Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District

Rob Sanford, Instructional Technology Specialist: Mending the Digital Divide Between Generations

Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying that older people sit down and ask, ‘What is it? while the boy asks, ‘What can I do with it?’. 

In 2017, technology in any given form is more prominent than it has ever been in years past, but is there a digital divide between generations? Rob Sanford, HF-L’s new Instructional Technology Specialist, looks to close the gap.Sanford is starting his 13th year in the Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District only this year, he no longer reports to the same classroom every day. That is because Sanford has been named the new Instructional Technology Specialist for grades 6-12.

Sanford graduated from HF-L and went on to SUNY Geneseo to earn a degree in Elementary Special Education with a major in English and a Masters in literacy.“I have a love for technology, I always integrated technology into my lesson plans,” said Sanford.

The position of Instructional Technology Specialist was created due to a growing need in HF-L for technology support on the instructional side. Some of the duties and responsibilities of the Instructional Technology Specialist include: providing coaching for staff on various pedagogical methods for using technology to support instructional goals; assisting staff in selecting the best technologies to use to meet instructional needs of students; providing feedback to individual teachers on their efforts to implement instructional technology in curriculum aligned to Common Core Learning Standards, RTI, data driven instruction using a process that includes modeling, observing and one-on-one conferencing;  and assisting District personnel in preparing HFL staff and students for Computer Based Testing.

Sanford, 35, taught 5th and 6th grade Math and Literacy for HF-L for 12 years. He is currently working on getting his Administrative degree from the University of Rochester. “I am still considered a teacher,” said Sanford, “just a teacher on special assignment if you will.”While no day looks quite the same as the day before, for Sanford his typical week would include, working with students to learn new technology, encouraging students to bring their own device to school, working with teachers on professional development with technology, and more.“I used technology mostly in math to try to individualize the course work for my students,” said Sanford. “My classroom was always set up like a workshop to use technology to help students learn.”

Sanford went on to explain that all of his coursework was also available online for things like assessments, instruction, and practice materials. “I love my new position, it is giving me the opportunity to focus on the technology of teaching and how that impacts students,” said Sanford.

Currently, Sanford is proficient in Office 365, Schoology, Edoctrina, and IReady but he is always on the coat tails of new technology. When asked if he missed teaching, Sanford smiled and said simply, “No.” “I guess I just don’t miss it yet,” said Sanford. “I enjoy the variety of what I am doing now, but to me I still feel like I am teaching, I just no longer have a classroom.”

Walking the halls, it was always known throughout the school that Mr. Sanford was the “tech teacher,” that he always knew the latest technology and incorporated it in the classroom. “My main goal in my new position is to create an even playing field,” said Sanford. “No select ‘techy teachers,’ that every teacher is up to date on the latest and greatest technology and can pass that on to someone else.” 

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  • New Lima Primary Principal Found Passion in HF-L Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - New Lima Primary Principal Found Passion in HF-L

    Allison Cimmerer waited for the ideal leadership position for several years, and upon being named the new Lima Primary School Principal, Cimmerer has finally found her “dream job.”

    “I have searched for a leadership position that was a good fit for me and aligned with my philosophy of education,” said Cimmerer. “I was very selective because I didn’t just want a job because it was in leadership; I wanted to pursue my passion in primary education while focusing on literacy and the use of technology in instruction.” 

    Cimmerer worked at the Pittsford Central School District as a first-grade teacher for six years, and a second-grade teacher for one year. Prior to that, she worked in the Kendall Central School District as a Kindergarten teacher for nine years. 

    “When I heard that the principal position was opening at Lima Primary, I said it is the perfect place for me and is exactly the right fit,” said Cimmerer. 

    Cimmerer earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education at SUNY Fredonia. She received her Master’s of Science in Education at St. Bonaventure and received her Advanced Certificate of Study in School District Leadership at the University of Rochester. She currently lives in Webster with her husband, Jeff. 

    “During the thorough search process, the Search Committee and I felt that Mrs. Cimmerer’s experience in all parts of leading schools and her proven track record of innovation and working with primary aged children, and a deep desire to keep Lima the best school it can be, made her the best fit”, said Superintendent Gene Mancuso. 

     “In transitioning from teacher to principal my main goal is to not lose connection with the students,” said Cimmerer. “I will be in classrooms working with students and teachers building the connections at Lima Primary.” 

    Cimmerer considers Lima Primary as one big classroom and says that she has big shoes to fill. 

    “Everybody has been very welcoming. They have embraced me into their HF-L family,” said Cimmerer. “We will all learn and grow together.” 

    Cimmerer looks to continue the partnership that has already been built within the community and Lima Primary School. 

    Looking forward, Cimmerer is preparing for the Lima Primary School Maker Faire in October, a parent/child night in November, adventure day in the spring, as well as all of the other traditions that make Lima Primary stand out. 

    “My aspiration was always to become a building principal. I love HF-L, and I love Lima Primary! I fit right in, and all of my dreams are coming true,” said Cimmerer. “I am seeing and hugging students every day and I hope to be in HF-L for many years to come.”

  • Student Artwork at Rochester Regional Art Exhibition at RIT Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - Student Artwork at Rochester Regional Art Exhibition at RIT

    This invitational exhibition featured work from students in the Middle and High School Art Programs of the Rochester Area from January to February. These students participated from HF-L Middle School: Brandon Russell, Alana Khona, Kailey Annesi and Izabela Woloszuk. HF-L High School participants included seniors Kadi Matzky and Oksana Vysochanska.

    The following students received awards:

    * Kadi Matzky, grade: 12.  School of Art: Medical Illustration Award—3D.  Title: Man Frog.  Media: Porcelain. Teacher: Kelly Recktenwald

    * Izabela Woloszuk, grade: 7. School of Art: Young Artist Award (Grade 6,7,8). Title: Still Life.  Media: Pencil. Teacher: Kim Gagnier-Lester

    * Oksana Vysochanska, grade: 12. Dean’s Award. Title: Self Portrait. Media: Charcoal. Teacher: Kelly Recktenwald

  • What Does Your Digital Footprint Say About You? Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - What Does Your Digital Footprint Say About You?

    “Citizenship is everyone’s responsibility. In school, who teaches manners? In school, who teaches digital citizenship? The closer you look at this issue the sooner you realize that creating a digital footprint and guiding students through this digital landscape is part of all of our jobs,” said Gene Mancuso, HF-L Superintendent.

    Mancuso went on to explain that HF-L believes that our students should understand that they are building their digital footprint every time they go online. Before they leave high school, students should build upon their professional social network, create a digital portfolio, and understand that social media tells the whole world all about them.

     “Digital citizenship is more than just knowing your way around the web. It's about effectively using the Internet and other digital technology to connect and collaborate in a respectful, responsible, and safe manner,” said Rob Sanford, Instructional Technology Specialist.

    The vision of HF-L’s Digital Citizenship Committee is to establish an empowered HF-L school community with lifelong digital citizens who always act with respect, responsibility and in a secure manner safety.

    “With new technology being released all the time, it is harder for schools and parents to really know what is going on when it comes to students and social media,” said Dr. Renee Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “Parents are learning about social media at the same time as they are trying to parent their children on the best practices while using it.”

    This is not a one course, one grade level project at HF-L. The Digital Citizenship Committee is committed to providing learning opportunities throughout each student’s school career no matter his/her course selection. Teaching students how to be good digital citizens will be incorporated into all classrooms from English to math.

    HF-L has incorporated learning targets by age bracket. Lima Primary students will be learning to use kind, appropriate words online. Manor School students will be learning to recognize a cyberbullying situation. Middle schoolers will be learning to verify the identity of others online and determine if it is appropriate to communicate with them. In high school, students will learn their role in escalating or de-escalating online cruelty to others.

    Professional development for HF-L staff is set to begin over the summer months to be completed before the start of the next school year.

    “School districts have always had the responsibility to mold students into good citizens. Now schools need to move into the new digital world and also mold their students into good digital citizens,” said Sanford.

    Sanford went on to explain that the goal of the Digital Citizenship Committee is to provide real life, out of school experiences for students in the classroom setting. The committee also looks to incorporate ways to help teachers decide what to do when their students do not make good decisions online explaining that everything that happens online leaves a digital footprint that can follow students in their future, good or bad. 

  • Teacher on Special Assignment: A District Focused on Individualized Student Support Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - Teacher on Special Assignment: A District Focused on Individualized Student Support

    Lindsay Ali: Special Education Teacher, TOSA, problem solver extraordinaire.

    “A disability is a challenge that can be overcome, not a reason something can’t be done,” said Ali.

    In the only role of its kind in the PPS Office, Ali works as Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District’s Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), specializing in special education. The position was created only a year ago, and Ali is leading the charge. Having first started her career in HF-L in 2012, Ali began as a Special Class Teacher at the Manor School with three students in her class. As the school years went on, more students were added.

    “When I first started, I was trying to teach students with severe disabilities regular grade level material and it was just not working,” said Ali. “I saw right away that these students needed more than individualized academic instruction, they needed to learn to become productive members of society.” Elements were added to the program including, community based instruction and Unified Basketball.

    L.E.A.P, as the special education program is now called, stands for Language Enriched Academic Program and was a team effort by District staff and teachers. HF-L currently has 304 students with IEPs and 27 Special Education Teachers. Of those, there are five students enrolled in the L.E.A.P program for the 2017-18 school year.  

    “This position is all about looking at individual students and giving them what they need to succeed,” said Ali. “This is something that the District as a whole is very supportive of.”

    From Pittsford, Ali is married with two young sons and has been teaching in the special education field for 13 years. She received her Master’s in Inclusive Education and is certified in Special and General Education. As her goal was always to be a Director of Special Education, Ali recently received her certificate of school and district administration at the University of Rochester.

    “My passion is helping anyone who is different and being at a District level now, I can do so much more,” said Ali. “Our district is truly dedicated to student success.” 

  • “Habits” That Help Us Learn Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - “Habits” That Help Us Learn

    Throughout the entire 2016-17 school year, Manor staff, students and families have been learning about the 16 Habits of Mind. “Habits of Mind” are knowing how to behave intelligently when you DON’T know the answer. It means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known. “The focus is on performance under challenging conditions that demand strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity, and craftsmanship,” states Art Costa, coauthor of Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success.

    Manor’s PBIS Committee has been leading the way with two new counselors, Miss Ashley Schinzing and Ms. Nicole Winters. Throughout the school year, Miss Schinzing and Ms. Winters have led group games, targeted lessons, whole class discussions, challenging projects and small group sessions focused on the habits that help our students navigate challenging situations both in and out of the classroom. Matthew, a fifth grade student in Mrs. Pangia’s class, explained that, “We learn to try our best. If you don’t, you might not do as well as you thought you would. You can push yourself to keep trying like saying ‘I can do this’ or maybe taking a break and coming back to it.” HF-L students have planned whole school events such as the Can-gineering Project, and invented machines that made work easier. Students have worked together in pairs to build homes with the help of ordinary designs and worked in groups to move objects without their hands!

    Alisa in Ms. Gonsenhauser’s class explained her experience with one of the projects: “In my class we were making a star out of cans and it was really hard. We were all trying to come up with ideas so we tried a bunch of different ideas and some really failed. But eventually we had some that worked and then we explained it step by step to others and this helped them visualize their own project and actually finish it!”

    This year Manor School hosted seven Parent/Child Nights which focused on the 16 Habits of Mind. Parents have taken risks with gooey green Ooblek, cheered their children on through card stacking, and built bridges that held hundreds of pennies. These evenings each hosted about 125 parents and students with too many smiles to count!

  • Technology and Learning: Finding a Balance Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - Technology and Learning: Finding a Balance

    Technology is a literacy that is expected in higher education and in our economy. While most of us integrate our cell phones, e-mails, and work tasks throughout the course of a day, students and teachers are often pulled in many directions. 

    The contemporary job market requires us to adapt, continually learn, and apply various skill sets in many directions. Teaching students how to balance technology and digital tools is essential, and we must do so responsibly. In a world flooded with information, it would be naive to proclaim that technology simply distracts, diminishes social skills, and holds lesser value than other skills and dispositions. At Honeoye Falls-Lima we are working to find a healthy balance between integrating technology in our respective classrooms, and providing rich content, social opportunities, and time for traditional play and interaction. 

    The District held a learning summit this spring and overwhelmingly, parents, students, and teachers agreed the definition of an educated person in 2017 has shifted to include the essential skills of critical thinking and problem solving, and the ability to communicate and collaborate. Our world also requires all of us to have a tremendous amount of grit and self-determination. A combination of skills, dispositions, and content rich learning will remain the cornerstones of HF-L’s instructional program. 

    Integration of Digital Conversion into the Budget Structure 

    Over the past few years, Honeoye Falls-Lima has implemented a number of new programs and curriculum projects designed to increase student rigor and better prepare them for whatever path they choose following graduation. These programs include STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programs K-5, integrated project based learning at the middle school level, and new class offerings in the arts, business, and in other core areas at the high school. The budget is designed to support these programs and many others. 

    This is also the first year of our one to the world implementation to move classroom access to technology closer to all of our students. This initiative puts the technology students will be using in the future into their hands now. It opens up opportunities to approach teaching and learning with a new perspective. The goal is to allow students to find and use techniques and skills which are more suitable for them. This digital conversion requires an embedding of expenses into the operational portion of the school budget. Working to maximize BOCES and state aid for purchasing and developing replacement programs allow the district to balance the impact of this investment with a sensitivity to limited community resources.

     As technology is integrated and infused within our instruction, digital content in the curriculum becomes a vital resource for students and teachers. The laptop will not entirely replace textbooks, although the district’s intention is to increasingly use a digital format for teaching and learning. The use of computers as an instructional tool is becoming increasingly important, just as technology continues to increase in importance in our everyday lives and in the workplace. HF-L students are leading the way with creativity of content and knowledge achieved. Moving to a constructivist model of teaching and learning, where learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving information, students gain valuable critical thinking, problem-solving and higher-order cognition skills. With laptops at their fingertips, students become

    more globally aware of their citizenship as digital natives. Students approach learning differently now. Research, project based learning, and inquiry/problem solving activities are becoming second nature to HF-L students.

  • Technology is a tool that can change the nature of learning Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - Technology is a tool that can change the nature of learning

    "What is your favorite app?"  That is what Henry C, a first grader in Mrs. Williams' class at Lima Primary, asked me.  "Book Creator is my favorite now.  It used to be EduCreations.  But I love to read and now I can make my own books."  This member of the Class of 2029 sees technology as a tool that helps him explain his thinking or assists him in creating his own understanding of how things work.  In Henry's classroom, and in the entire first grade at Lima Primary, our teachers and students are exploring and defining goals they want to pursue with the assistance of one-to-one devices in the classroom.  It started with a simple statement from their principal Mrs. Moosbrugger, "Figure out what you can do."  Within two years, Mrs. Williams and her first grade teammates have created numerous new opportunities for student-centered learning.  Students are active rather than passive, producing knowledge and presenting that knowledge in a variety of formats.  Henry was quick to show me how he could use the Seesaw app to independently document his learning, and send a quick personalized message to his parents at home showing what he had just completed in math class.

    For Mrs. Williams, this communication app has supplanted her traditional means of communication with families.  Seesaw saves time on organization and provides a direct link for parents to see what their first grader is doing in school.  Parents can comment back or wait for their child to come home and share what they have learned in school on the family computer.  Mrs. Williams recognized that if students are investigating and asking questions, writing about what they're learning, and doing those things in an authentic context, then they are learning to read and write and think.  

    The entire team at Lima was quick to point out that students don't "learn" technology.  Technology merely provides one of the many tools students can use to learn from.  The outdoor classroom, the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) room, singing, performing, playing, all can work together.  The teachers at Lima have taken the responsibility for helping design their own professional learning so that it really meets their needs.  Mrs. Willimans shared that, "We take a few minutes at grade level and faculty meetings to share.  None of us are experts, we just share.  The students teach me somehting new every time we try something."  

    It truly is an exciting time in education.  As a school district, we are working to seize the moment to challenge ourselves, our students, and our leadership team to make the best use of the technology tools we have available.

  • Self-Taught HF-L High School Digital Media Consultant Continue Reading »

    Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District - Self-Taught HF-L High School Digital Media Consultant

    Margaux Murray is an 18-year-old HF-L High School Senior who has quickly become the technological point person for everyone from students to staff at the High School.

    Being on the ground floor of the High School, Murray has the unique opportunity to hear the voice of her fellow students and relay it back to staff. Murray is the Public Relations Ambassador for the High School Link Crew, managing all of their social media accounts. Murray also helps anyone from students to staff with various issues such as, printer issues, smart board issues, making classroom YouTube channels, making social media updates, and updating the athletics web page.

    “It all just comes second nature to me,” explained Murray, who has self-taught in technology since Middle School.

    Murray is also a student member of the Honeoye Falls-Lima Teaching Learning Technology (TLT) Committee.

    At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, Murray was approached with a technological problem by students – no one could access certain necessary websites that would be useful to their learning. Murray took it upon herself to walk down to Superintendent Mancuso’s office to have the issue resolved, but not before tweeting the problem to him first.

    “Margaux reminded me that sometimes you have to jump into the sandbox to better see the student perspective. The collective diverse imaginations, observations, opinions, hopes and dreams of our students help empower and drive learning here in HF-L,” said Mancuso. “I can’t ask teachers to let our students teach them a thing or two about technology, without learning a thing or two from someone like Margaux myself.”

    Murray is very much involved in the HF-L Link Crew. Murray created a video that is designed to get students involved in Link Crew. The video can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRnLRzAKOYI.

    “I think that there is a perception from incoming freshman that seniors might not be welcoming to them,” said Murray. “I am working on changing that perception and making every HF-L student an HF-L Cougar!”

    Murray has also filmed multiple projects for faculty and staff.

    “I was very much impressed with her Link Crew videos,” said Ann Bailey, High School Secretary. “At that moment, I thought it would be very useful to have a student like Margaux in the role to represent the high school.”

    Bailey went on to explain that she looks to Murray for help with the high school social media platforms.
    “The word kind of just spread that I am known to be very helpful,” said Murray. “I can relate to the students.”
    Bailey was quoted in saying that Murray is “very approachable and knows what she’s doing.”
    Murray is anxious to see some technological advances happen in the district even if they happen post her graduation.

    “I would like to see BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) become a real program, BYOD should be put in the curriculum and staff should be trained on technology,” said Murray. “BYOD shouldn’t just be an acronym for an idea, it needs to be a program.”

    BYOD is an initiative in the High School and Middle School that allows teachers the option of allowing students to use their technological devices as part of the classroom experience on a day-to day basis, along with the school supplied laptops.

    “Ultimately, empowering students is about a realization; teachers and students have a lot to learn from one another,” said Mancuso. “As John Cotton Dana once said, ‘Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.’ Empowering students helps us all do just that.”

    Murray has applied to Ithaca College, SUNY Brockport, and Oregon State University with an aspiration to major in documentary studies and production.

    “The more you put into your high school career, the more you will get out of it,” said Murray. 

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