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

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.

Peruvian Orphans Receive EJD Artwork

A class art project that began last year with students at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School made its impact across the globe this summer.

The Phoenix Central School District’s global reach stemmed from a project last spring spearheaded by EJD art teacher Ashley Modafferi. As part of the Memory Project, eighth-grade studio art students transformed photos of Peruvian orphans into hand-drawn portraits intended to help the children feel loved and to spread kindness throughout the world.

When the children in Peru received these portraits over the summer, a video crew was on hand to document their reactions. For Modafferi, the joy on the recipients’ faces was rewarding and heartwarming.

“I couldn't be prouder and more excited about this opportunity,” Modafferi said. “I had to share!”

JCB Hosts Freshman Orientation

John C. Birdlebough High School freshmen were accompanied by upperclassmen as they explored the school during a recent freshman orientation.

After the guided tour, the students were tasked with navigating the hallways themselves to practice their bell schedules in preparation of the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

“You’ll get used to it after a couple of weeks,” one upperclassman told a nervous freshman.

From left, JCB sophomores Olivia Thrall and Megan
Hess, join freshmen Mackenzie Gleason, Carly
Ingerson, Jazmine Butler and Lana Brown on a tour
of the high school.

Gold, Silver Stars Awarded to EJD Students

Several Emerson J. Dillon Middle School Students have earned either gold or silver star honors on their report cards for Marking Period 4.

Students who achieved a quarterly average of 90 or higher, with no failing or incomplete grades, earned a gold star. Silver stars were awarded to students who achieved a quarterly average of 85 to 89.99, with no incomplete or failing grades. Gold and silver star recipients were treated to a special activity to honor their accomplishments. The following students will receive a certificate acknowledging their accomplishments:

Fifth-grade gold star recipients include: Kathryn AuClair, Chase Bacon, Isaiah Bergman, Allenmichael Borasky, Grayson Brady, Elisabeth Caltabiano, Liam Campanino, Solomon Campbell, Courtney Carter, Meghan Clothier, Reghan Conley, Dominic Croteau, Blake Duncan, Emily Dunn-Hulett, Hayley Dygert, Mark Eusepi Jr., Michael Farrar, Madison Fatcheric, Evan Fox, Damian Fratello, Zoe Gordon, Lindsey Goudy, Mia Graham, Kenidee Grover, Mallory Hess, Jason Hilton, Blake Hoyt, Mattie Hunt, Evan Isabell, Olivia Isabella, Alan Jacques, Conor Jones, Dylan Jones, Chase Kenner-Carbonaro, Morgan Lynch, Brooke McCann, John McDonald, Peyton Nichols, Tateum Patnode, Cody Perry, Logan Petrie, Lillianne Quinn, Hannah Reilley, Thomas Rose III, Sheriden Southworth, Zoey Stone, Ryan Thompson, Alexander Whaley, Austin Wilder and Sean Wood Jr.

Fifth-grade silver star recipients include: Ethan Bruno, Aiyannah Bukowski, Donnivan Bukowski, Jonathon Burgess, Peyton Callahan, Victoria Cerullo, Isaac Chesbro, Alexis Crandall, Milani Eldred, Natalie Fay, Robert Finch Jr., Shawn Froio, Anthony Guglielmo, Chloe Harvey, Riley Huntley, Brandon Ingoldby, Joseph Karasek, Lillian Maty, Mikayla Maxam, Jenna Moore, Jason Phoenix, Edward Pitcher, Sahara Sardo, Lillie Shaffer, Celia Tangorra and Julianna Williams.

Sixth-grade gold star recipients are: Sarah Andrews, Sarah Ashby, Virginia Bednarski, Adrianna Breckheimer, Gracie Britton, Thomas Checksfield, Kaitlyn Chesbro, Chloe Coughlin, Johnathan Dion, Isaiah Gordon, Joseph Green, Madisen Guerrero, James Hagg II, Jonah Hawthorne, Bethany Hook, Tye Hughes, Autumn Kelly, Maggie LaPine, Larissa MacDonald, Hannah McArthur, Jacob Neupert, Katelyn Pyzdrowski, Ariana Richway, Kylie Russo, Taylor Smith, Daniel Stellingwerf and Sean Stevens.

Sixth-grade silver star recipients are: Landon Armstrong, Noah Bartholomew, Stephen Beal, Masson Bell, Zackery Bennett, Mathew Bernard, Alissa Bova, Conner Calkins, Jake Charleston, Mary Crandall, Matthew Files, Dominic Germain, Mariah Gilligan, Alexandra Hopps, Alaina Hubbell, Jayde Jacobson, Willyam Jolly, Nicholas Joseph, Grace Landis, Nevaeh Lando, Grace McDonald, Max Morgan, Brady Munger, McKenna Neiss, Carter Norton, Carter Pinkley, Jarvis Piscitelli, Curtis Pitcher, Kelsey Redhead, Olivia Snyder, Chastity Thomas and Austin Wagar.

Gold-star recipients in seventh-grade include: Isabella Allen, Shay Altman, Emily Babbitt, Amaya Baker, Nicholas Bartlett, Ashleigh Besaw, Haley Bowersox, Sara Brunell, Chloe Calkins, Hannah Charleston, Emma Clark, Tabitha Clark, Sophia Crandall, Brielle DeRoberts, Alicia Durst, Alivia Eusepi, Francesca Goodell, Noah Gordon, Cierra Harvey, Nathan Kosakowski, Alivia Lamphere, Miranda LaRobardiere, Jock Li, Megan Lytle, Owen Lytle, Samantha McLoughlin, Zack Mills, Garret Morrissiey, Imari Piscitelli, Andrew Quinn, Tyler Redhead, Connor Roberts, Lily Roberts, William Semanchuk-Enser, Aiden Southworth, Nathaniel Sutter, Liam Sweeney, Zoie Tracy, Melody Trask,Sophia Trinca, Aidan Trumble, Thomas Uhl, Michael VanAuken Jr. and Mason Watkins.

Silver-star recipients in seventh-grade include: Natalie Brown, Kelsie Burgess, Hailie Dailey, Alexis Dryer, Ethan Fox, Hailey Fredericks, Zachary Green, Mattison Hess, Katherine Holbrook, Patricia Lamach, Jillian Loy, Hailey Maldonado, Robert Minard, Alex Olschewske, Keaton Renfrew, Brett Sears, Garrett Strang, Benjamin Thibault and Corinne Thibault.

Eighth-grade gold star recipients are: Emma Allers, Violet Ameele, Grace Arnold, Danielle Case, Cheyenne Cook, Jeffrey Cooper, Michael Dion, Elisabeth Dona, Darren Fischel, Caitlin George, Hailey Goudy, Allison Grabowski, Cassadee Handville, Trish Harris, Samantha Harrison, Keera Hazen, Carly Ingerson, Paige Isabell, Laila Jones,  Ann Joseph, Madison Kalt, Katelyn Kenner-Carbonaro, Jena Klimaszewski, Brigid Lawless, Julianna Lewis, Tina Li, Chloe Lytle, Amaya Malambri, Christian McKay, Alexandria Mills, Caitlyn Mitchell, Joseph Murphy, Savannah Neupert, Kelise Newby, Keva Newby, Skyler Patnode, Taylor Petrie, Ethan Remington, Aubrianna Renfrew, Leah Schlachter, Jacob St. Laurent, Tamika Stobart, Sarah Thorn, Nicole Tulowiecki, Teresa Uhl, Madison VanAuken, Grace Vestigo and Madison Watkins.

Eighth-grade silver-star recipients are: Olivia Bigelow, Mason Bresett, Jadan Bruno, Brianna Buonagurio, Alexis Capenos, Conner Cole, Jacob Cooper, Christa Delaney, Samuel Guthrie, Adam Hahn, Brianna Horn, Natalie King, Zaya Koegel, Lauren Kraft, Hailey Liscomb, Bradyn Lough, Matthew Maestri, Abigail Meaker, Brooke Palmer, Madison Pelton, Love Phillips, Vanessa Rivera, Lilly Salotto, Ayden Slack, Jacob Tangorra, Nicholas Vaverchak, Seth Watkins, Paige Weldin, Destiny Whitcomb and Elijah Young.