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Superintendent's Corner

 

Welcome Back Letter 2019

Welcome to the 2019-20 school year! We are ready to build upon the success of our students and staff from last year. Our students put forth super efforts to meet and exceed expectations in academics, the arts and athletics. They made their small steps into giant leaps. The momentum continued into a busy, productive summer for our many students who attended a variety of summer programs for support and enrichment. Freeport Public Schools provides a wide variety of academic and extracurricular experiences that assist all of our students in achieving their full potential. Our students and staff are prepared this year to Be the Change needed to make a successful difference in themselves and the world around them. 

The staff of Freeport Schools is excited and ready for our students to return. We are deeply committed to our students and their families and prepared for a fabulous year filled with growth and achievement. This year, we will continue to grow upon many of the wonderful initiatives we have begun. Our holistic approach to preparing our students for college, career, and life readiness is key to everything we do with our students. Our targeted initiatives will continue to assist all students, including our English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities, to reach and exceed their potential in all areas. We have further expanded our advanced placement and elective courses at the high school. We are excited with the continued expansion of infusing technology within our instruction enhancing our student-centered learning. The Next Generation Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and the new Social Studies framework have reached the implementation phase and will be guiding our instruction. It is crucial for us to meet and exceed accountability measures under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Social-Emotional Learning guidelines and the safety and well-being of our students and staff will continue to be at the forefront this year. 

The Smart Schools Bond Act enabled us to accelerate implementation of our technology plan. With over 4,300 Chromebooks for every student in grades 5 - 12, and over 1,000 2:1 iPads/Chromebooks in all K - 4 classrooms, Freeport Public Schools continues to provide more opportunities for stimulating shifts in classroom instruction. We are very excited about expanded Augmented Reality opportunities for our students. This year, our schools will utilize 4DLibrary, an augmented reading program that will enhance instruction through virtual 3D models. Students will also engage in MAD (Mobile Application Development) –Learn, a unique web-based curriculum program that teaches students to learn mobile app development, inspiring student creativity and fostering entrepreneurship. Students will plan, create, launch, and market their own mobile apps. Teachers will continue to build instructional capacity through modeling and collaboration for implementation of technology-infused lessons and learning tasks that are differentiated, inquiry-based and student centered.  There will be continued focus on Digital Citizenship with instruction on the importance of being a safe and responsible digital citizen. New and emerging technologies have brought exciting alternate instruction and learning opportunities that inspire our students and teachers beyond the school day. 

Our buildings and grounds have been beautifully prepared for the school year. There were many projects completed this summer including the continuation of installing air conditioners in our classrooms. Between last year and this summer, we have air conditioned 125 classrooms districtwide. The four new Atkinson classrooms are set to go and the portable classrooms have been removed.  Other projects include chorus and band room renovations at the high school, bathroom renovations, electrical upgrades, and new doors and hardware at Columbus providing better security. Other security enhancements and window replacement at Dodd Middle School are ongoing projects. Through our capital reserve funds, many of these projects adding up to over $3 million have taken place at no additional cost to taxpayers. The district will also begin to undergo $6.2 million of projects under the Energy Performance Contract (EPC) at no additional cost due to energy savings and state aid. Some of the EPC projects will be chiller replacements at Dodd Middle School and Freeport High School and energy efficient LED lighting.

We are delighted Freeport Public Schools continues to offer our students exceptional opportunities both during and after the school day. We want our students to soar, not only academically, but as well-rounded individuals ready to take their place as global citizens. We encourage our students to participate in activities that will make a difference in their lives and the world. Each of us can take the steps needed to Be the Change and make a positive impact for ourselves, our families, or our communities. 2019-20 is set to be another amazing year. We look forward to seeing you as we partner together for our children.

Welcome Back Letter 2018

I’m excited to welcome you to the 2018-19 school year. Last year passed by at the speed of light and what a super year it was for Freeport Public Schools. Our students reached new heights as we guided their growth in academics, music, fine arts and athletics. It was another busy summer with numerous programs providing students with support or enrichment classes. We are super proud of the extraordinary events and accomplishments of our Freeport School community. Our schools provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff, where all children can embrace learning, become lifelong learners and be college and career ready upon graduation. This year, our staff and students will make the next giant leap to reach greater heights of achievement together.

Our staff is prepared to continue its superheroic efforts this year on behalf of our students. We have been very successful in making gains for our students in reading and writing proficiency, math skills and problem-solving, and increasing our graduation rate. We continue to bring innovative science experiences to our students districtwide, keeping Freeport at the forefront in science programs and research. We are pleased to share that we are planning for a visit from a Nobel Laureate, Dr. Ranier Weiss, who will be speaking to our students about the significance of gravitational waves. We continue to have meaningful relationships with several colleges, universities, science research institutes and museums, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, NASA, Hofstra University, Adelphi University and more. These partnerships provide unique opportunities for our students to experience advanced instruction far beyond the K-12 experience.

We have added to the extensive opportunities for our students to take Advanced Placement classes and to earn college credits while still in high school with a course catalog of 25 AP classes and more than 30 college-credit bearing courses. Our technology initiative is moving to Phase 3 and our Dodd students have already been issued their 1:1 Chromebooks. Atkinson will soon be following. We are pleased to be introducing Freshman Seminar at Dodd Middle School to better prepare our students for high school. The Pathways of study will continue to provide our students with a clarity of purpose and a roadmap to future career success. Pathways are multiyear program paths of academic and technical study along with exposure to aligned careers. It links student learning to the knowledge and skills needed for future education and careers.

We are very excited our breakfast and lunch program will now be offered at no charge to all students. This is one more way we are addressing the health and wellness of our students on a daily basis. Students can continue to buy a la carte items or additional meals.
 
It has been a busy summer preparing our facilities for the start of the new school year. In addition to maintenance, numerous capital projects have been accomplished providing upgrades to our buildings, including upgrading science labs at Dodd, replacing the Dodd elevator, working on the four classroom extensions at Atkinson that will replace the portables, air conditioning in some classrooms, casework and flooring in Atkinson, and entry vestibules planned for Archer, Dodd, Giblyn and Freeport High School as part of our ongoing safety and security measures. Many of these projects were supported through the district’s community-approved capital reserve fund at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Freeport Schools prides itself on creating world-class opportunities for our students to excel and become global leaders. We are committed to providing the means for intellectual, emotional, ethical, social and physical growth for cultural and ethnic diversity, which will assist every student in becoming an informed and productive participant in our democratic society. We want all students in our schools to blossom to their fullest potential. They should leave us as happy, healthy, well-educated, caring individuals striving to make the world a better place. We are ready for this school year and making the Next Giant Leap for the success for all our students.


Sincerely,
 
Kishore Kuncham, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools

 



Summer Message

The warm, relaxing summer days are upon us and I hope that you are all enjoying the time off with your families and friends. 2017-18 was an amazing, accomplished year for Freeport Schools. We are extremely proud of our 2018 graduates, who received an extraordinary number of scholarships and acceptances into prestigious colleges. Many
of our graduating seniors left Freeport Schools with college credits accrued. We are confident that they have received the best instruction and extracurricular activities available to prepare them for their journey. We wish them well as they embark on the next exciting phase of their education and are assured that they will continue to be our stars.

This past year, our Superhero students competed successfully on local, regional and international levels in both academics and sports. To highlight a few things, we sent winning teams forward in competition for Future Problem Solvers, Odyssey of the Mind and DECA. Our cheerleaders were Nassau County champions and competed on the state level. Our athletic teams delighted us with their skills. We are proud to be named a recipient of the national 2018 Best Communities in Music Education. Our Select Chorale placed first in the Music in the Parks competition in Virginia. Our super-talented students turned our Performing Arts Center into Broadway with their spectacular star performances.

Speaking of stars, Freeport Schools proudly went into orbit when we made contact with astronaut Scott Tingle aboard the International Space Station. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for our students and staff as we were one of only 13 districts nationwide to be given this unique opportunity to ask questions of an astronaut. The enthusiastic research and learning that the students poured into preparing for the event was inspiring. This year will begin the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo Program, and we will have much more exciting research and many more projects. Safety has always been a number one priority for our district. Although we already put in many enhanced safety and security measures, we continue to work diligently to ensure that our students and staff are prepared and vigilant. Our policies and practices have been reviewed, safety drills are conducted in all school buildings, and we continue to evaluate and improve all safety measures.

We were pleased to present a school budget with a tax levy decrease for the fourth year in a row, and we thank our community for their support. The budget still includes many enhancements to the instructional program to provide our students with the best learning opportunities while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Our district makes the best use of grants to continue to provide additional programs and services for our students without a tax increase to our community. We have many capital projects happening this summer, including the next phase of renovations at Dodd Middle School, window replacements, air conditioning, security upgrades, entry vestibules, classroom renovations, and renovations to building interiors and exteriors districtwide. Many of these will be done through the capital reserves at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The Board of Education and I wish you a safe, invigorating break. Summer is a time to refresh yourselves and enjoy life at an easier pace. We look forward to the return of our students, staff and families in September for another super school year.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools


 


 


Mid-Year Message

 


I am excited to share with you all the wonderful accomplishments that have happened already this year. Our superhero students and staff continue to amaze us. The rollout of the Chromebooks and iPads has been highly successful, with increased technology integrated in daily instruction. We continue as the only district on Long Island with a partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory to use its Center for Functional Nanomaterials. Our entire district has been busy preparing for the connection with the International Space Station with Discovery Days at all the schools. Our students are leading the way with their enthusiasm and the high-level critical questions they are preparing for the astronauts. Our students have once again been featured on the Spotlight on LI radio show explaining about the upcoming International Space Station event. Our wrestlers competed in the prestigious Eastern States Wrestling Tournament earning sixth place. Our boys varsity 4 x 400m relay team set a national record, which is still in the top five times. Our select chorale delighted the audience as the opening performance at Radio City Music Hall. Once again, we were delighted to host the robotics tournament with 31 teams competing from Nassau County. We are proud that our students earned the Judges Award, which is given to a team worthy of special recognition.

I would like to congratulate our board president, Mr. Michael Pomerico, on his selection as a recipient of the Nassau BOCES Education Partner award for his outstanding contributions to public education. Congratulations also to Freeport Cares, which was honored at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Freeport Village for its advocacy and leadership in peace efforts. 

For the past three years, including this year, we have been able to present a budget to our public with a reduction in the tax levy. Educational and fiscal responsibility is at the heart of our budget planning. As a result, our district continues with the highest Standard & Poor’s bond rating of AA. As we get ready to present our proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year, we are faced with potential cuts from both the federal and state governments. The governor’s proposed budget would drastically cut the educational budget. The changes to SALT-D (State and Local Tax Deductions) with its limitation on tax return deductions, passed on the federal tax reform bill, will have a significant impact on individuals and institutions. We will continue to advocate for our fair share to provide our community with the best possible budget. 

As you know, we have been following the implementation guidelines for the Next Generation Learning Standards, including science, math, social studies and English language arts. While this work has been progressing, the State Education Department has also put forth educational changes that will affect our students. New standards for the arts are being implemented in the 2018-19 school year. These standards are in keeping with the spirit of the Next Generation Learning Standards and are designed to help students grow into artistically literate citizens, who achieve well-developed creative and aesthetic capacities, as well as robust critical thinking skills and a broad base of communication skills. Our teachers have begun professional development this year to be prepared for implementation.
  
With all the changes coming from the federal and state governments that will have direct impact on our district, it is extremely important that we join together to advocate for our fair share to support the future of our children. Please make sure to attend Board of Education and PTA meetings to stay informed. As always, we are committed to providing our students with the highest quality of education available. Together as partners advocating, we can continue to make this happen. I look forward to meeting you at some of our awesome events and performances in the future.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools


Fall Message

 


We began the 2017-18 school year with super energy and high expectations, and this powerful momentum has been maintained by our students and staff who are all actively engaged in rigorous learning activities throughout the district. We continue to provide our students with excellent opportunities to support and encourage their abilities to meet and exceed the expectations for 21st-century learning and college and career readiness skills. Our amazing students are already dazzling us with their academic, sports and musical performances.

The Next Generation Learning Standards were adopted this past September. The State Education Department has provided districts with a timeline towards full implementation of the standards in September 2020. The revised standards replace the Common Core Learning Standards and have been streamlined while maintaining rigor and high expectations. The number of anchor standards has been reduced and redundancy of standards has been omitted. The new English language arts standards will revise text complexity for every grade and add practices to foster lifelong readers and writers. In keeping with the implementation timeline for this year, we are building faculty awareness of the Next Generation Learning Standards through professional development, curriculum planning and model lessons.

Recently, our district was the first one, in the nation, approved by NASA to be able to interact with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station with both video and audio connections. Although we are waiting for the date to be set, plans are already underway for this amazing event. With our nanotechnology, science research programs and STEM programs throughout the district, Freeport Public Schools leads the way in science by giving our students innovative opportunities, including our partnerships with Adelphi University, Brookhaven National Labs, Cornell University and Hofstra University.

Our Chromebook roll-out has been a huge success. High School students have their 1:1 devices and are busily utilizing them in class and at home. Classrooms throughout the district are using the additional Chromebooks and iPad carts. Additional technology is being integrated into learning in myriad ways from kindergarten students through to our seniors. Our students are digital citizens and are using technology to research, communicate, collaborate and problem solve. 

I was heartened to see the large number of staff, students and our community participate in our annual Peace Walk and attend our Peace Concert. We stress the importance of educating the whole child and this includes the importance of self-awareness and social awareness. Our message resolving conflicts peacefully and being mindful of our words and deeds provides our students with vital strategies they can use now and in the future. Partnerships with our families are key to fully supporting our children. Please take the time to join our parent groups, attend Parent Universities, communicate with your child’s teachers and come to our Board of Education meetings to stay informed. Together, we will work to provide the best education for our children. I look forward to seeing you at our spectacular programs and events. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!

Sincerely,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools


Welcome Back Message

Welcome back to the beginning of what is sure to be an amazing and accomplished school year! We are prepared and eager to begin the important work of education – helping to fulfill the potential for learning in each of our students. With high expectations, we continue our commitment to providing our students with the educational opportunities they need to succeed. 

Many new staff members, both teachers and administrators, will join our Freeport Public Schools’ family this year. They join our current staff in providing excellent instruction as highly qualified, committed educators.  Other administrators have changed positions. Mr. Joseph Mille is the principal of Freeport High School and Mrs. Mary Garguilo is the principal of Bayview Avenue School. Both have a proven track record of commitment to excellence and are excited and eager to begin in their new roles. Dr. Helen Kanellopoulos is our new director of pupil personnel services. She will be a wonderful asset for our students and families and is a great addition to our administration. I am pleased to welcome our new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Dr. Mary Anne DeVivio. She brings with her vast knowledge and experience and has already been hard at work this summer preparing for the new school year. 

Our facilities have been meticulously prepared and are ready for our students. The summer has been a busy time for completing capital projects and facility upgrades. Some of the work completed includes updated classrooms and science labs, new bathrooms, and electrical and lighting projects. The field and track at Dodd Middle School has been a big project that will provide enhancement for the Dodd students. 

We are in the second phase of our technology infusion. The buildings are set with additional Chromebooks and iPads in the classrooms or on carts and students at Freeport High School will receive their Chromebooks. We are excited about the enhanced learning opportunities this will provide. We are still moving full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics) ahead. Our teachers and students can look ahead to some very innovative and unique experiences linking science and technology this year. Much preparation and planning, including the use of the inquiry design model, was accomplished last year to prepare students and curriculum for the social studies standards implementation this year. We are in the beginning stages of implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in keeping with the state deadlines. Teachers have been trained and the planning for units reflecting these standards has begun.

Each year, we advocate for our students to ensure they receive the support they need instructionally and through funding to meet federal and state mandates. This advocacy will be more crucial this year with possible policy shifts moving funding away from public education. We will keep our community informed about important issues and encourage you to join us in advocating for our children throughout the school year.

As always, meeting the varied needs of our students is of the utmost importance. We are moving enthusiastically ahead and look forward to the return of our children. Our students are stars academically, in the arts and on the field and our expectations are set high. Together, we will have a year filled with amazing and wonderful opportunities. 


Sincerely,
Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools