First Quarter newsletter now available

The school year is off to a strong start here at Farnsworth Middle School. We’d like to thank all our parents and family members who helped our students successfully transition from their summertime adventures back to a focus on learning, exploring, and discovery. I am pleased to report that our students and staff have established the positive routines and practices centered around excellent middle level instruction that will result in increased student achievement. 

I don’t know about you, but the month of September seemed to fly by. With all of our open houses and beginning athletic contests, before we knew it October began. One observation I’ve had so far is that our newest sixth grade learners have effectively transitioned to our middle school. They are navigating the big building without any problems or assistance and starting to attend clubs and activities of their interest. Students are just now hitting their stride with their academics. It is fun to see how well and how quickly they become part of our student body.

Our beginning student musicians are hard at work practicing their introductory music selections, I cannot wait to hear how they do in their first performances of the school year, which will be here before we know it. Our fall athletic season is shaping up to be a successful one. Many of our student athletes have persevered through some challenges and represented our school community in a positive way on the athletic field. 

I’d also like to share our Building Cabinet’s goals for this school year. Building Cabinet is a shared decision making body that has representatives from all stakeholder groups here at FMS. Their mission is to bring all members of FMS together to support and promote a diverse community of learners. They strive to improve our educational environment using the process of shared decision making.  Every year Cabinet meets to formulate the focus for the upcoming school year. Our three goals for FMS this year are:

  • Continue to engage our school community in conversation to help investigate how we maintain true heterogeneous experiences, make all of our students feel included, and celebrate cultural responsiveness in all aspects of our school.  
  • Support all faculty with targeted, meaningful and relevant professional development regarding health and wellness, cultural responsiveness, technology integration, collaboration, and the role of support staff. 
  • Continue to collaborate with stakeholder groups to monitor the Engaged Learning Initiative (1:1 Chromebooks) by empowering our Tech subcommittee to gather and analyze information in this area. One essential question to consider is: How do we encourage and equip teachers to enhance their instruction to use the technology to its full potential for learning?

As the days grow shorter, I encourage you to continue to engage with and support your middle school child and their successes here at FMS. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact your child’s school counselor or house principal. I look forward to seeing you at the events we have coming up. Until then, be well and thank you for all your support of our Farnsworth Middle School community.


In an effort to make student drop-off safer and more efficient, during drop off and pick up time here at FMS, please review the traffic flow map that is attached to this communication.

Parents and visitors are encouraged to exercise caution and patience during Map of FMS parking routethe school year if you plan to drop off or pick up your child during these high traffic times. 

We also expect respectful interactions between adults as they wait to pick up their child at our regular and late bus dismissal times. 

This is your opportunity to model respectful behavior for our middle school students and other guests who visit FMS.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding of our parking situation.

FMS Events

10/21               50th Anniversary Road Runner Race

10/22               Mix It Up Day

10/24               Seneca Breakfast with the Principal 9 -10:30

11/5                 Superintendent’s Conference Day – No School for students

11/7-11/8         Picture Retake Day

11/11               Veterans Day Observance/ No School /Offices Closed

11/15               1st Quarter Reports Cards Due on eSchool Data

11/15               Talent Show 7pm

11/18               PTA Meeting 8 am

11/21               GHS Symphonic & Gr. 8th Band & Orchestra @GHS 7:30 pm

11/25               GHS Choirs & Gr. 8 Chorus Concert 7:30 pm @ GHS

11/27-11/29     No School – Thanksgiving Recess

12/6                 Gr. 7th & 8th Winter Extravaganza Dance 7-9 pm


Breakfast with the Principal

Approximately once each quarter during the school year Mr. Laster will hold a parent informational breakfast. These breakfasts will be scheduled by house. Mr. Laster will brief parents on the what’s happening at FMS and answer general questions.

Please join us for the Seneca breakfast with the Principal October 24th from 9-10:30 and come meet new house principal Kelly Willetts. A school message will be sent prior to each date with a RSVP date.

Reminder from GCSD Lunch Program

Just a reminder that the grace period for the 2018 -2019 Free/reduced lunch application is 10/22/2019. Applications need to be completed every year.

You can get the applications at both the FMS house offices, district office or apply online at

Mrs. Cahill’s Class

A group photo of Mrs. Cahill's class on a recent field tripStudents in Mrs. Cahill’s class recently visited the St. Johns Welcome Kitchen to serve lunch to those less fortunate.  Mrs. Cahill takes groups from FMS throughout the school year. Through this service learning experience, students have the chance to help people in need by preparing food, serving and helping with clean up. These trips also qualify for National Honor Society service credit. We encourage all students to attend.

FMS Annual Awards and Student Recognition Programs

As we enter the FMS awards season we would like to provide you with a list of the awards available to FMS students and the criteria for each award. This information can also be found in the FMS 2019/2020 handbook.

President’s Award – This award is for 8th grade students only and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with the National Associations of Elementary and Secondary Principals. To be eligible, students must have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 93% (no rounding up) spanning all middle school years up to an including the fall semester of 8th grade. The student must also have received 3 or 4 on the NYS ELA or Math assessment in their 7th grade year.

 Board of Education AwardsThis award program recognizes students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades for success in the classroom. The Outstanding Academic Achievement Award is presented to students who have demonstrated outstanding character while maintaining a 95% (no rounding up) for the first three marking periods of the school year. The Notable Academic Improvement Award is presented to students whose overall report card average has improved significantly since the beginning of the school year, and demonstrated that they have tried hard and displayed a positive attitude.

Principal’s Achievement RecognitionPrincipals Achievement Recognition will be determined twice a year and will include all students earning at 89% or higher (no rounding up) this achievement roster will be posted on the FMS website at the end of the first semester and again at the conclusion of the school year.

Emotions in the middle – Moody, private, self-conscious…if this sound like your tween, you’re not alone. At this age, their body and emotions are changing rapidly. Here are ways to help them cope. 

Managing moods – Physical growth and worried about friends, sports, and schoolwork can cause moodiness. Let your child know you’re available to talk. A quiet statement, such as “I remember what it feels like to not be asked to join a team” can invite them to open up about what’s bothering them.

Finding Privacy – It’s natural for your middle grader to want some time to himself. He might close his bedroom door or walk outside to take a phone call, for example. Show him that you respect his growing need for privacy by giving him space.

Fitting In – Many middle graders feel self-conscious. Being part of a group of people who share his interest can help your youngster focus on his strengths and feel more confident. Encourage him to participate in at least one activity, perhaps basketball, student government or STEM club.

Cinna – The FMS Facility Service Dog

Cinna is a 4 ½ year old female Labradoodle and she weighs 42 lbs. and was born on April 3, 2015.

Cinna lives with Mrs. Stedge and comes to work at FMS with her almost every day. Mrs. Stedge is a Reading Teacher who works in the Reading Place. Mrs. Stedge and Cinna can be found visiting with students throughout the halls each day.

This is Cinna’s fifth year in middle school and Mrs. Stedge’s 15th year. Cinna loves her job! She is calm at school but can be playful too. Her job at FMS is to Picture of Cinna the Service Dogmake people happy and to help them have a good day.

Cinna is respectful of everyone. Students who do not want Cinna to come close to them do not need to worry. She stays on a leash with an adult at all times in the halls and is only free to walk around a classroom if everyone in the room is comfortable.

Please feel to speak with or email Mrs. Stedge if there are any concerns or questions.

Please Welcome New and Returning Staff To FMS

Elizabeth Albright         Special Education

Daniela Consola          Teaching Assistant

Kayla Dinces               Teaching Assistant

Courtney Fallon            Aide/Monitor

Lauren Fox                  Special Education

Cheri Hart                   6th Grade Teacher

Sarah Iddings               Special Education

Mary Grace Judge        8th Grade Teacher

Susan Kavanaugh         Math AIS

Naomi Kriss                 ENL Teacher

Michelle LaPierre        ISS/504 Teaching Assistant

Marilena Mancino        Special Education

Divina Mendoza           Teaching Assistant

Megan Moran               Special Education Teacher

Alexandra Nealis          7th Grade Teacher

Cynthia Pachucki         7th Grade Teacher

Megan Polino                6th Grade Teacher

Kathleen Rubasky         Teaching Assistant

Joanne Ryan                Spanish Teacher

Kelly Rymer                 Math AIS

Anthony Sanchez          Building Substitute

Kimberly Spiro             Teaching Assistant

Kelly Willetts                 Seneca & Tawasentha House Principal

Robert Winans K-12 Music Administrator

Megan Wyand              Special Education

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