Celebrating Black History


Students across the district joined together in a spirited celebration of Black History Month on Feb. 16. The sixth annual celebration brought students from all eight schools together to perform songs, skits and dances at the Performing Arts Center of Freeport High School, which was filled with parents and community residents.

The evening opened with the Presentation of Colors by the FHS Navy JROTC, which was then followed by a welcome by Director of the Department of Arts and Community Relations Ruth Breidenbach. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham spoke about the importance of celebrating Black History.

“As we mark the 41st year of National African American History Month, let us reflect on the sacrifices and contributions made by generations of African Americans, and let us resolve to continue our journey toward a day when every person, regardless of race or religion knows the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our children are the future inventors, scientists, doctors, diplomats, educators, writers, artists, athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs that will bring new and better living to the next generations. They will continue to be our ambassadors of peace and equality.”

Dr. Kuncham also welcomed the Board of Education, staff members, Village of Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, Town of Hempstead Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby and Lucia Martinez, a representative from New York State Senator John E. Brooks’ Office.

High school student Michael Desir began the slate of performances with a moving rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Follow-up performances included a theatrical presentation of “Thumbprint Thank You” by the Odyssey of the Mind Team from Dodd; an uplifting performance of “This Little Light of Mine” by the kindergarten Chorus from Columbus; a foot stomping routine called “Kindness Crew” by the Step Team from Giblyn; a rousing rendition of “Gonna Ride that Freedom Train” by the third- and fourth-grade Glee Club from New Visions; a colorful dance routine called “A Rhythmic Beat of Unity” by the Archer Dance Team; a graceful performance of “Glory” by the high school’s Competition Kickline; a spirited rendition of “I Sing Because I’m Happy” by the sixth-grade Select Chorus from Atkinson; a precise Dance Mix by second-graders at Bayview; a remarkable performance of “Elijah Rock” by the high school’s Select Chorale; and a program finale featuring all of the evening’s performers singing “Freedom Train” with accompanists Asher Cook (Drums), Tim Warner (Piano) and Sam Weatherspoon (Bass). The lobby featured a Gallery of Visual Arts that showcased paintings, dress designs, drawings and renderings by students across the district.

The program served not only as a beautiful and memorable way to celebrate Black History Month, but also as a forum for students to showcase their artistic talents.

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Music Program a Gold Standard

Music Program a Gold Standard

As a testament to its remarkable ensembles, dedicated faculty, connection to K-12 Arts Standards, student-led groups, special events and strong support from the Board of Education and the community, the music program at the high school was recognized as a Gold Music Program of Excellence by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

This year is the first year the LIMHF has honored high school music programs, and FHS is one of just seven high schools across Long Island to receive this distinction. Freeport will be recognized with a banner to commemorate the honor at a special ceremony at Northport High School, where the high school’s Select Chorale will also have the opportunity to showcase its talents in a 5-10 minute performance.

FHS achieved Gold for various reasons cited by the LIMHF, including the the school’s special integrated events for Peace and Black History Month, its unique Mariachi-based program, summer music program, and recent renovation of the Performing Arts Center at FHS.

The recognition ceremony will be held on April 3.

Dodd’s Incredible Science Olympiad

Dodd’s Incredible Science Olympiad
Dodd’s Incredible Science Olympiad 2
On Feb. 11, the Dodd Science Olympiad team competed against 43 schools in New York City, Connecticut, Virginia and on Long Island, and earned four medals. The Dodd community thanks teachers Georgia Plakas, Rosette Jean-Baptiste, Steven Whelan, Bill Behrens, Vanessa Vidalon and all participating students for their efforts.

FHS Hosts DECA Competition

FHS Hosts DECA Competition
The high school welcomed more than 1,000 students from schools across Long Island for the annual Distributive Educational Clubs of America Regional Competition.

DECA is an international association of high school and college students and teachers of management and entrepreneurship, business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. At the competition, various contests are held that allow Freeport students and their competitors to showcase their knowledge and skills in several specialized areas of business study. DECA develops leaders for careers in these specialized areas.

Several Freeport High School students placed at the regional competition under the leadership of adviser Nela Hawthorne: Jocelin Aguilera, Jaidiver Morales, Jordyn Smith and Miranda Urena for Business Law and Ethics; Audrey Arias, Odalys Benavides and Yasmin Marine for Public Relations Project; Oscaria Bruce for Personal Financial Literacy; Krytel Chambo, Dillion Finch, Katiana Thompson and Victoria Wright for Marketing Management; Michael Desir for Human Resource Management; Melanie Escobar and Evelyn Rodriguez for Travel and Tourism; Kimberly Hernandez and Erick Rivera for Sports and Entertainment; Kenny Martinez for Business Services Marketing; Miguel Merino and Sadiki Skeete for Innovation Plan; and Jennifer Perez-Pimental and Chelsey Yotagri-Gutierrez for Job Interview.

Regional competition winners will compete at the state level in Rochester from March 8-10.

Dodd Robotics Impress

Dodd Robotics Impress
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Dodd Red Devils Robotics Team A earned eighth place out of 36 overall in the Regional Qualifier at the high school on Feb. 4. Team B qualified to compete on additional spots against other high school teams, and won three out of six events. Congratulations to the Dodd Robotics Team and Robert Fallot.

‘Water is Life’ at Dodd

Students in Maryclaire Dumas-Landisi’s seventh-grade honors research classes at Dodd completed their end-of-module project-based learning experience on the topic, “Water is Life.” The primary goal of the project was for students to work within groups to discover and present various ways to promote water conservation to their peers and teachers.

Ninety-nine students in 24 different groups worked on this project, with each group presenting their message in a unique way. “Water Week” was held from Jan. 30-Feb. 3, and featured vocabulary quizzes, a water wheel game, surveys, a water broadcast, raffles, prizes and a movie and documentary.

Students learned about why “Water is Life,” and about the issues surrounding water sustainability throughout the world. The module focused on water management problems — agriculturally, industrially and personally — and students learned how to make evidence-based decisions based on a list of diverse sources. They were tasked with clarifying why humans need to focus their attention on solutions to such water management problems.
As a result of “Water is Life,” students now understand the seriousness of world water crises, and learned how to effectively research, analyze and develop opinions while writing a persuasive research paper. They also learned how to become more caring and informed citizens.

Celebrating 20-Year Stars

Celebrating 20-Year Stars

The district Board of Education and Central Administration recently honored staff members who celebrated their 20th anniversary during a special ceremony. Each of the 16 honorees received a plaque as a token of appreciation for their incredible work day in and day out.
Staff members Thomas Alma, Ruth Breidenbach, Joni Caggiano, Patricia Carlino, Diane Durdaller, Debra Ferrugia, Lorrie Greene, Alicia Keper, Jeanne Malone, Julissa Ramos, Claretha Richardson, Lillian Salzer, Shelly Scully, Lisselote Vurture, Angela Wheat and Steven Whelan were recognized for their hard work, dedication and commitment.

The district congratulates these 16 outstanding individuals on their milestone and thanks them for their continued service to Freeport Public Schools.

Chess Nuts

Chess Nuts
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As part of a 10-week after school program funded by the 21st Century Grant, students at New Visions have been participating in Chess Nuts. Chess Nuts provides both beginner and intermediate players the opportunity to learn and sharpen their strategic and critical thinking skills.

At the conclusion of the first of four Chess Nuts sessions, students in grades K-4 received medals and trophies based on the number of matches they won. Fourth-grader Chase Holt won the top prize following victories in four matches.

Cornell Corporate Extensions at Dodd

Nutritionists from Cornell Corporate Extensions visited Dodd to host food lab lessons during the month of January. The experience provided students with the opportunity to not only cook innovative nutritional meals, but to also learn about macronutrients and food groups. The visit also served to reinforce the importance of raising awareness about nutritious meals, and how such meals correlate to students’ performance in school.

Budget Legislative Committee Public Notice - February 8, 2017


Classroom Camaraderie

As part of an annual tradition, Archer Street hosted Teambuilding Day to promote collaboration and camaraderie among students. Students were encouraged to wear shirts and jerseys representing their favorite sport teams, and were tasked with several activities throughout the school — including a LEGO Bridge Challenge and color-coded balloon toss — that required patience, planning and preparation with their peers. Teambuilding Day served as a forum for students to put into practice the lessons they’ve learned in class about teamwork.

January 2017 Points of Pride


iDesign Computer Club Codes Games

iDesign Computer Club Codes Games
Seventh- and eighth-graders at Dodd are learning how to code a computer game of their choice under the direction of science teacher Georgia Plakas, who has been trained in computer coding in a course at Hofstra University funded through a National Science Foundation grant.

First, students use the Gamestar Mechanic program to learn about the various elements of a game — space, components, mechanics, goals and rules. Then, they create a culturally relevant game using the Scratch program created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A Shark Show at Giblyn

A Shark Show at Giblyn

Students at Giblyn performed a special presentation titled Shark Tank before administrators and the Freeport Board of Education at its January meeting.

Showcasing their theatrical and choral skills, in addition to their knowledge of marine biology, students urged the audience to do their part to preserve the vast underwater ecosystem. The presentation allowed students to relay an important message about preserving the environment. It also gave them the opportunity to display the skills they are learning every day at Giblyn.

Skull Science at Dodd

Skull Science at Dodd
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Seventh-graders at Dodd learned the science of animal forensics during a visit from members of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. The guests brought their large collection of animal skulls and furs from mammals that reside in New York state.

Once students reviewed what makes mammals different from other animals, they learned how to make observations about an animal’s skull, such as how the position of its eyes and shape of its teeth determines their diet. In pairs, students were then tasked with examining the teeth and skull in order to form a hypothesis about which of the mammals of New York it belongs to.

Districtwide Water Test Results Phase I and Phase II


A Tribute to MLK’s Life and Legacy

Students and staff at New Visions celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by dressing in black and white and performing a variety of inspirational songs during a special ceremony prior to the national holiday.

The program featured several vocal performances by students in each grade, as well as the presentation of the school’s annual MLK Peace Award to one extraordinary fourth-grader. The award, which recognizes a student’s exceptional contributions of peace and leadership, was presented to Shirley Benavides, who received a trophy, medallion, certificate and the honor of having her name displayed on a plaque inside the school. Benavides was chosen from a pool of five students nominated for the award by their teachers and classmates. Medallions and certificates were presented to the four runners-up to the award.

Dr. King’s dream was celebrated with a variety of songs, including “What a Wonderful World,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Hall of Fame,” as well as with a poem titled “Peace” recited by students. Facts about Dr. King’s life were also presented by students throughout the program.

The ceremony celebrated Dr. King’s virtues of leadership and peace, and recognized New Visions’ students who continue to exhibit those ideals daily.

Liberty Health Awareness Campaign

Students from the Liberty Program at Atkinson created posters demonstrating and emphasizing important health, wellness, and hygiene tips. The after-school program includes a community service component, and students were proud to share and display their work with the school nurses and their peers.

Super Spellers

Bayview fourth-grader Savannah Dixon won the school’s Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word, “vocabulary.” Second-place winner was Hannah Islas. Dixon will be representing the school in the Scripps Spelling Bee at Hofstra on Feb. 5.

Principal Odette Wills and Assistant Principal Alma Rocha, along with all Bayview staff, are proud of Dixon, Islas and the participants of the Spelling, and wish Dixon luck as she moves on.

Students Help Out

Bayview students hosted the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society student series, “Learning to Make Someday Today” campaign kickoff. As part of the event, students watched “You’re Never Too Young to Help Others,” and then collected change to help support the organization. Students learned about the importance of being in position to help save lives, and the donations helped fund more effective therapies.

Super Spellers

New Visions fourth-grader Kiran Manansingh won the school’s Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word, “infuriating.” Second- and third-place winners were Bryana Quiros and Mustafa Asif, respectively.
Manansingh will be representing the school in the Scripps Spelling Bee at Hofstra on Feb. 5.

On Air at the Airport

On Air at the Airport
On Air at the Airport 2
Students from Dodd and the high school spoke about the district’s nanotechnology initiative on the Long Island News Radio 103.9 FM radio broadcast at McArthur Airport.

Accompanied by high school science research teacher Edward Irwin, senior Rajiv Chanda and seventh-graders Cedenia Henry and Sameerah Lawal discussed the district’s ongoing partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory, which recently accepted Freeport’s proposal, “Bringing Nanotechnology into the High School Curriculum,” and spoke about their own experiences. The show ran for 30 minutes and was led by Robert Vecchio, president of the William Floyd School District Board of Education.

The students’ experience was a testament to not only their passion for learning and nanotechnology, but also to the Freeport Schools’ commitment to providing them with opportunities in advanced science topics.

STEMming for Success

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STEMming for Success3
STEMming for Success4
Students in Archer’s Science Enrichment morning program are learning the fundamentals of engineering and their relationship to STEM. Recently, they were tasked with building a structure using plastic cups, and worked as teams to build the tallest structure possible. To accomplish this, they demonstrated their understanding of related concepts and what limitations were presented by the materials. Students were then tasked with creating a building that could hold weight using 20 marshmallows and 20 toothpicks; they worked in pairs and combined their materials.

Prioritizing Safety

Prioritizing Safety1
Prioritizing Safety2
Prioritizing Safety3
The district hosted an informational session about cyberbullying that provided parents and guardians with information about internet safety, and tips to ensure the safety and security of families and children.

Doreen Hantzschel, an educational facilitator from SCOPE Education Services, spoke about the importance of maintaining open lines of communication, and why guardians should monitor their children’s internet activity to protect them. Members of the New York State Police Internet Crimes Against Children task force also provided insight about the topic, and urged parents and guardians to remain vigilant.

The Parent University about cyberbullying was the district’s latest endeavor to help ensure the safety of all students by keeping parents informed.

First Snowfall


As part of an ongoing tradition, the Newcomer class at Atkinson celebrated their first snowfall together. The students in Raquel Steffa’s and Yeraldine Tineo’s classes — many of whom are native to countries with warm climates — made snow angels with principals to supplement their reading of snow-themed literature. The experience served as a fun and educational way to mark the students’ milestones.

Science Explorations

Science Explorations

The below are various spectacles taking place in Christine Myers’ 21st Century Science Exploration class:

Pipe Cleaner Tower: Free-standing towers were created out of pipe cleaners. The students tried to stack the pipe cleaners and keep it balanced at the same time. Then, they each put one hand behind their backs to make the experiment more challenging. They then tried to stack them up with one hand. For the final seconds of the challenge, Ms. Myers allowed the class to take their arms out from behind their backs and assemble the rest of their tower. Finally, students had a contest to see whose tower was taller.

Egg Drop: Students conducted an experiment where they dropped an egg to test gravity. Their theory was that specific items could be used to drop a fragile, heavy object and it would land safely. They used certain items for the experiment such as balloons and tape to help their eggs land safely on the ground without a crack. This tested gravity by weight. The heavier it was, their guess was, the faster it would fall. Their eggs both cracked and landed safely depending on the materials used. From this experiment, the class concluded its theories on gravity.

Quicksand: During this program, the students made quicksand and learned about the states of solid, liquid and gas. They mixed cornmeal and water to create this. When they placed their hands into the mixture, the “quicksand” felt like a liquid. However, when they squished it with their hands it turned into more of a solid. They concluded that the quicksand could be a solid and a liquid at the same time.

Volcano: The class organized a volcano experiment by using a base and an acid. They used a beaker and combined vinegar and baking soda. The resulting experiment smelled like salt and vinegar potato chips, was white, and bubbled and fizzed while it flowed and resembled Sprite soda.
Walking Rainbow: To make the Walking Rainbow, the students used water, food coloring and paper towels. They poured water and food coloring into cups, and then folded pieces of paper towel into them and watched as the water was absorbed from one cup into another cup because it acted as a conductor for the water.    

Lava Lamp: The students gathered all the necessary materials: empty water bottle, baby oil, water, food coloring and an Alka-Seltzer tablet. They poured the baby oil in the bottles and added the food coloring and watched as it traveled to the bottom. They then filled the rest of the bottle with water and added the Alka-Seltzer tablet to watch as a chemical reaction took place.

Chorale Performs National Anthem at Gov. Cuomo’s Address

On Jan. 10, the high school’s Select Chorale had the prestigious honor of performing the national anthem prior to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “State of the State” address at SUNY Farmingdale. The group, who received a special invitation to perform by the Governor’s Office, showcased the poise and harmony that have earned it remarkable acclaim under the leadership of Director Monique Retzlaff. At the governor’s address, Retzlaff conducted a balanced ensemble of 10 students on stage, while other members of the group supported them from the audience.

The Chorale adds this performance to a list of prestigious venues it has been privileged to showcase its excellence at, including Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building and Kennedy Center.

It is also the second time this school year that Freeport students have had the opportunity to observe the Democratic process; last month, students attended the Electoral College certification in Albany.

“This amazing group’s musical talents, stage presence and overall etiquette as individuals collectively exhibit a level of excellence worthy of earning the honor of performing at an event for the Excelsior Empire State,” said Retzlaff.

December 2016 Points of Pride


Football Team Wins LI Championship!


The high school varsity football team capped off an incredible season (11-1) on Nov. 25 by capturing the Long Island Class I title with a 28-14 win over the William Floyd Colonials at Hofstra University. The Red Devils scored all of their points in the first half, and won their fifth Class I title in seven appearances.

“It never gets old, and this is just as exciting as the first one,” said Coach Russ Cellan. “The kids worked extremely hard since the spring, and everything worked out. Nothing is guaranteed and there’s no substitute for hard work, and I am thrilled for our players to be able to experience this.”

Board of Education Accepts Donation from Freeport Educational Foundation

During the Dec. 21 Board of Education meeting, the Board accepted a generous donation from the Freeport Educational Foundation totaling $20,834. This much appreciated donation will be used to support the implementation of nine innovative grants in the district and to fund four scholarships of $500 each to four graduating members of the Class of 2017. On behalf of the Board and the school district both Board President Michael Pomerico and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham thanked the FEF for their ongoing support and continued generosity.

Archer Discovers the Universe

Students at Archer Street had the opportunity to discover the universe directly from the school’s parking lot. The Vanderbilt Planetarium’s Discovering the Universe: Mobile Classroom hosted students as they supplemented their classroom lessons about astronomy and the universe. The Mobile Classroom, which is comprised of the self-contained modules Light, Telescopes, Digital Imaging, Gravity and The 3-D Universe, served as a fun, educational and unique way for students to learn how astronomers use different processes to acquire information.

Hour of Code

Students at Archer Street and New Visions participated in Hour of Code during the week of Dec. 5-11. The global event, which the school hosted for students in each grade level, introduced students to the basics of computer science and coding.