S.S. Seward Principal’s Corner: Mr. Rheaume’s July Message

Mr. Rheaume’s July Message


Long days, time to rejuvenate and have fun with friends and family. I am looking forward to seeing my brother, daughter and visiting Washington, DC and all it has to offer. And, I have dove into a new book to read by Elie Weisel that chronicles a journey during the Holocaust.

As you all enjoy summer it cannot be said enough that reading on a daily basis is so important.  Read whatever you’d like, and read! The stories, information and brain engagement all lend themselves to creative, active brains that gain a better understanding of the world.  Please read this summer with your child – it makes a huge difference!

Our local library has a vast menu of books and reading resources.  Sign up, get a library card and visit the Florida Public Library!

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!  Your success is our greatest joy, your entire community is behind you.  Be Spartanstrong in all that you do!

I hope you all have a relaxing and safe summer.  I cannot wait to see you all back at Seward next year.  Thank you so much for your support and Spartan pride!

M. Rheaume
Michael S. Rheaume

Mr. Rheaume’s June Message

Spartan Nation!  The school year is winding down and my hope is that our students are preparing for final exams.  We have challenged them to achieve an 85 percent or higher to show their best. In return, we will provide a homemade lunch and ice cream sundae stand to reward their hard work.  Hard work works … and ice cream tastes so good!

The last day of regular classes is Monday, June 17, 2019.  After the 17th, only those students scheduled to take Regents examinations attend school.  The exam schedule appears on our website and was sent home via a SchoolMessenger message on June 11.

Exams begin at 8 a.m. and noon each day. Students should arrive by 7:45am for the morning session and 11:45 a.m. for the noon session.  Please encourage your child to do their very best on these required Regents examinations-we know they can do it!

As you plan for the summer, please utilize our Florida Public Library as a resource for reading materials, educational events and great spot for family time.  Our library offers numerous programs across age levels that are interesting, insightful and fun. As well, we will be supplying a suggested summer reading list.  Please make it a summer project to have your student read at least two books of their choice this summer. Reading for pleasure helps engage the mind, stretch the imagination and enhances critical thinking.  Read!

Congratulations to our 8th graders who are moving up to the high school-may you grow closer and closer to your dreams and goals!  And, to the Class of 2019, best wishes as you leave Seward to begin the next step in your life. Wherever you might go, remember, once a Spartan, always a Spartan!  You can always count on everyone here at Seward to help you succeed.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we work together to help our children to grow into kind, hard working members of our tight knit community.  Without your involvement, that would not be possible. Congratulations and we look forward to seeing you at end of year events.

With Spartan Pride,

M. Rheaume & the Spartan family here at Seward
Michael S. Rheaume

Mr. Rheaume’s April Message

This spring, our students in grades 3-8 will again take New York State Assessments aligned to the state’s new learning standards.  We are truly looking for our students to show us their best on these assessments.  Doing their best helps to create a “can do” culture in our two great schools, furthering our collective desire for our children to be successful in all that they do.

The English/Language Arts assessment is scheduled for April 1-8, with each grade having two days to complete the assessment.

The Mathematics assessment is scheduled for April 30-May 7.  Two days of assessment will hold true for mathematics as well.

Both assessments will be completed on Chromebooks, with students having as much time as they need to complete each session.

We recommend our students get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and put forth their best effort each day.

Over the course of the past few years, the NYS Education Department has made adjustments to the tests in response to concerns from parents and educators. For example, there are fewer questions on the tests and students are now allowed as much time as they need to complete the tests within the regular school day.

At the end of this note you’ll find “Things to know about the state assessments.” Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact me here at the school.

We are looking forward to a positive experience for our students as we learn more about our instructional outcomes via assessment data, classroom performance and your extremely valuable input.

Thank you for your continued support!

With Spartan pride,

Michael S. Rheaume

Things to know about state assessments

1. Each test will take place over two days.
The ELA and math exams will each be given to students over a two-day period. Students also will be able to take as much time as they need to complete the tests, as long as they are working productively.

2. Students will respond to a variety of question types.
Students will read short passages and answer multiple choice questions on the ELA exam. They will also provide textual evidence to explain their answers, and write an essay. Students taking the math exam will answer multiple-choice questions, and show their work on more complex, multi-step

3. State test results alone don’t determine promotions or placements.
The state prohibits districts from making student promotion/placement decisions solely based on state test scores.

4. Teachers will not be evaluated based on student test scores.
State lawmakers approved a bill in January that separates teacher/principal evaluations and grades 3-8 state ELA and math test scores. As part of the revised legislation, any use of state assessments for teacher or principal evaluations would be part of district collective bargaining agreements. The bill is expected to be signed by the governor and become law later this year.

5. Resources will be available after the exams.
The state will provide score reports to help parents understand how their child is doing in ELA and math. State officials will release some test questions before the school year ends to help teachers inform instruction and improve student learning.

6. Test questions will be written by local educators.
This is the second year that test questions on the ELA and math exams will be written by New York state teachers.

Mr. Rheaume’s February Message

Let’s hope that the results of Groundhog Day are true and spring arrives early! January was a cold month that saw so many students and adults ill. It was a tough month for sure!

And, as Spartans always do, we have jumped back into action and are moving on with Spartan spirit.  Our second marking period just ended and report cards will be available on Feb. 6, 2019. Be sure to review them with your student via SchoolTool, please.  We continue to offer after school help, peer tutoring and other supports for students. Take advantage of them.

I wanted to showcase my Spartan colleagues this month. The adults that work here at Seward are truly remarkable and unselfish in how much they give and do for our children.  In January alone, I witnessed them leading students in creating political parties, giving speeches, voting, creating zip lines to carry items, showing students individual blood cells moving through a fish, debate the topics of year-round school and getting zeroes as a grade, and so much more. They have planned mental health awareness assemblies, invited a liberator and survivor of the Holocaust to speak to kids, and planned for events centered upon kindness, tolerance and being a friend. They coach our numerous athletic teams, advise clubs, stay after school for their students, provide community service experience, write letters of recommendation and help our students be ready for their next step.  The list is, honestly, endless. As is their passion and determination in maintaining the small school, big dreams culture that exists in our school.

So, to my colleagues, thank you!  You are appreciated and cherished.  You are the motor behind all of our fantastic experiences crafted for our students. Know how much that is recognized!

Thank you all for the on-going support as we continue our journey to providing each child with access and the skills needed to reach their goals and dreams. Spartan Nation is strong, and so are our children!

Stay warm, healthy and ponder next month’s message: “No one wants to be average.”

M. Rheaume
Principal, S.S. Seward Institute

Mr. Rheaume’s January Message

S.S. Seward Good News

There has been a commercial on television that challenges the notion that being okay is okay. While there is humor to be found in the commercials themselves, the message of putting forth the effort required to be better is clear. Striving to be great, to truly embrace the attitude of being great at all that you do is one of the goals we all should set for our New Year.  We will be stressing this at Seward as we look to be great in all that goes on here.

Happy New Year! With the start of 2019 comes new possibilities and experiences to look forward to.  Wherever the year takes you, may it be closer and closer to the greatness you aspire to. Collectively, we can all help our children achieve at greater levels by supporting their learning, encouraging them to read, set aside “unplugged” time and by sending the strong message that doing great in school is the goal.

January will see our second marking period progress reports become available on SchoolTool. Please be sure to log in and check your student’s progress with them. Your direct input and support make such a difference!

Should you need any assistance with grades, questions about your child’s progress, or any school related concern, please reach out to me here at school. We will be sure to follow-up and help in any way that we can.

We look forward to seeing you at a game, performance or here in school as we work to ensure our small school with big dreams is great for our students!

Happy New Year and best wishes for greatness!

M. Rheaume & the Spartan family at Seward

M. Rheaume
Principal, S.S. Seward Institute

Mr. Rheaume’s December Message

S.S. Seward Good News

Spartans!  December is here and we are all looking forward to the upcoming holidays and time with family and friends.  I cannot wait to see my oldest daughter as she returns home for a week later this month.

Please be sure to come out and support our Spartan artists and musicians at our Middle School and High School Art and Concerts this month.  The Middle School show is Dec. 12;  the High School show is on Dec. 19S. Both begin at 7 p.m. and are sure to put a smile on your face. Hope to see you!

On Dec. 10 we will induct our newest members of our National Junior Honor Society at 7 p.m.  Join us to congratulate and inspire these students to be the leaders we need them to be. By the way, the cake is pretty good too!

Our winter athletics season is off and running.  Come out to a game, cheer on the teams and our cheerleaders and show your Spartan spirit!  As well, both our Middle School and High School drama clubs are busily rehearsing for their shows later this year.  The Middle School will present High School Musical while the High School is going to make us laugh during The Addams Family.  Look for more information as performance dates grow closer.

The midpoint of the second marking period is Dec. 21.  Please make it priority Number One that your child do well in school!  We have peer tutors, teachers who stay after school, and many other support systems in place to help your child succeed.

You’ll be noticing some changes at Seward soon.  We are responding to student ideas by adding flexible furniture to the lobby and converting our past Middle School computer lab into a flexible learning space.  Take a look at these spaces – they will amaze you!

Thank you from everyone here at Seward for your ongoing support.  Stay involved with your child’s life and encourage them to do their best at all times.

Go Spartan Nation!

M. Rheaume
Principal, S.S. Seward Institute

Mr. Rheaume’s November Message

S.S. Seward Good News

I can smell the turkey and stuffing cooking as we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving.  All of us here at Seward hope that the upcoming holidays are joyous and fun. So much is going on here at Seward, here we go!

The boys soccer team pose in front of the goal netOur boy’s soccer team plays 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at Middletown High School in the New York State Final Four semi-final against Geneseo. We would love to have an army of orange and blue there to support them as they go for the NYS championship! Best of luck to our team, the entire Spartan Nation is with you!

As well, we have two cross country team members who will be running in the New York State Cross Country Finals in Sunken Meadows this Saturday.  Good luck and run fast to Leah and Jonah!

Our recent conference day was inspiring in so many ways.  Most of us spent the day at Washingtonville High School learning from Dr. Joe Sanfelippo. The passion for learning, telling his district’s story and love of children was contagious. Want to be a part of our story here at Seward? Follow the Spartan Nation on Twitter @FUFSD_SSSeward.

Veteran’s Day has become a huge part of the November events for our students.  We welcome veterans to Seward on Nov.  13 for a flag raising ceremony, several speak to our students about service and patriotism, and our students thank our veterans for all they have and will do in serving our country. The event begins at 10 a.m. Our High School Student Council hosts the event, and has breakfast for those attending prior to the ceremony.

Our first marking period ends on Nov. 16. That was fast! Be sure to review the report card with your child and ensure they are doing their very best each day.  We all want what is best for our children, and a successful school experience in priority number one!

Personally, I am so lucky and thankful to work with our children everyday.  They make me smile, laugh, cry and I could not be more proud of all of our Spartans!  May you have the same type of experience with our children.

Go Spartan Nation!

M. Rheaume
Principal, S.S. Seward Institute

Mr. Rheaume’s October Message

S.S. Seward Good News

It is tough to look at the calendar and realize we are five weeks into our school year.  With Homecoming this month, parent teacher conferences and the mid point of marking period 1, so much is happening.

I am thrilled that our sixth graders will be headed off to Ashokan at the end of the month. From working in an actual blacksmithing room, to hiking and building relationships, Ashokan remains as one of my favorite student experiences from my childhood. This year’s sixth graders will build lasting and happy memories as they visit the Ashokan Outdoor Center. Have a fantastic time!

Parent teacher conferences are starting on Oct. 17 and 24, from 6-8 p.m. We have a day-time session on Oct. 26. You can sign up for conferences via our website Sign Up Genius. I look forward to seeing you on one of the conference days. Stay involved in your child’s education – it matters!

Juniors are scheduled for the PSAT on Oct. 24 during school. Students in other grades may take the PSAT, should they wish to practice. Juniors take the exam as part of the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying process. A great spot to learn more is by going to the College Board website and the PSAT section.  Encourage your student to do their absolute best every day!

Do you stress the importance of reading at home? Do you have your child set aside time each day to be unplugged and lost in a good book? It is easy to find research that shows that reading each day boosts our brains, our creative abilities and helps us to make better sense of the world we live in. Take a break from the day and read for 15-20 minutes a day with your child!

Have you followed us on Twitter yet?  Please do so to get daily insights into events and learning going on here at Seward. The more followers we have, the better! Follow us at: @FUFSD_SSSeward

We are all excited to see our student floats at Homecoming, please join us on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. on Main Street to see and support our students and their school. This year’s theme is Steven Spielberg movies.

Go Spartans!

M. Rheaume
Principal, S.S. Seward Institute