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Phoenix, NY 13135
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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

EJD middle school students honored

Several Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students were recently caught following the “Dillon Way,” by showing respect, kindness, courtesy and other attributes throughout the school hallways and classrooms.

For their efforts, all honorees were presented with gift certificates. The following students were recognized as September Dillon Way winners:  Holt Reed, Sabrina Haynes, Mariah Metot, Allen Borasky, Alivia Lamphere, Nick Merritt, Aiden Baldwin, Nathan Gaylord, Dominic Germain, Joey Abt, Alyssa Lantry, Jonathan Campbell, Danielle Loy, Zoe Green, Tyler Widger and Zoe Gordon.


EJD Middle School students beam with pride
after being recognized for following the “Dillon
Way.” Absent from the photo are Zoe Gordon
and Tyler Widger.

Phoenix student earns national recognition for PSAT performance

Academic excellence was in the spotlight at a recent Phoenix Central School District Board of Education meeting, as high school student Brian Breen was recognized for his performance on the PSAT exam.

On hand for the recognition were Thomas Bailer, JCB Principal; Diane Breen; Brian Breen, Patrick Breen; Earl Rudy, PCSD Board of Education president; and Christopher Byrne, Superintendent of Phoenix schools.

Breen, a senior at John C. Birdlebough High School, was one of the nearly 1.6 million high school students who took the test last October. He scored among the best, which earned him the title “Commended Student” in the National Merit Scholarship program.

“We are so proud of Brian; he is a fine representative of the Phoenix Central School District,” said JCB Principal Thomas Bailer. “He excels in the classroom and is an all-around great student.”

The PCSD Board of Education honored Breen with a letter of commendation during an October meeting.

EJD 8th graders explore the arts

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School eighth-grade studio art students recently traveled to the Everson Art Museum in Syracuse where a docent showcased special exhibitions, the museum’s permanent collection, architecture highlights and ceramic pieces.

The students viewed famous works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Janet Fish and Adelaide Alsop Robineau. Using their sketchbooks throughout the tour, they recorded memorable details and chose their favorite work of art to formally critique in class using their knowledge of the Elements and Principles of Design. Teacher Beth Pritchard said it was exciting as an educator to watch her students analyze famous works by using art vocabulary and other knowledge learned in class.

The trip was made possible by the Richard S. Shineman Foundation Bus Fund, which was established in 2015 to subsidize bus transportation for Oswego County schools to engage in art museum experiences.

Eighth-grade studio art students from EJD Middle School
recently explored the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse.

4th graders at MAM become Haudenosaunee people for a day

For about an hour, Michael A. Maroun Elementary School fourth-graders became honorary members of the six nations that make up the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

In the midst of an academic unit on the Haudenosaunee people, the students represented the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations as part of the recent Merry-Go-Round Playhouse’s interactive performance of “There Once was a Longhouse.” Students sat around make-shift camp fires where they became acclimated with Native American customs and traditions.

The school’s intermediate cafeteria was transformed into a Haudenosaunee cultural experience, with a longhouse replica on stage. Separated into the six nations, students learned about the lifestyles of the Haudenosaunee people.

The three Playhouse actors invited select students to participate in a “game of skill” where they pretended to be hunters sneaking up on a deer. The students also cheered and clapped as they learned traditional Haudenosaunee dance and song.




Merry-Go-Round Playhouse actress Molly Siskin,
who portrayed a woman named Odankot, congratulates
fourth-graders Jacob Lindsley, Ezekiel Shatrau and
Angel Preston on winning a game during a play about
the Haudenosaunee people at MAM Elementary.

PCSD Welcomes New Employees

New Phoenix Central School District employees recently attended an orientation to become more acclimated with the district policies and procedures.

Superintendent Christopher J. Byrne welcomed four new district staff members at the event before they explored professional learning opportunities from Robert Edwards, Director of Instruction and Personnel. All participants completed various activities, reviewed data collection processes, learned about technology applications and met several additional district employees.

The orientation concluded with a tour of the district with the following stops: Michael A. Maroun Elementary, Emerson J. Dillon Middle School and John C. Birdlebough High School.

Pictured, from left, are: Sarah Roberts, MAM and EJD social worker, Caryn Conway, PCSD speech and language pathologist, Sharon Hagadorn, EJD speech/language pathologist, and J.P. LaRosa, EJD eighth-grade social studies teacher.


PCSD Highlights Work of Data/RTI Director

Nicole Covell has always been data-driven.

A passion for strategizing led her to the Director of Data and Response to Intervention position within the Phoenix Central School District. Since her appointment in early 2016, Covell has immersed herself in data verification for state reporting, including requirements for teacher certifications. She also has spent much of her time analyzing PCSD data to help district officials identify areas needing improvement so more targeted instruction can take place.

The ultimate goal, she said, is for students to understand information and increase achievement.

Throughout several core departments, Covell has helped staff members develop action plans, which include participation in monthly data meetings and hosting professional development days to learn the best utilization of resources. Instructional specialists participate in those discussions, she said, so data is consistently reviewed throughout the district.

Data is compiled from state testing, labs, student work and several other structures.

Familiar with the greater PCSD family, Covell worked as district data coordinator through the Central New York Regional Information Center. She also was a math instructional specialist (K-5) in another school district after she obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees. In 2014, Covell obtained her Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in School Building Leadership and School District Leader from LeMoyne College.

Nicole Covell, Phoenix Central School District Director
of Data and Response to Intervention, left, leads a
summer data training program for district math teachers.

EJD Middle School students exemplify “the Dillon Way”

At Emerson J. Dillon Middle School, students have learned to embrace the school lifestyle, “Dillon Way.”

This means students in grades five through eight are committed to strengthening their teams, taking on challenges and embodying the school’s character education traits. EJD recently held a Fall Kickoff for the 2016 Dillon Way, a full-day event where teams showcased their banners, chanted, completed team-building exercised and challenges and participated in relay races and games.

Grade-level teams who exemplify the Dillon Way will earn points throughout the school year and whichever teams earns the highest amount will be rewarded with a celebration day in the spring.

MAM students create little libraries

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School are committed to increasing literacy in the Phoenix community by placing little libraries throughout the village.

MAM Teacher Desiree Moore said a group of students conducted research about access to books and found that some of their peers had never borrowed books and some had never been to a public library. After the students learned about a ‘little library’ that was near the public library, they were empowered to offer more little libraries so people could access books at places they visit or in more rural areas.

Little libraries are small, free-standing structures in communities that anyone can visit, select a book to take or borrow, and return at any little library location if they choose. People may also donate books to the little libraries.

The group of students wrote letters, asking people for donations, sought help from another class to help build little libraries and asked the Parent-Faculty Organization for a donation to be used for construction. Staff members were also asked to donate books to help fill the little libraries.

Two little libraries have been constructed and Moore has sought volunteers to help build a third little library.


MAM Elementary School students proudly display the
little library they developed to increase access to books
throughout the community. MAM Teacher Desiree Moore,
top right, helped organize the effort.

Open Houses held at MAM and EJD

With the 2016-2017 school year underway, parents in the Phoenix Central School District had a chance to meet their child’s teachers and tour the elementary and middle schools during recent open houses.

At Emerson J. Dillon Middle School, students led their parents around the building, stopping in different classrooms and meeting with teachers in each academic area. Parents learned about classroom expectations and discussed their child’s progress and goals for the school year.

Much like the middle school open house, the elementary school was bustling with excitement during its open house Sept. 21. Families and students filled the halls and classrooms of Michael A. Maroun Elementary, eager to meet the teachers and check out various class projects. Students in the kindergarten wing practiced writing their name while older students read stories and showed off their work.

According to Principal Brett Doody, the open house always draws a large crowd to the building and provides an opportunity for parents to be engaged in their child’s learning. “It’s great to see such a turnout,” Doody said. “We’re looking forward to a great year.”

Hurd Scholarships Provide Financial Boost for Phoenix Grads

Two Phoenix Central School District graduates began their freshmen semesters this fall with a financial boost from the Robert & Roberta Hurd Scholarship Fund.

Alex Brutcher and Morgan Stobart, members of the John C. Birdlebough Class of 2016, were the recipients of the scholarship. Brutcher received $40,000 to continue his education at Ithaca College, while Stobart was awarded $10,000 for tuition at Clarkson University.

The awards are part of a nearly $1 million bequest gift from the Hurds, alumni of Phoenix schools who wanted to give back to the community long after they passed away. Although Robert and Roberta graduated more than 70 years ago, their love of Phoenix and appreciation of their education journey left a lasting impact, which Brutcher and Stobart can attest to.