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July 19, 2018

Fitzhugh Park Elementary Teacher Receives NYS Teaching Excellence Award


OSWEGO – It is said that it takes a village to raise a child and at Fitzhugh Park Elementary School, it takes a team of teachers to raise up students in academic and social achievement.

 Nicholas Little shows off his Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, while his teammates Teresa Lee, Erin Sabatini, Jamie Brancato, Principal Donna Simmons and Judith Osetek stand in a show of support for what Little refers to as a team effort.

Nicholas Little shows off his Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, while his teammates Teresa Lee, Erin Sabatini, Jamie Brancato, Principal Donna Simmons and Judith Osetek stand in a show of support for what Little refers to as a team effort.

That work was recently reflected in fourth grade teacher Nicholas Little, who received the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award.

The only Oswego County recipient this year to achieve such recognition, Little was selected based on several criteria, including: making a difference in children’s lives, holds high expectations for students, exemplifies dedication and inspires and motivates all children and makes learning exciting.

He said his plaque and accompanying $5,000 stipend, is truly a team effort.

Team Fitzhugh, Little said, is comprised of both staff and student Lighthouse Teams, which work collectively to carry out Sean Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.”

He particularly thanked the partnership with Principal Donna Simmons, literacy specialist Jamie Brancato, fourth grade teacher Erin Sabatini, fifth -grade teacher Judith Osetek and fourth grade teacher Teresa Lee.

Osetek commended Little for embracing how he helps students apply the 7 habits in class, throughout the school and at home/within the community.

His students and their peers are becoming leaders.

Guided by Little, students have taken the reigns on using WeVideo to put together daily morning announcements, operate a school store and compile the school yearbook.

Little has also helped secure funds through the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to make classroom improvements and further support leadership programs.

Principal Simmons said the team will continue to prepare students to be life-ready, and Little has served as a catalyst to help Fitzhugh move forward and stay alive with school pride.

He will use the majority of his stipend to support his Certificate of Advanced Studies program at SUNY Oswego, while remaining funds will help fund the school’s Leader In Me initiative.

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