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August 21, 2014

photo of Farnsworth Middle School signstudents reads aloud during a book fair eventstudents arriving at schoolstudents work on a computerstudents seated at their desks

Michael Laster, Principal

6072 State Farm Rd. Guilderland, NY 12084

Phone: 518/456-6010 ext. 3010

Fax: 518/456-3747

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Supply lists and placement information

Please note that school supply lists for the 2014-15 school year have been posted to the Backpack Mail home page. Middle school placement information for the upcoming year will be available beginning August 8 via the SchoolTool Parent & Student Portal. Don't have a SchoolTool account yet? Be sure to sign up before August 8 to ensure timely access to placement information! Visit the SchoolTool Parent & Student Portal home page to learn more about creating, accessing and using your account

Information for FMS parents regarding the start of the new school year

Please take a few moments to read information below from FMS Principal Michael Laster regarding placement letters and upcoming open house and orientation dates:

Letter for parents of incoming sixth graders (PDF)
Placement information available on SchoolTool August 8
Orientation set for September 3
Open House set for September 11

Letter for parents of incoming seventh and eighth graders (PDF)
Placement information available on SchoolTool August 8
Grade 7 Open House set for September 16
Grade 8 Open House set for September 22


Hive inspection set for Thursday, August 7

Beekeepers Jennifer Ford and Keith Freeman will be conducting a beehive inspection at the FMS Organic Garden this Thursday, August 7. For more details on attending this inspection, please contact them at

photo of a butterfly from the FMS Butterfly StationButterfly Station and Organic Garden now open for the season

The Guilderland Central School District is pleased once again announce the opening of Butterfly Station, a student-run butterfly house and native plant garden. Located on the grounds of Farnsworth Middle School (6072 State Farm Road, Guilderland), this is the station’s 15th year of operation. Besides walking among butterflies, visitors can watch how butterflies are raised in the metamorphosis room or make free butterfly projects in the craft room. Community members of all ages will enjoy the many interactive butterfly exhibits in the museum room. Butterfly Station is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., through August 15. Guests are also invited to stop by and purchase seasonal produce at the FMS Organic Farmer’s Market. The garden, located adjacent to the middle school, offers a wide variety of fresh organic produce as well as an exciting opportunity for both students and the community to learn about the art of organic gardening.

Check out what's happening at the FMS Organic Garden this summer!

Every Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., produce from our Organic Garden will be available for sale in our Farm Stand. In addition, produce is available for sale Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in our Butterfly Project gift shop. This is a great way for students, parents and community members to eat healthy, organic produce from our FMS garden all summer long. All proceeds and donations received are used to sustain this program. Service Learning Opportunity: Attention National Junior Honor Society or National Honor Society members! This summer is your chance to help out in the garden and earn some community service credit hours. Volunteers are encouraged to contact Shirley Sousa for more detailed information and schedules on when to volunteer.

FMS installs new honeybee hive in Organic Garden
Learn more about honeybees and beekeeping throughout the summer and fall!

Honeybee hives buzzes
into FMS Organic Garden

FMS is excited to announce that teachers Keith Freeman and Jennifer Ford have installed an active honeybee hive in the FMS Organic Garden! We would like to invite anyone who may be interested in learning more about honeybees or beekeeping to join them as they manage the hive throughout the summer and fall. You can watch and ask questions from a safe distance, or get right in and do some hands on work! If you are interested in checking out one or more of the hive inspections, please send a note directly to She will be sending out a group email within the next few weeks letting everyone know the dates and times of the beehive inspections as they are scheduled. Inspection schedules will also be distributed via SNN and posted to the FMS website. Learn more

Please note: Focus group date and application deadline have changed
District seeks applicants for Nov. 1 building capacity focus group

On Saturday, November 1, the district will host a community focus group activity, facilitated by Dr. Paul Seversky, a consultant with the Planning Service at the Madison-Oneida BOCES, to get direct feedback from residents about each of the six scenarios outlined in Guilderland's building capacity study report. Any district resident interested in participating as a focus group member is invited to apply no later than October 1. Learn more and download an application The Board of Education will review all applications received and is expected to appoint selected volunteers at its October 21 board meeting.

District transitioning to paperless report cards in 2014-15

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, Guilderland Central School District will be transitioning to a paperless report card system for all students, grades K-12. Report cards will no longer be sent or mailed home; instead, parents will be able to access and review their child’s report card online via the district’s SchoolTool Parent and Student Portal. Learn more

FMS fields looking good thanks to donation from local company

The athletic fields damaged earlier this spring at Farnsworth Middle School are looking amazing thanks, in part, to the generous donation of equipment from Latham-based company Grassland Equipment and Irrigation Corp. Learn more and view before and after photos

Community meeting held June 16 to discuss results of recent building capacity study

On Monday, June 16, Guilderland Central School District held a community meeting with Dr. Paul Seversky, a consultant with the Planning Service at the Madison-Oneida BOCES, to discuss the results of the recent district-wide building capacity study. More than 100 community members--mostly parents--attended the event. If you were unable to join us, you can download a copy of the report or watch a replay of the meeting on our website. Learn more

Algebra Bridge Program

Please review the following important information about the Algebra Bridge Program, for students entering eighth grade in September 2014 who are enrolled in Accelerated Algebra. Download the packet, containing links for summer work (PDF) Also be sure to download the accompanying Bridge Notesheet (PDF)

On the job training...
FMS students participate in job shadow program

Farnsworth Middle School eighth grader Luke Walter worked intently as he wrapped the ankle of an injured Siena College student athlete. “There were a lot of injuries today,” he said. “Way more than I thought there would be. It was really busy.” Walter was working at the college for the day in the athletic training room as part of the Family and Consumer Sciences job shadow program at Farnsworth Middle School. Throughout the course of the school year, all eighth graders enrolled in the class will visit local jobs site to learn more about various professions. Read more and view a photo gallery of recent job shadow experiences 

Garden Club art contest for incoming 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at FMS

Learn more

FMS celebrates President's Award winners

At an awards ceremony held on Thursday, May 15, school and district leaders celebrated the academic achievement of more than 160 Farnsworth Middle School students who were recently named winners of the President’s Award for Educational Excellence. Learn more

Fall sports sign-ups are underway

Interested in playing a fall sport at GHS? Now is the time to sign-up! Fall sports begin August 18 and include cross country, field hockey, girl's tennis, girl's swimming and diving, golf, volleyball, cheerleading, soccer, and football. Learn more about playing a fall sport at GHS

National Junior Honor Society inducts 226 new members

On April 24, 226 eighth-grade students were inducted into the Helderberg Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Inductees demonstrated excellence in academics while also meeting the chapter’s high standards for service, leadership, citizenship, and character. Students were addressed by Dr. Wiles, who reminded them of their impact on others and responsibility to continue contributing to the world around them. Congratulations to all of the 2013-14 NJHS inductees! View the event program, including the complete list of honorees (PDF)

Important immunization changes for students entering grades K-6

The NYS Department of Health and NYS Education Department recently issued immunization requirement changes starting with the 2014-2015 school year. A letter will be sent home to all parents of students in grades K-6 on April 22 explaining these changes. Parents can also read the letter here (PDF).

Change in contact information for this year's Butterfly Station

Read a letter (PDF) from Beverly Bisnett-Jenks, instructional administrator for math, science and technology at Farnsworth Middle School

Camp Invention is returning to GCSD this summer

In partnership with the national nonprofit Invent Now, Guilderland Central School District is pleased to once again offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades one through six this summer. The program runs from July 21-25, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Farnsworth Middle School. Learn more

Want to help FMS earn free educational equipment?
Learn more


Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force at FMS

On Monday, September 30, 2013, members of the Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force came to Farnsworth Middle School to launch a new county-wide campaign aimed at creating a safer and more positive environment for all children. Led by Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, the Task Force will provide free programs and services for all students, faculty and caregivers on bullying awareness and prevention. Learn more about the kick-off event and view photos

District to begin releasing APPR scores by request

Beginning Oct. 11, all GCSD parents or legal guardians will have the right to request Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores for their child's current year's teacher(s) and principal(s).
Learn more and download a request form

District news heading graphic

arrow bullet District sets 2014-15 tax rates

arrow bullet District seeks applicants for building capacity focus group

arrow bullet Updated recommended reading list now available

arrow bullet District transitioning to paperless report cards in 2014-15

arrow bullet Important immunization changes for students entering grades K-6 (PDF)

arrow bullet Board adopts 2014-15 basic calendar (PDF)

arrow bullet Community fundraising for athletics

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