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J.W. Dodd News

J.W. Dodd Class of 2012 Prepare for High School

The J.W. Dodd Middle School Commencement Exercise was the culminating event for nearly 475 eighth-grade students who are fully prepared to meet the challenges of Freeport High School this coming fall.
“I ask you to think about what you want to do as you move on. Remember to maintain your commitment and mental focus,” said Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham at the ceremony held in the high school gym.
Keeping with tradition, the symphonic ensemble, under the direction of Adam Rubin, played Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as the soon-to-be graduates entered the room to the cheers and applause of family and friends. The select chorus, under the direction of Sherill Spruill, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” to open the event and Celine Dion’s hit “A New Day Has Come” later on.
The printed program listed page after page of awards that individuals within the Class of 2012 have earned, including recognition for academic excellence, music and athletics.  
“I stand here proud. Believe in yourself and the cardinal principles that make you special. Seek answers, ask questions,” stated Principal John O’Mard from the podium in his sendoff speech to the graduates.
The presentation of diplomas was swift as each student was called to the front of the room to receive a diploma from Board of Education Vice President Debra Mulé. After Principal O’Mard officially declared the students graduates, the symphonic ensemble played Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Sine Nomine” as the newly graduated middle school students strode out of the room and onto the next level of their academic careers.


Academic Awards

Spring Arts Festival Showcases Middle School Music Program

The highly talented musicians and vocalists from J.W. Dodd Middle School combined to present a wide variety of quality entertainment at their annual Spring Festival of the Arts, held at the high school.
The Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Candice Mordhorst, set the high standard for the program with their crisp performances of five selections, including Alan Lee Silva’s “Blue Ridge Run.” Dividing these orchestral groups were vocal sets presented by the Select Chorale under the direction of music teacher Sherill Spruill. Ms. Spruill later directed the Vocal Tapestry Jazz Ensemble through two numbers, including a finger-snapping rendition of The Ad Libs’ soul hit “The Boy from New York City.”
The Jazz Ensemble, directed by Adam Rubin, further enhanced the evening’s tone with their offering of “Cool” from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, followed by slick arrangements of the jazz standard “All of Me” and the Cuban classic “The Peanut Vendor.”
The Mixed Chorus, also directed by Ms. Spruill, performed “Earth, Drum, Dance” and “Tama Tu,” followed by an emotional tribute to District Coordinator of the Arts Anne-Marie Hudley-Simmons, who is retiring at the end of this school year. Ms. Spruill, a one-time student of Ms. Hudley-Simmons and now a colleague, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the retiring educator and presented her with a beautiful music box that plays “Unforgettable.”
The Concert Band played a trio of songs to end the program on a high note, starting with their arrangement of Henry Mancini’s “The Peter Gunn Theme” and finishing with Randall Standridge’s seductive “Snake Charmer.”


Increase the Peace

On Tuesday, May 1, 2012 presenters from the community will speak and facilitate discussions on nonviolence, negotiating conflicts, bullying, etc., each period during periods 4 through 6. Presenters at this event include police officers from Freeport, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the NYPD. Please click the link below for more information.

Click Here to View the Flyer

Students Use iPads to Enhance Math and Science Studies

Seventh-grade students at John W. Dodd Middle School are using iPads specifically programmed with learning apps to improve their understanding of concepts in mathematics and science. The District received the iPads for this project through a grant in collaboration with Nassau BOCES. Dodd school librarian Christine Meloni served as the liaison to Nassau BOCES and helped coordinate this grant-funded project that focuses on increasing math scores through the integration of math and science. “Computer programs can be a motivating factor for learning,” said Ms. Meloni.
Science students are making use of streaming video and a variety of interactive applications to explore concepts such as Newton’s First Law, gravity, and motion forces. These programs require students to complete quizzes based on the lesson delivered. iPads are particularly helpful in learning physics because the devices can detect motion to simulate active and reactive forces.
Math students use the iPads as well as laptops and traditional desktop computers to build a deeper understanding and confidence when solving algebraic equations. Students are required to answer questions after completing each lesson, and the results are tracked to better enable teachers to chart students’ overall strengths and weaknesses.
The teachers who are a part of this project are Maureen Bonanno, Allison Marty, Rosalie Woska, and Vanessa Vidalon.


Freeport School District’s
Dodd Middle School PTA presents:

‘The Power of FOOD: Healthy Eating is COOL’
With Dr. Robert Dell’Amore & Elaine Medin

Chef/Dr. Robert Dell'Amore, researcher, educator, and creator of the innovative and interactive, BOCES and SCOPE award-winning nutrition education workshop entitled “The Power of FOOD: Life Skills for Nutrition and Children" will facilitate two 40 minute fun and engaging student workshops and food presentations/tastings.  Middle level students will be cooking, preparing and serving two delicious recipes that they helped create. Then they get a chance to TASTE IT!  All recipes are peanut, meat, dairy and salt, butter and sugar free.

He provides insight and experience working with researchers, parents and educators regarding the powerful benefits of fruits and vegetables in improved student behavior and scholastic performance.

This program has been featured at Whole Foods & Stop and Shop Supermarkets
Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst, Ft. Dix, NJ
USDA Food and Nutrition Services, Rutgers University Food Service Institute
New York Botanical Garden’s ‘Edible Garden’ series ‘Cooking with Kids’
Long Island Counselors Annual Conference, CW Post University,
 Girl Scouts of Nassau Critical Issues Conference
Hofstra & Adelphi University’s Schools of Education, Graduate Schools of Health
Adelphi University’s Parent Academy

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:10AM and 9:00AM
Dodd Middle School
Freeport, NY

Dr. Dell’Amore’s Krazy Kale Salad
Dr. Dell’Amore’s ‘Vegetarian Stir-Fry’

Below is a link to a photograph and press release of Mr. Doyle and the other participants of the NASA/IPAC (Infrared Processing and Analysis Center) Teacher Archive Research program. Tom will be working will be working with two other teachers, a teacher mentor, and a scientist at Caltech. The teacher mentor is John Blackwell, Chair of the Science Department at Phillips Exeter. Mr. Blackwell has won a national award for his teaching of astronomy, and I am especially pleased that Tom has an opportunity to work closely with him. Such professional opportunities enable our teachers to grow as educators and learn more about the science curriculum of one of the country’s leading schools.

Dr. Vincent Pereira
District Science Coordinator of Freeport Schools

Dodd Future Corps Club students meeting with Lt. Burton at the Freeport Salvation Army on November 29th to donate coats.  Linda Salzer is the teacher in charge.

"This video  segement was created for the Teaching Channels series on new teachers. A parent teacher conference was observed and mentoring discussions occured to improve  parent teacher relations."
- Ms. Kavazanjian
Video Courtesy of

Halloween Craft (Mentoring Program)

The Dodd Mentoring Program started off with a great kick-off event on October 26th. Over 20 mentors and mentees participated in a Halloween Craft followed by refreshments. Many of the teachers prepared wonderful dishes; mentors and mentees enjoyed tea sandwiches, carrots and dip, homemade desserts and apple juice. Our mentors are a dedicated group of individuals who really take mentoring seriously. Mentors and mentees enjoyed spending time together socializing. All mentees were able to take their craft home. Mentors continue to work with their mentees on a regular weekly basis individually. Our next event will be in December. Mentoring is inspirational to both the mentor and mentee!

National Jr. Honor Society Induction

The John W. Dodd Middle School chapter of the National Junior Honor Society added 68 new members to its ranks in an evening ceremony held in the building’s cafeteria. There was a standing room only crowd on hand to celebrate this momentous occasion.

The program opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and the J.W. Dodd Select Chorale, under the leadership of music teacher Sherill Spruill, singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” The ceremonial speeches that followed praised the inductees for their pursuit of excellence and their acceptance into this elite group.

“Today we honor you and celebrate your hard work. You have achieved… you are our shining stars,” lauded J.W. Dodd Intermediate School Principal John O’Mard. “Making choices is the single most important thing you will do. Making good choices is what earned you a place here tonight,” added Board of Education Vice President Debra Mulé. “You are an inspiration to us and we are proud of you. You inspire us to continue to do the work to support you. Think about your potential, and stay connected with your inner feelings,” advised Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. Members of the Freeport High School National Honor Society and J.W. Dodd Middle School guidance counselors Diane Durdaller and Denise Lloyd were also on hand to acknowledge the accomplishments of these newest inductees.

After they had each received a red rose, the students were instructed to give the rose to their parents in gratitude for all of the hard work they had done to help the inductees achieve this academic honor. The recognized parents, along with friends and siblings, applauded the accomplishments of their children who have not only maintained a consistently high academic standing, but have also exhibited good character, service to their school and community, leadership and citizenship. These are the five major character traits valued for acceptance into the National Junior Honor Society.

The candle lighting and pledge ceremony, conducted by National Junior Honor Society advisors Danielle Ballard and Annette Jones, brought each student as their name was called to the stage, where they stood until all were assembled to recite the National Junior Honor Society Pledge. After concluding the program, all who had gathered for this celebration were invited to enjoy refreshments and cake donated by the J.W. Dodd Middle School PTA.


The Ladies of Dodd Makes a Splash at Jones Beach

At the annual Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk at Jones Beach on Sunday, October 16th, 40 members of the Ladies of Dodd took the Jones Beach board walk by storm!  Accompanied by teachers, parents and High School alumna of the organization, LOD delighted Survivors and Supporters by singing chants and waving their signature pink Gerber Daisies!  Armed with hand drums, bells, tambourines and maracas, The Ladies of Dodd marched for 5 miles and serenaded Breast Cancer survivors with cheerful excerpts of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” Destiny’s Child’s “I’m a Survivor” and other fitting tunes!    The energetic group gained the attention of the Long Island Press; Advisor Vashti Burke was asked “What brings you here today?”   Ms. Burke said “This walk is the culmination of a month long educational experience for LOD.  These young ladies attended a Breast Cancer Workshop and learned that early detection is the best protection! They also spearheaded an awareness initiative called “Think Pink Day.”  They researched Breast Cancer facts and decorated John W. Dodd Middle School in pink!  They asked their teachers and classmates to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer awareness! Now they get to see all of these people gathering for a worthy cause…what could be a better ending?”  Every year the group raises money to donate to the American Cancer Society and is proud to share in this great experience.


On Sunday, October 16th 2011 the members of the G.E.N.T.S. Club participated in the Jones Beach: “Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk”. Everyone had a great time walking for a very meaningful cause. Each participant walked in order to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people we love. Community Service is a large part of the G.E.N.T.S. Club, and the walk was definitely a worthwhile activity for all members who took part in helping find a cure for breast cancer.

Students “Dribble for the Cure” at St. John’s University

On Saturday, September 24, Freeport UFSD students from J.W. Dodd Middle School's Service Learning Program visited St. John's University to be part of the inaugural “Dribble for the Cure” program as part of the annual St. John’s "Day of Service."  The students, under the guidance of advisor Dan Noviello, helped raise awareness and funding for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF). They worked alongside participants from other communities and members of the St. John’s basketball program as they dribbled basketballs through a course winding throughout the St. John’s campus. Each participant was asked to collect pledges for his or her "dribble.” The event raised over $21,000 for pediatric cancer research.

The day's activities also provided the students with an opportunity to learn about pediatric cancer research and to spend time speaking with families affected by the illness. “These conversations helped the students gain a better understanding of the challenges that many families affected by cancer face on a daily basis,” commented Mr. Noviello. “The students felt a sense of accomplishment in that they were able to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer.” The PCRF Research Laboratory is located at The Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. The hospital is affiliated with New York Medical College.

PCRF was established in 1982 to improve the care, quality of life and survival rate of children with malignant diseases. All funds raised support research in the fight against pediatric cancer and other lethal blood disorders.


International Day of Non-Violence

According to Young India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement.  Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma or "Great Soul.”  With his soul and great leadership, Gandhi peacefully helped India in its fight for independence.  As a result, many countries around the world were inspired to peacefully fight for their civil rights and freedom.
October 2, which is Gandhi’s birthday, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and known worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.  In honor of Gandhi’s birthday, Ms. Rosario has created a showcase which displays Gandhi in his most philanthropic journeys for freedom by practicing non-violent methods.  Shown below are pictures of Ms. Rosario’s showcase which is currently on display.

(Showcase created by Ms. Rosario; Introduction written by Mr. Daskalakis)

Gandhi, "The Momentous Issue", Young India, 10 November 1921, in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, electronic edition, vol. 25, pp. 76–8

Back to School Night 2011

Welcome to Dodd Middle School

On August 24th Dodd Middle School opened their doors to the incoming seventh graders. The principal, Mr. John O’Mard welcomed the incoming seventh graders and their families.  After a brief meeting the students received their schedules and had the opportunity to locate their classrooms and lockers.