Bilingual Class Presents at Board Meeting

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Students in Mr. Mata-Castro’s transitional bilingual class at Atkinson showcased their talents in a spirited and energetic performance at the district’s Sept. 21 Board of Education meeting. The students, performing under the direction of fifth-grade chorus teacher Ms. Arnell and in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, introduced a game children play in Mexico and invited meeting attendees to participate. The Atkinson community is proud of the students’ performance and achievements.

HS Names 40 AP Scholars

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Forty students in the high school’s Classes of 2016 and 2017 have earned the prestigious designation of Advanced Placement Scholar from the College Board due to their outstanding achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement exams.

The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on a student’s performance on AP exams. Two students were named National AP Scholars. Fourteen students were named AP Scholars with Distinction. Four students were named AP Scholars with Honor, and 20 were designated as AP Scholars.

At FHS, Advanced Placement courses are open to students who are recommended by their teachers; students must then maintain an average of 85 percent or better to remain at the AP level. Students can earn college credits while still in high school, advanced placement or both for successful performance on the AP exams. As college admissions become more competitive and tuitions more costly, participation in AP courses has become an increasingly important component for acceptance to the top colleges and universities. Successful completion of AP courses is also considered a good indicator of future success by most colleges.

National AP Scholars
Two students qualified for the National AP Scholar award by receiving an average of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. These students are Sarah Heins and Bryan Mars.

AP Scholars with Distinction
Fourteen students received AP Scholar with Distinction awards by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are Freddy Aber, Joanna Caravantes, Jasmine Euell, Claire Goremusandu, Sarah Heins, Luis Lopez Cardona, George Magliore, Bryan Mars, Christopher Meszaros-Rodriguez, Melissa Alvarez*, Sabrina Guerrero,* Ismary Jimenez,* Nyeem Maloney* and Victoria Wright.*


AP Scholars with Honor
Four students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Antonio Diaz, Jonathan Fey, Abbey Ebescu* and Kaitlin McLaughlin* all achieved this distinction.

AP Scholars
Twenty students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by receiving scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. These students are Stanley Adames, Ashleigh Collins, Carl Exhume, Pedro Gutierrez, Brendan Hammond, Yumel Hernandez Pascual, Shuron Jackson, Cameryn Miller, Rebecca Robles, Amanda Roque Tobar, Gabrielle Russell, Jewelle Trotman, Tyler-Lenai Williams, Stefanie Workman, Karissa Collins,* Dylan Dominguez Sulca,* Isaiah Louder,* Johnny Palma,* Kiberly Serna* and Katiana Thompson.*

Class in session from BNL to Freeport

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As part of an ongoing partnership with the renowned Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, district students participated in a unique teleconference with scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at BNL.

The teleconference was the result of the district’s proposal, “Bringing Nanotechnology into the High School Curriculum,” which is being accepted by the CFN and makes Freeport the first district on Long Island to have its proposal accepted by BNL. The district is also one of three across the entire state to be awarded the “Be the Change for Kids 2016 Innovation Award” for its nanotechnology curriculum.

During the teleconference, students saw their research teacher, Edward Irwin, use “big machines,” including the scanning electron microscope and scattering apparatus to determine the size of gold nanoparticles, which had been created by Irwin’s students themselves at the high school research laboratory.

The experience of watching their teacher perform experiments side-by-side with Brookhaven scientists added another unique dimension to secondary science education. During the conference, which was moderated by CFN Assitant Director Dr. James Dickerson, students had the opportunity to ask questions of the scientists, which helped to make science real and relevant to them.

“It was an honor seeing my work being used and presented by such a distinguished national laboratory,” said sophomore Leah Hochman following the teleconference. “Being able to view all of the processes being used to obtain results and images pertaining to my nanoparticles was extremely informative and eye-opening.”

Dodd seventh-grader Ryan Francois said, “I had such a great time watching the scientist do the lab and see the computer and microscope work together to give us a perfect image. I had so many questions and they answered them all so I could understand the information.  I especially loved the liquid nitrogen being used for a vacuum seal in the microscope.”  

The teleconference call linking BNL, the high school and Dodd served as an interactive way for students to step into the lab directly from their classrooms.

BOE Planning/Action Meeting at New Visions School - October 19, 2016

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Freeport Standout’s Scientific Summer

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High school freshman Valeria Ventura spent her summer vacation in a most unique way, honing her advanced scientific knowledge by participating in the prestigious Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation 2016: Exploring the Cosmos with the National Radio Telescope Observatory summer program. Ventura was just one of 20 students nationwide — and the only one from New York — to be accepted to the program in West Virginia.
    
Ventura spent nearly two weeks learning various scientific concepts and participating in several experiments and workshops, including conducting research to observe the “invisible” universe using a 40-foot radio telescope — the largest in the world — and, under the supervision of NRAO staff, participating in supplementary educational activities, including building electronic circuits and writing computer code.
    
In addition, Ventura will be participating in the Pulsar Search Colaboratory project, the principal investigators of which are West Virginia University and NRAO. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, involves searching for undiscovered pulsars. Beginning in the first week of October, Ventura will be enrolled in an online class on pulsars, and will be assigned a professor from West Virginia University as her mentor. The class will have weekly assignments and homework, and will run for six weeks. Upon completion of the course, Ventura will begin analyzing data by the Green Bank radio telescope. Depending on her performance in the course and the data analysis, Ventura has the opportunity to attend the American Astronomers Association meeting in Dallas, Texas early next year, with the costs of attending provided by NRAO.
    
Ventura’s ongoing scientific enrichment serves not only as a testament to her knowledge of the field, but also to the stellar level of advanced science instruction in the district.
    
“By working hand-in-hand with scientists I was able to define my passion for astronomy and I reassure myself that I want to be an astrophysicist in the future,” Valeria said of her experience. “The Freeport Public School District provided me with the opportunity to take a scientific computing class taught by Dr. Biersach, a scientist at BNL. I am very grateful to Dr. Pereira, science director at Freeport Schools, for making me aware of the PING opportunity, deciding who would write my recommendation letters and exposing me to different areas of scientific research like computer programming. I am also grateful for all my ESL teachers who taught me how to communicate and express myself.”

Peace Concert Set to Astound

In honor of International Day of Peace and International Non-Violence Day, the Freeport Public School District’s annual Peace Concert and Art Exhibit will be held on Oct. 6, at 7 p.m., at the high school’s Performing Arts Center.

The evening, which is sure to be an enjoyable and memorable experience, will showcase the outstanding musical and artistic talents of students from each of the eight Freeport public schools. To add to the festivities, the district will unveil a new Baby Grand Piano, donated by the Freeport Educational Foundation, which will be a welcome addition to the Freeport High School Performing Arts Center.

The district encourages all Freeport community residents to plan to attend this celebration and promotion of peace through music and art.

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Atkinson Walks for Peace

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Atkinson students, parents, faculty members and administrators participated in a display of support and dedication to the Freeport community and the spreading of peace at the district’s Peace Walk on Sept. 17. Participants had the opportunity to see the beautiful landmarks in the Village of Freeport and demonstrated their unity and pride in being part of the district.

Schools Receive Supplies

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Thanks to the ongoing partnership between the district and the United Way of Long Island, the district received 72 boxes of school supplies for students’ use.

The boxes included various assorted items, including backpacks, notebooks, binders, pencils, crayons, scissors and folders. Freeport schools extend their warmest gratitude to the United Way of Long Island for its generosity, and for helping to support the district’s dedication to each student’s academic enrichment.
    
"As an organization, the United Way of Long Island provides much needed services and supplies,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “I thank them for donating these supplies to our students who will greatly benefit from their generosity."

Atkinson Teachers Continue Learning

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Atkinson teachers continued their dedication to lifelong learning during Superintendent’s Conference Day prior to the 2016-17 school year.
    
The educators were guided by some of the district’s finest leaders. Glori Engle, director of English language arts, reviewed and focused on teaching comprehension and computer-based resources for teaching modules. Gerard Poole, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, focused on instructional shifts in the social studies framework and C3 inquiry. Math and science teachers joined Anthony Murray, director of math and technology, and Dr. Vincent Pereira, director of science, to enhance effective problem-solving instruction, deepening content knowledge of mathematics and inquiry-based science instruction.  
    
The teachers collaborated and prepared to move students forward in a nurturing environment in which they will be engaged in productive activities.

Smiles Abound for District’s First Day

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Excited students, families, faculty members and administrators were welcomed back to the district for the first day of school on Sept. 1.

Students kicked off the 2016-2017 school year by participating in a variety of fun and educational activites across all eight buildings. High schoolers reconnected with their peers prior to homeroom and eagerly found their way to their new classes, while the younger students arrived to their schools either holding a family member’s hand or on a school bus.

The classes of 2017 and 2029 began their final years at the high school and Columbus, respectively. At the elementary schools, family members were invited to join the students in their classrooms to usher in the new year.

On Freeport’s first day, students at each grade level began another year of accomplishments and accolades, and moved one step closer to realizing their dreams.




District Staff Primed for Another Stellar Year

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Staff members throughout the district participated in an inspiring and informative two-day Superintendent’s Conference prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

The district’s overarching theme for this year is for each staff member to “Be An Olympian,” and to go above and beyond — just as Olympians strive to move faster, higher and stronger — in their commitment to maximize each student’s potential. On the opening day of the conference in the high school’s Performing Arts Center, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham began his motivational speech highlighting the accomplishments of the prior year. Among these were the significant increase to reading levels of elementary students, improvements in Grades 3 – 8 testing scores, maintaining the highest level of graduation, the increased number of students enrolled in college credit programs, the record number of academic teams competing at the national level and many other recognitions. Dr. Kuncham thanked the staff for their amazing hard work and turned his focus to the coming school year.

“We have the clarity, we know the paths, we have the blueprint. We are moving in the right direction, taking our district to new heights by continuing to create world-class opportunities for our students.” Dr. Kuncham said. “We are here to change lives, we are here to change minds, and we are here to shout encouragement. I know I am speaking to the choir, but let me remind everyone that every child is a treasure. We are here to unlock their genius, greatness and full potential. Today, let’s refocus, rekindle and refresh. Let’s keep moving faster, higher and stronger like the Olympians. Please don’t convince yourself that you can’t give more, and there is tomorrow. There is only now. Olympians do not see obstacles and impediments – they see desired results. They are all in, all the time. They have great faith and belief in themselves. I believe in our students and I believe in each and every one of you. Be an Olympian – create hope, encourage effort and strive for excellence – faster, higher, and stronger!”

Board President Michael Pomerico lauded the district’s accomplishments, and commended the staff members for all that they do, encouraging them to continue inspiring their students to reach for the stars.

“[We] recognize your hard work, commitment to excellence, tireless efforts, patience and dedication to our children throughout the year,”  Mr. Pomerico said.

On day two, staff members divided into smaller groups and participated in several professional development workshops — many of which were hosted by consultants specializing in a wide range of subject areas.

Superintendent’s Conference Day served not only as a motivational precursor to the start of the school year for districtt staff, but also as a way for them to continue honing their crafts and ultimately striving to become district Olympians.

Atkinson Hosts Fifth-Grade Orientation

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Atkinson hosted a fifth-grade orientation for incoming students and their families prior to the start of the 2016-1017 school year.
    
The program, designed to welcome and introduce students to their school for the next two years, was hosted by administrators and faculty members. Sixth-grade peer leaders also took an active role at orientation, providing a tour of the school to their incoming counterparts and helping to answer any questions they had about the transition from elementary school. Principal Connie Velez also assured students and their families that the Atkinson team is always available to offer assistance and to put students in positions to succeed.
    
The orientation was an informative precursor to another exciting year for the district’s Class of 2024 and its families.

Message from Board of Education President Michael Pomerico

On behalf of the Board of Education, I am pleased to welcome parents, students and staff to the 2016-2017 school year. This has been a busy summer, with more than 1,500 students enrolled in programs such as the Summer Academy of the Arts, academic support and science research.

Over the summer, we upgraded our network and internet infrastructure, and under the state’s Smart Schools Bond Act, we will be implementing a comprehensive infusion of technology into our classrooms. In the new school year, we will be adding courses such as AP Computer Science and Music Theory at our high school. We will also be providing our students with enhanced learning spaces, such as a new science lab at Dodd and a new media arts classroom at Freeport High School.

As a Board, our priority is to provide our children with the very best educational opportunities possible while keeping in mind the needs of our taxpayers. We are especially pleased that, for the second year in a row and for the fourth time in nine years, we have been able to bring a school budget with a decrease in the tax levy. Our Standard & Poor’s bond rating continues to be AA, which is among the highest of all school districts in the state.

Dr. Kuncham continues to lead our district to new heights. We are proud of our schools and we understand how critical it is for our children to have access to the outstanding education they need and deserve. Our teachers and administrators are highly competent, caring professionals who are committed to serving all of our children.

As Board members, we are also community members. We have a deep understanding of the needs of our children and the value our families place on their children’s education and their hopes and dreams for their futures. This awareness guides our work throughout the year. I invite parents and all of our community members to attend our Board meetings, introduce yourselves to us and share your thoughts. We look forward to seeing you at the many concerts, sporting events and other activities during the school year.  

High School Hosts Freshman Orientation

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The high school hosted a freshman orientation for its incoming Class of 2020 and their families prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
    
With members of the district’s board of education, administrators, staff and faculty members in attendance, students and their families were welcomed and introduced to their new school. Administrators and department chairpersons spoke about the many programs at the school, while members of the Peer Leadership Program led the freshmen on a tour of the building and conducted small group discussions in various classrooms. These discussions served as a way for the new students to ask questions, gather information and learn about all of the opportunities available to them as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

Message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham

It’s with great excitement and optimism that I welcome you to the new academic year. The start of school brings with it a sense of enthusiasm and renewed purpose. We are looking ahead to providing stimulating educational opportunities that will ensure our children’s continued success.

The past years have been challenging and demanding as we raced to keep up with the public education reform initiatives. Our outpouring of concern to the New York State Education Department has finally been heard and a recalibration to better align the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and the CCLS assessments is underway.

We remain devoted to the level of rigor and expectations brought about by the change in standards and assessments. There has been commendable growth in our elementary reading levels and our graduation rate maintains at its highest level. Our children will continue to receive the excellent education they deserve.

While strengthening many of our instructional initiatives, this year we are launching a massive infusion of technology, facility upgrades, and numerous program innovations for staff and students. The schools will have additional iPads, chrome books, interactive boards and faster internet service.  Along with these additional devices, our teachers and administrators are receiving training in enhancing learning through the integration of technology. We are preparing our students to be active participants in this era of globalization.

In addition to delivering every opportunity for academic excellence, our students are engaged in social emotional learning programs in every building. On every grade level, our children are learning to make good choices and solve problems effectively.

We are eager for the children to return to school and are enthusiastic about the exciting school year ahead. We look forward to a year of learning, creativity and remarkable accomplishments.   

Districtwide Water Test Results

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MySchoolBucks Information

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Required Student Vaccination Information Grades 7 and 12

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District Welcomes its Newest Teachers

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The district welcomed 38 new teachers at an orientation attended by members of the board of education and administrators prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

The new faculty members will begin their Freeport careers across the district’s eight schools on Sept. 1. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham offered inspiring words of advice to the teachers and encouraged them to make a difference in students’ lives.

“You’re not here by chance,” Dr. Kuncham said. “You have been chosen, and you have come here for a great purpose to be on a journey with all of us — bringing your energy, your enthusiasm, your heart and your soul, and everything that you have for our children. We are confident that you will do whatever it takes to energize our organization, inspire our kids, bring the very best out of them so that they can reach their truest potential and rise to your own truest potential.”

Board Vice President Anthony Miller and trustee Ernest J. Kight, Jr. also welcomed the teachers with speeches of their own.

“When we tell you that you have joined a family, we really mean you have joined the Freeport family,” Miller said. “I want you to walk through these halls, look at these children you’re educating, and know exatly what you hold in your hands. You hold the future of each and every one of those children in your hands. You have the ability to craft a life.”

“Remember, there are three medals: bronze, silver and gold,” Kight, Jr. said. “Once you achieve one of them, it is a tremendous feat, and that’s what is going to happen to these kids. You do not have to invent the wheel. Seek the aid, if you need, from your administrators, colleagues, veterans, secretaries, hall guards and custodians. They are all there for you.”

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Special Projects Dr. Mary Bediako administered a pledge to the new teachers, who vowed that they would provide a safe and positive classroom environment for all students.

“You took that pledge with me and I’m going to hold you to it,” Dr. Bediako said. “We are here to help you and to guide you. It’s going to be challenging, but also rewarding. We welcome all of you to Freeport.”

Each teacher was then provided with the book, “Teach Like a Champion” by Doug Lemov. The group then collectively received a bus tour of the district, visiting the buldings where they will soon begin making their marks.

 

District Awarded Competitive $1.725 Million Extended Day Grant

The district is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a competitive Extended Day Grant totaling $1.725 million. This grant, which was awarded to only three school districts on Long Island, will provide the district with annual funding of $350,000 over a five-year period.  

Through this grant, the district plans to implement an extended school day model, titled Enrichment to Excellence (E2E), where in nontraditional settings participants will experience a diverse offering of specialized learning activities, specifically designed not only to educate, but also to excite and motivate students to excel.

A key component of this E2E program will include partnerships with various organizations the district has successfully worked with through previous grants and district-funded collaborations and with organizations that will support and develop the district’s mission to inspire excitement in learning. Partners will include the Long Island Children’s Museum; the Cradle of Aviation Museum; Healing, Empowerment, Learning and Prevention (HELP) Services (formerly Freeport Pride); the Freeport Recreation Center; the International Association of Human Values through their Youth Empowerment Seminars (YES!); the South Shore Child Guidance Center; Culture Play; and the Hofstra University Museum.

“We are committed to providing all students with challenging learning experiences that will not only educate, but motivate and inspire them to achieve success,” stated Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “We are extremely pleased and grateful to be awarded this grant and look forward to working with our partner organizations to further develop our mission.”

The E2E program will offer unique learning opportunities through these professional partnerships. Students enrolled in the program will have the opportunity to visit six different learning sites over a two-week period, with the cycle repeating throughout the school year. A total of 75 visitations to partner organizations will enable the students to participate in innovative learning activities and experience learning from a fun, hands-on perspective in a nontraditional learning environment.

Student participation in the E2E program will be determined by a committee review of student data from the Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School and John W. Dodd Middle School. The committee comprised of administrators, teachers, guidance counselors and social workers, will identify 88 students in grades 6 through 8 totaling 264 students who will participate in this program. As an added element to this program, district social workers will also have an opportunity to work with family members of students in this program.
    

District Hosts Summer Program for ELL Students

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More than 240 district students participated in the monthlong English Language Learner Summer Project-Based Learning Academy at Atkinson.

The program, held in July, featured a variety of projects. For those in grades K-10, topics covered the study of nature, animals, Long Island traditions, waterway conservation and the benefits of recycling. Secondary students also studied vocabulary associated with the sports in this summer’s Olympics.

Culminating the program was an assembly for family members on July 27, where students shared their thoughts and the lessons they had learned through activities and excursions to the Norman Levy Preserve, a fishing trip on the Miss Freeport, a morning of bowling at Baldwin Lanes, a tour of Freeport’s Nautical Mile and an introduction to Operation Splash.

The Learning Academy was part of the district’s ongoing commitment to providing high-quality educational programs for ELL students.

District Students to Use Advanced Light Source Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory

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High school science research instructor Mr. Edward Irwin was one of 15 teachers across Long Island selected to attend a National Synchrotron Light Source II workshop at Brookhaven National Laboratory this summer.

The brand-new, multimillion-dollar U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility at the Laboratory is opening its doors to research proposals from high school students. Under the guidance of their teachers and BNL researchers, students will develop their own topics, write proposals requesting time to use NSLS-II bright x-ray beams and observe the results either remotely or in person. These proposals will be judged competitively with those from career scientists, and students will learn about the process of developing a successful science research proposal. Irwin received hands-on experience in preparing samples, attending science lectures, visiting beamlines and learning about what data can be collected and analyzed with the NSLS.

A synchrotron is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the nucleus of an atom. In a synchrotron, charged particles move inside a torus at very high speeds. They collide with each other and the debris resulting from such collisions give clues about the nature of the nucleus. As the charged particles accelerate in the torus, they give out radiation called synchrotron radiation. The x-rays emerging from the synchrotron are 10,000 times brighter than any other similar device in the world, and this enables scientists to study materials with nanoscale resolution and exquisite sensitivity. The superlative character and combination of capabilities of the NSLS-II are expected to have broad impact on a wide range of disciplines, such as biology, medicine, materials and chemical sciences, geosciences and environmental sciences, and nanotechnology. Irwin expects to use the NSLS II to study the accumulation of mercury in the hair of autistic children. The group of 15 teachers, who attended the summer program, will return for a follow-up meeting at Brookhaven on Aug. 30 to discuss further how to help students create proposals.

The use of the NSLS-II is part of a broader effort by the district Science Department to bring “big machines” to the classroom to introduce them to students and ultimately encourage and support interest and enrichment in STEM-related disciplines.


Complete 2016-2017 Calendar Available Now

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