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Students Transform into Sports Professionals

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Waverly Park fifth-graders in Amy Garfinkel’s class put their creativity to the test during their Sports Cardboard Challenge on May 3. The class, along with other fifth-graders throughout the district, have incorporated careers in sports into their lessons to correspond with the Lynbrook Public Schools’ theme of the year, “Where Tomorrow Begins Today.” 

During the course of approximately two months, students were challenged to utilize cardboard and other recyclable materials to create a model of their research topic, highlighting a specific sports profession. With the help of Garfinkel and library media specialist Meghan Ceglie, the students researched professions such as sports photographer, general manager, physical therapist, sports announcer and more. Each student was required to write a creative essay about their findings. For their model, the students brainstormed ideas with their classmates for inspiration and wrote a paragraph about their projects. 

Students from various grade levels throughout the building were invited to the school library where the students displayed their projects. The fifth-graders presented on what they learned and spoke about how they built their creations.  

“I’m an NFL team owner and I made a skybox which overlooks the field because that’s where the NFL team owner sits during a game,” said fifth-grader Owen Asch. “My favorite part of the project was gluing the field to the bottom of the box and taping the skybox together.” 

Garfinkel incorporates a cardboard challenge into her lessons every other year after being inspired by the Global Cardboard Challenge. The challenge was created based on the film “Caine’s Arcade,” which takes viewers through the life of nine-year-old Caine Monroy who created a cardboard arcade. It encourages creativity among students which was the goal of the project. 

Field Day Fun

Field Day Fun Photo

High School Entrepreneurs Take On Business Summit

High School Entrepreneurs Take On Business Summit Photo
Twelve Lynbrook High School students in Dr. Benedict Tieniber’s virtual enterprise class recently participated in the Youth Business Summit 2018 in New York City, showcasing their company “Fuel It.” The competition featured more than 4,300 students from more than 150 schools, 18 different states and 10 different countries. More than 220 virtual enterprise companies competed. 

Students included juniors Jesse Candel, Benjamin Cohen and Connor Reichert and seniors Frank Cimato, Matt Ferrante, Justin Guevara, Asif Islam, Kyle Kropas, Spencer Sundeberg, Samuel Tucker, Gabby Vogt and Nolan Weinberg. The students presented their sales pitch and sold products during the trade show. 

“From a marketing perspective, this competition was where our ideas to entice customers to our company’s booth can to fruition,” said Vogt. “Our company had everyone talking because we used Mario Kart on Wii to showcase the automobile side of our company. Also, we had a popcorn machine and a brand new banner which helped contribute to our $300,000 sales total. This value has nearly doubled from our last trade show in early January.”

Although the students did not place in the event, the opportunity was beneficial for the group as they received recognition from other schools and facilitators in attendance. 

“The competition was a great experience that opened my eyes to the world of business networking,” said Candel. “From trying to make sales to firms from schools as close to Lynbrook as Hewlett, to making sales to firms from California, Bermuda and Texas, I learned how to persuasive and make deals in the business world.”

Marion Street Staff Gets Soaked for a Cure

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In honor of ALS Awareness Month, Marion Street Elementary School students and faculty gathered outside for the school’s third annual ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on May 4, sponsored by the student council. Throughout the week, classes were encouraged to raise as much money as possible to support ALS Ride for Life in their fight to find a cure. With the Ice Bucket Challenge alone, the classes raised a total of $3,600. 

With the help of advisers Kelly Donovan and Melissa Sider, student council members advertised for the event through morning announcements. Principal Theresa Macchia kicked off the event by congratulating the fifth-grade classes for generating the highest amount of donations to date. Winning teachers and their classes included Tracey Reisert, first-grade; Cathy Solace and Diana Intrabartola, second-grade; Steve Freifeld, third-grade; Jim Marr, fourth-grade and Amy Cohen, fifth-grade. One by one, the winning classes from each grade level had the opportunity to dump buckets of ice cold water on their teachers and other faculty members. 

Students cheered as the freezing water was spilled over the faculty members’ heads. At the conclusion of the event, Cohen’s fifth-grade class was invited to dump water on Macchia for raising the most money out of all the classes in the building. This event was just one of the many ways that the school supports ALS Ride for Life throughout the year. The $3,600 from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was included in a $5,400 check that students presented to Christopher Pendergast, an ALS patient and advocate, during his Ride for Life tour at the school on May 9. 

West End's Little Doctors Lend a Hand

West End's Little Doctors Lend a Hand
West End Elementary School fifth-graders volunteered their time during the school's annual blood drive and participated in the Little Doctors Program, sponsored by the New York Blood Center.

The Game of Chess

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West End Elementary School students tested their problem solving abilities during a chess match. 

Lynbrook Earns 2018 Best High School Distinction

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The district is pleased to announce that Lynbrook High School was once again recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the 2018 Best High Schools. The high school is ranked No. 809 nationally, up from last year’s ranking of No. 877. The school was also ranked No. 80 within New York State and received a silver medal for performance. 

Each year, the U.S. News evaluates more than 20,500 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only a select few receive gold, silver and bronze medals for their educational success. Lynbrook High School is among 2,211 schools to receive the silver medal. The schools are ranked by student exam performance data and college readiness level.

Sixty-one percent of Lynbrook High School students are involved in Advanced Placement course work and exams that are offered. These include studies in biology, calculus AB and BC, chemistry, computer science, English language, English literature, environmental science, Italian language, microeconomics, physics 1 and 2, psychology, Spanish language, studio art, U.S. government and politics, U.S. history and world history. 

“Lynbrook High School is proud to be recognized once again by the U.S. News and World Report,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak. “As a district, we strive to give our students the tools to be successful not only in the classroom but beyond graduation. This distinction would not be possible without the dedication and unwavering support of Lynbrook High School’s administrators, teachers and staff.”

Young Scientists Showcase Their Talents

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Fourth- and fifth-graders at Waverly Park Elementary School put their innovative ideas and research on display during the school’s Young Scientist Fair on April 25. The school gymnasium featured 30 student-created individual and group projects for students, staff and community members to explore. 

In the afternoon, classes throughout the building visited the science fair where students practiced their presentation skills and educated their peers on their projects. The young scientists’ researched different topics that fit their interests. Experiments answered questions such as how to make a tesla coil, how to make a car move using solar power, how to melt ice the fastest and how to create a power generating bicycle. 

Participation in the fair was voluntary as fair coordinator and teacher Sara Rubin helped the students with their ideas and projects through a mentoring process, starting at the end of January. Those that wanted extra help with their experiments, had the opportunity to brainstorm with Rubin and were offered helpful tips on how to present. 

During the evening, family, friends and community members, including students from other buildings in the district, visited the school to see the students in action and learn more about their projects.

Security Incident - May 2018

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Summer Playground Program

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Registration for the Lynbrook Public Schools Summer Playground Program is now open to all Lynbrook School District resident children and all Village of Lynbrook resident children who will be entering kindergarten in September 2018 through eighth grade. Those children attending private or parochial school, or another school district other than Lynbrook, must mail a copy of their immunization record, as well as proof of residency, with their registration.  Registration will take place this year by mail. Here you will find a copy of the registration packet needed to sign up. 

All registration and health forms must be filled out by June 1, 2018 including a check or money order made payable to Lynbrook Public Schools. These can be mailed to Lynbrook Summer Playground, c/o Lynbrook Public Schools, Administration Building, 111 Atlantic Avenue, Lynbrook, NY  11563. A separate registration and health form must be filled out for each child.  One check/money order is acceptable per family.

We look forward to seeing you this summer! 
 

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Waverly Park Students “Light It Up Blue”

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In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Waverly Park student council members recently sold “Light it Up Blue” bracelets during lunch periods. Through their efforts, they raised $212 for the Piece by Piece Foundation. Students also posed for pictures in the school’s “Light it Up Blue” Frame that was made by the fifth grade student council members and wore blue in support. 

Buzzing with Kindness at West End School

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Buzzing with Kindness at West End School
West End Elementary School recently honored the life of former West End student Melissa McHenry with a school sponsored Black and Yellow Day to remind everyone to always “BEE” YOURSELF, “BEE” BRAVE and “BEE” KIND. Messages were conveyed throughout the school as students and staff dressed in black and yellow honeybee colors and wore rubber bracelets with Melissa’s words, “BEE” YOURSELF or “BEE” BATMAN embossed on them. She was the kind of person who helped everyone and wanted everyone to be included.

Lynbrook High School Welcomes New Members into Prestigious Honor Society

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The Lynbrook High School gymnasium was filled with administrators, board members, faculty, students and loved ones as 84 students were officially inducted into the Lynbrook chapter of the National Honor Society on April 30. The new inductees were selected based on their ability to maintain high standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character.

Members, both old and new, entered the gymnasium with music led by Brian White and the brass ensemble. Seated alongside current junior and senior members, the new inductees, which consisted of a senior, five juniors and 78 sophomores, pledged to uphold the organization’s pillars of scholarship, service, leadership and character. This included holding onto scholarship habits, engaging in worthy service and leading in all things that advance the welfare of the school, district, community and society.

NHS adviser Leonard Bruno and officers Daniel Marzari, Melissa Braun, Leah Hetrick and Humza Khan officiated the induction of new members and recognized current members for their continued service as leaders of their community. Newly inducted members received a certificate of membership with an accompanying ID card, junior members received the National Honor Society emblem for their second year of service and senior members received the National Honor Society gold pin for their three-year service and membership.

Bruno also discussed the significance of each of the four pillars that encompass the National Honor Society and mentioned many of the colleges and universities that accepted this year’s seniors. 

“Over 200 colleges and prestigious programs accepted the senior class of 2018,” he said. “This should remind our newly inducted members of the importance that our school and community place on academic achievement.” 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, incoming officers for the 2018-19 school year were announced, as voted on by their fellow junior members. Kaylie Hausknecht will serve as president, Spencer Chrein will act as vice president, Sam Cohen will be the new secretary and Jason Shao will take on the responsibilities of treasurer. Attendees gathered at the end of the evening for a celebratory reception.

District Prepares Community for Budget Vote While Focusing on Future

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Music filled the Lynbrook High School cafeteria as high school orchestra students kicked off the Lynbrook Public Schools’ Board of Education meeting on May 2. Administrators, board members, faculty, students and community members gathered for the district’s budget hearing in preparation for the budget vote on May 15 and listened to important district updates. 

Meghan Ceglie, Waverly Park School’s library media specialist, and Corinne Teichman, districtwide Voyager program instructor, were presented with the Charles and Marjorie Spector Grant for enhancing learning in the fields of reading, writing and research by members of the Spector family. The grant was originally writing based but shifted its focus this year to benefit students in different programs. The Spector family established the grant in 2004 to honor the memory of longtime board member Charles Spector. He was a member of the Lynbrook Board of Education for 15 years, serving as its president for 11 years. His wife Marjorie was an author and past PTA president in the district. 

Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations, and Information Systems Dr. Paul Lynch presented an overview of the district’s 2018-19 budget which consisted of specific highlights, the expenditure budget, revenue, the four propositions which the public will vote on and a budget summary. 

Following the budget hearing, a video was shown about the benefits of an Education Foundation, a non-profit organization formed by community members which holds events to raise grant money. Lynbrook community members formed the Lynbrook Excellence in Education Foundation years ago to help fund district programs and materials. Due to declining membership though, it was disassembled. Lynbrook resident Ivy Reilly has made it her mission to bring the foundation back to help benefit the schools. Reilly provided an update during the meeting and stated that the foundation is seeking more members. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak reminded the public about the budget vote on May 15 and that the last day to register is on May 9. On May 9, the Lynbrook Teachers Association, in conjunction with the district and the New York Life Insurance Company, will be offering its free annual Child ID Program. The program provides parents with an ID card of their child containing a picture and important information to keep them safe.

Dr. Burak also praised Joseph Palotta, director of fine and performing arts, and staff members for their guidance and commitment to the district’s music program. The Lynbrook Public Schools’ earned its sixth consecutive Best Community for Music Education award. Additionally, Dr. Burak addressed the new instructional time requirements to be adopted by the Board of Regents for the 2018-19 school year. For full-day kindergarten, a school is required to have a minimum of 900 hours of instructional time. This will impact the current kindergarten school hour. As a result, the district plans to eliminate the two session day to a one session. The district is planning on making the new kindergarten instructional day from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dr. Burak noted that there still are discussions taking place about transportation. Administrator for Personnel and Student Support Services Maureen Berman is working with the bus company on routes and scheduling so that family members can pick up all their children from different schools in an efficient manner. 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Gerard Beleckas provided a curriculum update for the community. He shared that his committee submitted the district’s technology initiatives to the Future Ready Schools group and received an overall digital learning readiness score of 8.8 out of 10. The committee is in the process of developing an action plan and will be splitting the committee into two sub committees in order to develop a fuller plan. 

In addition, Dr. Lynch reported a capital projects update. He stated that the SMART Bond plan has now been resubmitted to New York State and was certified by Dr. Burak. The district is waiting for the state to respond with the next steps. Dr. Lynch also shared that the bond planning is going well. The early plans have cleared through architectural review and will be reviewed in other stages. Summer project meetings are also in place for the Waverly Park boiler and the West End brick-pointing. The high school plans are being prepared as the district has had meeting with the architect and have explored the rooms at the high school so that the design is properly executed. Dr. Lynch reported that they are on schedule.

Key Club’s Blood Drives Help Hundreds of Lives

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The Lynbrook High School Key Club hosted three blood drives this year from November to April under the guidance of advisor Benedict Tieniber. The drives resulted in an impressive total of 234 donations for the year. According to the Long Island Blood Service, this is the highest donation rate from Lynbrook High School in years with the donations benefiting 702 lives. Congratulations, Key Club!

Waverly Student Honored for Perfect Penmanship

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Fourth-grader Miley Leu from Waverly Park Elementary School was recently recognized as a Grade 4 State Level winner in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. Leu was honored last year as well as a Grade 3 State Level winner. She will continue on in the contest in the hopes of becoming a Grand National Champion. 

Leu is among approximately 280,000 students who participated in the contest which encourages legible handwriting by evaluating the size, shape, spacing and slant of students’ handwriting. Research shows evidence that the practice of cursive handwriting strengthens a students’ overall cognitive skills, including literacy and fine motor skills.

As a state grade-level winner, Leu was awarded with an engraved medallion, while her teacher Courtney Jacobs received an engraved glass diamond paperweight. In addition, Waverly Park was granted a $200 gift certificate that the school will once again use toward the purchase of next year’s handwriting books for the third-grade. 

“I’m so proud of Miley, she deserves this,” said Jacobs. “She has the most beautiful handwriting so this is a wonderful and special gift for her.”

Students Find Joy in Abstract Expressionism

Eighth-grade studio art students in Andrea Schnall’s class at Lynbrook South Middle School participated in an in-class workshop with the Long Island Children’s Museum and The Willem de Kooning Foundation on April 17. The workshop was part of the Museum and Foundation’s partnership working with students in libraries and schools across Long Island.
 
“Not your ordinary art class, emphasis for these workshops is on process, not product,” said the Foundation’s executive director Amy Schichtel. “The goal is to help to unleash curiosity and to lead young people to push against limitations as Abstract Expressionist artist Willem de Kooning did in his art and life.”

Facilitated by Long Island Children’s Museum art program manager Lauren Plate and her assistant Sara Vernet, the two-hour workshop spanned three class periods. As a launching point, the students discussed concepts of figuration and abstraction, comparing works by de Kooning to others from art history. Outfitted in art aprons, the students then explored a range of techniques and strategies.  

“This is a fun and rigorous class of puzzling out shapes and lines by using new ways to reach fresh solutions,” said Schichtel. “De Kooning was a master at finding ways to get himself out of a corner and to overcome obstacles. Students are brought out of their comfort zones and learn to think differently about art and challenges.”

This June, each student’s artwork will be displayed among the works of over 700 other students from Long Island in a month long exhibition held at the Long Island Children’s Museum.

Lynbrook Students Channel Playwright’s Life in ‘Act One’

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Lynbrook High School students showcased their talents for the Lynbrook community during their spring production of Act One, directed by Tommie Gibbons on April 20 and 21. The cast of 14 students consisted of Calvin Clark, Madelyn Colonna, Sarah Denker, Odin Francis, Elizabeth Hanson, Mikayla Layng, Maggie Maloney, Eitan Markowitz, Jackie Moreno, Brennan O’Grady, Anna Rath, Conor Ryan, Christina Strippoli and Kara Vito. 

Act One, a play written and directed by James Lapine, was based on the autobiography by Moss Hart, an American playwright and theatre director. Students brought Hart’s story to life, chronicling his impoverished childhood and his long, determined struggle to reach the opening night of his first Broadway hit. 

Students worked through rehearsals, practicing their lines for the performances under the direction of Gibbons. Stage manager India Garone assisted in the production’s success along with assistant stage manager Chris Marino, costume advisor Thea Sieban, prop mistress Katja Rabus, prop assistant Abby Loiselle, set designer Michael Kunz, sound assistant Lydia Masica, lighting assistant Nathan Moelis and Anna Fucci, spotlight coordinator Brandon Maroney and stage hands Stephanie Syrota, Finn Boyle, Luke Maroney and Sheen Alfred. 

Students Find Joy in Abstract Expressionism

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Eighth-grade studio art students in Andrea Schnall’s class at Lynbrook South Middle School participated in an in-class workshop with the Long Island Children’s Museum and The Willem de Kooning Foundation on April 17. The workshop was part of the Museum and Foundation’s partnership working with students in libraries and schools across Long Island.
 
“Not your ordinary art class, emphasis for these workshops is on process, not product,” said the Foundation’s executive director Amy Schichtel. “The goal is to help to unleash curiosity and to lead young people to push against limitations as Abstract Expressionist artist Willem de Kooning did in his art and life.”

Facilitated by Long Island Children’s Museum art program manager Lauren Plate and her assistant Sara Vernet, the two-hour workshop spanned three class periods. As a launching point, the students discussed concepts of figuration and abstraction, comparing works by de Kooning to others from art history. Outfitted in art aprons, the students then explored a range of techniques and strategies.  

“This is a fun and rigorous class of puzzling out shapes and lines by using new ways to reach fresh solutions,” said Schichtel. “De Kooning was a master at finding ways to get himself out of a corner and to overcome obstacles. Students are brought out of their comfort zones and learn to think differently about art and challenges.”

This June, each student’s artwork will be displayed among the works of over 700 other students from Long Island in a month long exhibition held at the Long Island Children’s Museum.

West End Celebrates International Night

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The West End school community packed the gymnasium on April 18 for their annual International Night. Students and their families created booths to proudly highlight their heritages and shared their backgrounds with poster boards, delicious food, flags and attire. It was a wonderful evening for all!




District Earns 2018 Best Community for Music Education Award

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Due to its outstanding commitment to music education, the Lynbrook School District received the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education designation by the NAMM Foundation. This is the sixth consecutive year that the district earned this honor, joining a select 583 school districts nationwide.

The distinction is awarded each year to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide high quality music access and education to all students. This includes the hard work and dedication of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who strive to make music education part of the curriculum. With this prestigious honor, the district is recognized for leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Beginning in kindergarten, students throughout the Lynbrook School District participate in comprehensive musical instruction. At the elementary level, students have the option to participate in band, orchestra and chorus programs. Junior concerts begin in third grade and progress to more elaborate performances by fourth grade and throughout the middle school years. Musical opportunities at the high school abound, with concert and marching bands, string and symphonic orchestras, concert and mixed choirs, as well as chamber orchestra, string quartets, wind and jazz ensembles, brass choir and music theory courses. In the 2017-18 school year, students earned All-State, All-County and Long Island String Festival Association musical honors and performed on prestigious stages such as Carnegie Hall. In addition, members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society use their musical talents each year to serve their community.

A Gallery of Cultures

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In preparation for West End Elementary School’s International Night on April 18, West End fifth-graders participated in a gallery walk on April 13 and displayed a symbol or artifact that represented their heritage. Each student brought in or supplied a photo of their item and showcased their artifact on their desk with a paragraph about where it originated from and what it means to their family. 

The school transformed into a museum as the fifth-grade classes traveled around the building to observe what their peers brought in. Each student received a packet where they wrote about one artifact from each class that made an impression on them. Artifacts included pieces of clothing, family crests, flags, jewelry, utensils and more. 

The lesson encouraged students to explore their own heritages while learning about the diverse backgrounds of others.

“I learned that there are many different heritages and that they are all different,” said fifth-grader Alexa Saborido. “You should love where you come from.” 

Students Learn About the Wonders of Writing with Author Visit

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Photo of North Middle School students speaking with author
Students throughout Lynbrook North Middle School had the opportunity to hear from author Jen Calonita on April 17 during their lunch periods. Facilitated by librarian Kelly Napolitano and library aid Antoniette Levine, those that were interested in learning more about the writing process and the life of a published author visited the library where they were greeted by Calonita.  

Calonita is the author of a number of books including the Fairy Tale Reform School series. The small meet and greet allowed students to learn more about Calonita’s life, career and writing process, while asking any questions that they had. Through a short slideshow, she shared personal photographs from her journey to becoming a published author. In addition, Calonita spoke about her newest book coming out this fall, “Misfits” and how the cover was designed. “Misfits” is the first book in her new Royal Academy Rebels series. 

Calonita has traveled to many different schools to share her story, hoping to encourage future writers.

“I think it’s important for them to know that the biggest part of writing is rewriting,” said Calonita. “I always want them to realize that no author writes a book and then it immediately gets published. There is so much revision involved in the process and I want them to see that anyone can do it. You just have to put in the time and the effort and find your own story.”

Each student that attended a session received a raffle ticket to win one of Calonita’s books. Winners had their books signed along with those who purchased one of her books prior to the visit.

District Honors Student Successes; Provides Facilities Plan

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The Lynbrook community gathered for the Lynbrook Public Schools’ regular Board of Education meeting on April 17 to recognize recent student accomplishments and learn about the district’s five-year facilities plan. 

Lynbrook High School students Kyle Bergin, Tim Marski and Dan Dalrymple from the South Brook swim team were commended for setting numerous county records, while Lynbrook High School senior Allison Kunstler was recognized for being a “Youth Leader in Our Community” by Assemblyman Brian Curran for her commitment to local volunteer work. In addition, Lynbrook South Middle School students Emilia Berkowitz, Jaiden Moreno and David Padilla were honored for earning top spots in the Nassau Community College Honors Program Monologue Competition. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak presented each student with a certificate during the meeting, courtesy of the competition. 

During the trustee report, board secretary Robert Paskoff and trustee Alicemarie Bresnihan discussed their positive experiences attending the National School Boards Convention. Following their report, the board approved the upcoming retirement of Carmel Wright, a teacher aide for the past 10 years at Lynbrook South Middle School. Board members thanked Wright for her dedication to the district over the years. 

Director of Facilities James Saitta kicked off the superintendent’s report by presenting on the Lynbrook facilities five-year capital improvement plan. Saitta shared the facilities committee’s objectives and the plans for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years, including the anticipated large scale projects forecasted for the next three to five years. To learn more about these projects, please visit the district’s website, lynbrookschools.org under the facilities tab. 

Following the presentation, Dr. Burak reminded the community about the Don’t Press Send campaign that the elementary school PTA’s will host on April 24 at Marion Street School for all family members. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. and will highlight important topics such as anti-bullying and internet safety. 

Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations, and Information Systems Dr. Paul Lynch shared an update from the district’s food committee.

“Last year the food committee spent a lot of time revising the wellness policy, especially in regards to how it will affect the most recent legislative changes,” he said. “Part of those legislative changes is that we need to do a self-assessment of the policy every year. The food committee will meet next week to go through a rubric looking at that policy.” 

Dr. Lynch also reported a positive update on the Smart Bond which previously was showing no movement from the New York State Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning. The Smart Bond will fund security upgrades to each of the school buildings. During spring break, Dr. Burak received an email from the State stating that the district’s Smart Bond plan was “unsubmitted.” 

“This is a good thing,” said Dr. Lynch. “That means we’re getting to the expenditure review.” 

Dr. Lynch and Dr. Burak thanked members of the PTA’s for contacting the assemblymen and the senator with their concerns to help move the process along. Dr. Burak spoke with New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia about the delay which also helped with the Smart Bond movement. She noted that the State does not know when the budget review team is going to meet to review the plan but that the district will continue to insure that they move swiftly. 

Lastly, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Gerard Beleckas provided a curriculum update which consisted of an increase to the number of graduation opportunities for high school students across New York State. Beleckas explained that the State added a 4+1 pathway for Languages Other Than English (LOTE), meaning students can pass a regents exam in the four major subject areas and then pass an additional exam in foreign language to graduate with a Regents Diploma. The State is also adding a local diploma option for special education students who have demonstrated competency in subject areas but cannot necessarily pass the regents exams.

Marion Street Students Honor an American Hero

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Music filled the hallway as Army Serviceman Major Thomas Woods received a warm welcome home by students and faculty at Marion Street Elementary School on April 12. He was joined by his family, wife Iris Woods, Marion Street first-grader Matthew Woods and fourth-grader Sophia Woods.
 
Major Woods returned home on a short leave on Easter where he surprised his children. While he was home, he was invited into his daughter Sophia’s classroom by teacher Christine Castellano to speak about himself and his life in the Army. Son Matthew’s first grade class with teacher Christina Toscano also joined the celebration. Both classes had written letters prior to Major Woods’ arrival which he was now able to take back with him. The fourth-grade class teamed up with the first-graders to help them write their letters and decorated the hallway and their classroom in patriotic fashion.  Major Woods was touched by the warm welcome that the classes gave him. 

“Thank you, that was very sweet,” he said. “And thank you for the letters.” 

An Army man for the past 22 years, students listened closely as Major Woods shared a PowerPoint presentation about serving in the Ukraine, the people he works with and his role in the Army. Major Woods also spoke about celebrating holidays such as Christmas away from home and displayed photos of where he lives in the Ukraine. Throughout his slideshow of photos, students were encouraged to ask questions. As a sign of gratitude for Major Woods’ service, fourth-grader Sophia Schoen performed “God Bless America” at the conclusion of the visit.

Waverly’s Little Doctors Make Blood Drive a Success

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Waverly Park Elementary School recently hosted a blood drive where student volunteers participated in the Little Doctors Program, sponsored by New York Blood Services. Little Doctors consisted of student council members and the entire fifth-grade who helped to make the event a success. The students solicited donors, made posters and announcements and worked hard on the day of the blood drive. The fifth-graders also checked donors in, instructed them on where to go, handed out snacks and water at the end of their donation and provided babysitting services. The event brought in over 50 people and the school collected 38 pints of blood, helping to save 114 lives! 

Delivering Words of Encouragement

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West End Elementary School third-graders in Marisa Amalfitano’s class recently celebrated National Card and Letter Writing Month by writing and mailing cards to children at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. 

The class discussed the difference between sending an email or a digital message versus a handwritten letter. Students agreed that letters show that you care because of the time and commitment involved to make someone else feel special. Using stationary with the words “Sending mail is a hug in an envelope” printed on the cover, students personalized their cards to the children. 

“Our mission was to send a positive message via the mail,” said Amalfitano. “Each child wrote a letter of encouragement and decorated the card. We will be walking to the mailbox to mail them.”

Waverly Park Celebrates Opening of State-of-the-Art Playground

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Administrators, staff and students gathered outside Waverly Park Elementary School for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the school’s new playground on April 20. Senator Todd Kaminsky was the guest of honor as he helped secure funding for the project.

Approximately two years ago, Senator Kaminsky visited the school and spoke to administrators and staff about what was needed. With his support, the school was the recipient of a $125,000 Dormitory Authority of the State of New York grant for a brand new, state-of-the art playground. 

To prepare for the opening celebration, each class decorated the playground with paper chains marked with words of excitement and their plans to use the new school addition. The ceremony kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem and welcoming remarks from Principal Lucille McAssey. 

“The playground has become the most popular activity at recess,” she said. “It's also wonderful to see the large number of Waverly Park students and community members enjoying the new structure during their free time after school and on weekends. Our entire school community is extremely grateful to Senator Kaminsky for this very special gift.” 

Class representatives also showed their gratitude to Senator Kaminsky by reading thank you cards during the ceremony. Each student spoke about how they will utilize the playground and how much joy it has already brought them. The students gifted Senator Kaminsky with the cards at the end. 

“Lynbrook and East Rockaway are vibrant communities and incredible places to raise a family,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. “I was proud to secure funding to build a brand-new playground that will provide children enjoyment for decades to come. In Albany, I will continue to fight to ensure our community gets its fair share from the state.”

In addition, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak spoke about how the new playground will benefit future generations and extended her gratitude to the district’s facilities department led by Director of Facilities James Saitta, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations, and Information Systems Dr. Paul Lynch and the Senator, who made the playground a reality. 

“Senator Kaminsky, you have done so much,” said Dr. Burak. “Thank you for allowing students to have a balanced learning environment that also enables them to play, as evidence by this playground. The district is thankful for all your support here at Waverly Park.” 

To conclude the ceremony, the Waverly Park band, led by band instructor Robert Collorafi, performed “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and Senator Kaminsky cut the red ribbon as students cheered.

 

Video courtesy of Kaminsky Press

West End Staff Wins PTA Scholarship Volleyball Game

West End Staff Wins PTA Scholarship Volleyball Game Photo
Congratulations to the West End Elementary School staff for winning the PTA Scholarship Volleyball Game! 

Waverly Park Receives Hess STEM Grant

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Waverly Park Elementary School third-graders were recently introduced to Hess Toy Trucks for educational exploration as a result of the school’s new Hess Toy Truck Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Kit grant. Library media specialist Meghan Ceglie applied for the grant in Feb. on behalf of Waverly Park and in March, received twelve 2017 Hess Dump Truck and Loader kits, along with a corresponding STEM curriculum.

As part of the Hess Corporation’s core value of social responsibility, the corporation partnered with Baylor College of Medicine to form a STEM Educational Outreach program for students. The program offers free learning kits which include Hess Toy Trucks along with a STEM Curriculum to teachers nationwide to demonstrate how the toys can be used as learning tools. They are awarded to qualifying teachers and are donated to their school. 

This spring, Waverly Park third-graders will utilize the Hess Toy Trucks to explore their grade-level career focus of education. Each grade level in the Lynbrook Public Schools have been challenged to research a specific career path for the 2017-18 school year as part of the district’s theme, “Where Tomorrow Begins Today.” The students will plan and teach STEM lessons using the Hess Toy Trucks to first grade students.

“The Hess trucks are more than toys. They are learning tools that offer a variety of practical and fun ways to teach STEM concepts,” said Ceglie. “Receiving the Hess STEM kit grant will allow me to continue creating a hands-on learning environment that will foster the acquisition of the 21st century skills necessary for student success.” 

West End Spotlights Famous Americans

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Second-graders at West End School performed their Famous Americans Presentation on March 27 to the delight of their family members. The students worked hard to learn six patriotic songs and sang them with the intent that the composers had, to declare gratefulness and pride in our country and flag.

The students dressed as various famous Americans. After the singing, the program continued in their individual classrooms. The students shared information about the characters portrayed by their costumes. They were able to showcase all the research they had done in a very entertaining manner.
 

Memorable Monologues Bring Lynbrook to Victory

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Three students from Lynbrook South Middle School competed in the Nassau Community College Honors Program Monologue Competition on March 24, earning top medals in the middle school category of the event. The speaking competition was open to students in grades 6-12 from across Long Island. Each student was asked to deliver a two-minute monologue on this year’s theme, “Education…Liberation...”

Under the guidance of English department chairperson Roxanne Migliacci, seventh-grader Jaiden Moreno won first place for his speech about the need to educate ourselves against false advertising and fake news. In addition, eighth-grader David Padilla placed second for his tribute to his third-grade teacher, Steven Freifeld, and his memorable lesson about the Greensboro Four and seventh-grader Emilia Berkowitz earned third place for her rendition of an excerpt of Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the National Youth Conference. 

“The judges told me that they were impressed by our students’ poise, passion and imagination,” said Migliacci. “The kids’ commitment both to their own success and to speak about topics that resonate with them inspires me.” 
 

Lynbrook High School Presents Class Night 2018

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After months of practice and preparation, Lynbrook High School students showcased their school spirit during the school’s 90th annual Class Night Skits on March 16. The event encourages friendly competition between the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors and allows them to demonstrate their talents. Watch the video to learn more about this year’s exciting event and find out which grade level was crowned the winner!

Horizon Students Continue to Make Their Mark

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Fifteen Lynbrook High School students in the school’s newspaper club, Horizon, along with their adviser Jessica Sanders, recently attended LIU Post's Press Day and Best of High School Journalism Awards. The students were presented with four awards, the most of any school in attendance. There were over 325 award entries, including some from schools as far as Connecticut and Texas. 

The LIU Post Best of High School Journalism Awards recognizes the best in high school journalism. To participate, high school students or their faculty advisers enter their best published or broadcast news stories to be considered in the following categories: Best High School Newspaper, Best Online Publication, Best News Story, Best Feature Story, Best Sports Story, Best Commentary/Editorial and Best News and Sports Photography. 

Sophomore Andie Glanzer won first place in the Best Commentary/Editorial category for her article entitled “13 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why Gets It Wrong.” Glanzer has won an award for this article in each of the competitions that her piece as been entered in so far. She also took home second place in the Best News Photography category for her online photo series entitled “Students Tour The New York Times Printing Plant.”

In addition, senior Katie Heit received first place in the Best Sports Photography category for her photo entitled “Lynbrook Varsity Football,” and the entire Horizon Online Staff was awarded second place for the Best Online Publication category. Judges said they were “so impressed with the newly launched” newspaper and the fact that it “provides students with up-to-date news in an engaging and interactive format.”

Fifth-Graders Research Careers in Sports

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Waverly Park fifth-grade teachers Shari Bowes, Amy Garfinkel and Colleen Kaufmann recently integrated their grade level, districtwide career theme, Sports Careers, into their informational writing unit. The students researched different careers in sports ranging from professional athletes to sports nutritionists and even team mascots. Students interviewed people in their field to gain a firsthand account of what a day in the life would be like. They also watched videos and read articles describing the education needed to be successful, as well as the skills required for the career they picked. 

During their research process, the students also learned the requirements of informational writing according to fifth-grade standards. Multiparagraph informational essays were put on display in the fifth-grade hallway for all to read and for others to explore possible job options for their future.

South Middle School Trivia Night

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Photo of students during trivia night
Members of the Lynbrook South Middle School student council and their advisors Ms. Brandstetter and Ms. McCartney, recently sponsored the school’s second annual trivia night. Student council members developed a “trivia Kahoot” for everyone, while students had pizza and answered questions on their tablets. Everyone had a lot of fun!

Students Solve and Score During Math Madness Event

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In the spirit of March Madness, the time of the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association college basketball tournament, Lynbrook’s West End Elementary School students and staff participated in their own basketball tournament, while incorporating math skills on March 23. This was the second year that the students took on the event, Math Madness.

Coordinated by physical education teachers Danielle Marquardt and Greg Brosokas and math specialist Chelsea Jarret, the West End gymnasium was transformed into a competition space for each grade level to enjoy. The object of the competition was to give students the opportunity to work in groups to solve a number of math problems while engaging in basketball. Each problem increased in difficulty level based on color. Once the group successfully completed their math problem, a student from the group would stand on their corresponding color dot and try to score a basket. If they missed, the next student in their group would attempt to make the shot. 

With each successful basket, the group would receive a colored stick which was worth a certain amount of points. The sticks were tallied up during the day and the prize for each class with the most points in their grade received an extra 15 minutes of recess time. Each class was also encouraged to submit up to four posters for the math challenge and received five bonus points for each poster they created.   

At the end of each grade level tournament, the teachers joined the fun. One physical education teacher and one math teacher were assigned to each group as the two tried to score more baskets and obtain extra sticks for their students. The students cheered them on, creating signs on their dry-erase boards as a sign of support. 

“Math in basketball is a great opportunity to practice simple skills like counting, addition and subtraction,” said Marquardt. “Our goal today was to get the students excited about math, work as a team, solve problems and score baskets while realizing how important math is in everyday life.”

History Through the Eyes of a Survivor

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Photo of Principal Lucille McAssey and Holocaust Survivor
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Fifth-grade students at Waverly Park Elementary School recently hosted Marion Blumenthal Lazan, Holocaust survivor and author of the book “Four Perfect Pebbles, A Holocaust Story.” Fifth-graders from Marion Street and West End elementary schools were also invited to attend the special presentation. 

Lazan has been visiting Waverly Park for 19 years to give students a piece of history from her own perspective. During her presentation, she discussed her personal experiences living through the Holocaust while sharing her message of respect, love and hope with the students. 

“Let us build bridges. Let us respect each other,” Lazan told students. “We must never generalize and judge an entire group by the actions of just a few. Be kind, good, tolerant and respectful toward one another.”

Cultures Connect at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center

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It was a day of celebration at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center as students gathered to embrace their diverse backgrounds and heritages during the school’s annual multicultural festival on March 23. 

Many students dressed in their cultural attire as classes assembled in the school gymnasium for the festivities. Families were invited to the special event as tables were set up with different items that students brought in, highlighting their country of origin. Principal Ellen Postman hosted the presentation which included performances from students and their family members. 

Kindergartner Suvali Sharma and her father Vipin Sharma educated audience members on their Indian culture as Mr. Sharma played the traditional tabla (drums) while his daughter sang a children’s song. Kindergartner Tyler He and his mother Bin Liu also performed during the celebration in honor of their Chinese culture. The two sang a Chinese song together, Tyler recited a Chinese poem and both created Chinese calligraphy, which they translated for the audience.  

In addition, kindergartners performed different songs and cultural dances with partners such as the Italian folk dance, the tarantella. To conclude the event on a high note, the kindergartners all sang, “It’s a Small World” together, symbolizing the school’s unity. 

Lynbrook Senior Honored for Service

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Lynbrook High School senior Ashley Cegelski was recently recognized with the President’s Volunteer Service Award by the Corporation for National and Community Service for her exemplary volunteer service. 

The award, which recognizes American students of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. 
Lynbrook High School nominated Cegelski for national honors this fall in recognition for her volunteer service. 

With a passion for special education, Cegelski has volunteered for the past three years with Camp Anchor, a year-round recreation program and summer camp, dedicated to children and adults with special needs. She is also involved in the Student Kindergarten Internship Program where she volunteers throughout the week at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center, working in the classrooms with younger students. Cegelski plans to pursue a career in special education once she leaves Lynbrook High School. 

“Ashley is the type of person who does what she does because doing good is just what you do. Her work with Camp Anchor is extraordinary; it denotes service, yes, but it demonstrates a commitment to something other than the self,” said Principal Joseph Rainis. “Ashley is ever pleasant, she maintains excellent grades and she is the sort of individual one would hope to see recognized by Prudential in this manner. I am very happy for her. She is most deserving of this recognition.”

Mad About Math

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The West End Elementary School community recently celebrated their annual Math Night with their theme “Spring Into Math.” Students worked with their family members and peers to complete as many math activities as they could during the evening event. 

Each of the teachers on the Math Night committee created a math game that was interactive and engaging for the students. The teachers modeled the activities and provided the students with directions for the games. 

In addition, students were encouraged to use the school’s computer lab to enhance their problem-solving skills on the Hour of Code. The program consists of a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed for anybody to learn the basics with the goal to broaden participation in the field of computer science.

The students used a variety of critical thinking skills throughout the night and were expected to apply their problem-solving skills. The event also encouraged the students to practice and play the games at home to reinforce their math skills.

“The night was a huge success,” said math lab teacher Chelsea Jaret. “All of the teachers were so proud of the students' hard work.” 

Lynbrook Newspaper Staff Honored at Quill Awards

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Members of Lynbrook High School’s newspaper club, Horizon, recently attended Adelphi University’s Press Day which included their annual Quill Awards competition, recognizing students in 15 categories. Horizon members took home awards in five of the six categories that they entered, with two first-place wins.

Approximately 30 schools from across the region and more than 300 students attended the event and competed for the awards. Each school was limited to enter only six of the 15 award categories with only one nominee in each category. 

First-place winners included sophomore editor Andie Glanzer in the category of “Best Opinion Piece” for her article, “13 Reasons Why ‘13 Reasons Why’ Gets It Wrong,” and senior editor-in-chief Dustin Mandel, who took home one of the most prestigious awards of the day for “Most Outstanding Reporter.”

“Dustin Mandell is an outstanding reporter and student, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of the Most Outstanding Reporter Award,” said Horizon adviser Jessica Sanders. “I'm glad the Quill Award judges felt the same way!”

Other Horizon award recipients included sophomore Kiera Derrig who won second place for “Best Illustration/Cartoon” for her illustration on how fall holidays blend together and senior Jackie Moreno who won third place for “Best Feature Article” for her article, “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Can Hurt Me Too.” 

In addition, the Horizon online staff was recognized with honorable mention in the “Best Online Newspaper” category for the newly launched Horizon website, lhshorizon.com. 

“I am so proud of these students and all the hard work they put into the paper and Horizon website,” said Sanders. “It makes me so happy to see them honored in this way.”

BOE Commends Lynbrook Staff as District Focuses on Security

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The Lynbrook community gathered for the Lynbrook Public Schools regular Board of Education meeting on March 14, where staff members were honored for their exceptional work and security measures were addressed, among other important district updates. 

Marion Street Elementary School Principal Theresa Macchia was commended by the board for Marion Street’s consistent effort to support amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research with the Ride for Life organization. In addition, Lynbrook High School math teacher Maria Mantikas was recognized for receiving the Harvard Distinguished Teacher 2018 Award, after one of her students, a current Harvard freshman, recommended her for her teaching efforts. 

Administrator for Personnel and Student Support Services Maureen Berman shared the results of the middle school after-school program survey which resulted in 115 responses to weigh the decision of pursuing an after-school middle school program, similar to the district’s current after-school elementary program. Berman explained that 64 percent of families responded that they would utilize an after-school care program for their middle school students. After a discussion among board members, the board of education agreed to pursue a new program. 

Berman also kicked off the Superintendent’s Report by presenting on a possible community-based mentorship program within the district. Creating a mentoring program is one of the goals of the board of education. As part of the committee who researched different mentoring programs, Berman spoke about what the district has to consider when finding the right fit. After speaking with various programs, Berman concluded that the committee voted unanimously for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. After discussion, the board decided to move forward with pursuing a mentorship program. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak continued the Superintendent’s Report by thoroughly explaining the district’s safety protocols while reinforcing that the district takes the safety of students very seriously. Community members were encouraged to read the handouts that were provided during the meeting. These included an emergency planning guide for parents, a letter explaining the safeguarding tool Report-it.com, a handout on warning signs for students at risk, including a discussion on mental health topics and two letters to elected representatives.

The first letter was addressed to New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia about the district’s Smart Bond Investment Plan. The plan consists of installing security vestibules and high tech door hardening mechanisms to prevent an intruder from entering school buildings. The district's Smart Bond Implementation Plan was submitted to the New York State Education Department Office of Educational Management on Jan. 17, 2017. It passed initial review and has been listed “Under Expenditure Review” since March 2, 2017. The district was granted $892,000 by New York State for the plan and hoped to implement it by last summer but has not heard a word about the status of the application since that date.

Simultaneously, the district submitted construction plans for the security projects to NYSED Office of Facilities Planning. All plans have been approved. In a normal process, the district would be able to start work on the projects the day after the plans are approved but in the Smart Bond world, the district is unable to do any of that until the Implementation Plan is approved. 

“That is what is being held up,” said Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations and Information Systems Dr. Paul Lynch. “Also, it is a reimbursement program. So, we have to put out the money to get it back. We have the money set aside, but we are not permitted to spend it because we have been told not to expend any funds until after the Implementation Plan is approved by the Smart Bond Review Board.”

The second letter that was discussed during the meeting was for Nassau County Commissioners David Gugerty and Louis Savinetti about the concern on public voting in school buildings while school is in session. The letter, signed by Dr. Burak and East Rockaway Superintendent Lisa Ruiz, asked that communities hold their elections at other venues for the safety of students. 

In addition, Dr. Burak shared that the district once again received the Association of School Business Officials International 2017 Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for transparency and high-quality financial reporting. She also made note that a change has been made in the district calendar and that school will now be in session on May 25.  

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Gerard Beleckas provided a curriculum update for the public which included digital learning opportunities in the district. Dr. Lynch concluded the Superintendent’s Report with a capital projects update. The board approved three contracts, a West End School brick pointing contract and two contracts at Waverly Park School. One for the boiler and another for new electrical service. These projects are expected to occur this summer. Dr. Lynch also provided an update on the bond. All of the smaller plans are at New York State and the district is in the process of getting the preliminary plan for Lynbrook High School going. The architect will begin meeting with the teachers and departments who will be impacted by the room plans, allowing them to have some input on the designs. 

West End Second-Grader Helps the Fight Against Pediatric Cancer

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Second-grader Jack Doran from West End Elementary School recently raised $300 in just one day for pediatric cancer with the help of the West End school community. Jack partnered with the New York Islanders Jam Kancer in the Kan fundraiser to support families of children on Long Island battling this dreaded disease. Students could donate a dollar to the cause and as a result, wear their pajamas to school. They also received bracelets and stickers for supporting the cause. 
 

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