Opening Day Success
With 351 students enrolled for 2021-2022 school year, the first day of classes was a sunny, energized, teary, hopeful celebration of the best of the MPH community. Between images of new kindergarteners clinging to parents and seniors being celebrated in the McNeil hallway, emotions ran the gamut. Campus was sparkling thanks to finishing touches put on by MPH's dedicated grounds crew, and somehow the imposition of masks and lunchtime traffic patterns didn't seem quite so imposing in this, the second year of our pandemic life.

Welcoming New Employees
With more than 20 new employees joining the school this year, it's been a busy few opening weeks welcoming new faces and introducing them to the MPH community. Below are the pictures and assignments for each of our colleagues, as well as bios for our first two staff to be featured. We will share new staff and faculty bios every week in Snapshot.
Sara Potocsny | Pre-K Teaching Assistant and Community Programs Teacher
Rachel Goepfert | Pre-K Teaching Assistant and Community Programs Teacher
Nate Brower | Coverage Teacher
Mariah Cochran | Core Health Educator
Katie Rey | Director of Advancement Communications and Campaign Coordinator
Karyn Meyer | Coverage Teacher
Sarah Keser | Grade 4 Teacher
Karen Belgrader | Associate Director of Philanthropy and Engagement
Jeanne Hudson | Academic Support Specialist
Heidi Marquart | Associate Director of Advancement
Gabby Goeglein | Grade 2 Teacher
Emma Firenze | Core Health Educator
Zach Osborne, Ph.D. | Science Grade 8 and Chemistry
Nikole Bonacorsi, Ph.D. | Life Science and Biology
Dan Bassin | Music Teacher
Christina Magagnoli | Physics Teacher
Carolina Freuder | Spanish Teacher
Jay Brown | Core Health Educator
Caitlin Griffin | Associate Director of Donor Services
Zanae Milton | Front Desk Receptionist
Bryan Chambala | Director of Communications
New Staff Profile: Alissa McCall
My name is Alissa McCall, and I am excited to join the MPH community. I am a teaching assistant in the Kindergarten classrooms. I live with my husband of 32 years in Preble, and we have two adult sons. I have been a toddler and preschool teacher in a college lab school setting for the past 32 years. I helped to mentor student teachers doing their fieldwork in my classroom. In my free time I enjoy swimming, kayaking, gardening, and spending time at our family camp in the Adirondacks. I love reading to children and watching them have that “ah ha” moment when they make connections to what they are learning. I look forward to a great year in Kindergarten.
New Staff Profile: Carlie Evans
My name is Carlie Evans, and I am excited to be joining the team at Manlius Pebble Hill School as a Grade 1 teaching assistant. My teaching background is in Montessori Education. I came to MPH after teaching preschool for one year at a Montessori school in Wisconsin. I am originally from the Syracuse area, so it is great to be home and starting a new chapter in my teaching career at MPH! It is my goal this year to pursue a master’s degree in education and immerse myself in the vibrant MPH community. Fun fact about me: I love to read and write.
Historic Knox Farmhouse Undergoing Long-Awaited Renovation
The Knox Farmhouse is undergoing a transformation this fall, which has likely been obvious to even those who hadn't seen it in its previous red cladding. The project entails renovation of the entire interior and exterior of the building, which will house the School’s Admissions and Advancement teams – and will also feature a welcome suite for prospective parents and students.

Working on the historic building is no small task, and with construction schedules directly affected by the pandemic, the project is set for completion in the first quarter of 2022.
Opening Week: All positive and no positives
School-Year Preparations
Opening Meetings for staff and faculty started on Tuesday, August 31, to prepare for the school year and featured opportunities to meet new colleagues, catch up with old ones, and partake in equal parts technical training, classroom preparation, and pedagogical immersion (in addition to partaking in the ritual passing of the Off! to combat the late-summer sweethearts of the stagnant air  – our resident mosquitoes).

One of the highlights of the four days of meetings was "Transforming Hot Moments," a session led by former MPH faculty member Jeff Mangram, who now works at Syracuse University and specializes in teaching faculty how to productively navigate classroom moments that bring out high emotions and potential for conflict and growth.

Other sessions included variations on Blackbaud Education Management training. Blackbaud will house student grades, schedules, health forms, notes, etc.. We also welcomed featured facilitator Cathy Kaye, who presented advisory training through a lens of mindfulness.

In addition to staff development, students and parents also prepped for the opening day by attending Lower School and Middle + Upper School "meet and greets" on Thursday, September 2. These events gave students and parents a chance to get acquainted and reacquainted with the teachers and buildings that will define their year.
MPH Community Conversation with Dr. Shannon Magari Leggat
Epidemiologist and former MPH Board member and parent Dr. Shannon Magari Leggat shared her expertise with the MPH community as part of our MPH Community Conversations series with a new presentation entitled, The Science of COVID-19, the Delta Variant and What Lies Ahead on September 2 at 7 p.m.

View recordings of past conversations and look for more throughout the year at the MPH Conversations page.
Health and Safety Update
100% Testing Day: 99% tested, 0% positive
Operating on a schedule set by Onondaga County, the MPH community was able to muster a remarkable 99 percent participation rate for community-wide COVID testing the Tuesday before classes began, with only a few days' notice. And, perhaps even more remarkable, the testing yielded zero positive results.

The Clarifi saliva tests involve a simple, self-administered cheek swab and are able to be completed in minutes. Parents who have not yet created a profile in the county system are encouraged to visit our COVID updates page for information on consenting to testing throughout the year. Random testing of 10 percent of campus will begin Friday, September 17. Questions can be sent to the account.
Thoughts on the first week and traffic patterns
Head of School Dave McCusker reflects on the opening week of classes at MPH and offers some thoughts on the arrival and departure process. For further information on the arrival/departure process, reference the MPH traffic pattern map, as well as a recent email sent to the MPH community.
9/11 Service at Pebble Hill Presbyterian
Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church will hold a special 8:30 a.m. 9/11 remembrance service Saturday at 8:30 a.m. The service will be conducted in person, and all attendees are required to wear masks.

Stay up-to-date on MPH happenings by visiting our web page, our Facebook page, and our Flickr feed!

Manlius Pebble Hill School |