Powwow blog
  • District Holding Creative Writing Contest

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/21/2020 7:35:00 AM

    pencil Salamanca City Central School District is holding a creative writing contest for students in grades 3-12.

    Students are asked to write a fictional short story of a character who perseveres. Entries must meet the designated amount of words for grade level: grades 3-4 (500-750 words), grades 5-7 (750-2,000), grades 8-12 (1,000-3,000).

    Entry deadline in March 11.

    Winners will be invited to a special meet and greet with the Native American authors Joseph and James Bruchac, as well as some other amazing gifts.

    Official contest rules and more information can be found here.

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  • District Seeking Young SHS Alumni for Focus Groups

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/19/2020 9:00:00 AM

    salamanca warriors logo Are you a Salamanca High School alumnus from the last 10 years? Do you want to help shape the future of SCCSD?

    We are in the first phase of the responsive strategic planning process, “Plan & Align.” One of the key parts of this phase is called stakeholder empathy. This means that we want to understand the hopes, fears, and needs of as many of the members of the Salamanca CCSD community to craft our strategic direction for the future.

    We know that not every person is the same, and each unique person has a different way of expressing themselves – some in writing, some in person. To give you as many opportunities as possible, we have created different ways you can get involved.

    Our first opportunity is a focus group. Focus groups are a great opportunity to share alongside others in a similar role to you and learn if your experience is similar or different from theirs. Focus groups will have 3-5 participants and will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

    If you are willing to be a participant in a focus group either in person or via Zoom meeting, please contact Penny Beattie at (716) 945-2400 extension 4121 or email pbeattie@salamancany.org by Friday.

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  • From the Superintendent: Previewing Coming Attractions to our Schools

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/18/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Robert Breidenstein Dear Warrior Nation,

    The Academy Awards just wrapped up celebrating cinematic accomplishments and rewarding the industry for delightful, curious, engaging and moving entertainment. As a preview of some coming attractions in the Salamanca City School District, I want to encourage every member of the Warrior Nation to grab some popcorn, some snacks and prepare for a whirlwind of a second semester. The early reviews suggest even greater success is looming.

    We have recently added a major feature attraction for sports with the addition of Modified Girls Lacrosse, Modified Football and the return of a long dormant Cross Country program. Adding opportunities for our middle-level athletes and students is one more example of our District working hard to engage every learner.

    Barring any post production delays, by the time this edition of The Powwow hits the streets, we should have opened bids for the Seneca Intermediate roof and parking lot renovations. Adding approximately 86 additional parking spots and a dedicated parent drop off for Seneca students and parking for Seneca staff will be sure to have favorable reviews.

    Not to be out done, we also expect the approval from SED for the work at Vets Park. This, in keeping with our theme, has literally been the work of a cast of thousands! We anticipate construction at Vets Park to begin around spring recess.
    Planning continues for the Prospect addition of five new classrooms and the new Prospect Main Office is nearly completed. Miss Ellie, Miss Barb and Miss Pavone are moving in as I type this article.

    Finally, like all good movie producers, we await the reviews. In keeping with the work we are completing with regard to our Strategic Planning Initiative in the next month, we will be conducting a significant community outreach and survey our students and staff. The results from the recent Community Survey were very helpful in guiding the Steering Committee.

    Operating at the same time will be Community Focus Groups across a huge swath of our District. This will include parents, community members, the Nation, alumni, staff and of course students from Prospect, Seneca and the High School. Focus groups will be facilitator lead conversations to discuss specific items stemming from the community surveys. Focus Groups will include over 100 participants.

    As we move ahead, we hope you’ll join us and continue your support with an enthusiastic Two Thumbs Up. 👍👍


    Robert J. Breidenstein

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  • February Business/Marketing Student of the Month

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/13/2020 10:00:00 AM

    emily johns Emily Johns has been selected by the Business Department as the February Business/Marketing Student of the Month. Emily has taken or is currently taking the following business classes: Hospitality & Tourism, Keyboarding, Computer Graphics I, Computer Graphics II, Career Planning and Financial Management.

    Emily was chosen as February Business/Marketing Student of the Month due to her dedication and excellence in her business classes. Emily’s favorite places in high school are Mrs. Dry and Mrs. Middaugh’s room.

    Emily takes her business classes very seriously and is eager to help others with concepts they do not “catch on to.” In Mrs. Middaugh’s advisory time Emily is a leader. She is always willing to get involved in the activities presented and coaxes other students in advisory to join in. In Hospitality & Tourism class, Emily contributes to class discussions and she speaks of “real-world” experiences that relate to the topic at hand. Emily is also a leader in Mrs. Dry’s room and helps others often.

    Emily is an active vital member in the Key Club and has donated countless hours to helping in her community, such as the Key Club Thanksgiving Dinner. She was a huge component in making this year’s dinner a success. She also volunteers often for the Community Movies, which are hosted by the Key Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Dedicated to making our community better, she can be found at the Salamanca Food Kitchen helping on a weekly basis.

    One of Emily’s favorite classes is Computer Graphics II, where she can really let her creative and artistic abilities shine. She is learning many Adobe Programs and is currently certified in Photoshop CS6. Emily is deciding which direction to take after graduation, and we are very excited about her future.

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  • Signs Up Open For Girls on the Run Spring Program

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/7/2020 8:05:00 AM

    girls on the run salamanca

    Sign ups are open for Salamanca City Central School’s Girls on the Run program. The spring season runs March 23 to June 7 and is open to girls in grades 6-8.

    Paper applications can be picked up in the main office at the high school and Seneca Intermediate. The registration fee is covered completely by Girls on the Run.

    The Salamanca program, called Heart & Sole, helps participants with the following:

    • Inspires girls to recognize their inner strengths and celebrate what makes them one of a kind.
    • Trains girls for a season-ending, non-competitive 5K.
    • Uses a research-based curriculum& trained coaches to lead practices involving dynamic discussions, activities and running games.
    • Gives girls the skills they need to navigate their worlds.
    • Helps girls develop a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness.

    The spring season wraps up with a 5K run on June 7 at the University at Buffalo.

    Contact Ms. Amanda Babyak with questions at (716) 945-2400 extension 6084 or ababyak@salamancany.org.

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  • College 101: Parent Edition Coming to SHS

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/5/2020 9:05:00 AM

    college 101 parent edition flyer Representatives from Jamestown Community College will provide a college presentation to the parents of seniors and juniors from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 26 at the Salamanca High School Auditorium.

    Called “College 101: Parent Edition”, the presentation will help parents with the basics of how to pay for college, setting a college-prep timeline, and taking advantage of financial aid and scholarships.

    Seniors will also have an opportunity to complete the FAFSA and TAP applications with assistance from JCC financial aid staff. A what-to-bring checklist for completing the FAFSA and TAP is available upon registration.

    To register, call the JCC admissions office at (716) 376-7528.

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  • January Students & Warriors of the Month

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 2/4/2020 8:05:00 AM

    students-warriors of the month January 2020


    Cole Hedlund, 10th grade

    Cole’s GPA is 98.5. He goes above and beyond in math class, with an average of 95%. He is respectful, a resource to peers, responsible with assignments, and very successful in math. Cole is very strong academically and should be proud of his accomplishments.

    Grace Hodara, 9th grade

    Grace’s GPA is 97. She shows tremendous leadership in her Intro to Communications class. She is dependable for morning announcements and for meeting class deadlines. She is someone who classmates can turn to for guidance and help with editing projects. Grace goes the extra mile not only to get the job done, but to get it done to their satisfaction. She always does things with a smile, which makes her enjoyable to be around. 


    Jarod White, 11th grade

    Jarod is a varsity student-athlete on the boys’ basketball team. He is an exceptional athlete who conducts himself with great integrity and pride. He gives his best in everything he does, whether it be in the classroom, on the practice court, or in games.  Jarod is an incredibly hard worker, a great young man, and a positive example for all athletes in our district.

    Jordan Green, 8th grade

    Jordan exhibits the qualities of a true warrior. He is respectful and to kind to everyone, and sticks up for the underdog. He likes to talk to other students and teachers just because he is friendly. Jordan shows compassion and understanding for all of his fellow classmates and teachers.


    The Student and Warrior of the Month program was created by and run by the Salamanca High School Student Government. Each month, teachers nominate students they feel have gone above and beyond in the classroom or in extracurricular activities. Teachers, along with Student Government, select each month’s winners. 

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  • District Brings Home National STEM Honor

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 1/30/2020 9:00:00 AM

    Salamanca STEM Award

    Salamanca High School has been called many things since it unveiled its award-wining Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) program: focus school, groundbreaker, pathway district.

    Now it can add a new label: national STEM Excellence.

    Salamanca City Central School District, a rural school facing generation poverty and connectivity concerns and located on the southern edge of the indigenous territory of Seneca Nation of Indians, was named a national school of STEM Excellence recently at International Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Miami, Fla.

    First awarded in 2015, the STEM Excellence Award is designed to highlight a school’s interdisciplinary approach to STEAM education, demonstrating the effective integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math into authentic learning opportunities for students.

    “Schools that provide high-quality STEM learning opportunities are truly living out the vision of what a 21st-century education should be, which is why we seek to highlight some of the nation’s most outstanding programs through the STEM Excellence Awards,” said Jennifer Womble, program chair of FETC.

    Just three high schools in the United States and Canada earned the distinction, and Salamanca High School is the only New York state winner since the award’s inception.

    “It is very rewarding to be recognized at this level for the work our teachers and administrators have invested in creating dynamic and focused learning experiences for our students,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mark Beehler. “It is equally as rewarding to see our students engaged in meaningful work and excel academically.”

    The FETC Conference is in its 40th year and brings together teachers, businesses and industry partners to serve schools from across the northern continent.

    “The recognition of Salamanca’s STEAM program by FETC is not only a wonderful acknowledgment of the dedication of students, staff, advisers and business partners, it is also an indication that together we are moving closer to our vision of developing a quality STEAM ecosystem, right here in Salamanca,” said Aaron Straus, the district’s STEAM and Adult Education Coordinator.

    The Salamanca STEAM program has been closely watched since its inception five years ago. The initiative was conceived as a partnership between District leadership, teachers of Salamanca, and the larger STEM professional community.

    “Our collective journey into the 21st century and STEAM programming began with a realization that our educational platform must keep pace with the changing technological environment,” said Robert Breidenstein, Salamanca superintendent.

    Salamanca High School, meanwhile, initially helped start “silo” STEAM programs to generate awareness among the faculty and excitement from the student community.

    “At the beginning of the program we were all silos,” said business teacher and Part 107 drones instructor, Kim Dry. “We incorporated our knowledge, technology, and creativity all for the benefit of our kids.”

    The district provides supplemental staff and specialized funding to the school.

    “After the initial success with individual programs we deliberately put actions into place to merge the programs, share resources, and practice integration,” Beehler said.

    As the team presented their 5-year journey at the FETC conference, Straus emphasized that STEM and STEAM are far more than just anagram of the subjects: “The STEAM initiative is part of larger, ongoing efforts to reach beyond the four walls of the school disciplines and engage the swaths of workforce connections that encompasses its borders. We use 3D printing for research projects in the history classrooms, AR/VR technology for Earth Science labs and circuits in ELA class.”

    Academy-style dual-enrollment STEM credits, competitions and cross-curricular collaboration between the individual subjects create a seamless transition from secondary to post-secondary education.

    “So many disciplines are drawn into STEAM programs like First Robotics,” said science teacher and robotics coach, Cheryl Johnson, “If students don’t want to build, code needs to be written. Wires need to be cut and crimped. A student from our business department is in charge of our finances and ordering all inventory. A writer is needed to journal our entire process in our engineer notebook. Our Math and Physics department helps with the layered calculations. We have a student team entirely devoted to design and branding.”

    As high school principal, Christopher Siebert, said: “This engagement translates in to students doing better in other academic areas.”

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  • New Screening Device Helps School Nurses Detect Student Vision Problems

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 1/28/2020 8:30:00 AM

    vision screener


    I am excited to show everyone the new vision screener our district is fortunate to have for students. The Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener is a hand-held device used to quickly, and easily detect vision issues.

    The vision screener is used at a 3-foot distance. The person being screened simply must look at the lights at the end of the screener. This eliminates any confusing directions, ensures a proper screen on a student unable to read, and also removes the ability for a person to “cheat” the exam. The result is a complete, accurate screening on ALL students and staff. It can be used on someone as young as 6 months of age through adulthood.

    The tool screens both eyes at once and takes one second to produce results on six vision risks. After the exam, a complete exam printout is available. The vision screener detects the following:

    • Nearsightedness
    • Farsightedness
    • Unequal eye power
    • Astigmatism (blurred vision)
    • Abnormal eye alignment
    • Unequal pupil size

    The community of Salamanca is blessed to have such technology available to further enhance the health and learning of our students.

    — Julianne Creed
    SCCSD Nurse Manager

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  • SHS Alumna Talks to Students About Owning Historic Buffalo Diner

    Posted by Vincent Pezzimenti on 1/27/2020 10:00:00 AM

    Missy Jenkins with actors

    Melissa Jenkins, formerly Melissa Fisher from Salamanca and owner of Woodlawn Diner at 3200 Lake Shore Road in Buffalo, explained to our high school students how she started out in the restaurant industry.

    When Ms. Jenkins was a manager of four Subways, she used to eat at the Woodlawn Diner. One day, she and the owner of the diner were having a conversation and he told her that he was looking to sell the restaurant. She trained with the owner for seven or eight months before buying the diner. Ms. Jenkins said she was lucky that the previous owner had already built a steady clientele. She kept these customers because she kept everything the same.

    One day a movie location scout came into her diner — he took pictures and asked if she would be interested in the possibility of using her diner for filming for a movie. Later that day she got a call phone call from William Fichtner, an actor who has starred in 89 movies and is a movie producer who grew up in Cheektowaga and went to Maryvale High School. Mr. Fichtner told Ms. Jenkins he wanted to use her diner in his movie called Cold Brook.

    Ms. Jenkins said on the day of the filming there were more than 100 people there. It took from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the film crew to “shoot” a four-minute portion of the movie that included the diner.

    Her diner also received free publicity when Channel 7 news did a feature on the movie being filmed at this location and the 80-year history of Woodlawn. Since the movie, she has had two other producers contact her to look at possibly using her restaurant in their movies.

    Ms. Jenkins brought in her restaurant’s specialty item for students to sample. It is called Jumbot, and it was delicious!

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