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SCHOOL SCENE A Special Supplement to the Sullivan County Democrat

A look at activities in Roscoe Central School SECTION R MARCH, 2017 CALLICOON, NY




MARCH, 2017

What do you want to do with your life: early conversations on what happens next


hen should schoolchildren begin learning about jobs, college, careers? Pre-kindergarten might be a little early. Yet Roscoe and other school districts are pointing even the youngest students toward the life skills they will need in the future – the ability to cooperate, communicate, show mutual respect, stay on task. But Roscoe, the smallest in size of all Sullivan County school districts, offers a lively array of activities and programs that focus on college and career readiness. In at least one arena – introducing kids early on to what it means to be in college – Roscoe outpaces the rest by offering a college trip to students as young as

eighth grade. In most other districts, Naviance, a college and career readithat excursion doesn't happen until ness software provider. The planning 10th grade. tool allows students from fifth to 12th “Each April, we take our eighth grade to log on and explore interests, graders to SUNY Oneonta,” said aptitudes, careers, and colleges that teacher Mary Margaret Green. “We cater to the career they might feel are small, so we can do it.” attracted to. The very popular trip They get exposure takes the vague notion of to fascinating profeswhat college is and makes sions by logging on to it come alive. The journey Roadtrip Nation, a introduces eighth graders PBS show that folto a bustling campus and lows three students to concepts like admisas they cross the U.S. sions, financial aid, credit to interview people hours, and how a college from animators to course schedule varies sound designers to from that of high school. ask about their Career and college readicareers. ness in earnest starts even “They get to see earlier – in fifth grade. This what's out there in Kelly Hendrickson year, Roscoe Central the world,” said School purchased School Counselor | School Counselor

‘In seventh grade we looked at different articles, such as ‘eight traits employers are looking for,’ or ‘10 ways to get fired.’

Kelly Hendrickson. Students then begin to create their own portfolio that evolves as they progress through school, she said. In Green's Home & Career class taught to fifth through eighth graders, students work on concepts like what it really takes to find success in a job. “In seventh grade, we looked at different articles, such as 'eight traits employers are looking for,' or '10 ways to get fired,'” she said. “We came up with traits that are key – working well with others, being selfmotivated to get the job done, willingness to learn, flexibility and adaptability.” Green also teaches a class in Career & Personal Finance to high school seniors, a new course this year that includes resume writing and mock interviews.

Best Wishes to the Roscoe School Staff & Students. Especially, Pamela Carpenter and Robert & Emma Buck Nancy Buck Sullivan County Treasurer A Look at Activities in the Roscoe School District

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Teacher Mary Margaret Green and School Counselor Kelly Hendrickson share a raft of ways that encourage students to explore interests, aptitudes and talents with an eye to what happens after high school graduation.

In the guidance office, Hendrickson leads eighth graders through the development of a four-year plan for high school with an eye to what comes next: career, college or technical school. At the after-school program called RISE, students benefit from exposure to various professions through classes that range from woodworking to the performing arts, from health to sewing, and from culinary pursuits to computers. They take trips to an alpaca farm in Downsville, a glass museum in Ellenville, the Roscoe Nursing Home and the Forestburgh Playhouse. At MASH Camp at the Delaware Valley Hospital, in Walton, 10th and

11th grade students spend the day getting a firsthand glimpse of various healthcare professions. Fifth graders benefit from a field trip to Sullivan County BOCES for “Careers to Explore” day, and 10th graders report to BOCES for Career and Technical Education tours. SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake invites eighth to 11th graders to a College Night Program, and 11th and 12th graders to an annual College Fair. The abundant college and career conversations help immeasurably with planning, goal setting and overall student engagement. “They light the spark,” said Hendrickson

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MARCH, 2017

First and fourth graders leap into learning literacy BY KATHY DALEY


oscoe's fifth and sixth graders pore over books in a Student Book Club, and fourth graders operate a news broadcast. But first, in grade 1, children learn the skills that underpin those exciting endeavors: reading, writing, listening and speaking. “Research shows that literacy is the key to greater success,” explained first grade teacher Kristie Robinson. “Literacy makes you happier. You can accomplish your goals.” Fourth grade teacher Jamie Crofoot couldn't agree more. “Literacy is a part of everyday life for years to come,” she said. Both teachers are excited about this

year's learning endeavors. For Crofoot, this is her very first year of teaching. Colleague Robinson, a teaching veteran, spent much of her 21 years at the head of Roscoe's third grade classroom until September, when she switched to the smaller students. Each in her own classroom, the two employ technology to emphasize student reading, writing, listening and speaking. “We want learning to be engaging and purposeful,” said Robinson. “Using the Smartboard, I can bring up a play and engage students in acting out roles. We also have access to KATHY DALEY | DEMOCRAT iPads on a cart that's available to our Fourth grade teacher Jamie Crofoot and first grade teacher Kristie Robinson speak about the pre-k to fourth grade wing (of the importance of the age-old learning principles of reading, writing, listening and speaking. school).”





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Using the computerized Northwest Evaluation Association's Measures of Academic Progress (MAPS), teachers track the strengths and weaknesses in the foundational skills of a particular student. In first grade, for example, a skill might include the child's ability to demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables and sounds. First graders write stories and plot their stories using graphics. They love to illustrate. They keep journals and share their work. As they eat their breakfast each morning, they engage in Show & Tell, delightedly holding behind their backs an item they brought from home. The excitement builds as they offer one hint, and the class has to really listen and guess. To encourage collaborative learning among her fourth graders, Crofoot establishes “centers” in the classroom, where students buddy up with others to complete a 15-minute hands-on activity before rotating to another center for a different task. Fourth Grade News Broadcast involves students in all the literacy skills, noted their teacher. Once a month, the students focus on a particular class of younger kids, interviewing the teacher and students on what the class is doing and learning. Then, in a skit on a Friday afternoon from 2 to 2:30 p.m., the fourth graders deliver the broadcast before the entire pre-K to fourth grade and assembled parents. Their news show, which is presented live in the school gym, also reports on upcoming school events, the weather, and whatever else is pertinent. Principal Janice Phillips serves as master of ceremonies. Sometimes there's community input – recently the Roscoe Kiwanis Club took the opportunity to present small dictionaries to the hard-working fourth graders. Reading, writing, listening, speaking ... it's all right there in the news broadcast, said Crofoot. “It particularly helps them with public speaking,” said the teacher, “in that they are in front of people they don't know.” Elsewhere at Roscoe Central School, students gather in a Student Book Club advised by fifth and sixth grade teacher Rebecca Ackerly.





Once each month, fourth graders interview a particular teacher and class and then report on the activities in a special 'broadcast' live in the school gym, above.

“We had our first meeting in October,” said Ackerly, “and have read and discussed four books so far. I'm optimistic the love of reading will spread.” Both Crofoot and Robinson are delighted with this year's robust learning, including their own. “When I do an activity, I reflect that 'this is what they're going to do in third grade,'” said Robinson. “You lay the foundation – anything you do in the primary grades will ultimately have an effect on what happens in the fourth grade state assessments and later in the high school Regents.” “It's great to get to know the students and what they're capable of doing,” adds Crofoot, “and then to watch them progress. At least once every day, a student will surprise you and you think, this is the reason why you love your job.”


MARCH, 2017




MARCH, 2017

The bridge that's needed between elementary and middle school STORY AND PHOTO BY KATHY DALEY

or kids, the seismic shift from elementary school to middle school can be unnerving. Elementary students are not used to having a different teacher for each subject. They are not accustomed to changing classrooms, or even to finding themselves organized enough to move their paraphernalia from one classroom to another. Enter Roscoe teachers Rebecca Ackerly and Tyler Emory who together, create a kind of cozy covered bridge that leads fifth and sixth graders safely to middle school. The two share the instruction of 43 fifth and sixth grade students, introducing the 10- and 11-year-olds to the concept of being taught by more than one significant figure. “I teach fifth and sixth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies,” explains Ackerly. “And I teach fifth and sixth grade math and science,” adds Emory. The two possess backgrounds that are perfect for co-teaching the “bridge” years. “Before this, I taught Academic Math Intervention Services in grades one through eight,” noted Emory. “This gave me a bigger picture of the math curriculum across many grade levels. It allowed me the opportunity to learn (student) foundation skills, when they are taught and how they

are built upon. “It was a great preparation for my current position,” he said. “I know what students have been taught at the elementary level, and I'm aware of what they need going forward.” Ackerly is also well-suited to her important role. For more than a decade, she taught in the lower grades, 10 of which were at first grade. “It's allowed me to share with

(Emory) the strategies and vocabulary that students learn in the lower elementary in both math and ELA,” she said. Moving up from the elementary level also has provided Ackerly with the wherewithal “to dialogue with other teachers about student learning gaps and how to support student learning.” Because Roscoe is a small school,

Teacher Tyler Emory works with Anthony Zamenick in their fifth grade science class.



interaction with other teachers is frequent and fruitful. For example, Emory quizzes seventh grade math teacher Nicole Semerano on what she wishes her students knew before entering her class. “They should be able to plot points on a graph,” she said recently. With an eye to acquainting his young students with learning in the upper grades, Emory escorts his sixth graders into the high school portion of the building to work in the well-

equipped science lab. Ackerly linked with high school seniors on a fifth and sixth grade, fiveweek election activity. Students researched the presidential candidates and their platforms in the 2016 national election guided by 12 high school seniors from Government class, who served as project facilitators. On a frequent basis, the schoolwide Math Department meets to share ideas, adds Emory. Three math teachers took on the task of perusing New York State test results to compare Roscoe scores with those of other schools. In one subject – geometry – Roscoe kids needed an academic boost, which the school immediately started addressing. Ackerly noted that, school-wide, “we use data we collected from our students to analyze what they know in order to help us plan future instruction that targets what they need to learn. If we see that students are struggling with a certain concept, we look for alternative methods to instruct them and to help build a better understanding of the content based on their learning styles.” For example, in fifth and sixth grade, “we may play a game or create an assignment that allows students to work collaboratively to solve a problem or answer a question,” she said. Collaboration seems particularly successful in that it allows students to use their own strengths to support each other and to reinforce the lessons. In the end, said Ackerly, “we want our kids to go on to succeed in high school, graduate, and reach their goal – college, work – whatever it might be.”



MARCH, 2017


The school in Trout Town that's just the right size TORY AND PHOTO BY KATHY DALEY

with characteristics that make each person special and unique. • Students from ages 4 to 19 have opportunities to intermingle throughout the day and participate in cross-grade-level learning activities that foster cooperation and respect. • Students see their siblings and cousins in the hallways and give them a quick high five or a hug. Adults wel-

come and greet each student by name. These daily personal positive interactions support an environment in which all students can feel connected and cared about. • There is a close connection between the community and the school; the school is the center of the community. Several community and school-based events occur in the school and are well attended. • Working together, the administration, teachers and community members are able to find unique learning opportunities to enhance the curriculum and benefit students while exposing students to the natural beauty of the Catskills. The Roscoe Central School building is vintage 1939 on the outside but is packed inside with today's technology, collaborative learning opportunities, and teachers and administrators who are committed to excellence for their students.



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hugely important player in the history of Roscoe – known as “Trout Town” for its great fishing – is Roscoe Central School (RCS). Opened in 1939, the school now serves 260 students from the

towns of Rockland, Colchester, Hancock, Fremont and Callicoon. The pre-kindergarten through 12th grade building is a special place, noted Superintendent of Schools John Evans, Principal Janice Phillips and Assistant Principal Robin Francisco. Here from the administrators are the benefits to students and staff of a small school with a big heart. • Administrators know every teacher and student by name and are familiar



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Roscoe School Scene 2017  

With a small student population and a dedicated staff, Roscoe Central School is the kind of close-knit, one-on-one place we love to feature...

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