Freeport Pride Newsletter - Fall 2015


NHS Inducts Record Number of Students


A record-breaking 129 students at the high school were inducted into the prestigious National Honor Society in a special candle-lighting ceremony before the Board of Education, district administrators, families and friends.

With current members of the NHS seated behind them in the high school’s Performing Arts Center, the new inductees were sworn into an organization that recognizes the four tenets of scholarship, service, leadership and character. Advisor Eileen Shultis, who led the program, announced the six NHS officers: President Carla Fortuna, Vice President Yumel Hernandez, Secretary Yerinette De La Rosa, Treasurer Jewelle Trotman, Student Liaison Jasmine Euell and Director of Community Service Shamir Lewis.

Individually, officers of the NHS spoke about the definition of each of the four pillars, and student class representatives lit candles to commemorate the new inductees’ exemplification of them. The names of the students who earned induction to the NHS were announced, and each received a medal from Principal Linda Carter. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, who administered the Honor Society Oath following the medal ceremony, commended students for being on the path to success and exhibiting well-rounded excellence.

“What you have accomplished so far is wonderful,” Dr. Kuncham said. “Although the journey will get tougher, I know all of you are prepared for it — you know what to do. Stay on the path, take it to the next level, and continue to have a great attitude. Having a great attitude is the single most important key to success and has a profound impact on your environment. Continue to believe in yourself and become your own biggest fan. When you believe in what you do and it’s a reflection of who you are, you become a magnet of exciting opportunities, and that makes you successful.”

NHS President Fortuna offered words of advice for her peers and urged senior inductees to make the most of their final year at the high school.

“I want you, the inductees and members, to walk away knowing that there is nothing wrong with telling yourself no, but know where and when to continue to strive,” she said. “It is okay to fail, but it is not okay to have a fear of failure. It took me many obstacles and experiences to be where I am today. All of you are leaders. Let’s leave Freeport High School with a bang. Interact with your classmates, join clubs, and most importantly, cherish every moment. Stay determined, and let’s make this year our year.”

As part of a Freeport High School tradition, all 129 inductees were encouraged to proudly wear their medals to school the following day as symbols of their remarkable achievements and success.

Cookies for Courage

Atkinson’s student government showed their appreciation to the Freeport Police Department on Nov. 17 by delivering freshly baked cookies and thank-you cards to the local station as part of the “Cookies for Courage” initiative. While there, the students received a tour of the station and learned more about the workplace of those who serve and protect.
Funded by the 21st Century Program, the student government consists of students who act as positive role models in and out of the school setting. Last month, they sponsored “Socktober” and collected new socks to donate to those in need.   

BOE Cancellation Notice - December 2, 2015


Heroes Promote Books at Columbus

As part of PTA Hero Night and Book Fair, students at Columbus learned about the importance of books and reading, and also paying respect to members of the community who ensure safety and good health. These heroes, who included a police officer and nurse, read to the students and spoke to them about their commitment to helping others. With popular children’s book character Clifford the Big Red Dog also in attendance, Hero Night and the Book Fair served as a forum to continue promoting literacy and the rewards of community service.

Standout Athlete Headed to Mercy College

High School senior Katherine Sanchez has signed a National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse next year at Mercy College.
The talented athlete made her decision to attend Mercy official with her mother, grandmother, cousin, coaches Meredith Jones and Danielle Torre and Athletic Director Jonathan Bloom in attendance for the momentous signing at the high school.

Bayview Plants the Seeds of Future Success

Students at Bayview were exposed to a wide array of future occupational choices available to them as part of Career Day.
The school welcomed various guest speakers, including a doctor and corrections lieutenant, to discuss their careers with students. Students had the opportunity to ask questions of the guests, and they were encouraged to follow their dreams as they begin thinking about what fields they would like to pursue in the future.
“The purpose of Career Day is to begin planting the seeds of different career choices in our students while they are still in elementary school,” said Principal Odette Wills. “It’s important for them to be curious and learn about different types of occupations, and we appreciate these professionals volunteering their time to speak to our students about the work they do.”

Archer Sees Seeds Turn to Milkweeds

Students at Archer Street followed up a planting activity from the 2014-15 year with related writing lessons.
Ms. Crespi and Ms. Piddoubny’s second-grade classes studied monarch butterflies and milkweed last year, and planted milkweed seeds in a fenced garden at the school. Recently, those seeds fully bloomed, and the students are now incorporating their documented findings with the English language arts curriculum by crafting letters to this year’s second-grade classes. The theme of the letters is to encourage the classes to plant milkweed to support the survival of the monarch butterfly.
The milkweed activity served as a two-pronged project through which students learned a variety of skills.

Archer Students Learn About Fire Safety

Kindergartners at Archer Street received a visit from the Freeport Fire Department for lessons on fire safety, trucks and equipment. Firefighters spoke about emergency protocol, such as the importance of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and encouraged students to discuss the information with their families and to learn more about their own escape plans at home.

Dodd Hosts Student Elections

During the week of Election Day, Dodd hosted its annual student council elections. Prior to voting day, candidates campaigned throughout the week and delivered speeches detailing reasons why each thought he/she was the best choice for a position on the student council executive board. Each student at the school had the opportunity to cast a vote, and both seventh- and eighth-graders learned firsthand about the democratic process.
The new seventh-grade president is Arianna Persad, with Edward Awe voted as vice president; the eighth-grade president is Joseph Bisono and vice president is Emily Morris. Nicolina Secchi and Katelyn Sewcharran were elected as executive board trustees, Jayda Pollard won the position of treasurer and Yenifer Tuburcio-Jerez is the new Commissioner of Spirit.
Student Council has various fundraisers and events planned for the current school year, and the new executive board is set to help plan and execute them for the Dodd community.

Columbus Learns About Art Elements

Students at Columbus Avenue took part in activities designed to teach them about the basic elements of art.
After observing elements seen in Piet Mondrian paintings and participating in a discussion about them, students created line designs, squares and rectangles using strips of black construction paper. Then, they painted inside their shapes using the primary colors red, yellow and blue.
The activities served to teach the students how artists use lines in their work, how to identify and create geometric shapes, and how to reflect elements seen in professional work.

Freeport Realtors See Schools’ Excellence

At a Realtors Luncheon hosted by the district, local Real Estate agents had an opportunity to learn about the schools’ various achievements, programs, and activities, and to engage in a dialog with district officials.  
The event, held at New Visions School, was attended by three of the district’s principals and members of its central administration, as well as Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran. Freeport Board of Education trustee Ronald Ellerbe, who is also a Freeport realtor, welcomed the special guests to the luncheon.
“Real estate agents and brokers are the ambassadors of our community,” Ellerbe said. “They are the ambassadors who sell the school district in a community. I’m able to sell it because I know about it and I work with it six to seven days out of the week. The purpose of this luncheon is to orientate you to what the Freeport Public School District is all about, and to give you a better understanding of what our schools stand for.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham spoke to the realtors about the unique benefits offered by Freeport’s magnet schools system and notable district highlights, including the historically high graduation rates, college credit programs at the high school, the research partnerships with many universities, and the solid financial status of the district including its consistently stellar bond rating of AA by Standard and Poor’s.
“We have a very strong and committed team of leaders here taking care of our schools, beginning with our Board of Education,” Dr. Kuncham said. “I’m very proud to say that we have more than 1,100 dedicated staff members committed to ensuring that the more than 7,300 students in our district receive the best education possible. We believe in excellence, and that is what we have been delivering during my time, our time, and previously as well. We’ll continue to do that into the future. We have a ‘whole child’ approach that is holistic and caters to the entire needs of every single child. Our priority will always be our students, and producing the future leaders of America and global citizens.”
The Realtors Luncheon was designed to provide Freeport real estate agents with an understanding of the district’s accomplishments, its school-choice Magnet Program, and the broad array of academic and extra-curricular programs offered across grades Pre-K through 12, information which would be of interest to prospective residents.

Local Author Conducts Workshops at Dodd

Long Island author Jennifer Wolf Kam visited Dodd to conduct writer’s workshops with eighth-grade students about her novel, “Devin Rhodes is Dead.”

Thirty-five students with an interest in writing creative fiction participated in the workshops and learned how to craft stories incorporating elements such as characterization and theme. Prior to Wolf Kam’s visit, Freeport Public School District purchased copies of her mystery novel — which recently won the Children’s Book of the Year award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals — and students were prepared to discuss its plot.

Wolf Kam’s visit served as a way for students to supplement their reading of the novel with lessons about effective creative writing.

FHS students learn “It Can All Wait”


Juniors and seniors at the high school learned about the dangers of texting and driving during a special assembly presented by AT&T and U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice on Nov. 6.
AT&T’s “It Can Wait” program, which was held at the high school’s Performing Arts Center, teaches students to exercise good judgment and be responsible motor vehicle operators by putting their phones down while driving. The program, which was also attended by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Freeport Village Mayor Robert Kennedy and Freeport Police Department Chief Miguel Bermudez, began with high school Principal Linda Carter expressing her gratitude for being able to host such an important program for her students.
“Thank you to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, for giving us the green light to have this program here,” Carter said. “Dr. Kuncham knows how passionate we are at Freeport High School about not texting and driving, and about stopping distracted driving. Teaching our students to be safe and responsible young drivers is one of our priorities and is directly in line with our character education [curriculum]. This program helps to reinforce responsibility — one of the many values we instill in our students every day.”
Students then watched AT&T’s “Close to Home” commercial, which depicts how quickly life can change if they ever choose to text or even glance at their phones for a moment while driving. The commercial, which ends with a sudden car accident, resonated with students, who watched the fate of a happy family change in an instant forever. New research1 from AT&T shows that 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. It’s no longer safe to assume that people are just texting from behind the wheel. They’re checking email, posting to social, and even snapping selfies. AT&T recently expanded the focus of “It Can Wait” initiative to the broader dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel. U.S. Representative Rice then spoke to students about how they must continue to weigh the consequences that their decisions may have.
“The number one cause of death among people your age is car crashes,” she said. “Some people believe texting and driving is even more dangerous than drinking and driving. I’m grateful to AT&T for doing this program, and I’m so excited that you have a superintendent and a principal who are visionaries to want you to have this information to keep you safe.”
“When we launched ‘It Can Wait’ five years ago, the message was loud and clear: No text is worth a life,” said AT&T New York President Marissa Shorenstein. “The same now applies to all smartphone activities that people are doing while driving. We urge students, parents and teachers to take the pledge and spread the message to their friends, family and community. “
Students also watched “The Last Text,” a documentary produced by AT&T featuring three separate, true stories of lives that either ended or dramatically changed as a result of texting and driving.
Following the video, Bermudez spoke to students about the issue from the perspective of a law enforcement official.  “As police officers, even if the phone gets destroyed in a car crash, we still have access to that data and can find out if that person was on the cellphone prior to the accident,” he said. “We need you to spread the word that it can wait. This year alone, the police department in Freeport has written more than 300 percent more tickets than last year for texting or talking on the phone while driving. That’s a huge number, and I need you all to get on board and help us out with that.” The program concluded with students signing a pledge board, promising to be safe motor vehicle operators who do not text and drive and spreading the word that “it can wait.”
“Life is too precious to waste,” Dr. Kuncham. “We all need to respect our own lives and the lives of others by the decisions we make. Texting and other distractions can wait if it means saving a life.”

1 Research commissioned by AT&T and conducted by Braun Research. Polled 2,067 people in the U.S. aged 16-65 who use their smartphone and drive at least once a day. Additional information available here.

Students Give Thanks to BOE


On behalf of students across thedistrict, dual-language students at Giblyn and members of the high school’s Student Government expressed their appreciation for the Board of Education in harmonic and heartwarming ways. Giblyn students danced and expressed their gratitude to the Board in song, underscoring the public education advocacy efforts of each of its five members: President Michael Pomerico, Vice President Anthony Miller, and trustees Ronald Ellerbe, Ernest J. Kight, Jr., and Vilma Lancaster.

The special recognition ceremony, which was held during the Board’s October meeting, began with each of the Student Government members in attendance addressing the board. Individually, the students spoke about the Board’s role in helping to provide them with an outstanding education and an unforgettable academic career in Freeport Schools. In small groups, the Giblyn students then performed a dance to celebrate and honor the Board, and they spoke to the audience about the impact each member has had. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham also thanked the board for its selfless devotion to Freeport schools.

“We thank you for your extraordinary services to our school district, to public education, and for being such amazing advocates for our children,” Dr. Kuncham said. “Serving on a local school board is not an easy task, particularly in today’s climate of rapid change and financial uncertainties, but the leadership of our Board has been critical. These are wonderful individuals who work tirelessly. They are the crucial link between the community and the classroom, and they are our superheroes.”

Employee groups, including the teachers, administrators, teaching assistants, and clericals, along with the PTA announced donations made in the name of the Board to various charitable organizations and the Freeport Educational Foundation as a token of appreciation for the Board’s service.

The ceremony served as a forum to celebrate the Board as a whole and each individual member and to recognize all of their hard work and dedication to Freeport schools and students.



Archer Adopts Cops

Fourth-graders at Archer Street continued the school’s tradition of “adopting” local police officers in the annual Adopt-A-Cop program.

The students visited Freeport Police Station for the ceremony, which was comprised of class representatives expressing their appreciation and pledging their commitment to writing to adopted officers monthly and inviting them to school events. Several dignitaries, including Chief of Police Miguel Bermudez, Deputy Police Chief Michael Smith, Adopt-A-Cop Program Coordinator Officer Rampenelli, Freeport Village Mayor Robert Kennedy and Freeport Village Trustee and former Board of Education member Debra Mulé, were in attendance.

The program culminated with the officers providing a tour of the station and village offices. Adopt-A-Cop is designed to foster communication between students and local law enforcement officials.

Common Core Survey

The New York State Education department is conducting a review of the Common Core Standards.  Please read the comments from the NYS Education Commissioner Elia and click on the link below to participate in the survey.

"In New York State, we are committed to higher standards and to evaluating the standards on a regular basis with input from stakeholders. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is conducting a review of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. NYSED is conducting a survey in order to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the standards. The results of the survey will directly inform any changes that we make to the standards as a result of the review. I look forward to hearing from you and reviewing your feedback on the standards." -Commissioner Elia

View the Survey Here: