116 Volney St.
Phoenix, NY 13135
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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

MAM students awarded for dedication to physical education

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School were recently awarded the Golden Sneaker Award for continually improving their cardiovascular endurance during physical education class.

According to physical education teacher Alice Benjamin, the awards recognition is part of the Pinnie of Pride program, which is designed to get students’ hearts pumping and their competitive spirits flowing during the beginning of class.

The Golden Sneaker Award was for the second quarter of the school year was presented to Aimee Brooker’s class, Joelle Hendry’s class and Renee Acuff’s class.

Pictured from left, students EriK LaMay, Mackenzie Chetney,Grayson Trinca,
Nicholas Cleary, Peyton Aller and Arlin Russo proudly accept the awards.

Board approves next year's school calendar

The Phoenix Central School District Board of Education recently approved the instructional calendar for next year. For your convenience, we have uploaded the calendar file so you may review key dates such as testing, the first day of school, staff development days and recess days.

> 2015-2016 calendar [pdf]

JCB students usher in spring with upbeat concert

After a long, dreary winter, Phoenix student musicians ushered in the spring season with an upbeat concert featuring several solo performances that brought the crowd to its feet.

The John C. Birdlebough High School symphonic band, under the direction of Joanna Young, kicked things off with four songs that delighted the audience. Student musicians played “Earth and Sky,” “Wind,” and “Sun Cycles,” before concluding with “On Cloud Nine!” -- a fast-paced, energetic song that set the tone for the wind ensemble’s performance to cap off the evening.

Members of the wind ensemble played the part and even dressed the part during the song “Mambo Greats.” The playful rendition featured soloists Brian Breen (flute); Wyatt Parker (xylophone); Rachel Isbell (clarinet); and Jacob Nicolini (trumpet). Some students wore sombreros, sunglasses and ponchos as they played the upbeat song.

In addition to the evening of music, wind ensemble director Dave Frateschi also recognized two students who participated in the All-County Orchestra Festival in March. He presented Mattingly Gleason and Rachel Isbell with certificates honoring them for their achievement.

  1. The JCB wind ensemble plays and dresses the part during a medley of mambo songs at the spring concert.

Summer Robotics Opportunity

Click here to download a brochure on a free summer robotics opportunity!

Phoenix freshmen showcase research on climate change

Climate change was in the spotlight recently as nearly two dozen Phoenix high school freshmen showcased their research during an annual symposium.

The event, held at John C. Birdlebough High School, highlighted students’ scientific findings regarding global warming. Each student in Susan Sharp’s ninth-grade earth science honors course created a trifold display and presented their research to a panel of judges.

“The symposium and presentation are requirements for the class, and the students put a lot of work into their projects,” Sharp said.

That hard work translated into accolades for several of the students. Gold medals were presented to Alisa Trudell, Julie Yates, Catherine Musumeci and Haley Stellingwerf for exhibiting exceptional quality and superior effort. Taking home silver medals were Zoe Heckert, Gabrielle Crandall, Morgan Gravlin and Emily McDonald. Bronze medalists included Alexis Smith, Ben Vienneau, Jordan Cole and Lauren Schmidt.

In addition to the first, second and third-place medals, three special awards were handed out to students who excelled in different aspects of the project. The Principal’s Award went to Catherine Musumeci for all-out effort, presentation and best of show. Hannah Grabowski earned the Scientific Method Award, which recognized her for science literacy, strong knowledge and use of the scientific method; and Zoe Heckert rounded out the winners by gaining the public’s vote for best poster.

While some students took home awards, all walked away with a greater understanding and appreciation for the planet, Sharp noted. She said that the students must realize they are the future caretakers of our planet.

“Climate change is a major issue that kids need to know about for the future,” Sharp said. “The symposium allows them to examine, study and learn how things happen, why things happen. They are really learning what science is all about.”

  1. John C. Birdlebough earth science honors students gather for a group photo after presenting their research findings on climate change during a recent symposium.

Behind-the-scenes work translates into on-stage success at JCB

When the John C. Birdlebough High School Drama Club recently presented “Guys and Dolls,” the successful performance was the culminating act after months of hard work.

According to Brian Logee, the director of the musical, countless students, staff members and volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes leading up to the actual show. However, when the curtains open for the debut performance, all that effort pays off, and this year’s show was no exception.

“The performance is always exceptional, but the work that goes into the production is what makes the show a success,” Logee said. “Usually when people come to see a musical they sit down and are entertained for two-and-one-half hours without understanding all the pieces that came together to make it happen.”

Some of the different components include selecting the play, choosing a cast, learning music and choreography, building the set, developing the props, making costumes, determining lighting schemes, doing sound checks and dozens of other behind-the-scenes tasks.

“All of these different elements come together and the audience sees a seamless production, and that’s all we can ask for,” Logee said.

For the student actors, the constant rehearsals and the workload can be daunting. Lead actors Ben Bulgrien and Sarah Hoag noted that like many of the other drama club members, they are involved in several extracurricular activities and it can be challenging to find time to juggle everything.

“It’s really hard to find a balance between sports, school, the musical and everything else,” Hoag said. “In the weeks leading up to the play I would find myself immersed in my character. I would think, ‘what would Adelaide do in this situation.’ It’s a major commitment.”

Bulgrien echoed Hoag’s sentiments and said the hard work is worth its weight in gold when the show brings the audience to its feet.

“It’s a load of fun, a lot of hard work and you’re surrounded by the best people,” Bulgrien said. “Everyone in drama club is so supportive and encouraging and we spend so much time together, it really is like a family.”

John C. Birdlebough High School students take the stage for their recent “Guys and Dolls” performance.

JCB students earn recognition for academics, character

Nearly five dozen John C. Birdlebough High School students were recently in the spotlight for exhibiting academic excellence, work ethic, effort and discipline during the second marking period.

According to JCB Principal Greg Molloy, who presented the awards, the honorees each displayed qualities and character traits that had a positive impact on students and staff alike. To be considered for the honor, students had to be nominated by a teacher, classmate or staff member for exhibiting one of the characteristics cited in the school’s mission statement. 

“The mission of JCB is to graduate students who have positive self-images and are open-minded, informed, responsible, productive members of society who are able to make intelligent choices,” Molloy said. “Congratulations for meeting these elements of the mission statement.”

Each award recipient received a certificate and a coupon for a free ice cream from the school cafeteria.

In addition to the 59 Blaze Awards presented during the ceremony, Molloy also announced the top two students for the JCB Class of 2015. After four years of studying, hard work and discipline, Olivia Uttamsingh earned the title of valedictorian with an overall average of 106.197. Senior Ashley Centner, who posted an average of 102.68, was named the class salutatorian.

“You are going places,” Molloy said as he presented the top two students with their awards. “You’re all going places. I’m so proud. You all have shown tremendous character and that you are role models to your peers. Keep up the great work.”

Following a recent awards ceremony, JCB Principal Greg Molloy gathers for a photo with Class of 2015 salutatorian Ashley Centner, valedictorian Olivia Uttamsingh and Phoenix Central School District Superintendent Judy Belfield.

Dillon Students Excel at Music

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School seventh and eighth grade students wowed the audience at their combined band and chorus concert.

The seventh grade band performed “Alpine Adventure” by Michael Oare, “The Lightning Spirit” by Roland Barrett and “Trumpets Rock” by Chris Sharp, with drum soloist Ethan Remington.

The combined seventh and eighth grade chorus sang “Come to Me, O My Love” by Allan Robert Petker, “Annie Laurie” by Earlene Rentz and “Furaha” by Sally K. Albrecht.

Lastly, the eighth grade band played “Photo Finish” by James Swearingen, “Flash In The Pan” by Richard Saucedo and “New Era Fanfare” by Randall D. Standridge.

Directors James DeMauro (band) and Shirley Kelly (chorus) expressed their pride in the students’ performances and all of their hard work this year.

The Phoenix Central School District is once again on the list for Best Communities for Music Education for 2015 as determined by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM Foundation). “The program singles out districts for outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders to make music education accessible to all students,” (www.nammfoundation.org).

 EJD seventh grade band member playing the saxophone during the song “Trumpets Rock” by Chris Sharp.  EJD seventh and eighth grade chorus at their spring concert.

Press Release

Today, a letter should have come home with your son or daughter.  Below is the information contained in the letter:

I would like to make you aware of a serious incident that compromised the safety of our students this past week. A substitute teacher who worked for Phoenix CSD and Westhill CSD was arrested and accused of sexting a student.

As soon as the incidence was brought to our attention, we investigated the circumstances and ensured that the employee was not in a position to place our students in danger again.

The Phoenix Central School District has an excellent staff that places the safety of our students as a number one priority. Before considering people for employment with our district, all potential candidates go through an interview, reference check and criminal background check. Our staff is trained annually on New York State educational laws.

It deeply saddens me when we entrust our students to an employee who makes errors in judgment, which then place our students’ safety in jeopardy.

I greatly appreciate the people who brought this situation to our attention in a timely manner.

If you have any additional information that you know would be of benefit to this police investigation, please contact my office or Mr. William Casey at the NYS Police, (315) 366-6000.


Judy Belfield
Superintendent of Schools

Press Release

As you are aware, a per diem substitute teacher employed by the Phoenix Central School District in the past on an intermittent basis was arrested by the New York State Police earlier this morning. The substitute is no longer working at the Phoenix Central School District.

At this time, given that this matter involves criminal proceedings to determine the individual’s innocence or guilt with respect to the charges he is accused of, the District makes no further or additional comments beyond this statement.