performance @ 9:15am: Massena HS- From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- Grades 3-6
    1. 10/5-   Early Dismissal: Professional Development
  • 10/9-   No School
    1. 10/10- Massena Fire Department Presentations @ 1:15pm
  • 10/11- The Who Club Parent/Teacher Meeting @ 7pm- Madison Library
    1. 10/12- Pre-K Massena Fire Department Presentation @ 9:30am
  • 10/19- Board of Education Meeting @ 6:30- MHS
    1. 10/20- Picture Day
  • 10/24-The Who Club Pumpkin Decorating Night @ 6:00pm

Nightengale Elementary School

News & Notes


Opening Day

Noble Nighthawks

Every Friday at Nightengale Elementary, one student is chosen by each teacher from each classroom.  The child is chosen for having good character, good work ethic, for being a good friend and for having good behavior.  These names are announced each Friday on the announcements.  The children receive a prize, get their picture taken and get to wear a medal for the entire school day.  This is part of our school wide behavioral program organized by principal, Amy Hornung.

Back Row from left to right:

Tyla Staves, Tristan Rushlow, Kellan Barry, Jack Trego, Gracen Villnave, Alainna Mere, Ellie Ware, Marissa Agen, Jack Jarrett


Middle Row from left to right:

Ethan LaValley, Sadie Ayotte, Kimberlee Gwozdz, Brooke Weaver, Ryleigh Griffin, Carmen Battle, Gabrielle Sharp, Alex Snyder, Tyler Coburn


Front Row from left to right:

Marcus Firnstein, Joey Smutz, Andrew Snyder, James Haley, Xavier Taddonio, William Birdou, Curran Love, Wyatt White, Zada Torrey


Mrs. Converse’s 4th Grade Salt Dough Sculptures

Mrs. Converse’s class made a NYS map using salt dough.  


Beyond the Bell at Nightengale

Here are some of our new Before/After Schools activities being offered at Nightengale. Our hope is to get kids involved and excited about after school activities with our teachers and staff. Extracurriculars allow students to pursue interests outside of a of the classroom. Allowing your child to get involved in extracurricular activities at school is a great choice, and it can be very important in helping them to develop many working skills, people skills, and more.


For more information, please contact Mr. Jeffrey Slack at


October Events-

-Nightengale Neighbors 10/16

-Picture Day 10/18

-Halloween Parade 10/31


District Upcoming Events


10/2—New BOE Member Orientation—5:00 pm—CAB

10/3—Community Schools Summit—8:30 am—SLL BOCES

10/5—Early Dismissal for Professional Development—11:30 am—EL & JH

11/9—Columbus Day—No School