Churchville-Chili Central School District

Exceptional teaching recognized

Fairbanks Road Elementary School student Domenic Longwell kept seeing other area teachers honored on television with News 8 WROC’s Golden Apple Award, said his mother Jen Longwell. “He thought his second-grade teacher was the best and deserved recognition, too. He didn’t let it go—he was absolutely determined to nominate her for the award.” Last November, Domenic joined his mom and the crew from WROC in a surprise visit to Kelly Bellamy’s classroom to present her with the Golden Apple Award.

When asked what makes his favorite teacher so special, Domenic said, “Everything.” He explained that Bellamy likes to sing and helps lighten the mood around test times with jokes and funny songs. “She would just be the best teacher probably ever in the world.”

“I love what I do every day,” said Bellamy. “I love kids, I love people, I love making a difference. Every single kid needs a cheerleader in their life, and if that’s me and they can take that with them, it makes it worth it to me.” [Caption: Golden Apple Award recipient Kelly Bellamy thanks student Domenic Longwell.]

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    Studying animal adaptations and life cycles has never been as challenging, or as fun, as it was for second-graders at Fairbanks Road Elementary School.

    Students were visited by an expert from the Department of Environmental Conservation, took a virtual fieldtrip to Yellowstone National Park and spoke with a park ranger. They asked questions, researched, created natural environments in the halls, and presented their findings and conclusions on several regional animal species, including black bears, foxes, beavers and caribou.

    The immersive educational experience is part of the district’s Project Based Learning (PBL) philosophy. Students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate an authentic, engaging and complex question. Projects combine a variety of educational disciplines, from math and science to reading, writing and art. 

  • Student-led recognition of Black History Month Continue Reading »

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    The school’s annual Black History Month was very different this year. The 13 student members of the district’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) committee were empowered to plan and coordinate the many daily events. They decided to focus on the people, music and events, from the 1950s through today, which changed American culture. They researched influential African Americans from the Rochester area and shared their stories, along with important musical selections, with the student body every week. They also tabulated results from an earlier DASA Survey on Race and Culture, which were presented during a final school-wide assembly. 

    The assembly’s guest speaker was Rochester Police Department Officer Moses Robinson. Committee members invited him to talk about becoming “the change you want to see.” Following Robinson’s presentation, a fashion show highlighting the influence black culture has had on fashion since the 1950s took the stage. Local designer Sheila Vaughn coordinated the show and selected the outfits for each decade.

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    This is the third year Churchville-Chili has fielded a Unified Basketball team, and enthusiasm continues to grow. More than 30 C-C students participated in last year’s program: a mix of athletes with disabilities, supportive partners and student advocates.

    “All barriers come down on the court. You can no longer tell who has disabilities and who doesn’t. It just destroys any stereotype of ‘being disabled,’” said supportive partner Rebecca Czolgosz.

    “No matter how stressful the day, it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you are involved with Unified,” said partner Dana Damiani. “We’re all just as happy, no matter who wins. The athletes have such great attitudes. I’ve learned so much from them.”

    Partner Kate Wilson said, “Other sports can be intense and stressful. Students and athletes sometimes focus on getting playing time or making the other team feel bad about losing. Here fans cheer for everyone, everyone is a winner.” Wilson has been so inspired by her experience with Unified that she plans to become a special education teacher. 

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    Students at Churchville-Chili High School take Red Ribbon Week seriously, but they still know how to have fun. School sports teams, student groups, health classes, teachers and hundreds of students decorated the halls with posters and wore red in support of the national Red Ribbon Campaign that promotes a drug-free life. 

    More than 440 students joined together for this photo to demonstrate their commitment to the goal by forming the letters YOLO: you only live once. 

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    Every morning around 7 a.m., a small group of seventh-and-eighth-graders gets to work producing Churchville-Chili Middle School’s video announcements. These early birds are members of the Video Club. Group members are learning all aspects of television broadcasting; acting in turn as journalist, director, camera operator, lighting and sound techs, video switcher, video editor or teleprompter operator.

    Students are creating dynamic digital graphics, planning and presenting the content, controlling the shoot and editing the video, with minimal guidance from an instructor. They have even produced short public service announcements written and performed by other classes. Students at the school are encouraged to try new things, and the Video Club has been a great success, allowing kids to explore their interests and investigate exciting career paths. 

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    Scientific method might seem a little advanced for first grade, but students at Churchville-Chili’s Chestnut Ridge School are up to the challenge. They proved it last fall when these young scientists carefully observed, explored and gathered information from dozens of brave little pumpkins that were offered up to the great cause of learning.

    Classes broke up into small groups, each guided by a volunteer parent or community member. Each group asked questions about their pumpkin—would it sink or float in water; what could they observe about it with their five senses; how many seeds were inside it. They each made initial hypotheses and then went through the process of experimentation to find answers. 

  • Exceling in sports, academics and character Continue Reading »

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    The latest in a long line of outstanding Churchville-Chili athletes received athletic scholarships this year to their chosen colleges. Cross Country/Track champion Anna Kostarellis is headed to Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Katie Cosgrove will join the lacrosse team at North Carolina’s Duke University. Nina Orlowski will play lacrosse for Le Moyne University in Syracuse, New York.

    They are great representatives for the balanced, supportive sports program at Churchville-Chili, where character is valued as highly as athletic ability. All are exceptional students and strong role models for their peers. Kostarellis has been a member of the Saints Varsity Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track and Field teams throughout high school. She currently holds or has broken 21 school records. A member of the school’s National Honor Society, she excels in academics as well as sports. Cosgrove is a four-time all-Monroe County first-team pick and repeat AGR selection for lacrosse, and is an outstanding soccer player. With 170 career goals and 229 career points, Cosgrove has an excellent chance to become the school’s all-time leader in both categories this spring. Lacrosse midfield defender Orlowski’s flexibility as a player has been key to the Saints’ success. Last year, Orlowski played multiple positions and exceled at all while doing whatever was best for her team. 

  • Community members get involved for kids Continue Reading »

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    Fifth-and-sixth-graders at Churchville-Chili Middle School are exploring educational and career areas they are interested in through the school’s Career Exploration Workshop series. Volunteer professionals from fields as diverse as Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Robotics, Electronics, Engineering, Theatre and Drama, GPS/GIS and drones and Public Safety have visited the classroom.

    Students can choose workshops on the topics they are most interested in. They meet experts from the community who share their time and offer first-hand insight and hands-on demonstrations. Community involvement has been outstanding, for this program and for many others in all the schools. This is just one example of neighbors making a difference every day in the lives and futures of our children.

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    Aided by volunteer sixth-grade gardeners from the Churchville-Chili Middle School, first-graders at Chestnut Ridge Elementary prepared themselves for a big role in the future of the district’s community garden. They learned about the importance of bees and pollination, and the older students taught them about vertical gardening and seed starting. Visiting community experts shared their knowledge about composting and the busy red worms that make the rich fertilizer to help plants grow. Then the elementary school students got started, setting up a vermicomposting system that will deliver much-needed nutrients to the district garden.

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    Winning at Churchville-Chili High School happens on and off the field of play. The school’s boys’ ice hockey team was recently named Winter 2015-16 Scholar-Athlete Team Champions by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA).

    Every season, the NYSPHSAA recognizes and honors teams that excel in the classroom. Churchville-Chili Saints team members maintained an impressive 96.66 average for the winter season. 

  • Stepping up to the Solar Challenge Continue Reading »

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