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

Musicians Excel at All-County

Nearly 20 Phoenix Central School District middle school students showcased their musical talents during the recent All-County Band Festival held in Hannibal.

The annual event was spearheaded by the Oswego County Music Educators Association and featured 74 student musicians representing all nine school districts throughout the county. Under the direction of Jonathan Hunkins, the junior high band performed “Encanto,” “Air for Winds” and “The Forge of Vulcan.”

The Emerson J. Dillon instrumental music program had the largest number of junior high students represented from one school district at this year’s festival, which is a testament to the hard work of the students and the district’s rich music program, said EJD band teacher Dave Frateschi.

“The Phoenix Central School Music Department is also very proud to be included in the National Association for Music Education top 100 schools in America for Music Education for the 2016 school year,” Frateschi said, noting that this marks the fifth consecutive year for this designation. “Special thanks go out to the Phoenix administration team and the Board of Education for their continued support of our students here in Phoenix.” 

EJD Artists Earn Honors

Art students in the Phoenix Central School District recently earned recognition for their work as part of the Scholastic Art Awards program.

The annual effort honors Central New York students in grades seven through 12 for their artistic accomplishments. This year nearly 5,100 pieces of art were submitted from school districts throughout the region, and a panel of judges recently selected the winners, including several Phoenix students. Fourteen Emerson J. Dillon Middle School artists earned honors and their work will be among the 1,300 pieces on display through March 3 at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College. 

The winners from EJD were eighth-graders Noah Gordon, Cierra Harvey, Liam Sweeney, and Haley Bowersox (Gold Keys); Michael VanAuken, Sara Brunell, Shay Altman, Alivia Lamphere, Sophia Trinca and Emma Clark (Silver Keys); and Andrew Quinn, Melody Trask, Nathan Kosakowski, Emma Clark, Alivia Lamphere, Shay Altman and Nate Sutter, who was recognized for two submissions (honorable mention).

EJD art teachers Beth Pritchard and Ashley Modafferi congratulated the students on the recognition and noted that the exhibit is open to the public for community members and parents who would like to see the work on display.

Making Connections: Phoenix Kindergartners Participate in Videoconference

Phoenix kindergartners in Pat McMonagle’s class connected with students from Steuben County recently for a videoconference focusing on a variety of subject areas.

From their classroom in Phoenix, the Michael A. Maroun students read the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” and created their own character puppets. Their peers from the Prattsburgh Central School District followed the same steps and the classes compared the things they see and experience within their local communities.

According to McMonagle, the kindergartners enjoyed the lesson and developed important skills through the process. Students practiced reading, speaking listening and math, and developed presentation skills.

The videoconference was part of a distance learning offering provided by the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation. The service strives to bridge the gap in educational opportunities and enhance learning experiences for students, teachers and community members by providing overall program coordination services, technical support, identification of district needs and connectivity access to school districts and educational institutions.

Musical talent abound at JCB

The Phoenix Central School District is home to some of the state’s most talented student musicians.

Several John C. Birdlebough High School students recently performed in the New York State School Music Association Senior High Area All-State Festival in Whitesboro. They showcased their talents in band, orchestra, mixed chorus and women’s chorus as they played alongside students from Oswego, Herkimer and Oneida counties.

JCB Band Director Liza Grethel said students were selected for the honor because they received high scores for their NYSSMA solo piece performed in the spring of 2016. Grethel commended JCB seniors Daniel Knowlton, who played a trumpet, and Samantha Harrison, who played a French horn, for their Area All-State Orchestra performance, which she said is an exceptional honor because JCB does not have an orchestra program.

Praise was also given to the four mixed chorus members, one member of the women’s chorus, and five students who performed in the concert band. Grethel said the Senior High Area All-State Festival provided students with an opportunity to make music at a high skill level, which “really gives them a unique experience.”


JCB seniors Samantha Harrison and Daniel Knowlton recently
participated in the New York State School Music Association
Senior High Area All-State orchestra.



JCB Seniors Shine at Music Festival

John C. Birdlebough High School seniors Zachary Thompson and Brian Breen recently performed in the New York State School Music Association annual Winter Conference All-State Music Festival in Rochester.

Thompson participated in the mixed chorus on tenor 1. The 284-member group performed under the direction of Vanderbuilt University Associate Professor of Music Dr. Tucker Biddlecombe. Selections performed by the mixed chorus at the concert included “The Star Spangled Banner” by Key/Smith, “Sing Unto God” by G.F. Handel, “My Spirit is Uncaged” by Paul Rardin, “Luminescence” by Andrea Ramsey, “Verleigh uns Frieden” by Felix Mendelssohn, “Even When He Is Silent” by Kim Arnesen, “Jenga Imani Yako” by Israel Rodgers, and “He’ll Make A Way” by Byron Smith.

Breen, who shined in the percussion section, was one of 61 students who performed in the wind ensemble, under the direction of Nazareth College Music Professor Dr. Jared Chase. Selections performed by the wind ensemble at the concert included “The Star Spangled Banner” by Jack Stamp, “Magnolia Star” by Steve Danyew, “Sheperd’s Hey” by Percy Grainger, “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey and “Zion” by Dan Welcher.

Breen and Thompson were selected from applications from every school district throughout their state, after they obtained high scores at the NYSSMA Solo Festival in the spring of 2016.

Selected students participated in one of seven performing ensembles: vocal jazz ensemble, instrumental jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, symphonic band, string orchestra, women’s chorus, and mixed chorus.




Breen                                                         Thompson


Math class provides unique lessons to Phoenix students

Students in Cheryl Fassett’s classes at John C. Birdlebough High School are exploring math in new ways through a variety of projects.

Using the game “Angry Birds” as the theme of an algebra lesson, students recently learned about parabolas. The class calculated function based on the game, then graphed their findings. According to Fassett, the lesson was well received and the students enjoyed the unique learning experience.

Fassett’s calculus class also had a chance to participate in an “out-of-the-box” lesson that combined music and mathematics. Students wrote and performed songs that helped reinforce two complex math formulas they were studying. The songs, Fassett said, were a “hit.”

PCSD Employees Support United Way

Faculty, staff and administrators in the Phoenix Central School District continued an annual tradition this holiday season by donating to the United Way of Oswego County.

As part of a two-week effort, dozens of PCSD employees opted for payroll deductions and made other contributions to support the local United Way. Their efforts netted more than $1,500 for the organization, which aims to stop hunger, help children and youth succeed, and improve the health and well-being of the community.

According to Nicole Covell, who helped spearhead the campaign on behalf of the school district, the generosity was truly a team effort. Employees in all departments and at all buildings participated in the effort.

“This district is incredibly caring about its students and its community,” Covell said. “The fundraising effort was fantastic, and all the money stays right here in Oswego County.”

EJD Students Earn Citizenship Awards

Emerson J. Dillon students were recognized by Principal Sue Anderson for being good citizens and demonstrating the qualities of being dependable, responsible, courteous, thoughtful of others, congenial, friendly and showing school pride through the “Dillon Way.”

The “Dillon Way” motto at EJD Middle School is: Respect + Responsibility = Success."

Students were congratulated during morning announcements and received a certificate for serving as excellent role models for their peers.

The honorees were: Alaina Sutter, Avery Bowman, Cameron Kreis, Donald Hook, Ethan Reynolds, Ethan Zody, Juliahana Dennis, Lillian MacDonald, Myah Burnham, Nicholas Root, Rylee Denslow, Sara Ruetsch, Sophie Delahunt, Alexis Crandall, Celia Tangorra, Edward Pitcher, Elizabeth Caltabiano, Evan Fox, Hayley Dygert, Hope Smith, Isaac Chesbro, Liam Campanino, Lillianne Quinn, Mia Graham, Morgan Lynch, Tateum Patnode, Zoey Stone, Alexandra Hopps, Breannah Demo, Cody McFall, Ella Tangorra, Jake Charleston, Isaiah Gordon, Ashleigh Besaw, Ashlyn Wallace, Brielle DeRoberts, Ethan Fox, Lily Roberts, Tabitha Clark, Thomas Uhl, Tori-Lenn Loosen, Tyler Redhead and Zack Mills.

MAM students take virtual trip to study holiday traditions

Although many Phoenix second-graders said they had never been outside of the United States, that all changed when they recently had a chance to explore four other countries.

The Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students traveled to Sweden, England, Germany and Mexico to celebrate “Christmas around the world.” The cultural exploration series kicked off with a flight simulation, where students earned their wings, and culminated in a multicultural holiday experience.

“We wanted to teach them about different cultures and traditions,” said teacher Heather Cannella. “They did some reading and learned how holidays are celebrated around the world.”

That knowledge was on display Dec. 21 as students toured classrooms – set up as different countries – and participated in a variety of hands-on learning activities. Students also made crafts that incorporated some of the different cultures.

“This unit is based a lot on English language arts, but it also ties in with the social studies curriculum,” Cannella said. “We had students learning about geography by labeling the different countries and looking at maps. They really enjoyed it.”

PCSD employees join leadership academy

Ten Phoenix Central School District employees have joined the Transformation Leadership Academy to further improve skills and obtain more knowledge to help create administrative sustainability.

The PCSD employees are taking part in monthly staff development meetings to engage in conversation on how they can collectively unite to explore the best educational solutions for the district and greater Oswego County community.

Participating staff members are: Superintendent Chris Byrne, Director of Instruction and Personnel Bob Edwards, Director of Pupil Personnel and Special Education Kathie Palladino, Director of Technology Ted Love, Director of Data and Response to Intervention Nicole Covell, Michael A. Maroun Elementary Principal Brett Doody, Michael A. Maroun Elementary Assistant Principal Stacie Shaffer, Emerson J. Dillon Middle School Principal Sue Anderson, John C. Birdlebough High School Principal Thom Bailer and administrative intern Helen Abbott.