Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7, 2017

Hello Parents and Students,

It's hard to believe, but nearly ten weeks of school are complete. I will write to you often to share some great stories from our students.  I also want to provide some information that will help you track your students' progress and provide help where needed.

If you ever need to speak with someone directly, feel free to call the school at 607-869-9636.   We will make this newsletter a regular part of our communication strategy. If you'd like to see our communication guide, please click here.  This is available from our High School and Middle School home pages.

If you'd like to see a certain type of posting from me or others, please let me know.  My email is thouseknecht@southseneca.org. Thank you very much for reading.

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Parent and Student Portal
This year, we have started with a new student management system called Schooltool.  Schooltool is more powerful than the program we used in the past. It's been a challenge to get everything switched over, but it's working very well now.  You can easily track student progress with the parent and student portals.

Please go to the document linked here.  This document has directions and a link to Schooltool.  If you need any help, feel free to call and ask for the guidance office.

Great student pictures
Feel free to click the link above for some pictures we've been collecting for this year. More to come. 

Keeping An Eye on Employability Skills
Several of our ongoing initiatives in the classroom and our systems aim to improve valuable skills that lead to success both in college and the workforce. Preparing students for their future means thinking beyond our own walls to the ever-changing needs of the workforce.
Please click here for a great link. 

Class News
Please see the links to the right for our class news. A few will be updated shortly, and you will receive emails from advisers or Mr. Houseknecht.

New tables in Mr. Zeitz's room
The report below is from Mr. Zeitz, our 8th grade social studies teacher. We have been updating some furniture as our budget allows. This new arrangement is already paying dividends, and we plan to do some of the same at the high school level.

Tables arrived on Weds. 10/25. In the past two days of instruction I have noticed a sizable uptick in student interaction and collaboration. Individual desks presented a barrier of sorts because students had a limited/confined work space. NYSMSA speaker Jack Berckemeyer often references the fact that students are growing, making them twitchy and uncomfortable. Shoving a teenager into what essentially amounts to an acrylic and metal cage for their lower body is akin to jumping into a burlap sack with a wolverine; it won't end well. Using tables reduces that problem because they're constructed in such a way that students have more freedom of movement.

Even when combining desks, students would often struggle to have the room needed to create or collaborate without invading the space of another classmate. The extra width and length allow students to spread out and not feel constrained. At the end of a class, desks would be strewn about the room, along with students' personal belongings and chairs; creating a hassle to clean up and reorganize before the next class or the end of the day. The tables are heavy and relatively immobile, leaving the chairs as the only movable piece of furniture. This is actually beneficial in my current configuration because it takes less time to set up a Socratic/round table discussion, take part in small group activities, prepare for a debate, use arts and crafts, etc... - all one needs to move is a chair. The extra flexibility gives me more options for instruction; simulations, inquiries, projects, research, and even more traditional note-taking are easier to do AND switch between with this table-based set-up.

I'm excited and thankful to move forward with this set of classroom furniture.

Standing Table Samples
I was able to get a couple of standing desks as samples. They are in Mr. Brewer's social studies classroom.  So far, Mr. Brewer is very impressed. Standing is great for some kids. As we gather insights from students and teachers, purchases of more standing desks will be a possibility.

Article links:

Organization Skills and Time Management
With the need to manage their busy personal lives, academic schedule and extra-curricucular activities can pose problems for most high school students. Helping them manage their priorities in practical ways and helping them become autonomous and independent is key for building successful habits for the future. Please see  the resource  below for tips.

The Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language
Thanks to Mrs. Sanchez for sharing this article.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 7, 2017

Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

It's hard to believe that we're nearly 3/4 of the way through the school year.  Our students are engaged in some great activities, like the examples below illustrate.  

If your child is struggling with anything at all, please let us know.  I can handle your call personally or get you to the right person.  Feel free to call any time; we're here to help kids succeed. Thank you for your support.

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Class newsletters 
Click here or see the links on the side.

Important dates:
April 7 - End of 3rd quarter
April 17-21 Spring Break
May 9 half day
May 9 Silver Tea
May 13 Junior/Senior Prom
May 26-29 Memorial Day break
June 12 last day of classes
June 13-22 Regents exams

Students Head to Microsoft HQ in NYC
On April 3 and 4, Mr. Hermanet and Mr. Houseknecht took 25 students to Microsoft's headquarters in New York City. The students attended an event from the We Connect the Dots organization, which specializes in getting students experiences in the tech industry.  

The students had a great time, learned some good teamwork skills, met some Microsoft managers, and got to speak with a future astronaut via Skype.  

Great Industrial Arts Classes Available Here
John Barkee has put together some very useful documents about our industrial arts programs. Please share this with your kids.  We have a robust program that rivals any school in the area.  Thanks for looking. 

BOCES Students of the Month
We're proud of these students.

  • Edson (Brad) Updike, Food Services
  • Reilley Meeks, Outdoor Recreation Services
  • Alexandria Rought, Cosmetology

  • Destiny Freitas-Valderrama, Cosmetology
  • Edson (Brad) Updike, Food Services (2 months in a row!)

The Wiz Was a Smashing Success
Thanks to all the folks that came to The Wiz.  The auditorium was packed to capacity for 3 wonderful shows. Special thanks to Mrs. Bauder and her whole team for putting the pieces together for this highly acclaimed show.

Holocaust Speaker Visits our 8th Graders
I know this is the HS news, but I thought you'd be interested in seeing the link below.  Our teachers come up with some great ideas for visitors, and this is one of them. 
From Mrs. Parsons: Thank you to everyone who came to see our Holocaust speaker, Claudia Lewenstein, today.  If you are interested in watching her father's video that she mentioned, it is located on the page linked below (along with the video we watched today and some other videos from area speakers).  https://iaujc.org/family-stories-videos-local-interest

Free college workshops this June
Click on the title to see some information about free college workshops. The programs are taking place at the Watson Homestead Conference and Retreat Center in Painted Post.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February News

Dear Students, Parents, and Community Members:
It's been a busy as usual at the High School.  Our students have done well in the classroom and in various extracurricular activities. Please check out the articles below.  I will be posting more in the coming weeks.  If you'd like  to see a particular topic covered, please let me know.  You can always email me by using thouseknecht@southseneca.org or by calling the office at 869-9636. Thanks for taking a look.
Mr. Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Success Story - Close Reading and Analysis

From Mr. John Robertson - 9th Grade ELA

With my 9th graders, I have put an emphasis on close reading and analysis.  This typically involves a directive to re-read an excerpt from a work that we are reading as a class, assigning open-ended questions related to the excerpt to be answered in writing using Google Documents, and providing feedback which usually encourages elaboration, further analysis and clarity.

I feel that this has helped students gain greater appreciation for characters, themes and details included in works like The Pearl and A Raisin in the Sun.  In September I had to "hold students hands" through this type of exercise, but now in February I feel that their ability to analyze plot, characters and writers' purpose has become more natural.  This feels like success to me.

Thanks Mr. Robertson for your hard work!

Time to Choose Classes for Next Year
In the coming weeks, students will be meeting with Mr. Anderson in the guidance office. Decisions made now can impact students for years to come.  I encourage all students to challenge themselves to their highest level. 

Class Newsletters Linked from this Blog

Check the links to class news on the right margin of this blog, or below since you might not see the margin on a phone. These news docs will be updated every month. The information is important to your students to stay up to date with what's happening in their class.   
Link to Class News

Honor & High Honor Rolls
Congratulations to all our hard working students.  Click here for our honor and high honor roll recipients.

Wagner on a Roll
Adam Wagner received his 100th career pin and his 200th career win at Wayne Finger Lakes. He won the tournament at 145 lbs. and received the Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
The South Seneca Wrestlers had 2 firsts (Adam Wagner, Holden Waid), 2 seconds (Damion Brown, Seth Denmark), 1 third (Keagan Carmenatty), 1 fourth (Quinton Wormuth-Mundell) and 1 fifth (Gabe Amisano). The team took an amazing 5th place out of 17 teams with only 10 wrestlers.
Way to go Falcons and Coaches Ken Sweet and Ian Wagner!

Ovid Community Garden - Come Grow With Us!
Who's involved?  The Ovid Community Garden is a collaborative effort of local groups and gardeners. Participants and supporters include the Village of Ovid, the SSCSD (South Seneca Central School District, Middle and High Schools), the Edith B. Ford Memorial Library, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County, the Willard/Ovid Lions, and STEPS (Seneca Towns Engaging People for Solutions). Community members formed a Garden Committee in 2016 and met several times to plan the garden. STEPS is providing some funding for materials and we were awarded a 2017 Youth Garden Grant from KidsGardening, which includes some plants, supplies and tools.  We run largely on volunteer enthusiasm, labor, time and materials.

What's the goal?  Some residents in Ovid don't have a place to garden, or don't have the time, space or materials to build their own garden from scratch.  By spring 2017, we hope to have at least 20 raised beds ready for gardening!  We hope the Garden will provide a convenient location for families and residents to adopt a raised garden bed where they can grow healthy fruits and vegetables, provide a fun place for kids to learn about gardening, and to partner with library and school programs that teach South Seneca and Romulus kids about gardening, food, and healthy eating habits.  If you'd like to register for a Garden bed, please fill out a registration form.  Garden Representatives and registration forms will be at available at the Ovid Ford Library on February 4th, March 11th, April 8th and May 19th (the library's annual plant sale). Registration forms are also available at the STEPS Office at the rear of the Ovid Community Health Building, 7150 N. Main Street in Ovid.

Is the garden built yet?  Where is the garden?  Click here for our presentation. We reached out to the local community and businesses for volunteer help, selected the site (thank you Village of Ovid), planned the dimensions, laid down landscaping fabric (thank you SSCS) and wood chips (thank you VanHorn Heavenly Tree Care), built 6 raised beds (thank you SSCS and Ovid/Willard Lions Club) and set fence posts for the garden (thank you Wagner Vineyards).   The next Garden Build Day is March 4th, when we will place the raised beds and fill them with soil.  The garden is located on Ovid Village property, next to the red village barn on County Road 139, just north of the South Seneca Central School, and just west of Verona Village (senior housing) and the cell phone tower.

Several tasks remain but we hope to open the Garden for planting in Spring 2017!  If you are interested in donating your time or materials to help build the garden, please contact Maggie Passmore at 412-638-4949.

Senior High All-State Chorus
South Seneca is excited to announce the acceptance of two seniors, one junior, and one sophomore into Sr. High Area All-State Chorus.  Singers selected to Sr. High Area All-State are chosen based on their NYSSMA scores from Solo Festival the previous year.  They are picked from all the applicants in NYSSMA's Zone 3 in grades 10 through 12. Zone 3 is one of the largest zones in the state.  All of the participating South Seneca students contribute much to the Choral Music Department.  All participate in High School Chorus and have participated or currently participate in the award-winning, select ensemble, Vocal Jazz.

Congratulations to:
Sarah Albro, Soprano I, Treble Choir
Julia Diamond, Soprano II, Mixed Chorus
Madelyn Houck, Soprano I, Mixed Chorus
Krystofer Mosher, Tenor II, Mixed Chorus.

These students will be presenting a concert with guest conductors at Ithaca College this Saturday, February 4th at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door.  Dr. Julie Hagen, from Concordia College, will be conducting the Treble Choir and Mr. Edward Rothmel, a DMA student at Eastman School of Music, will be conducting the Mixed Chorus.

Julia Hubbard Scores Big in Area All-State
Congratulations to Julia Hubbard who was a recent participant in the 2017 Area All-State High School Symphonic Band.

The Area All-State Festival was held on February 3-4 at Ithaca High school under the direction of Ithaca Colleges Dr. Brian Diller.
Dr. Brian Diller is the Assistant Professor of Music education at the Ithaca College School of Music where he conducts the Ithaca College Concert Band and teaches courses in conducting and music education.  Dr. Diller selected very inspiring and challenging pieces of wind band literature including Armenian Dance Part 1 from Alfred Reed, Undertow by John Mackey, Black Horse Troop by John Phillip Sousa and Cointe Qui Rose.

Julia was selected based on her solo participation in NYSSMA (New York State School of Music) solo festival.  Julia was selected based on her NYSSMA solo score from many hundreds of applicants across New York State in Zone 3 which covers a large section of New York state including schools such as; Fayetteville-Manlius, Ithaca, Baldwinsville, Owego, Newark Valley, Auburn, Vestal, Jamesville-DeWitt, Port Byron and many other school districts.

During the two day festivals students in grade 10-12 came together to rehearse the pieces they were given to prepare.  Guest conductors skillfully brought the (4) ensembles to concert presentations on Saturday in Kupl Auditorium in Ithaca, New York starting at 2:00pm.  Students who participated in these ensemble worked with many motivated musician like themselves and received a unique opportunity and to work with guest conductors from exciting backgrounds.

Julia is a French Horn player and is a sophomore at South Seneca.  Julia is in the South Seneca High school concert band under the direction of Mr. Raymond Zajac, Jr.  Julia is also a member of the Falcon Marching band. Congratulations to Julia for her effort and hard work that led to her selection into this exciting extended performing opportunity.

STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math)
Scholarship Opportunities

Do you know a high school senior pursuing a degree in a STEM field?  If so, pass along these scholarship opportunities!  Some are two year, some are four year - the total value ranges from $2,000 to $20,000 and all include a paid internship.  CNY STEM Scholarship info & application

The CNY STEM Scholars program is a partnership between SRC, King + King, Schneider Packaging Equipment Company, C&S Companies, Carrier Corporation, the CNY STEM Hub, and Partners for Education and Business.  These scholarships are designed to support the best and brightest students in the Central New York Region in their quest to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in college. All scholarships available through this website are not based on financial need; rather applicants are judged on their academic achievement and extracurricular activities, as well as the essay and an interview.

Scholarship applications for 4-year scholarships are due on Feb 28, 2017. Selections will be made in April and students will be notified the week of May 1, 2017. Scholarship applications for 2-year scholarships are due May 15, 2017 and students will be notified mid-June.

High Flyin' Falcons Invade Romulus

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Monday, January 9th

Hi folks,
I have some important information to share with you concerning testing that will be taking place at the end of the second quarter.  Please read below.  If you have any questions, feel free to call me or Mrs. Butler at the school. Our number is 607-869-9636.
Thank you,
Tim Houseknecht, Principal
Regents Testing Week Schedule

This year, we will be having a regular HS schedule for 3 out of the 4 days days list as "High School Regents" on our calendar.  We have been able to more efficiently schedule any mid-term tests that might go along with the few Regents exams that we need to administer. This is an improvement in student contact time from past years, and only one day of that week will be lost to scoring of Regents exams and/or midterm exams.

High School Schedule for the week of January 23 to 27

Click here for the state's January testing schedule.

Want a great tool for studying for a Regents exam?  
Try Castle Learning. We have a study guide saved for your review.  We subscribe to the Castle Learning service, and it's a proven method for helping students to retain important information and excelling in test taking.  Try it today by clicking here.
Students can take assignments from their teachers or log into the self study section. 

From Castle Learning:  Students typically have an average 8-10 point advantage over students who have not used Castle Learning for review.  Students who have struggled to pass find success when using Castle Learning to review. It provides the student with a hint and vocabulary if the question is answered incorrectly.  There is always a reason provided to fully explain the question.  There is feedback on how to answer constructed response questions so students can study correct responses.

ACE - Access to College Education
Please see the link here to take a look at our ACE program, offered through SUNY Cortland.

ACE is a program for high school students who have their sites set on attending college and getting the help to do so successfully. Access to College Education is supported by Cornell University, SUNY Cort-
land, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College. The purpose is to provide educational events to help students not only learn about the college search and application process but to also help them become more aware of how to be better students overall. Currently, twelve high schools participate in ACE to include almost 800 students.

Congrats to Holden Waid on his 100th wrestling win!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 8, 2016

Please click the link above for our 1st quarter lists. 
Congratulations students for your hard work!

You can click on pictures to enlarge.

Students Visit TC3 Campus

Students enjoying lunch in the
college’s dining area.
From: Mr. Matt Barkee and Mrs. Heather Mott

Students from Mr. Matt Barkee’s College Success Class and Ms. Heather Mott’s Transitions class traveled to TC3 in Dryden in conjunction with the school’s open house to meet with college professors and tour the facilities.
A group shot of the students in TC3’s gymnasium.

Students met with Mr. Rick Grossman, a Professor of Reading and Learning and a Learning Strategies Specialist, and talked about how success in high school and college are the same and how they are different. A number of topics were covered such as academic integrity, course loads, responsibilities, getting involved, and having fun.

A brief tour of the facilities was given and the students had lunch in the school’s dining facility.
Students then went on their own to meet with professors and staff members from academic areas of their choosing. Engineering, Early Childhood Development, Sports Management, TC3’s new Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program, Chemical Dependency, Computer Information Systems, and Graphic Design were some of the programs students met with.
Students participate in a classroom
session with Professor Grossman.
Some students met with members of TC3’s coaching and athletic staff. Students received information on financial aid, housing, and general life at TC3.

Mr. Barkee’s College Success Class is a part of the CollegeNow Program at TC3. It was created in conjunction with Professor Grossman 11 years ago to better assist high school students make a successful transition from high school to college if that is the path a student chooses. Ms. Mott’s Transitions Class is focused on students understanding and exploring the 21st century skills needed in our world today.
High School students at South Seneca are also able to earn college credits through TC3 in the following areas: American History, Accounting, Web Design, Digital Media Production, Math, English, Spanish Language, Microsoft Computer Programs, and Health and Wellness.

Spanish 4 News
The Spanish 4 class was studying an art unit. Since we were not able to visit the Prado or the Reina SofĂ­a Museums in Madrid, we brought it to us.

Students were given a list of things to look for, and had to find out information by viewing the works in our "gallery". There were works by the masters such as Picasso, Goya and Velazquez among others and they learned about the history and characteristics of realism, surrealism, impressionism and cubism.

Career and Tech Center 
Outstanding Students of the Month Award

The South Seneca Career and Tech Center Outstanding Students of the Month are:

  • Brett Robinson - Auto Body - South Seneca
  • Brittany Burgos-Post - Criminal Justice - South Seneca 
The Career and Tech Center staff and administration will recognize nominated first year and second year students each month, based on the criteria listed below.  The outstanding students of the month are chosen based on qualities such as character, leadership, citizenship, work ethic, and attendance. The student should be compassionate, honest, trustworthy, responsible and a positive role model.

Each teacher may nominate 1 student for their AM and PM class each month. The nominated outstanding students will be recognized for their nomination on the announcements, receive a certificate and a coupon for free pizza through our Food Services Class, plus a picture will be posted on our CTE Facebook Page and CTE website.

Listed below are examples of the criteria for the students who will receive this recognition:

    Exemplary behavior resulting in a flawless behavior record for the month
    Present and on time and prepared for class every day of the month
    Respectful, kind, generous, and cooperative with peers and adults
    Eager and motivated to learn
    Exhibits exceptional contribution to class or academic improvement in class
    Demonstrates a positive and helpful attitude towards fellow students
    All assigned work is complete for the month

Check out the latest TST Tribune
News from TST BOCES.  BOCES has great opportunities for kids of all abilities and interests.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Great Assembly with Matt Bellace - This coming Monday!

Matt Bellace - December 5th Assemblies for MS & HS

With the help of BOCES, we've been able to get Matt Bellace here on December 5th. Matt's presentation in Ithaca last spring was very well received by a few of our folks, so we decided to try and get him for our students.  We're excited about the opportunity.

Parents and community members are welcome! 
The assemblies will be this coming Monday, December 5. 

Middle School Assembly:  7:50 to 8:35
High School Assembly:  8:50 to 10:00

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 18, 2016

Dear South Seneca Community Members:

It's been an eventful fall with many great things going on for our students.  As always, our students are learning new content and skills such as collaboration, which will serve them well in the future.  We're proud of our students, as I'm sure you are.  Please see below for a sampling.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Mr. Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Click on any picture to enlarge. 

NASA Engineer to Visit Math Classes:
Mr. Nixon is bringing in an engineer from NASA (his brother) to talk with the PreCalc and Calculus students on "Why this math stuff is important."  His brother works in Huntsville, Alabama and is currently tasked with the development of the upper engine for next heavy-lift launch vehicle that will be replacing the space shuttle.

A few of our seniors are interested in engineering careers, and one is even thinking about aerospace, so Mr. Nixon figured it would be good to hear it right from the guy doing the rocket surgery.

Art Club Sprucing Up the Hallway

Our talented Art Club students, headed up by Mrs. Copp, are doing a great job with our tech wing mural. Thanks ladies!

We're Partnering With Our Local Lions Club

First row:  Brett Robinson and Scott Hawley
Second row:  Ray Fox, Lee Cool, Jeff Williams, John Hammond, and Howard Yontz

We're starting a "Leos" Club, which is a youth volunteer organization affiliated with the Lions Club. Two of our trailblazing seniors, Scott Hawley and Brett Robinson, attended a Lions meeting on November 16th to talk to club members about the idea.  The local club members are very excited about the collaboration.

We're currently working to get kids involved, and initial interest has been very high.  This club will be a great way for students to get involved and help the community!

Automotive Class Driving Along Smoothly

This year, Mr. Gilfus has a two period per day automotive class.  Students are learning many skills they would need if they choose to go into the trade, or simply for the joy of learning the skills.   Our ultimate goal is to have a half day program so we can keep some kids on our campus in a quality tech program like this.

Maker Space A Big Hit in the Library

Ms. Gale has been working with students in our new "maker space" area. In a maker space area, students work to create projects and learn by doing.  Ms. Gale does a great job in finding great opportunities for high school and middle students alike.

Learning Another Language Can Be Very Beneficial

What does research show about the benefits of language learning?
Please read the article linked above to learn more.  This article was supplied by Mrs. Sanchez and Ms. Nelsen, our foreign language teachers. 

Here is another good resource:

Real Life Training Happening in Our High School

Pictured here is Mrs. Brewer's Emergencies class.  The students learn the latest in CPR techniques as well as other important skills.  Students are engaged in learning by doing. Great job Mrs. Brewer.

Community Garden Coming to Ovid

We are collaborating with some community members to build a community garden on village property, which is adjacent to our school's property.  Click here for our garden presentation. We had a "building day" last Saturday the 19th, and the garden layout is taking shape. If anyone is interested in helping or reserving a plot, please email me or just show up. My email address is thouseknecht@southseneca.org.

Pictured is Mr. Barkee.  Along with the help of some students, Mr. Barkee is making some raised bed boxes for the garden. The garden will provide some great opportunities for collaboration with our community. Thanks.

Flu Guide for Parents
Please see the linked info guide from the NYS Health Department.  Click on the title above.

Please congratulate the following students on being selected for Jr. High Area All-State:

Abigail Alger (Treble Chorus, Alto)
Chamberlain Bauder (Mixed Chorus, Bass)
Corrina Broadwell (Treble Chorus, Soprano)
Samantha Marion (Mixed Chorus, Alto)
Violet Meagher (Treble Chorus, Soprano)
Olivia Morton (Treble Chorus, Soprano)
Amanda Richardson (Treble Chorus, Soprano)
Thomas Smalser (Mixed Chorus, Bass)

These students were selected out of all the 7th through 9th Grade applicants in NYSSMA's Zone 3.  Applicants use their NYSSMA Solo Festival score from the previous year to apply. They traveled to Cortland on November 4th and 5th to work with guest conductors and present a program of music in a concert on the Saturday of the weekend.
Thanks for reading!

Kyla Perry
6-12 Choral Director
South Seneca Central Schools

Have a great Thanksgiving!