December 2022

Intermediate Education Center

From the Principal's Office

Dear IEC Families,

With the holiday season just around the corner and the New Year approaching quickly, I’d like to take the time to reflect on all of the things we have to be thankful for in 2022. We are so very thankful to be able to learn and grow with your children five days a week on campus.

Our district mission is, One Purpose. Your Pathway. Our Promise. Our promise is to ensure that when students leave Lewiston-Porter, they will be ready to face the world with confidence in themselves and what they can contribute. While students are here, they will be challenged to grow along their pathway and discover their personal best because we promise to give them our best. The teachers and students are focused on creating goals, setting and accomplishing short-term and long-term goals for our students and school.

We are just finishing up the 13th week of school, and I wanted to remind you that the IEC runs on trimesters. We will be concluding the 13th week on December 2nd. Parent teacher conferences are to take place on December 9th. The teachers have December 9th designated as a no student day to meet with families. Parent teacher conferences have been long valued as a most effective means of reporting individual students' progress to parents.

As a parent, educator, and principal, I know it is essential for our families and the school to work together. Communication is the key to building a positive relationship. We offer several ways to stay informed about your child’s educational experience at the IEC. First, it is important to always communicate with the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher can be contacted through Seesaw, email, and by phone during non-instructional hours. Communicating with the classroom teacher will help to build an open relationship, which will have a positive effect on your child’s learning experience. I can also be reached via phone or email. Please call our main office if you have any questions.

We are excited to announce that Elementary teachers have Lancer Learning time available between 8:10 am and 8:40 am on certain days of the week. This time is designed to help students who need additional academic support beyond our daily lessons and WINN block. If you feel your child will benefit from this additional support please contact your child's teacher or administration to develop a day during the week from 8:10 am-8:40 am to facilitate this learning support. Please note that transportation is not provided for Lancer Learning time.

We also encourage parents/families to join our PTSA. Whether you can attend the monthly meetings or volunteer for a committee, it is a wonderful organization that supports interactive programming at the IEC. You can find the application on our main website under PTSA.

We look forward to working with each family to create a culture of leaders and kindness. I cannot wait to see what 2023 has in store for all of us. Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!


Tina Rodriguez,


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Mark the Calendar!

Friday December 2nd- Superintendent Conference Day- No Student Attendance

Tuesday December 6th- Early Release Day- Dismissal at 2:35pm instead of 3:35pm

Friday December 9th- Parent /Teacher Conferences- No Student Attendance

Thursday December 22nd & 23rd- Winter Recess in lieu of Remote Learning

Monday December 26th- Friday December 30th-Winter Recess

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National Days in December

December 1st Rosa Parks Day- honors an American Civil Rights hero twice a year (December 1st & February 4th)

December 2nd National Special Education Day- recognizes changes in federal legislation that led to the nation’s first federal special education law.

December 7th is both National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day & National Illinois Day

December 10th Dewey Decimal System Day- celebrates a system of classification and the man who invented it. On December 10, 1851, Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) was born. The librarian invented the Dewey Decimal system of library classification

December 13th commemorates The National Guard Birthday. On December 13th, 1636, the Massachusetts General Court established an official militia for the first time in the American Colonies. A component of the United States Army, the National Guard is primarily composed of citizen-soldiers who hold down full-time, civilian jobs, attend school, or as is often the case, both. At the same time, they are available to provide support and protection for the states’ civilians or be called for military operations at a national level. Each U.S. state, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands maintain both an Army National Guard and an Air National Guard.

December 15th Bill of Rights Day- “Now, Therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate December 15, 1941, as Bill of Rights Day. And I call upon the officials of the Government, and upon the people of the United States, to observe the day by displaying the flag of the United States on public buildings and by meeting together for such prayers and such ceremonies as may seem to them appropriate.” The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Passed by Congress on September 25, 1789, these rights place limits on government power.

December 22nd Mathematics Day - celebrates the birth anniversary of India's famed mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan

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Trading Stocks in Enrichment

Starting this past October Fifth Graders in Mr. Frederick’s Enrichment class studied the basics of the Stock Market and created a mini stock portfolio to simulate an investment game. After learning about the history of the stock market, students learned how “demand” affects prices and how to track various public companies/price. Students then studied the major stock indexes such as the NYSE, S&P 500, Nasdaq and the DOW and researched which stocks they might be interested in “buying.” Students then selected stocks based on their research and created a mini portfolio. Students will track their stocks and companies throughout the year.

Rowan O’Shea, a fifth grader in Mrs. Danahy’s class said, “I like the way you could look for patterns or see if it [stock price] was static. It was exciting to see what you made or lost.”

Cadence Fetzner in Ms. Yager’s class commented,” The stock market is exciting because the price goes up and down, and you never know how much you gained or lost. My dad said, ‘I wish I learned this in Fifth Grade’.”

We’re Going Places in the IEC Library!

I am very excited to share that some of our 5th grade classes ( Mrs. Sandonato-Siuta and Mrs. Danahy) have been visiting the library to participate in Mystery Google Meet experiences with other classrooms around the country and world this fall! During a Mystery Meet, the students collaborate with each other to ask and answer yes or no questions (closed questions) of the other classroom to figure out where they are In the world. These Mystery Meets help to reinforce academic skills, build our classroom community, provide opportunities for collaboration and communication and allow our students to meet and learn from other students around the world! Students are exposed to other cultures in an authentic way while practicing their geography skills. We are so excited to share this opportunity with our students and we are looking forward to seeing how much they grow through these authentic learning experiences!

Mrs. H. Kazulak NBCT

A Monstrous Time in the IEC Library

Mrs. Kazulak collaborated with Mrs. Fontanarosa and her fourth grade class to participate in a Global Monster project that was held this fall.

After requesting a Monster part (we designed the monster’s eyebrows) from the list provided, each participating class had to submit a 12-20 word description. When all descriptions were completed from the chart provided by Dr Terry Smith (coordinator of this project) , each class built its own MONSTER using everyone's descriptions.

Students discovered that designing and building a monster together is a challenging task. It is a major lesson in working together and learning to compromise in a group decision process. For example, the student responsible for the head has to plan with the students making the eyes, nose, neck, mouth, ears and hair. Students have deliberate practice in collaboration while constructing their class MONSTER. The result is satisfying proof that a community of global kids can accomplish anything!! Additionally, students are asked to state how their monster would use STEAM and the Sustainable Development Goals to make the world a better place.

We virtually met classes from other countries; Poland, Canada, India, Italy, Serbia, Poland, Russia, Nigeria as well as from other states; New Mexico, Louisiana, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Illinois, and Maine, New Hampshire,North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma. Everyone who created monsters did a great job.

We named our monster Hope and decided that the United Nations sustainable goal Hope would help with was SDG goal # 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries.

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Winter Holidays Season

When it comes to winter holidays, Christmas is highly celebrated around the world. It is considered both a religious holiday for Christians, honoring the birth of Jesus, and a cultural one, with a history and tradition that combines Christian beliefs with ancient folklore and traditional rituals. For some, Christmas isn’t Christian at all, but a time for fir trees, Santa, and food. More on Christmas later…

But Christmas isn’t the only holiday celebrated during the winter season. Did you know there are more than 20 religious and cultural holidays between October 1st and February 27th? These numerous and diverse holidays are culturally significant to their countries of origin, some of which have festivities that far exceed even the most ostentatious Christmas celebration.

Below you will find information from various sources to compile a list of fall and winter holidays celebrated all over the world. These include holidays celebrated on a national and local level, religious days, and long-standing cultural traditions.

Take a look at these twelve diverse winter holidays, celebrated between October and February.

Introduction to Winter Holidays around the world:

Did you know there are more than 20 religious and cultural holidays between October 1st and February 27th? These numerous and diverse holidays are culturally significant to their countries of origin, some of which have festivities that far exceed even the most ostentatious Christmas celebration. Keep in mind that when a person wishes you “Happy Holidays” this season, they’re most likely not trying to downplay your particular holiday. They’re wishing you a happy holiday season - which includes holiday celebrations from all over the world!

Holiday #1: Diwali

Otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is a holiday of Hindu origin and is widely celebrated throughout India. The five-day event takes place on the 15th day of the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar, which means it fell in late October this year. Celebrants light clay lamps, said to represent the destruction of anything negative in one’s life, and celebrate the goddess Lakshmi, who is purported to bring wealth and good fortune.

Holiday #2: Mawlid el-Nabi (pronounced: May-laud---al---nah-bee)

Observed on the 12th day of the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, which is the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Mawlid el-Nabi (“which translates to “Peace be upon you”) is an Islamic holiday, honoring the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Last year Mawled el-Nabi was held on December 23; this year it was October 8 (*the actual day shifts, much like the Christian holiday Easter). During Mawlid el-Nabi, believers celebrate by reading the prophet’s teachings. Muslims typically celebrate the occasion by wearing new clothes, offering prayers, and exchanging gifts. It is also traditionally celebrated by preparing special meals at mosques and at home with friends and family. In the Middle East, streets are often decorated with lights, and food and sweets are distributed to the public.

Holiday #3: Bon Om Touk (pronounced bon-ahm-too)

*“Bon” is like James “Bond”, without the “d”.

The Cambodian Water Festival, or Bon Om Touk, is celebrated in November, during the full moon of the Buddhist month of Kreuk. It marks the yearly reverse of the flow between the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River. Tonle Sap is a major natural resource for Cambodia, providing fish and rich silt deposits to fertilize crops. As the rainy season ends and the lake level goes down, parades, boat races, and fireworks honor the event for three days, all meant to ensure a bountiful year ahead. This year it was celebrated from November 7-9th.

Holiday #4: St. Nicholas Day (December 6th)

Celebrating the Christian saint who sold everything he owned to give money to the poor, St. Nicholas Day, also known as the Feast of St. Nicholas, is observed on Dec. 6 and is celebrated throughout much of northern Europe. Traditions include leaving small gifts and treats in shoes. While still considered a different entity than our modern-day Santa Claus, many of the traditions of Santa originated with the legends of St. Nicholas.

Holiday #5: Rohatsu/Bodhi Day (December 8th)

Pronounced “Bow-dee”, this Buddhist holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision to sit under the Bodhi tree until he reaches spiritual enlightenment. It’s celebrated through meditation, and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas. This year it’s being celebrated on Thursday, December 8th.

Holiday #6: Hanukkah (begins December 18)

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is an eight-night celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. It begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which usually occurs in November or December. This year it’s being celebrated from December 18th - 26th. Celebrations include meals with traditional foods, the lighting of the menorah, and eight nights of games and gifts.

Holiday #7: Christmas (December 25)

The traditional Christmas story tells of Joseph and Mary making their way to Bethlehem, trying to find a room for the night, and subsequently staying in a barn where Mary gave birth to Jesus. However, Jesus’ birthdate is not actually known, and the customs traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas holiday started long before his birth. The winter solstice was celebrated for centuries before Christianity, with feasts that involved the burning of yule logs, decorating homes with fir trees, and providing gifts and food to family members. As Christianity took hold, Dec. 25 was chosen as the day to honor the birth of Christ, with the speculation that having a Christian celebration at the same time as pagan rituals would help promote the religion and bring more followers. In 1870, Christmas was declared a federal holiday and is now one of the most popular holidays in the United States, as well as being widely celebrated in other countries.

Holiday #8: Kwanzaa (begins December 26th)

Kwanzaa, which is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, is a holiday that celebrates African culture and community. With activities focused around what is called the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles) celebrating traits such as collective work, creativity, and purpose, communities join together with feasts, music, dance, and a continued commitment to cultural values. Although Kwanzaa is based on ancient and modern celebrations in Egypt and Southeastern Africa, the Kwanzaa holiday as we know it today was started in the United States in 1966 by the Watts Riots in Los Angeles. The goal of the holiday was to bring African Americans together as one community.

Holiday #9: Omisoka and Shogatsu (December 31 & January 1)

Omisoka is the Japanese New Year, and like the Western version of New Year’s, is celebrated on Dec. 31. It is considered one of the most important holidays in Japanese culture, second only to Jan. 1, known as Shogatsu or Japanese New Year’s Day. Celebrating the close of the old year and ushering in the new one, Japanese people host Bonenkai parties, intended to help forget about the past year, write cards to friends and family, and send gifts. Many families make rice cakes as part of the celebration, and homes are decorated with a sacred Shinto straw rope.

Holiday #10: Lohri (January 13)

The Lohri festival is a multi-faith festival, celebrated each year on Jan. 13th. It is typically celebrated in Northern India and marks the end of the winter when the sun changes its course. Ceremonies include building large bonfires and tossing candies and sesame seeds into them while singing and dancing until the fire goes out, and children go door to door singing the praises of Dulha Bhatti, the Punjabi version of Robin Hood, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

Holiday #11: Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year marks the start of the lunar new year, which occurs sometime between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. This year it’s being celebrated on Jan 22nd. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is considered one of China’s most important celebrations, with each year being named after one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Festivities include fireworks, parades, and performances. The holiday closes with a lantern festival.

Holiday #12: Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is celebrated in China on the 15th day of the first month on the Chinese calendar, which this year falls on February 5th. Marking the end of the Chinese New Year, it symbolizes family togetherness, forgiveness, and peace. Activities include lighting and displaying lanterns, fireworks and drones, lion and dragon dances, and eating tang yuan, which are ball-shaped dumplings served in a soup.

IEC Food Drive- Another Great Year!!

This year’s Food Drive, which benefits the Care-N-Share Food Pantry in Ransomville, was a great success! Food was picked up on Tuesday, November 22nd. We are certainly a caring and giving school, and are very proud of our students! Thank you to everyone who donated food. You made someone's Thanksgiving a little happier!

Pictured below- Loading the food drive donations to go to the Care and Share Pantry

IEC Chess Club

This year, students in fifth grade have the opportunity to participate in the IEC Chess Club. The Club is designed to meet the enrichment needs of students and to foster a greater appreciation for the game of chess. In addition, some of the goals of the club include:

  • Learning a new game.

  • Increasing students strategizing and problem-solving techniques as they relate to Chess.

  • Learning how to plan and think ahead.

  • Meeting new, like-minded students and players.

  • Having fun and competing against others.

  • Learning sportsmanship.

  • Providing opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of the game by teaching it to others.

Mr. Frederick’s Chess Club meets throughout the year and will culminate with a fun tournament where a club champion will be crowned. Below are some pictures that were taken at the Club’s most recent meeting.

~Mr. Frederick

Spotlight Series

As we continue our introduction to the incredible staff that make the IEC the wonderful place of laughter, learning, kindness and cooperation- please allow me to introduce you to our

Fabulous Fifth Grade

Magnificent Music Department

Amazing Art Teacher

Legendary Library Services


Remarkable Reading Teachers

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Fabulous Fifth Grade!

Mrs. Sandonato-Siuta- says the best thing about working at the IEC is having fun! "I love...." my family, and my friends who are like family. Her favorite sport is bocce, and her favorite phrase is "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island." ~Walt Disney

Mr. DiCamillo- says that the best thing about working at the IEC is teaching the kids. "I love...." the band AC/DC! He is a fan of the NY Jets, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Maple Leafs, and LA Lakers, and Lakers. His favorite saying is "You're already at no, so you might as well ask!" He states that "The main reason any adult should be in for the kids period."

Ms. Lester- says the best thing about working at the IEC is "my colleagues !" "I love..." my three babies and my family! She is a Buffalo Bills/ Buffalo Sabres fan and her favorite saying is ""Love you more"

Mrs. Jaruszewski- says the best thing about working at the IEC is the children. "I love...." chocolate, kInd people and hugs! Her favorite sport/ team is hockey & the Sabres, and her favorite phrase is "Breathe my friend."

Miss Yager- says the best thing about working at the IEC is working with my co-workers, who I love and enjoy, I get to call them friends and even family. I love my classes each year who become my family, and the families we work with. I love my IEC family! "I love...." my family, teaching and trying to be creative, reading, Target, all things DISNEY, and trying to get my students to smile each day. She is a Buffalo Bills fan, and her favorite sayings are ""You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, ,and smarter than you think." "Ohana means family and that means no one gets left behind or forgotten." and "Just breathe..." Other interesting info about her? I am one of the directors of our school musical and I help to run Safety Patrol with Mrs. Jaruszewski. I enjoy project based learning and helping students on their journey to find out what kind of learner they are, and how they can impact the world around them.

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Clockwise from top Mrs. Spinnegan (orchestra), Mrs. Zachary (Music/ Chorus), Mrs. Frederick (Art), & Mrs. Carere- Fetterman (Band)

Magnificent Music Department!

Mrs. Carere-Fetterman- (Band) says the best thing about working at the IEC is working with our great art and music teams. "I love...." my family, making art and music! She is, like so many in the IEC family, a Buffalo Bills fan!

Mrs. Spinnegan- (Orchestra) says the best thing about working at the IEC is my hallway! It's great being near the Music and Art teachers who are some of my closest friends! "I love..." my family! I have a husband of 12 years and two sons- one is in 4th grade and one is in Kindergarten! She is a fan of the Buffalo Bills, but "also my sons little loop football team- the West Seneca Cubs!" Her favorite phrase is "Go home and practice your instrument!"

Mrs. Zachary- (Music/ Chorus) says the best thing about working at the IEC is I get to meet every student at the IEC! "I love..." being able to make music with students all day! She is a fan of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, and her favorite saying is "It's a Good Day to Have a Good Day!"

Amazing Art Teacher

Mrs. Frederick- says that the best thing about working at the IEC is teaching art! "I love..." my two girls, spending time in nature, creating. She is a Yankees fan, and her favorite saying is " Art is healing, art is acceptance"
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Our Legendary Librarian Mrs. Kazulak

Legendary Library Services

We are so thankful for our Literacy/Technology Specialist Mrs. Kazulak!

Mrs. Kazulak
- says that the best thing about working at the IEC is being able to share my love for learning everyday! "I love..."a good cup of coffee and a good book. She is a Buffalo Bills fan, and her favorite saying is "You can never have too many books!"
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Remarkable Reading Teachers

Mrs. Broughman- says that the best thing about working at the IEC is the wonderful, smiling faces of happy children! "I love..." In no particular order: my family, dog, palm trees, cupcakes, chocolate, lattes, and teaching of course! Her favorite sports team is "the Buffalo Bills obviously! Go Bills!!" and favorite saying is "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." I have been teaching for 20 years! I have been in 3 different districts and I have taught grades Pre-K- grade 5 before becoming a reading specialist. I am married, have two children Lucas (11) and Brielle (7) and we have a sweet little dog named Coco Chanel!

Mrs. Hauck- says that the best thing about working at the IEC is the great staff and students! "I love..." my family, my students, reading, crafts, yoga. She is a fan of the Buffalo Bills, and her favorite saying is "You got this!"

Remember Last Month When....

Multi-Age Service Learning Class Celebrating Our Local Veterans

On Thursday, November 10th, the Lewiston-Porter High School Historical Society hosted its annual Veteran’s Day Dinner. Doors opened at 4:30 and a wonderful time was had by all who attended. Students in Mrs. Khatib, Mrs. Dougherty, and Mrs. Danahy’s classes created beautiful cards, thanking the veterans for their service to our country. What a wonderful way to pay tribute to our country’s heroes!

National Substitute Educators Day- Friday November 18th

Friday 11/18/22 was National Substitute Educators Day

We here at the IEC APPRECIATE our amazing subs that help us SO much by

assisting us in caring for our students by filling in during our teacher's trainings, testing sessions

& sick/ personal days out of school.

We gifted everyone who came in as a substitute teacher

during the month of November a tote bag-

it included candy & a sweet note from our Sunshine committee,

and a card from the IEC staff thanking them for their help!

With EXTRA love to

Kayla Neumann- Our Building Based Substitute (she is here at the IEC to assist daily)

Emily Eaton- who agreed to work with us daily, as we searched for a BBS, and is a favorite of our students & staff alike

Jenna Pilecki- who works exclusively with us, as her school schedule allows & is loved by the staff and students

The Sunshine Committee gifted these 3 with gift cards for Orange Cat Coffee as well

Please make an effort to say an extra Thank You to ALL of our amazing Substitute Teachers!

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K-Kids Share Thanksgiving Message to Hospice

5th grade K-Kid members worked hard to create 72 Thanksgiving hanging decorations for people under the care of Hospice. Decorations were given to people who reside at the Hospice House in Lockport and those who receive Hospice care at home or in another facility. Niagara Hospice supports and guides Niagara County families facing a terminal illness by providing compassionate care, symptom management and caregiver relief. Club members hope patients of Hospice know that they are thinking of them this Thanksgiving season.

Lewiston- Porter Intermediate Education Center

Principal Mrs. Tina Rodriguez

Elementary Program Coordinator Mrs. Aliscia Krecisz