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The Bennett instrumental music department celebrated “Music in our Schools Month” this past March by raising more than $1565 for local food pantries.  Twenty one students from the 4th-6th grade band and orchestra kept logs of their practice time for the month of March.  They obtained sponsors for each minute that they practiced and collected the donations at the end of the month.   The money collected was divided between three local food pantries that serve our school community:  Family of Woodstock; the Phoenicia Food Pantry; and the food pantry located at the Olive Bridge United Methodist


The Spinning Wheel: 

  • 34 years teaching K-12 Physical Education ( taught in every building in the district )
  • 34 years of coaching….( Field Hockey, Basketball, Softball and Track.)

Fondest Teaching Memory:  The most classic memory I will never forget actually happened during an observation.  I had a class of first graders sitting in a circle in the middle of the gym.  I was quizzing the students on the rules in physical education class.  I called it the “ do’s and don’ts” of PE.  Each student raised their hand and offered some great answers.  Then one young man with the biggest smile on his face


Throughout March, students in my 7th grade Introduction to Foreign Languages classes participated in a French Food Service Project, made possible by an OTA mini grant. Students researched recipes from French-speaking countries and then prepared a dish for the class to enjoy. Each class voted on the best dish, based on its taste and ability to serve a group of forty people. Christine Downs, OCS School Lunch Manager, visited both classes and taught students how to convert a recipe for four into one that would serve forty. Victoria Langling, Co-Founder & Director of the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen


After many years at Onteora, it's time for me to retire.  I would like to thank the children, families and my colleagues for teaching me a few key lessons:

  • that Respect is the key ingredient in any successful school community;
  • that children are first and foremost, members of families;
  • that attending school is as much about young people establishing and maintaining healthy relationships as it is about academics; 
  • that the students of today are the taxpayers of tomorrow and we will rely on them to be competent citizens; 
  • that every child deserves to be taught in the way that he or she learns, to the

Congratulations to retiring music teacher David Laks, who was inducted into New York State's Blues Hall of Fame on June 1st!  Check out his slamin' jamin' retirment party photos on the "News/Photos" drop down menu above.

Retirement Spotlight:

The Spinning Wheel:  1985-present:  Music Teacher (all schools); I’ve taught in the Onteora District for 29 years (30 years of teaching, total)

Fondest Teaching Memory:  A school concert incorporating Band/Chorus/and Guitar Hero all performing together.  It was amazing!

Biggest Teaching Debacle: When my pants fell off while reaching up to put a speaker on a


OTA Mini Grant supports HS Science Fair


Thank you to the OTA for generously contributing raffle prizes at the Onteora Middle School Science Fair, last November. All students who attended the fair were eligible to win. Prizes included balancing birds, gyroscopes, buzzing magnets, grow snow, and Mentos geyser tubes. The students worked hard to create original and interesting science fair experiments about a wide variety of topics. ~ Alyssa Babcock