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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.

Fourth-Graders Move On Up

Fourth-Graders Move On Up photo

With their loved ones applauding their success and accomplishments, students across the district’s four elementary schools celebrated their completion of fourth grade in beautiful moving up ceremonies on June 20.

With Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Board of Education President Michael Pomerico in attendance at New Visions, standout students were presented with a variety of notable awards: former board of education member and Legislator Debra Mulé presented Abigail Brewster with the 2018 D.E.E.P. Award for her dedication to community service, enthusiasm in education, excellence in character and participation in extracurricular activities. Angel Sorto and Chase McCullough were presented with the True Leader Award by retiring Principal Renee Crump-Dedmon for displaying character, courage and commitment in school, at home and in their daily lives. Each fourth grade class teacher then announced the names of the students moving up, and the school’s Glee Club performed a heartfelt song in honor of their principal.

“Boys and girls, today marks the beginning of a new and exciting adventure,” Crump-Dedmon said. “As you move on to Atkinson, I want you to remember the lessons you have learned here at New Visions: to always be kind, caring, respectful, responsible, safe and always ready to learn. It has been my pleasure to watch you grow and change. Thank you for allowing me to be your principal.”

The district’s moving up ceremonies celebrated students’ achievements in elementary school as they prepare for the next chapter in their academic careers.

Atkinson’s Got Talent

Atkinson’s Got Talent photo
Atkinson’s Got Talent photo 2
Sixth-graders and staff members at Atkinson displayed a wide variety of skills in the annual talent show held on June 14. This year’s program was themed “Welcoming the 80s,” and featured participants singing, dancing and performing for their peers, parents and teachers.

Dodd Students Learn Tennis Basics

Dodd Students Learn Tennis Basics photo
Dodd Students Learn Tennis Basics photo 2
Following their acceptance of tennis equipment from Net Generation, the official youth tennis organization of the United States Tennis Association, physical education teachers at Dodd introduced the sport to students during the first week of June. Under the direction of Christina Bivona, Stacie Guasto-Weaver and Charles Puricello, students learned the basics of tennis and were encouraged to continue practicing their skills.

FHS Seniors Revisit Bayview

FHS Seniors Revisit Bayview photo

As part of its annual “Top of the Crop” tradition, students at the top of the high school’s graduating Class of 2018 who attended Bayview revisited their alma mater on June 19. The high school students visited each classroom, and encouraged the Bayview students to establish specific goals for future success while following their dreams and never giving up.

Dodd Track Coaches Honored

Dodd Track Coaches Honored photo
The dstrict extends its congratulations to J.W. Dodd Middle School spring track coaches Yvonne Brown and Marques McFarlin. They were honored with the Nassau Track and Field and Cross Country Officials Association Memorial Sportsmanship Award for their qualities of fair play and sportsmanship. They were recognized at a special ceremony at Crest Hollow Country Club on June 12.

Senator Brooks Honors FHS Senior

Senator Brooks Honors FHS Senior photo
New York State Senator John E. Brooks visited the high school to present senior Maya Brown with a Youth Leadership Recognition Award on June 15. Brown was honored for her excellent academic standing, well-roundedness, demonstration of leadership skills through extracurricular or volunteer activities, and for serving as a positive role model in the Freeport community.

The district extends its congratulations to Brown and wishes her continued success in college and beyond.

Family Literacy Night kicks off summer reading

Family Literacy Night kicks off summer reading photo
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Family Literacy Night kicks off summer reading photo 3
Family Literacy Night kicks off summer reading photo 4

Hundreds of Freeport School District students and their families arrived at Atkinson, excited to participate in Family Literacy Night, a teacher-led initiative to promote the district's Summer Reading Program.

“This exciting event is the culminating activity that highlights the district’s focus on reading and the importance of becoming lifelong readers,” said superintendent of schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “It demonstrates the commitment of our staff, students and parents to #FreeportReads and is a great kick off to our summer reading program.”

“Students who continue to read during the summer grow exponentially in their literacy,” said Mary Lamotta, a literary coach in the district. And those who don't, she noted, could fall behind. To set the stage for the children's continued engagement in literacy during the summer, students had the opportunity in May and June to participate in numerous activities and events such as a scavenger hunt for book posters hung outside the Freeport schools, watching a nightly video read aloud by a Freeport education team member on YouTube.com, receiving free books handed out during the Peace Walk and book “tastings” in the schools’ libraries.

“We distributed 1,000 books at the Peace March and we have 10,000 views of our videos on YouTube and over 14,000 minutes streamed,” said Glori Engle, director of English Language Arts for the district. “We hope that the enthusiasm we see here carries over to summer reading.”

During Family Literacy Night, families participated in a variety of interactive activities designed to promote the importance of reading, including games and raffles, bookmaking and learning how to draw the characters in the books. Representatives from the Freeport Memorial Library were on hand, as well, to promote its summer reading program. The teachers in attendance promoted the slogan “Together is Better” and the hashtag #FreeportReads.

In addition, Mrs. Engle and Dr. Mary Anne DeVivio, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, paired up to read an Elephant and Piggie book titled, "I Am Invited to a Party" to the families gathered for the assembly. A highlight of the evening was when two main characters from the books, Gerald the Elephant and Piggie made an in-person appearance on stage. Elephant and Piggie, a book series for early readers by author Mo Willems, debuted in 2007, is done in a comic book style, and features Gerald the Elephant and Piggie in a variety of life situations.

The district's YouTube channel can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5FZ4bzTMOu2J34DPmsE8KQ



Promoting Harmony with Yoga

Promoting Harmony with Yoga photo
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Promoting Harmony with Yoga photo 3
Promoting Harmony with Yoga photo 4
As part of its commemoration of the International Day of Yoga and its commitment to promoting peace throughout its schools, community and the world, the district hosted its annual Yoga for Harmony and Peace assembly at Dodd.

The program featured students, physical education teachers and yoga instructors leading their peers and staff members through a variety of poses and exercises. They spoke about the benefits of guided meditation and how the practice of yoga allows for the discovery of oneness within the self, world and nature. As a testament to its dedication of mindfulness and peace, Dodd was also presented with a citation from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s office by her representative and Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs Program Director Dexter Hedgepeth.

“You will learn more about yoga as you continue to practice it, but I’m truly inspired by you taking this knowledge with you from here into high school and into your lives,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Whatever techniques you have learned are going to help you physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. It helps you get focused and [promotes] concentration, peace and happiness in everything that you do. I’m so glad to be a part of this celebration.”

Elementary Schools Host Spring Festivals

Elementary Schools Host Spring Festivals photo
Elementary Schools Host Spring Festivals photo 2
As follow-ups to Spring Festivals of the Arts that the secondary schools in the district hosted in May, the elementary schools hosted their own scintillating slate of performances in June. In both day and evening programs, student musicians and artists used the spring-themed platforms to showcase their extraordinary skills in music and art.

Elephant and Piggie Visit District

Elephant and Piggie Visit District photo
Elephant and Piggie Visit District photo 2
Students throughout the district’s elementary schools received a visit from popular children’s book characters Elephant and Piggie as a precursor to the district’s Family Literacy Night. The event, which was also attended by Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mary Anne DeVivio and Director of English Language Arts Glori Engel, featured both characters aboard a fire truck greeting students.

New Visions Celebrates Author’s Day

New Visions Celebrates Author’s Day photo
New Visions Celebrates Author’s Day photo 2
Students in grades K-4 at New Visions celebrated Author’s Day by sharing their original pieces of writing with parents and guests on June 11.

The celebration was the culmination of the students’ work throughout the school year as they learned about the writing process, including drafting, revising, editing and publishing, and different writing genres and their structures. The students proudly presented a wide variety of writing styles, including personal narratives, persuasive essays, informational pieces and “How To” books. They personalized their presentations by sharing a fact about themselves.

New Visions’ celebration of Author’s Day is part of its commitment to ensuring student literacy.

Community Gives Generously to Class of 2018

Community Gives Generously to Class of 2018 photo

It was a night of celebration and recognition as the Freeport community gathered to present scholarships to deserving members of Freeport High School’s Class of 2018 during the 50th annual Scholarship and Honors Program held on June 11.

Through the generosity of the Freeport community, a record-breaking $89,000 in scholarships was awarded to graduates who met and exceeded the criteria in the areas of leadership, scholarship, the arts, athletics, the ability to succeed despite adversity, and outstanding community service. 

Freeport High School principal Joseph Mille opened the program by congratulating the members of the Class of 2018 who represent the best of the best and by thanking the community for their support of this year’s graduates. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham congratulated this year’s scholarship recipients and acknowledged the continued support and generosity of the community. “To the students who are here this evening, you are all superheroes. We are celebrating all of your accomplishments and your unnerving commitment to succeed,” said Dr. Kuncham. “This is a recognition of you as valuable and special. Thank you to all of this year’s donors for making tonight possible.”

Board of Education President Michael Pomerico also addressed the scholarship recipients and community donors. “As members of the Class of 2018, you represent the greatest things happening in Freeport High School,” said Mr. Pomerico. “You have been chosen because you meet the criteria for success. As you move on, remember to give back to the Freeport Public Schools. To our parents and community residents, your support has been instrumental to our students’ success. Thank you for all that you do.”

Until the awards were announced, those in the audience did not know who the scholarship recipients would be. Excitement filled the room as one-by-one students heard their names. Community pride was evident as the students were applauded for their accomplishments. 



Archer Hosts Teddy Tutorials for Safety

Archer Hosts Teddy Tutorials for Safety photo
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Archer Hosts Teddy Tutorials for Safety photo 3

As part of their lessons on basic health and safety, kindergartners at Archer Street participated in a Teddy Bear Clinic led by nurses from NYU Winthrop Hospital with assistance by nursing students from Adelphi University.

Following nurse Ellen Berghorn’s reading of the book “We’re Different, We’re the Same” by Bobbi Kates, students put on their caps and gloves to play the roles of doctors and nurses as they treated their favorite stuffed animals for their injuries. The program taught students about injury prevention and the importance of taking precautionary measures to best ensure safety.

 

District Promotes Summer Literacy

District Promotes Summer Literacy photo

In preparation of its annual Summer Reading program, schools hosted a variety of activities that were designed to promote the importance of continuing to read year-round.

Activities included Archer, Bayview, Atkinson, Giblyn and New Visions decorating their libraries to resemble cafés and hosting “Book Tastings” for their students. As part of the event, students previewed a “menu” of books before selecting one to take home with them for summer reading. In addition, the high school invited the younger students to their library, complete with summer-themed decorations, and assisted them while they joined the Summer Reading Google Classrooms.

The activities in preparation of the district’s Summer Reading program are a testament to its commitment to student literacy.

District Rolls Out Chromebook Initiative at Dodd

District Rolls Out Chromebook Initiative at Dodd photo
District Rolls Out Chromebook Initiative at Dodd photo 2
District Rolls Out Chromebook Initiative at Dodd photo 3
As part of its commitment to providing students and staff with innovative 21st-century instruction and technology tools, the district launched a 1:1 Chromebook rollout at Dodd. The initiative – Phase 3 of the Smart Schools Bond Act and part of the school’s “One-to-World” approach – was designed to provide each student and teacher with the technology resources to improve productivity, communication and collaboration. By providing each student with their own Chromebook, it will enable them to utilize programs such as Google Classroom, APPs and digital e-books to enhance the teaching and learning process.

“I’m excited about expanding our technology initiative in the Middle School,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Freeport Public Schools offers our students excellent opportunities to learn and grow. Staff and students have already embraced the amazing possibilities and opportunities the Chromebooks provide in the classroom. The capabilities of 1:1 Chromebooks along with Google classroom will continue to enhance academic instruction and learning.”

“As a second-generation technology educator, I am beyond ecstatic that we are providing the tangible technology to the students at the middle school,” said technology teacher David Gordon. “It’s only the beginning of June and I am already eager to start our next school year with our techno-equipped students.”

“The Chromebook was a great investment for us since we’re living in an age full of technology,” said eighth-grader Kaileigh Adams. “Learning early how to use it will help us with our future.”

The rollout is a testament to the district’s dedication to educating the whole student and ensuring that they are equipped with the latest technological resources.

FHS Select Chorale Dazzles at Carnegie Hall

FHS Select Chorale Dazzles at Carnegie Hall photo
The FHS Select Chorale had the honor of performing at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall for the ninth consecutive year.

Under the leadership of director Monique Retzlaff, the group performed a remarkable rendition of “Faure’s Requiem” to the delight and standing ovation of audience members. The invitation to perform on a stage as prestigious as Carnegie Hall is a testament to not only the commitment and talents of the high school’s Select Chorale, but the exceptional level of musical instruction in the district.

AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM FEEDBACK SURVEY

Freeport Public Schools is in the process of reviewing our afterschool program model and want parents and guardians to have the opportunity to share your thoughts. Please take a few minutes to complete the brief survey linked below. 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FPCommunitySurvey

FHS Club’s Commitment to Civic Responsibility

FHS Club’s Commitment to Civic Responsibility photo
As part of its ongoing commitment to altruism, the Speak Truth to Power Club at FHS raised $500 to benefit the Freeport Interfaith Nutritional Network, a local soup kitchen providing food and other provisions for the community. In addition, the club raised $1,000 from artwork that was created by children removed from exploitative labor industries in India; the funds will be used for their healthcare and education.

Under the direction of adviser Pamela Schmidt, the school’s Speak Truth to Power Club regularly promotes the importance of civic responsibility both locally and globally.

BOE Celebrates Retirees’ 927 years of service

BOE Celebrates Retirees’ 927 years of service photo
The Board of Education and administrators honored staff members who will be retiring from the district during a special ceremony on June 6. Joined by their families and friends, the 38 retirees celebrated a collective 927 years of service to the district, students, community and public education, and were presented with commemorative plaques.

“It is bittersweet as I think of the tremendous impact you have had on the lives of our children,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “We are happy for you and thankful for all your years of outstanding contributions in shaping the futures of young minds and hearts. It is not possible to measure what each of you has meant to our district and you are leaving a lasting legacy.”

Grease

This year the Atkinson Drama Club put on a spectacular performance of the play, Grease.  The students collaborated successfully with one another and worked extremely hard. Due to the dedication and commitment of all the students, the play was a huge success. We cannot thank the fifth and sixth grade students enough who participated in this performance.   Also, to Mrs. Albarano and Mrs. Myers, your ability to bring out the best in our students is to be celebrated.  Thank you for your efforts, passion and inspiring our young stars!

Dodd Student’s Artwork ‘Speaks’ Volumes

Dodd Student’s Artwork ‘Speaks’ Volumes photo
Dodd eighth-grader Gianna Bonilla-Rivas was named a finalist in the Intellectual Freedom Committee of Nassau County’s 14th annual “Freedom to Read” Essay and Art Contest, which tasks students to create an original work of art related to a favorite book, story or film. At an IFC awards ceremony on May 17, Bonilla-Rivas was presented with a certificate of merit for her artwork inspired by Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, “Speak.”

FHS Oboist Earns Scholarship

FHS Oboist Earns Scholarship photo
The district extends its congratulations to FHS sophomore Tyler Hawkins, who has been awarded a scholarship from the Nassau Music Educators Association to study at the Fredonia Summer Music Program. Hawkins, an oboist with the school’s Wind Ensemble, was selected for the scholarship from an extensive list of applicants.

The Fredonia Summer Music Festival offers weeklong programs designed for young musicians. Students have the opportunity to spend a week on the campus to work with Fredonia's artist faculty, refine their skills, improve their technique and collaborate with other musicians. Fredonia has been known and recognized for excellence in music and music education for more than 100 years.

Bayview Works with Makerspace

Bayview Works with Makerspace photo

Through a grant from the Freeport Educational Foundation, students at Bayview had the opportunity to work with Makerspace on May 15. As part of the event, students used science, engineering, coding and problem solving skills to complete a variety of tasks that were presented through the lens of the International Space Station. They coded Ozobots and worked with Magnatiles, Keva Planks, Bee-Bots, LEGO WeDo and Dash Robots to supplement their classroom lessons in STEM.

The event was facilitated by third-graders in the school’s Technology Club, who prepared for the event by training with these wide array of STEM activities for several weeks.

FHS Student Awarded Rensselaer Medal

FHS Student Awarded Rensselaer Medal photo
The FHS Science Department selected Saif Ali as the recipient of the 2018 Rensselaer Medal, awarded annually to promising secondary school juniors who distinguish themselves in science and mathematics.

As a result of the distinction, Ali will be awarded a $25,000 per year merit scholarship that is guaranteed for four years should he apply, be accepted to and choose to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (five years if he enrolls in the School of Architecture program).

In the event Ali enrolls at Rensselaer following his senior year, he will be presented with the medal during the university’s Honors Convocation in fall 2019.

Dodd Students Awarded for Hofstra STEM Program Participation

Dodd Students Awarded for Hofstra STEM Program Participation photo
Students at Dodd were recognized for their participation in Hofstra University’s 2018 Saturday Scholars STEM program during an annual recognition breakfast held on the Hofstra campus on May 19.

As part of the program, which was held on Saturdays since the fall, students took part in a variety of STEM-related activities and workshops in order to supplement their classroom lessons. Students recognized were Naya Hall, Ana James, Linsey Matthews-Correria, Ryan Retzlaff, Anthony Trenchfield and Ryan Tucker, some of whom will also be continuing their participation in a STEM program at Hofstra in the summer.

FHS Senior Musicians Celebrated

 FHS Senior Musicians Celebrated photo
High school students were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the music department at the annual Senior Music Awards program on May 22.

The ceremony featured a beautiful slide presentation showcasing students’ participation in district, community, county and state events, and celebrated the contributions of 61 members of the Class of 2018, many of whom will continue studying music in college. Their musical excellence is a testament not only to their dedication and commitment, but also to the district's exceptional music program.

Students Learn its ‘Hip’ to be Kind

Students Learn its ‘Hip’ to be Kind photo
Students across the district's elementary schools supplemented their ongoing character education during a visit from the Hip Pickles group’s “Music with a Message” program throughout the month of March.

The interactive assemblies featured award-winning drummers relaying motivational messages of themes such as kindness and diversity. Students learned about the importance of celebrating cultural differences and displaying compassion to each other.

Columbus Celebrates Diversity

Columbus Celebrates Diversity photo
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As part of its celebration of diversity, Columbus Avenue School in the Freeport Public School District hosted Multicultural Night for students and their families.

The evening featured staff members and parents sharing music and cuisines from various countries, in addition to the unveiling of the school’s Tapestry of Diversity — a compilation of flags and colorful depictions of cultures created by students. During a follow-up event, pre-kindergartners and kindergartners were treated to a performance about diversity as they continued learning about the importance of embracing cultural differences.

Musicians Dazzle at NYSSMA Festival

Musicians Dazzle at NYSSMA Festival photo
The FHS Wind Ensemble earned a Gold rating for its performance at the New York State School Music Association’s Majors Festival. The 47 student musicians, under the direction of Michael LaSorsa, showcased their remarkable talents in a repertoire ranging from the baroque period to the contemporary period. Adjudicators commented that the group, comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors, performed with musical finesse and emotion, and that their love for music was apparent.

The district congratulates the Wind Ensemble on its dazzling performance and rating at the festival.

Anthony Miller Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Anthony Miller Receives Lifetime Achievement Award photo
The district extends its gratitude and congratulations to Board of Education Vice President Anthony Miller, who was presented with the New York State School Board Association’s School Board U Lifetime Achievement Award at the board’s May meeting.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor that can be earned as part of the School Board U Recognition Program, which acknowledges the extensive time and effort required of school board members and awards them for their participation in training opportunities. Mr. Miller has previously been a recipient of the program’s Board Achievement Award, Board Excellence Award and Board Mastery Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award is a testament to Mr. Miller’s tireless efforts and commitment to the students and families of Freeport, in addition to his ongoing advocacy of public education.

LI News 103.9 FM Radio Interview on International Space Station Connection

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Columbus Circus a Huge Hit

Columbus Circus a Huge Hit photo
Pre-kindergartners at Columbus Avenue performed a fun and festive slate of musical selections as part of the annual Circus Show.

With their parents in attendance, students were led by their teachers through a variety of circus-related songs while wearing colorful hats and accessories they had created. With the gymnasium full of popular circus-themed decorations, games and designs, students learned to continue channeling their creativity as they prepare for kindergarten.

Senator Visits New Visions

Senator Visits New Visions photo
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As part of their commemoration of Earth Day, students at New Visions participated in an Earth Day poster contest sponsored by New York State Sen. John E. Brooks.

The state senator visited the school to present a citation to the winner of the contest, second-grader Sabrina Turcios, who worked under the direction of art teacher Nancy Williams. She had the honor of having her beautiful work on display in Albany for a month. Sen. Brooks also presented certificates to all students who participated in the contest and discussed the importance of caring for the planet.

Science Educator Earns STEM Teaching Fellowship

Science Educator Earns STEM Teaching Fellowship photo
The district is proud to announce that Dodd science teacher Barbara Algarin has been selected as one of only 10 teachers in New York State to receive the Regeneron STEM Teaching Fellowship, a partnership among the STEM Leadership Center, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Teachers College of Columbia University and NASA Endeavor through U.S. Satellite Laboratory.

Criteria for this honor included submitting an online application by a deadline, holding New York State certification in at least one STEM area, and teaching one STEM area in grades 6-12. As a result of her selection, Algarin will participate in three online courses, and in July 2019 will spend two weeks at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals working alongside their scientists in a laboratory. Upon completion of the work, it is anticipated that she will achieve a Leadership Certificate in STEM Education early fall 2019.

“I am very happy when our teachers participate in such excellent professional development opportunities on their own initiative,” said District Director of Science Dr. Vincent Pereira. “This strengthens the entire science department.”

Author Visits Atkinson

Author Visits Atkinson photo
Sixth-grade English as a New Language students at Atkinson received a special visit from author Enrique Flores-Galbis as part of their unit on tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, also known as the hero’s journey.

During the visit, Flores-Galbis discussed his novel, “90 Miles to Havana,” shared his story of coming to the camps in Miami, and spoke about the rich history of Cuba both before and after the Cuban Revolution. Students asked questions and received signed copies of the novel.

Secondary Schools Showcase Artwork

Secondary Schools Showcase Artwork photo
The district hosted its Secondary Art Exhibit and Reception at the Freeport Memorial Library. Students from Dodd and FHS were joined by administrators, art teachers and family members for the ceremony, which highlighted a remarkable exhibit of two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork that runs through May 30. The ceremony also featured the announcement that nine students plan to pursue a career in art by majoring in visual arts in college, and the recognition of student Chantel Ramos, who was awarded a Leadership Award by the Art Supervisors Association.

The district’s Department of the Arts extends its gratitude to the community and Freeport Memorial Library Director Kenneth Bellafiore and staff for their continued support of the arts.

FHS Students Celebrated for Their Achievements in Science

FHS Students Celebrated for Their Achievements in Science photo

Students at FHS were recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments in science during the 14th annual Science Awards Ceremony.

The program began with a lecture by guest speaker Dr. J. Bret Bennington, a professor of geology and chairperson of the department of geology, environment and sustainability at Hofstra University, who spoke about monitoring and understanding the changing planet. Students were then recognized for their outstanding success in various science research competitions, including the Nassau College Science Fair, the Talking Science Seminar at Rockefeller University and the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair.

Following the awarding of certificates, 15 students were inducted to the prestigious New York State Science Honor Society in a candlelighting ceremony led by President Dehandra Blackwood and officers Saif Ali, Kenneth Alvarez and Leah Hochman. The new members are Fajir Ali, Kiara Chombo, Sheilly Duque, Noe Gonzalez, Alexis Jean-Pierre, Krystal Johnson, Ethan Lora, Rosa Medina, Brenda Mendez, Efetobore Omokeni, Jessica Pinzon-Gonzalez, Christian Puentes, Kevin Reyes, Hannah Robinson and Alexandria Yarbrough.

“These students have spent a considerable amount of time — in some cases as much as four years — not only completing research projects, but doing extensive research to be able to make an impact on our environment and our world,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mary Anne DeVivio. “Something has to be said to that and I am very proud of each and every one of you.”

Dodd Dabbles with DNA

Dodd Dabbles with DNA photo
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Seventh-graders at Dodd had the unique opportunity to work in a forensic science lab at the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center, where they used gel electrophoresis techniques to isolate DNA fragments. The visit was an extension of the district’s commitment to providing students with sound scientific enrichment.

Bayview Celebrates Cafeteria Staff

Bayview Celebrates Cafeteria Staff photo
Faculty members at Bayview spearheaded an initiative to celebrate the hard work and commitment of the school’s cafeteria staff, comprised of head cook Diane Anatra, Mary Cox, Elva Lopez, Rosa Nunez and Corinne White. The five outstanding members of the Bayview family were treated to a slate of festivities and heartwarming gestures throughout a week in May.

On Monday, the team was greeted with doughnuts and student-handwritten cards that lined the wall of the kitchen; on Tuesday, teachers decorated hand lotion bottles with quotes to gift to the team; on Thursday, the team was presented with a banner signed by each student; and on Friday, each member of the cafeteria staff received a personalized apron and enjoyed a special brunch served by students. In addition, students in Geraldine LaPenne’s class created cards and gifted each member of the team a Bayview “Make Us Smile” bracelet.

The initiative was organized by teachers Martha Bermeo, Lindsey Chmura, Jennifer Leal, Tanisha Mason, and Lisa Ann Zabala.

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Atkinson Hosts Career Day

Atkinson Hosts Career Day photo
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Sixth-graders at Atkinson were exposed to a wide variety of occupations that they can pursue in the future during Career Day.

Professionals across a variety of fields, including law enforcement, culinary arts and engineering visited the school to discuss their jobs with students. Students were tasked with asking questions of the professionals, taking notes and analyzing their findings to determine which careers interested them the most.

Archer STEAMs Ahead

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Students at Archer Street were joined by their families as they supplemented their classroom lessons in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics during the second annual Family STEAM Night, themed “Full STEAM Ahead.”

More than 280 attendees participated in a fun and educational slate of activities that included collaborative coding, radical robots, construction junction, imagination station, cardboard challenge, ScribbleBots and upcycled instruments. In addition, teachers and facilitators were assisted by student “TechSperts” who demonstrated their knowledge of STEAM-related concepts.

Archer Stresses Importance of Stress Management

Archer Stresses Importance of Stress Management photo
As part of its observance of Mental Health Awareness Week in May, Archer Street hosted a variety of unique activities.

The school designated one full day for students and staff to wear the color green — the nationally recognized color for mental health awareness — including a green ribbon they had been given throughout the week. Teachers in each class conducted activities that were designed to encourage positive thinking and offered tips for dealing with stress, such as having kindergartners create their own stress balls.

The week’s activities taught students about the importance of stress management and taking the proper steps to ensure a happy and healthy mindset.

Archer Hosts Zumba Program

Archer Hosts Zumba Program photo
As part of an ongoing slate of Parent University workshops it has hosted throughout the school year, Archer Street hosted Zumba exercises. Staff members, students and their families participated in the hourlong dance fitness program that was designed to reinforce the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle.

Archer ‘ACES’ Altruism for FEF

 Archer ‘ACES’ Altruism for FEF photo
Students and staff at Archer Street participated in the Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) program designed to benefit the Freeport Educational Foundation and teach students about the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle.

The program featured the entire student body gathering on the playground and participating in warm-up exercises followed by a fitness walk around the school. As a result of their fundraising efforts, FEF was presented with a 1,250 check, which qualified the school as a Gold Sponsor for this remarkable initiative.

FHS Students Meet Former Astronaut

FHS Students Meet Former Astronaut photo
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As a follow-up to the district's remarkable opportunity to make audio contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station in March, approximately 25 students from the high school visited the Cradle of Aviation Museum for an hourlong presentation by former astronaut and current U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

Sen. Nelson spoke to students about a variety of space-related topics, including his experiences orbiting the Earth in the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986, and how it shaped his views on the environment and future space explorations. He also discussed lesser-known stories of the late American astronaut John Glenn.

The ongoing partnership between Freeport Schools and the Cradle of Aviation is an extension of the district’s commitment to providing students with unique scientific-enrichment opportunities.

District Ushers in Spring with Festivals

District Ushers in Spring with Festivals photo

The fact that the district has been named a Best Community for Music Education was clearly on display during the past few weeks. The musical groups at the secondary and intermediate schools in the district welcomed spring and showcased their outstanding talents in Spring Festivals of the Arts for the Board of Education, administrators, families, staff and community members.

The four concerts — FHS Choral and Instrumental, Dodd and Atkinson— were all held on separate days in the Performing Arts Center located in the high school. The festivals featured each school’s music teachers leading their students through harmonious and riveting performances of song and dance, including jazz, mariachi and step. Artwork by students from each school was also on diplay in the lobby of the high school.

The Spring Festivals of the Arts highlighted the outstanding musical and artistic talents of the students and the level of visual- and performing arts instruction and enrichment across the district.

Phenomenal Physical Education Students

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Students across the district were recognized with the 2018 Outstanding Elementary and Middle School Physical Education Student Award by the Nassau Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The award is bestowed upon two students from each school who demonstrate a physically active lifestyle, responsible behavior and leadership and overall physical education excellence following nomination by their physical education teachers.

The district extends its congratulations to: Manny Cruceta and Zanai Thomas Minor (Archer Street); Angelo Gordon and Cassie Smith (Atkinson); Justin Martinez and Madison Starks-Alexander (Bayview Avenue); Dillon DeBourg and Shelby Jackson (Dodd); Shaniya Bonny and Ryder Suarez (Giblyn); and Jhonniel Nunez Estrella and Rihanna Sealy (New Visions). The students were honored at a special awards ceremony at Roslyn High School.

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FHS Science Teacher Honored

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FHS teacher Peggy Parigoris has been named the Nassau County Outstanding High School Science Teacher of 2018 by the Science Teachers Association of New York State. This is the third consecutive year that district educators have been recognized by the organization for their outstanding science instruction. Last year, Atkinson science facilitator Matthew Yatsyla was named the Nassau County Outstanding Intermediate Teacher of 2017, while Archer Street librarian Debbie Bergen and Atkinson teacher Thomas Doyle were named Outstanding Elementary Teacher and Outstanding Intermediate Teacher, respectively, the year prior.

Parigoris will be commemorated for this tremendous honor at the 21st annual Science Awards Dinner on May 22 at the Coral House in Baldwin. The district extends its congratulations to Parigoris and wishes her continued success in her career.

Giblyn Supports Ride for Life

Giblyn Supports Ride for Life photo
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As a way of displaying its continued and unwavering support for the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Giblyn welcomed Chris Pendergast and the Ride for Life Group for the fifth consecutive year.

Chanting “Strike Out A-L-S,” students displayed colorful signs and banners of support for the riders, who are all at different stages of the neurological disorder. They also serenaded them with moving performances under the direction of music teacher Shannon Abramovitz. As a result of the school’s fundraising efforts, the group was presented with a check for $2,200, an amount that figured to increase in the coming weeks.

The event reinforced the importance of altruism, perseverance, compassion and determination, and supported a tremendous cause in a heartwarming way.

Nearly 3,000 Attend Ninth-Annual Peace March and Health and Wellness Fair

Nearly 3,000 Attend Ninth-Annual Peace March and Health and Wellness Fair photo
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Thousands of joyful participants took part in the ninth annual Freeport Cares Peace March and Health and Wellness Fair. Board of Education members, administrators, staff and students from the district along with Village of Freeport community members and invited dignitaries came together to promote peace and wellness locally, nationally and globally. 

“We are peace, and we must return to it every day and every moment,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “We must raise awareness and promote peace within our families, community, country, Mother Earth and the universe. Inner peace transcends to global peace. Let us resolve to amplify our work, let us celebrate our differences and become superheroes of peace, advocates for change and not allow injustice to happen here or anywhere.”

Board of Education Vice President Anthony Miller, Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, Sen. John Brooks, Legislators Debra Mulé, Kevan Abrahams and Steven Rhoades, and Assemblyman Brian Curran encouraged the crowd with their thoughts of peace for the community and the importance of Freeport’s efforts. 

The peace march, following a route marked with yellow ribbons and peace signs, began at Freeport High School and returned there, creating a sea of yellow throughout the community, as nearly all participants, including members of the board of education, several elected officials, students and district staff, dressed in the color yellow representing peace. This year’s march was one of the most highly attended, with nearly 3,000 participants promoting peace.

Musical performances, including the Freeport High School jazz ensemble and district elementary chorus group, provided inspiration at the beginning of the program. Following the march, students, parents and community residents participated in activities and gathered information from the numerous vendors at the Health and Wellness Fair.

The Freeport Cares Peace March brought the community together and was designed to continue fostering unity throughout the entire Village of Freeport as well as a personal sense of harmony within each person.

New Visions Plants Peace Pole

New Visions Plants Peace Pole photo
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As a testament to its commitment to peace and harmony across the world and stemming from its very own community, New Visions unveiled a brand new Peace Pole on its front lawn. The dedication ceremony, which was attended by administrators, teachers, students and parents, was designed to formally introduce the symbol of unity.

Following fourth-grader Alexis Skewer’s reading of the poem, “Promise of Peace,” students and staff members placed yellow flowers before the Peace Pole, and students then translated messages of peace in various languages: “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Japanese; “May Peace Be in Our Hearts” in Russian; “May Peace Be in Our Community” in Hebrew; “May Peace Be in Our Schools” in Spanish; and all of these messages of peace in American Sign Language.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values and your values become your destiny,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “’The future depends on what you do today,’ as Mahatma Gandhi said, and what you have done here this afternoon is extraordinary — connecting each one of us together through this amazing Peace Pole and connecting to 180 countries and connecting to all of humanity.”

The ceremony was a momentous occasion and precursor to the ninth annual District Peace March and Health and Wellness Fair.

FHS Select Chorale Places First in Festival

FHS Select Chorale Places First in Festival photo
The high school's Select Chorale recently showcased its exceptional talents at the Music in the Parks Competition Festival, a conference in Virginia attended by orchestras, symphonic bands and choruses ranging in levels from elementary to high school.

Freeport’s group, adjudicated alongside students across the Eastern Seaboard, earned first place in the AA High School Division, Group 1, under the leadership of director Monique Retzlaff. In addition to its dazzling performance, the students networked and interacted with fellow aspiring musicians in Williamsburg’s Busch Gardens amusement park, visited colonial museums and observed historical landmarks.

The district extends its congratulations to the Select Chorale for another outstanding showing at the festival.

Flag Appreciation

Flag Appreciation photo
Congratulations to the 5th grade semi-finalists at the Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School, who participated in Assemblyman Brian Curran’s “What Does the American Flag Mean to You?” Flag Day Contest under the direction of 5th grade art teacher Ms. Emily Hertzberg. The 5th grade semi-finalists are Diana Galdamez, Carina Vigil, Melissa Thorpe, Jason Cuellar, Raschel Siguenza, Clarissa Negron, and Sydney Martial! 

Best Community for Music Education

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The Freeport Public School District has been named a 2018 Best Community for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. This prestigious distinction is earned by school districts across the nation that exhibit exceptional efforts and commitment toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum, excel in their instruction of music and in their extensive array of music programs offered to students. 

“This national distinction is a testament to the importance Freeport Public Schools places on music education in the lives of our students ,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Our Board of Education, administration, staff, and community members have been staunch supportors of our music and performing arts programs, giving our students incredible opportunities. We are proud to be named a Best Community for Music Education.” 
       
Freeport’s renowned music department fosters strong and positive relationships between its students and staff and annually hosts districtwide collaborative events for peace and Black History month. The talented music staff, combined with the music curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Arts Standards, have led the district and its music students to achieve numerous accolades and honors, including semifinalist status in the Grammy in the Schools competition and Gold Level recognition by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. This year was the first year that the district offered Advanced Placement Music Theory at Freeport High School; hosted a Tri-M Music Honor Society, inducting 47 outstanding students.  Students in various ensembles have routinely been invited to perform at prestigious venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and numerous local, community, state and national events.
      
Director of Arts and Community Relations Ruth Breidenbach said, “Together, teachers and students create a culture of music excellence and enjoy a sense of belonging to a family.” This school year, 23 music teachers have provided music instruction to approximately 2,000 students districtwide. There are seven orchestras, 11 bands, 13 chorus groups, three mariachi bands, two jazz bands and several unique student-led groups, including brass, string, saxophone and chorus ensembles. A new districtwide chorus, developed for students in grade 4-12, debuted at this year’s Black History celebration.  

Sixty-two members of the Class of 2018 will graduate from the music program at Freeport High School, with approximately 50 percent committed to majoring, minoring or incorporating music into college programs such as music education, music performance, music therapy and music business. These students plan to attend schools including the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, Hofstra University, Molloy College and SUNY Purchase, having benefited immensely from the wide range of opportunities afforded them by the Freeport Public Schools’ robust and award-winning music program.
 
 

Jazzing it Up

Jazzing it Up photo

Students at the high school and Dodd took the stage to showcase their extraordinary musical talents in the ninth annual Night of Jazz.

With Adam Rubin and Michael LaSorsa directing the middle- and high-school musicians, respectively, the evening was filled with song, dance and a celebration of American history, people and places. Highlights included the student ensemble Brass Bois, led by high school senior Myles Carter, marching through the audience during a spirited performance of a Dixieland hit, in addition to the finale featuring a combined ensemble of seventh- through 12th-graders performing together and showcasing soloists’ improvisation skills.

The event was a harmonious testament to the remarkable talents of students and the high level of jazz instruction in the district.

Flag Tutorial at Archer

Flag Tutorial at Archer photo
Third- and fourth-graders at Archer Street received a visit from members of the Nassau County Veterans Services organization.

The special guests presented facts about American history, how the American flag originated, and spoke about the importance of flag etiquette. Students then joined the veterans in a display of artwork depicting iconic moments in history and symbols of freedom and American pride.

Superb Scientists

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Students at the high school presented their outstanding science research projects in the school’s 14th annual Science and Engineering Fair.

The fair provided an opportunity for students to demonstrate their experiments, and present their research and conclusions under the leadership of science teacher Edward Irwin to a team of judges. The team was comprised of district staff members, college professors and representatives from science-related industries. Subject areas of research projects included behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, medicine and health, and microbiology. The projects were evaluated on a point system based on students’ research displayed, methods used, validity of conclusions and presentation of results.

The science and engineering fair highlighted the exceptional work and research conducted by students and the high level of science instruction at the high school.

Fraction Fundamentals

Fraction Fundamentals photo
Students at Bayview Avenue were tasked with determining fractional parts of a set of fictional cakes during Math Olympiads.

Following their study of the story, “Full House” by Dayle Ann Dodds, students used the area model for fractions as a standard for the math problems they were presented with, and then calculated the monetary value associated with each fraction. The lesson, known as “The Unusual Baker Fraction Investigation,” reinforced the mathematical concept that the whole matters when comparing fractions.

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