Theme of the Year
Lynbrook Public Schools… Resilient and Ready
South Middle School Community Shows Their Heart
Leading up to Valentine’s Day, students at Lynbrook South Middle School celebrated “Heart of South” Week and P.S. I Love You Day. Throughout the week, the school community focused on recognizing kindness, fostering friendships and spreading positivity across the building. Support staff presented ValenKIND awards to students who went above and beyond to help their peers. In addition, all South students received friendship bracelets as a visual reminder that they are all connected in friendship and community. They also heard messages of kindness and wore purple to commemorate the week.
Students Pen Letters of Gratitude for Frontline Workers
Members of the West End Elementary School Student Council did not let the COVID-19 pandemic stand in the way of them giving back to others this Valentine’s Day. Student council members, along with their advisers Heather LaBarbera and Melissa Kulikowsky, recently challenged the West End remote and in-person fourth and fifth grade students with a letter writing project to thank essential workers across Long Island who have been working on the frontlines throughout the pandemic.
In these thoughtful and decorated letters, the students thanked doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers for their dedication and sacrifices during this past year. Through their writing, students offered kind words of appreciation, encouragement and gratitude. Many students wrote that these frontline workers were their heroes and inspired them. Some of the letters can be found on the walls of New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center.
The fourth and fifth graders then had the opportunity to participate in a Webex meeting with some of the New York healthcare heroes that they had sent their letters to. The virtual meeting was a question and answer session with the healthcare workers. Students asked questions about their education, their typical workday and discussed how COVID-19 changed the healthcare field. Despite the challenges, the healthcare heroes reiterated their passion for helping others and helping the world. These professionals were beyond touched by the words and gratitude of the West End classes.
“We are so proud of the students for writing such meaningful and thoughtful letters, said Ms. LaBarbera and Ms. Kulikowsky. “Hopefully, these letters will bring some smiles and cheer to our healthcare heroes and show them we are so grateful for their efforts and their undeniable passion for helping others!”
West End Students Show Their Love with Valentines for Vets
Students at West End Elementary School continued their annual Valentine’s Day tradition of participating in the Valentines for Veterans program run by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. The students put together beautiful, creative and thoughtful handmade Valentine’s Day cards filled with words of appreciation and love to be distributed to local veterans in hospitals and nursing homes.
New Year, New Mindset
To kick-start 2021, West End Elementary School students embarked on mindfulness adventures guided by school library media specialist Heather LaBarbera. Each grade began learning foundational vocabulary such as mindfulness, peace, tranquility and positive self-talk. They were also led into meditative and yoga practices, explored breathing tools and learned to practice positive self-talk to build upon their self-love.
As part of their mindfulness activities, fourth grade classes participated in the One Word Project. After receiving a list of words, each student selected a word that resonated the most with them and designed a large label of their word for their own daily recall. They were encouraged to decorate the word with bright colors to instill calm, happiness and peace within themselves. The students then placed their word on or in their desk or in another spot where they would see it each day.
“In lieu of a New Year Resolution activity, I wanted to allow the students to build in a mindful manner and obtain the responsibility of choice in choosing ‘their word,’” said Ms. LaBarbera. “The students completed this activity after completing a Kahoot! to introduce the new vocabulary such as ‘positive self-talk’ and ‘mindfulness.’”
The One Word Project allowed West End fourth graders to bring this vocabulary to life and self-reflect as they take on the new year ahead.
Students Raise Hundreds for Charity with Kindness Grams
Student council members from Waverly Park Elementary School recently raised $500 for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island to fill its Amazon Wish List during the holiday season. The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island provides support and a home away from home for families with children battling illnesses while they receive the treatment they need.
Prior to the district’s holiday recess, the student council members created Kindness Grams or cards with holiday pencils attached. They decorated each Kindness Gram to make them original and sold them for $2 each to the school community. Those who were interested in receiving a Kindness Gram filled out a purchase ticket which was then dropped in a box in the school lobby. Remote students participated in the initiative as well by emailing their Kindness Gram order form to student council co-adviser Shari Bowes.
The holiday service project allowed the school to come together to support a worthy cause and was a great way for the Waverly Park Student Council to spread holiday cheer.
LHS Key Club Hosts Successful Blood Drive
Despite the pandemic, members of the Lynbrook High School Key Club recently partnered with the New York Blood Center for its blood drive at the Lynbrook Knights of Columbus. With blood donations being a critical need more than ever today, more than 65 alumni, community members, staff and students donated more than 80 pints of blood to save about 240 lives. Due to the current health crisis, donors were encouraged to sign-up in advance, wear a mask and practice social distancing at the site.
The Lynbrook High School Key Club, along with adviser Dr. Benedict Tieniber, promoted the blood drive through the club’s Instagram account and spots to donate were filled quickly. The club typically hosts its blood drives in the Lynbrook High School gymnasium during the school day but with the change in venue, more parents and community members popped in to donate. Dr. Tieniber was impressed by the crowd and commended the students who came out to show their support on a Saturday.
“It is really evident that even in crazy times like these, nothing will stop the LHS students from doing what they can to give back, help people, and, most importantly, save lives,” he said.
Marion Street Student Council Spreads Kindness
Throughout December, students and staff at Marion Street Elementary School celebrated the season of giving and their theme of the month, kindness. Members of the school’s student council, led by advisers Kristen Keane and Kelsey Occhino, facilitated a toy drive, organized a mitten tree initiative and conducted a fun-filled Spirit Week to help promote a food drive and get everyone into the holiday spirit.
With the help of student council advisers and library media specialist Marie Sarro-Pizarro, the school community donated more than 125 toys to Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the toy drive took place online. In addition, student council members created a festive video to send to the hospital along with the donations. To watch the video, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-VA9BpTMVI.
Continuing their mission of giving back, the student council created a mitten tree in the school and encouraged the Marion Street community to donate mittens, scarves and hats to support the Salvation Army. The students successfully collected 254 items to donate to children in need thanks to the generosity of Marion Street students, staff and families.
The student council ended the month on a high note by organizing a Spirit Week before the district’s holiday recess. At the start of the week, Marion Street students brought in non-perishable food items to donate to families in need. They then participated in Merry Monday, Tacky Tuesday and Winter Land Wednesday by wearing specific attire and participating in fun activities.
Lynbrook Kindergartners Continue Holiday Tradition
Prior to the holiday recess, students at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center followed their school’s annual tradition of creating gingerbread houses. Due to the pandemic, the kindergartners worked on their houses independently at their own desks and used their own icing and candy to decorate their creations. The school’s parent club generously purchased milk cartons, individualized packages of graham crackers and large popsicle sticks for the students to use. Once complete, each student had a delicious treat to take home and enjoy. The activity was a great way to get into the holiday spirit before the break began!
West End Students Collect Toys for Families in Need
West End Student Council members recently held a toy drive for families in need this holiday season and collected piles of new toys, games and craft sets. The donations will be delivered to Toys for Tots and to local families to make their holidays brighter.
With the help of student council advisers Heather LaBarbera and Melissa Kulikowsky, the fourth and fifth grade student council members rolled up their sleeves and wrapped the donated toys with gloves on in the school library. Due to the current health crisis, all of the donated toys were quarantined before being wrapped and donated. The student council members would like to thank the West End Elementary School community for their support and generosity this holiday season.
LHS Concert Choir – “The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again”
The Lynbrook High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Mr. Barry Wyner, performed an inspirational rendition of “The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again” by Edie Brickell and Steve Martin. The students recorded the song outdoors at the home recording studio of Lynbrook alum and two-time Grammy award winner Danny Weinkauf. The video was recorded and edited by LHS sophomore Max Cordes.
Lynbrook South Middle School Hosts Thanksgiving Food Drive
Students at Lynbrook South Middle School recently showed their support for local families in need this Thanksgiving holiday. School social worker Amanda Cioffi and guidance counselor Jennifer Arena organized a Thanksgiving Food Drive and students generously donated nonperishable food items which were sorted into boxes to be donated to local families. In addition, the Lynbrook Kiwanis Club donated meals and gift cards toward the cause. The donations allowed local families to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with a delicious meal.
School Community Gives Back for Turkey Day
In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Waverly Park Elementary School Student Council facilitated a food drive to support the Five Towns Community Center, Inc.’s food pantry in Lawrence. To prepare for the two-day food drive which they referred to as “Stuff a Turkey,” the student council members created posters to advertise the event.
To safely collect donations from Waverly Park families, student council advisers Shari Bowes and Courtney Jacobs dressed as a turkey and an owl, respectively, and warmly greeted families outside during the school’s drop off time while music played. Before entering the school, students placed their nonperishable food items in boxes to support the food drive. Thanks to the generosity of the Waverly Park community, the student council collected 10 full boxes of food to deliver to the Five Towns Community Center, Inc. to help feed families in need this holiday season.
“Student council wants to help others,” said Mrs. Bowes. “We knew that this was something that people need. We wanted other people to feel good knowing that they had food in their pantry!”
Crafting for a Cause
Student council members from West End Elementary School recently hosted a virtual craft night in lieu of their traditional food drive for the holidays.
Led by student council advisers Heather LaBarbera and Melissa Kulikowsky, West End students who were interested in participating could purchase a bag of craft materials for $5 and receive a Cisco Webex meeting link to join the craft night. Approximately 80 students participated in the special event and together, the school raised $390 which the student council will be donating to the food pantry at Our Lady of Peace to support the community in need this Thanksgiving.
Halloween Safety 101
Members of the Lynbrook High School Key Club continued their annual tradition of teaching students at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center about Halloween safety on Oct. 30. Each year, Key Club members visit the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center before Halloween but due to the pandemic this year, they decided to share their Halloween safety tips virtually through the video conferencing platform, WebEx. Important COVID-19 safety tips were also added to their presentation.
Senior members Camilla Bahri, Olivia Dublin, Samantha Feldman, Maeve Mooney and Carly Tucker split into two groups to educate the kindergarten classes virtually. They taught the young students about “stranger danger” and the new COVID-19 precautions. Kindergartners dressed in their Halloween costumes during the virtual visit as they learned how to stay safe and have fun this Halloween season.
The Key Club members had a great time interacting with the kindergartners and seeing all of their creative Halloween costumes. The successful partnership would not have been made possible without the support of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak, Kindergarten Center Principal Ellen Postman, Key Club adviser Dr. Benedict Tieniber and all of the kindergarten teachers.
Students Jump into Health and Wellness Week
Students and staff from the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center and Waverly Park Elementary School celebrated Health and Wellness Week from Oct. 19-23. Each day a new health and wellness topic was covered which the school communities focused on in creative and fun ways.
At the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center, parent Shana Conza organized the week and taught students yoga outside. Principal Ellen Postman also read a book to classes each day. After reading “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” by Sherri Duskey Rinker, students wrote letters to the construction workers at Lynbrook High School. In addition, the kindergartners learned about nutrition, proper hygiene, the importance of sleep and self-care with activities throughout the week.
At Waverly Park Elementary School, remote and in-person students in grades K-5 dressed in a different color of the rainbow each day to represent a healthy fruit and brought in healthy snacks according to that color. During the week, they participated in a “Fruit Ninja” game outside with balloons and Noodle Drumming, led by Lynbrook North Middle School physical education teacher Brian Bowes. Students also had many virtual visitors including chiropractor Dr. Jill Feldhun-Stein who instructed students on Tech Neck, Janice from Cross Fit Kids and Sensi Uly from Long Island Martial Arts who got students up and moving, and two Lynbrook High School students, Olivia Ackerman and Mia Tetelman, who educated students on social media etiquette. The week was filled with meditation, mindful crafting, yoga, jump roping and lots of movement.
Students Enjoy Fall Intramural Program
After the postponement of sports in Nassau County by the Section VIII Superintendents Board, the Lynbrook Public Schools Athletic Department created an intramural program for Lynbrook middle and high school students. The program began on Sept. 29 and is expected to continue until Nov. 20, weather permitting.
Approximately 400 Lynbrook students joined the program, which consists of low-risk sports and conditioning. Offerings include cross-country, soccer, tennis and strength and conditioning. Due to the pandemic, the district is following strict protocols for the safety and health of all student participants. The sharing of equipment, use of lockers and school building access is prohibited. Students must also complete an online screening each day on ZippSlip and have a mask with them in the event that social distancing during drills cannot be maintained.
Although there are restrictions in place, the intramural program has been a positive experience for the secondary students, who are either following a hybrid or full remote school schedule. The program gives students the chance to see and play with their friends who they may otherwise not be able to interact with on a daily basis.
“Although it is not traditional sports, it is an outlet for the kids to exercise, socialize and feel some sense of normalcy,” said Joseph Martillotti, district director of athletics, physical education and health. “We are doing so following the regulations set by the state. With the governor giving the go-ahead for low-risk outdoor sports, we couldn’t imagine our kids having an entire fall of no sports and saw no reason to not proceed with some sort of program.”
Students Unite Against Bullying
Students and staff from throughout the district celebrated Unity Day on Oct. 21. Unity Day was started by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and is recognized across the country as a day to stand together against bullying and to promote acceptance, inclusion and kindness. To mark the occasion, participants wear orange in solidarity. Understanding the importance of unity, especially during this challenging year, Lynbrook students and staff found creative ways to celebrate the day by connecting in-person and remote learners and sharing messages of anti-bullying and compassion.
At the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center, remote and in-person kindergarten classes joined together through the video conferencing platform, Cisco Webex. All students wore their best orange outfits and Carol Woehr, school social worker, read “One” by Kathryn Otoshi to classes. The book taught the students about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes takes just one voice to make everyone count. Students in grades 1-5 also engaged in Unity Day lessons during the school day. Marion Street and Waverly Park students signed a No Place for Hate Pledge. Remote and in-person learners at Waverly Park also participated in a school-wide read aloud led by Principal Allison Banhazl and engaged in a karate workout called “Kicked Out Bullying.”
At West End Elementary School, remote and in-person learners explored some important questions and talking points. This included: name ways that you can be an upstander, what does friendship mean to you and what are some things kind people do? Students also listened to a read aloud from Principal Dr. Cindy Lee and remote learners created a chain of unity. Middle and high school students followed suit. Lynbrook North Middle School students and staff decorated pumpkins with positive messages about diversity, inclusion and anti-bullying. All North students also received a Unity Day pumpkin worksheet to decorate and display in their home to show that the Lynbrook community is united against bullying. Lynbrook South Middle School students participated in a “Chain Reaction of Compassion” activity. Students created links which represented their efforts to stop bullying and spread kindness. School announcements throughout the week also featured messages of bullying prevention and unity.
Members of the Lynbrook High School Student Government Association organized Unity Day at the high school. They created hallway signs to spread anti-bullying messages and decorated the gymnasium (now used as the school cafeteria) with orange and white balloons. In addition, each student and staff received an orange mask for the special day and wore green and gold, the school colors, to show that they are all one as Lynbrook Owls.
A Popping Start to the School Year
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynbrook High School Key Club members recently participated in their annual gourmet popcorn sale from Double Good, where half of the proceeds support an organization or charity of choice. The Key Club executive board agreed to fundraise for five charities this year: The Dr. Santo Barbarino Scholarship Fund, Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, Kiwanis Children’s Fund and Project 9 Line.
The fundraising process looked different from previous years due to the pandemic. Students were unable to collect physical checks and fill out forms so Double Good created an online, easy-access platform where members were able to spread the world and allow others to contribute to their fundraiser.
Through the club’s tremendous efforts, members raised $2,000 within an hour and $15,000 within the first 24 hours. The final outcome after just four days of fundraising was $36,939 worth of popcorn sold or about $18,500 for their charities of choice, granted by 752 gracious donors. This was a record-breaking amount for the Key Club. Members who raised the most included Dea Pulatani, Joe Giovinco, Lexie and Hailey Samelson, Rachel Belmont and Jaden Harvin.
“The motivation from the whole executive board drove the members to go above and beyond, while simultaneously enjoying the process,” said Key Club Co-President Marti Candel.
Key Club adviser Dr. Benedict Tieniber praised the students for their unified effort.
“Once again, thank you to everyone who participated,” he said. “The success of this program will always be appreciated; kickstarting a fantastic year for the Lynbrook Key Club 2020-2021.”