Sunday, March 11, 2018

N Apostrophe T...

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a unique conversation with one of our behavior specialists regarding changing the mindset of someone from negative to positive. Prior to the conversation, I had no knowledge of just how vast this individuals experience was. Their resume includes developing behavior improvement philosophies that have been universally adopted by at least 4 State Departments of Education and a military manual to work on helping families adjust to a military lifestyle. The reality of the concept is really not anything new, but it’s not really improving behaviors but an adjustment in an individuals attitude or mindset. Becoming more positive with our lives and how we approach a situation has been universally discussed in recent times, including many schools adopting the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) model. PBIS aims to shift the mindset of those working in schools to acknowledge and reward positive behaviors, rather than the old fashion focus on all things negative. In talking to our specialist, his concept is unique, simple, and ironically common sense. He works to train people to remove N’T words from our vocabulary. Can’t, won’t, don’t, couldn’t, isn’t and etc. are all words with not only negative connotations, but also carry some level of dejection with them. If you take a moment to think about being a parent or teacher, how often to we simply let these words slip out without even thinking every time we see something happen that we hoped had a different result. Example: you give your child a cup of milk and they try to carry it with one hand. Most of us would say, “don’t spill that” or “that isn’t how to carry the cup”. Instead, we could ask, “how should you carry the cup?” Both statements will yield the same desired results, but one of the statements does not put the child on edge and requires them to think through what is happening. I have spent the last several weeks carefully reflecting on my language use and it is shocking how often these N’T words are used. What is equally shocking and enjoyable is how much more positive you can feel by removing these words from your vocabulary. Asking kids questions about what they should be doing rather than directing them or casting negativity on their daily routines will make a big difference in their lives. Eventually, they will pay it forward and our entire society will become more positive. Our children recognize those of us that they feel areN’T against them. They remember those that say they CAN more than those that constantly say they caN’T. I challenge you to start a wave of positivity in your environment and attempt to minimize or eliminate N’T from your vocabulary. Both your kids/students and your own demeanor will change for the better. 

Rising Stars

Rising Stars is a fun learning experience that teaches stage and life skills through games and activities, individual coaching, and actual performances on the Capitol Stage. The program focuses on developing the students' own creativity, building self-confidence, improving reading comprehension and speaking ability, accepting responsibility, and teamwork.

Students will learn stage movement, character development, how to audition, and a whole lot more! Skills developed will better prepare students to compete for roles in school plays and other local stage productions, as well as interacting with confidence during pageants, interviews for college or jobs, and in everyday dealings with teachers and peers.

Four sessions of 10 classes each are offered yearly.  Students can sign up for any or all sessions. Stage Performances are offered during the Spring and Fall Session and require extra rehearsals on weekends and weekday evenings.  Winter and Summer sessions focus on learning the necessary skills to qualify for performance and require attendance only for regular classes on Saturdays.  In 2018 only, Summer Session will also include a short performance which requires a few extra rehearsals.

Regular Classes are on Saturdays:
Grades 7-9 from 10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Grades 10-12 from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM
Grades 3-6 from 1:00 PM-2:00 PM
2018 Spring Show Date:  June 3.  
Rehearsals begin April 15.

For more information, please visit their website at

Utica OD Teen All-Stars

Who's your Teen All-Star?

The O-D is currently accepting nominations for its 2018 Teen All-Stars! Each year, dozens of local seniors are nominated by friends, family, school officials and members of the community.
Teen All-Stars is an annual awards program created by the Observer-Dispatch to recognize local students who excel both academically and in their extracurricular activities.
The nomination period will be open from Sunday, March 4, until Wednesday, April 4.
To nominate a local high school senior, please fill out this form in its entirety. The nomination must include:
* A letter of nomination (no longer than 500 words)
* A list from the nominee of his or her Top 10 school/community activities
* A statement from the nominee describing one accomplishment he or she is most proud of.
Additional requirements and details can be found on the form.

Paying for College - HESC

New York State has a division set aside to help students and families understand the funding process and where to gain financial support called the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). Each year, there are thousands of dollars that students and families leave on the table unclaimed that they would be eligible for. In recent years, the Governor has worked to find ways to help make college more affordable for families. For more information about the programs and services that HESC can provide to your student or family, please visit their website at .

Host Families Needed

The Rotary Club is in need of a host family for a current RFA foreign exchange student from Hungary. The family is needed for roughly 6 weeks, from the middle of May through the end of June. The opportunity to work with a student from a foreign country and experience another culture as you help them experience yours is extraordinary. If you think you can help this student out or if you have questions, please contact Sam Pendergast at 315-617-3567 or by email at