February Fallsburg CSD news

Fallsburg provides housing for bluebirds of happiness

Bejamin Cosor Elementary sixth graders Nicholas Muscia and Kayalah Brewster work together to assemble bluebird houses.

As part of the collabo­ration between Fallsburg Central School District (FCSD) and Cornell Coop­erative Extension (CCE) in Liberty, sixth graders at Benjamin Cosor Elemen­tary School (BCES) as­sembled bluebird houses for the BCES Trail behind the school building. The bluebird is the state bird of New York State and in need of nesting cavities. Aggressive species such as house sparrows and starlings have been taking over nesting places. The openings in the assembled birdhouses are suitable only for bluebirds.

CCE’s SueAnn Boyd arranged for Brian Brust­man, who is the District Manager for Sullivan County Soil & Water Con­servation District, to pro­vide materials for twenty-four nesting boxes. An experienced carpenter and environmentalist, Mr. Brustman and CCE were pleased to donate the ma­terials, labor and time to work with the children.

On January 12, second grade teacher Ms. Leah Exner welcomed Mrs. Boyd and Mr. Brustman to Mrs. Dawn McCarthy’s classroom and twenty ea­ger students. Ms. Exner administers the Sullivan Renaissance Healthy Ini­tiatives Grant that sup­ports the Trail project. The grant paid for most of the hammers and screwdrivers on hand.

Mr. Brustman and Mrs. Boyd began step by step details of assembling six pieces of pine, with pre-drilled screw holes and nail locations. They had spent many hours to get the houses ready for the children. Mr. Brustman called on a student to come up front with him to dem­onstrate the steps. Interestingly, he chose Nicholas Co­lombo, whose father owns a woodwork­ing/carpentry shop! Nicholas finished his model easily, and he traveled around the room enthusiastically assisting his class­mates.

Nicholas Colombo puts the last nail into his finished bluebird house.

The classroom was atwitter with activi­ty—a veritable San­ta’s Workshop with twenty elves busy at five tables. The adults in the room were moving from table to table to offer guidance and support, in­cluding using screw guns to help fasten the sides of the houses. Even Princi­pal Mary Kate Stinehour joined in. The teamwork and good energy was won­derful to witness, each child holding pieces of wood for their tablemates and encouraging each oth­er. At the end of the hour, all nesting boxes were complete and ready to re­ceive student names.

In a few weeks the houses will line the BCES Trail. The nesting boxes and the newly opened trail are the perfect prescrip­tion to help the bluebird survive and thrive. Each spring they and their off­spring will return to BCES just as the students, their siblings and their children will do as well. As Ms. Exner says, “We are so thankful to have resourc­es such as these to guide the students of the district through hands-on projects that will enhance the trail and help the creatures of the environment at the same time!”

Fallsburg seventh graders hear sobering message at DARE graduation

With all the tempta­tions and challenges of underage drinking and the prevalence of opioids ranging from pain killers to heroin facing teenag­ers today, Fallsburg Jr/Sr High School is committed to supporting its students in making good decisions. An important part of that effort is providing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Real Refusal Strategy Program to all seventh graders, considered one of the most vulnerable age groups in our society.

Last December, Falls­burg Jr/Sr High School Resource Officer (SRO) Jason Edwards awarded the entire class certificates of completion of this valu­able program. The essen­tial parts of the ten-week training are contained in the acronym REALRE­FUSE is saying, “no, I don’t want to” do some­thing. EXPLAIN is say­ing “why” I don’t want to do something. AVOID is keeping away from a situ­ation I don’t want to be in­volved in. LEAVE is tak­ing me out of a situation I don’t want to be in.

On hand for the cer­emony were FCSD Su­perintendent Dr. Ivan Katz, Junior/Senior High School Principal Michael Williams and Officer Scott Jordy.

“You will be faced with making decisions on chal­lenging issues throughout your lives,” the Superin­tendent said. “I am proud of you for learning how to make them in the DARE Program.”

At the seventh grade DARE graduation were, left to right, School Resource Officer from the Town of Fallsburg Police Department, FPD Officer Scott Jordy, FCSD Superintendent Dr. Ivan Katz and FJSHS Principal Michael Williams.

When Principal Wil­liams spoke, he held the audience’s undivided at­tention with a personally moving story of the disas­trous effect poor judgment and bad decision-making can have on young people of their age and not much older. He concluded with these words: “In an in­stant, you can make a bad choice and pay a very big price that will impact your life for a long time.”

The story had a dramatic impact on the audience, putting a whole new face on the training the stu­dents had just completed. SRO Edwards and Officer Jordy handed out the cer­tificates to a very somber group of young people, with Principal Williams having taught them a pro­found life lesson through the prism of his own expe­rience.