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Past editions:
Jun. 2017 May 2017 Apr. 2017 Mar. 2017 Feb. 2017 Jan. 2017 Dec. 2016 Nov. 2016 Oct. 2016

June 2017

The summer is a great time to “sharpen your saw” and refresh after a tough school year. But relaxing isn’t the only thing to do this summer! Summer is a time to try out new things, learn a new skill or improve one you already have, visit college campuses, read some books for fun, or get a head start on your college applications. See below and watch your inbox and mailbox for some other ways to add a little extra to your summer, with LPP.

~Ms. Elliott

Community Service Day

As is tradition at Jefferson Central School, students in grades 7 through 12 participated in a Community Service Day on May 19th. Liberty Partnerships Program students worked at a variety of sites, and did everything from painting to gardening to picking up garbage around the area. The next time you drive by the Jefferson School, think kindly of Nicole Merwin (8th) who cleaned out and planted the flower planter on the front of the parking lot.

LPP student and Tutor at the Old School House

After working for the community, the middle and high school students gathered together to recognize the members of the senior class (and watch them act like fools) during Senior Survivor. In the following pages, you will find profiles for those seniors who are graduating from both Jefferson CS and Liberty Partnerships Program this year.

Test Taking Tips

Finals are here, and the Regents are right around the corner. You’ve spent all year learning the material; don’t let text anxiety keep you from doing your very best! Here are some tips to get you through test season without tears.

  • Build up your confidence first. Save harder questions for last.
  • If you’re working on question 5, keep your mind on question 5. Don’t worry about questions 4 or 6 at the same time.
  • With essay questions, outline the various aspects of the question before you start to write.
  • Remember that many clues to answers can be found in the test itself! Never leave questions unanswered, especially multiple choice.
  • Notice the point value of different questions; allot more time for questions that are worth more.
  • If you begin to feel panic, try to relax: slow your breathing to a more relaxed rate. Try counting to 4 as you breathe in, and count to 4 as you breathe out.
  • Be positive about your ability to take the test! You can psych yourself into doing well.

Summer Reading

Whether you want to improve your SAT verbal score, or pick up your grades next year, reading is the way to go!

Science Fiction
  • The Ear, The Eye and The Arm by Nancy Farmer
  • Ender’s Game (and the rest of the series) by Orson Scott Card
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
  • Redwall by Brain Jacques
  • The Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchet
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

May 2017

Summer is a great time to build your experiences. Maybe you’ll try out a career that you’re considering by getting a summer job or volunteering. You can research colleges you are interested in and perhaps visiting them. Be sure to spend some time reading for pleasure; the more you read the better your vocabulary will be!

~Ms. Elliott


Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
-- Henery Ford

If you ask most people if they like group projects, you’ll get a resounding “No!” back.  The usual reason is because one person dominates.  But working together doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, working with other people can boost the end result beyond what each individual can do!  Habit 6 from Sean Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens lays out a process for getting the most out of working with others:

  1. Define the problem or opportunity
  2. Their Way (See first to understand the ideas of others)
  3. My Way (Seek to be understood by sharing your ideas)
  4. Brainstorm (Create new options and ideas)
  5. High Way (Find the best solution, and implement it)

The next time you have to work in a group, give these steps a try. You might be surprised at what all of you can come up with!

The Man Behind The Mask

If you were at the New York State Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Project on April 13th, you had a chance to see Karsen Schulte (12th). Although you might not have recognized him in the costume. Karsen played the Easter Bunny, to the delight of the attending boys and girls. For 2 hours he sat in the suit, meeting children and taking pictures with them. The best part of the event came from “sitting behind the mask and seeing all the kids go ‘oh my gosh, it’s the Easter Bunny!’” One little boy was so excited, he brought a basket and card to give to the Bunny.

Student Art Show

The Breakfast Club hosted art work from Katherine Lindquist (10th) and Anderson Epstein at the beginning of April. If you didn’t have a chance to see it, Katherine describes her art as:

“I feel the way I paint is different from other artists that I have studied. I try not to focus on accuracy but on emotion. I throw what I’m feeling onto my canvas and watch it splatter into something that’s easier to say through paint than words.”


Portrait by Katherine Lindquist

College Considerations - Free Tuition?!?

You likely heard about SUNY becoming tuition free for New York State residents. But what does that really mean? You can receive extra money for any New York State school (SUNY or private) as long as you are a full-time student and pass you classes. This money is only for tuition: you still have to pay for meal plans, housing, books, fees, etc. If you choose to go to a SUNY school, you can apply for the Excelsior Scholarship to cover any gaps in your FAFSA and TAP up to $5,500. This will cover the costs of your classes at any school in the SUNY system (2-year and 4-year programs). If you choose to go to a private school, you can apply for an Enhanced Tuition Award to bring your governmental financial aid up to $6,000 total.

But remember that there is a catch. If you use either of these programs (Excelsior Scholarship or Enhanced Tuition Awards) you must remain and work in New York State for an equal number of years that you used the program. So if you use the money for 2 years, you must live and work in the state for 2 years after graduation. If you decide to leave the state before your time is up, then the money is transformed into a loan that you have to pay back.

These programs open this month, for students in college this fall. For information on how to apply, keep a eye here.

New York State Police Academy

In April LPP had an extensive tour of the New York State Police Academy for students seriously considering a career in law enforcement. Ethan Cole (9th), Emily Fyfe (10th), Evan Fyfe (12th), and Mariah Reed (9th) all attended. They heard from several different State Troopers, all of whom are responsible for training recruits.

Becoming a recruit has several requirements:

  • high physical fitness
  • high achievement on a standardized test
  • at least 60 college credits (this is equal to an Associate’s Degree, or 2-years full time at college!)
LPP students at the
When someone is accepted as a recruit, they have to endure a 26-week training program. No punches are pulled about the difficulty of the program and training. Recruits are required to live in the dormitory 5 days a week during training, cannot use their cellphones, and live with military discipline. LPP students got to see all of this, including actual classroom lectures and hands-on exercises where recruits role-play arrests. There is an emphasis on providing recruits with time to use and demonstrate what they learn in the classroom.

The Academy trainers were asked about the qualities that a recruit needs to succeed in the Academy, or law enforcement in general. Here is what the 3 Troopers offered up:

  • Attitude and effort are all the matters; not what you’ve done before or the experience that you already have. It’s what you do and show during training that counts the most.
  • Integrity and desire: you have to want to do this. It isn’t a job that you can leave behind at the end of a shift, it’s a lifestyle. You will always represent the New York State Police, 24 hours a day.
  • Willingness to learn: to survive and excel at the Academy you have to change yourself and conform. Be sure to check your attitude at the door!
  • Don’t go to college for criminal justice. Recruits that can bring something unique to the job are desired. Plus, you need a degree or career to fall back on, if being a Trooper ends up not being right for you, or an injury makes you unable to do the job.

 Student Conservation Association

Ms. Leah Cantor from the Student Conservation Association (SCA) came to JCS to talk with the sophomore class about careers in environmental science, and opportunities to work on conservation efforts while in high school. The SCA partners with AmeriCorp, the National Park Service and other groups to work in our nation’s parks, wild areas, and historic sites to preserve and maintain them. They also conduct experiments to monitor invasive species, see what types of animals and plants are in an area and how they change over the seasons.

For high school students, they offer volunteer opportunities around the country; housing and meals are covered, but you have to get yourself to the site. For those 18 and over, they offer paid trips and internships; some include money towards your college expenses. Keep the SCA in mind for after high school, summers, and after college!

April 2017

The final marking period is almost upon us. It is tempting to take it easy at the end of the school year, but don’t give in! Colleges will look at how you did every period, to determine if you are a steady student and up to the pressure of college courses. Plus now is the time to review for final exams and Regents, assuming that information isn’t flying fast and heavy to get you ready for the end of the year.

Buckle in, it’s not over yet!


First seek to understand, then to be understood

Communication is a keystone in both our public and academic lives, but few of us are really good listeners. We space out, just pretend to listen, listen just for things that interest us, hear the words but not the meaning behind them, or only see things from our point of view, leading us to judge, advise, or probe.

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are,
and then wait to hear the answer.

-- - Ed Cunningham, sports announcer and former football player

The next time you seriously talk with someone (a parent, a teacher, a friend, etc.) make an effort to really listen to them. Listen to the words they say, but also the tone and feeling they say them with. Pay attention to their body language, and how that changes the meaning of their words. Put yourself in their place before you respond. Think about feelings and attitudes as well as words.

Annual Youth Conference

Liberty Partnerships Program students from around the county and students from two other Liberty programs all gathered at SUNY Cobleskill on March 23 for the annual Youth Conference.

The conference theme was “Dignity, Compassion and Respect.” David Flood delivered the keynote address, speaking about these topics. Anna Garrow (12th) pointed out that his philosophy is to “kill them with kindness, even if it’s not his fault.” Throughout the speech, Mr. Flood issued three challenges:

Speaker David Flood
  1. Look at the Inside. Ignore the superficial things about someone (clothing, style, address, etc.) and look to their heart and soul to really see them and to know them. He had everyone in attendance turn to the person next to them and spend 30 seconds to say “When I look at you, I see …”
  2. Thank 2 adults, and look them in the eye when you do. Watch how your relationship with these people change, and what connections you can develop. Connection with an adult at school can be a lifesaver. Don’t just look to your teachers, but staff, counselors and administration.
  3. No one eats alone. Loneliness is toxic, emotionally and physically. If you ever see someone eating lunch alone, step out and give them your company. Make a new connection and exercise your compassion. If you’re the one alone, be brave and join a group! You might be surprised at who is willing to meet you, if you just reach out a little.

After the keynote speech, students were split up by grade for various breakout activities. 7th and 8th graders played games with the Youth Bureau. 9th and 10th graders continued with Mr. Flood, sharing together what from his speech inspired them, touched them or how it related to their experiences. Although many of the students were unfamiliar with each other, they all shared something from their lives during the session. The 11th and 12th graders attended a BudgetCon, where they worked through the costs of modern life, from rent and food to student loans and taxes. Each student received a personalized packet, with information and a monthly salary based on their career aspirations. The Con ended with a presentation from SUNY Cobleskill staff on planning resumes (looking for experience to put on a resume, not how to format it) and how to improve your chances when applying for jobs.

Project Perfect

On March 9, the Jefferson Varsity Club participated in Project Perfect. Evan Fyfe (12th), Emily Fyfe (10th), and Clyde Cole (10th) all participated. Project Perfect brought Jefferson students together with special needs students from the area. They all met at SUNY Delhi for a day of swimming, talking and fun. Clyde Cole said he “had a blast” and would definitely participate in the project again.

MURAL Student Art Show

Congratulations to Anna Garrow (12th) for placing first in her category at this year’s Mount Ustayantha Regional Art League Student Art Show. You can see her work, and work of other Jefferson High School students in at the show Hobart, NY through April 29.

Schenectady County Community College and the Modern Welding School

We followed up February’s tip to SUNY Delhi with another pair of very hands-on, practical experience focused colleges. At Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) we heard about their culinary and music programs. These are just a taste of the 40 programs that they offer. SCCC is an extremely affordable school only an hour drive away.

This can be a great option if you’re not sure what you want to do, or are looking to fill in some gaps in your high school record before transferring to a 4-year degree. Since they only offer 2-year programs, SCCC has a lot of support and focus on their freshmen, including an EOP program (similar to LPP, but at the college level). We heard from the admissions officer that “if you’re going to graduate from high school, you’re going to be accepted” at SCCC. So keep this school in mind!

The Modern Welding School is just a few miles down the road in Schenectady, NY. They offer a few different programs, all focused on welding. Students spend 20% of their time in a classroom and 80% of their time in a welding booth, practicing and perfecting their skills. With a welding inspector on staff, they are able to offer a wide variety of certifications and train students how to weld in all sorts of positions (including overhead welds). Matt Tepfer (10th) liked that the school “focused on just welding” and has “classes of 12, so [it’s] nice and small.” The Modern Welding School has a high job placement rate, and it’s clear that the staff works hard to talk up their students to potential employers. In fact, we met an alum of the school, who was back in Schenectady to interview for a welding job with Electric Boats, a company that build submarines for the US Navy. He had just finished 6 months traveling to 12 states, working to repair power plants. It was a lot of traveling and 12-hour days, but he took home $1,400 a week!

March 2017

Now is the time to set your schedule for the next school year. Are you on track to graduate? Are you taking classes that will prepare you for college, that challenge you and that interest you? If you’re not sure where you stand, talk with me or Ms. Caldara in the Guidance office. Don’t forget about the current school year either! How has the first part of the 3rd marking period gone?


Think Win-Win

We’re often told that life is a competition, with only so much success to go around. But success isn’t a limited resource; someone else doing well doesn’t mean you have a smaller chance to do well too.

When competition drives you to do your best it is a wonderful thing. But have you ever given up before you started, thinking there is no point in even trying because someone else will do it better, or thought about sabotaging something to keep someone else from succeeding? Then you know how poisonous competition can be.

Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Everyone has things that come easily, and others that are a struggle. But those things are different for everyone. So why place your hardest subject against someone else’s best? Focus on doing your best, and try to celebrate when your friends do well, too.

The only time you should look into your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.
-- Louis CK, comedian

Changing the way you think isn’t easy. But you probably already think Win-Win. Make a new habit a little at a time. Try to think Win-Win one extra time each day! Here are some examples to get you started.

  • Showing sportsmanship. Compliment someone on the opposing team after your next game.
  • Playing a game just for the fun of it. Try to keep winning or losing out of your mind.
  • Tests aren’t a competition, so form a study group for your next one! Keep it up, and you’ll be set for Regents review!
  • If someone has borrowed something from you, ask for it back in a friendly way: “Did you forget about the pen I loaned you last week? I could really use it back today.”
  • The next time someone close to you succeeds, try to be genuinely happy for them, rather than feeling insecure.

Careers in Homeland Security

Tim Irving, an agent with the Department of Homeland Security, spoke to students about his work and career path. In his current position with special investigations, Mr. Irving works on cases involving human trafficking, intellectual property violations, gang activity, bulk cash and drug smuggling, worksite immigration violations and generally the illegal movement of people and goods. But at times he can be assigned to work for the Secret Service protecting public figures like Vice President Mike Pence. He has also worked as an Air Marshall.

Mr. Irving graduated from high school in Troy, NY, then went to SUNY Plattsburg where he studied environmental science. This illustrates that you don’t need a degree in criminal justice to go into the field. Mr. Irving emphasized that the department you join will give you all the training you need. So what should you major in at college? Accounting, computer forensics or other technical degrees that will give you skills useful in tracking down crime. He pointed out that anyone can take the qualifying exams, so there is a lot of competition. It’s good to have a backup career ready!

SUNY Delhi

SUNY Delhi offers a variety of hands-on degrees in welding, automotive, mechatronics (a combination of mechanical and electrical engineering), and culinary. They also have an excellent program in nursing. Delhi places an emphasis on practical learning; they have real, full-sized hospital beds and computerized dummies in the nursing classrooms to simulate patients for the students to work on.

We were able to have a special tour of the Veterinary Technician program, led by a faculty member. We saw a laboratory class in progress, toured the facilities in detail and even saw their primate colony (the only one of it’s kind in New York State)! Keeping with the practical learning theme, 2nd year Vet Tech students are paired with animals from the Heart of the Catskills animal shelter. The students spay or neuter the animals and work with them to train and socialize them, making the animals more adoptable.


February 2017

Take a moment to reflect on the 2nd marking period. Are you happy with the grades you earned? If not, let’s work together to overcome what’s standing in your way. The start of a new marking period is a great opportunity to set some goals and maybe try out a new way of managing your time.


The Secret to Success

The Common denominator of success – the secret of success of every person who has ever been successful – it that “They formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
-- Albert E Gray’s Common Denominator of Success

What does this mean for you? It means that to be successful, you have to force yourself to do those important things that you just don’t want to do. We all feel it sometimes: we’d rather watch Netflix than do research for that project, or take a run instead of reading that chapter assigned for English. It takes willpower to do the things we don’t want to, over the things that we do.

If you find yourself slipping towards the fun or easy over the necessary and hard, remember the goals that you have. If you want to ace your next test, you have to take the time to study now. If you want to watch a movie guilt-free this weekend, be sure to use your time in study hall for doing homework.

Saying “no” to fun things is hard. It’s easier to say “no” before you’re even tempted. Use these 4 steps to help you plan your week and make sure that you "put first things first!"

  1. Identify the big things you need to get done this week. Don’t just think about projects and homework: studying is just as important. Be sure to include those things you need to do, but don’t want to!
  2. Schedule those big things. Plan out what days you’ll tackle them, to ensure you get them done in time. Estimate how long each of these big thing will take, to make sure you have enough time to do it all.
  3. Schedule everything else. Then fill in your time with less important things, including those activities that help you relax.
  4. Be willing to adapt daily. Things come up; new assignments that have to be done right away, family emergencies, etc. Be flexible, and don’t beat yourself up if the path to Friday is different than the one you wrote out on Monday.

If you’re not using your planner, or have lost it, see Ms. Elliott for some supplies to help you plan out your big things, week by week.

Sports Careers

Mary Irving, Interim Director of Athletics and Head Athletic Trainer at SUNY Cobleskill gave a presentation last month on the wide variety of careers available in the sports field. Most of the student who attended were hoping to become Physical Education Instructors (i.e. gym teachers) or trainers. But Ms. Irving pointed out that there are careers in sports writing, personal training, management of teams and recreational spaces, coaching, sports medicine, etc.

This presentation was recorded, so see Ms. Elliott if you’d like to catch this great presentation. Other speakers will be coming this year, so keep a look out!

Academic Challenge

Congratulations to our Upstate Academic Challenge team, which included Evan Fyfe (12th)! They reached the semi-final round, despite have only a few weeks to prepare.

January 2017

Happy New Year!
I hope your holiday break was a relaxing and rejuvenating one. Now that we’re almost at the end of the quarter, it’s time to buckle down, catch up, and move forward.
Let me know how I can help; rope me in!  Not sure what that means?  See the tips for meeting your goals, located at the end of this month's newsletter, to find out.

~Ms. Elliott

Bryant and Stratton Criminal Justice Information Day

By Emily Fyfe (10th grade)

Last month Liberty went to Bryant and Stratton College’s 2016 Criminal Justice Day. Bryant and Stratton is located in Albany NY. They have an amazing criminal justice program. Students get hands on learning, and will receive a personalized, career-focused education from staff fully committed to helping their students achieve their education goals.

We heard from three guest speakers, a gang prevention officer, a SWAT unit officer and a k-9 unit officer. Cook, who is a gang prevention officer, was the first speaker who told us what he does and how he helps the community. He goes and talks to people about gangs and what a gang is, and how you know someone is in a gang. His job is really cool because he goes and he gives people second chances at a new life. Cook gets people out of gangs, he does tattoo removals and he reaches out to the community. Our second speaker was Daniel Bunney, a police officer and K-9 unit officer. Bunney brought in his 2 dogs a younger and older one, the older one was well trained and the younger one was still in training. He talked about training the dogs and how the relationship between you and your dog is very special. We went outside and he gave us a demonstration on how the dog reacts to specific movements, also he showed us how the dog finds evidence by giving him a scent. The last speaker Steve Roy, a SWAT unit officer, which stands for special weapons and tactics. He came in, in his armor, which was really cool because he took it all off and showed us what everything did that he had to carry. He told us about his work environment and how alert you need to be when you are in the field. He talked about relationships you make with your unit and how it’s important to stick together and always have each other’s back. After he was done talking if anyone wanted we could put on his armor, which I did and it was heavy!

I highly recommend that you go to Bryant and Stratton’s College criminal justice day. It was a really great eye opener for me because I want to go into law enforcement after school, and knowing how the system works and the different branches is great.

A work in progress

Anyone who has been in the art room this quarter has probably noticed Katherine Lindquist’s (grade 10) tribute to singer and icon David Bowie. If you haven’t seen this canvas yet, check it out on the right, or in person in the art room.

A work in progress

Jeep in the snow contest success

Last month Jake VanCleef (grade 8) submitted an entry in Royal Chrysler Jeep’s “Jeep in the snow” photography contest. Jake made an excellent showing, with his photography being the 3rd most popular according to the voting on Congratulations, Jake!

Jake's Jeep, in the snow

Tips for meeting goals

We all do it: use the start of a New Year to power changes in ourselves. Using important starts and ends can be a great motivator to set a new goal. Here are some other tips from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens to help you meet your new goals:

#1 Count the Cost – everything change comes at a price, and if you’re not willing to pay the price, you’ll never make the change. If you want to study more, be sure that you know what other activity you’ll be giving up. For example, no SnapChatting with friends until your homework is done every night.

#2 Rope it up – Just like a rock climber relies on others to keep her safe and on course, you need to pull other people into your goals. Think about who you can rely on, who will support your goals, who will motivate you, or who will hold you accountable.

#3 Just do it! – Don’t give yourself an out, and don’t go easy on yourself. If you can’t stop watching Youtube videos, you might block the site on your browser and delete your app.

#4 Write it in pen – This is a weird quirk of the human psyche: we are much more likely to meet goals that we actually write down.

December 2016

This is the perfect time to be applying for scholarships. While many had deadlines in the fall, there are still lots with deadlines in January and beyond. Ms. Caldara has put together useful links , and I’ve place another resource here on our LPP webpage.

Don’t think seniors are the only ones who should be thinking about scholarships. There are scholarships open to students as early as 8th grade, so there’s no reason to wait.

~ Ms. Elliott

Ceramics by 8th grade students

Creatures from the 8th grade

Begin with the end in mind

The second of the 7 habits of highly effective teens is all about setting goals and reaching them. If the first habit was about placing yourself in the driver’s seat of your life, the second habit is knowing where you’re heading.

As with driving, you can have tools to help you navigate your way through decisions. Think about the principles that you want to guide your life. What matters the most to you? What are you willing to do to get what you want, and what is going too far? Try to summarize or distill this into a personal mission statement.

To have fun in [my] journey through life and to learn from [my] mistakes.
- personal mission statement of Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group

Check out the revamped bulletin board outside Ms. Seal’s room to learn more about making goals and setting a direction to your life. Click here for a worksheet to get started (in PDF format).

Visit to Hartwick College

On November 15, 4 Liberty Partnership students visited Hartwick College. Hartwick is a private 4 year school located nearby in Oneonta, NY. Hartwick boasts around 1,400 full-time students, 34 majors (including the recently added Criminal Justice, and Environment, Sustainability and Society), and 11 varsity teams. Students from Jefferson would be eligible to commute, but could live in a dorm as well. Hartwick has several large scholarships available for first year students, which can cover up to half of tuition each year.

What did our students think of Hartwick? They were impressed by the art department, especially the displays of student work. Not only was there plenty of art displayed on the walls, there is a gallery dedicated exclusively to showcase students’ work.

Dartmouth baseball camp

Andrew Shapiro (9th grade) attended the Bob Whalen Fall Camps at Dartmouth College in November. He worked under the Dartmouth coaching staff, receiving professional feedback on his skills in hitting, pitching and defense. Dartmouth is a NCAA Division 1 baseball program, and impressive showings in the past few years, including 2 back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament (2009, 2010). This camp was an excellent opportunity for Andrew to show the coaches of Dartmouth (and other colleges) his potential on the baseball diamond.

Career highlights

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What are you going to do after college?” You might be familiar with these questions, and how hard it can be to answer them. We all know some common answers: doctor, veterinarian, engineer, welder, chef, nurse, etc. But what are some lesser-known options?

  • Acoustical engineer – design spaces for the best sound quality, or design them to be as quiet as possible.
  • Flavor chemist / flavorist – create new flavors or recreate natural ones.
  • Toy designer – make the next, hottest Christmas toy
  • Smokejumper – firefighters who parachute to fight fires in remote areas.

November 2016

I want every LPP student to direct his or her life’s path. The first quarter can be a great time to reflect on where you are going, and what you’ll need to do to get there. The first of the 7 habits can help if you feel that you can’t control anything around you. This quarter I’ll also be meeting with each student in the Program to develop a set of goals and a personal learning plan to direct us through this school year.

~Ms. Elliott

Coil pots by Liberty students
Coil Pots
Left by Anna Garrow (12th grade)
Right by Georgia Shreve (10th grade)

Be Proactive!

Does it feel like your life is out of your control? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens says that the place to start is by being proactive. Being proactive in this case means taking responsibility for your life. There are lots of things outside of our control: the weather, other people’s rudeness, how much homework we have to do tonight, etc. But we can always control how we react and what we choose to do about the things that happen to us.

Listen carefully to the words that you use. Do you say “I have to…” or “I choose to …”? Do you think “That guy ruined my day!” or do you choose to not let someone else’s mood rub off on you? Just by changing the way you look at things and the way you talk about them, you can start to take control of your life.

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Use the following exercises to become more proactive in your life!

  • Listen carefully to the words you use. What reactive phrase do you use the most? Try replacing it with a proactive phrase.
  • If you get into a fight with a parent or a friend, be the first to apologize.
  • Give yourself a break, and decide to stop worrying about something that you can’t control.
  • Take a moment to pause before reacting to someone. Is your first instinct really the way you want to respond?

Visit to SUNY Cortland

On October 27, 3 of our students visited SUNY Cortland. It was a cold and rainy day for a campus tour, but we persevered to see the main academic buildings, the large, new gym, a ride on the campus’ shuttle bus, then finishing with lunch at one of the two dining halls.

SUNY Cortland offers 50 majors, teacher certification in a number of subjects and grade levels, as well as 11 pre-professional programs, including ROTC. At a 2.5 hour drive from Jefferson, SUNY Cortland might hit that perfect spot of “away from home, but not too far” that some students look for.

8th grade leadership

Last month, select 8th grade students from Jefferson participated in a leadership conference held on SUNY Oneonta’s campus. Participants included several Liberty Partnership Program students. During the event the students heard from guest speakers and did icebreakers and team building exercises with students from other schools.

College Considerations

The timeline for college applications has seen a big change this year! Starting last month, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available for those starting college in the 2017-2018 school year. The form has also become a bit simpler: now you use your tax information from 2015. So there’s no reason to delay!

If you want more information or help filling out the FAFSA and TAP applications, you can go to SUNY Cobleskill on Saturday November 12 from 9am – 1 pm in Center for Ag and Natural Resources (CANR) room 0001 for hands-on help. This help is available to anyone, no matter what colleges you are applying to!

Click here to register for the event. This isn't required, but it is highly recommended. See Ms. Elliott to get a free lunch voucher if you plan to go to the event. Please respond to her by Thursday November 10.

October 2016

Dear Parents,

I am happy to be the tutor/mentor for Jefferson CSD this year! I will be working with your student to set and pursue goals, provide academic support, raise awareness of college and career opportunities, enhance his or her personal development and work to inspire him or her to pursue future success in career and life!

I am looking forward to working with you towards these goals.

Warm regards,
Leah Elliott

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Is your life everything you want it to be? Are you looking for ways to make it better? Each month I’ll be outlining a habit that you can develop to make it easier to reach your goals. They can help you be happier, improve your relationships with friends, family and teachers, build your confidence, help you do more in less time (leaving more time for fun!), and get more control over your life.

Check out the bulletin board outside Ms. Seals’ room during the year to learn about the 7 habits.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

-Samuel Smiles, Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them