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Mar 23, 2017
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School History: Archives

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A rich history

Celebrating our successes

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District is steeped in history, and here, at Chartlon Heights we like to recognize and honor both the district's and school's many successes over the years.

To the right you'll find links to archives of our many student awards and honors, drama production cast lists, poster contest winners, Eagle Scout Projects and much more.

Here's a listing of many Charlton Height's retired staff.

Scroll down to learn more about Chartlon Heights beginning in 1792.

If you have additional stories or artifacts to share, please contact school principal Tim Sinnenberg at tsinnenberg@bhbl.org.

 

Where it all began

A snap shot of our history

1792: The township of Charlton was created in March of 1792. Little is know about the earliest schools of the town, but before 1786, settlers of Charlton had a schoolhouse serving students for three months in the winter. The curriculum was confined to reading, writing and arithmetic. The school was conducted by John McKnight on a farm on south Sweetman Road.

1812: Charlton resident Gideon Hawley is named the first State Superintendent of Schools. He organized the public school system, and is called the "Father of the Common Schools." Young Hawley attended Ballston Academy and then Union College from which he graduated in 1809. During his tenure as superintendent, laws were passed providing for compulsory common school districts and an instructional syllabus written.

1816: The first schoolhouse for District #7 was located as early as 1816 at the east corner of Valentine Road, where Valentine Road used to meet Stage Road.

1818: The Charlton District #8 school is built on Main Street in the Charlton hamlet on the southwest corner of what is now the Gideon Hawley Park.

1859: The Charlton District #7 School, also called the Little Troy School, was erected on Old Stage Road. The district paid Hiram Morehouse $65, and was able to move the first building, build the second schoolhouse and surround the lot with a tight board fence.

1860: A replacement structure was built for District #8 school on the west side of Maple Avenue just north of Charlton Road. The building is now owned by the Charlton Historical Society.

1871: The Charlton District #5 School is constructed around 1871 on the east side of Cook Road north of Eastern Avenue.

1915: Three one-room schools join to form the "Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Union Free School District," New York state's first "consolidated" school district.

1916: The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School of Agriculture & Homemaking opens on Lakehill Road on the site of the current Stevens Elementary School.

1925: The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central Rural School District is created.

1930: By the early 1930's, report cards show that ten subjects were being taught at the one-room District #7 schoolhouse, including reading, spelling, English, arithmetic, geography, history, writing, drawing, physiology and nature study. The teacher was Helen G. Robinson.

1948: On June 8, School District #7 and #8 became part of the BH-BL Central School District.

Delphena Nessle was the last teacher at District #7, which was serving only elementary students at the time. Other teachers at School #7 were Edna Young Phillips from 1929-1932, and Ethel McChesney Myers from 1950-1953.

Some teachers at School #8 were Rose Dalton Mitchell from 1923-1929, Mildred McDowall Hansen in 1930, Jess E. Martin from 1937-1956, and Doris Koulbach Mason from 1957-1960.

On June 24, the one-room schoolhouse District #5 school becomes a part of the BH-BL Central School District. Some teachers at the School #5 were Nellie Stephenson (1913-1914), Eugenia Cook (1914-1916), Ina Armitage Hunter (1920-1921), Jean Teller Wood (1922-1923), Mildred McDowall Hansen (1927-1931), Celia Gray Barrett (1937), Edna Gray LaRue (1938), and Ruth Callenins Smith (1942-1944).

1956: Proposition for purchase of the 14 acres on the Barnett Family Farm is approved by District voters.

1957: Proposition to build school at 170 Stage Road is approved by District voters. Construction begins in spring of 1957.

1958: OnApril 17, the Board of Education approves the name Charlton Heights Elementary School. The district held a contest to name the elementary school and tenth-grade student Charlene Bogue submitted the winning name. The second place name was Stage Road Elementary School submitted by Paul Brown and the third place name was Charlton Elementary submitted by Edward Prentiss and Joan Manchester. On July 22, the first Charlton Heights PTA meeting was designated. Delays in construction kept the building from opening in the fall and classes continue to be held in temporary space in the Episcopal Hall and the Ballston Lake Elementary School building. Emily Speer is named the first principal at Charlton Heights.

1959: On February 16, Charlton Heights Elementary School opens. Scout Troop 54 and Cub Pack 4 use Charlton Heights as a gathering space. PTA donates shrubs, stage curtains, a microscope, the metal letters spelling out the school name, three bicycle racks, the amplifier in the cafeteria, a movie screen on stage, a creative playground, library books for preschool, a microfiche reader for the library, a deacon's bench, a picnic table and more to the school.

1961: The PTA plans Square Dance lessons for adults, films for the pre-school parents, and "Sex Education for Moms and Dads." Students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade participate in a trial "activity period" from 8:45 to 10:25 a.m. each morning to concentrate on instrumental music. Remedial reading, chorus, and enrichment activities like ornithology, geography through stamp study, and sculpture in various media is offered. Children who are too burdened by their regular studies will have a study hall.

1962: Addition of 12 classrooms and the cafeteria added to Charlton Heights. Jim Dunham appointed as the first Assistant Principal. He serves in this position until 1965, when he is named principal.

1965: Principal Emily Speer resigns as principal and moves back to the classroom. Jim Dunham is named the second principal at Charlton Heights. Leon Van Orman is chosen as the second Assistant Principal, a position he holds until 1967 when he resigns.

1967: Vincent Caringi is chosen as the last Assistant Principal, a position he holds until 1972 when these elementary positions are abolished by the District.

1972: The PTA offers a program to parents to help them understand the special services being offered in the areas of speech, hearing and tutorial reading. The speakers were Dorothy Kelsey, Emily Speer and Richard Bennett.

1973: Bus safety is presented to parents in a novel way. Parents rode their children's bus routes on their way to a meeting where bus drivers narrated a slide presentation of transportation situations around the district.

1979: Parents, students and community members paint a picture of the United States on the blacktop area behind the school. Work is started in June of 1979, and is completed one year later. To improve home-school communication, the PTA publishes its first Newsletter.

1980: Artist in Residence Bob Garling, a local artist, begins a mural depicting the daily events of the school. The Little People's Theater at Charlton Heights, a parent supported group designed for children in grades K-6 is created. The first performance is Tom Sawyer, Pirate. The last performance of the group is in 1985.

1981: Eileen Briggs Memorial Art Award established. Eileen was a PTA volunteer who started the Preschool Program at Charlton Heights. She was an unassuming individual who had a true artistic gift which she shared with many children.

1982: Two full casts of "Pinocchio" are presented by the Little People's Theater, allowing 149 youngsters the opportunity to participate in a staged performance. Charlton Heights PTA named as "Most Outstanding" in New York State. Special notations by the selection committee were the Little People's Theater, the growing membership, participation in district and convention workshops, and work in legislation. Some of the outstanding programs offered by the PTA were the children's bazaar held in October, family programs such as square dancing, caroling, ice skating and roller skating, and the book fair.

1983: Charlton Heights PTA celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the school and its organization. View a published historical document about the school's first 25 years.

1984: Charlton Heights PTA begins the CHESS Program, which allows students to publish books with the assistance of parent volunteers.

1985: The Computer Laboratory is established at Charlton Heights. Volunteers were asked to aid in running the lab.

1986: The Banana Splits Program is established to help children from transitional families.

1987: Jean Pokrzywka receives the BH-BL Custodial Excellence Award. Jim Dunham retires as school principal, and Stephen Honicki named as the third principal at Charlton Heights. The James Dunham Citizenship Award is established. Charlton Heights becomes a Kindergarten through grade 5 building as the sixth graders move to the newly created Middle School.

1988: Dustin Quimby receives the BH-BL Custodial Excellence Award. The Open Door Program is established at Charlton Heights to supplement the educational experience for children in pre-first and first grade who are having difficulty adjusting to school. Charlton Heights receives the BH-BL Building Excellence Award for district custodial crews.

1989: The Children's Garden established at Charlton Heights. PTA volunteers help with supplies and give students experience planting a garden.

1990: FromMay 29 through June 3, the Magic Maze playground is built by community volunteers after a two-year effort from a group of parents who turned a dream into reality. The goal of the playground was to be a unique space that could be enjoyed by all children in the District. Parents and volunteers hold the first Fifth Grade Event after-school to honor our graduating students from Charlton Heights. This event replaces a fifth-grade dinner with games, music and pizza. The fifth graders vote unanimously for this change. Fifth-grade students earn the praise of President George Bush for being responsible citizens who help their community. The students completed a Civic Achievement Award program under the leadership of the fifth grade teachers Fred Acunto, Mary Conklin, Carol Douglas and Bob Youmans.

1991: BH-BL Theatre for Children established, replacing the name Pashley Players. This is a community effort from all district schools to provide a theatre experience for children each spring. The first play is The Reluctant Dragon. Building Council established at Charlton Heights. The group is comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and staff to improve the education of our children. The Totes Program is established at Charlton Heights. Students are able to bring home a bag of books related to different themes. The Totes Program is replaced by the 1001 Book Kid Program in 2007.

1992: Charlton Heights holds its first Holiday Sing-Along, a tradition that continues to the present day. George Dorvee receives the BH-BL Custodial Excellence Award.

1993: First-grade students adopt an acre of rain forest land in both Brazil and Costa Rica through the Nature Conservancy and Monteverde Conservation League, respectively.

1994: Bob Garling completes the school mural. Stephen Honicki retires as school principal, and Daniel Riggins named the fourth principal at Charlton Heights. Fourth graders present an evening performance of the musical "Grease."

1995: Charlton Heights receives the BH-BL Building Excellence Award for district custodial crews. Helen Moore receives the BH-BL Custodial Excellence Award. Students in grades 3, 4 and 5 participate in a day of cooperative activities called "Color Me Cooperative."

1996: The PTA creates the Jim Dunham Star of the Week Program to honor students at Charlton Heights. The first Milan Fiske "Think Like a Scientist" Award is given to worthy fifth grade students. Please see the past Science Winners. Charlton Heights receives the BH-BL Building Excellence Award for district custodial crews.

1997: Odyssey of the Mind "Heroic Proportions Team" places first at the New York State Championships. On the team are Sarah Lamparelli, Katie Campe, Ryan Godshalk, Katie Kirschman, Jessica Schreiner, Lindsay Schwarting and Jimmy Armbruster.

1998: On January 29, the school hosts a Citizenship Ceremony sponsored by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. Nine children from Korea, Russia, El Salvador, Bulgaria and China became US citizens when their new American parents swore the Oath of Allegiance on their behalf.

1999: Charlton Heights awarded a Best Practice Validation Award from the Schenectady County School-To-Work Partnership for hosting the Career Awareness Jamboree. Charlton Heights honored with the Capital District YMCA Century Club Award for generous support of the community.

2000: Third graders participate in the Math-a-Thon for the Children's Research Hospital, a fundraiser that has continued to the present.

2004: Daniel Riggins retires as school principal, and Tim Sinnenberg is chosen as the fifth principal at Charlton Heights. On April 8, PTA members and co-chairpersons Paulette Mahar and Elizabeth Herkenham help plan the Career Awareness Jamboree. The first School Yearbook is published in cooperation with the Charlton Heights PTA. The PTA plans the first Monster Mash Halloween Dance, an evening of dancing games, food and a jack-o-lantern contest.

2005: Charlton Heights awarded the Parent Involvement Certification of Excellence honor from the National PTA, in recognition of outstanding parent involvement practices. First graders participate in the Lions Club International eyeglasses recycling project.

2006: Charlton Heights Odyssey of the Mind students are National Champions! See details here. Fifth graders given the Disabilities Awareness Award for the encouragement and positive attitude toward people with disabilities. Bob Taylor receives the BH-BL Custodial Excellence Award. Third grade teacher Susan Brooks named a News 13 Teacher of the Week.

2007:

  • 1001 Book Kid Program established at Charlton Heights Elementary School. The goal of the program is to encourage reading for students entering kindergarten and beyond. Students who have completed the program are now entered into the 1001 Book Kid Hall of Fame. Jared Schreiner collects books and builds two shelves to hold the book bags for the 1001 Book Kid Program as part of his Eagle Scout Project. 1001 Book Kid Sponsors.
  • First grade teacher Elsa Hjelmar named a News 13 Teacher of the Week.
  • On April 5, PTA members and co-chairpersons Paulette Mahar and Barb Becker help plan the Career Awareness Jamboree.
  • From June 13 to 17, the new Magic Maze Playground is built by an outpouring of community volunteers. See lots of fun photos and details about this two -year effort! Chris Fernandez completes a garden next to the Magic Maze Playground as part of his Eagle Scout Project.

 

2008:

  • Justin Sarsick repaints the map of the United States, adds basketball hoop, and paints hopscotch and four-square lines on the back playground as part of his Eagle Scout project.
  • Student Council float places second in the annual Burnt Hills Flag Day Parade. Charlton Heights celebrated our 50th Anniversary in the fall of 2008.
  • Students, staff and retirees gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Charlton Heights. The program included a welcome by Principal Tim Sinnenberg, and a welcome from Board of Education member Robert Speck. Superintendent of Schools Jim Schultz donated several books to the school library, and a painting donated by the family of Dell Nessle was given to Charlton Heights in honor of Mrs. Nessle, who was the last teacher at one-room school house #7, the former Little Troy School. Student Council representatives presented roses to our school retirees, and Town of Charlton Supervisor Alan Grattidge and Charlton Historian Laura Linder presented a historical marker and resolution to honor the occasion. Ballston Town Historian Rick Reynolds gave a presentation about Bob Garling, who painted a beautiful mural in the halls of the school, and staff member Cathleen Buff put together a power point presentation celebrating our past and future. Music Teacher Gina Kirsty led the students in singing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."
  • The school celebrates Halloween and brings back the student and staff parade on the morning of October 31.
  • Chris Frewin builds a storage shed, fixes benches and performs maintenance in the Courtyard as part of his Eagle Scout project.

 

2009:

  • Twenty-three fourth and fifth graders from the After-School Enrichment Drama Club presented Toby Tyler on Thursday, February 12, at 1:45 p.m. in the gymnasium. The show was about a young boy, Toby Tyler, who decided to join the circus.
  • Charlton Heights receives the BH-BL Building Excellence Award for district custodial crews. Congratulations to George Dorvee, Shelley Brantley, Bob Taylor and Joyce Murphy for their hard work. Noted was building cleanliness, teamwork, positive communication with parents, staff and students, and an ability to complete tasks efficiently.
  • The Color Me Cooperative Day was held on June 8. Children were grouped onto six colored teams: blue, white, blue, red, maroon, gray and green. The students participated in three cooperative games throughout the morning. Some of the activities included knots, amoeba race, frisbee golf, five point basketball shoot, stepping stone relay race, three legged race and the tug of war.
  • The Kids Are Runners Too (KART) program began at Charlton Heights. KART is a half marathon distance running/walking program designed to give children the opportunity to increase their daily levels of physical activity. Each day at recess, the children ran or walked 2/3 of a mile. The children kept track of their progress in the classroom. Children received a water bottle and a pedometer when the program began, and received a medal at the conclusion of the program. The students ran the last mile of KART on Wednesday, June 10.
  • Student Council float places third in the annual Burnt Hills Flag Day Parade.

 

2010:

  • Twenty-nine fourth and fifth graders from the After-School Enrichment Drama Club presented The Emperor's New Clothes on Friday, March 19, in the gymnasium.
  • Former Charlton Heights alumna Emma Heritage, a BH-BL High School Senior and the 2010-2011 New York State Alternate Dairy Princess, read to the second-grade classes during Agriculture Literacy Week in March. During National Agriculture Week, students throughout New York learn about the importance of trees in our everyday lives. This year's book, The Tree Farmer by Chuck Leavell and Nicholas Cravotta, was read to classes and then donated to the school library.
  • A career exploration day was held on Wednesday, March 31, 2010, with partnerships between school, local businesses, and community organizations. The purpose of the program was to expose students to various job and career opportunities. Students had an opportunity to learn about three different careers during 35 minute presentations. A special thank you to Paulette Mahar and Audrey Lowe for coordinating the event, to the presenters for graciously giving of their time to expose our youngsters to their career, and to all of our volunteers who made the day possible.
  • The Charlton Heights Student Council sponsored a Dodgeball Tournament on Saturday, May 15, in the gymnasium. Over $2,000 was raised from the event, and the proceeds went towards the Friedreichs's Ataxia Foundation.
  • Student Council float places first in the annual Burnt Hills Flag Day Parade on June 10. The theme of the float was "We are the World, We are the Children."
  • James Klapper builds two planters so that children can reap the benefits of planting and harvesting on the Side Playground as part of his Eagle Scout project.
  • Marc Brown, acclaimed author of the Arthur series, came to Charlton Heights on Wednesday, October 20, during a school-wide assembly. Brown is celebrating Arthur’s 35th Anniversary by spending it with the kids who have made Arthur a worldwide phenomenon.  Marc Brown is the creator of Arthur, the #1 New York Times bestselling book series, which began in 1976. There are now more than 60 million Arthur books in print in America alone. His six-time Emmy Award winning television series Arthur is seen in almost 100 countries around the world.

 

2011:

  • Fourth and fifth graders from the Drama Club presented "Sleeping Beauty" on Friday, January 28th. This year, there were 63 students who participated in the musical production.
  • Charlton Heights Elementary ranked 34th out of the 6,874 schools who turn in Box Tops in New York State for 2010-2011 school year. The labels are found on most General Mills, Betty Crocker and Ziploc items, to name a few.
  • The Charlton Heights Student Council sponsored a Dodgeball Tournament on Friday, May 13, in the gymnasium. Over $2,000 was raised from the event, and the proceeds went towards the Friedreichs's Ataxia Foundation.
  • The Step it Up running program began at Charlton Heights on Monday, May 2. The Step it Up running program is designed to give children the opportunity to increase their daily levels of physical activity. Each day at recess, the children were encouraged to run as much as they can. The children kept track of their progress in the classroom. The students ran together as a school on Tuesday, May 24, at 10:30 a.m. to the music spun by DJ Paul Pantalone!
  • Student Council float places first in the annual Burnt Hills Flag Day Parade on June 9. The theme of the float was "Healthy Minds, Healthy Hearts." Children dressed up as athletes from different sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and swimming.
  • The fifth-grade students at Charlton Heights experienced an in-depth introduction to The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 with a residency by artist Chris Holder. The students were exposed to songs, poems, stories and dances which enhanced the study of the Civil Rights Movement. The students researched specific aspects of the Civil Rights era from a variety of different perspectives to help them better understand the context of the 1950's and 1960's events.
  • Fourth Grader Dora Law placed first among all Saratoga County fourth graders in the annual "Be Smart, Don't Start" Poster Contest. The program targets the youth of Saratoga County, and each year there is a Growing Up Smoke Free! poster contest. Dora drew a picture of a ballerina dancing, and her poster was judged to be first place by the panel of judges. She was honored during the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Board Meeting on June 21, and the school received a $1,000 gift certificate to Borders Book Store.

 

2012:

  • Fourth and fifth graders from the Drama Club presented "The Little Mermaid" on Friday, March 30th. This year, there were 69 students who participated in the musical production.
  • Forty students, staff and parents helped with the “Earth Day Clean Up at Charlton Heights” on Friday, April 20th. We raked, weeded and cleaned up on the grounds and in the gardens and painted parts of the Magic Maze!
  • The Charlton Heights Student Council, in conjunction with the PTA and the Teacher's Association sponsored a Dodgeball Tournament on Friday, April 27, in the gymnasium. Over 130 students in grades 3-5 participated, and competition was fierce between the teams. In preparation for the Summer Olympics, team names were based on countries. In the finals, Team Japan narrowly defeated Team Mexico for the title. Members of Team Japan were: Annaliese Blowers, Vincent Daviero, Lily Digman, Jack Fox, Aidan Giaquinto, Colby Jackson, Kyle Larned, Jimmy Mion and Kiahna Pieronek.
  • The District Field Day was held on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at Stevens Elementary School. Charlton Heights, with 126.5 points, placed just ahead of Stevens Elementary with 105 points. One all time record was broken at the District Field Day by Caitlyn Carr, a fifth grade girl from Pashley, who won the 50 Yard Dash in 7.1 seconds.
  • Congratulations to the Charlton Heights Student Council for winning an award in the 2012 Burnt Hills Community Flag Day Parade. This year, the Flag Day Committee decided to give Charlton Heights the "One of the Top Three Floats" Award. This continues a tradition of excellence in the Flag Day Parade.

 

2013:

  • PTA and staff members put on the Career Awareness Jamboree on May 23, 2013. The event was held in the morning, and children were exposed to three different career options. Presenters came into school and shared information about their profession to our students.
  • Winners of the Dodgeball tournament were the Figs, under the leadership of team captain Andrew Poirier. Also on the team were Josh Fugal, Aiden Giaquinto, Sophie Howard, Kyle Rosselli, Sophie Swain, Skyla Torres.
  • 59 fourth and fifth graders perform Aladdin on March 26, 2013 for a crowd of very appreciative parents and family members.

 

2014:

  • The Jungle Book musical is performed by 66 students in the Charlton Heights Drama Club on April 24, 2014.
  • The Kangaroos were victorious in the annual Dodgeball tournament. Team members were Anna Nikiforov (team captain), Emily Berg, Dylan Bringhurst, Jackie Cabral, Cameron Fugal, Aidan Knapik, Cabot Smith, Layla Solberg, and Colden Swisher.
  • The Charlton Heights Student Council placed first in the Burnt Hills Flag Day Parade.

 

2015:

  • With the celebration of the district Centennial, Charlton Heights students participated in several activities to commemorate the occasion. The school participated in a dance residency with the Ellen Sinopoli troupe, with each grade level dancing to a song from a specific decade. Students also spent time learning about what school was like 100 years ago, and they watched an assembly with local and school officials that gave information about our school district.
  • Shrek is performed by 58 fourth and fifth graders in the Charlton Heights Drama Club, complete with an ogre, gingerbread man, and a singing donkey.
  • Team Seoul won the Dodgeball tournament with Ryan Buthfer serving as team captain. His team included Howard Bearce, Lucas Hayes Ben Hladik, Grayson Johnson, Aidan Knapik, Kendall Reno, Lily Sisler, and Madeline Tse.
  • Charlton Heights narrowly defeated Pashley to place first at the District Field Day, 116 to 113 points. Fourth grader Mary Kate Lescault had two all time District records, in the 220 (33.8 seconds) and the long jump, jumping 6 feet, 4.5 inches. Also securing a district record was fourth grader Danielle DeBonis in the softball throw. She threw 118.8 feet.
  • The Charlton Heights Student Council float received second place in the Burnt Hills Flag Day parade.

 

2016:

  • Luke Haluska led Team Juneau to the Dodgeball tournament championship. Others on the team were Bethany Bearce, Andrew Capella, Cody Gladding, Georgianna Harris, Brooke Hughson, Mary Ireland, Marshall Schmidt, Thatcher Smith, and Jessica Zalucki.
  • 74 students participate in the Charlton Heights Drama Club production of Lion King Junior. For the first time, a traveling spotlight and back lights were used to enhance the performance which was held for two shows on March 30 and 31.
  • The community came together during the first week in May, 2016, to build the Knights Arena Playground outside the doors of our fourth grade classrooms. Dylan Bringhurst completes his Eagle Scout project on the Knights Arena and the back playground area, where he plants flowers, mulches gardens, and repaints the USA map and four square game boxes.
  • Charlton Heights defended its crown at the District Field Day, held on June 7, 2016, at Centennial Field. This was the first time that District Field Day was held on the new all purpose track and turf field.
  • The Charlton Heights Student Council float received second place in the Burnt Hills Flag Day parade. Students dressed in 1950’s clothing and danced to songs from Elvis Presley.
  • Construction begins on July 1, 2016, for Charlton Heights Elementary School. An addition is built in the courtyard with three work rooms and one conference room. Classrooms also receive 21st Century upgrades like new electrical outlets, ceiling tiles, univents and lighting.