Students' Creations Take Flight
Students in Mrs. Fisher’s and Mrs. Kerrigan’s' advisory period took part in a group activity of creating paper airplanes. They flew them to see whose flew the farthest.
Music Department Offers More
Webutuck’s Music department is expanding its offerings. High School students who want to rock out now have the option of taking a full year of electric guitar, electronic music, or piano at Webutuck High School. The yearlong course, offered for the first time this year, joins piano, electronic music, band, chorus, and general music. “We’re trying to reach a broader base,” Music Teacher Eric Wiener said. “Two years ago, the only high school electives were band and chorus. Last year we offered half a year of electronic music, and half a year of piano.”
Noah Thompson makes sounds as he figures out the Korg Volca Keys.
The lab allows for both individualized and group instruction and collaboration among students on pieces. It has thirty-two stations: sixteen at the pianos and sixteen around the room. All instruments and devices that have an electrical output can connect to the system, allowing the instructor to monitor work being produced and provide feedback. It also allows students to work together on compositions with instructor permission. “The goal is at the end of a project for them to say, I made that!” In a recent electronic music class, freshman Noah Thompson was exploring the Korg Volca Keys synthesizer using headphones to hear the various sounds it’s capable of creating. “I like making the beats, though I listen to all types of music,” Thompson said. The program encourages exploration, while there are manuals available, students are encouraged to learn by doing; they strike keys, turn knobs and push buttons to see what happens.
Steven Damian explores the synthesizer Moog Mother SE.
Steven Damian, a fan of progressive house music, metal music and more, has already decided the synthesizer is his favorite device. “It makes amazing noise and sounds and it was used by many famous artists,” Damian said. All district students have access to the equipment through their music classes or by appointment. The lab began in September 2018 with nine Roland digital pianos, nine electric guitars and amps, stands, iPad interfaces and the Roland lab communication system. It is funded by the school district. Mr. Wiener launched a fundraising campaign to acquire the rest of the equipment in the lab, which includes a Roland TR-8S drum machine, a Stagg EDB electric double bass, Novation Bass Station II, Roland Vocoder, two DFAM percussion synthesizers, and more.
Webutuck Students Improve in 2018-19 tests
The 2018-2019 school year brought higher proficiency scores in State English Language Arts and Math tests for almost all grades 3-8 and improved passing rates in eleven of twelve Regents exams taken by Webutuck Central School District students. Superintendent Ray Castellani said the upward shift comes from two key factors: a change in instructional practices and staff buy-in. Teachers are using blended instruction, which allows students to learn at their own pace with direction from the teacher, and incorporating technology into the classroom.
Teacher Deanna Ambrosino works with a small group of students on suffixes during an ELA 'Stations' day.
“This is a huge success,” Castellani said of blended instruction. “With the groups, the teacher can break down skills and provide enrichment or remedial help as-needed. ”During one of Deanna Ambrosino’s recent classes, students split into four groups and did work on their individual iPads based on assignments identified on a large, interactive white board. Ambrosino then worked individually with groups throughout the period. Just how much better were the scores? ELA scores at the proficient and highly proficient levels were up at least six percent for grades 4, 5, 6 and 8 while Math scores were up at least sixteen percent for grades 4, 6 and 8. Regents’ passing rates varied, with increases ranging from one percent in Earth Science to fifty percent in Geometry. Overall, the passing rates for all twelve exams were at least seventy-six percent with most exceeding that. “Teachers are using data they gather to help make instructional and curriculum additions,” Castellani said. “One tool is the I Ready tests. It’s a pretest to see what carried over from 5th grade and to help us identify strengths and weaknesses,” Darrin Butland, a 6th grade science and social studies teacher explained last week as his class took the test.
Teacher Assistant Dawn Drake answers a student's question during I Ready testing.
Castellani said District faculty and staff believe in the direction the administration and Board of Education are setting. “They know they’re supported – any resource they need is found for them,” he said. “We’re committed to long-term stability in the board and administration.” "And the proof of their belief and commitment to the students is the scores." “You see the growth in students and that’s where you see the positive results of our efforts,” Castellani said.
Webutuck Partners with NYSUT to Provide "Equity for All" Training
Pictured L-R: NYSUT President, Andy Pallotta; WTA President, Tammy Nethercott;
District Superintendent, Ray Castellani; and NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer, J. Philippe Abraham.
NYSUT President, Andy Pallotta, along with Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham
visited the Webutuck Central School District during the Superintendent’s Conference
held September 3, to talk about NYSUT’s partnership with the district to provide tailored
professional development on culturally inclusive classrooms. “WTA President, Tammy Nethercott,
was instrumental in coordinating the partnership”, said District Superintendent Ray Castellani.
“We plan to have all faculty and staff participate in this training”, he added.
Assistant Principal Matt Pascale Leads Positivity Training for Webututck Staff
The Positivity Project
Over the summer, careful planning and research was undertaken to create a program that successfully addresses Social/Emotional Learning. The Positivity Project, a new Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) initiative, will roll out in all schools this year, led by Assistant Principal, Matthew Pascale. The Positivity Project is a nationally recognized, holistic approach that seeks to develop an open mindset through five practices, which include: recognizing the good in others, understanding how your words and actions effect on others, supporting others when they struggle, cheering on others when they succeed and giving others your full attention. The initiative will train and involve faculty and staff throughout the district.
Students on all grade levels will receive explicit instruction. On the elementary level, students will have something tangible to engage them each day during their morning meeting. On the high school and middle school levels, students will participate in advisory periods daily to facilitate character development, strengthen communication skills, and improve the overall school environment.
Webutuck Central Schools are “Off and Running!”
Off and running! Webutuck’s first day of classes was filled with new experiences for some, and a welcome back to familiar faces for others. Our new school year is off to a great start and we look forward to an exciting year ahead. Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WebutuckCSD and keep up to date on our website at https://www.webutuckschools.org/
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