Dr. Kuncham Named Outstanding Superintendent of the Year

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District Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham has been named 2016 Outstanding Superintendent of the Year by the New York State Association of School Business Officials. The prestigious statewide distinction serves as a testament not only to Dr. Kuncham’s outstanding expertise in school finance and his contributions to the school business profession, but also to the district’s financially sound standing.

Dr. Kuncham has served as the superintendent of Freeport schools for the past seven years, prior to which he was assistant superintendent for business and deputy superintendent for 15 years. Under his leadership, the district has had a solid financial foundation, and has earned a Standard and Poor’s bond rating of AA — a rating earned by just six districts rated by S&P in the state. Freeport is a model district for best business practices, has a completely clean audit from the Comptroller’s Office and in three of Dr. Kuncham’s seven years as superintendent, the tax levy has been reduced. The district has thrived not only financially, but also educationally, achieving the highest graduation rate in Freeport’s history under Dr. Kuncham’s leadership.

He is a proactive leader, constantly searching for solutions to improve what is already in place. The culture Dr. Kuncham has created is conducive to the development of best business practices and effective management. As a business official, he reached the pinnacle of the profession himself, and as superintendent he commits himself to helping others maximize their potential.

Dr. Kuncham was recognized by the NYSASBO at its Education Summit in Saratoga Springs on June 14. This award is accompanied by a $1,000 scholarship which Dr. Kuncham has awarded to a graduating senior in the class of 2016.  

He has previously been a recipient of the prestigious International Eagle Award from the International Association of School Business Officials, and is also a past president of the Nassau County Chapter of NYSASBO.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

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Amid a brilliant sea of red and white caps and gowns, the high school Class of 2016 graduated before their proud families, friends, board of education, administrators and faculty members in attendance to applaud their remarkable milestone.

The beautiful graduation ceremony, held at Hofstra University, opened with a rendition of the national anthem by the high school’s select chorale, directed by Monique Retzlaff. Prior to the announcement of each graduate’s name, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and high school Principal Linda Carter offered words of advice and encouragement to all of the students.

“There are two pieces of advice I would like to give you,” Dr. Kuncham said. “One is to seize the opportunity; the other is to energize your commitment. There’s an old saying: ‘when opportunity knocks, you still have to get up off your seat to open the door.’ So take advantage of what this wonderful world has to offer you. Take advantage of your future, whether you’re going to a four-year school, a two-year school, a trade school or the military. Always continue sharpening your skills, work hard up to your peak performance, and I promise opportunity will be waiting at the door.”

Carter, who quoted late boxer Muhammad Ali in saying, “he who is not courageous enough to take risks, will accomplish nothing in life,” spoke about seven life lessons to the graduates.

“I would like to leave you with seven basic principles in life, that I have given to former graduates, that may serve you well someday,” she said. “Be passionate, be present, be positive, be polite, be punctual, be patient, and pay it forward. Have confidence, always believe in yourself, and have the courage to take a chance on yourself.”

Senior class President Avery Taylor said, “I can only imagine the mixed feelings we all have here today; the excitement of being out of high school, and the realization that we are in the adult world. I am scared, but I realize while walking across the stage today that I have a clear vision of what is ahead of me. I hope you do too.”

Class salutatorian Claire Goremusandu then addressed her peers, and spoke about the joy and beauty of all they will learn and experience in their futures.

“Today is the first day of the rest of our lives,” Goremusandu said. “For the past four years, Freeport High School has been our home. We have struggled together, but we have also achieved greatness together. To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘I hope you make the best of [your future]. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.’”

Valedictorian Christopher Meszaros Rodriguez’s speech was delivered by Joanna Caravantes, who was third in the Class of 2016. In his address, Rodriguez discussed the advantages of maintaining an analytical eye, and the importance of listening to others. His speech contained life lessons he learned from his grandma, and he expressed gratitude for all that his peers, teachers and family have offered.

“I thank you for your patience, your humor and for making some long days a little easier,” Rodriguez wrote in his speech. “To all the teachers who have guided me along the way, I will never forget you, and I will always be grateful. Let’s try, and let’s [all] be the best that we can be.” Rodriguez received a standing ovation for his stellar achievements and uplifting words to the graduating class.

One by one, students’ names were then announced, and each walked upon the stage in a moment they had waited for throughout high school. They were handed their diplomas by Board of Education President Michael Pomerico, and their successful completion of the past four years was celebrated with cheers and applause.

High school 12th-grade Assistant Principal Gisselle Campbell-Ham then closed the ceremony with a motivational speech to all of her beloved students.

“You are the author of your own life story,” she said. “You have free will to decide which road to take, and the choices you make today will affect your future. As you leave Freeport High School, I challenge you to take action. Every thing you have accomplished was a result of taking action. You can either be a passive victim of your circumstances, or you can be an active hero of your own life. Class of 2016, I charge you to take action. I hope your dreams take you to the point of the most special places your heart has ever known.”

Following the synchronized turning of their tassels from right to left, the members of the Class of 2016 then tossed their caps high into the air prior to joining their loved ones in a celebration of their success.



Archer Salutes Flag

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In honor of Flag Day, Archer Street students gathered with staff members at the flag pole to display their artwork and sing patriotic tunes. Dressed in red, white and blue, the students held high their patriotic art as they learned the meaning of the American flag’s colors and symbols.

Bayview Receives Special Visit

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Prior to their graduation, top students of the high school Class of 2016 visited Bayview Avenue School to speak to the elementary school students about the importance of hard work.

Speaking from their own personal experiences, the seniors discussed the keys to success, including extracurricular activities, studying and how to become leaders. Bayview students asked questions of the high schoolers, and the special visit served as a motivational precursor to their moving up ceremony.

Community Honors Freeport High School Outstanding Seniors

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It was an evening of generosity and gratitude at the 48th annual Scholarship and Honors Program, as members of the Freeport community recognized Freeport High School’s outstanding seniors with scholarships that will enable them to continue to pursue their dreams. This year, a record-breaking $80,000 in community scholarship donations was presented to 145 students.

Freeport High School Principal Linda Carter welcomed those in attendance and thanked the scholarship donors. “You have been generous and kind to our students and we appreciate all that you do.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham also thanked the scholarship donors and congratulated the students who were the beneficiaries of their generosity. “We are very grateful for all you do for our students and your continued support and generosity are very much appreciated.” To the students he added, “You have excelled and are here this evening to be recognized by tonight’s scholarship donors who give you an added spark of hope with their generous donations. Cherish this recognition and let it lift you up to do even greater things.”

This year’s Class of 2016 valedictorian Christopher Meszaros-Rodriguez, with a GPA of 101.5, and salutatorian Claire Goremusandu, with a GPA of 100.2, were introduced and acknowledged for their outstanding achievements.  

Before the distribution of the scholarships commenced, Board of Education President Michael C. Pomerico spoke on behalf of the board of education. “We are so proud of you,” said Pomerico. “Strive to be the best, reach for the stars and continue to move forward to make the most of your life. Thank you to our donors, teachers, staff and families. Together, we have built a foundation for our students to succeed.”
    The strong school-community partnership was clearly evident as the evening continued and one by one the students were surprised to hear their names called and their scholarships announced.

Free Online Summer Learning Opportunity!

The Freeport School District is pleased to announce that Education City, an online resource for math and ELA skills, is available for your child to use at home over the summer. Freeport students who are currently in grades K through grade 6 can use this site to improve their Math and ELA skills. Students' results will be saved and made available to their teachers next year. We urge you to take advantage of this great resource which can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. It can also be accessed on any Apple (iPad, iPhone, iPod) or Android device when a free app is downloaded. All students will receive a letter and login credentials at the end of school this year.

Please click here for instructions to access the program.

For additional support please email: Anthony Murray, Director of Math and Instructional Technology: amurray@freeportschools.org

PeaceJam a Huge Hit

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The PeaceJam Juniors Club at Bayview hosted a special presentation about Nobel Peace Prize Laureates they have learned about over the course of 10 weeks, and also showcased a book they authored and illustrated about Desmond Tutu.

Student members of the club, in its first year, took turns reading aloud the book they had created to families, adviser Cindy Misrock and school Principal Odette Wills. They then individually introduced themselves, spoke about what they learned from being a part of the PeaceJam Junior Club, and presented paper Nobel Peace Prizes to peers, parents and/or faculty members.

The event served not only as an educational forum for PeaceJam students to present their hard work, but also as the culminating activity of a club designed to teach members about the importance of peace, harmony and proper etiquette.

Archer’s Mobile Mini-MakerSpace Movement

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Students at Archer Street used skills such as coding to create a group of academically rigorous projects and tasks as part of MakerSpace.

MakerSpace, which is a community where students create, problem-solve, and develop skills, talents and the ability to think “outside the box,” was set up with a variety of stations in the school’s gymnasium. The remarkable program, led by library media specialist Deborah Bergen, featured students explaining particular projects to their peers and staff members. Many of the tasks required students to work in groups to solve a problem or create an action plan. Each station outlined a specific goal that students worked together to achieve using their knowledge of STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math.

MakerSpace was part of an innovative grant program made possible through the fundraising efforts of the Freeport Educational Foundation. The program at Archer was a stellar example of the several grant-funded projects that are being held throughout the district.

 

Dodd Commemorates International Yoga Day

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Students and staff at Dodd commemorated the International Day of Yoga with an informative and interactive assembly featuring several dignitaries.

The special program, which was designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and introduce students to the variety of benefits derived from practicing yoga, featured guest speakers Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das of the Consul General of India and Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran. Students and staff also viewed a video about the origin and advantages of yoga, and were led through a variety of stretching and breathing exercises by Dodd teacher Juan Mosquera.

“Who wants to be happy everyday?” asked Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham while speaking to students. “Isn’t that the purpose of life? Who wants to be healthy? Anything you want from life — a happy and healthy life — yoga can accomplish for you. I wish I had yoga in my life when I was in middle school. I’m so grateful for what yoga has done for my life. The distractions of life go away when you practice yoga, and the body, mind and spirit are at their most peaceful states.”

Last year, Dodd implemented a new social and emotional learning curriculum known as YES — Youth Empowerment Seminar —comprised of daily schoolwide breathing exercises designed to calm students’ minds, help them manage their emotions and ultimately lead healthier lives. The program, which is premised upon the same foundation as yoga and provides similar benefits, is now being emulated by other school districts as well.

Dodd’s commemoration of International Yoga Day served as a supplement to the YES curriculum, as well as a way for students to learn about the life-changing advantages the overall practice of yoga provides.

 



New Visions Performs for its Angels

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Students at New Visions exhibited their remarkable musical talents in a Spring Festival dedicated to Robert McAllister and Greta Villanueva, two beloved staff members who recently passed away.

The annual festival, attended by members of the board of education, district administrators, staff members, parents and guardians, featured a full slate of both solo and group performances. The program began with the Flag Patrol performing the Pledge of Allegiance led by director Crystal Leotaud and was followed by band director Glenn Koski’s students performing “Twinkling Stars,” “London Bridge,” “March Steps” and “Duet of the Crusaders.”

Vocal soloist Aryelle Cadet then performed “My Favorite Things,” which was followed by Ms. Leotaud’s third-grade recorder ensemble’s renditions of “Two Part Canon” and “La Bamba.” Orchestra director Catherine Beck then led her students in performances of “Favorite Songs,” “Ode to Joy,” and “Reuben and Rachel.” Vocal soloists Tatiana Arieta, Sarah Boco and Anigh Shell then shared the microphone for a rendition of “Edelweiss.” Piano soloist Paige McCullough performed “Saturday Sonatina, Mvt. 1” shortly thereafter.

To round out the riveting festival, Ms. Leotaud’s fourth-grade chorus sang “Isn’t She Lovely,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Love Train,” “Minuet in G,” and “Walk a Rainbow.” Her Glee Club sang “America the Beautiful,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “September.”

Each of the district’s elementary schools presented spring festivals prior to the close of the school year. New Visions’ concert served as a tribute to two of its angels who will be remembered forever.



Celebrating 936 Years of Dedicated Service

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It was an evening filled with mixed emotions, as members of the district Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and administrators officially recognized the district’s retirees for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Tonight we honor our colleagues for 936 years of combined service to our Freeport students and their families,” said Dr. Kuncham. “We celebrate your extraordinary leadership, service, commitment and dedication. You have inspired so many students and we salute you.”

Thirty-six retirees were individually recognized, personal accomplishments and fond memories were shared and each retiree was presented with a plague as their families and friends joined together to celebrate this momentous event.

Hugs and tears were in abundance, as Dr. Kuncham addressed the retirees one last time. “Thank you for all we have accomplished together,” he said. “Your legacy is part of the foundation that has made Freeport schools so successful. We congratulate you and hope you remember the best part of your life is yet to be.”

Peace Walk 2016

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The Journey Ends, But the Message Continues

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While district Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham’s personal pilgrimage to promote peace came to an end following a monthlong walk through the Village of Freeport, the message resonated loudly and clearly.

The final leg of the Peace Walk, which spanned a total of 131 miles, began on May 7 following the seventh-annual districtwide Peace March, and was completed on June 6 at Giblyn. Members of the central administration, village officials, district staff members, students and parents accompanied Dr. Kuncham during the culminating walk, just as hundreds have throughout the journey.

“This is one the most cherished moments for me, and I want to thank all of the students, parents, faculty members and Principal Ms. Amanda Muldowney for such an awesome welcome,” Dr. Kuncham said at the culminating ceremony.

“This has not even been a Peace Walk, it has been a Peace Journey, which began as a Peace March. Although we are concluding the 131-mile walk today, I am very confident this will lead to a new beginning and something very special to happen in Freeport. Thank you to everyone who was with me on this journey — in spirit, a few steps, a few blocks, or all the way.”

Various individuals who participated in the walk presented poems and speeches about their experiences during the ceremony, and Dr. Kuncham was presented with a yellow flower to symbolize the peace journey. Giblyn students, who held smiley faces and colorful peace-themed posters they created throughout the ceremony, performed “Lend a Helping Hand” in front of the school.

The walk’s culminating event served to not only mark the end of a peace journey, but also as a continuation of the promotion of harmony across the world, beginning in Freeport.

 



High School Assistant Principal Named Outstanding Citizen

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High school Assistant Principal Joseph Mille was named Outstanding Citizen of the 2015-16 year by the district’s athletic department.

Mille, who was honored for his “dedication and concern for Freeport athletes,” was presented with a commemorative plaque by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Freeport High School Principal Linda Carter and Athletic Director Jonathan Bloom. The district extends its warmest congratulations to Mille on this high honor.

FHS Track Standout Gets Full Ride to College

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High school girls’ track star DeAsia Greer has been accepted to the University of the District of Columbia on a full scholarship.
The outstanding student-athlete signed her national letter of intent to continue running track at the institution with her high school cross-country coach Charles Gilreath and winter and spring track coach Eric Blount by her side. Greer will begin her promising undergraduate career in the fall.
    
The district congratulates Greer on this remarkable accomplishment, and wishes her continued success in college and beyond.

Culture Cultivation at Alley Park

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Atkinson fifth-graders fostered an understanding and appreciation of various cultures with their trip to Alley Park in Queens. They participated in several cultural celebrations including dancing with Native Americans, Spanish Americans, and Africans. They also observed Asian acrobats and viewed birds of prey soar through the sky. The students actively enjoyed their outdoor classroom with all of its fun activities. Staff members and students extend their warmest gratitude to Ms. Karen Wecksler for organizing this memorable experience, and also to all teachers and chaperones who assisted.

Roaring Ovations for ‘Lion King’

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Atkinson presented its remarkable rendition of “The Lion King” to parents, administrators, teachers and students who enjoyed the showcase of talents and hard work of cast and crew. Ms. Karen Wecksler and Ms. Kerri Albarano worked diligently with the Drama Club to put on a compelling show.
The cast included Antonio Cruz and Dillon DeBourge, who played Simba; Ryan Francois and Amber Marquez as Scar; Reymon Gonzalez and Sameerah Lawal as Mufasa; and DeJuan Rhodes as Rafiki. From the scenery to the costumes, Atkinson students proved that they are shining stars and true professionals.

Dodd Dabbles With DNA

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Seventh-graders in science classes at Dodd visited the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center for hands-on opportunities to supplement their classroom lessons.

The students first spent two hours conducting lab work: they performed gel electrophoresis, created a gel agar mold, loaded the wells with DNA and then ran the electricity to allow the DNA segments to separate. The students later explored the learning center, and learned about evolution and “Otzi: The Iceman” mummy.

The visit to Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center served as a fun and educational way for students to observe scientific aspects they are learning about in class.




Dodd Students Revel in Birdhouse Construction

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Students in Dave Gordon’s technology classes at Dodd assisted the Environmental Club by designing and creating birdhouses.
    
The collaborative project, spearheaded by club advisor James Hauser and Mr. Gordon, featured the technology teacher’s students applying lessons they have learned in the “we solve problems” unit in class. The students first designed and then created 10 medium-sized birdhouses for the club, and expressed their gratification in not only seeing the projects through from start to finish, but also in learning about the cottage industry and mass production.
    
The joint venture highlighted Dodd’s continued support of multifaceted classroom projects.

Columbus Analyzes Musical Emotion

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Students at Columbus presented projects about the emotions created by music at the district Board of Education’s May meeting.

The project, a grant titled “How Does Music Make Us Feel” and funded by the Freeport Educational Foundation, combined music software, art software and Chromebooks for students to gauge the manner in which particular notes and melodies evoke different emotions. Students demonstrated their work for administrators, board members, staff members and community residents by first relating the emotion created by a music clip to particular instances in their lives when they felt that way, and then speaking about how aspects of their artwork indicated similar emotions. Principal Cleopatra Panagiosoulis led the students through the presentations of their projects by facilitating conversations and asking questions.

The “How Does Music Make Us Feel” projects served as incredible examples of the types of grants made possible through the Freeport Educational Foundation. It also allowed students to showcase the multifaceted lessons they are learning at Columbus.

District Science Standouts Recognized by BNL

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Brookhaven National Laboratory presented five district students with certificates to commemorate their completion of a scientific computing class taught by Dr. David Biersach.

The students are 10th-grader Jaidiver Morales; 10th-grader Nickolas Conttreras; eighth-grader Valeria Ventura; eighth-grader Jerome Horning; and eighth-grader Mason Bazemore. All five students are eligible to take more advanced classes in scientific computing at Brookhaven National Laboratory this summer.

The district extends its congratulations to its students who participated in and successfully completed the course.

Administrators Honored at District Art Exhibit

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District Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Executive Director for Operations Michael Singleton were honored during the Secondary Art Exhibit at Freeport Memorial Library.

An assembly of students, faculty members and administrators at the exhibit, comprised of compelling artwork by student-artists at J.W. Dodd Middle School and Freeport High School, offered a momentous opportunity to recognize Dr. Kuncham and Mr. Singleton for their ongoing support for the arts. Dr. Kuncham was presented with a framed compilation of all routes from his 100-mile Peace Walk through the Village of Freeport. Mr. Singleton was bestowed a piece of art by Freeport High School student Nyeem Maloney.

The Secondary Art Exhibit at the Freeport Memorial Library was a beautiful forum to showcase the artistic talents of district students, and the awards presented to Dr. Kuncham and Mr. Singleton served as tokens of appreciation for their advocacy efforts.


Nursery Rhyme Time

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Columbus hosted a Nursery Rhyme Night for its pre-kindergarten students and their parents or guardians. The event, held in the school’s gymnasium, featured hands-on activities designed to teach the concepts of rhyme, letter recognition and math. Students and their guests had the opportunity to work together on a number of fun and educational tasks.

‘Girls on the Run’ Take a Walk

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The “Girls on the Run” track team at New Visions joined district Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham on a portion of his 100-mile Peace Walk through the Village of Freeport.

The team joined administrators, teachers and community members for the two-hour, nearly five-mile trek through the village. The girls and their coaches, who have been meeting since January and are preparing for the 5k on June 11 at Hofstra University, decided to participate in the walk to not only promote the importance of peace, but also as part of their community service project.

High School Students Recognized for Scientific Prowess

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High school science standouts were recognized and awarded for their work and accomplishments during the 12th annual Science Awards Ceremony. The ceremony also featured students’ induction into the New York State Science Honor Society, and recognition for their participation in the Science Olympiad.

The program began with a lecture by guest speaker Dr. Dave Biersach, a technology architect at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Students were then honored for their success in particular competitions including the Molloy College Science Fair, Intel Science Talent Search, Long Island STEM Hub Annual Celebration and Student Showcase. Eleven students were inducted into the Science Honor Society.

The ceremony honored students for their remarkable work in the field of science, and also encouraged them to continue their hard work.




Blast From the Past: HS Revisits 1991

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Twenty-five years ago, the science department at the high school collected a variety of materials that embodied school spirit and offered a glimpse of then-current events, and buried them in a time capsule in the school’s courtyard. The capsule, which was to be dug up and reopened in 2016, was unveiled at a special ceremony attended by administrators, faculty members and students prior to Memorial Day.
    
The time capsule featured various nostalgic items, including well-preserved newspapers from 1991; a blueprint of a 1991 floor plan for Freeport High School; letters from students to their “future selves” 25 years later; poems and literature; school clothing; banners and a letter from science teacher Joyce Thornton, who coordinated the time capsule.
    
In her typewritten letter to Freeport students, faculty and staff of 2016, dated June 19, 1991, Thornton wrote about the state of the district, state and world. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham read aloud the letter at the ceremony.
    
“This time capsule was created with the hope for the future of education in Freeport, New York,” Thornton wrote. “In 1991, Freeport schools celebrated 100 years as a district. Our intent was to collect items that would show how life is today, but 1990-91 has been a very eventful school year. This is my second year in Freeport, my first at the high school. The brightest memory I have of Freeport today is the racial harmony. 1991 has once again seen racial tension all about the New York area, but this has not entered Freeport. We walk peacefully through very diverse hallways; this is something I hope continues for the future. We have great expectations for the future, and we hope you have made us proud!”
    
Thornton also discussed the ongoing Persian Gulf war, the recession across the United States and the education system of New York being hit with budget cuts.
    
The unveiling of the time capsule buried in 1991 served as a reminder of how life was 25 years ago at the high school, and how the district has annually made remarkable strides to build upon its strong foundation.

Smart Schools Investment Plan

The Freeport Board of Education adopted the first draft of the Smart School Investment Plan(SSIP) at the May 25, 2016 Board of Education meeting. Click on the links below to view the public presentation on the planned use of the funds and the Smart Schools Investment Plan First Draft. Please leave any feedback or suggestions by clicking on the feedback form link below. You may also email Mr. Gerard W. Poole, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, at gpoole@freeportpublicschools to leave feedback. All feedback will be reviewed and considered prior to the adoption of the final version of the SSIP. The Board of Education anticipates adopting the final SSIP at the July 8th Board of Education meeting.

Feedback Form

Additional Information on Smart Schools NY

Attachments:

Dodd Science Teacher Recognized

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Thomas Doyle, a science teacher at Dodd, has been named a 2016 Outstanding Intermediate Level Science Educator by the Nassau section of the Science Teachers Association of New York State.

Doyle was presented with a plaque for the distinction at a ceremony also attended by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerard Poole and district Science Director Dr. Vincent Pereira at the Coral House in Baldwin. The district congratulates Doyle for the remarkable honor.

Atkinson Explores World of Opportunities

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Students at Atkinson were exposed to an array of occupations they can pursue in the future during Career Day.

Professionals across a variety of fields, including law enforcement, culinary arts, engineering, pet therapy and music, visited the school to discuss their jobs with students. The school’s gymnasium, which was set up to resemble a typical job fair, featured several stations that facilitated the conversations. With Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham in attendance, students were tasked with asking questions of the professionals, taking notes, analyzing their findings and ultimately choosing the career choices that interested them the most.

Atkinson’s Career Day was designed to serve as an informative and interactive forum of two-way conversations between students and professionals.

Giblyn Serenades and Fundraises for the Ride

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Continuing an annual tradition that began three years ago, students and staff at Giblyn warmly welcomed the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Ride for Life group during its trek from Riverhead to Manhattan.

The students created a mosaic of motivational signs and banners on the front lawn of the school, where Ride for Life members expressed their appreciation for the school’s ongoing efforts to help bring awareness of the disease and raise funds to help find a cure. Ride for Life received a check from Giblyn for $2,000, which students and staff collectively raised through several means, such as fourth-graders creating and selling origami flowers. The riders, who are all at different stages of the disease, were treated to two heartwarming choral performances by students under the direction of music teacher Shannon Abramovitz.

Giblyn’s continued support for the Ride for Life is shown through its annual fundraising efforts and heartwarming displays of compassion through song and art.

Raising the Voice of Potential

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Students at the high school raised more than $850 for the annual global advocacy initiative “The Voice of Potential.” The initiative, which was founded by Freeport High School teacher Pamela Mary Schmidt, benefitted the 63 children at the Zanmi Beni orphanage in Port au Prince, Haiti. The children created bracelets that the students sold at the high school and at Dodd under the leadership of Ms. Schmidt and Katelyn Salisbury, respectively. The initiative served to teach students that they can make a difference in the lives of others through collaborative efforts. Students who wish to contribute to the cause are encouraged to see Ms. Schmidt or Ms. Salisbury.

High School Heroes’ Finance Tutorials

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Students in the high school’s 21st century High School Heroes club conducted age-appropriate financial and economics lessons to dual language fourth-graders at New Visions.
    
The high schoolers planned their lessons by preparing and translating material provided by Junior Achievement. Throughout the tutorials, New Visions students examined regional resources and supply chains, and also solved economic problems by weighing the risks involved and any potential rewards. The High School Heroes also showed the fourth-graders how resources are combined to create goods and services. The lessons were multifaceted with the fourth-graders learning about social studies, math, English and 21st century skills.
    
The financial lesson allowed high school students to take on the teaching and mentoring role for a day while the fourth-graders learned new and useful concepts.

Mentorship Success at Dodd

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Students at Dodd recognized and thanked their mentors during an end-of-year celebration of the school’s mentorship program, now in its seventh year. This year, the program featured 49 teachers mentoring 99 students by offering their assistance, time and leadership. The celebration was comprised of food cooked and ordered by the teachers, and it served as another opportunity for the students to socialize with their mentors. Dodd social worker Felice Niland, who started the mentoring program in 2008, said the goal is to enable more teachers and students to participate next year.

Fun and Fundraising ‘For a Day’

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Under the leadership of adviser Robin Newberg, the Atkinson Student Government raised $700 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation through its “For a Day” raffle sale. “For a Day” offered students the opportunity to spend an entire day as their favorite administrator, secretary, custodian, security guard or faculty member in exchange for raffle tickets they bought.
    
Andy Rodriguez won the honor of being Principal Connie Velez and walked the halls with a walkie-talkie while fulfilling the important tasks on the agenda. Nia Thornton was Assistant Principal Michael Fee and spent the day keeping up with him as he answered calls and completed day-to-day tasks. Jackie Tetta was teacher on special assignment Jackie Winter and she joined Andy and Nia to form a well-rounded team who completed various assignments regarding curriculum. Daniel Bayer was Ernie Camps, head custodian, and worked on maintenance projects in the building. Angela Matos was security guard Yesenia Villaraga and worked with security staff to keep students and faculty safe. Carlos Escobar was the principal’s secretary, Patricia Mullen, and typed documents, filed papers and answered phone calls. Cedenia Henry was Irene Muniz in the Student Assistance Center and helped students reflect on their decisions and actions.
    
The staff members praised the students for their enthusiasm, respect and their willingness to learn about specific daily responsibilities of different jobs.

Dodd Learns Economics on Field Trip

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The family and consumer sciences department at Dodd organized a two-day field trip to the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Roslyn Heights for its students.
    
Nearly 100 students attended the trip, which featured in-depth lessons about economic concepts and related work in the family and consumer sciences classrooms. Students learned about the foundation needed to make intelligent financial decisions later in life as well as the importance of understanding saving, income and credit. The program culminated with a hands-on budgeting simulation at a facility, mobile unit or virtual site.
    
The field trip served as an educational supplement to the economic lessons students are learning at Dodd.

District’s ‘Got STEAM’ and So Much More

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As part of an innovative grant program made possible through the fundraising efforts of the Freeport Educational Foundation, students are participating in a variety of new multifaceted programs and projects throughout the district. One particular program, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Night at New Visions, was one of several ongoing STEAM projects within the district.

The event, termed “Got STEAM? Night” and attended by administrators, students and family members, was comprised of several workshops representing the different disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts. In the YogART workshop, students and their families designed yoga-inspired artwork and participated in breathing and stretching exercises. In the Egg Drop workshop, students and their families were tasked with creating small parachutes for eggs that would be able to sustain a drop from the second floor of the school. Using a variety of materials and their knowledge of STEAM, students and families used their creativity and tested their final products. Other workshops included computer coding, creating bookmarks with LED lights, underwater creations and edible structures.

Through the grant program, several other projects will be held throughout the district, including: “STEM + C Studio” at Dodd; a nanotechnology initiative at the high school; Little Bits Electronics at Giblyn; Catapults at Atkinson; High Altitude Balloon Launch at the high school; and Mobile Mini Makes Spaces at Archer.

New Visions’ “Got STEAM? Night” served as a fun and educational event for families to work together on a wide assortment of innovative STEAM projects and programs made possible by the Freeport Educational Foundation’s fundraising efforts.




Spreading Smiles for 100 Miles

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Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham started a Peace Walk — a 100-mile pilgrimage promoting peace — on May 7, the day the district’s seventh annual Peace March was held at the high school.
    
Dr. Kuncham will continue the journey over the course of the next several weeks, and will walk several miles everyday, before or after school hours, throughout the Village of Freeport until he has walked on every block — a total of approximately 100 miles. He welcomes and encourages district and community members to join him for all or a part of the pilgrimage. Along the way, Dr. Kuncham will be speaking with people and inviting them to spread peace throughout the world, starting in the Village of Freeport. Each week, his walking agenda will be posted to the school district’s website.
    
“The purpose of this journey is to promote peace and inspire peace and harmony, within ourselves and in the Freeport community,” said Dr. Kuncham. “Peace is beautiful, eternal and contagious, and I would like to spread it with every step of my 100-mile walk in our Village.”

Bayview Commemorates ‘Star Wars Day’

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Students and staff at Bayview Avenue commemorated “Star Wars Day” — the unofficial holiday based on the pun “May the Fourth Be with You” — on May 4 by dressing in Star Wars themed-clothing or as their favorite character from the popular films. School librarian and Star Wars fan Carlo Mastrandrea said the day served as a great way for students and staff to display their appreciation for the books and films that comprise the Star Wars universe.

Peace March Brings Community Together

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A forecast for intermittent drizzle did not deter hundreds of school district and community members from coming together to promote peace, wellness and nonviolence locally, nationally and globally during the seventh annual Peace March and Health and Wellness Fair.

“We are here to promote peace, unity and harmony — locally and globally,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Can we have world peace? Absolutely, yes. But it has to begin with individual peace, and peace within ourselves, our families and our communities. Peace is beautiful, eternal and contagious. Let’s spread it from Freeport.”

With members of the board of education and several elected officials in attendance, students and district staff members created a human smiley face in the gymnasium prior to joining together for a march through the Village of Freeport. The walk, which commenced and culminated at Freeport High School, created a sea of yellow outside, as nearly everybody in attendance was dressed in the color for hope, and especially, hope for peace.

“Don’t take lightly what we’re doing here this morning,” said Board of Education Vice President Anthony Miller. “It’s been said that peace is a journey of a thousand miles; take it one step at a time. Today, we should all be proud of what we’re doing here in Freeport. Today, our community, as diverse as it is, is a shining example to every other community of what can be done if we all work together.”
Musical performances, including numbers by the J.W. Dodd Middle School jazz ensemble, served as harmonious backdrops to the beginning of the program. Following the march, students, parents and community residents were invited to participate in several health and wellness related activities.

As a new extension to the district’s ongoing efforts to promote peace, Dr. Kuncham also started a 100-mile Freeport Peace Walk — Smile for Peace, Mile for Peace. District and community members are invited to join Dr. Kuncham — whether it’s for all 100 miles, one mile or a smile — as he seeks to foster unity throughout the entire Village of Freeport.

The Peace March and new 100-mile Peace Walk highlight the district’s commitment to developing harmony within each person, and spreading it throughout Freeport and the world.



Atkinson’s Reflections Winners

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Atkinson extends its warmest congratulations to the winners of this year’s Reflections contest: fifth-graders Bren Brown, Isis Garcia Munoz, Sarah Quintanilla and Vijay Sharma, and sixth-graders Jaylis Amarante, Karina Rios, Ricardo Sierra Talavera and Anthony Trenchfield. These students were honored for their outstanding art and literature on April 18 by the PTA.

David Little - New Chief Operating Officer of R.E.F.I.T.

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Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today (R.E.F.I.T.) is delighted to announce that longtime education advocate David Little has been named as the new Chief Operating Officer of R.E.F.I.T.  R.E.F.I.T. is a consortium of school districts that have joined together to secure for their students and communities an equitable share of New York State Aid to Education.

Little also heads the Rural Schools Association of New York State, which has a similar advocacy focus.  Prior to these positions, Little served as Director of Governmental Relations of the New York State School Boards Association for 15 years.  He began his career in public service by serving as legal counsel first in the State Assembly and then in the Senate, where he was Home Rule Counsel and Counsel to the Majority Leader for Local Government.  Little has been a county legislator and Regional Planning Commissioner, as well as serving as a School Board President for a decade.  He also served as National Chair of the Conference of State Association Legislative Staff.  Dave received his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University and his Juris Doctor from the Capital University Law School.

According to Little, “R.E.F.I.T. has a long and proud tradition of bringing equitable change to our State’s approach to education funding.  Despite spending, the most of all the states, New York continues to distribute that money in what many experts agree is the most inequitable fashion possible.  Your zip code should not determine the quality of your education.  Particularly now that the GEA is a sad part of our past, our job is to create an approach to education funding that will preserve the homes of local taxpayers and meet the educational needs of our children.  New York State needs a funding formula that accurately assesses what a community can contribute to the education of its students and then supplies the difference between that amount and what it takes for the State to uphold its Constitutional responsibility to provide those children a sound education.”  

Little goes on to state that New York’s current approach to public education funding is “our generation’s great disgrace.  Rather than doing an end run around educational quality by throwing money at charter schools, private school tax credits and other schemes, New York State must uphold the constitutional rights of its young residents.”  Noting that “revolution would ensue if the State ever chose to suspend its residents’ constitutional rights of freedom of the press or freedom of religion and yet it somehow feels free to violate our State’s constitutional provisions on educational funding.  You don’t ignore constitutional rights because you’re a little short this month.”  

R.E.F.I.T. President Susan Lipman said, “With David Little’s hiring, R.E.F.I.T. intends to expand its role in advocating for equitable education funding, both in educating the public on the impact of the State’s underfunding of our schools and in bringing the need for reform to State leaders.”  Since its inception, R.E.F.I.T. has vigorously lobbied the Legislature to reform the State Aid formula and continues to advocate using all available means, including legal action, to obtain the equal protection that is guaranteed by the New York State’s Constitution for the students who reside in high tax/low wealth districts.

Kooning-Inspired Creations at the HS

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Students at the high school created original works of art following a discussion and analysis of renowned artist Willem de Kooning’s work.
   
The after-school workshop was led by members of Long Island Children’s Museum, which offers the opportunity for students to create artwork inspired by the abstract expressionist. Students dipped ribbons attached to small sticks, first in black paint and then in colored paint, to incorporate Kooning’s techniques in creating emotional artwork.
   
The students, whose art will be featured at LICM in June, will also be invited to a reception at the museum with their families on June 16 to celebrate their work. The workshop, which was made possible through a grant the LICM received from the Willem de Kooning Foundation, was held at no cost to the district and served as a supplement to the stellar arts instruction at the high school.
   
Students learned not only about the specific elements used by a prominent artist, but also how to create their own beautiful artwork using similar means.  

High School Students Showcase Science Skills

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Students at the high school presented their remarkable research-driven science projects and experiments in the school’s 12th annual Science and Engineering Fair.

The exhibit featured students presenting their extensive research and conclusions under science research teacher Edward Irwin to a team of judges comprised of district faculty members, college professors, Village of Freeport officials and science-related industries. Research projects were presented in the areas of biochemistry, botany, medicine and health, microbiology, physics, space science and zoology. The projects were evaluated on a point system based on students’ research displayed, methods used, validity of conclusions and presentation of results.

The annual science exhibit served not only as a way for the students to showcase their impressive research skills to experts in the fields of science and instruction, but also as a sample of the stellar instruction and support offered at Freeport High School.

“The Science and Engineering Fair is very important for our students,” said Irwin. “Not only are they required to carry on original research, but presenting their results requires another skill they will need in the future.”

 

Character Education Through a Tree Trunk

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Students throughout the district’s four elementary schools learned about character and environment etiquette through “Didgeridoo Down Under,” an interactive and high-energy assembly led by two performers.
    
The leaders of the assembly, Rob Thomas and Tanya Gerard, captivated students using an Aboriginal Australian instrument known as the didgeridoo. Following a lecture about the importance of preserving the environment and also developing into model citizens, students had the opportunity to join Thomas and Gerard on stage to create sounds and songs using the didgeridoo and a variety of other instruments. Students also learned about other facets of the Australian culture by observing artifacts and photos.
    
The “Didgeridoo Down Under” assemblies were a fun and educational supplement to the district’s ongoing character education programs.

NY Cosmos Talk Character at New Visions

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Students at New Visions received a special visit from two players on the New York Cosmos soccer team, and learned about the benefits of exercise and the importance of hard work.
   
In collaboration with school physical education teacher German Banegas, athletes Ayoze García Pérez and Sebastián Ignacia Guenzatti spoke to the students about how playing sports is a fun and effective way to be healthy. The Cosmos and Banegas conveyed the message, “anything that is good for your heart is good for your brain,” and they encouraged the students to be responsible, disciplined and to work as a team with their peers to achieve goals.
   
The Cosmos’ visit served as another way that New Visions is teaching its students the values of character and physical education.

High School Students Break Borders

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Seven student leaders from Freeport and Syosset high schools have been meeting to talk about the things that make them both different and the same, while also sharing opinions on issues of topical interest through a pilot program called Breaking Borders.
    
Last month, a group of students from Syosset High School visited Freeport High School to kick off the program. This month, the Freeport students went to Syosset for a 60-minute intimate exchange in the school courtyard that covered topics including immigration, school security, gun control and the presidential race.
    
According to social studies teacher Joshua Levitt, who oversees the Breaking Borders program with Jose Ortiz at Freeport High School, “The purpose is to enlighten the students on the similarities in the struggles they face as teenagers on Long Island. For example, the purpose of speaking about the presidential primary during the most recent meeting was for the students to gauge what they have in common.” Levitt also said that the goal is to have a program in place between Freeport and Syosset high schools over the next few years.
    
“We are associating with students of other races and backgrounds with different opinions, all things that you sometimes are not exposed to because of the community you live in,” said Freeport junior Ismary Jiminez. “I have learned so much more about different people, and as a group, we get to break stereotypes. You start to see that we all are the same human race and we can all communicate with each other. It really helps us to bond. ”
    
According to Syosset High School’s Breaking Borders program adviser David Steinberg, the students are driving the program; he hopes that the early exchanges give them direction in shaping Breaking Borders going into next year.
    
“We have our political views and goals in life, and Freeport students have their views and goals,” said Syosset sophomore Jake Gould. “Both are valid, so why not take the opportunity to take advantage of how close we are and break down any walls that may exist between the two schools.”
    
Moving forward, the goal will be to allow the program to grow to enable more students from both schools to participate.

Freeport High School Summer School Dates and Regents Review Sessions Announced

Freeport High School Summer School Dates and Regents Review Sessions Announced

Please Make Your Summer Plans Around These Dates

Freeport High School Summer School will begin on July 5th , 2016 and continue until August 19th, 2016. Eligible students will be contacted during the fourth quarter and scheduled for classes with their guidance counselors.

Regents Review sessions for the August 17 and 18 Regents tests will be held on Aug 1 - Aug 16 from 1:15-2:15 PM and Aug 1 - Aug 16 from 6-8 PM. All students that need to retake a regents exams are eligible to attend these classes. Please contact your guidance counselor to enroll in them early.

August Regents Exam Schedule: Please click on the link below
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/schedules/2016/regents816.pdf