Special Education

NYSSD Circle Newsletter

2010-2011: Fall Issue | PDF version of this newsletter PDF icon (2.69 MB)

Table of Contents

Superintendent's Message

Submitted by Superintendent Carriann Ray

Welcome back everyone! It has been a great opening to school and time is flying by. The school program is very busy already preparing for January Regents and review classes. The school was able to take a field trip to a local farm at no cost to the school, and staff and students were treated to bike rides, carriage rides and lunch. Our co-ed soccer team had a great time at the 20th International Friendship Tournament. Office staff is very busy finishing up wish list purchases for the 2010-2011 school year for classrooms and dormitory items. The maintenance department is in full swing with the busy leaf removal season upon us. The school grounds look great and the students have had many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The dormitory has been keeping everyone busy with recreational activities in the evening and students are excited for each new adventure. Our Little Listeners Aural/Oral program opened a kindergarten class this year and it looks great. We have hired a new Dormitory/School Liaison, Erika Furbeck. Erika has worked for our school for many years and is very excited about this new opportunity. The dormitory construction project is complete and there are only minor touch up projects going on. If you have not had a chance to see the new dorms you really should take the time to do so. The next few months will go by very quickly as the holiday season always does. I wish you a safe and healthy holiday season and look forward to a great year.

2010 NYSSD Soccer Friendship Tournament

Submitted by Coach Dennis Ryan

The 2010 NYSSD Co-ed Soccer team enjoyed a very strong and rewarding season. The team finished the year with a 3-4-1 record, including winning it's last three games. The team was characterized by it's hustle and hard work on the field. Coach Dennis Ryan was proud of the effort that the NYSSD team displayed during the season.

NYSSD was led by tri-captains Amanda Miller, Jamel Edwards, and Jeff Marshall. Amanda Miller scored 5 goals including a game winning goal in overtime at River Valley. Jamel was the team's strongest defender and led NYSSD's defense. Jeff led the team at halfback and was known for his intelligent play. Other key players included Eh Wah who led NYSSD with 6 goals, George Wright, Goalie Justin Corron, Geovany Lainez, Alen Kendic, Sarah Davis, Kristin Miller, Fayra Santiago, Miranda Mathews and Alexis Beckwith.

The highlight of the year was the Annual Friendship soccer tournament hosted by NYSSD. Though NYSSD lost both of it's games, the boys and girls tremendously enjoyed the two- day experience. There were new friendships formed and loads of fun through the many activities during the tournament. The camaraderie formed by the teams during the tournament was fantastic to see.

In summation, the 2010 NYSSD Co-ed Soccer team had a very fulfilling and successful season. Coach Ryan would like to thank Beth Wenzel for her help as assistant coach and Gordon Baker for hosting a great tournament.

Parent Night at NYSSD

Submitted by Assistant Superintendent, Dan Roberts

On October 14, 2010, NYSSD hosted a Parent Night. Each year this is an opportunity for parents to come to school, and meet with teachers and staff to learn about their child’s instructional program. It was nice to see many familiar faces and some new faces of parents. I hope to see many of you throughout the year.

All parents are welcome and encouraged to take an active role in their child’s education at NYSSD. Research indicates parental involvement in their child’s education will increase the probability for student success in school. If you were not able to make it to our Parent Night this year, there are many other ways to contribute positively to your child’s success at school.

Please consider the following:
Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher.
Consider a role on our Parents Advisory Committee.
Schedule a parent-teacher conference at least once a year to discuss progress.
Support, encourage, and help your child at home.
Understand the instructional program and what your child is learning in each subject.
Take advantage of our school lending library.

Students at NYSSD Learn About Technology

Submitted by Harry Baran

The New York State School for the Deaf (NYSSD) and Strough Middle School in Rome, New York have partnered together to teach 7th and 8th grade students technology and American Sign Language (ASL) classes. Students from Strough attend NYSSD and are taught ASL and students from NYSSD learn technology at Strough. NYSSD 7th grade students have been constructing projects out of wood and 8th grade students have been building projects with sheet metal. Read more about the programs in the next issue of the “Circle”.

Occupational Therapy - “Safe Eating Skills versus Manners”

Submitted by Andrea J. Rounds, OTR/L

Most people do not realize safe eating skills actually equal good manners while eating. Visualize and compare - using spoons and forks instead of one's fingers to eat; taking small bites of food instead of a stuffing mouthful; taking small sips instead of gulps; chewing with one's mouth closed rather than watching food fall from the mouth of someone chewing with their mouth open - which looks better? Unsafe eating skills may look funny in a cartoon, but safe eating skills are important for a pleasant dining experience and choking on food is definitely not pleasant. Safe eating skills are also important for consuming adequate nutrition needed for learning and growth. Here at NYSSD, preschoolers and kindergartners dine in small groups during lunch, under the guidance of Occupational Therapy. The goal is to assist these students in developing life long safe eating skills. Children as young as 2 years old can be taught to sit during a meal, to take small bites of food, correctly use a spoon and fork, open a 1/2 pint milk carton and pour without spilling. Most of our preschoolers are doing this everyday!

Some students have fine motor, visual motor or other conditions requiring supervision and/or assistance while eating. These students may have oral motor assessments and formal Eating Skills Programs developed by our Speech Language Pathologist, Kathy Cardillo and myself. Additionally, Occupational Therapy provides in-service instruction and materials for the Educational, Dormitory and Food Service staffs. Information is also sent to parents of students with individual Eating Skills Programs to follow at home. Please contact me or your child's speech teacher if you have questions about your child's eating skills.

High School Girls Project

Submitted by Susan Sharpsteen and Melinda Magliocca

The High School Dormitory girls group are doing a project called "Make A Difference." It’s a 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge to donate to area hospital(s) or other organization(s). It is for sick children to help make their hospital room feel more like a home. If you are interested in donating fabric to our project, it would be greatly appreciated. To make one pillow the amount of fabric needed is 3/8 yard of a solid color and 7/8 of a yard multicolor. Both must be 100 percent cotton 44/45 inches wide. You may give them to Susan Sharpsteen and/or Melinda Magliocca.

Helping Hands & Helping Hearts At NYSSD

Submitted by Miss Stephanie Tooke

When President Obama took office in 2008, he coined a phrase that has been the rallying cry for change across the United States, “YES WE CAN!” This message to all Americans says that by creating a community, YES, WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE AND WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Students here at NYSSD have adopted the theme of “I Can Make A Difference!” The Social Skills Committee will be hosting events throughout the year engaging students in activities where they can make a difference.

The students in Miss Tooke’s Social Studies classes will be participating in year-long community service projects where they will be lending a helping hand to the Rome community. Each class has selected a specific community service project for which they will be collecting items throughout the year. The students will be working with the Rome Animal Shelter, the Rome Hospital, the Rome Rescue Mission, and Samaritan’s Purse. Boxes and posters will be posted throughout the school where staff and students can donate items.

Giving a helping hand to those in need teaches us the importance of citizenship and humanity. The students at NYSSD will learn throughout the year how through simple acts, they are changing the lives of others. Together let’s teach the students at NYSSD about community, loyalty and citizenship.


Submitted by NYSSD Musicians

Written by our NYSSD student musicians . . . with a little help from Vicky Stockton the music teacher. On October 20th, a group of our NYSSD musicians traveled to the Griffiss Business Park in Rome to perform at the Defense Financial Accounting Services (DFAS) unit in honor of their Disabilities Awareness Month observance. We used funds that the students raised to pay for the bus driver to transport us to the program. We were invited to perform two times and played at both the beginning and the end of the program.

Our Sign Choir started the show with the “National Anthem” and “My Country ‘tis of Thee”. We then told a story about how handbells were invented in England. A quartet of ringers then performed “English Change Ringing”. We tied a bow to one bell. The audience enjoyed watching this one bell travel up and down the table as we passed the bells to each other while playing this piece of music.

During the presentation we heard two men speak about their lives. One man had a disability called Multiple Sclerosis (MS); the other man was a quadriplegic paralyzed in a swimming accident. Both men told stories about how they worked hard to do everything possible to stay strong and keep working. They were amazing!

Our NYSSD Handbell Choir performed a selection called “Ash Grove”. The first time through we played the song slowly; the second time through we played very quickly. Our Sign Choir then concluded the program with “God Bless America”. We saw several people in the audience crying a little bit. We think they liked our performance. When we left the DFAS building, the director, Mrs. Maria Mingolelli, gave us a beautiful poster that had our Handbell Choir and NYSSD listed on it!

We were happy to perform at this special presentation! It is great to show other people that deaf students can make really good music and can do anything they try to do!

Congratulations to our Handbell and Sign Choir performers:
Joshua Amberg
Brian Borden
Justin Corron
Sarah Davis *
Taiba Dawlat *
Ashley Dupuis *
Jamel Edwards *
Kheemara McKnight
Amanda Miller
Fayra Santiago

* English Change Ringing quartet

Little Listeners is Growing!

Submitted by Dr. Kimberly Sacco, Audiologist

In September we added a new classroom to our Little Listeners program. We now have a Pre-school and Kindergarten room. Theresa Matt is the new Kindergarten teacher and is assisted by Kathleen Morreale. Currently we have five students in that room and eight in our pre-school program with teacher Cathy Lee and Nancy Lopus assisting. Both classrooms have an observation window for parents and visitors to observe the rooms without distracting our students. We also have a new Speech room nearby with an observation room. We welcomed many new students into the program this year and are continually receiving applications. We are looking forward to a great year!

Beginning The Year With Flavor

Submitted by Denise Arena, CCA1

The high school boys dormitory experienced the fresh taste of zucchini this fall. First, the kids received a quick lesson on what the strange food was sitting on the counter. They learned how this oblong, green vegetable came right out of the garden.

Child Care Aide, Donna Marcello, made Zucchini Fritters that night to be shared and enjoyed by all the high school students during Thursday's movie night in our newly remodeled Snack Bar.

The second dish, Zucchini Stew, wrinkled many noses especially after knowing along with the zucchini was celery, onions, peppers, tomatoes, turkey sausage and a variety of seasonings. Doubters - to those who had the pizza crave - were holding strong until they had the encouragement of Child Care Aide Sandor Sarus to "try just one bite" before saying no. What a terrific experience! Not only did all the boys give this unique stew a chance, but the biggest skeptics were seen having second helpings.

Pennies for Peace

Submitted by Gail Brett

NYSSD students and staff are participating in a Community Service coin collection project called “Pennies for Peace”. This is a charity that works to build schools for girls in Afghanistan. The story of how this came to be is in Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, which our whole school will read this year. One of our students, Taiba Dawlat, had the privilege to meet Mr. Mortenson last year. Taiba came from Afghanistan and experienced first-hand the need for education for girls. She is helping us with this project. Please send in coins for your child to donate to this worthy cause.

A Trip To The Potato Hill Farm

Submitted by Dennis Ryan

Mid September brought a very popular activity back to NYSSD. It was a trip to the Potato Hill Farm in Boonville. This year NYSSD had 55 students attend. The Potato Hill Farm is a vast recreation facility in northern New York that offers rich outdoor programming. This year NYSSD had 45 students participate in a bicycle riding program on outdoor trails. There were 10 other students who experienced a farm tour of exotic animals and a horse-drawn hayride.

Among the NYSSD students who enjoyed the bicycle riding were Asia Bohlen, Cody Sharpsteen, Darlene Martin, and Denice Massol in the elementary group. The secondary riders included Pee Eh Det, Brianna Rogers, Shanice White, Bataan Hoang, and Austin Howard. The farm tour participants included Robert Foland, Vinnie Vicik, Leora Massaroni, and Anastasia Steele.

The students had a great time at the farm on a beautiful fall day. The exercise was great and fun was had by all. Dennis Ryan would like to thank all the NYSSD staff who helped make this a nice and memorable day for the students at NYSSD.

Yummi Bake Sale For All

Submitted by Miss Stephanie Tooke, Government 12 Instructor

The grade 12 Government class hosted its first annual bake sale fundraiser the week of October 12-15th. The students ran a bake sale as a fundraiser to raise money to purchase NYSSD gifts and refreshments for their government class guest speakers. Every year, the government class hosts local governmental officials as guest speakers to teach about different careers in government. This year the students held a bake sale to raise money for this event.

The goal of the class was to earn $100-$150. That goal was met! The class earned $145.73. Delicious baked goods were made by the class or donated by NYSSD staff. Cookies, cakes, candies, popcorn balls and pumpkin horns decorated the hallway during 4th period government, lunch and Parents’ Night. Staff, students and parents alike came out that week with their “Sweet Tooths” ready for some action! The Pumpkin Horns were a big hit for the Pep Rally held on Friday, October 15th. As the soccer team ran through the gym, an echo of Pumpkin Horn “toots” could be heard ringing through the crowd.

The Government 12 class worked very hard to make this event possible! The students worked hard and were able to learn the importance of earning money for a purpose. Many thanks go out to the class, especially Amanda Miller, who proved to be a very successful and savvy business entrepreneur!

The class would also like to extend its, “Thank You” to all staff members, students, and parents who helped make the week a baking delight! We should all be very proud of their accomplishments!

Not Simply A Board

Submitted by Denise Arena, CCA1

Bulletin boards have always been a creative medium to share information, introduce ideas and encourage literacy. Staff in the high school boys dormitory had assistance creating something new to welcome everyone back to the new year. Brian Borden worked with photos and the Comic Life Panel to place staff, followed by new and returning students, into vibrant stars. Next, TJ Delamater took the cut stars and placed them on various sheets of construction paper which added just the right amount of color. The result was an eye-catching board of who's who.

Our second board was called, "Make A Splash". Inspiration was drawn from deaf swimmer Terence Parkin's achievements, one of which was winning the silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympic games. His experiences were listed along with how he communicated with others. The display, crafted by Child Care Aide Beth Wenzel, included exaggerated splashes. Each splash was filled with ideas on starting the new year with an equally strong attitude. Examples included: to join a team, try a new club, make new friends, etc.

The dormitory doesn’t simply use wall space. We call our bulletin boards “works in progress” -- forever having new information added, becoming a forum for fun conversation starters and an excellent way of encouraging students to ask questions.

The Dormitory Art Group

Submitted by Jessica Poczatek, Elementary/Jr. High Boys CCA 1

The recently formed NYSSD Dormitory Art Group paid a visit to a local art gallery on October 20, 2010. The five core students in the group (Jamel Edwards, Kyle Sova, Ashley Dupuis, Sarah Davis and Brianna Rogers) were joined by a few other interested students for a trip to the Siena Arts Gallery to view the works of photographer Michael Fanto and Insect/Scrimshaw Artist Bruce Tonner.

Students toured the gallery and were very fortunate to meet one of the artists, Bruce Tonner, who provided answers to their questions and general information about his interesting style of artwork.

The visit was part of the Dormitory Art Group class that meets approximately once a week under the supervision of Child Care Aide, Jessica Poczatek, and assisting staff, Sarah DeBoer and Melinda Magliocca.

The group does a variety of exercises focused on enhancing creativity and promoting artistic confidence in its participants. It also allows the students to experiment with a variety of artistic techniques and mediums. Instruction is also provided about the appropriate etiquette for visiting art galleries and about art appreciation in general.

The ultimate goals of the class are for each student to develop their artistic skills, prepare a small collection of their own work and to host an art exhibition as a group at the end of the school year.

Condoleezza Rice Presentation A Great Success!

Submitted by Miss Stephanie Tooke

On Monday night, November 1, 2010, a group of students, staff and former staff members of NYSSD, attended a lecture at Hamilton College to hear former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, lecture at the annual Hamilton College Sacerdot Great Name Series. Ms. Rice spoke about her recent book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, describing her life in 1960s Birmingham, Alabama. In this book, Ms. Rice describes how her life in 1960s Alabama gave her the strength to pursue an education and seek a future career in politics despite the racial undertones of the era. Education was the tool which guided her in her role as Secretary of State.

Ms. Rice also spoke about her decisions as Secretary of State and her justification for the American people, as well as, the Global Community. Her background as a college Professor and an expert on Russian Studies guided her decisions as Secretary of State. Now, back in academia at Stanford University, Ms. Rice is able to use simulated experiences with her students on foreign affairs, economics and global policy. One message that Ms. Rice sent home to all who attended was the message of hope. Hope for the future of United States, as well as, the global community. With hard work and tenacity, Ms. Rice believes that the United States and the world community will move forward.

Every year, Hamilton College brings notable guests to speak at their college. It is fortunate that NYSSD has had this opportunity to attend these lectures in the past and will continue to attend these lectures in the future. These lectures give students and staff the opportunity to experience view points they may never have considered and teaches us all the best way to learn is with an open mind. This year’s lecture was a success and I am certain that next years will be even better.

The New York State School for the Deaf
401 Turin Street
Rome, NY 13440
315-337-8400 (V)
315-337-8489 (TTY)
nyssd@nysed.gov (email)

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Last Updated: January 6, 2011