Lynbrook Students Explore Possible Future Careers

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Eighth graders from Lynbrook North Middle School and Lynbrook South Middle School recently participated in an engaging career fair at Lynbrook South Middle School. Coordinated by guidance counselors Jennifer Arena from South Middle School and Alexandra Etra from North Middle School, the career fair is facilitated each year to get eighth graders to think about their futures and learn from different professionals. 

Fourteen professionals presented their careers to students throughout the morning and offered words of advice for those interested in pursuing a job in their field. The eighth graders learned about careers such as K-9 police officer, teacher, forensic scientist, producer, journalist, industrial engineer, music director and more. They rotated throughout the morning to learn more about the careers on their schedules. At the conclusion of the career fair, students completed evaluations with the hope of having a better understanding of what they want to pursue in the future. 

Global Read Aloud Students Give Back to Community

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Lynbrook South Middle School students involved in the school’s Global Read Aloud program recently raised $600 for a new Power Through Scholarship, to give to a graduating senior from Lynbrook High School’s Class of 2019.

The program, which is new to Lynbrook South Middle School this year, allows students in grades 6-8 to volunteer their time during their lunch periods to reflect on social-emotional learning across the globe through literature and connections with students from other parts of the world. 

About 40 students, along with library media specialist Jennifer Wasielesky, read “Refugee,” by Alan Gratz, during the program. “Refugee” focuses on three children’s lives from three different time periods and parts of the world. By the end of the book, their worlds collide. The book is a work of historical fiction, however many of the characters are based on real people. While reading the book, South Middle School students connected with students in Greece through Skype to discuss the literature and different cultures. The book and Skype session inspired the South Middle School students to pay it forward and create a scholarship for someone in the Lynbrook community who has shown great strength, courage and determination through their hard work.

To raise money for the scholarship, Mrs. Wasielesky and the students hosted a two-day bake sale and then deliberated on what the new scholarship should be called. Together, they formed the Power Through Scholarship which will be presented by Lynbrook South Middle School eighth graders Caitlin Melaram and Ryan Donovan on May 29 during Lynbrook High School’s Senior Awards Night. According to Mrs. Wasielesky, Global Read Aloud hopes to continue the scholarship for years to come. 

Star Students and Staff Honored

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Student and staff recognitions abounded during Lynbrook Public School’s recent board of education meeting at Lynbrook High School. The community also received important district updates including the security upgrades from the SmartBond. 

The board approved the upcoming retirement of Anastasios Skartsiaris, a cleaner at West End Elementary School who has served the district for 12 years. Mr. Skartsiaris was commended for his hard work and dedication and received a plaque as a thank you for his service. The Spector family also returned to the Lynbrook Public Schools to award the Charles and Marjorie Spector Grant for Professional Development in the Fields of Reading, Writing and Research, established to honor the memory of Charles and Marjorie Spector. This year’s award recipient was Lynbrook High School science teacher Charles Vessalico, who will use the grant to enhance workshops for students as they write and re-vise their research papers for science competitions.

Student recognitions included two regional PTA Reflections winners. Marion Street student Alexa Reilly and South Middle School student Kailey Dunne were commended for their winning entries fitting the Reflections theme, “Heroes Around Me.” Alexa was awarded for photography, while Kailey was awarded for musical composition. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak also recognized the Lynbrook High School varsity girls lacrosse team for their outstanding fundraising efforts for the HEADstrong Foundation, an organization that helps those impacted by cancer. The team was the top fundraising team against other high schools and colleges for the HEADstrong Foundation’s Game Hair Havoc. The online fundraising campaign encourages girls lacrosse teams to braid and style their game hair to raise awareness and money for families affected by cancer.
During the report from trustees, Board Vice-President Robert Paskoff and trustee Alicemarie Bresnihan spoke about their experience attending the National School Board Convention and Board President William Belmont discussed the meeting that the district had with Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblywoman Judy Griffin. He noted that a big discussion point during the meeting was unfunded mandates for school districts. 

Dr. Burak shared an update of the district’s mission and vision statement and introduced Director of Facilities James Saitta for a security presentation. Mr. Saitta spoke about the upcoming security enhancements that will be made in the district to ensure safety. Through the SmartBond funding, the district will create safer school entryways with new entry procedures and also update the technology infrastructure. 

During the superintendent’s report, Dr. Burak provided a recap of the productive Superintendent’s Conference Day which was held last month. Staff participated in workshops, presentations and activities to help them grow in the classroom. She also noted minor changes that were made to the district’s Code of Conduct as part of a mandated review and announced that school would not be in session on May 24 due to the unused snow days this year. 

Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, provided a curriculum update for the community. He reported that the district’s participation rate for the New York State assessments in ELA increased by approximately 4% compared to last year. The increase is important and a move in the right direction. With more participation in the assessments, the less likely the district will have to get involved in participation rate improvement plans that are required under Every Student Succeeds Act. In addition, Dr. Beleckas reported that district administrators met with representatives from the instructional data warehouse at BOCES to discuss how the district can use the data derived from the state assessments to positively impact teaching and learning in the classrooms. 

Following the curriculum update, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for fi-nance, operation, and information systems, shared a capital projects update. The district opened bids on April 17 for seven projects associated with the bond. This included the air conditioning for the gymnasiums at Lynbrook North Middle School, Lynbrook South Middle School, Waverly Park Elementary School and the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center. In addition, bids will be open for the locker rooms at North Middle and South Middle and the wrestling room at the Kindergarten Center. The board plans to award the contracts at the May meeting and work on these projects should commence this summer. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Burak spoke about the budget vote polling locations. Since the district has moved to an electronic system for keeping track of voters, it was discovered that some residents have been voting in the wrong locations. The district is sending postcards to everyone in the community which will state their correct polling location. 

VIDEO: South Middle School Art Club Creates Slime

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To end the 2018-2019 club year on a high note, Lynbrook South Middle School students in the school’s Art Club created their own slime on April 4. Led by art teacher and club advisor Andrea Schnall, the students conjured up their own slime creations by mixing glue, lotion, contact lens solution, glitter and more into a plastic container.