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News Inside Our Schools

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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

Click here to view the video

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.