The Lynbrook Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on July 7. Typically held in the Lynbrook High School cafeteria, board members and central administrators met in the Lynbrook High School gymnasium to adhere to social distancing. The meeting was streamed online for the community to watch.
Reelected trustee Ellen Marcus and newcomer Patrick Palleschi were sworn in as members of the board. William Belmont, Lesli Deninno and Robert Paskoff were reelected as board president, vice president and secretary, respectively. Each were sworn in to their positions for the 2020-2021 school year.
Following the reorganization meeting, the board opened its regular July board meeting. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak congratulated Lynbrook student Joshua Greenberg for being recognized as a Regents Student of the Year (Regents with Advanced Designation) by the Awards Committee of the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators. President Belmont also welcomed five new staff members to the district. This included Bryton Saunders, Lynbrook North Middle School special education teacher; Jacqueline Langer, West End and Marion Street special education teacher; Kelly Donovan, Marion Street teacher; Danielle Bottaro, Waverly Park part-time speech teacher and Julie Schatt, Marion Street part-time social worker.
Dr. Burak shared an update about the reopening committee task force. The committee, which consists of 101 community members and district staff members, have been working hard to explore possible plans for the reopening of schools, without any guidance yet from New York State. The district hopes to receive some guidance by next week from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Dr. Burak thanked all the committee members for their dedication. She also shared guiding principles that are leading the committee work:
-Address ongoing efforts to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all students and staff.
-Plan for multiple reopening scenarios based on emerging guidance from the state and medical agencies.
-Ensure equitable access to technology necessary for virtual learning.
-Provide continuing support to student and adults to address immediate and long term social and emotional needs.
-Offer on-going professional development for personalized and differentiated learning.
Dr. Burak noted that surveys such as a transportation and instruction subcommittee survey, were released to the community. The subcommittees will use the feedback from the surveys to help them with their research and plans. Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, spoke about the instruction survey and some of the results thus far. He reported that 1,266 community members responded to the survey. The instruction survey is just one of several that will be forthcoming. The community should be on the lookout for more to come. The district hopes to have its official reopening plan revealed at the August board of education meeting, pending state guidance.
In addition, Dr. Burak provided a summer programs update. More than 600 people favored the idea of having a summer playground this year, based on a community survey. Therefore, the program was modified into two campuses with two different groups at each building to hold all interested campers safely. As of now, there are still spots available and if the enrollment numbers are lower than expected, the district may eliminate the groups and make the program from 9-12 p.m. The deadline to sign up for summer playground is July 10. Dr. Burak also noted that because students would not be allowed in the buildings, if there is inclement weather, summer playground would have to be cancelled for the day.
The Summer STEAM Academy kicked off last week. The two available sessions have been an engaging and positive experience for students. In addition, the summer high school program began on July 6 and has 78 students enrolled in classes such as algebra, chemistry, geometry, earth science, English Language Arts, living environment and social studies.
Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, provided a capital projects update. He shared that the bond work at Lynbrook High School is underway and that a high school roofing and bathroom project, unrelated to the bond, are being worked on. In addition, a bathroom is being done at Lynbrook North Middle School, an elevator is being installed at Waverly Park Elementary School, and air conditioning units are being installed in the gymnasiums of West End and Marion Street elementary schools. The community is encouraged to follow the ongoing bond work by visiting www.lynbrookschools.org/district/bond_follow_up.