Superintendent Newsletter

Panther Strong: May 2022

Dear Spencer-Van Etten Community,

It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself to you as your Interim Superintendent. This is the fifth time I have been in District, working as an interim, and I am happy to be back! In my career I have 30+ years in education and have held roles of a teacher, Director of Special Education, Director of Transportation, Dean of Students, K-12 Principal, and now Interim Superintendent. I have four grown children and 8 grandchildren and come to you from Bath, NY. It is my hope that I can successfully guide and lead the district until your new Superintendent is in place.

The Superintendent search is going well. The Board of Education met with Kelly Houck, the GST Superintendent who is leading the search, last Friday evening to go through all applicants. They have decided on who they wish to interview from the pool of applicants. The first round of Superintendent interviews with the Board of Education will be on May 9th, with all day interviews for the second round on May 19th.

The Budget Hearing and Meet the Candidates night is Thursday, May 5th at 7:00pm in the Middle School Library. The Annual School Budget Vote and Board of Education Election is Tuesday, May 17th from noon - 8:00pm in the High School Auditorium Lobby.

The Capital Project is also going well, and they are currently ahead of schedule, which is always a good thing!

It seems that we have had an uptick in our positive Covid cases the last couple of weeks. Please be diligent with frequent hand washing and social distancing. We have received a new shipment of Covid tests and have handed out one box per student the first week in May. Please continue to test if you show signs of symptoms. Gail Hall is our resource for guidance, please call, text or email her should you have any questions or concerns. 607-765-4215,

The first week of May was Teacher Appreciation Week and never has this been so earned. Your SVE teachers have worked diligently to do the very best job they can for their students and always strive for excellence beyond expectations. As always, please reach out to the district through with any comments, questions, concerns, or kudos.


Mary Ordway

S-VE Interim Superintendent of Schools

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High School Highlights

Chicken Cam

Students in the high school Animal Science class were given eggs to incubate in class. The eggs were placed in the incubator on April 6. Chicken eggs take about 21 days to develop in an incubator, being rotated daily, and began hatching on April 26. The technology department generously brought a camera so the hatching could be live streamed to the district. From kindergarten to high school, students were diligently watching the chicks come into the world. It was a great learning experience for all ages. After a couple of days at the high school, the chicks will be returned to the family that donated the eggs to be raised as laying hens on their farm.

We anticipate ducklings hatching next week. Click here to access the Ducklings Cam.

Pheasant Farm

On Monday, April 25, students in the Agriculture classes, Sportsman’s club and FFA took a trip to the Reynolds Game Farm run by the NYS DEC. Students toured their facilities and saw where the pheasant eggs are washed, incubated and placed into boxes to then be transported to another location on the farm. The students also saw where the chicks are relocated and where they stay until they are about five weeks old. The DEC raises about 3,000 pheasants in one-acre pens throughout the summer to be eventually released into the wild in the fall. Students assisted in preparing the one-acre pens for the five week old pheasants. They also had a chance to collect eggs from the breeding pens. Pheasant eggs take about 28 days in incubation before hatching.

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Middle School Highlights

Spring Showcase

The middle school opened the building to students and families in April for a Spring Showcase. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces.

Elementary School Highlights

Poetry in Grade 4

Fourth grade students are working on a poetry unit.

Click here to read some student poetry!

STEM in Grade 2

Second grade students are studying insects and plants in their current STEM Unit. Their first investigation is on Mealworms.

The content that is taught includes:

  • Insects are animals and need air, food, water and space;
  • Insects have characteristic structures and behaviors;
  • The structures of some insects change as the insect grows;
  • As insects grow, they molt their hard, external covering (pictured below);
  • The life cycle of the beetle is egg, larva, pupa, and adult which produces eggs;
  • Insects have predictable characteristics at different stages of development that display a pattern.

The students observe beetles change from larvae to pupae to adults. They communicate observations of the structures, behaviors and life cycles of insects in words and drawings. The students also provide for the basic needs of living insects in a classroom habitat.

Students have absolutely loved this unit so far! They all have two of their own mealworms that they take care of and observe. They change out the bran, which is what the mealworms eat, and they also replace their apples, when needed. The apple or any other moist vegetable provides the mealworm with its water source.Second grade students observe any changes that have happened to their mealworms (some of them have molted their exoskeleton, which was very exciting to observe). Sadly, we had a couple die so we also discussed that process of the life cycle. Additionally, students are observing and caring for a large class collection of mealworms in a larger habitat.

Mrs. Zarach's Second Grade Class

Summer School

Location Update

Summer School will now be held at the S-VE Elementary School and Middle School. The High School will be closed to the public this summer to allow construction to remain on schedule and be ready for the start of the 2022-23 school year.


Meals will be provided to students enrolled in summer school only, due to construction. Families seeking assistance for meals during the summer can contact the Southern Tier Food Bank at 607-796-6061 or the Spencer-Van Etten Community Food Cupboard at 607-589-4412.

Athletic Highlights

S-VE Varsity track has been showing great strength in every event with personal records and wins! (Photo from Senior Night below)

SVEC Varsity boys golf is 6-0. Four SVEC golfers broke 50 as the Eagles defeated Newark Valley, 178-237, in IAC South Large School boys golf action at Grandview Farms Golf Course. Girls Golf made their presence known at the Mark Twain Golf Course with a medalist honor!

S-VE Varsity softball has only had one loss all season, to Tioga, and remains a force to reckon with! Senior Night is May 10!

S-VE Varsity baseball is showing tremendous effort and growth. The SVEC baseball team erupted for 14 sixth-inning runs to beat Whitney Point, 22-1. We will see much more from this team!

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Athletic Signing

Two SVEC football teammates signed with Utica College to play football. Seated with the SVEC football coaches, pictured center left is Candor's Nick Thomas and center right is S-VE's Devin Beach.

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Summer Lifting

Summer Lifts will be offered by Lourdes Hospital and will be held at Candor due to construction at S-VE. Schedules are being established and more information will follow.

Support Our Athletes

Athletic schedules are posted on Schedule Galaxy. Please keep in mind that the spring season comes with changes due to weather. You may want to check the schedule before heading out to a game to make sure it hasn't been changed.

We look forward to our community supporting our athletes! Spectators welcome!


Board of Education Presentation

Four middle school students presented their FFA experiences with Agriculture teacher, Mrs. Megan Friscia, at an April Board of Education meeting.

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Electronic Newsletters = Environmentally Friendly

Please help us continue to grow our electronic newsletter listserv so we can achieve our goals of increasing community communication and transitioning to a more environmentally sustainable form of communication.

Encourage those you know to submit their name and email address to to get on this electronic mailing list for our monthly electronic newsletters!

All newsletters, both printed and electronic, are available here and on our website.


Lourdes Mammogram Van

The S-VE Health and Wellness Committee has scheduled the Lourdes Mammogram Booth to come to S-VE for our staff and community!

Locations and dates include:

High School – Friday, May 13, 2022

Middle School – Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Call 607-798-5723 to schedule an appointment.

You do not have to be a Lourdes patient. Your results can be sent to the health care provider of your choice. We welcome insured and uninsured women. No referral needed.

To find out if you are eligible for low- or no-cost screenings, call the Cancer Services Program at 1-833-837-4931.

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Meet the Candidates
Susan Rider-Ulacco

How long have you been a member in the S-VE Community?

  • More than 50 years

What is your background/area of expertise?

  • I worked in a grocery store managing the customer service area for approximately eight years. I worked for a payroll company for approximately five years. Finally, I have practiced law for approximately 20 years.

What is your connection and/or interest in the S-VE schools?

  • I graduated from S-VE in 1982. I am interested in giving children an education to get them through life.

Why are you running for the BOE?

  • I believe parents should have a say in the education of their children.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the BOE?

  • Critical race theory and gender identification

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a BOE member?

  • Working as a customer service representative and in the legal field has prepared me to serve as a BOE as I have had to learn excellent negotiation skills.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

  • I have supported fund-raising activities and students’ participation in sporting events.
Sean Vallely

How long have you been a member in the S-VE Community?

  • 25 years

What is your background/area of expertise?

  • Engineering, insurance, construction

What is your connection and/or interest in the S-VE schools?

  • Taxpayer, parent

Why are you running for the BOE?

  • To ensure the best academics for our kids while remaining fiscally responsible to our taxpayers.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the BOE?

  • Fiscal responsibility and academic excellence.

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a BOE member?

  • Management and negotiation skills in private industry and 13 years experience on BOE.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

  • SVETA, Budget Committee, church, FFA, Policy Committee, Negotiations Committee, Facilities Committee and Smart Schools Committee.
Karen Johnson

How long have you been a member in the S-VE Community?

  • Since 1996. We moved to SVE because having graduated from a small rural school (Andes, NY) I wanted the benefits of a small district for my kids.

What is your background/area of expertise?

  • I am a real estate broker and business owner. My husband and I formed Laurel Management, Inc. in 1989 as a real estate development and construction company. After his death in 2000, I segued into the real estate side of the business. I own Laurel Properties, which began in Spencer and now Van Etten since 2011, currently employing three real estate agents.

What is your connection and/or interest in the S-VE schools?

  • I have served on the School Board since 2013. Before that I was a school volunteer for more than 10 years. I have raised three children who graduated from Spencer: John Hren in 2008, Sawyer in 2014 and Lydia in 2018. My granddaughter, Madelyn Reid, also lived with me and graduated from SVE in 2019.

Why are you running for the BOE?

  • Having served nine years on the board I have learned a lot – and there is still a lot to learn. I love the community and culture of SVE – I want to continue to strengthen our school and help to make this a place where people want to live and work. I also am very aware of the rising burden of school taxes and that it is important to do all we can to keep homes affordable. Being self- employed I also have flexibility to attend events during the school day and out of town conferences.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the BOE?

  • No one issue – I am here for the kids, teachers, staff and community.

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a BOE member?

  • Before becoming a board member, I served on Budget Committee and was involved in the merger study. I also have participated in many trainings and conferences in my time on the board and attend Lobby Day in Albany, where I always advocate for our schools.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

  • As a board member I have served on many committees including negotiations, budget, agriculture, Athletic Hall of Fame, and audit and been a delegate to the state convention of school board members. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Ithaca Board of Realtors, on several committees with New York State Association of Realtors, am VP of Spencer Chamber of Commerce and run the picnic parade. I am a member of the Town of Erin Planning Board and serve as Secretary on the Board of Directors of Tioga Opportunities.

Red Cross Blood Drive

The National Honor Society students had great success with their first blood drive and collected enough units to give one member a $250 scholarship. In hopes of collecting enough units to add another $250 scholarship for a second student, the National Honor Society members have organized a SECOND Red Cross Blood Drive! It will take place in the high school gym on Friday, June 3rd from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. If interested in donating, use this link.

Save your pull tabs

S-VE will be collecting Pull Tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Donations can be brought to any school office between now and May 31.

Capital Project

The elementary school office, high school office and secure vestibule work began over Spring Break. Below are some photos of the progress at the high school.

High School Capital Project Photos

Budget Vote Information

Mark your calendars!
  • The Budget Hearing and Meet the Candidates will be held Thursday, May 5 at 7pm in the Middle School Library.
  • The Annual Budget Vote will be held Tuesday, May 17 from noon-8pm in the S-VE High School Auditorium Lobby.

Budget Documents

If you'd like to access financial presentations from the Budget Advisory committee meetings or budget presentations from the BOE meetings, click here.
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FREE Breakfast and Lunch for ALL students!!!

For the 2021-2022 School Year, 1 FREE Breakfast and 1 FREE Lunch is provided daily to all students! Additional portions are available for a charge.

Menus can be accessed on our cafeteria webpage.

Summer Meals

Due to construction at all three schools this summer, we are having a closed enrolled summer feeding program. This means that only students who are enrolled in summer school will be receiving meals. We will be unable to deliver meals to other sites this summer. Families seeking assistance for meals during the summer can contact the Southern Tier Food Bank at 607-796-6061 or the Spencer-Van Etten Community Food Cupboard at 607-589-4412.

Physicals Available

A nurse practitioner will be at the high school and middle school on May 10 to perform

physicals. An annual physical is required for students in grades 7-12 who would like to participate in school sports, a physical done no longer than 12 months from the first of the month the sport starts in – August for fall, November for winter and March for spring.

An Interval History Form (linked here) must be completed by a student’s parent/guardian

prior to the student receiving a physical at school. The deadline for accepting these forms is

Monday, May 9 at noon in order to accurately schedule the practitioner’s time.

If you are able, we are requesting that your child be seen by their private health care

provider for a physical exam instead of having one done at school. Most insurances cover an

annual well child visit and students typically receive a more thorough physical from their health

care provider, as they know the child and their medical history. They will also more readily

prescribe, test and immunize a person they see regularly. The district is charged per-physical, so

this would help to reduce district costs.

If your child has had, or will have, a physical exam performed by their healthcare provider, please always forward a copy to the school nurse. The fax number is 607-589-3003 for all

three nurses. It can also be attached in an email or the paper copy turned into the school nurse. You can check with your school’s nurse if you are unsure the date of the most current physical she has for you on file. If you should have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

The 3rd Annual Community Fill the Bus Event

The 3rd Annual Community Fill the Bus event was a huge success. S-VE helped divert 4,179 pounds of waste from the waste stream! Great job Panthers!

Panther Pride Day

Pre-K students proudly wearing S-VE colors.

Digital Equity Survey Reminder

If you have not done so yet, please complete the Digital Equity Survey for each student in grades Kindergarten – Grade 12.

The Digital Equity Survey:

  • is a NYS requirement,
  • provides an accurate picture of connectivity/access for district remote learning plans,
  • necessary for state and federal funding of broadband initiatives.
S-VE Website

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S-VE Twitter Feed

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Spencer-Van Etten Central School District

16 Dartts Crossroad

Spencer, NY 14883

Phone: (607) 589-7100

Fax: (607) 589-3010