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Principal's Page


Hello Bearcat families,

As we start the beginning of a new marking period, we encourage your child to continue employing habits that worked, and start building new ones if necessary. 

  • Using an assignment notebook or other assignment tracking method is an especially important habit to practice from the get-go
  • Students should check their progress on Schooltool throughout the marking period; this will ensure no surprises when grades close, and your child will not have to scramble to retake, revise, or turn in work at the last minute.
  • Students should utilize their guidance counselors to build a strong assignment tracking habit as well as and use the power of goal-setting, forward thinking, and organizational strategies to achieve these goals. 

As we enter our Thanksgiving break I want to again thank you for your involvement in your child’s educational experience. Continue to reach out to your child’s teacher with anything you need. Below you will find the Positivity Project for families page on Gratitude. When you click on the link please utilize the password: P2

Pre K

It is always great to start a break off with some PreK photos. Our friends in PreK had fun making ceramic turkey sculptures!

Happy Thanksgiving Bearcat Families,

Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal


 Bearcat Families,

I hope everyone is doing well and excited for the winter weather that is rapidly approaching (LOL). Please enjoy the announcements below.
The students continue to be engaged in a lot of fun learning activities.

English Language Learners

ENL students from Mrs. Powers’ class have been working with some of the PreK English language learners from Ms. Sitnik’s room. Each week they join Mrs. Nadzan’s art class to help them learn about colors, shapes and lines. The students enjoy using their native languages and learning English vocabulary while creating art! 

33 singers from the 5th and 6th grade chorus performed God Bless America at the Syracuse Crunch hockey game on Wednesday night. The students did a great job and were able to enjoy the game with families following their performance.


Art students at Solvay Middle School are hard at work making ceramic sculptures relating to the Great Barrier Reef. This is part of a district wide collaborative art project including students from Pre-K - 12th grade. The final installation will be displayed at this year's Full Plate Dinner. Keep an eye out for some more sneak peeks throughout the year.Positivity Project

The students focused on the character strength Bravery! The next two weeks students will be focusing on Gratitude. Please have conversations with your child about what it means to have gratitude. Individuals with this strength might be described as:
  • Thankful
  • Grateful 
  • Appreciative
They are for the people in their life and all the people that have supported them.


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Happy Friday,

Wow! What a week of engaging activities within the Solvay Middle School. It is the highlight of my days walking into classrooms seeing our students excited about learning. It has been such a wonderful experience for me to be a part of the Bearcat family and I look forward to the work ahead.

Shout out!
I want to thank our teachers who participated in ordering our Be Kind shirts that included the sign for Be Kind to support our students enrolled in the DHH program.

Physical Education

The Solvay Middle School's Physical Education staff organized a carnival/obstacle course as a fun way to celebrate Halloween this year. 
The five stations included an obstacle course, a scooter tunnel with a hockey goal at the end, ghost pin knockdown, a football throw through pool noodles, and basketball shooting. Each of the five teams were able to come up with their own team name and compete against each other during each of the three minute stations.  The scores were then added together to find the total points for all five stations and declare a WINNER! 

5th Grade
5th graders made lip balm in Science to explore melting points and how the melting point of a solid can change when it is combined with another solid. They used candles to melt beeswax and coconut oil.  They also explored measuring the temperature of a liquid and changing physical states of matter.

Family Consumer Science

FCS students were working in the kitchens this week.  Students were asked to make a breakfast called "Birds Nest with Home Fries". The students let me join in. on the fun and thankfully they helped me because I was lost in the kitchen....LOL.


I have attached a Positivity Project page that is entitled P2 for families. That explains Perspective, includes a short video and questions you can discuss with your child. We encourage you to discuss P2 with your child as we continue to learn more about the 24 character strengths.

Have a great weekend,

Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Bearcat Families,

What an end to the week! There was a lot of positive energy in the building today. Students and staff were so creative as they showed off their Halloween costumes. The PreK parade was a lot of fun and it was great seeing all the parents in attendance. Also, I wanted to thank Superintendent Tinklepaugh and the district office staff for celebrating our PreK parade with small treats and gifts.

Positivity Project
What does creativity mean? You come up with new original ways to think about and do things. Next week students will focus on Perspective. As we focus on Perspective we ask our students to show an appreciation for people that see things differently. Enjoy the video on Creativity!

Halloween Photos


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Hello Bearcat Families,

The students and staff had another great week. There is a lot of positive energy in the building as students engage in activities within the Solvay Middle School. It was a lot of fun visiting classrooms this week. One class in particular was hard at work learning  the letter “C”, they even let me join their group. Additionally, our students focused on Forgiveness and were able to create another Positivity Project video for you.  Next week the building will focus on Creativity.

students create halloween crafts

We are excited to welcome two new teachers to the Bearcat family. Mia DiBello will be working with the sixth grade team teaching Social Studies. Mia is excited to be a part of the Solvay family and has enjoyed meeting all of the students this week.  We would also like to introduce Andrea Martin, she is  joining SMS as the 7th grade special education teacher.  She previously taught special education in the Syracuse City School District. Most of her career has been in human services working to support children and families in the community and in school (including working at SMS as the Promise Zone Specialist).

The staff and students are excited to participate in Halloween on Friday, October 29th. I have heard many teachers and students utilizing their Creativity as they discuss costume ideas. I know there is a lot of excitement, but I would like to provide a few reminders.


  • Clothing must be in the spirit of school rules and the Solvay Middle School dress code. The administration reserves the right to direct any student inappropriately dressed to change into appropriate clothing for the remainder of the school day. 

  • On Halloween the only masks you can wear are the Face Coverings that  must be worn that follow the CDC and the Department of Health Guidelines.

  • Wear shoes you can walk in. 

  • Costumes may NOT include props such as real, toy , or fake guns/ knives/other weapons/dangerous objects. You also may not have any item that is not normally  allowed on campus.

  • No Costumes that promote the use of illegal substances or activities, or are derogatory, violent or disrespectful.

  • No costume can be worn that is unsafe or that may create a safety hazard

Students who have questions about the acceptability of their costume should check with administration.

Let's have another great week!

Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Happy Friday,

The Solvay Middle School students will be participating in a Variety Showcase on November 22nd. If your child is interested in showing off their talents have them see Mrs. Powers or Ms. Fitt.

We continue to challenge our students to read daily and post their reading in the SMS lobby.  Also, some of our students have displayed their art work in the library. It's great to see our students presenting their hard work for all to see.

This week our students focused on Integrity. You are honest and speak the truth. You present yourself genuinely and sincerely. Please enjoy this week’s video on Integrity. Next week we will focus on Forgiveness.

 “Whoever is careless about the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Have a wonderful Homecoming weekend! Go Bearcats!

Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Hello Bearcat Families,

What a beautiful week! We have had a focused week here at the Solvay Middle School. Athletics and clubs continue to happen daily and the B.E.S.T program is full of students. We appreciate you allowing your children to engage in all that Solvay Middle School has to offer.  

The Positivity Project team continues to ask small groups of students to create videos each week, but we are working on ways to communicate the Positivity Project to large groups of kids. This week we focused on Being Present and Giving Others My Attention. Please enjoy the video that features some courageous 8th graders. Next week we will focus on Integrity.

Lastly, we are excited to announce that the Solvay Middle School has joined Otto’s Fall Reading Kickoff! The Syracuse University School of Education and Syracuse Athletics have challenged students to increase their reading from September 27th – November 27th. As students read books they will complete reading logs and place them in our Middle School lobby. Even our Pre-K students are in on the fun (see photos).


character strength billboard
students seated near display
solvay middle school lobby

Be well,

Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Bearcat Families,

We had another great week here at SMS!!! I had the opportunity to visit a lot of our classrooms to see our students actively engaged in lessons. Our teacher teams have been meeting regularly to discuss ways to best support our students. In regards to (Virtual) Open House, we will be sending the link out on Tuesday, October 12th. The format will be similar to our Open House last year.

I would like to give a shout out to our modified Cross Country, Soccer and Football Teams. The Cross Country team recently participated in the Baldwinsville Invitational. The 7th/8th grade football team celebrated a victory over Chittenango on Wednesday! Thank you to all the coaches and players for their hard work.  

Mrs. Dennison will have her first Character Education Club meeting on October 6th at 2:40. Feel free to encourage your children to attend. We continue to work with students on the Positivity Project character strengths. This week we focused on Open Mindedness, please enjoy the P2 video below. Next week we will focus on Being Present and Giving Others My Attention.

Finally, our B.E.S.T programs will begin on Monday. As always, feel free to reach out me Mrs. Cole with anything you need.

Be well,

Russ Stanton 
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Dear Bearcat Families,

We have had a wonderful week here at SMS. Students have been focused in their classrooms and it has been great seeing all of our students participating in after school activities and athletics. We are currently doing a soft roll out of a new character education program Positivity Project. This week we collected photos of students demonstrating Teamwork. Please enjoy the short video focusing on Teamwork. Next week we will be focusing on Open-Mindedness.

Additionally, the Title 1 and Open House scheduled for this Wednesday September 29th will be rescheduled and will be virtual. While we would prefer to do Open House in the typical, in-person format, we believe that this format provides an excellent opportunity for our staff to safely provide essential information for each of our classes and courses. The virtual Open House will now take place on Tuesday, October 12th. The link to the teacher created videos will be sent on the morning of Tuesday, October 12th . The fifth grade team will not be creating pre recorded videos, but will be sending out a google meet link to meet live on the night of October 12th.

Lastly, please visit our website for information regarding the BEST program. The programs are filling fast! I have attached to the link to the BEST program and if you have any specific questions feel free to reach out Mary Kay Cole at If you have any specific questions, please reach out the Solvay Middle School at 315-487-7061. Have a great weekend! 

Go Bearcats!

Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Greetings Bearcat Families:

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce myself as Principal of Solvay Middle School.   I am extremely proud and excited to join the Solvay Union Free School District and to support our students and their families.

This is the start of my 18th year in education.  My career began in the Syracuse City School District as an elementary teacher.  During my 14 years with the Syracuse City School District, I taught third, fourth, and fifth grade.  In addition to my classroom teaching, I served as grade-level team leader and represented the intermediate grades in many building and district level leadership roles.  I also served as an instructional coach providing teachers support with curriculum and instruction in my final four years within the district.

Following my time at the Syracuse City School District, I joined the Onondaga Jr/Sr High School as a Vice Principal supporting students in grades 7-12. During this time, I have had the pleasure of working with staff, students, and families.  I learned a lot about being a leader during my time at Onondaga and hope to bring what I have learned here to Solvay. 

Additionally, it may be more important for you to know that I am a parent who resides within the district. I fully understand the importances of ensuring our children have the best educational experience possible. 

I know the significance of building strong relationships with students, teachers and families.  I will work hard and continue to learn much about Solvay Middle School throughout this year and in the years to come. Most importantly, I bring a belief that the students are at the center of all school-related decisions.  I am excited to bring my experience, openness to learn, and child-centered approach to support our students.  Because the relationships between families and the school are vital to the success of our students, I encourage you to become involved in every way possible.  I look forward to the collaboration and support we will be able to give each other.


Russ Stanton
Solvay Middle School Principal

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Solvay Union Free School District
Jay Tinklepaugh, Superintendent
PO Box 980
299 Bury Drive
Syracuse, New York 13209
Phone: (315) 468-1111
Fax: (315) 468-2755

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