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Students Learn About MLK, Jr.’s Legacy and Share Dreams For a Better World

Ms. Laurie Trujillo’s second grade dual-language remote learning class at New Visions completed a lesson on Martin Luther King, Jr. in observance of the leader’s birthday. The lesson taught the students about Dr. King’s life and work. Each student then created a presentation utilizing Google Slides sharing their own dreams for a better world.

In addition, as an act of service honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contributions and efforts to the world, students in the class and students in Ms. Denise Rodriguez’s in-school dual-language class together collected toys and other gifts for a needy family in the Freeport community.

“The students were able to connect the lessons of community service in a meaningful way that brought joy to all involved,” said Ms. Trujillo. The teachers delivered the gifts to the family before the MLK, Jr. Day on Jan. 18.

Students learn about MLK, Jr.’s legacy and share dreams for a better world 1

Atkinson and J.W. Dodd receive Chromebooks donation

Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School and J.W. Dodd Middle School were the recipients of 39 Chromebooks donated by nonprofit organizations PinkTie Charities and Givngo Fuel as well as the Freeport Chamber of Commerce.

On Jan. 14, Freeport Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Glori Engel, and Director of Mathematics and Computer Technology, Dr. Anthony Murray, along with representatives from all three organizations, and Nassau County Legislature Debra Mulé, Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, and Mayor of Freeport Robert T. Kennedy were on hand to see the Chromebooks distributed to students in the Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School.

Dr. Murray expressed his thanks to the community organizations for their generous donation and to the local officials who support the district.
“With the donation of 39 Chromebooks and through your support and dedication to education, we are able to ensure that our students have the best technology available to aid in their educational journey,” said Dr. Murray.

The Chromebooks donated by PinkTie, Givngo Fuel and the Freeport Chamber of Commerce are being distributed to students who currently have devices that need to be updated. With students working on a fully-remote schedule and others utilizing their Chromebooks for in-classroom lessons, the donation will allow for the continuation of seamless instruction.

“Our school is so grateful for the donation of the Chromebooks,” said Gisselle Campbell-Ham, Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School principal. “Providing the proper technology to our students makes a huge impact in their education whether they are learning remotely or while they are in school.”

JW Dodd Concert Band Virtual Performance

The JW Dodd Middle School concert band, under the direction of Mr. Adam Rubin, created a holiday performance video to share with the Freeport community. The JW Dodd Concert Band wishes everyone a very happy holiday season!

Atkinson student reaches worldwide status on Achieve 3000 Scoreboard

Atkinson fifth-grader Andrelis Gutierrez Castro was recently named a top scorer on Achieve 3000 for New York State and worldwide. This is the first time a student from the Atkinson school has made the worldwide scoreboard.

“We are so proud of Andrelis for achieving worldwide status on Achieve 3000,” said Gisselle Campbell-Ham, Principal. “Her hard work and love of reading has led her to this wonderful recognition.”

Achieve 3000 is a differentiated reading program that Freeport Public Schools implemented to accelerate literacy growth and deepen learning across several content areas. It is a collection of nonfiction articles that match with every students' reading level.

To earn this award, Andrelis read nonfiction articles and answered multiple choice and poll questions about each article. Following the questions, she was also required to complete a writing assignment for each article. Andrelis chose articles on current events, history, science, and biographical figures and went well beyond the encouraged amount of two articles in English and Spanish per week to achieve worldwide recognition.

Congratulations to Andrelis on this wonderful achievement.

Atkinson student reaches worldwide status on Achieve 3000 Scoreboard

Nassau County Police Department donates hundreds of toys to Freeport students

The spirit of the holiday season reached the students of Freeport on Dec. 4 as the Nassau County Police Department and the Freeport Village Police visited Columbus Avenue School in celebration of the annual Toys of Hope Parade.
“With the COVID pandemic, so many events are either not able to happen or become virtual. The Parade of Toys is a wonderful event that brings joy to our families,” said Dr. Kishore Kuncham, superintendent of schools. “We are appreciative that the Nassau County Police Department and Toys of Hope were able to adapt the parade and still bring toys and happiness to our students.”
As holiday music played, officers arrived at the school and dropped off hundreds of toys, books and even candy canes for the students, bringing big smiles to their faces.
By dropping off the gifts, the event, which would normally be a parade that comes to Freeport High School to distribute the toys, allowed for safe, socially distanced delivery. This is the third year the partnership between the NCPD and Toys of Hope has delivered toys to the children of Freeport.

Hour of Code at New Visions

The fourth grade students in Ms. Mimi Bino's library classes at New Visions celebrated Computer Science Education Week by participating in the worldwide Hour of Code.

The students used Tynker, an education programming platform, in collaboration with NASA to teach students coding concepts as they programmed a rover to travel to a location of their choice. They also learned why robots are crucial for space exploration.
Following the hour of code, the students programmed BeeBots to visit different spots within their classrooms.

The Hour of Code is a worldwide movement designed to engage students in their first hour of coding and computer science. Students in more than 180 countries have participated in the event.

Virtual Art Gallery

Hundreds of works of art from all eight schools in Freeport Public Schools are on display virtually for the Freeport community. This collaborative project features student artwork from all grade levels which demonstrates how creativity is courageous from the youngest to the oldest within the school district.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Freeport Department of the Arts would host the annual Winter Festival of the Arts to exhibit the creative skills of students in each school.

“While we wish to gather together at this time of year, we are grateful to share our gifts in a virtual gallery,” said Director of Arts and Community Relations, Ruth Breidenbach. “We are so proud of the artistic accomplishments of our students and hope you enjoy seeing the progression of art skills from the youngest to the oldest artists in our district.”

The district would like to thank the Freeport Department of the Arts for this tribute commemorating the annual Winter Festivals.

View the Freeport Public Schools Virtual Art Gallery.

Happy holidays from the Freeport High School Select Chorale

The Freeport High School Select Chorale under the direction of Monique Campbell Retzlaff has created a compilation video of holiday songs and photos to bring joy to the Freeport community this holiday season. The video showcases various performances by the chorale through the years along with photos from past performances.
“We were not able to physically perform this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, therefore this is our gift to the district and community we love being a part of,” said Chorale Director Monique Campbell Retzlaff.
The Chorale wishes the Freeport community, Freeport’s board of education, administration, staff and fellow students a safe and happy holiday season.
View the Freeport High School Select Chorale’s video.



Musician and Scientist Jason Achilles Meets Bayview Avenue Students

Last month the students at Freeport Public School’s Bayview Avenue School of Arts and Sciences learned how an education in the arts and a passion for science can merge into a successful, exciting and rewarding career. Jason Achilles a professional musician and the principal investigator for the NASA grant-awarded Lunar ExoCam project, virtually visited fourth grade students and spoke to them about his career as a musician, and his lifelong passion for science and space.

“I can remember from the time I was young always being fascinated by space and science,” said Achilles to the students signed into the event. “While I developed a career as a musician, I never lost that fascination.”

During his presentation, Achilles explained how he, as an established, professional musician, was able to utilize his creativity to start his own company, Zandef Deksit, Inc. and develop and launch a microphone into space inside NASA’s Perseverance rover to capture the sounds of Mars.

“I went to college and studied music, and only started working as a scientist in the last five years,” Achilles told the students. “This is a bit strange because you would think science is something you would have to work on all your life, but as it turns out you can change your mind and try new things and be successful.”

Prior to the webinar, the students viewed the videos of the Lunar ExoCam testing which took place earlier this year and Achilles, who continues to make music, explained how his company went through the process of developing their camera and microphones for space. Beginning with the drawing stage through to prototypes and testing.

Closing the webinar, Principal Mary Gargiulo thanked Achilles for sharing his experiences and engaging with the Bayview students and inspiring them to pursue their goals in the arts and sciences.

Musician and Scientist Jason Achilles Meets Bayview Avenue Students

Atkinson Chorus: Just hear those Sleigh Bells Jingling!

The 5th and 6th grade chorus members under the direction of Ms. Arnell and Ms. Valonzo virtually perform Sleigh Ride. The chorus is excited to be able to safely share this virtual performance that will surely make you feel comfy cozy!

Happy Holidays from the Music Staff

Mr. Friedman and Mr. LaSorsa along with talented members of the music staff wish everyone a happy holiday season! Dance and sing along with this fun favorite and have a safe, happy and healthy new year.

Students Show Senator Brooks What They are Thankful for

Freeport students in the New Visions School and Atkinson Intermediate School participated in the Sen. John E. Brooks Thanksgiving Day Creative Celebration.

New Visions students Jazlyn Acevedo Baez and Kailey Lalloo submitted artwork under the direction of their art teacher, Nancy Williams depicting their families.

Representing the Caroline G. Atkinson School, fifth grade students submitted a variety of essays and poems highlighting their thankfulness for their school and teachers, their pets and their families.

The 2020 celebration called for students in New York State to submit what they are thankful for in an artform that exemplified the creativity of New York State’s youth.

To read the essays please visit:

Giblyn Shows their Spirit and the Spirit of Giving

From Nov. 16-20, students, staff and administrators at Giblyn Elementary participated in the school’s annual spirit week. Each day featured a different theme including Team Tuesday, Whacky Wednesday and Farmer Friday with students showing their spirit by wearing team T-shirts and face masks, mismatched socks, brightly colored hair, and handcrafted hats and headbands. For at least five years, Giblyn’s annual spirit week has included a food drive benefitting Freeport Outreach. This year, Giblyn students and staff collected and donated an impressive 3,057 food items to the organization.

Principal Amanda Muldowney thanked the students and staff for their generosity and thanked them for keeping school spirit and the spirit of giving alive this holiday season.

Archer Street's Annual Turkey Trot Proves Great Fun for a Good Cause

Freeport Public Schools’ Archer Street Elementary School kicked off the Thanksgiving holiday with the school’s annual Turkey Trot. The event had students from first through fourth grade walk two laps around the school building wearing festive crowns, hats, and displaying Thanksgiving themed-signs.

During the school’s Turkey Trot, Island Harvest was presented with a check for $2,020. Principal Paula Lein thanked the students for their hard work and thanked Island Harvest for all they do for the Freeport community and across Long Island to help families in need.

Freeport Schools Chosen in National Space Challenge

Freeport Public Schools is the only school district in New York State selected by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) in the national CTE Mission: CubeSat challenge. A CubeSat is a cube-shaped nanosatellite measuring 10 centimeters on each side. It carries a scientific experiment and the necessary electronics to send data collected in space back to Earth. The goal of the DOE is to bring space missions out of the clouds into the classroom.

As one of five finalists nationwide, the district will have access to professional experts who will serve as mentors to students as they enter Phase 2 of the challenge, which includes building and testing a CubeSat prototype. The district will also receive funding and in-kind prizes. At the conclusion of Phase 2 in Spring 2021, a judging panel will review the flight reports as well as other criteria from the CubeSat project and determine a winner.

“The selection of Freeport Public Schools as one of fivefinalists in the nation is an extraordinary opportunity for our students and a testament to the science, technology, engineeringand mathematics programs we offer, ” said Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Superintendent of Schools. “I am very proud of our outstanding students and faculty, who are involved in this unique STEM program. Their talents are unlimited.”

The Freeport CubeSat team will involve students from grades K-12 in the scientific part of the project and the analysis of results. The construction of the CubeSat prototype will be done by approximately 20 high school students from the technology department.

Following the construction of the prototype, the scientificgoal of the CubeSat is to collect data that will measure the Earth’s surface temperature and study the differences in heat absorption and retention between urban and rural areas. Another scientific goal is to measure the drag coefficient or friction as the CubeSat revolves around the Earth.

“Construction of the CubeSat will introduce our students to aerospace engineering, and if successful, our students could potentially influence future space technology,” said Dr. Vincent Pereira, Director of Science. “In addition, since our students are a part of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, we will be sharing our data with students from all the 120 countries that participate in the GLOBE program” said Pereira.

Bulletin Board Displays an Attitude of Gratitude at New Visions School

Students, staff and administrators at New Visions have created an “I’m thankful for…” bulletin board to share the things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

The bulletin board highlights students’ sentiments like “I am thankful for my little brother,” “I am thankful for my school and teachers” and “ I am thankful for my cat and dog.”

During these uncertain times, the school felt it was important for everyone to share their gratitude as a reminder that there is always something to be thankful for in life.

NASA Astronaut Scott Tingle Virtually Visits with Freeport Students

On Nov. 23, students in the Freeport Public Schools met virtually with NASA astronaut Scott Tingle to learn about his background, his time in space, and his work and research while aboard the International Space Station. This is the second time Freeport students have met with the astronaut, the first in 2018 while Tingle was on board the ISS.

During the meeting, Tingle shared details of his career as an engineer, his time in the U.S. Navy, his interests and his determination to become an astronaut.

With hundreds of students watching districtwide, Tingle armed them with valuable information on what they would need to become an astronaut saying, “In order to be an astronaut you need a strong educational background…and to never give up.”

Following Tingle’s presentation, Freeport students from all grade levels submitted questions which included, “Your specialty in your master’s program at Purdue University was in fluid mechanics and propulsion systems. Did you have an opportunity to perform experiments in these areas in the ISS?”; “Did you take part in any CubeSat experiments while you were in space?”; and “After you graduated you worked at The Aerospace Corporation. Did that include any CubeSat work?”

As part of the prestigious NASA/New York Space grant awarded to Freeport Public Schools last year, Freeport High School and J.W. Dodd Middle School students shared a presentation on their proposal to NASA to launch a CubeSat Prototype into space. In response to the presentation, Tingle said, “Kudos to your team for putting together an incredible presentation and project. You are starting from a good foundation in science, practicing systems engineering and working to get the data you need to get your intended results. Keep doing what you’re doing!”

Closing the virtual meeting, Director of Science, Dr. Vincent Pereira thanked Tingle for giving Freeport students the opportunity to speak with him once again and for being a role model for all those interested in science and space.

Students Create Sun Shelter in Fall-themed STEAM Lesson

Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, kindergarten students in Ms. Eileen Moloney’s class at Giblyn Elementary School experienced a hands-on STEAM lesson creating sun shelters for Play-Doh pumpkins.

The purpose of the interactive lesson was to demonstrate why pumpkins’ leaves protect them from the sun creating their orange color. This was part of a larger discovery lesson about the lifecycle of a pumpkin.

Using construction paper, Play-Doh, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, paper plates and more the students built their sun shelters and then tested them by shining a flashlight on the top of the structure to see if the light entered the shelter or if their pumpkin was shaded. If the pumpkins were exposed to the light students made improvements to their shelters and retested to ensure their pumpkins would be fully sheltered from the light.

Adopt-a-Cop Returns to Bayview for 25th Year

For the past 25 years, students in the Bayview School have participated in the annual Adopt-a-Cop program bringing fourth graders and the Village of Freeport police officers together to build relationships with local law enforcement. This year, the program kicked off virtually with officers introducing themselves to the students via a Google meet and then speaking about their work in local law enforcement. They explained how keeping the students, their families and others in the Freeport community safe is their top priority.
Several students were able to ask the officers questions about their role in law enforcement which included “What was your favorite case?” and “Do you ever get scared?”

Following the questions and answers session, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kishore Kuncham, addressed the students explaining to them the important commitment police officers make by taking an oath to protect and serve the community, and thanked the officers for taking time out of their day to spend with the students.

Ending the virtual event, students committed to write emails during school hours to their adopted officers to learn more about their roles, ask questions, express their appreciation and tell them about events and lessons happening in school. The Adopt-a-Cop program is organized with the Village of Freeport Police Department and Freeport Public Schools each year to foster communication between students and law enforcement.


Freeport’s Pre-Season Workout Program Provides Students with Safe, Socially-distanced Sports Workouts 

Freeport High School and Dodd Middle School students with an interest in fall and winter sports were provided a safe and state-approved way to practice pre-season sports from Oct. 19 to Nov. 12 through the district’s Pre-Season Workout program.

Open to all students in grades 7-12, the pre-season training program offered socially-distanced practice for girls and boys soccer, basketball, wrestling, girls tennis, cross-country, track and field, girls swim, golf, boys and girls volleyball, cheerleading and football.

“We believe that secondary athletics are more than just an extracurricular activity for our students; they become part of the fabric of our school culture, the foundation for the mental health and wellness of our students and can have a profound impact on a child’s future,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “To this end, the Pre-Season Workout Program was developed to allow any student in grades 7-12 the opportunity to participate in an athletic program.”

Program participants were required to register prior to the program’s start date and all students, faculty and staff followed the safety protocols which included temperature checks, maintaining 12-feet distance from individuals at all times, unless safety or the core activity required a shorter distance, limited use of equipment and heightened cleaning and sanitizing. In addition, face masks were required for all coaches, staff and students.

The Freeport middle and high school pre-season training program complied with all New York State Education Department and New York state Department of Health Reopening Plan guidelines, as well as the current NYSPHSAA regulations. The district will work to schedule future sessions for spring sports if necessary.

Atkinson’s Collaborative Chorus Project Celebrates Peace and Hispanic Heritage Month

Atkinson School Choral teachers, Ms. Arnell and Ms. Valonzo created a collaborative choral video to celebrate peace and Hispanic Heritage month. Fifth and sixth grade chorus members performed a special arrangement of “I’d like to Teach the World to Sing.” To create the video the chorus students participated in remote instruction and then submitted individual recordings of themselves singing lyrics in English and Spanish. The chorus members also submitted photos demonstrating messages of peace for all. To view the virtual project click the link below.

Coats Donated to Atkinson from Nassau County Detectives Association, Inc.

With winter just around the corner, the Nassau County Detectives Association, Inc. has donated 12 large boxes of new winter coats in various colors and sizes for students and families in need at Atkinson Intermediate School.

Mariella Ryan-Echegaray, the school’s social worker helped organize the donation with Joseph Hill recording secretary for the organization. The coat donation is part of the

Nassau County Detectives Association’s annual Coats for Kids drive.

“We are so thankful for the generous donation,” said Principal Gisselle Campbell-Ham. “These coats will greatly benefit our students during the cold winter months.”

Joseph Hill and John Wighaus, Nassau County Detectives Association president, personally delivered the boxes to the school.


Columbus Students Pay Tribute to Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, Columbus Ave. kindergarten students in Kim Gartmayer, Samantha Tasso and Heather Tollin’s classes created thank-you cards and crafts to pay tribute to our nation’s veterans.

Kimberly Gartmayer’s students learned about the different branches of the military and the importance of Veterans Day through reading different books and listening to music. They each made a thank-you card and a sign that will be mailed to veterans in Nassau County.

The students in Samantha Tasso and Heather Tollin’s classes created Veterans Day crowns that showcased the different branches of the military. Because the students worked so hard and had fun learning about Veterans Day in their classrooms, they were able to enjoy part of the school day outside proudly wearing their Veterans Day crowns.

Freeport Hosts Districtwide Virtual Parent University

The Freeport School District hosted a districtwide Parent University virtual webinar on Oct. 27. Focusing on student learning and technology, the event aimed to provide parents with knowledge and understanding of how to support their children’s use of technology, how to increase their own knowledge and use of technology, and the impact technology can have on their children’s education.
The virtual event featured a presentation by Northwell Health’s Dr. Vera Feuer, director of pediatric psychiatry at Cohen Children’s Hospital, on internet behaviors and how technology impacts child development. The live presentation helped parents gain a better understanding of the technology available to their children and how it impacts their development.

Other workshop topics included digital citizenship, help with using Google translate and classroom, and appropriate learning environments and expectations of students. Each workshop lasted for 30 minutes and provided parents with educational materials and information. The Parent University workshops are also available to parents on Freeport’s Pre-K through 12th grade online learning resource center.

To access the Parent University virtual workshops visit:


Pumpkin Painting at New Visions

New Visions kindergarten classes and the first grade self-contained class recently learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin. They read stories and had meaningful discussions. The students also studied the inside of the pumpkin, identified and labeled the parts, and described it. After they learned all about the pumpkins, the students painted their pumpkin to take home. New Visions school would like thank A&M Seasonal Corner for donating pumpkins for the students.

Class of 2021 Top 10

Freeport Public Schools is proud to announce the outstanding academic achievements of the top 10 students of the Class of 2021. During a breakfast honoring the top ten students on Oct. 30, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kishore Kuncham congratulated the students for their dedication and hard work throughout their academic careers.

“Everything you have done from pre-K to your senior year has brought you to this moment,” said Dr. Kuncham. “Your discipline, commitment and dedication each and every day has put you in the top ten. On behalf of Freeport, I extend my congratulations. You make us proud.”

The top ten students of the class of 2021 are Valedictorian Shyanne Gardner, Salutatorian Mia Sorrentio, #3 Nicole Bailey, #4 Oghenenyerovwo Omokeni, #5 Jayda Pollard, #6 Sabrina Johnson, #7 Hameedah Lawal, #8 Tatiana Lugo Aquino, #9 Genevieve Himmelberg, and #10 Alexa Rivera.



Board of Education Recognized for Service and Dedication

On Oct. 21 in celebration of School Board Recognition Week, sponsored by the New York State School Board Association, the Freeport Public Schools Board of Education was recognized for their service and commitment to the students, staff and Freeport community.

“Thank you to the board of education who do an amazing job for the students of Freeport and the entire Nassau County,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Our students benefit every day from the board’s countless hours of dedication and advocacy on behalf of our children and the education they receive.”

As a sign of appreciation for their work, Dr. Kuncham presented each board member with a proclamation from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. In addition, several organizations within the school district made charitable donations on behalf of the board of education including FESOA (clerical staff) to Island Harvest Food Bank; FTAA (teaching assistants and teacher aides) to the Freeport Education Foundation; FTA (teachers) to the Freeport High School Class of 2021 and the Black Educators Scholarship Fund; FSAA (administrators) to the Freeport Education Foundation; and CSEA (food service workers and security staff) to the Freeport Education Foundation. In addition, the students at Columbus Avenue School showed their appreciation by creating and presenting a video thanking the board members for their work.

The Freeport Public Schools Board of Education include Board of Education President Ernest J. Kight Jr, Vice President Vilma Lancaster and trustees Ronald J. Ellerbe, Maria Jordan-Awalom and Gabriela Castillo. Board members are elected to serve three-year terms and are not paid for their services.


Freeport Public Schools Appoints New Administrators

The Freeport School District Board of Education unanimously appointed Director of English Language Arts, K-12 Glori Engel to the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and Mary LaMotta to the position of director of English language arts, K-12 effective Sept. 24, 2020.

Ms. Engel joined the Freeport Schools in 2014 as a literacy consultant to provide her expertise in the areas of literacy instruction and the implementation of new literacy programs within the district. For the past four years, she has successfully served the district as the director of English language arts. In her current role as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Engel has fully and successfully embraced providing outstanding leadership and guidance in the recent reopening of Freeport Public Schools. In addition to her work in the district as a consultant and administrator, she previously served for 18 years as a kindergarten teacher and reading specialist predominantly within the Half Hollow Hills School District. Ms. Engel earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Towson University, a master’s degree in literacy studies from Hofstra University and her administrative certificate from Long Island University. Ms. Engel’s professionalism, expertise and commitment to all students and staff is an asset to Freeport Public Schools.

Mary LaMotta began her teaching career in the Freeport Public Schools in 2004 as a special education teacher at New Visions Elementary School as an integrated co-teacher in grades 1-4. In 2015, she was selected to serve as a reading specialist and served as a reading teacher at both New Visions School and Columbus Avenue Early Childhood Center. In 2017, she began serving the district as a districtwide literacy coach providing instructional support, coaching and guidance to teachers across the district. Ms. LaMotta earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Molly College, a Master of Science degree from Hofstra University, and an administrative certificate from Stony Brook University. She also holds New York State teaching certifications for students with disabilities in grades 1-6, literacy birth-6, 7-12 English language arts, grades 1-6 early childhood education and her administrative certificate as a school building and district leader. Ms. LaMotta’s knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for literacy and instruction is evident in her work with staff and students.

Giblyn and Columbus Avenue students get hands-on STEM lessons

The kindergarten and first grade students from Columbus Avenue and Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School had hands-on, seasonally focused STEM lessons using apples.

Columbus Avenue kindergarten teacher, Kimberly Gartmayer led her students in a lesson which began with reading about apples. Following, the students used apples chunks or slices and toothpicks to make boats. After constructing their boats, the class submerged them in water to see which types of apple boats floated and which sank.

For students in Therese Casoria’s first grade class at Giblyn Elementary School, a science and math unit was implemented which included activities such as dissecting an apple and labeling the parts; sequencing the life cycle of an apple, as well as tasting various types of apples to collect data. The data collected by each student was then used to create a graph of the apples each student liked most.

J.W. Dodd Middle School Recognized with Silver Status

Freeport Public School’s J. W. Dodd Middle School was recently recognized by Junior Achievement (JA) New York with Silver Partnership Status for the 2020-2021 school year.

The recognition is based on the school’s continued high level of engagement with JA New York and their commitment to empowering students to achieve economic success.

Through this recognition, J.W. Dodd students participating in Junior Achievement will have access to signature curriculum and experiential programs and opportunities focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.

Tour of Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Last month, John W. Dodd Principal Johane Ligondé, psychologist Magaly Raeihle, social worker Cindy Perez, guidance counselor Diane Durdaller, and Dodd’s psychology interns, Alexandra Krala and Angela DeJesus, visited Northwell Health’s Cohen Children's Medical Center in Rockville Centre. The visit was part of the ongoing partnership between the school district and medical center, which provides mental health support to children and adolescents from the ages of 5 to 17 who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

The partnership program between Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Freeport Public Schools is designed as an alternative treatment for those who need urgent care, such as same day intervention, without having to visit the emergency room.

J.W. Dodd administrators met with members of the mental health team including mental health clinician, Ariana Metalia, and child/adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Vera Feuer. They also received a tour of the facility which offers a welcoming and calming setting to provide urgently needed mental health care without judgement or stigma.

“This facility is the first step in obtaining the appropriate mental help treatment,” Ligondé said. “It is a guiding tool to acquiring the proper care without judgement for students struggling with behavioral health issues.”

The facility conducts assessments, coordinates care, provides resources and support to individuals in the community. The center employs bilingual staff, accepts all major insurance plans, and does not refuse treatment to anyone due to financial or immigration status. Walk-in visits and virtual visits are available.

Freeport Public Schools is looking forward to the continued collaboration with Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Freeport Public Schools Transforms Annual Peace Concert

For the past 12 years, Freeport Public Schools has spread a message of peace and hope to the community through their annual Peace Concert honoring International Day of Non-Violence, International Day of Peace and the 151st birthday of Mahatma Ghandi.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district has embraced their 2020 theme “Be The Change Transform” by transforming the concert highlighting the talented students from all eight school buildings into a compilation of songs from previous concerts.

The video, titled “Choral Hits for Peace,” is being shared online for members of the district’s board of education, administration, staff and community to view on the district’s website Showcasing the most vibrant musical numbers and inspiring messages of peace and love, the video conveys the enthusiasm, hope, and optimism the district works tirelessly to help the students, staff, administration and community embrace.

“Our district’s journey to demonstrate peace and hope is ongoing. This year, with so many unsettling feelings due to the Coronavirus, social and racial injustice and general unrest, our district has shown how we can come together and persevere through unknown territory and overcome difficult challenges,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “While this year’s Peace Concert looks different, the message is still the same to promote peace and unity both in the Freeport community and throughout the world.”

The Freeport Public Schools annual Peace Concert and other celebrations of peace held throughout the school year are well-supported and recognized throughout the community.

 View the Freeport Public Schools Choral Peace for Hits video.

Freeport Public Schools’ Virtual Peace Walk Draws Community Together

With the global pandemic limiting in-person gatherings, Freeport Public Schools continued the tradition of their annual Peace Walk with a virtual event on Sept. 26.

The theme for this year’s walk was “Count Our Steps Towards Peace” and the district put out a call to all students, parents, staff and community members to help achieve a combined goal of 2,020 miles for peace.

More than 700 Freeport students, parents, staff and community members virtually participated by planning their own walks inside or outdoors, walking or running through their neighborhoods or on a track and logging their steps. Together the community achieved 5,102,387 steps for peace or 2,551 miles -500 miles more than the desired goal.

“This year’s Peace Walk was more important than ever before as 2020 has challenged our peace on many levels; from inner peace to peace within our community and beyond,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “I am filled with pride as our community came together, while staying safely apart, to participate and display how peace-promoting activities can unite and bring joy within and to those around us.”

Freeport Public Schools has hosted a Peace Walk for six years. Prior to 2020, participants walked a 5K beginning at a different school within the district each year and walked throughout the community wearing yellow shirts and holding signs with messages of peace, hope and unity.

To view the video of photos from the Freeport Peace Walk visit

Freeport Select Chorale Members Selected for NYSSMA All-State Chorus

Two Freeport High School Select Chorale members were chosen to participate in the 2020 New York State School Music Association Conference All-State Chorus. Participation in the event, which will take place virtually, is the highest level in the state a student musician can achieve.

Seniors Karla Martinez and Jasmine Quezada-Tejada, under the guidance of chorale director Monique Campbell Retzlaff, were selected for the 2020 All-State Chorus based on the scores they received when they were sophomores. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the selection process for 2020 included the results of the 2019 NYSSMA adjudications due to the canceled spring NYSSMA festivals.

The All-State experience will be different than previous years with Karla and Jasmine virtually rehearsing with the other members of the All-State chorus in early December 2020. At the conclusion of scheduled rehearsals, the All-State Chorus will record a virtual concert.

The District would like to congratulate both students on their outstanding accomplishments.

International Day of Non-Violence and The 151st Anniversary of the Birth of Mahatma Gandhi

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Teachers Federal Credit Union and Staples Donate Supplies and Backpacks

Earlier this month, Freeport Public Schools gratefully accepted two generous donations of school supplies for students in the district. Teachers Federal Credit Union donated 250 backpacks filled with face masks, notebooks pencils, crayons and more.

The second donation came from Staples in Freeport and was the result of a fundraising program in which customers donated an additional $5 on their total purchase to provide supplies to students in need. The supplies donated at the completion of the store’s program were valued at $1,800.

“We are very grateful to both Staples in Freeport and the Teachers Federal Credit Union.,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham said. “Their generous donations benefit our students throughout the year and we appreciate their efforts on our behalf.”

The students of Freeport Public Schools will use the school supplies throughout the year to support their learning and the district thanks both Teachers Federal Credit Union and Staples in Freeport for gathering these donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atkinson School Distributes Books and Supplies

The Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School hosted a book distribution event on Sept. 18. The event was for those students who elected to participate in a fully remote education for the 2020-2021 school year. Students were scheduled to arrive at the school during specific timeframes in order to ensure social distancing guidelines were adhered to.

In addition to receiving their text books, students also received school supplies donated to Atkinson by Staples in Freeport which included folders, pencils, pens and assorted art supplies.

Freeport Public Schools Recipient of Rotary Club

The Freeport Public Schools gratefully acknowledges the generous donation of 200 backpacks and schools supplies, valued at approximately $4,000, by the Rotary Club of Hicksville South. These donations will be used by students as they start the new school year.

“We are so grateful to the members of the Rotary Club of Hicksville South for their timely and generous donation and for always thinking of ways to help our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “In this challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic these school supplies will greatly support our students and assist our families.”

Thanks to the long standing relationship between the Freeport Public Schools and the Rotary Club of Hicksville South, the school district has been the beneficiary of numerous donations each year including winter coats and school supplies.

Freeport Welcomes Back Teachers Remotely

On Sept. 1, the Freeport School District Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, administrators, teachers and staff joined together for the annual Superintendent’s Conference Day held remotely due to the pandemic.

Dr. Kuncham began by acknowledging the work everyone had done during the end of the school year when schools were closed and the district needed to transition to remote learning for all students. “It has been a long journey since we closed our schools in March due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Kuncham. “Through it all we remained Freeport Strong. Thank you for the amazing work you did during this unprecedented time. As always, our resiliency and commitment to our students and families and to each other have moved us forward.”

Board of Education President Ernest J. Kight also welcomed everyone back to the new school year. “As our students return, we will socially, emotionally and educationally carry out our mission,” said Mr. Kight. “There is nothing we can’t overcome to support and educate our students. On behalf of the parents, students, staff, administration and Board of Education, I am pleased to welcome you back to the 2020-21 school year.”

With the new school year about to begin, Dr. Kuncham acknowledged that the 2020-21 school year will look different, but the district’s goals remain the same. “As we move into the new school year, our goals and purpose remain the same – equity, excellence and the best possible education for all our students. Our journey continues with optimism, devotion, hope and enthusiasm.”

Dr. Kuncham noted that the district continues to make significant gains in all areas including a new record for the highest graduation rate achieved by the Class of 2020. “We have accomplished a great deal and as our students return to school, we will continue to stay on course, because our reopening plan is strong,” said Dr. Kuncham. He went on to stress the importance of leading by example and how everyone can embrace the district’s theme Be The Change Transform in their personal lives and the lives of students. “Let this be an opportunity to push our limits, explore our potential and the potential of our students. We can bring transformation and change to ourselves and inspire our students and others to do the same. In a time when racial injustice has exposed the deep rooted inequities in our society, let us empower our students with the tools to bring change and become transformation leaders. Let us enable our students to understand the world around them, and the talents within them so they can become fulfilled individuals and compassionate global citizens.”  

Students Return to School Safely and Ready to Learn

The reopening of schools on Sept. 8 and 9 for in-person learning found students, teachers and staff excited to embrace the many educational challenges and adventures for the 2020-2021 school year. Students were optimistic as they arrived to each of the district’s eight school buildings, diligently maintaining safety and health protocols, and eager to share memories of their summer vacation and begin this unique school year.

“After many months of working collaboratively with administrators, teachers and parents on developing an approved reopening plan that meets the health, safety and wellness needs of our students in these challenging times, it was rewarding and inspiring to see our goals become a reality,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “It was wonderful to see our schools come to life, and to see the enthusiasm of our staff and students. Thanks to our students, staff and parents for making the first day of school a success and to our Board of Education for their ongoing support.”

The district has implemented numerous safety protocols to ensure a safe return for students and staff including wrist scanner thermometers, thoroughly sanitized classrooms equipped with socially distanced desks and individual desk partitions, and highly visible signage reminding everyone to maintain social distance and hygiene protocols. Throughout the district, students learned about their new schedules, routines and their teachers’ expectations to successfully prepare them for the upcoming school year. At Atkinson Intermediate School, students were warmly welcomed by Principal Gisselle Campbell-Ham who was on hand to guide students to their classrooms, while teachers helped students get settled for a day of engaging educational activities. High School students arrived to school safely and smoothly as Principal Joseph Mille greeted and reminded students to stay safe and enjoy their first day back. The Archer Street School students from kindergarten to fourth grade happily navigated the hallways to find their classrooms excitedly wearing their new backpacks filled with their school supplies for the year.

While in-person learning is just getting underway, remote learning for all students began on Sept. 4 with a variety of virtual learning activities including reading lessons, math lessons and even virtual tours of their school buildings to ensure students were familiarized with their new surroundings.

All schools in the district are operating on a hybrid back-to-school model. Students have been divided into two cohorts and alternate attending in-person learning Mondays through Thursdays, with Fridays acting as a synchronous and asynchronous remote learning day.

The district is thrilled to welcome students back to a new school year. Although the schools look different than ever before, the district’s goals remain the same to educate all students to achieve their fullest potential in a safe and nurturing environment.

Freeport Welcomes New Teachers

The Freeport School District kicked off its preparations for the 2020-2021 school year with a focus on health, safety, and wellness as district administrators and Board of Education members welcomed its new staff during the annual First Year Teachers’ Orientation on Aug. 24.

All those in attendance wore masks and kept their distance while following COVID-19 safety guidelines. New teachers were distributed Chromebooks to start the multi-day orientation.

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Special Projects Mr. Benjamin Roberts introduced Board Members and administration to the new staff.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham welcomed new teachers to the Freeport family. He also expressed the significance of staying safe throughout the reopening during this unprecedented time.

“Please continue to bring your passion every single day and don’t let any adversity or negativity define us,” Dr. Kuncham said. “Our students need you. You are the superheroes for them and the ones they look up to. We have an extraordinary group of administrators to assist you, to help you, to support you, to make you grow, and to become everything that you want to be in your life. Be a part of our journey and go beyond being the change makers, let’s transform the lives of our children, our community and most importantly let’s transform ourselves from within.”

Board President Mr. Ernest J. Kight, Jr. congratulated the new teachers and informed them that they are in good hands at Freeport Schools. Acting Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Ms. Glori Engel also welcomed new staff to the district.

For the remainder of the day and in the three days that followed, first-year and second-year teachers were informed on the reopening plan, COVID-19 health and safety policy and participated in the targeted professional development program.
The district is excited to welcome its new staff into the Freeport family as school begins on Sept. 4.