Randall Middle School

Newsletter, January 2023

News From the Principal

Dear Parents, Caregivers, and Community Members,

We had a super December at Randall Middle School! We engaged in high levels of learning, while also having lots of fun!

On December 14 we hosted the schoolwide Randall Middle School spelling bee. Two participants from each homeroom classroom community competed in the oral competition. Parents and caregivers were invited to attend in person or view the Spelling Bee online. We have 4 winners who will be moving on to the regional online spelling bee the first week in January:

First Place: Derek Mendiola, 5th grade

Second Place: Zoey Olmstead, 6th Grade

Third Place: Mason Call, 6th Grade

Fourth Place: Mason Shaff, 6th Grade

We had an awesome field trip on December 20 to the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse to see the SU Orange Women’s Basketball Team win versus University of Albany. This was a schoolwide field trip, and was earned as an incentive for our entire school community working hard to show ROAR (Respectful, Open-Hearted, Act Safely, Responsible) throughout our day here at Randall Middle School. December 20 was School Day at the Dome, and Randall Middle School was one of MANY schools represented. There were over 7,000 people at the Dome! We noticed that our Randall Middle School students were very well behaved, and represented Randall Middle School and the Cortland Enlarged City School District in a very positive light!

Our Randall Middle School PTO will be sponsoring our next ROAR incentive in February. We will be taking a schoolwide field trip to Crown City Cinemas, where we will watch a movie selected by a student vote. In order to earn this field trip, our classroom communities will be selecting ROAR learning targets that they will focus on. We keep track of our incentive points by classroom community, and each day on the schoolwide morning announcement video.

As we move into 2023, please take a moment to review cell phone and online etiquette with your student. We have instances of numerous students engaging in online conversations that are very inappropriate in nature. Often when these conversations are printed out and shown to parents or caregivers, they are shocked that their students are using such inappropriate language and topics. It is imperative for us to monitor our students’ online presence and enforce specific expectations. None of our Randall Middle School students are thirteen years old, which is the minimum age for social media accounts. This means that hundreds of our students have created social media accounts by falsifying their birthdates to gain access. The age of thirteen is chosen because students under that age are not developmentally prepared for the maturity and judgment that is required to navigate online platforms.

If there were a billboard put up on Main Street in Cortland with the vile content that our students are exposed to on their phones and social media, there would be a community uproar! Unfortunately, our students are carrying around a device that contains direct access to vile and inappropriate content and language that would absolutely shock you if you saw what they see and how they communicate.

I urge you to become more involved in your student’s online presence, and to view their phone more often. As a parent myself, I have also struggled with this issue within my own home. I know there is no easy fix. But together, we can continue to reinforce the ROAR expectations of being Respectful, Open-Hearted, Acting Safely, and Responsible, whether it be online or in person. It is our responsibility to ensure high levels of learning, both academic and social/emotional, for ALL students and adults.

Thank you for your support of Randall Middle School!

With Purple Tiger Pride,


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News From the Nurse

Welcome back! January promises cold hands and wet feet – but it also offers a playground of snow and endless smiles! Kindly send hats, mittens and extra dry clothes so that everyday can be a fun day!


  1. Physicals for the 5th grade continue every Thursday. If you do not want your child to receive a school physical please contact the Health Office at 607-758-4174.

  2. Immunizations are required for 6th and 7th grades. Please check with your child's Primary Care Provider and schedule an appointment. Students will not be allowed to attend school after 14 days without the required immunizations. (Tdap for 6th grade and Meningitis for 7th grade.)

  3. Sickness will either have the opportunity to wither away, or spread without concern! Please keep your child at home if they are sick.

As always–If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call me.

Stay well,

Nurse Neuman


PTO News

Shout out to our Randall Middle School PTO, who is always working behind the scenes to support students and staff at Randall. The PTO purchased bottled water so that each student could have a beverage at our Syracuse Dome field trip. They also purchased sugar cookies, frosting, and cocoa for our December holiday celebrations. Additionally, they hosted a staff holiday luncheon that was enjoyed by all. Special shout out to our PTO President Maddie Reeners, PTO Treasurer Katie Compagni, PTO Vice President/Secretary Wendy Gower, and Randall Literacy Specialist Christina Caravella for their extra efforts with PTO.

We had a successful November Coffee Mania PTO fundraiser, with the following students as top sellers:

Kaylee L-W - $720.00

Dexter S. - $288.00

Margaret R. - $240.00

Abby M. - $180.00

Dakota C. - $168.00

Our PTO fund raisers enable our PTO to support Randall Middle School. Thank you for supporting our fundraisers!

Please consider attending our next Randall Middle School PTO Meeting on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at 6pm. Our meetings are held in a hybrid format, meaning that attendees can choose to attend in person (held in Room B-11) or online via Google Meet.

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/abf-xech-zdw


Randall School Volleyball Tournament

~Luke Schweider/Austin Harriger

The Randall School Volleyball Tournament was a huge success! Teams made T-Shirts, posters and brought in mascots to represent their teams. Teams earned points with wins, ties and losses and also with good sportsmanship. There was a poster contest to see which posters were the favorite in the school.

Poster Results:

1st: Goofy Goobers

2nd: Dominating Ducks

3rd: Updyke’s Underdogs 2.0 and The Purple Dragons

Randall 2022 5th Grade Champions

The Mad Manatees from Mrs. Ricotilli’s Class

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Randall 2022 6th Grade Champions

The Water Wolves from Mr. Winship’s Class

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Music News

~Corinne Bennett

The Randall Holiday Concert was a huge success - thank you to all for your support of the music program!

Offbeats - Because of Martin Luther King Day and a Professional Development Day, we will only have two rehearsals this month - January 9th and January 23rd.

Prism concert - The district-wide Prism concert will be back this year! The Offbeats and a small group of 6th graders will be performing on this concert, which will be on February 16th. More information will be available as this event gets closer!


5th and 6th Grade Orchestra

~Allison Capano

The Randall 5th and 6th Grade Orchestra performed at the Winter Concert together. We have been working on many new skills, especially note reading on the staff.

All orchestra students did a wonderful job, and I am very proud of their accomplishments!

Reid Kline, Anneke Coats, and Jada McCaw worked on a holiday trio last month as a special holiday ensemble!


Winter Concert

~Amber Thayer

The Randall Middle School Winter Concert was a great success!!! Thank you so much for all your support! We will begin preparing for our next concert, on May 11th, 2023.

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~Nicole Evans

We finished our first semester in the library by building and racing pasta cars in fifth grade and designing our own 3-D prints in sixth grade (which will be printed in January)!

We are also so proud of our sixth graders for their mini career fair! They were so professional and wonderful and learned a lot from our visitors.

For the beginning of trimester two, our fifth graders are using their knowledge of source evaluation to research an endangered animal, and sixth graders are learning about Greek mythology and its continued importance today.

We also have makerspace days in the library every day 4, including holiday themed challenges, lego builds, Keva planks, perler beads, and much more, so be sure to ask your student what their challenge or activity was!



~Danielle Beltz

In art we have been designing portfolios, drawing contours and working with oil pastels. We also finished a collaborative Vincent Van Gogh oil pastel recreation.


Friendship Club

~Gina Vachon

The Randall Middle School

Friendship Club is collecting new hats and mittens for those in need!

If you would like to donate, please bring the new hats and/or mittens, with the tags on, to school between January 4th-25th.

The items can be placed in the box outside of the main office.

Thank you for your support!



~The Number Ninjas

Math Olympiad is in full swing, and the teams have already participated in the first two of five contests. Below is a picture of (most of) the fifth-grade team. Next month, our sixth-grade team will be pictured.
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P2 for Families

We concluded the 2022 year by focusing on the P2 Trait of Self-Control, and we kick off 2023 with Optimism, Prudence, Perseverance and Social Intelligence. Sometimes, it may seem as if one week is not enough to gain a deep understanding of these complex ideas. Please remember that, as P2 families, you have full access to home resources that target each one of the traits. They can all be found here at https://posproject.org/p2-for-families/

The password is P2



~Kaylee Updyke

In ELA, students have been learning that the 3,700 year long history of chocolate is full of twists and turns and big surprises. Students were able to taste test milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate and then write an argumentative/persuasive paragraph about which chocolate they liked the best. Milk chocolate definitely came out on top in both classes.

They have learned about the child labor that is involved in the harvesting of cocoa beans and why it is important to buy chocolate with the Fair Trade label on it. The students then wrote a letter to a candy store owner telling them the reasons why they should buy chocolate only from Fair Trade companies. The students are really enjoying this unit!

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5th Grade

~5th Grade Team

Students in 5th grade have been participating in REWARDS reading intervention where we are learning skills for reading muti-syllabic words. Being able to break words into word parts, each with their own vowel sound, is the main strategy. When reading with your student, encourage them to break longer words into parts, each with their own vowel sound, in order to help with multi-syllablic words.

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5th Grade ELA

5th grade ELA classes are wrapping up their poetry unit. We have read poems by many poets and explored writing

different types of poetry including rhyme scheme, villanelle, list and parallel structure. Students are selecting one of their poems and a published poem to share

in a Poet’s Cafe.

Mrs. Alm’s Class Poet Tree ⇒


Public Access Survey

The NYS Digital Equity Survey is a short questionnaire that will help districts identify students who may need access to reliable internet and/or a digital device for completing schoolwork at home. NYS requires that school districts collect this information to better serve our families needs. Thank you for completing this survey.

Digital Access Survey


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