The Lynbrook Board of Education held its second virtual board meeting on May 6. Community members watched the meeting unfold live on YouTube and had the opportunity to submit public comments beforehand.
During the meeting, the board recognized Marion Street third grader Audra Schoen and Waverly Park fifth grader Olivia Pomponio for being New York State winners in the annual Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. Although the board could not physically honor the students, both received a Lynbrook T-shirt courtesy of the district. The board also accepted the upcoming retirement of groundskeeper Luis Quiroga. Board President William Belmont thanked Mr. Quiroga for his service to the district.
As a special treat for the community, a tribute video for essential workers was shared. The video was created by Lynbrook High School music teachers Timothy Waldvogel and Barry Wyner and featured high school chorus members singing “Stand By Me” as students held up thank you signs for those working on the frontlines.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak started her report with some positive news. For the eighth consecutive year, Lynbrook High School was named a Recognition School by New York State. She congratulated the staff at Lynbrook High School. Dr. Burak also provided an update on the upcoming budget vote. Under the governor’s new executive order, the budget vote will take place on June 9 through absentee ballots with a pre-paid envelope. All ballots will be received no later than 5 p.m. that day to be counted. The district will hold a work session on May 20 and a new budget hearing which will take place virtually on May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
In addition, Dr. Burak provided a coronavirus update. She shared an uplifting video called “The Story of 2020” and thanked those who have supported the district’s food pantry during this difficult time. While discussing the pandemic, Dr. Burak reported on the district’s summer programs. Lynbrook High School will move forward with the summer high school program which will be taught virtually through live online instruction. Due to social distancing protocols, Dr. Burak regretfully reported that the Summer Playground program is cancelled for 2020. However, the district’s Summer STEAM Academy is being reimagined. Plans are being developed to create a program for students in grades 3-5 since there will be no Summer Playground and for students in grades 6-8. The program would take place virtually.
On the topic of remote instruction, Dr. Burak recognized the importance of social emotional learning during the school closure. During the past several weeks, central administrators have connected with leaders of the Lynbrook Teacher’s Association to discuss the significance of face-to-face interaction. The union leaders expressed concerns over live stream interaction and important points were raised related to professional development and online code of conduct for students and parents. Dr. Burak reported that professional development has been ongoing and that staff developers have been invaluable. She also reminded the community of the online protocols that students and their household members should follow during online instruction. The district will roll out an added phase of the distance learning plan on May 11. Teachers will invite students to live online office hours each week for added support.
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, presented a video which highlighted some of the excellent work that Lynbrook teachers have been doing during this period of remote learning.
Lastly, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, reported on capital projects. Construction started again on the Lynbrook High School addition and contractors are following the social distancing protocols. The district will be starting its summer projects kickoff meeting on May 7 to discuss the Waverly Park elevator, the West End heating, ventilation and air conditioning project and the Marion Street air conditioning project. The preliminary part of the Marion Street air conditioning project is electrical so there will be a large excavation in the front of Marion Street School. Since the schools are closed, construction is expected to begin earlier on these projects.
A full recording of the meeting and the three videos presented can be found here