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David Ziskin

Superintendent of Schools

25 High Street

Fort Plain, NY 13339





Students from Fort Plain Jr. /Sr. High School participate in “Minds On” workshops

In early November, three groups from Fort Plain Jr. /Sr. High School joined students from area districts in “Minds On,” workshops at locations around the area including the Arkell Museum. Minds On is an educational initiative of The Rensselaerville Institute that encourages deep thinking and group work.

The trips were arranged and sponsored by the Okay to Excel (OK2XL) club at the Jr. /Sr. High School as a way to add enrichment to the curriculum.
The three groups from Fort Plain attended workshops about the Underground Railroad, DNA, and on setting the scene in writing.

Louise Clute took 10 of her seventh grade students to the latter workshop and said they benefited from it.

“The students had to look at art and create a scene like they were going to write a novel or short story. It was great. One of the writing mentors really made them work hard at writing dialogue,” she said.

“Our students were really involved and they were able to share their writing. That helped their confidence. They all ended up with the beginnings of a story and shared it with everyone throughout the day.”

Kathleen DeKalb, a coordinator of the OK2EL program said it’s good to get the students out of the classroom so they can work with students from other districts.

“It gets them out and working with other kids. Sometimes they come back surprised with what they know, so it’s usually pretty good for their self-esteem,” she said.

Social studies teacher Will Ryan plans to bring a group of nine sophomores, juniors and seniors to a workshop in Dec. 14 in Rensselaerville. This marks his tenth year, and this year, his students will take a point in history prior to the creation of the United Nations and deal with a national issue.

“The groups will look at if the UN were created earlier, what impact would there have been during that time. We debate on resolutions and build consensus,” he said. “Kids get to learn parliamentary procedure and coalition build, which means to persuade other delegates.

“The kids learn a lot, and when I pick the kids for the next year, I expect the juniors to teach the new sophomores.”

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