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BOE Public Notice - August 22, 2018

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Students Participate in Summer P-Tech Program

Students Participate in Summer P-Tech Program photo
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Students in the P-Tech program at FHS participated in a variety of educational activities throughout the month of July. The group of students included members of the high school’s Class of 2018 who will be attending Farmingdale State College in the fall.

As part of the program, students visited BOCES Brookville Outdoor and Environmental Education Center and developed their problem-solving, communication, teamwork and leadership skills by engaging in a series of hands-on activities. In addition, students visited Farmingdale State College and attended lectures about renewable energy, as well as built a vehicle powered by a photo cell, a windmill to generate power, and a water wheel. Sessions also included visits to Operation Splash, Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Adventureland and tours of the Bay Park Water Reclamation Facility.

The P-Tech summer program was designed to provide students with the opportunity to make connections between academic concepts and “real world” applications.

Secondary Schools Host Summer Reading Programs

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On Aug. 1, Dodd hosted a movie screening of “The Outsiders,” which correlated directly to an ongoing assignment that has tasked all Dodd students with reading the classic novel by S.E. Hinton during the summer and completing a project by Sept. 12.

The movie screening was held in Dodd’s library and hosted by librarian Christine Meloni and seventh-grade English teacher Lauren Artuso. Students engaged in discussions about the differences and similarities between the novel and film, enjoyed popcorn, participated in a raffle for a chance to win prizes including a “The Outsiders” shirt, and select a free copy of the books “Flipped,” “One Crazy Summer” or “Al Capone Does My Shirts” with a bookmark.

All Dodd students received a free copy of “The Outsiders” to add to their personal library at the beginning of summer, and were encouraged to connect via Google Classroom to share their reactions, answer survey questions, gain access to free eBooks and post selfies of themselves with the book.

A similar program was hosted at the high school, where students were tasked with reading “The Hunger Games” and invited to participate in a movie screening and discussion group.

The ongoing reading assignments in the district’s secondary schools are part of it’s commitment to promoting literacy and encouraging students to continue reading during the summer months.

Summer Arts Academy Dazzles

Summer Arts Academy Dazzles photo

Students showcased their incredible talents in the district’s 10th annual Summer Academy of the Arts, a culmination of 15 days of arts-related instruction during July.

With instruction provided by faculty members throughout the district and assistance from 60 intern volunteers in grades 9-12 at Freeport High School, 280 students in grades 4-8 had the opportunity to supplement their learning of a wide array of fields, including orchestra, visual arts, band, chorus, mariachi, media arts and dance.

“Freeport is designated a Best Community in Music Education, and this program is but one of the many reasons why,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Our staff and students are dedicated and committed to honing their musical talents and crafts. Our schools believe in developing the whole child, and our superior music and arts program is vital to our philosophy.”

In honor of a decade of summer arts instruction in the district, the theme of this year’s program was “Best of the Decades,” highlighting famous hits from the 1920s to present day. The culminating program, hosted by Summer Arts Academy Program Coordinator Geraldine LaPenne and Director of Arts and Community Relations Ruth Breidenbach, was attended by families, district staff members, administrators, elected officials and board of education trustee Ernest J. Kight Jr. New York State Sen. John Brooks presented the district with a Proclamation for its Summer Arts Academy program and continued dedication to its students.

The show was presented in two acts. Act I featured chorus students singing “Dancing in the Street” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The orchestra students performed “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “And So It Goes” and “Piano Man,” while beginner band students performed “Tuxedo Junction,” the advanced band performed “Africa” and “Best of Journey.” The mariachi students performed “Cariño” and “Tu y Las Nubes.” Act II featured Feel the Beat class students performing “September,” “Turn the Beat Around,” and “Feel the Beat,” while the theater students performed multimedia skits from movies spanning the 60s-90s along with a demonstration of many dances from different decades as the program’s finale.

The program was a platform for students to showcase what they learned during the 15-day instructional period and a riveting testament to the district’s commitment to inspire students to enjoy and appreciate the arts.



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District Supplements STEM Lessons with Summer Program

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Throughout the month of July, the district has been hosting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Camp for students in grades 5-12. Students participated in a variety of educational activities, such as creating windmills, while working both individually and in groups. A testament to the district’s emphasis on enriching its students in crucial STEM-related fields year-round, the summer program was designed to provide students with the opportunity to supplement their classroom lessons during the school year.

Science Chairperson Awarded Prestigious Grant

Science Chairperson Awarded Prestigious Grant photo
Science chairperson and teacher Peggy Parigoris has been selected to receive an American Chemical Society-Hach High School Chemistry grant, one of the most prestigious prizes awarded by the ACS to chemistry teachers across the country. The grant, worth $1,500 and awarded to approximately 60-80 teachers annually, is designed to enhance classroom learning, foster student development and expose students to the depths and wonders of chemistry.

“This national award is a great honor and Freeport Public Schools is proud of Ms. Parigoris and the innovative educational opportunities she brings to the students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham.

Parigoris’ grant proposal, “Using a Spectrophotometer to Teach Atomic Theory,” was based upon the concept of facilitating student understanding of this generally abstract topic. Working with district Director of Science Dr. Vincent Pereira and Hofstra University professor Dr. Ling Huang, Parigoris is designing a laboratory experiment in which a spectrophotometer is used to discover traces of iron in drinking water and common household items, such as juice and wine. The team is in contact with Operation SPLASH regarding its technique to identify traces of iron in the soil at the bottom of the Great South Bay. Based on the success of the work, there are plans to publish the results in a scholarly journal so that it may benefit chemical education throughout the country.

Board of Education Appoints New Administrators

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The Board of Education unanimously approved the appointments of Suzanne Chaves as the district’s new director of second languages, Constance Malcolm-Grant as New Visions School principal, Meg Sheehan as Columbus Avenue School principal, Jessica Romero as New Visions School assistant principal and Christopher Porciello as J.W. Dodd Middle School assistant principal, effective July 1, 2018.

Chaves comes to Freeport from the City School District of Albany, where she served as the bilingual ENL intake coordinator. She has 18 years of teaching experience, most of which focused on English as a New Language, but also Spanish and English in grade levels K-12. Chaves also has extensive experience as a facilitator of professional development in her most recent position, in addition to her prior work as a teacher trainer/bilingual resource specialist with both Questar III BETAC and Mid-Hudson BETAC at Ulster BOCES. She holds a bachelor’s degree as a double major in English and Spanish from University at Albany, a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language from Long Island University and another master’s in educational administration with a concentration in instructional leadership from Canisius College.

Malcolm-Grant is no stranger to New Visions School, having served there for the past 16 years, beginning as a lead reading teacher until 2015, when she became assistant principal. She began her career in education in 1994, first as a third-grade teacher at PS 276 and then as a reading teacher and staff developer at Meyer Levin Junior High School, both in Brooklyn. Malcolm-Grant holds a Bachelor of Science degree from City College and Master of Science degrees in reading and administration from Adelphi University and Touro College, respectively. She also holds certifications in ESL, reading teacher and school district administration.

Sheehan comes to Freeport having most recently served as director of the North Shore Montessori School in Stony Brook since 2010. Her experience in education prior to that includes serving as an administrator at West Side Montessori School, teacher educator at Center for Montessori Education New York and administrative intern in the Three Village School District. Sheehan holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mount Saint Mary College, a master’s degree in literacy education birth-6 from Dowling College and an advanced professional certificate in educational leadership from Stony Brook University. She also holds several additional certifications in areas including school building/school district administration, early childhood education birth-2 and literacy 1-6.

A former graduate of Freeport High School, Romero most recently served as an administrator in the New York City school system for the past 10 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, a master’s degree from LIU Post, and an administrative degree from The College of Saint Rose.

Porciello comes to the district from Junior High School 190 Russell Sage in Forest Hills, New York, where he served as a general education teacher and ICT teacher of mathematics since 2011, in addition to serving as chairperson of the School Leadership Team. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in elementary education and special education from Dowling College, and a Master of Science degree in school leadership from Touro College. Porciello also holds certifications in childhood education (grades 1-6), students with disabilities (grades 1-6) and school building leader – school district leader.

District Hosts Summer Literacy Institute

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The district hosted its second annual Summer Literacy Institute, a series of literacy-based professional development workshops for administrators, teachers and teaching assistants, at the high school.

The program, attended by approximately 75 teachers plus administrators, featured global literacy initiative LitWorld founding director and author Pam Allyn as the keynote speaker. Among a variety of discussion topics, Allyn spoke about strategies teachers can employ to ensure that students achieve literacy at or ahead of the levels they should be reading at, and how teachers can motivate students to continue developing their literacy skills outside the classroom. Workshops included Creating Environments and Outcomes that Make Every Student a Super Reader, Growing a Curious Classroom and From Striving to Thriving.

The event was designed to supplement the ongoing professional development throughout the district.

Students Awarded for Biliteracy Excellence

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The district extends its congratulations to 61 members of the Class of 2018 who earned the New York State Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation.

To earn this distinction and seal on their diploma, students had to meet a rigorous set of requirements in English and a language other than English to demonstrate high levels of proficiency in both languages. The seal verifies and recognizes the students’ accomplishments in two languages for prospective colleges, universities and employers.

Board of Education Reorganization Meeting

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The district Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on July 3. Re-elected trustee Ernest J. Kight Jr. was sworn in for a new three-year term, while Michael C. Pomerico and Anthony J. Miller were unanimously re-elected by the board to continue serving as president and vice president, respectively.

Atkinson Student Achievement Awards

Prior to the end of the school year, students were celebrated for their outstanding accomplishments during awards ceremonies held on June 18 and 19. Teachers recognized students for their successes in academics, the arts, extracurricular activities, demonstration of exceptional character, improvement and perfect attendance. There were also distinctive awards presented to deserving sixth-graders, including the Jerry Wilson Humanitarian Award, for being a reader and creative thinker, showing random acts of kindness and an interest in the arts; the Anna Power Award, for striving to reach the fullest potential and demonstrating positive behavior; the Esteban Moreno Award, for going above and beyond to help others and for taking school seriously; and, the Principal’s Award for showing outstanding leadership both socially and academically.

Congratulations Freeport High School Class of 2018

Congratulations Freeport High School Class of 2018 photo

With members of the Board of Education, administrators, teachers, elected officials, family and friends in attendance, the high school’s Class of 2018 graduated during the 125th commencement ceremony held at Hofstra University on June 27.

The ceremony opened with the presentation of colors by the NJROTC, followed by remarkable renditions of the national anthem and “God Bless America” by the high school’s Select Chorale. Prior to the announcement of graduates’ names and the ceremonial distribution of diplomas, several speakers, including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Principal Joseph Mille, Assistant Principal Wendy Haise, Class of 2018 president Krystel Chombo, valedictorian Joseph LaRocca and salutatorian Zoe Stetson, delivered moving and memorable speeches to the graduating class.

Dr. Kuncham congratulated the Class of 2018 and spoke to the graduates about the importance of discovering their purpose. “We are proud of your accomplishments and who you have become today,” Dr. Kuncham said. “On this new journey, ask yourself, ‘What is my purpose? What is my song? What is my mantra?’ Graduates, each one of you is special, unrivaled and exclusive. You are absolutely unique in this entire universe. Let your inner voice, purpose in life and uniqueness guide you, enrich you and enlighten you forever.”

Mille reflected on the memories created with the graduating class during his first year as principal of Freeport High School. “The bonds we have created can never be broken and the memories will last a lifetime,” Mille said. “When I think about what your essence was as a class, it was always standing up for what is right and challenging the norms. I am proud of who you have become.”

Chombo, Stetson and LaRocca spoke to their fellow graduates about the American dream, the contributions of family and friends, and valuable life lessons to remember. “A sea of smiling faces is before me because we are graduating high school,” Chombo said. “Our future is filled with opportunity; that sounds like the American dream. This is why we are all sitting here today and this is what we all have in common: the desire to work hard for a better future, a future for ourselves and future generations.”

“I have met so many amazing people and been able to form so many friendships with people I never expected to,” Stetson said. “I have formed friendships with people that have made my high school experience truly unforgettable. I’m proud of all of you. We have accomplished so much.”

“There are so many possible directions you can go, but you should do what you want to do,” LaRocca said. “Try and enjoy your life. Stay goal-oriented, make good impressions and meet a lot of people. When you know what you’re doing, it shows. Be aware, ask questions and don’t move on to the next task until you’ve finished with the first. Life is short, so if you want to be living the dream, you can’t waste time.”

Following the distribution of diplomas, the high school’s Class of 2018 turned the tassels on their caps from right to left and looked ahead, prepared for the bright futures that await them.

FHS Student Shares Power of Yoga at United Nations

FHS Student Shares Power of Yoga at United Nations photo
High school student Osman Gomez had the unique opportunity to represent the district at the United Nations’ observance of International Yoga Day.

Gomez, who attended the event, “Conversation with Yoga Masters: Yoga for Peace” with school psychologist Elizabeth D’Aiello, spoke about the remarkable impact yoga has had on his life since he began practicing at a Youth Empowerment Seminar at J.W. Dodd Middle School. Before hundreds of attendees, he discussed how a breathing technique known as “Victory Breath” helped him overcome anxiety, and how he has connected with D’Aiello in yoga classes she conducts after school.

The district, which is committed to teaching students about the positive effects yoga has on mindfulness and well-being, plans to incorporate YES into the high school’s curriculum beginning in September.

Field Day

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As part of an annual tradition, sixth-graders participated in a variety of activities such as long jump, basketball shots, football throw and relay racing during Field Day on June 12. With the PTA providing heroes, snacks and drinks, students received awards and were recognized for their various accomplishments.

FHS Class of 2022 Graduates from Dodd

FHS Class of 2022 Graduates from Dodd

The accomplishments and dedication to excellence of students at Dodd, were celebrated during a beautiful eighth-grade graduation ceremony on June 21. The program, which took place at Atkinson, included members of the board of education, administrators, staff and families, who applauded the students’ successful completion and wished them luck in the high school.

Following a welcome by Principal Johane Ligondé, select chorale director Dr. Sherill Spruill led her group through a riveting rendition of the national anthem. The master and mistress of ceremonies were students Carlos Escobar and Gracelyn Jean-Baptiste, who delivered heartfelt farewell addresses to their peers and recognized teachers who were instrumental throughout their journey at Dodd. In separate motivational speeches, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Board of Education President Michal Pomerico, Ligondé and Assistant Principal Dr. Danielle Ballard all provided words of praise and encouragement to the graduates.

“You have successfully put in the effort and work needed to lead to this moment,” said Dr. Kuncham. “Next year, you will begin the challenging and rewarding work that will ultimately lead to your high school diploma. Remember, as you take this amazing step in your life, that with change comes opportunity. It is a chance to create a difference, make an improvement and strive toward your goals. It has been said that opportunities are often disguised as hard work, and that is the truth. The Freeport schools, families and community are here to support you in pursuing your dreams.”

“Graduates, today is a wonderful day to celebrate your accomplishment,” Pomerico said. “The friends you have made, the difficulties you have overcome, the highs and lows that you have had, all making it possible to be here this afternoon. Here you are getting ready to move onto the high school. Not only is it self-rewarding, but we are all so proud of you.”

“What decisions are you going to make to ensure you achieve your success?” Ligondé said. “Become bigger and become better than you are today. It’s important to spend your time where your potential is. We know about all the amazing programs offered at Freeport High School; today I ask you, what will you have to offer Freeport High School? It is your job to ensure that your gifts and talents are explored.”
“Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish,” Dr. Ballard said. “You are truly amazing young men and women, and I can’t wait to see what adults you grow to become. There are originals, there are remixes and remakes, but you, Dodd Class of 2018? You are truly a limited edition.”

The select chorale then performed “Found Tonight” by Lin-Manuel Miranda prior to the ceremonial presentation of graduates who were announced one by one by the homeroom teachers. The program concluded with students’ performance of “Sine Nomine” by Ralph Vaughan Williams under the direction of ensemble directors Candice Mordhorst and Adam Rubin, and the high school’s Class of 2022 walked off the field prepared for the next exciting chapter in their academic careers.


 

Board Recognizes Superhero Teachers

Board Recognizes Superhero Teachers

As part of an annual Celebrating Success Employee Recognition tradition that is hosted during the final board of education meeting of the school year, the district honored eight outstanding teachers.

The program featured each school’s principal recognizing a faculty member, who epitomizes excellence and a commitment to their craft. Each month, a theme was assigned to each school, and an exceptional teacher who exemplifies that theme was selected. At the meeting, honorees were first celebrated with speeches about them delivered by each principal, and then presented with a celebratory plaque by board president Michael Pomerico.

The tradition is designed to give the district another opportunity to honor the dedication and hard work of its remarkable teachers.

This year’s honorees are: Maureen Bonanno, Angela Dickens, Kiesha Hayes, Robin Newberg, Sherrie Papayanopoulos, Jessica Polikoff, Matthew Tetenbaum and Lisa Zabala.

Dodd Students Honor Their Heroes

Dodd Students Honor Their Heroes photo
With district Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé in attendance, Dodd hosted Breakfast for Heroes. The event is designed to celebrate individuals who have made a difference in students’ lives. More than 100 students wrote essays about these heroes and eighth-grader Akira Watkins recited a poem to recognize the impact they have had. Students learned about the importance of appreciating those who are always there consistently lending a helping hand to them.

District Awarded Smart Scholars Cohort 4 Early College High School Grant

The district has been awarded the Smart Scholars Cohort 4 Early College High School grant, which will afford 50 students each year, ultimately leading to 200 students in the Cohort, the opportunity to earn college credits through SUNY Farmingdale State College while still enrolled in the high school.

This marks the fourth year the district has expanded the Smart Scholars program at the high school continuing the partnership with Farmingdale State College. Participating graduating seniors earned an average of 18.6 college credits in 2017, with two earning 33 credits each. The current Smart Scholars and P-Tech programs at the high school have approximately 220 students enrolled. Cohort 4 will enable an additional 200 students to earn college credits.

“Freeport Schools is excited to provide students with the opportunity to earn college credits, at no cost to them, while at Freeport High School. It also offers a seamless transition into a meaningful four-year degree program in a field with a positive employment trend and outlook,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham.

As part of the grant, which runs through 2022 and totals $625,000, students will be able to earn 35-44 college credits toward a bachelor’s degree in computer programming and information systems at no cost to the students. While similar in structure to the district’s current Smart Scholars Cohort 3 grant, courses in the Cohort 4 grant are specifically aligned with this major and will only be transferrable within the SUNY system, whereas Cohort 3 courses are aimed at earning students college credits regardless of concentration or SUNY affiliation. The grant will fully cover the costs of academic support during both the school year and in the summer, materials and supplies related to the concurrent-enrollment coursework and transportation related to on-campus activities at SUNY Farmingdale. In addition, funds from the grant will increase each year based on the addition of cohorts and credits earned.

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