The Lynbrook High School cafeteria was filled with administrators, staff, students and community members during the Lynbrook Public Schools’ Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13. The board commended the district’s two Regeneron Science Talent Search semifinalists and accepted the retirements of seven beloved staff members. The community also heard important updates about the district’s network, curriculum and capital projects.
Lynbrook High School seniors Juliana Condoleo and Kaylie Hausknecht were honored for being two of the 300 top scholars in the high school science and math competition, the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Beth Murray, a representative from the competition, presented the two students with certificates. They will each receive $2,000 with an equal amount going toward Lynbrook High School to be applied to science, technology, engineering and math education. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak praised the students on their outstanding achievement and invited them to the podium to speak about their selected science projects.
Seven staff members were also commended for their service and dedication throughout their years in the district. Joann Baumann, Susan DeSena, Camille Duran, Madeline Jabin, Carol Lindner, Christopher Pipia and Donald Seibert were each praised by a board member as they prepared to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. After learning about each future retiree’s career, positive impact in the district and plans for the future, attendees gave them a standing ovation. Building administrators from each school were also present to show their support.
In addition to the evening recognitions, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, provided an update about the district’s network. At the end of January, a serious virus impacted the district due to people clicking fraudulent links. Dr. Lynch praised the district’s technology staff who worked diligently to restore the network.
“The very good news is that our network is incredibly stable so it was only limited to desktop computers,” he said. “We were able to continue instruction through our laptop program because of the way we segment our network. It did not carry over to the other end.”
Since the virus was so prevalent, Dr. Lynch explained that a domain change was made to ensure the safety of both students and staff from cyber-terrorists who aim to steal banking information and data. The domain change was in the works prior to the virus but the district decided to implement it now due to the circumstances.
All district email addresses which previously ended in @lynbrook.k12.ny.us are no longer active and have been replaced with lynbrookschools.org. After February break, staff members will use this new domain with their first-dot-last name. Dr. Burak informed the community that if they need to contact the board, the new email address is BOE@lynbrookschools.org.
Dr. Lynch also stressed to the community how cyber-terrorists can try to steal anyone’s information online and to be careful when opening emails. Other districts in the area have had similar issues with these cyber-terrorists. He said that the district is in the process of upgrading all the systems to become cloud-based and installing new firewall and network monitoring to combat any future attacks.
Following the network update, Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, provided a curriculum update. In his report, Dr. Beleckas spoke about how the district is fostering literacy. Middle school teachers in the English department have received Level Literacy Intervention training to include more targeted reading instruction in their classrooms. He also spoke about two new proposals which will be presented at the district’s budget work session. The first is for the elementary and middle schools to officially become Teachers College schools and the second is to hire additional reading staff for the middle schools to provide a three-tiered approach to reading, similar to the elementary schools.
Dr. Lynch also provided a capital projects update where he shared positive news about the progress of the bond. All projects, with the exception of those at Lynbrook High School, have been approved by the New York State Education Department. This clearance now gives the district the authority to borrow. Once all the details are discussed during the district’s budget work session, Dr. Lynch explained that a roll-out plan would be initiated.