District Awarded Competitive $1.725 Million Extended Day Grant

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

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

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

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

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

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

District Hosts Summer Program for ELL Students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete 2016-2017 Calendar Available Now


Scientific Summer

As part of its ongoing slate of 21st Century programs, the district hosted a summer science research program for its students at Atkinson. As part of the program, students participated in a variety of scientific experiments and research projects, using their summer breaks as another opportunity to expand their knowledge. The students were led through both indoor and outdoor-based experiments by teacher Matt Yatsyla, and learned firsthand about scientific data, analysis, concepts and theories.

Summer 2016 Newsletter Now Available!



District’s Summer Academy of the Arts


Students across the district continue to enhance their artistic knowledge and skills during the summer break through the annual Academy of the Arts program, themed “Summer Academy Goes to the Movies” for 2016.

The program, which runs from July 5-28 and is held at New Visions, includes approximately 260 students in grades 4-8 and 40 interns in grades 9-12. District faculty are facilitating a variety of classes and workshops in areas including orchestra, band, dance, theater, drawing, chorus, digital music and, for the first time, mariachi. Students are rehearsing and honing their skills each day, and will showcase their weeks of work in culminating performances and displays at the high school Performing Arts Center on July 28. On July 29, students will watch “Ice Age: Collision Course” as a fitting celebration of this summer’s theme.

The multifaceted Summer Academy of the Arts tutorials are a continuation of the outstanding level of arts instruction offered in the district during the school year.

FHS Students SMART Up During Summer

As part of the district’s commitment to providing students with a variety of opportunities to enhance their learning during the summer break, the high school is hosting two classes for students to earn a total of six college credits through SUNY Farmingdale.

The courses — Genocide and Renaissance — are open to Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholar students and dual-enrollment students. The classes each meet for three hours, Mondays through Thursdays, throughout the month of July.

This SMART Scholar and dual-enrollment program has increased the number of college credit-bearing courses at the high school to 51 total credits, which include courses and electives in social studies, in addition to electives in technology and business.

Freeport’s partnership with SUNY Farmingdale and the incentive of earning college credits provide students with the unique opportunities to further build the foundation of their futures during their summer breaks.

Board of Education Annual Reorganization Meeting


On July 5, the Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting. During the meeting, re-elected board trustees Michael C. Pomerico and Anthony J. Miller were sworn in. Both Pomerico and Miller were also unanimously re-elected by the members of the board of education to serve as president and vice president, respectively.


Family Fun Night

Third-graders throughout the district’s four elementary schools — Archer, Bayview, Giblyn and New Visions — attended a Family Fun Night at the Freeport Recreation Center prior to the end of the school year.

The event, made possible through a collaboration with the Long Island Children’s Museum, served as a fun and educational way for students to demonstrate STEM concepts with their families. Students and their loved ones participated in a variety of activities, including designing and creating “arcade-style” games from everyday materials.      Throughout the year, the district’s third-graders received visits from LICM educational staff, and also took trips to the museum to expand their knowledge.

BOE Action Meeting - August 24, 2016

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2016-2017 School Calendar


June 2016 Points of Pride


Dodd Awarded Positive Climate Award

Dodd Middle School has earned the Inviting School Award from the International Alliance for Invitational Education – Promoting a Positive Climate Through Caring and Welcoming Schools.

The IAIE presents this award to schools that demonstrate exceptional implementation of Invitational Education philosophies. Particularly, Dodd has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to best serve its students, staff and community; has created an electronic portfolio describing what care, trust, respect, optimism and intentionality are at the school; and what is seen, heard, smelled, tasted and felt at the school is displayed in the context of the Five P’s — People, Places, Policies, Programs and Processes.

In addition, criteria for the award include: staff member(s) having IAIE membership; staff representatives completing the Intent to Apply form in a time-diligent manner; stakeholders completing the Inviting School Survey and the examination of its results to target areas for improvement; and a site visit and evaluation conducted by IAIE representative(s).

Following the announcement that Dodd had received the award, Principal Johane Ligondé shared several opinions of general consensus from parents and students, including: it feels like family; students feel welcome and want to come to school; staff members help students resolve conflicts; students feel listened to; adults encourage students to express ideas; school building feels warm; and tremendous support system.

In a staff memo, Ligondé expressed her appreciation for everyone who adheres to Dodd principles, and helps to make it a positive climate for life and learning.

“We embrace everyone’s contributions, from the 40-year passionate veteran to the first-year enthusiastic novice,” she said. “That’s what continues to make us Dodd. We are committed to growing and changing with the times, while honoring Dodd’s rich history of excellence. I appreciate the way you show up each day for each other and our students; your character and commitment to creating a positive climate in which students not only learn but also excel; and your passion for teaching students, which shines brightly and is felt by everyone who visits our school.”

District Elementary Schools Move On Up


The district’s four elementary schools — Archer, Bayview, Giblyn and New Visions — hosted moving up ceremonies for its fourth-graders, celebrating students’ hard work and encouraging them to continue reaching for the stars in fifth grade and beyond.

At Giblyn, fourth-graders serenaded their proud families with a variety of choral performances on the school’s front lawn. Students were then awarded for their outstanding achievements in several areas, including academics, music, physical education and perfect attendance. Following the recognitions, fourth-grade teachers announced the names of each student in their classes, who then took the ceremonial walk to receive a special congratulatory handshake.

“What’s worth learning is worth working hard for,” said Giblyn Principal Amanda Muldowney, who also expressed to the fourth-graders how proud she was of their achievements. “Don’t let frustrations get the best of you. Persevere and ask for help; the payoff will be great. Be humble, smile, maintain a positive attitude, be respectful toward adults, peers and yourselves, and follow the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Freeport’s moving up ceremonies for its fourth-graders served not only as celebrations of students’ accomplishments thus far, but also beautiful precursors to the continuation of their academic careers at Atkinson in the fall.

Seeing 2020: Dodd Students Set to Move On

Following their graduation from Dodd, eighth-graders have set their sights on the year 2020, when they will next have their names announced at a commencement ceremony.

Dodd’s graduation, hosted at the high school, featured families, administrators, members of the board of education and staff members celebrating the past two years of hard work and commitment to success displayed by the students. Following a welcome by Principal Johane Ligondé and Assistant Principal Danielle Ballard, select chorus Director Sherill Spruill led her group through a remarkable rendition of the national anthem.

“I am so proud of you! You made it,” said Ballard. “It is another challenge to put a check next to, but you are far from done. You must remember you are not owed anything in life. You must work very hard to achieve any and every goal, dream and aspiration. Expect nothing and appreciate everything. You do not have to be famous; just continue to make your parents, families and loved ones proud, but most of all, do what will make you proud of yourself.”

Mistress of Ceremonies Sheilly Duque emceed the program, offering words of encouragement to her fellow graduates by quoting A.A. Milne: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” she said.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Board of Education President Michael Pomerico also delivered motivational speeches to the graduates, applauding them for their accomplishments thus far, and also urging them to continue striving to succeed and staying involved in their high school years.

“Think about your graduation as seniors in 2020,” said Pomerico. “What kind of person do you want to be when your four years are over? What kind of experiences do you want to have had? How do you want to be remembered? Successful, creative, kind, thoughtful, fair? As Walt Disney said, ‘all of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’”

Following the select chorale’s performance of “Hall of Fame” by The Script, farewell addresses by graduates Joseph Bisono and Zakiya Curry, and a principal’s address by Ligondé, homeroom teachers announced the names of their groups of graduating students. Each student rose to the occasion, standing up from their seats as applause rained down from their loved ones in the bleachers.
Dodd’s graduation ceremony served as a dazzling celebration of Dodd’s graduates as they prepare to shine just as bright as Freeport High School’s Class of 2020.

Atkinson’s Ducklings

Atkinson has added eight new members to its family — a beautiful duck and her seven ducklings, who have made the school’s courtyard their new dwellings. Assistant Principal Michael Fee and his team accommodated the family by installing a pond as a welcoming gift, and Principal Connie Velez was also excited to offer assistance. Teacher Matthew Yatsyla contributed by installing a solar pump to guarantee contaminate-free water. Students and staff are delighted to provide a safe place for the ducklings to grow and flourish.

New Visions Talent Show a Hit

Prior to the end of the school year, New Visions held its annual talent show, where many talented students performed before their parents, teachers, and peers. The show served as a celebration of skills, and offered students moments to shine. Classroom teacher Tiffany Grimes and music teacher Crystal Leotaud organized the event, and several volunteers contributed their time to ensure a successful event.