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Fort Plain CSD Masthead

Douglas C. Burton

Superintendent of Schools

25 High Street

Fort Plain, NY 13339



Junior Senior High School home page Harry Hoag Elementary School home page

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Education Speaks

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Sports physicals to be held Aug. 12, pre-screening Aug. 11

JULY 28, 2015 - The Fort Plain Central School District will have pre-screening for summer sports physicals on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 8-11 a.m.

The pre-screening - which consists of height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, kidney function and health history - must be done before the doctor can perform the actual physical.

Physicals will be held on Wed., Aug. 12, at 8:30 a.m. Students must report both days to be approved for fall sports.

Changes to immunization requirements for 2015-16 school year

JULY 29, 2015 - With the start of the new school year approaching, parents should be aware that there have been changes to the 2015-16 immunization requirements for public schools. Among the changes are requirements that all children have their complete series of MMR, DTaP and polio immunizations prior to entering school. Previously, the final doses of each vaccine could be administered up until age 6.

Parents are urged to call their doctor’s office with questions and to make sure their child will be in compliance for the upcoming school year. They are also reminded to forward a copy of their child’s immunization record to the school nurse. Protecting the health of all of our students is a top priority, each and every year.

An outline of the 2015-16 immunization changes is available here (pdf document).

Fort Plain High School supply list available

JULY 28, 2015 - The Fort Plain High School supply list is available.View it here (PDF document).

Harry Hoag Elementary supply list is available

Supply lists for the 2015-16 school year can be found here (PDF document).

Fort Plain BOE announces David Ziskin as new superintendent

JULY 6, 2015 - The Fort Plain Central School District Board of Education has announced its choice of David W. Ziskin as new superintendent of schools. Ziskin is currently the high school principal for the Greater Amsterdam School District. Pending successful contract negotiations, he is expected to assume his responsibilities at Fort Plain on Sept. 1, 2015 or sooner. Read more

Fort Plain BOE announces superintendent finalists

JUNE 18, 2015 - The Fort Plain Central School District Board of Education has announced three finalists in its search for a new superintendent of schools. Until the board selects its final candidate, Dr. Patrick Michel, HFM BOCES District Superintendent, will serve as interim superintendent at Fort Plain, effective July 1. The board will announce when the new superintendent will assume his duties after contract negotiations are complete.

 Read more

Meal program this summer at Canajoharie Central School

This program is FREE and open to all Fort Plain students. Click here for more information

Summer activities to help cultivate the love of learning in your young child

Beginning school is like planting a new seed, hoping for healthy growth. There are many ways parents can cultivate the love of learning in their child. Whether you’re preparing for pre-K or kindergarten, we hope this calendar encourages you through the months of summer leading up to that first day of school. Click here to view the calendar pdf.

Fort Plain board member steps down

Board now accepting letters of interest to fill vacancy

June 16, 2015 – At its Wednesday, June 10th meeting, the Fort Plain Board of Education announced that it will accept letters of interest until June 25 from qualified community members who want to be considered to fill the vacancy of Board Member Rusty Capece. Capece vacated his seat on the board effective immediately for personal reasons.

“On behalf of the board of education, I want to thank Rusty for his years of service and commitment to our students,” said Superintendent Douglas Burton. “Being a board member is a big commitment but also a great opportunity to help shape the quality of our school system and the education of our children.”

The board of education is now accepting letters of interest from district residents who want to be considered to serve on the board for the remainder of the vacant term, which expires on June 30, 2016. Read more

Fort Plain students students participate in 24th Annual Recyclable Regatta

Canajoharie and Fort Plain students participated in the 24th Annual Recyclabe Regatta June 10. The regatta is an activity for middle and high school technology students, who design and build full size boats that float on recyclable materials. The event took place at the Pangea Ponds on Mahr Rd. outside of Canajoharie.

Fort Plain brought 2 boats to the event, one being a High School level displacement vessel which earned Second Place in that division,  and one being a Middle School Bottle Buoyancy vessel which took Fourth Place.

Read more

Fort Plain CSD completes assessment review process

As a result of the NYSED Teaching is the Core Grant awarded to the HFM BOCES-led consortium, Fort Plain School District had the opportunity to review student assessments related to APPR. Our local assessment review team, which is comprised of teachers and administrators who have been trained on the assessment review process, reviewed assessments and developed an Action Plan for 2015-16 and beyond. Click here to view the Action Plan which explains the important work that has been done and will continue in our district to support student learning and teacher professional development.

Author Fair was held

On Friday, June 5,  Harry Hoag Elementary School hosted an Author and Literacy Event -  thanks to a grant from the New York Newspapers Foundation. During the day studentsl enjoyed presentations by Chris Grabenstein (Grades 3 - 6) and Iza Trapani (Grades Pre-K - 2).

In the evening from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., the event opened to the community. Feature presentationswere made by Grabenstein and Trapani. Local authors, Mary Reed Mcall, Vic Sgambato, and Mary Ashwood were available to meet and greet and do book signings. Representatives from Fort Plain Free Library and Literacy NY were also in attendance.

Fort Plain Central School District collecting can tabs to raise money for the Shriners of Utica

Once again, the Fort Plain Central School has been collecting aluminum container tabs to raise money for the Shriners of Utica. The tabs are not only found on drink cans but also food items as well.

Money received from recycling the tabs will be used to buy medical and non-medical items for Shriners Hospitals for Children. In the past, the tab collection has enables the Shriners to purchase items such as a trailer for a hospital van X-ray viewing screens, stretcher chairs, two-way radios, traction equipment intravenous equipment, books and numerous other items.

“These tabs will help handicapped children get the equipment they need,” said teacher Deborah Waner. She initiated the project as a way to say “thank you” to the Shriners for obtaining a wheelchair, walker and braces for her son, Jordan.

Anyone may drop off tabs at any time to either the Fort Plain High School or Harry Hoag Elementary. You can also leave tabs at NBT Bank of Fort Plain or contact Mrs. Waner at the high school (518) 993-4000, to arrange a pick-up. The tabs will continue to be collected for the remainder of the 2015 school year as well as during the 2015-16 year.

Voters approved the $19 million budget for the 2015-16 school year on May 19 176 to 25.

This budget represents a spending increase of $200,000, or 1.06 percent, and a tax levy increase of zero percent. Find out more here.

Applications for Pre-Kindergarten available

Applications for the 2015-2016 Pre-Kindergarten program are available for pick up at the kiosk or the Elementary Main Office after 8:00 a.m. If you have any questions you may call the Elementary Main Office at 993-4000 ext. #3059.

Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School Students of the Month

The students are nominated for this honor by teachers or other staff and selected by a vote of a committee of teachers. A plaque which contains a group photo of all students of the month will be hung in the school lobby at the end of the school year. In addition, each student of the month receives two slices of pizza and a 20-ounce fountain drink donated by Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppe. (full story)

Fort Plain Board of Education tables merger discussion

During the Apr. 15 regular meeting of the Fort Plain Board of Education, following a previous joint school board meeting with Canajoharie Central School District held on Mar. 31, the Board entered into lengthy discussion and debate regarding possible options for the future of our school district. The Board’s consensus was to continue to pursue shared services with all neighboring districts and perhaps sometime in the future, consider further merger possibilities. Therefore, the Board of Education has decided to pursue a search for a new superintendent who will assume duties of the District on or about July 1, 2015. The Board wishes to invite any community members who would be interested in participating in focus groups to contact the District Office at 518-993-4000 ext. #1000 for consideration. Read more here.

Fort Plain BOE adopts 2015-16 budget proposal

The Fort Plain Central School District Board of Education adopted the $19,000,000 school budget proposal for 2015-16 on April 15. The proposed plan reflects an increase of 1.06 percent – or $200,000 - in spending over the current year and carries a tax levy increase of zero percent. The proposal will be put before voters on May 19. Read more here.

Final state budget approved by the State Legislature

The Fort Plain Central School District expects an estimated $225,217 in state funding as part of the final state budget approved by the State Legislature.

To receive the aid, legislators approving the budget are requiring that the district retool its teacher evaluation plan – known as the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) – under a new set of undetermined rules. The plan must be approved by the State Education Department by November 15.

The amount includes a $2,748 restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment – or GEA. This represents a partial restoration of the amount that has been deducted annually from the district’s promised state aid since 2010. The GEA has been used as a way to help the state balance its budget. Statewide, nearly $10 billion in school aid has been removed from districts since the GEA was introduced. Legislators have agreed to end the GEA permanently in 2016-17.

“I'm glad to see our district will benefit from an increase in state aid, but I'm disappointed to see that the GEA still remains,” said Superintendent Douglas Burton.

Letter to parents regarding upcoming state tests from Superintendent Douglas Burton

A  letter was sent home recently with Fort Plain elementary students regarding the upcoming state tests. Read it here.

Fort Plain Board of Education held a special joint meeting with Canajoharie School Board on Mar. 31.

Read more here.

Kindergarten Registration for 2015-16

Registration of all children in the Fort Plain Central School District who are eligible to start Kindergarten in September will begin Mar. 11. A child must turn 5 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2014 in order to be eligible to attend school. To prepare for registration and screening, please contact the Harry Hoag Elementary School office with information about your child before April 12 by calling 993-4000 ext. #3059. Notifying the school will ensure that you receive all of the necessary registration and screening information when it is sent out in April. Screenings will be held May 12, 13 and 14.

Fort Plain CSD receives Arts Education grant to create mural

 2015 NYSCA FMAG Arts in Education

Fort Plain CSD was recently granted a $3,000 New York State Council on the Arts Fulton-Montgomery Arts Education grant, which will help fund creation of a mural at Harry Hoag Elementary school. Friends of Fort Plain (FOFP) is the applicant organization in partnership with the school. Students will learn about murals and mosaics and work together to create a mural based on local Mohawk River history.

The mosaic mural will be installed on an outdoor wall in the school courtyard, a place where everyone can enjoy it. Boston-area mural artist Joshua Winer ( will work with the elementary art teacher and grade 4 teachers to coordinate participation of all 57 fourth-grade students in the project. He will spend eight days in residence at the school.

Stewart's Holiday Match will give $1,000 grant to Fort Plain CSD's Fitness Center

Funds will be used for annual equipment maintenance and training for volunteers who staff the center after-school and evenings.

It is the third consecutive year that Stewart’s has funded the fitness center. Donations to the Stewart’s Holiday Match program set a new record in its 28th season; raising funds which will help support hundreds of local children’s causes year round. From Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day, Stewart’s customers donated over $770,000 to the program, which is then doubled to more than $1.5 million with the Stewart’s match. After this year’s funds have been distributed, the Stewart’s Holiday Match program will have allocated more than $20 million since the program’s inception in 1986. (from Stewart’s website:

Harry Hoag Elementary School teacher drafts poem to Governor Cuomo

Harry Hoag Elementary School fourth-grade teacher, Jade Vangorder, recently penned a poem titled "At the expense of a child." It was featured on Education Speaks, a blog devoted to a thoughtful discussion of the issues shaping public education in New York’s Greater Capital Region and beyond.  Read her poem here.

Harry Hoag Elementary School establishes new Honor Society chapter

Harry Hoag Elementary School has established a chapter of the new National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) to recognize their most outstanding students. Staff at the school were notified recently that their application to begin this prestigious new national student recognition program was approved by the national office and that they may now undertake the process of selecting new members. Read More

Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School Honor Roll and Principal List students

The Principal's List and Honor Roll students have been named. Click here to read more.

Fort Plain students embracing PTECH experience

The new Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School opened for the 2014-15 school year with 50 ninth-graders and a mission to redefine secondary education through project-based learning and cutting-edge technology in a collaborative environment. Four Fort Plain students — Dakota Eller, Gregory Kirby, Zachary Rogers and Grant Stevens — were selected for the inaugural PTECH class.

“You work with other students as a team to solve problems and learn from our mistakes to become better,” Rogers said of working in groups. “Everything becomes more interesting, and that gives you the desire to learn more.”

Read the full story here.

After 14 years at the helm of Fort Plain Central Schools, District Superintendent Douglas Burton, is stepping down

Douglas Burton, FPCSD Superintendent, announced his retirement at a recent Board of Education meeting, effective June 30, 2015.

“In the years I’ve been here, I’ve been fortunate to work with a supportive board of education, teachers, and administrators who have always put the needs of Fort Plain students first and foremost,” said Mr. Burton. “I’m confident that going forward, they will continue to make those tough decisions while putting student needs at the forefront.”

The Board of Education has not made a formal decision on their plans to replace the superintendent at this time. Options include opening a formal search for a new superintendent and/or appointing an interim superintendent. The board will make a decision during their March 11 board meeting.

Harry Hoag students learned about Native American life

Third and fourth graders were treated to a visit from a Native Pride Dancer through the Bureau of Lectures Tuesday morning, Feb. 24. This Arts in Education program taught students about the beauty, symbolism and skill of Native American music, dance, and dress. The performance included traditional stories, musical styles and insight into the history of Native American life. Read More

Students of the Month announced for January

The students are nominated for this honor by teachers or other staff and selected by a vote of a committee of teachers. A plaque which contains a group photo of all students of the month will be hung in the school lobby at the end of the school year. In addition, each student of the month receives two slices of pizza and a 20-ounce fountain drink donated by Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppe. (full story)

District Superintendent Doug Burton urges Senator Amedore and Assemblyman Santabarbara to sign a bill to end GEA

"The GEA has had devastating effects on the students of Fort Plain Central School District since it was introduced in 2010-2011," he states in his letter. "We have had to cut both staff and programs and that has continued to erode the educational opportunities for our children."  READ THE ENTIRE LETTER HERE.

Learn more about the impact of GEA in this YouTube video produced by Capital Region BOCES Communications Service:

Gov. Cuomo calls for $1.1 billion school aid increase and education reforms, with no mention of the GEA

According to language in the Governor’s proposed budget bill, if the Legislature does not enact the education reforms he outlined, districts will not see an increase in state aid next year or the year after.


Update: No aid increase for next two years unless Legislature approves Cuomo’s proposal

According to language in Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget bill, if the Legislature does not enact the education reforms the Governor outlined in his budget address on Wednesday, Jan. 21, districts will not receive any aid greater than their 2014-15 amount for each of the next two years.  READ MORE

Congratulations to the Canajoharie- Fort Plain Girls Cross Country Team

They were 2014 Western Athletic Conference League Meet Champions, League Dual Meet Co-Champions, and finished 3rd at the Class "C" Sectional Meet (the patches they are holding).The girls were also New York State Scholar/Athlete Team Award winners which means the team's grade point average was over 90% for the first quarter.

Shown in photo: Emily Marsh; Back row from left to right:- Carolyn Adams, Lexi Kane, Breanna Hazzard, Gabby Bridgewater, and Lexi Veitch. Absent from the photo was Cheyenne Munson.

Students at FPHS learn coding

The Fort Plain Students Participate in “An Hour of CODE”

The ninth-grade students at Fort Plain High school were introduced to programming as part of An Hour of Code, an international program that teaches programming.

Mrs. DeKalb’s students enrolled in Key Essentials (keyboarding) participated in online programming interactive lessons available at Some students were actually able to code their own online game within the 43 minute class period. (full story)

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara rallies together with Fort Plain and Amsterdam School Districts

Together, they ask for an end to the Gap Elimination Adjustment

Since its inception in 2011, the Gap Elimination Adjustment has cost over $4 million in lost revenue for Fort Plain. In a district with an annual budget of approximately $18 million, this loss of funding has translated into a 22 percent reduction in staff over the years along with program cut-backs.

“Public schools are being asked to do more and more but without funding to back it up,” said Superintendent Douglas Burton. “We don’t anticipate recovering the lost funds, but we do expect the unfair distribution of funding to end.” (full story)

Fort Plain utilizes grant money to Strengthen Teacher Leadership Roles in the District

Fort Plain teachers and administrators are aiming to improve instruction through The Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness 3 (STLE3) grant awarded by the New York State Education Department for the 201-15 school year.

The $100,000 grant advances professional development and instructional leadership in New York state school districts. Aspects of the grant program also allow teachers and principals to share what they’ve learned with educators in their home districts, building a network of peer professional development that can be sustained into the future. (full story)

Special Education Department review

The New York State Education Department P-12: Office of Special Education has initiated a Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA) Special Education Programs and Services Focused Review in Fort Plain Central School District during the 2014-2015 school year. The purpose of this review is to assess the district's compliance with selected federal and State laws and regulations governing the education of students with disabilities.

The review will be conducted by the SEQA Eastern Regional Office and will include representatives from the school district. The review process will involve a review of school records of a representative sample of students with disabilities, classroom visitations and interviews. In addition, meetings of the committee on special education will be observed. Further information may be obtained by contacting the SEQA Eastern Regional Office at (518) 686-6366 and/or by contacting Fort Plain Central School District at (518) 993-4000.

Is your emergency contact information up-to-date?

Fort Plain Central School District has contracted with Public School Notifications from One Call Now. This calling system will make it easy for school to quickly communicate with parents, teachers, staff and communities in the case of an emergency. Officials are still in the enrollment process and training, but parents are being asked to make sure their contact information is up-to-date with their most current telephone number. Please contact your child’s school secretary to make any necessary changes to your emergency contact information.

Fort Plain CSD receives a $35,613 grant to manage school records

Fort Plain Fort Plain continues to seek alternative means for funding

Administrators were notified this week that Fort Plain Central School District has been awarded a $35,613 NYS Local Government Records Management grant. This grant will fund a more efficient way access to semi-active school files and a better way to handle requests for records.  (full story)

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