Special Education

NYSSD Circle Newsletter

2010-2011: Summer Issue | PDF version of this newsletter PDF icon (1.45 MB)

Table of Contents

Superintendent's Message

The end of the year has come yet again and I find myself wondering where time could have gone.  It has been a very interesting end to the year with so many changes in the future yet to come.  Those changes will be for our students and for our staff.  Our graduates will be moving on to new adventures and staff will be returning next school year to many new faces and many familiar faces not around.  This year marks the most retirements and resignations that I have seen in my time here as Superintendent.  From August of 2010 – September of 2011 NYSSD will see 13 dedicated staff move on to their well deserved retirement or to promotions in other positions in the state.  That is a huge pair of shoes to fill for all involved.

I gain strength from the children as they are always starting with new teachers, sometimes new friends, new expectations and they manage to meet their goals and move forward.  I know we too will survive and move on to good things.

The end of the year marked many wonderful events such as Family Day, Sports Banquet, Graduation, End of Year parties and celebrations, Senior trip, class trips, trips to the beach, ice cream runs etc.  I say with pride that I am so grateful for the wonderful staff we have here that provide an education, health services, nutrition, activities, restful sleep for students, a clean facility and caring staff that work diligently everyday to provide for our students.

I wish everyone a healthy and happy summer and we will be together again soon!

Carriann Ray

Dollars for Scholars

Submitted by Assistant Superintendent Dan Roberts

I would like to commend the hard work and effort of two of our graduating seniors at NYSSD.  On Wednesday June 1, 2011, The Rome Dollars for Scholars recognized Jeffery Marshall and Amanda Miller for their hard work and achievement at our school.

Amanda Miller received the Jean S. Cronin Memorial Scholarship with a monetary gift.  Amanda plans to attend the National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, NY in the fall of 2011.

Jeffrey Marshall received the Dr. Hans Zutrauen Memorial Award with a monetary gift.  Jeffrey plans to attend the National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, NY in the fall of 2011.

Congratulations Amanda and Jeff, best wishes as you start this new chapter in your life.

Big World, Little Ears: Early Management of Childhood Hearing Loss

Submitted by Kimberly Sacco Au.D, CCC-A

On May 20, 2011 we hosted our annual workshop.  Our guest speaker was Arlene Balestra-Marko, Au.D, CCC-A, FAAA, PASC and she discussed creating optimal early intervention programs for children with hearing loss.  We hosted 35 professionals from at least 5 counties.  The workshops allow us to invite different professionals into the school and provide them with great information, as well as take a tour if interested.   It is a great way to show off our school and services we provide.

Cover Story - Make a Difference Fair

Submitted by Gail Brett

Our NYSSD Social Skills/Character Education program hosted a “Make a Difference Fair” on May 20, 2011. Deaf people were invited to display and present about their experiences, successes, and accomplishments as deaf adults after graduating high school or college. They shared how they have made a difference in their careers, as volunteers, and more. The afternoon fair took place in the gymnasium and was set up with a deaf panel on stage. The deaf presenters took turns telling about themselves. Then staff and students asked specific questions.

Some of the questions were:

  • What training did you need for your job?
  • What were some challenges you faced looking for a job?
  • What are your job responsibilities?
  • What do you do for fun/hobbies/etc.?
  • As an adult, how do you continue learning?
  • Did you use hearing aids when you were younger?  What did they look like?
  • Do you have any words of advice for a successful life?

Following the panel presentation, students had the opportunity to mingle with the presenters. The experience of the panel discussion and informal conversations were great opportunities for our students to see and interact with successful deaf role models. We hope to host this kind of presentation again!

Outstanding Educator Award

Earlier this year, our NYSSD teacher, friend, and colleague, Vicky Stockton, was presented with the Outstanding Educator Award by The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley Region.  The Genesis Group fosters positive economic, social and quality of life changes.  Toward this goal, each year they recognize outstanding educators and education programs that have had a positive impact on students in the Mohawk Valley area.  We at NYSSD congratulate Vicky for this honor and for her dedication!

Here is what The Genesis Group presented about Vicky:

Victoria Stockton is a compassionate, intelligent, hard-working, enthusiastic individual who has dedicated her life to serving others.  For the past 35 years she has worked in deaf education primarily serving the New York State School for the Deaf (NYSSD) in Rome.  In addition to teaching the Creative and Performing Arts (music, dance, drama, storytelling), she has taken on the self-imposed responsibility to teach her deaf students Latin, an exciting and very relevant subject which greatly enhances ones ability to understand and use English.

Vicky’s music students are constantly on the go.  Over the years, her legendary NYSSD Handbell Choir, Band, and Sign Choir have performed in the Darien Lake Music Festival in western NY and at Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre in Paris, France.  Among other presentations, the students completed a Florida concert tour from St. Augustine to St. Petersburg, were invited to play for the Music Educators’ National Conference (MENC) in Massachusetts, and even signed the National Anthem at a New York Mets baseball game!

Awards and accolades, too numerous to mention all, include several ‘Music Teacher of the Year’ awards, the Syracuse Symphony Award, and recognition as the Rome Rotary Teacher of the Year. Vicky received the Samuel Gompers Distinguished Service Medal and was one of six recipients nationally to receive a Washington, D.C., Kennedy Center Fellowship for Teachers of the Arts.

Ms. Stockton is a sought-after clinician on music and deaf education.  She was the keynote speaker at the international Conference on Music and the Deaf at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and was featured with her students on ABC TV’s “Good Morning, America” and in London’s BBC documentary, “The Music Child”.

In her ‘spare time’, Vicky has developed and teaches Sign Language and Deaf Culture courses at Hamilton College and Utica College, serves as a sign language interpreter for several organizations, is organist and choir director for her church, volunteers for a Prison Music Ministry, is a performer in the music group Wildflower, and - most importantly - cares for her family as a wife, mom and more.

Vicky would like to thank those who nominated her for this honor and to recognize all the great students she has had the privilege to teach, and learn from, throughout these wonderfully musical years at NYSSD.

Way to go Vicky!

Easter Egg Hunt

Submitted by Sarah Proper

What better way to welcome Spring and celebrate Easter than an Easter Egg Hunt?!  The Business Office wanted to do something fun and interesting for the students of NYSSD during the rainy month of April.  The week before Spring Break we held a special Easter Egg Hunt throughout the campus.  Students enjoyed hunting for eggs to turn in to the Business Office for a prize.  The winner of our Golden Egg was Olivia Heinlein who received a Friendly’s Gift Certificate for an ice cream treat.  Some of our other winners were Kyle Sova who won a 1 pound chocolate bunny; Josh Amberg, Connor Schoener and George Wright who each won a medium sized chocolate bunny; Nicholas DiCarlo, Jaden Roback, Brianna Rogers, and Anastasia Steele who each won a small chocolate bunny.  It was an enjoyable week full of adventure for the NYSSD students!

High School Girls Dormitory

Submitted by Melinda Magliocca

High School girls were invited to a Mary Kay party. They enjoyed learning more about how to properly apply make-up to themselves and also enjoyed Tom’s famous sausage bread. The party was hosted by Tom’s wife Jackie and her friend Jackie did the demonstration. Thank you for inviting us to your party, Ashley, Shania, Shanice, Brianna, and Melinda

Little Listener’s May Mother’s Day Tea

Submitted by Cathy Lee & Theresa Matt

The students invited moms and grandmothers alike to come and celebrate their big day, Mother’s Day. They honored their favorite mom/grandmother with a serenade and then shared gifts, cookies and of course, a cup of tea or juice together. Everyone enjoyed a slide show of highlights from this school year. The students ended with a listening game called Pass The Heart. They passed the heart while the music played and whoever held the heart when the music stopped then gave their mom/grandmother a hug and kiss. Fun was had by all!

Blankets for the Animal Shelter

Submitted by Kelly Szyper, Jennifer Roberts, Terry LaGasse, & Cherie Day

The Girl Scouts of Troop#139 have been very busy this past month. The girls decided as a group they wanted to do something nice and beneficial for the animals in need. The group decision was for each of the girls to crochet individual blankets to donate to the Rome Humane Society. The girls really dedicated their time and selves into learning to crochet and work at it each evening for the past month. 

The trip to the Humane Society had taken place on June 7th. The troop hand delivered the beautiful, heartfelt blankets they made for the homeless animals. The girls also made a handwritten card, thanking and showing their appreciation toward the staff that take good care of these animals. This experience was very important and rewarding for our Girl Scouts. They worked hard and gave something special they made for a very good cause. They truly do realize this and that is why we are so proud of our troops.

7th Graders Visit Fort Stanwix

Submitted by Harry Baran

On May 18, 2011, the seventh grade social studies class went to Fort Stanwix to experience what life was like as a soldier during the American Revolutionary War and to learn how musical instruments, specifically the drum, played an important role in a soldier’s life. Staff and students included: Harry Baran, the social studies teacher, Vicky Stockton, the music teacher, Alexis Beckwith, Miranda Matthews, and Jill Wildberger.

Earlier this year, students learned about the American Revolution and the importance it played in the birth of our great nation. To build upon this lesson, students had the opportunity to take a field trip to the actual battle site and fort where the siege of Fort Stanwix occurred, learn from park rangers dressed as soldiers of that period, and partake in a canon drill. From this trip, students gained an appreciation and better understanding of social studies, made the subjects of history and music more concrete, and helped to reinforce concepts learned in class as well as providing opportunities to learn new ones. Fun was had by all. Vicky and I would like to thank Superintendent Carriann Ray, Assistant Superintendent Dan Roberts, and Fort Stanwix Education Coordinator Val Morgan for making this possible. We would also like to thank Rose Poland and Dennis Ryan for providing transportation.

Elementary Dormitory

Submitted by Sarah DeBoer

As winter melted into spring this year, the boys in the Elementary Dormitory got a chance to explore their creative side! While cold weather lingered, it gave us a chance to do some indoor projects like foam bowling and paper mache. We sculpted paper boxes for Mother’s day out of molds made from play dough. When signs of spring were in the air, we tried out water color paints to bring our inspiration to life. We learned different water color techniques and had a blast free painting! Our most recent undertaking was clay. We worked with pre-colored Sculpey first, baking our projects in the oven. In the second phase of our clay making, we used real Marblex clay that self hardens and is then paintable. This was the messiest and most fun of all our art adventures! We never knew we had so many creative artists in the Elementary Boys Dormitory! We have great plans for projects for Memorial Day, Father’s day and beyond, just as long as our custodial staff can keep up with us!

On Your Mark

Submitted by Track Coach Stephanie Tooke

As a cool and damp spring began, the students at NYSSD, sprung into spring sports action.  By mid-April, the softball bats were in full swing, as were the running shoes, racing around the track.   The track athletes seized the opportunity to join and have spent many dedicated afternoons either in the exercise room or on the track preparing for the June 8th meet.   From the runners to the throwers and jumpers, the students all found their individual area where they could excel.  That is the beauty of track, athletes can not only perform as a team unit, but they can also perform as an individual.  Each member of the track team, here at NYSSD, found their area of expertise.

This year's track and field team also came together and organized many team building activities.  The track team organized a car wash fundraiser to raise money for team T-Shirts.  On May 25th, Mother Nature shared some of her warmth and sunshine with the team, and the car wash was a huge success!  The track athletes, along with the help and support of the student body, spent the afternoon advertising and washing cars.  The pros could not have done a better job!  Enough money was raised from the generosity of staff members and people from the community.  The team earned enough money for their shirts and money to be donated to the Student Athletic Fund.

As the season comes to an end, the NYSSD Track Team looks forward to their meet on June 8th!  Nerves and excitement can be seen on the students’ faces as they wait for the June 8th meet.  Please come out and support the team and watch us as we take home the “Green and Gold.”

Track Athletes

Senior Captain and Girls 4 x 100 Team Sprinter:
Amanda Miller

11th Graders:
High Jumper: Jamel Edwards

Shot Put Thrower: TJ Delamater and Bataan Hoang

Middle Distance Runner and Long Jumper:
Austin Howard

10th Graders:
Distance Runner:  Justin Corron
Girls 4 x 100 Team Sprinter:  Sarah Davis
Shot Put Thrower and Girls 4 X 100 \
Team:  Ashley Dupuis

9th Grade: Shot Put Thrower:  Brian Borden
Long Jumper and 4 x 100 Team Sprinters: Fayra Santiago

7th Grade: Jumper and 4 x 100 Team Sprinter:
Miranda Matthews

SIGN STAGE production of Winnie The Pooh

Submitted by Cathy Lee and Theresa Matt

On April 7th, the Little Listener’s classes ventured out to Hamilton, NY to experience a production of a story book classic, Winnie The Pooh- Eeyore’s Birthday. The play was signed and spoken simultaneously by actors. Some of the actors were deaf or hard of hearing as well as hearing. The theater provided a sound field system for optimal acoustics and the children loved the interaction between the characters and themselves. At the end, students got to meet the actors and go on stage and behind the scenes. For some of the students, this was their first experience with live theater! The children really enjoyed the show and are looking forward to upcoming performances.


Submitted by Darlene Martin

My class has been learning to use old things for recycling like: plastic bottles, cans, glass containers, tissues, leather belts, jewelry, cereal boxes, old toys, and old clothes.  Skippy knows how to recycle things.  We are learning how to use old things.

Notes from the NYSSD Music Department

Submitted by Justin Corron, Sarah Davis, Jamel Edwards, & Austin Howard

This year, our NYSSD Handbell Choir, Sign Choir, and Band did many performances for our school and our community.    We traveled to Utica and participated in a walk supporting awareness of the many community services available for those in need. One place we stopped was Hope House, a place where local people can go to get a free lunch and dinner. (We had volunteered at Hope House during our Summer Enrichment Program a few years earlier, painting the wheelchair ramp and cleaning the dining areas.)  In addition to performing handbell selections on the porch of Hope House, we played as we were walking along the streets of Utica.  Maybe we are the first marching handbell choir!

NYSSD Dancers traveled to Old Forge where we presented two dance selections and signed songs as part of a regional arts festival.  It was fun preparing for this and sharing our talents with a whole new audience.

In October, we performed for staff and guests at the Defense Financial Accounting Services (DFAS) unit in the Griffiss Business Park as part of their “Talent Has No Boundaries” presentation.  Our hosts must have enjoyed our presentation as we recently received an invitation to perform at DFAS again next September as part of their Deaf Awareness Week celebration!

In December, we performed at three area nursing homes.  We used money that we had earned selling calendars to pay a bus driver to transport us from nursing home to nursing home so we could do our volunteer work.  The nursing home residents enjoyed some great holiday music.  For many, it was the first time they’d heard deaf and hard-of-hearing children playing music. We were amazed when some of the residents started singing along with our songs!  They seemed to know all the words to our carols. We taught them the signs to Silent Night; many people tried signing along with us. We even noticed that some of the people in the audience were crying.  The men and women living there told us they really liked our music (even if it did make them cry!).

We were honored to be invited to perform at the NY State Education Department in Albany as part of their department-wide holiday party.  We entertained guests in a large auditorium in the massive and beautiful State Education building.  Members of the audience signed and sang along with us as we helped everyone get in to the holiday spirit. When we finished our performance, the audience gave us a standing ovation!  We even met the Commission of Education, Mr. David Steiner!

On what turned into a snowy and blowy night late December, we performed a variety of Christmas selections at Sangertown Square Shopping Center in support of the Salvation Army Red Kettle fund-raiser.  Many people took a break from their Christmas and Hanukkah shopping to stop and listen to our music.  They all enjoyed it a lot and asked us questions about how we could play so well. Two mall officers then came over and asked Vicky (our music teacher) if we had a permit to perform at the mall. Vicky told them we were performing in support of the Salvation Army and not for ourselves!

We had a great and enjoyable time performing and volunteering for the Salvation Army at the Sangertown Mall and would like to thank Mrs. Poland for volunteering to drive us through all that snow!

We all enjoyed ourselves showing the hearing that deaf and hard-of-hearing kids can perform even when they can’t even hear anything or hear some sounds. We performed in many different places in New York State. We performed at the State Education Department in Albany, NY, Mall in New Hartford and played in many nursing homes where the old and sick live to be cared for and loved.

Our NYSSD Handbell Choir, Sign Choir, and Band performed at the Darien Lake Music Festival in 2004 and 2008. We showed the audience and adjudicators (judges) some great music and came home with three trophies! Some of us performed on clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, bass clarinet, and percussion. We have started planning and hope to perform at Darien Lake again in 2012.

College Email Buddies

Submitted by Vicky Stockton

This year we had email buddies at Utica College and Hamilton College.  Our writing partners were all studying sign language. It was fun writing to our buddies and receiving mail from them in return.  We visited Utica College and Hamilton College in the fall and in the spring. Our buddies were very nice; they learned a lot of sign language in one year!

We had a great time writing to our buddies, visiting with our buddies, and eating in the dining halls with our buddies!

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: September 2, 2011-->