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All students in the NSCSD will take part in remote instruction through Friday, January 15. Hybrid instruction will resume on Tuesday, January 19.

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NSCSD Shining Stars

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unexpected challenges to both teaching and learning but we know that many of our students and teachers are thriving in this environment. We also know other staff are going above and beyond to keep students and families safe and informed.

We'd love to hear (and share) the inspirational stories you have so we can keep the positive vibes going. If you'd like to recognize a North Syracuse Central School District student, employee or even a volunteer, please complete a short online form giving us some basic information.

Click here to "nominate" a Shining Star!







 
January 15 Shining Star: KWS Bear Road Elementary School Teacher, Janelle Jacobson
 
This week’s Shining Star is Janelle Jacobson, a kindergarten teacher at Karl W. Saile Bear Road Elementary School. 

One of Janelle’s favorite quotes, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” by American author John C. Maxwell, motivates her to always teach with kindness and compassion. Ms. Jacobson has been teaching in the North Syracuse Central School District for the past four years and at Bear Road Elementary for three of those years. In her short time at that school though Janelle has already had an impact. 

Janelle was nominated for Shining Star recognition by Leana Hartzig, the parent of one of Blake Okun, a current student, whose brother Benjamin had her as a teacher last year. “My oldest son had her for kindergarten last year and loved her. After the school closures she went above and beyond to stay connected to the kids. She made surprise visits to the kids, with parent consent of course and found little ways to show them she cared even from far away,” Leana wrote. 

Janelle admits that teaching during COVID-19 has presented some unique obstacles. “The biggest challenge has been trying to continue to create relationships with my students/families through Zoom being a remote only teacher,” she said.

While Janelle admits to the challenge, Leana feels that she has succeeded in meeting her goals and said, “She has done an amazing job providing materials, keeping schedules up to date, informing parents of plans and has even put together crafts for the kids to do this holiday season that they would normally do in school.” Leana continued, “Both of my boys love her and I am so grateful for her during this stressful and crazy year.”

Janelle says that her favorite thing about teaching is watching a student have a “light bulb” moment when they accomplish a task they have been working hard on. She is grateful for the relationships she is able to create with her and their families and also for the technology that makes it possible to stay connected when they’re not together. “My biggest accomplishment during the pandemic has been learning all the new technology I can use to continue to teach my students,” Janelle said.

John Cole, the KWS Bear Road Elementary School Principal is happy to have Janelle on his staff. He said, “Janelle is a joy to work with. She builds strong relationships with all her students and families. Her dedication to her grade level, our building staff and community is apparent to everyone she interacts with. We are lucky she chose to call KWS BRE her work home!”

Congratulations Janelle and thank you for the connections you are making!
 

 
January 8 Shining Star: Gillette Road Middle School Teacher, Domenic Liccione
 
This week’s Shining Star is Domenic Liccione, currently a band teacher, who has also been the chorus and classroom music teacher at Gillette Road Middle School. In addition to teaching, Mr. Liccione has been directing the school’s musical productions for the past two decades.

Mr. Liccione has a passion for teaching and music and he shares that appreciation with his students. In her nomination for the instructor, Amanda Coyle, the mom of four of Liccione’s current and former students, wrote, “He inspires my children (and so many others) to appreciate music and aspire to be great musicians.”

Now in his 24th year teaching in the North Syracuse Central School District, Mr. Liccione appreciates that students have varying degrees of musical interest. “My favorite thing about teaching is the relationships you build with the students and helping them meet their goals. Not every student will major in music, but I want them to achieve and enjoy their time playing their instrument as much as possible,” he said. “We have had many outstanding musicians come through Gillette and a number who are playing out nationally.” 

Because of the pandemic and schools being forced to go partially remote, this school year has presented many challenges for teachers and students. “Our house was considering not continuing with instruments this year because of the hurdles of learning to play remotely. I am so glad that my children decided to give it a try,” said Amanda Coyle. “The 30 minutes [they] spend on
Domenic Liccione, a Music Teacher at Gillette Road
Middle School, takes a moment to pose with Riley,
one of his former students, after a production of
"Beauty and the Beast" during the 2016-2017 school year.
Liccione has been directing Gillette Road Middle
School's musical productions since 2001. 
zoom music lessons with Mr. Liccione is the highlight of their week. Mr. Liccione is engaging and shows an interest in all the children.”

Donna Marie Norton, the administrator who oversees the NSCSD music program, agrees with Coyle’s nomination. She said, “Mr. Liccione is both a passionate teacher and musician.  He is able to connect with his students and inspire in them a love of music.  He has a fantastic sense of humor, dedicates countless hours to his students and school and models a positive attitude for his colleagues. He is certainly a Shining Star within our staff!”


Congratulations Domenic Liccione and thank you for inspiring all students!
 
 

 
December 18 Shining Star: Cicero Elementary School Teacher, Ashley Stevens
 
 
Ashley Stevens, an English as a New Language Teacher at Cicero Elementary School, works hard to make connections with her students. She is pictured dressed as a snowman as part of the school's hat day. 
This week’s Shining Star is Ashley Stevens, an English as a New Language (ENL) Teacher at Cicero Elementary School. Ashley is being recognized for her efforts to provide exceptional instruction for her English Language Learners (ELLs).

Ashley was nominated by her fellow ENL teacher, Beth Foxenberg, who says that Ashley works diligently to provide instruction in English throughout the academic day to her students. 

Cicero Elementary School Principal Kathy Wheeler agrees that Ashley has been a valuable asset for her students. She said, “She has worked hard to serve our English Language Learners in new ways and to ensure they continue learning under these difficult conditions. I appreciate her love of our ELLs and her work to keep them learning and growing!”

As an alum of the NSCSD, Ashley is proud to be working in this area. “This is my eighth year of teaching, but only my third year in this district and I am proud to teach in the community that shaped me into the person I am today. My goal for all my ELLs is to become proficient in the English language, as well as being comfortable and confident in their school environment,” she said.

In her nomination for Ashley, Beth praised her colleague for utilizing family connections to help her students. Beth said, “Mrs. Stevens finds innovative ways to ensure she is communicating with students and parents while collaborating with her peers instructionally. Students enjoy coming into the ENL room to learn how to communicate in English!”

Ashley set the goal of having all “ELLs become proficient in the English language, and comfortable and confident in their school environment” and is willing to employ creative ways of connecting with her students. She shared the photo of herself dressed as a snowman for Cicero Elementary School’s hat day.  

David Lunden, the North Syracuse Central School District’s Director of Instructional Leadership, who oversees the ENL program and teachers also praised Ashley for her relationship-building skills. “Ashley continually shows passion and advocacy for the needs of our English Language Learners while contributing to the team’s growth as a whole. The relationships she develops with our classroom teachers to support and work alongside them has always caught my attention,” he said. “Her ability to establish strong, authentic, and caring relationships with the students, their families, and her colleagues is what makes her shine even brighter – great job Ashley!”
 
 
   

 
December 11 Shining Star: North Syracuse Junior High School Teacher, Tim Krueger
 
 
This week’s Shining Star is Timothy Krueger, a social studies teacher at North Syracuse Junior High School. Tim has been teaching at the junior high for 17 years and has repeatedly been recognized as a positive influence on his students. 

He was nominated as a Shining Star by the parent of one of his current students, Juliana Carter. Juliana’s mom, Lisa-Marie Carter praised Mr. Krueger for his efforts to connect with students. She said, “Mr. Krueger has been amazing since school started. He has truly found a balance between instruction and SEL. He has been incredibly positive and flexible with students while also maintaining high expectations.”

As a long-time educator herself, Mrs. Carter has a special appreciation for Mr. Krueger’s methods. She said, “His approach is contagious and his positive energy seeps into his interactions, email messages and Google Classroom activities. Instructionally, materials are easy to find and lessons are clear and relevant.” 

To demonstrate her point, Lisa-Marie included a screen shot of a communication between her daughter and Mr. Krueger and said, “Messages like the one attached make a world of difference for kids; thank you so much for everything!”
 

When he learned that he had been nominated for recognition, Mr. Krueger was humbled and a bit uncomfortable about being singled out. He acknowledged the complexities of teaching and learning this year by saying, “We are all struggling in our own way with this new attempt at education and doing the best we can. If I am feeling overwhelmed, then how are my students handling it?  One day at a time, one assignment at a time, and somewhere in there let’s try to connect and encourage.  If a couple words of feedback can make a kid laugh or give them some confidence then I’m all in.”

North Syracuse Junior High School Building Principal, Constance Turose reacted to the news about Mr. Krueger without surprise. She said, “Mr. Krueger is one of those teachers that as a parent you would want your child to have. He is personable, funny, makes connections to kids, and knows his curriculum. He relates well to everyone – staff, students and parents. We are very happy and proud to have him as a junior high school teacher.”

Congratulations Mr. Krueger and thank you for providing exceptional educational experiences for your students!

Mr Krueger, who says one of his favorite things about teaching is that he gets to have "sometimes hilarious and sometimes deep conversations with students" because he enjoys sharing laughter, is pictured above in a silly selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. In the second photo, he is pictured with one of his former students, Jessica Cook, at her Varsity Girls' Basketball Teacher Appreciation ceremony. 
 

Pictured to the left is a screen shot of of a communication between Mr. Krueger and one of his students. 
 

 
December 4 Shining Star: Cicero-North Syracuse High School Teacher, Danielle Rausa
 
 
Danielle is pictured above at the C-NS Class of 2020 Graduation ceremony, getting student approval after
having taken a requested selfie with the new
high school grad!
Not only did this week's Shining Star selection, Danielle Rausa, receive TWO nominations from her students, we also recently received an announcement that she was nominated as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction! 

The words of praise from her students include the following: 

"She makes me want to come to school and see her because she’s very bright and happy and one of the funniest teachers I’ve ever had." - Chanel Syrell

"Mrs Rausa is outstanding. She has Zoom meeting everyday we would have class so we can have our class with our classmates. I am 100% remote and being able to see my her every other day really helps. She is always there for me and helps me in anyway I need. It really makes a difference seeing her each day. Knowing I get to is something I look forward to. Mrs Rausa is the most amazing teacher and helps her students anyway they need it. She deserves to be recognized." - Emma Peters

Congratulations Danielle and thank you for inspiring your students!
 

 

 

 
November 20 Shining Star: Lakeshore Road Elementary School Teacher, Ginell Iversen
 
 
Dorian Armstrong has been a student in the North Syracuse Central School District since kindergarten, but this year, as a third grader, he began at a new school. As a KWS Bear Road Elementary School student, Dorian was among the group of students relocated to Lakeshore Road Elementary School for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Dorian's father, Jason Armstrong, was nervous about his son going to a new school in the middle of a pandemic but said, "He really has had a nice transition considering he had to transfer from KWS Bear Rd. due to renovations and is only hybrid due to the COVID-19 pandemic." 

Mr. Armstrong credit's Dorian's classroom teacher, Ginell Iversen, for making the transition easier. "I appreciate her for building a positive climate and culture in her class and making my son feel the joy of being in school in such a difficult time," he said.

"Dorian is sharing more about school than he has in the past. He is excited to attend, motivated to learn and he says he really likes his teacher and his class this year," Armstrong added. "Thank you Ms. Iversen!"

When she learned about being nominated as a shining star, Ms. Iversen said, "I'm so grateful to be part of the Lakeshore Team. I do my best to make sure my students feel loved, no matter what."

Like Dorian, Ms. Iversen is also new to Lakeshore Road Elementary School. Tina Chmielewski, Lakeshore's Principal said, "Miss Iversen joined our Lakeshore family this year. Just a few weeks before school started she was moved from first grade at KWS Bear Road Elementary to third grade at Lakeshore Road.  A new grade level and a new school!  Ms Iversen has adapted very well.  She takes on every challenge with a smile, is a team player, eager to learn, and is the kind of teacher that will do whatever it takes to support her students!  Congratulations Ms. Iversen!" 

In the top photo, Miss Iversen prepares for a day at school with a positive attitude and a friendly smile for her students.

Bottom photo: Dorian Armstrong is pictured at home getting ready to head to Lakeshore Road Elementary School for a day of instruction with Ms. Iversen. 

 
 

 
November 13 Shining Star: North Syracuse Junior High School Student/Family
 
 
This week, we are proud to recognize our first STUDENT Shining Star and her family.
Nominated by North Syracuse Junior High School teacher, Maria Carozza, and teaching assistant, Rachelle Brown, is 8th grade student Hannah Dillabough.

Hannah is a fully remote student who, with the tremendous support of her grandmother, Lori Harrington, consistently livestreams into her classroom at North Syracuse Junior High School.

Maria and Rachelle report that Hannah has not missed a day of school and regularly completes all work. They are impressed with the way Hannah navigates all assignments from her special area classes with assistance from her grandmother, who Hannah affectionately calls "Nana."

'Nana' Harrington is busy remote teaching three grandchildren and babysitting a fourth grandchild who just turned five.

Maria said, "Mrs. Harrington is always patient and supportive and is learning to navigate the various technology platforms for all of her grandchildren. This is truly an amazing family that deserves recognition!"

Congratulations to Hannah and her wonderful family. Many thanks to Maria and Rachelle for taking the time to recognize the outstanding efforts! 

Maria Carozza explains the photos submitted as follows: 

In the top photo, Aaron B. is on the left and Nick G. is on the right. This picture was taken as our beginning of the year 'class family' photo. Distance can't prevent us from being together. It is doubly fitting as Hannah is wearing a sweatshirt with the Be Kind message that is said everyday on our closing announcements. This was not planned.
 
In the second photo Hannah is on Nick's Chromebook, so she can be mobile and join us in our kitchen to help us cook!  She reads recipes and 'directs' the boys!  Hannah also gets to eat the fruits of our labor, as I drop off what was made on Wednesday and Friday to her so she doesn't miss out!

 
 
 
 
   

 
November 6 Shining Stars: Roxboro Road Middle School Physical Education Staff
 
The North Syracuse Central School District is excited to have received our first NSCSD Shining Star Shout-out! Roxboro Road Middle School Associate Principal, Ashley Carducci, wants to recognize the Physical Education (PE) staff at that school for the great work they are doing focusing on SEL (social emotional learning) in conjunction with their normal instruction. 

The school's PE staff, (pictured from left to right) Jill Millias, Jon June, Kim Lucia, and Curtis Merrick (not pictured), have spent time with students talking about remaining thankful through adversity. Students are encouraged to complete gratitude slips, which are then posted on the PE hallway windows as a reminder to others. 

Ms. Carducci was impressed with the trio's positivity when visiting their classroom recently. She said, "They are working together and remaining flexible despite the conditions this year. They're staying positive and optimistic and that attitude is appreciated!"