Students, families and community members packed Lynbrook High School’s cafeteria for the Lynbrook Public Schools’ last regular board of education meeting of the year on Dec. 11. The evening featured student achievements, donations and important district updates.
Lynbrook High School National Art Honor Society members, along with advisor Michael Kunz, presented a $5,000 check from their successful Night of the Pumpkins fundraiser to Ivy Reilly, president of Lynbrook’s Excellence in Education Foundation, Inc. The foundation strives to give back to the district by providing grants to Lynbrook teachers and schools to enhance the quality of education for Lynbrook students. In addition, the National Art Honor Society members presented $650 worth of gift cards to Guidance Director Laurie Mitchell from their “Gifted” Art Auction. The guidance department will ensure that the gift cards go to Lynbrook families who need it the most.
Several students were also honored during the meeting for their outstanding achievements. Members of Lynbrook High School’s girls cross country team were recognized for earning the title of Nassau County champions. This is the first time in the program’s history that the team received the accolade. Lynbrook High School senior James Parco was also honored for receiving the bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award. He dedicated between 100 and 174 service hours in a one-year period.
Following the recognitions, Lynbrook High School Principal Joseph Rainis presented on the grades 7-12 curriculum changes in the district’s World Languages department. He shared with the board and community the current progression of world languages from middle through high school and then the projected progression by 2022. This included having students take the FLACS “B” exams at the end of sophomore year, instead of the end of junior year. This would align the district with others in the area and give students more language opportunities in their junior and senior year.
During the Superintendent’s Report, Superintendent of School’s Dr. Melissa Burak reminded the community about the district’s delayed opening and early dismissal protocols. She noted that if it snows, she would never make the call for either of these options mid-day and that everyone would receive a call early in the morning if a decision was to be made. Modified bell schedules for the middle schools and high school can be found on the district website, lynbrookschools.org.
Dr. Burak also informed the public about a slight 2019-2020 calendar modification. New York State recently instituted a specific amount of required instructional hours for a district to receive state aid. Although the district currently meets the amount of days required, there is now a minimum number of hours that elementary and secondary students have to receive for aid. While reviewing last year’s calendar, the middle schools, after having only two delayed openings or four hours of instruction, only had three hours to spare. If the schools fell short of that, the district would not receive state aid. For 2020, Dr. Burak shared that some changes will be made to the calendar as a result of the instructional hours. If there is a snow day, the district will have to make it up to meet the instructional hours. If there is one full snow day, school will be in session on May 21, 2020 and if there is a second full snow day, school will be in session on May 22, 2020. If more than two delayed openings or early dismissals are used, another day will need to be made up.
To conclude her report, Dr. Burak praised the staff of Lynbrook High School’s newspaper, Horizon. The students, from both this year and last year, earned 18 awards in the Empire State Scholastic Press Association awards program. They received the silver award for the Best Printed Newspaper, the gold award for the Best Online Publication and several other individual awards.
Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, shared a curriculum update. He presented on the elementary science curriculum. New York State rebranded their own standards to create the New York State Science Learning Standards, reflecting the concepts that were given by the national level. Elementary students are learning biology, earth science and physics topics with English Language Art standards and experimental learning infused into lessons. According to Dr. Beleckas, the district will be introducing new science kits to expand on these learning opportunities.
Before the close of the meeting, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, provided a capital projects update. There was a bid opening on Nov. 26 for the air conditioners at Marion Street and West End elementary schools and for the Waverly Park elevator. Unfortunately, all bids came in too high, so the board rejected them. The Marion Street, Waverly Park and West End bids will be opened again on Jan. 9 and the district will be opening the large bid for the Lynbrook High School addition on Jan. 31 in the Atlantic Avenue board room.