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

MAM students compete in building book battle

Ten teams studied 10 books at Michael A. Maroun Elementary in hopes of being named the school’s Battle of the Books champion.

Ultimately, “The Lighting Lazers” members, coached by Rebecca Coffin, were victorious after they answered 14 of the 16 questions correctly and earned 112 points. Each team was awarded eight points when they provided the correct title and author. Five points were awarded for having the title only.

The winning fourth-graders: Michael Farnham, John Sculco and Michael Goudy, cheered in excitement with each correct response. All questions centered on intricate details of the required book list, including the book that had tops of pine trees that had been snapped, a character that was given a secret formula, a character that used the force and a rat came first.

For Farnham, the choice to join MAM’s 2018 Battle of the Books was easy.

“I just love books,” he said.

While “The Lightning Lazers” have advanced to the March 15 Oswego County Battle of the Books at John C. Birdlebough High School, “The 3 Tigers” team members stole the show with their amazing show of sportsmanship as they visited each team at the conclusion of the battle to shake hands and offer congratulatory wishes.

Each of the 30 participants received medals, purchased by the school’s parent-faculty organization. “The Lightning Lazers” also received a Battle of the Books pins, first-place trophies and PFO-paid T-shirts to wear to the county battle.

MAM Library Media Specialist Steven Terchowitz, who emceed the MAM building battle, offered gratitude on behalf of team members for all of the Battle of the Books coaches who helped keep each team on track.

MAM Battle of the Books 2018 champions, from left, are: Michael Goudy, John Sculco and Michael Farnham, are joined by coach Rebecca Coffin.

MAM Battle of the Books 2018 champions, from left, are: Michael Goudy,
John Sculco and Michael Farnham, are joined by coach Rebecca Coffin,
following their first-place finish.

School supply donations help Phoenix students

The Michael A. Maroun Elementary intermediate cafeteria recently transformed into a mini school supply shopping center so Phoenix Central School District students could collect free materials to start the 2017-2018 school year.

The annual school supply distribution event welcomed over 50 elementary, middle and high school families to browse an array of pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks and bottles, crayons, markers, colored pencils, highlighters, Post-It notes, index cards, spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, loose leaf paper, folders and binders. Students were also able to select their own backpacks.

Donations were collected by teachers, administrators and community members in collaboration with the United Way of Greater Oswego County’s Stuff-a-Bus event. About one dozen PCSD staff members volunteered at the recent event, which took place in the evening to reach more families.

Emerson J. Dillon incoming seventh-grader Grace Calkins shows
off her new backpack she picked out at the Phoenix Central School
District’s annual school supply distribution event.

Inflatable planetarium comes to MAM Elementary

Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students recently learned all about astronomy in their classrooms and outer space.

After they stepped inside of the inflatable planetarium set up inside the school, both students and their teachers alike joined the Earth’s journey as it orbited around the sun and listened to an Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services planetarium specialist explain day/night and constellations.

The 40-minute sessions inside the inflatable planetarium helped students better understand the Earth’s rotation and axis, as a short video clip showed the comparison of a pencil in the center of an apple to the imaginary line for which the Earth spins. The students learned that as Earth rotates, daytime arrives for the part of the Earth which faces the sun and nighttime is when the Earth faces away from the sun.

The planetarium specialist used a projector to point out various constellations, which some teachers said they referred to in their classroom as a game of connect-the-dots.

The fun experience served as a supplement to the classroom astronomy lessons. A part of the Listening and Learning units, students developed strong vocabulary skills and basic knowledge about planets, rotations and other astronomy facts.

MAM students learn about the Earth’s rotation and axis while inside an inflatable
planetarium from OCM BOCES.

MAM students complete sequencing activity

During a two-week sequencing skills unit, several Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students recently participated in a reading activity where they made pumpkin pies. Jill Wilde, K-4 Instructional Specialist, said students followed a pie recipe in a Students Achieving Independent Literacy (SAIL) lesson. After enhancing their literacy skills, they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.


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.

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.

30th annual Canal Days a Big Hit with MAM 4th Graders

Michael A. Maroun Elementary School fourth graders enjoyed a step back in time during the recent the 30th annual Canal Days celebration.

Students walked from MAM to the canal system in downtown Phoenix and then huddled alongside the Oswego River where they learned about life skills, recreation and craftsmanship in the 1800s and early 1900s from historians that were in period costumes. Hands-on experiences included candle making, stitching, kneading bread, churning butter and participation in old-time games with assistance from members of John C. Birdlebough High School’s Leadership Team.

The fourth graders and their guests toured Tug Seneca, a medium-sized tug boat of the New York State Canal System. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?” one student said as he walked on deck. The fourth-grade teachers and Phoenix Central School District Superintendent Judy Belfield mingled with the students during the morning event.

Teacher Rebecca Coffin said students were able to connect to the activities and information because they had been learning about the canal and its impact on trade, travel, communities and businesses throughout the state.

The New York State Canal System in Phoenix was home to the 30th annual Canal Days where Michael A.
Maroun Elementary School fourth graders learned about life during the 1800s and early 1900s.

Safety Celebrated at MAM Elementary

Student safety is a top priority at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School.

Several fourth-grade students were recently recognized by School Counselor Nora Germain for their participation in the AAA School Safety Patrol throughout the 2015-2016 school year. For their efforts, Germain rewarded the patrol members with celebratory pizza and snacks. All 16 members received a certificate of recognition and a pin.

Germain thanked students for their commitment to keeping fellow elementary students safe in the school hallways and the bus area. Student Cody Hager came up with the idea to expand safety patrol services into the afternoon after he witnessed several students running to their busses earlier in the school year.

Wearing their fluorescent yellow safety patrol belts, students wrote tickets to classmates who exhibited unsafe behaviors and German helped address each issue as it arose.

Students will continue with their safety patrol duties until the first week of June.


MAM Elementary School fourth graders celebrate their accomplishments as AAA School Safety Patrol members
throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Parents Join Physical Education Fun at MAM Elementary

Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students and parents were recently reminded that physical fitness can occur at both home and school.

The school’s annual Parents in PE day was recently held in both gymnasiums to showcase fitness units students participate in throughout the year, including: eye-hand skills, cooperative games, hunting and gathering games, balance and eye-foot skills, among several other activities.

Physical Education Teacher Alice Benjamin commended parents for their at-home support and encouragement for students to put forth their best effort. One goal of Parents and PE, she said, was to provide fun fitness ideas for families to do together. Students and their parents enjoyed a bean bag relay race, hunting and gathering net game of catch, climbing a rock wall, and bean bag push up floor hockey, among several other activities.

Chris Prenoveau, MAM PE Teacher, told parents that at the beginning of each class he and Benjamin greet and shake hands with each student, which also helps improve eye-hand coordination.

Michael A. Maroun Elementary Second Grader Brandon Slater, right, races against his father Jeffrey Slater,
left, during a bean bag relay race as part of the annual Parents in PE day at the school.

MAM Fourth Graders Host Spring Concert

Michael A. Maroun Elementary fourth-grade students recently performed their last elementary concert at the school.

The sharply-dressed students brought their confidence and smiles to the “What a Wonderful World”-themed spring concert, which was held in the intermediate cafeteria and gymnasium. The event featured 25 speakers who read short poems in between the following songs: the Phoenix Alma Mater, “Spring Thing,” “Cherry Blossoms,” “Whale Song,” “Agents of Change” and “Our Earth, Our Home.” “What a Wonderful World” lyrics were printed in the concert program, providing an opportunity for the 150-200 guests to sing along.

Principal Brett Doody commended the students for their hard work and commitment to the arts. Directors Carol Van Gorder and Jody Lentz also recognized the students for supplying artwork, which was featured on walls throughout the concert space.

Fourth-graders at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School perform the song “Spring Thing” during the
annual Fourth-Grade Spring Concert, which was directed by Carol Van Gorder, bottom left, and Jody
Lentz, bottom right.