Express Gratitude Countdown to Winter Recess

Express Gratitude Countdown to Winter Recess
Posted on 12/01/2023
Express Gratitude Countdown to Winter Recess

The Season to Express Gratitude | A Countdown to Winter Recess

It’s December 1 and we are launching “Express Gratitude” as a countdown to December 22, the start of Winter Recess. Enjoy this collection of stories about appreciation and recognition for the things that truly matter – student success, family support, community engagement and more!

We are kicking-off December and the winter recess countdown with EXPRESS GRATITUDE —stories and programs about the things that truly matter—student success, family and community engagement, appreciation, recognition and more.

Students Holding Davis Dollars

December 1 #ExpressGratitude

At Ernie Davis Academy, middle school students in 7th and 8th grade have the chance to earn “Davis Dollars” by demonstrating the five pillar characteristics of Ernie Davis—


After earning 44 Davis Dollars, students earn a membership into the elite Express Club, gaining special privileges and prizes throughout the school day. We are grateful for our students, making great strides every day. #GoExpress

The Night Tree

December 2 #ExpressGratitude

Today, Pine City pre-k students, along with the town of Southport, celebrate the Night of Holiday Magic!

Each year, pre-kindergarten students at Pine City make ornaments for a tree that's on display during the town's Night of Magic event. The tree, donated to the classrooms by the town, is decorated with our student's ornaments for parents, families and the community to enjoy! This year, the focus was on the book "Night Tree", by Eve Bunting.

The ornaments were made from festive fruits like oranges, pears, cranberries, and apples on string as well as pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed on a string. The project supports student's lessons on animals.

We wish to #expressgratitude to our students, families and Pine City volunteers for making this annual tradition so special.

Elf on the Shelf at Riverside Featuring Principal Donovan

December 3 #ExpressGratitude

The Elf on the Shelf has arrived back to Riverside Elementary for the season! Principal Donovan started this tradition last year and “Elf” reappeared again this year!

We are so grateful for the excitement on the students faces and in their hearts!

Elf on the Shelf keeps students intrigued and excited to come to school. Attendance is a big part of student success so making school engaging and fun is important.

Family, School, Community: Together We Succeed!

Ninth Grade Students playing in the gym

December 4 #ExpressGratitude

In 9th Grade at Broadway Academy, our administrative staff opens the gymnasium space for students to exert some energy as a break between the morning and afternoon schedules. Recess in 9th grade? Yes, please!

We are grateful to our students for indulging in healthy, safe and fun physical activity during their day.

Teacher helping student

December 5 #ExpressGratitude

We are always grateful for a day of learning, especially when its an opportunity to improve our skills and engage with something new!

Our secondary math teachers gathered together to learn and implement a new tool for math lesson delivery on the DESMOS platform. From authentic math experiences, to efficacy for our students, enrichment, engagement, and retention, we continue to feel grateful for new opportunities to streamline and improve our instructional strategies.

Ernie Davis

December 6 #ExpressGratitude

Today, December 6, 2023 is the first annual Ernie Davis Day in Elmira, NY. We will forever be grateful to our Express namesake, Ernie Davis, for his many contributions to the character development of our young people. 

Elmira-native, Izzy Griffin, was an Ernie Davis Scholarship award winner, developed Ernie Davis Day as part of her scholarship project. By petitioning the community and engaging local leadership, Izzy was able to make this day happen for our community. Following in Davis' footsteps, Izzy is also an athlete from Elmira attending Syracuse University.

Davis was a three-time all-American halfback and 1961 Heisman trophy winner. This led Davis to Syracuse University to the national championships, only as a sophomore. David was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

As an athlete, Davis was the first African American man to win the Heisman trophy and be picked first overall in the NFL draft. Ernie Davis never played a pro game and passed away at 23 from leukemia.

We will forever be grateful for Ernie Davis.


December 7 #ExpressGratitude

In mid-November, Mrs. Halperin's 4th grade students at Hendy Elementary helped their Kindergarten Buddies from Diven Elementary write letters to Santa. The letters were sent then to the North Pole where, with the assistance of Mr. Loftus's 9th graders, the letters are being answered.

The responses will be distributed to the Kindergartners on Thursday Dec. 14th when the buddies meet. The 4th graders will read the responses to their buddies and then Zoom with Santa.

We are so grateful for the chance to share a love for reading during the most spirited season of all! #ExpressGratitude

December 8 #ExpressGratitude


Mrs. Mustico's 3rd grade students at Broadway Elementary and their 6th grade buddies made cards to deliver to residents at Elcor. Family, School, Community: Together We Succeed.


December 9 #ExpressGratitude

Hillary J. Austin

On Friday, December 9, the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce recognized our very own, Hillary Austin, Superintendent of Schools by presenting her the well-deserved Athena Award. The ATHENA Award, an internationally prized honor, recognizes women who demonstrate excellence in professional leadership, community service, and mentorship of future leaders.

We are so grateful for Hillary's vision, wisdom and leadership in Elmira. A gift to our community--congratulations Hillary! #ExpressGratitude

December 10 #ExpressGratitude

Coburn Cheer

We are grateful for school spirit! Expressing school pride at Coburn Elementary for the 15 days of Coburn Cheer!

Express Gratitude

December 11 #ExpressGratitude

Celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom and grateful for our worldly lessons. Students in Mrs. Melanson's third grade class at Parley Coburn celebrated the first day of Hanukkah by inviting Mrs. Korn into the classroom to teach them about the history of Hanukkah. Students learned that "Hanukkah" means dedication in Hebrew, and the Jewish holiday, also known as The Festival of Lights, represents joy. Students viewed a presentation of Hanukkah and the lighting of the Menorah. They were able to play dreidel with peers, enjoy gelt (chocolate gold coins), and yummy latkes prepared by Mrs. Korn.

Cards for Elcor

December 12 #ExpressGratitude

This is the season of #ExpressGratitude-- expressing thankfulness; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Mrs. Mustico's 3rd grade class at Broadway Elementary recently participated in an #ExpressGratitude activity. Along with their 6th grade buddies, the students made cards to deliver to residents at Elcor. This is community. This is family. This is education.

Diven Cards

December 13 #ExpressGratitude

Our Community Schools partnerships expand the traditional role of school by creating relationships between home, school, and community. When we work together, we see greater success. The value of community partnerships is immeasurable.

With the help of the Elmira Rotary Club and Wegmans, students of Diven Elementary recently assembled hot cocoa packages for the clients of Meals on Wheels. Not only are our Diven students are giving back this holiday season for Meals on Wheels and are also organizing a school-wide community service project to collect dry dog and cat food for local shelters.

express gratitude

December 14 #ExpressGratitude

"Yesterday was tough. Our girls were visibly shaken by the tragic loss of Peyton Shaw. The basketball community in Section 4 is very close. We watch these kids grow up right in front of us. What made me proud is that in the 2nd half we rallied around each other and picked each other up and that helped us fight through that adversity and got the Win. Yesterday we lived up to our mantra of family," Varsity Express Coach A'Don Allen, Express Varsity Women's Basketball.

Grateful for community as we grieve together and send light and love to those affected by this tragedy.