Columbus Avenue School Celebrates Centennial
The district celebrated the centennial of the Columbus Avenue School building with student activities including a variety of educational and fun-filled math and reading activities centered on the number 100 marking the 100th year. A late afternoon reception focused on this historic structure and the positive impact it had on the Freeport community since its proposed construction more than a century ago. The building now houses the district’s early childhood learning program.
“We have come a long way and it’s good to look back on all that we have accomplished,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “It is our hope to continue to provide the best educational programs and services to our students.”
Guest speakers paid tribute to the continuing quality of education offered at Columbus Avenue School and all the schools in the district. “It all starts here,” said Board of Education President Debra Mulé, echoing the Columbus Avenue School motto. “Columbus taught my children how to be great students.” Board Vice President Vilma Lancaster and trustees Ronald Ellerbe, Michael Pomerico and Anthony J. Miller were also in attendance.
Among the local officials present were Nassau County Legislators Laura Curran and David Denenberg, Nassau County official Raymond Thomas representing Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Village of Freeport Deputy Mayor Carmen Piñeyro and State Senate District 8 special assistant Sara Holly.
The high school jazz ensemble, directed by Michael LaSorsa, entertained guests as they arrived. The centennial program also featured celebratory proclamations and speeches from local dignitaries, speeches from administrators, teachers, parents and students past and present, musical performances and a pre-recorded multimedia tour of the school building.
“Because of the longevity and high rate of success from this building, I toast Columbus Avenue School,” said Interim Principal Anne-Marie Hudley Simmons.
The district has been chosen as the recipient of the highly competitive Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE3) Grant. This two-year New York State grant, which totals $804,000, will be used during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years to fund numerous workshops and professional development training opportunities for principals and teachers at no additional cost to taxpayers.
The grant will enable the district to continue its professional development relationship with Adelphi University to expand the science curriculum at the elementary level and at Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School. District teachers will have an opportunity to work with Adelphi professors in the areas of curriculum development and the integration of technology into curriculum instruction. A portion of the grant will also be used to fund additional Smart Boards and iPads for enhanced classroom instruction. “This grant will support and strengthen our work in advancing the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math while engaging students in the sophisticated use of technology” stated Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “At a time when resources are scarce, these funds, and our partnership with Adelphi, will greatly benefit our teachers and our students.”
The grant also allows the district to create the position of district literacy coach for the duration of the grant funding. The literacy coach will work with the district’s English language arts teachers to ensure that curriculum writing and classroom instruction are aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards.
In the area of professional development, the grant will enable six teachers to acquire their English as a Second Language certification and eight teachers to acquire their National Board certification. Principals in the district will have the opportunity to attend the Harvard University Principals Leadership Academy at Harvard University during the summer of 2014.
“This STLE3 grant will enable the district to implement several outstanding professional development initiatives without costing the district or the taxpayers any additional money,” said Gerard Poole, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “These initiatives will greatly assist in our efforts to ensure that our curriculum and classroom instruction are both effectively aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards to enable our students to be college and career ready upon graduation.”
Public Hearing Notice - 3/12/2014
Celebrating Black History Month
Students from every school in the district had their turn on the high school stage in the third annual Black History Month program, “Celebrating the African American Impact on Our World.” The event showcased the district’s ongoing commitment to develop talent through the arts program as it focused on the tremendous contributions African-Americans have made to the world.
“This month, we celebrate the history and achievements of Black Americans who have made our country great,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “We continue to be inspired by their stories and continue the march for justice and equality in our time and for our future.”
Each building presented its own tribute to African culture as it has influenced and bettered American life for everyone. The singing, dancing and speaking came to a rousing grand finale when choir students from all buildings, under the direction of Interim District Director of the Arts Anne-Marie Hudley Simmons, gathered to sing Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise.” “If we didn’t have a superintendent and board of education who understood and believed in the arts, this stellar performance could not have happened,” Hudley Simmons commented.
Student artwork created for Black History Month was on display for all to admire in the lobby before and after the concert.
A Night of Learning With Your Child
Archer Street hosted an evening of parent and student workshops designed to teach parents about the Common Core Learning Standards curriculum and the many resources the district provides for both students and parents. “I was thrilled to see how many parents participated in this special evening of learning,” stated Archer Street principal Paul Lein. “It clearly demonstrated that our parents believe their children’s academic success is a priority.”
Parents of students in kindergarten through second grade had the opportunity to participate with their children in several hands-on activities aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards and designed to encourage higher learning thinking including sentence scrabble, make a math game, make a decodable book and more.
A special workshop provided information about the numerous resource materials the district provides to parents to support their children’s success including e-books, subscription databases and free websites.
Two Odyssey of the Mind Teams Advance to State Competition
The Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School’s fifth- and sixth-grade Odyssey of the Mind teams both placed first at the regional competition and will now represent the district at the state competition at Binghamton State University in April. Teams are judged in part on their ability to think creatively and present their ideas in performance.
The teams, comprised of seven students each, earned the highest scores possible thanks to their higher level thinking skills and theatrical talents. The students, coached by Carrie Frederick and Christina Schwarz, have worked together since October honing their abilities to quickly create the original scripts, scenery and costumes they were judged on during competition with other schools in the region.
The Odyssey of the Mind program was designed to challenge student teams to apply their combined creative and performance skills to meet challenges in a meaningful and enjoyable way.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss
Students in Ms. LaCorte’s kindergarten class enjoyed a special reading of A Cat in the Hat by second-grade teacher Ms. Ahearn, who dressed especially for this occasion. The students also participated in a rhyming activity that mirrored the story’s rhyming scheme and made hats to wear during the birthday celebration.
Reading teacher Ms. Masin read And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street to Ms. Polikoff’s and Ms. Zeilke-Garcia’s third-grade dual-language classes. The classes also created an Archer Street version of the story as part of the celebration.
Girls Basketball Play 4Kay
Freeport High School’s girls varsity basketball team took on an additional challenge this season when they decided to join teams across the country and participate in Play 4Kay, a national women’s basketball breast cancer awareness initiative.
The team, led by senior captain Taylor Miller, set a fundraising goal of $1,500 for this cause. To date the team has raised more than $1,600.
High School Robotics Club Advances to Next Level
Freeport High School’s Robotics Club handily qualified for the next round of competition being held at Adelphi University in the coming weeks as they continued their march to the national championship being held in Anaheim, California in April.
The VEX Robotics Design System competition challenged the students, under the direction of advisor Kevin Harrison, to share their individual STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) strengths to form a team to design and build robots that could perform specified tasks, with and without external control, in restricted spaces.
The multi-round competition, sponsored by the Robotic Education and Competition Foundation, allows students to learn from their experiences and the experiences of other teams to fine-tune their own robot designs.
A Night of Beautiful Music
The sweet sounds of violins, violas and cellos filled Uniondale High School auditorium as three schools came together for the first ever Tri-District String Festival. Among the schools districts participating in the concert were Freeport, Uniondale and Baldwin.
Over 130 honors string students took to the stage to perform 9 pieces, conducted by their orchestra teachers, Jill Boardman of Freeport; Stephanie Muir of Baldwin; and Beatrice Flipse, of Uniondale. Reynard Burns, who is the director of the Dowling College Orchestra, served as a special guest conductor. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham was more than impressed by the joint concert. “This was an incredible collaboration and the performance was outstanding,” stated Dr. Kuncham.
These talented student-musicians dedicated much of the winter preparing for the concert within their own schools. Despite their practice time being cut due to weather cancellations, the students rose to the challenge performing Andate Festivo by Jean Sibelius; Lincoln at Gettsyburg by Andrew H. Dabczynski; Tango Noir by guest conductor Burns; Fantasy on Amazing Grace by Robert Kerr; Sinfonia III by Felix Mendelssohn; Deep River by Carrie Lane Gruselle; Highlights from the 1812 Overture by Bob Cerulli; and for the finale, Ride that Chariot, also by guest conductor Burns.
Freeport Director Jill Boardman said she was more than thrilled to work with the orchestra directors of Uniondale and Baldwin, who were actually her former students, to bring the concert to fruition. “We made this our own and we hope that these outstanding students enjoyed the experience of performing together,” said Boardman.
3/12/14 - BOE Budget Workshop/Planning/Action Mtg. Atkinson 7:30pm
Celebrating an Academic Milestone
Students in Ms. LaCorte’s kindergarten class at Archer Street School celebrated their 1000th day in school as a milestone in their academic careers. As part of their classroom activities, the students read 100th Day Worries by Margery Cuyler and participated in several interesting hands-on projects focused on the number 100.
Long Range Enrollment Study
Remembering Veterans on Valentine’s Day
Students at Caroline G. Atkinson School made sure that the special men and women who served in the military are not forgotten on Valentine’s Day. Using their artistic talents and creative writing skills, the students created hundreds of homemade Valentine’s Day cards especially to say thank you to our veterans. The cards were donated to Councilwoman Angie Cullin’s office and will be distributed in time for Valentine’s Day.
Dodd Mathletes Compete at Hofstra University
Members of the John W. Dodd Middle School Mathletes demonstrated their highly competitive math skills as they participated in the 2014 MATHCOUNTS Competition at Hofstra University under the direction of teacher and Mathletes coach Carol Byrne.
The competition is a national competitive program that promotes mathematics achievement through a series of individual and group contests. As stated on their website, "The MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is ideal for students who have a talent and passion for math who need to be challenged." The first round of competition is at the local level where students participate against students from other districts in Nassau County. The John W. Dodd Mathletes members who participated in the competition at Hofstra University are Richard Bastien, Kira Brizill, Myles Carter, Nickolas Contreras, Michael Desir, Dillon Finch, Joseph LaRocca, Jaidiver Morales, Zoe Stetson, and Miranda Urena. The members prep for the event by practicing from past competitions, aided by teacher and coach Carol Byrne. All their hard work earned them an impressive fifth place against all the Nassau County schools that participated in this year's competition. Awesome job, Mathletes.
Althea Gibson Commemorative Stamp Unveiled at New Visions School
New Visions School students celebrated the issuance of a new postage stamp commemorating tennis great Althea Gibson with a special assembly recognizing her perseverance in breaking the color barrier in tennis and more. African-Atlantic Genealogical Society president Julius Pearse and executive director Joysetta Pearse coordinated the event and were joined by Althea Gibson’s cousin Egbert Boucarut to perform a formal unveiling of the new stamp. “She was a champion on and off the court for all of us,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “She fought prejudice and segregation throughout her life.”
The assembly was part of a New Visions Black History Month celebration that featured choral songs, along with informative speeches detailing the groundbreaking legacy of Gibson. “Althea Gibson was a trailblazer we can all be proud of,” said New Visions Principal Renee Crump-Dedmon. “It’s significant that we celebrate her life during Black History Month.”
Students Put Their Cooking Skills to Good Use
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 35 students from the Freeport High School Student Government and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs cooked 120 meals including meatballs and rice and beans for CoLoki a local charity in Freeport.
The students of both clubs volunteered to come into the high school on their day off in order to help those in need in the Freeport Community. The students cooked for three hours making some tasty meals and had a great time doing it. The members of both Student Government and GSA have been cooking and baking for eight years. The students and faculty in both organizations look forward to participating in more community service activities in the future.
Summer Research Opportunities
DEADLINE: Friday, March 14 at 5 PM
BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY
Program dates: July 7 to August 15, 2014
Contact: Mr. Scott Bronson
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Bldg 438---PO Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000
Students must have completed 10 or 11 grade.
Brookhaven does not provide transportation or housing for students.
Action to Eliminate Gap Elimination Adjustment