Special Education

NYSSD Circle Newsletter

2011-12: Fall Issue | PDF version of this newsletter PDF icon (5.45 MB)

Table of Contents

Superintendent's Message

Submitted by Superintendent Carriann Ray

Welcome Back Everyone!

The 2011-2012 school year is well underway and the students and staff seem to be happy to be back.  It is hard to believe that the Soccer Season is already over and that Basketball will be starting soon.  We have already had our Open House and many parents attended.  This year we raffled off a new bike and a TV.  Families who won were very happy.  We have started a new recycling program in the school and particularly in the cafeteria, with milk cartons.  That program is going very well and the students understand that they are part of the solution to waste in the USA.  NYSSD hosted yet another Friendship Tournament and close to 100 students were here for the weekend and enjoyed themselves tremendously.

We have several new staff members and they all seem to be acclimating to the school very well.  We have a new Counselor, Chris Kimball, a new Speech Pathologist, Kasey Baillie, a new Math teacher, Carolyn Cronauer, a new ASL teacher, Brooke Erickson, and a new Special Education teacher, Catherine Klein.  We had two staff in house take promotions to new positions.  Heidi Bewick is now a Food Service 2 worker and Richard DeSalvo is now our Motor Vehicle Operator.  Congratulations to all of them and welcome to your new positions at NYSSD.

Students are already busy at work preparing for January Regents and RCT’s and review classes have begun after school.  Harry Baran is the new Yearbook advisor and Gloria Broadbent and Stephanie Baran are the new Coaches for the Academic Bowl.  We have several other clubs taking place after school and Victoria Stockton and Stephanie Baran are leading up those clubs.

NYSSD is a busy place 24/7.  The residential program has been bustling with fun outdoor activities and has been all over the community enjoying the Fall weather.  There have been trips to apple orchards, farms, movies, the library, the YMCA, football games, shopping and dinners out on the town.

NYSSD had a wonderful opportunity this October to be a part of the premiere of Matt Hamill’s movie, "The Hammer."  Our students went to the premiere and I will have to say I went too and it was fantastic.  A great movie for all to see!  NYSSD even received some TV time out of the event and that was great for us.

The school year will go by fast as they always do.  Try to enjoy something about each day and motivate yourself to do better and be better than the day before.

Carriann Ray

Cover Story - 2011-2012 Pep Rally & Friendship Tournament

Submitted by Dennis Ryan

The 2011 NYSSD Friendship Soccer Tournament was a huge success. It was held on Friday and Saturday, October 21 and 22, 2011 and hosted by NYSSD. The tournament consisted of four other schools for the deaf, two from Canada. The participating teams were NYSSD, Rhode Island, Learning Center from Massachusetts and E.C. Drury and Sir James Whitney-both from Canada.

The activities were started by a pep rally on Friday afternoon in the NYSSD Gymnasium. The pep rally was started by an introduction of the NYSSD Co-ed Soccer team. It was followed by a demonstration of skills by the elementary soccer skills group-led by Kara Snell.

There was then an exciting soccer kick for prizes by some of the younger NYSSD students. The pep rally was culminated by a Trojan Skit led by our own Sandor Sarus. Sarah DeBoer and Stephanie Baran also participated as a "Rooster" and a "Lady Warrior."  It was a fun-filled spirit activity thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

The Friendship Soccer Tournament co-champions were E.C Drury and Learning Center. NYSSD lost both games but played with a lot of heart and demonstrated good sportmanship. NYSSD was led by tri-captains Austin Howard, Jamel Edwards, and Sarah Davis. All three captains had solid tournaments and led the defense. Also contributing were goalie Brian Borden; defensive players Miranda Matthews and Fayra Santiago; midfielders Justin Corron, Bataan Hoang, and Alexis Beckwith; and offensive leaders George Wright and Eh Wah.  The tournament was a lot of fun and presented great social opportunities for all the participants.

Coaches Dennis Ryan and Beth Wenzel would like to thank all the many people who helped make this year's tournament a fantastic experience for all the players, coaches, and spectators. You helped make special memories for the many student-athletes who came to Rome for the weekend tournament.

Education Review

Submitted by Assistant Superintendent Dan Roberts

The 2011 - 2012 school year has started off on a good note, students were welcomed back, introduced to new faculty and new students.  They were given clear expectations of the rules, and their responsibilities at school as well.  Students have started the year focused and with clear goals in mind.  Teachers are prepared to meet the many challenges and help students in the classroom to be responsible, well educated, and well rounded individuals.

On October 20th Parent Night was held. Doors were open on this open house forum for parents to meet teachers and understand the expectations in the classroom.  Thank you to the parents who were involved in this special night.

We also enjoyed a pep rally the following afternoon, which was followed by our 21st Annual International Friendship Soccer Tournament.  Congratulations to the NYSSD Co-ed Soccer Team, Coach Ryan, and Coach Wenzel for a great season and all of your accomplishments.

NYSSD Residential Program Receives Some Special Visitors

Submitted by Residential Supervisor Martin J. Gorski

On Thursday October 6, 2011 the New York State School for the Deaf (NYSSD) received some very important visitors on campus. No, it was not a famous movie star or professional athlete. No, it was not a possible new student and their family visiting our program. It was Rome Police Officer Richard Galluppi and his trusting partner – Riso. That’s right, Riso (which is pronounced Risho) works for the Rome Police Department’s K-9 Dog Unit. Riso was born on March 15, 2006 in Czechoslovakia and started on the Rome Police force on June 1, 2007.

RPD Officer Galluppi and Riso put on a wonderful demonstration for all our residential students and staff, showing off his great instincts, his intelligence and many silly tricks for the eager crowd. Riso was very excited to be able to perform for this audience and he was “showing off” quite a bit for all of us.

Officer Galluppi shared with us the many talents of his canine partner. Riso has many abilities that give him an advantage over his two-legged counterparts. These abilities include great speed and agility, along with a strong sense of smell and hearing. Riso uses his abilities to perform many tasks for the Rome Police Department, such as detecting illegal drugs and narcotics, tracking and searching for missing people and of course the apprehension of suspects. Now that’s what I call "Taking a Bite out of Crime."

Officer Galluppi shared with the group some very good news and some very sad news. The good news was that this was Officer Galluppi’s last day as a police officer because he was recently promoted to a Detective to the Rome Police Department. Congratulations Detective Galluppi. The sad news was that this was also Riso’s last night on the Rome Police Force as he is retiring due to some medical issues. Best of luck Riso on your retirement Riso now becomes a permanent member of Detective Galluppi’s family as he now lives with him full time. Riso will definitely be missed by all of the Rome Police Department and the Community of Rome as well. We wish both Detective Galluppi and K-9 Riso the best of luck in their future endeavors and thank them both for spending their last day in their jobs with us at the NYSSD to assist our school in promoting this important initiative.

Have You Heard "The Buzz"?

Submitted by Jessica Poczatec & Sarah DeBoer

In honor of October being designated as "Better Hearing Month," the Elementary Boys Dorm Staff collaborated with Kim Sacco (NYSSD’s audiologist) to organize a new group targeted toward cochlear-implant (CI) users, called "The Buzz." The goal of the group was to provide information and support to children with CIs, whether they were seasoned or new to the use of the CI.

At the first meeting, all the students took turns standing up and speaking briefly about what memories and experiences they’ve had with their cochlear implants. Then they broke into two groups, based on the length of time they've worn a cochlear or how new they are to it. Children with limited speech and sound recognition abilities were grouped with kids who had just recently had surgery. They practiced word recognition and played a mini version of the "telephone game." Children with well developed speech and sound recognition played a ‘no sign language’ version of "Mother May I?" At first they all seemed a little oblivious, but by the end of the meeting there was recognition in their eyes that all of their peers in that room had been through a similar experience and some cohesion began to develop.

The second meeting began with a light snack and a question and answer session with Kim Sacco. A variety of topics related to cochlear care were discussed. The second half of the meeting was focused on self advocacy. All of the children were given cards that can be presented at the emergency room to let hospital staff know about specific things to be cautious about when treating a child with a CI. They all took turns role-playing a situation in a nurses/doctors office; they practiced identifying themselves as deaf, that they have a cochlear implant, that they need an interpreter, displaying their cochlear card, letting the staff know that they can not have an MRI, etc. All the kids were enthralled with the activity and seemed to enjoy the skit, especially watching their peers take part.

The last meeting of the month addressed role modeling and what it will be like to grow up with a CI. Two older teens from NYSSD came and answered questions about their experiences (positive and negative) with their CIs. They talked about how having the CI helps them in a multitude of areas, including the classroom, sports, and in public situations. In consideration of October being Fire Safety month as well, issues specifically related to deafness and fire safety were discussed in the second half of this meeting. Children learned about the specific type of alerting systems that are ADA compliant and why they are important for the deaf. Children learned the six most common causes of easily preventable fire, maintaining smoke detectors, and practicing a fire escape plan. The lesson was reinforced with a Family Feud-style trivia game.

Overall, it seems to be a very positive occasion for all involved, and because of its continued popularity, it will be carried over into the month of November. "The Buzz" continues to be open to newcomers. Students are welcome to stay for the duration of the meeting or to stay for the day and sleep overnight in our beautiful new dorms. This week we entertained for the first time, 5 year old Connor. He stayed the night and had a blast sleeping in the dorm with his friends! He is a great example of how no one is too young to try something new!

A Visit From the Fire Department

Submitted by Cathy Lee

The Little Listeners classes enjoyed a morning with the Westernville Fire Department. The classes were able to see firemen dress in their uniform and learn what they wear when they go to fight a fire. Then the students each received their own fireman hat to bring home. The students went outside to see a fire truck. All the students had an opportunity to go inside the fire truck. The firemen demonstrated the use of different firemen tools. They also were able to take turns having a hands-on experience of spraying a fire hose. To end the event, an ambulance pulled up and they were able to see the inside and outside of an ambulance. They all had a chance to hear the sirens from both vehicles. Thank you to the Westernville Fire Department, especially Mike Anania, for making this a wonderful learning experience for all of the students.

Ms. Klein’s Class Visits the Rome Art and Community Center

Submitted by Catherine Klein

In September, the Career Prep 1 class took an exciting field trip to the Rome Art and Community Center. We went to see the Dinosaur Rock exhibit.  This was a very nice exhibit of dinosaur bones, including some very large skulls!  The students had a great time. They also had the opportunity to try an activity and they chose geode breaking.  A geode looks like a regular rock on the outside, but has beautiful crystals on the inside.  There were many nice minerals like amethyst and pyrite (fools gold) on display too!

The Hammer and NYSSD

Submitted by Dennis Ryan

Wednesday, October 26th at 7:00 at the Uptown Theater in Utica, was the world premiere showing of the movie: "The Hammer."  The movie is a life story of Matt Hamill; the deaf, three time NCAA wrestling champion and UFC fighter.  Matt grew up in Ohio but now lives in Utica.

NYSSD was part of the celebration of the newly released movie. NYSSD sent eighteen students to the movie. The NYSSD students were greeted at the door by Matt Hamill, himself who took time to take pictures and interact with the Rome group. The NYSSD students had a fun evening and really enjoyed the captioned version of "The Hammer."

Matt Hamill has presented himself as a real friend to the students and staff at NYSSD. Watching his life story unfold in the theater and talking and listening to Matt was truly a memorable and pleasurable experience for NYSSD.

NYSSD would like to say: Thank you Matt!!! You are truly a great role model for the students at NYSSD!

Student Interviews

Submitted by students in Mr. Baran’s Fundamentals of a Mac class

Students in the Fundamentals of a Mac class are learning to use a program called Pages used for word processing and page layout. This program was created by the Apple company and is used on Macintosh computers. Students were assigned a project to interview staff at the New York State School for the Deaf (NYSSD) and to work together to create a page for the school newsletter here in this issue of the Circle. Here are their interviews.

New Math Teacher at NYSSD
Submitted by Bataan Hoang

Q: What is your name?
A: Carolyn Cronauer.

Q: What is your job here at NYSSD?
A: I’m working as the math teacher for the middle school and the high school students.

Q: How did you hear about NYSSD?
A: Growing up in Utica and I know about NYSSD in Graduate school at NYSSD, my first student teaching placement was here.

Q: Why do you want to teach math at NYSSD?
A: I like teaching at a small school where I can really get to know the students.

Q: Did you go to college and if so, what did you major in?
A: I went to college at SUNY Geneseo, and I majored in math. After I graduated, I went to RIT for a Masters degree in Deaf Education.

Q: Do you know sign language?
A: I’m learning sign language.

Q: If so, who taught you sign language?
A: I picked it up in graduate school by interacting with my classmates and professors, now I learn a lot from my students.

Q: Do you like NYSSD?
A: I like NYSSD because of the friendly staff and hard working students.

Q: Do you have some family and friends who are deaf?
A: I don’t have any family members who are, but I have made many deaf friends.

Q: Have you made any friends here at NYSSD?
A: Yes. All of my co-workers have been very friendly and nice to me.

Q: What advice would you give to the students at NYSSD who want to be a teacher?
A: Work hard, and don’t ever give up!

New ASL Teacher at NYSSD
Submitted by Kyle Sova

Q: What is your name?
A: Brooke Erickson.

Q: What is your job here at NYSSD?
A: ASL Teacher and English Teacher.

Q: How did you hear about NYSSD?
A: I grew up in New York State so I knew about all of the deaf schools in this state.

Q: Why do you want teach ASL at NYSSD?
A: ASL is my first language so I thought it would be a fun opportunity to teach ASL here.

Q: Did you go to college and if so, what did you major in?
A: In 2003, I graduated from R.I.T. with a bachelor’s in Social Work, Criminal Justice, and English Literature. In 2005, I graduated from R.I.T. with a master’s in Secondary Education.

Q: Do you know sign language?
A: Yes.

Q: If so, who taught you sign language?
A: My family and teachers.

Q: Do you like NYSSD?
A: It is a very warm and inviting place, and I am very happy to be here.

Q: Do you have family or friends who are deaf?
A: I have a lot of deaf friends but no deaf family members.

Q: Have you made any friends here at NYSSD?
A: All of students and staff have become my friends.

Q: What advice would you give to the students at NYSSD who want to be a teacher?
A: Being a teacher is a privilege. Follow your dream and strive for best.

NYSSD Celebrates Veteran’s Day

Submitted by Harry Baran

On November 10, 2011, staff and students at the New York State School for the Deaf (NYSSD) celebrated Veteran’s Day by holding an assembly in the school gymnasium. This assembly was to honor veterans at our school who have served, veterans currently serving, and veterans who have served in the past. This assembly was hosted by Gail Brett, the Curriculum and Assessment instructor and Social Skills Committee leader at NYSSD.

In honor of those who have served, NYSSD started the assembly with the National Anthem played by the school band and the pledge of allegiance signed. Students from Harry and Stephanie Baran’s middle and high school social studies classes held presentations about Veterans Day, our flag, and how we honor our country. This led up to a special presentation by Mr. Bohlen, Asia Bohlen’s father and serving veteran in the army who bestowed to NYSSD, a US flag flown on a combat mission over Afghanistan. The flag was shown and unfolded with the help of students and two soldiers who accompanied Mr. Bohlen. The assembly continued with the recognition of our own veterans at NYSSD who have served in the military and with students submitting cards thanking veterans for all they have done and do. The assembly concluded with the song God Bless America played by the school band and sung by NYSSD staff and students.

Raccoon & Crawfish Play

Submitted by Kara Linn

On Friday, November 18, 2011 at 10:15 A.M. the NYSSD stage came alive with its production of "Raccoon & Crawfish: An Oneida Legend" based on the Award Winning Short Film: "Raccoon & Crawfish." The audience, consisting of NYSSD students and staff watched eagerly as the PreK through 5th grade classes put on this performance.

Narrator, 4th grader Asia Bohlen, welcomed all in attendance and introduced the theme of the play. All eyes then followed 5th grader Arif Cajic who played Eli, an Oneida Indian boy and his grandfather, played by 4th grader Harland Oldick. The two of them are in the middle of camping when they see a tree move. Grandfather is reminded of a story between a raccoon and a crawfish.  The raccoon, played by 4th grader Nathaniel Hoose then enters the stage as the drama unfolds at a river.  The raccoon sees and hears an entertaining handbell performance by our Little Listeners Preschool class: Jayden Dibble, Nicholas DiCarlo, Olivia Heinlein and Jaden Roback. The story continues as the raccoon searches for food. As he nears the river he sees our fish dancers come out to perform to the music "Just Around the Riverbend." These dancers are from our Little Listeners and Total Communication K/1 classes (Dominic Bristol, Angelina Cardona, Kendall Corcoran, Anvita Corron, Isaiah Corron, Katie Hence, Kathleen Kent, Jahtavious Reed, Marquis Reeves and Connor Schoener).

The play continues as the raccoon interacts with Little Crawfish, performed by 5th grader Darlene Martin and the other crawfish, acted by 3rd graders Evan Hawkins and Cody Sharpsteen, 4th grader Hunter Ocmand, and 5th grader Ella Kovaleva.

The sobering ending to the Raccoon & Crawfish was summarized in a moral presented by Grandfather and reiterated by the cast as this: "Never tell a lie."

Show Us Your Wild Side

Submitted by Theresa Matt - Little Listeners K/Grade 1

October was Animal Month in our classroom! Students learned about categories of animals, their habitats, and special names for some baby animals (for example: goat and kid, cow and calf). Students had a “Bring your animal to school” Sharing Day.

Many students also brought in Animal Habitat Dioramas that they made with their families and then presented to Mrs. Quance’s class. All students who turned in a diorama, got their name entered into a drawing and the winner was picked on Back To School Night. Congratulations to Connor Schoener!

History Comes Alive In History Club

Submitted by Stephanie Baran

Once a week, high school students at NYSSD gather after school to study history with a flare.  This year, under the supervision of high school social studies teacher, Mrs. Stephanie Baran, students have the opportunity to continue their history lessons after school and experience hands on learning activities.  On Tuesday afternoons, the students gather and plan fundraising activities, trips, guest speakers, and study photographs from Mrs. Baran’s travels while enjoying snacks too. The club is currently made up of the student officers:  11th grade President, Sarah Davis, 12th grade Vice-President, Jamel Edwards, and 12th grade Treasurer, Bataan Hoang.   All students in grades 7-12 are welcome to join.  The club will continue to meet throughout the school year.  Please keep a heads up for events and activities the club will be sponsoring.

Coach’s Corner

Winter Workouts - How To Stay Fit in the Winter Months

Submitted by Coach Dennis Ryan

Soon winter will be here. Most of us tend to get a lot more sedentary during this time of year. It is very important to stay active in the winter, we feel much better and are more productive at work. Most polls show  25-30% of us get no exercise during the winter months.

Just because it is cold outside doesn't make it open season for an excuse not to exercise. There are plenty of options available regardless what the temperature is outside. All that is necessary for winter is some planning and some creative thinking. Also, remember to stay hydrated in the winter-even though you may not feel thirsty.

Some winter exercise options include:

  • Join a health club. The local Planet Fitness in Rome costs only ten dollars a month. It has a ton of cardio machines and some weights. You really need to do a combination of both cardio and strength training.
  • Create a home gym.  It isn't really expensive. You can start with some dumbbells and an exercise video. The cost: about $40.00.
  • Walk at an indoor location such as a shopping mall.
  • Climb Stairs if you have stairs where you live or close by; spend as little as 20 minutes at a time climbing up and down the stairs for an intense and efficient workout.
  • Get Wet. Find an indoor pool such as the YMCA. Try swimming, water aerobics, or even just walking or swimming laps.

Real Life Civics Lesson At NYSSD

Submitted by Stephanie Baran

With local elections taking center stage on the news stations and campaign ads, on Thursday, November 8th, students in Mrs. Stephanie Baran’s Participation in Government 12 class had the opportunity to witness an election in process.  NYSSD Teaching Assistant, Mrs. Shari Santiago invited the government class to Strough Middle School so the students may have a first hand experience with the voting process.  Mrs. Santiago explained to the students how the election process works and why it is important to vote.  Students in the government class will have the opportunity to meet some of the candidates later in November and learn how through voting, we the people, can make a difference in the workings of our local and national government.

Fire Safety & Prevention

Submitted by Diane Dainotto & Mike Anania

Members of the Western Volunteer Fire company visited NYSSD to lecture and provide demonstrations on fire prevention & safety for both school and home.   Fire Chief, Mike Anania, an employee of NYSSD, gave lectures to pre-school, kindergarten and elementary students on safety topics such as stop, drop and roll; how to safely evacuate a burning building, and never to play with matches.  Volunteer firefighters dressed in their personal protective equipment (PPE) used to enter a burning building.  The firefighters put their PPE uniforms on so the students could see the transformation to a fire fighter.  Students were able to view an emergency vehicle, a brush truck and a heavy rescue vehicle and various types of equipment that are used by fire departments.  The children had the opportunity to view the Jaws of Life, a thermo imaging camera and tools used for rescue and fire fighting.  Demonstrations included the use of air bags that actually lifted the heavy rescue vehicle.  With the assistance of the volunteer fire members, the children sprayed water from portable water tanks, operated a fire hose line and sprayed water from the brush truck.   A portable pond was also set up which allowed students to dump water from the tanker into the portable pond.  A 2800-gallon tanker was also on hand which is used for rural fire fighting operations for locations without fire hydrants.

Students received plastic fire helmets, coloring books and stickers.  The students showed their appreciation by writing thank you letters and drawing and coloring pictures for the Western Volunteer Fire Department.  Both students and staff were impressed with the various equipment that was on hand for viewing, demonstrations and lectures which  proved to be a valuable learning experience for all.

Interview With New Student, Cynthia Randolph Porter

Submitted by Sarah Davis

Q: What is your name, how old are you, what grade are you in?
A: Cynthia Randolph Porter, 19 yrs. old, and a senior in high school.

Q: Where did you go to school before coming to NYSSD?
A: Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB).

Q: How did you learn about NYSSD?
A: My mom saw NYSSD on the website.

Q: Where do you live now? How long is your bus ride to school?
A: Kingston, 3 hours away.

Q: What do you like most about NYSSD?
A: I like art and math class.

Q: What do you miss most about your old school?
A: I miss my friends.

Q: What are your hobbies?  What do you like to do at home?
A: My favorite hobby is drawing art. When at home I like to go shopping with my mom, and talk to my old friends on the video phone.

Q: What's your favorite food?
A: Hot chicken from Wendy's.

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

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