skip to main content

Notice of Special BOE Public Hearing - August 23


Seniors Interested in Applying to RPI

OCTOBER 19 - 21, 2017


Dear Colleague:

Rensselaer invites academically talented seniors, who are underrepresented minorities or young women, to apply for the STAR (Science, Technology, Arts at Rensselaer) Program. The STAR Program allows high school seniors to experience life as a Rensselaer student. They will attend classes, tour campus, visit our laboratories, and connect with current Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff.

STAR begins the evening of Thursday, October 19, 2017, with a dinner reception and concludes Saturday, October 21, 2017, at the close of the Fall Open House.

The agenda will include:

  • Interactive leadership activity
  • Academic experience - attend classes
  • Undergraduate research overview and tour of laboratories
  • Campus tour
  • Student panels
  • Student organizations and clubs fair
  • Lodging and meals with current students

Please share this information with your top students. Students may apply online by September 20, 2017 to participate in the STAR Program. A copy of each student's high school transcript is required to complete the STAR application prior to the deadline date of September 20, 2017.

Students accepted to participate in the STAR Program will receive a confirmation email from Rensselaer.

At the end of the event, all participants will receive an official letter confirming their participation in the event. We always encourage the students to show the letter to you and/or an attendance clerk so their absence is recognized as an official college visit.

We have been fortunate in previous years to have a limited number of travel grants available. Considering we have had as many as 200 students participate in recent years, we cannot provide travel grant assistance to every student who applies. The travel grants are awarded based on need as well as merit. Requests for assistance MUST be made on the STAR Program application. With the increase in requests, we will not be able to consider requests after the application decision is made.


Ulysses deArmas:, 518-276-6935 

Meghan R. Griggs:, 518-276-6218 

Theresa M. Abbott:, 518-276-6150

District Hosts Summer Google Institute

Google Pic
Google Pic 2
Google Pic 3
Google Pic 4
As a supplement to the wide variety of professional development opportunities throughout the district during the school year, staff members participated in a Summer Google Institute program in August. The three-day program, held at the high school, was comprised of a series of workshops that focused on ways for staff to optimize their Chromebooks, how to navigate and use Google Classroom, how to incorporate resources such as G Suite for Education with curricula, and several other topics regarding the Google platform.

Workshops included “Creating Collaborative Learning Environments,” “Innovation for Using Creative Apps for Chromebook,” “What’s APPening,” “Chromebooks and G Suite in the Classroom,” and “Manage Your Class Workflow with Google Classroom,” were conducted by Instructional Technology Coaches Daniel Kaufmann and Rick Lapi.

The Summer Google Institute was designed to engage staff members for the purposes of maximizing their Google resources, and provided them with useful training that they can continue developing as they prepare for the start of the new school year.

Summer Arts Academy Astounds

Art photo

Students throughout the district exhibited their remarkable talents in the annual Summer Academy of the Arts Showcase and Exhibit, a culmination of 15 days of arts-related instruction during July. With instruction provided by faculty members throughout the district and assistance from 50 intern volunteers in grades 9-12 at the high school, 250 students in grades 4-8 had the opportunity to supplement their learning of a wide array of fields, including orchestra, visual arts, band, chorus, mariachi, media arts and dance.

The theme of this year’s program was “All You Need is Love…,” the title of a Beatles’ 1967 hit song. In addition to several Beatles’ classics that were featured throughout the show, the program was also comprised of songs by other bands and musicians that were based on the importance of spreading love. The culminating program, hosted by Director of Arts and Community Relations Ruth Breidenbach and attended by families, district staff members, administrators and members of the Board of Education on July 28, followed a format of performances by students that were separated by segments of fictional game show “The What’s Poppin’ Show,” based on the Beatles.

The Summer Academy of the Arts culmination was a platform for students to demonstrate what they learned during the 15-day program and a dazzling example of staff members’ commitment to continue providing extraordinary instruction during the summer months.

Teachers Rock!

rock image
Stephanie Arnell was one of 15 teachers nationwide to attend the Rock and Roll Forever Summer Institute at NYU on July 17-20.
The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation was established by Steven Van Zandt. TeachRock is the Foundation’s national middle and high school curriculum initiative, created to address the challenges of an environment in which schools face cuts to arts funding. The initiative includes interdisciplinary, arts-driven materials designed to keep students engaged.
Arnell worked with the foundation to share her experiences with the TeachRock curriculum and the students of Freeport Schools. She wrote new curriculum for the TeachRock website, and will pilot a new project entitled, “Sonic Highways: Freeport” with her students in the fall.

Summer 2017 Newsletter Now Available


Revolutionizing Readers’ Repertoires

Revolutionizing Readers’ Repertoires Photo
Revolutionizing Readers’ Repertoires Photo 2
Revolutionizing Readers’ Repertoires Photo 3
Revolutionizing Readers’ Repertoires Photo 4
Freeport became one of the first school districts on Long Island to host LitCamp, a new four-week summer literacy program created by nationally renowned author and literacy expert Pam Allyn.

Throughout the month of July, 80 students entering grades 1-4 participated in the innovative and interactive program, which is held in collaboration with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. The program combines research-based reading and writing lessons that are based on seven key strengths: belonging, friendship, kindness, curiosity, confidence, courage and hope. In honing these strengths, students will be properly equipped to lead lives filled with accomplishment, joy and community. LitCamp is designed to turn the “summer slide” — any loss of reading or learning skills that occur during the summer months — into the “summer leap” by keeping students engaged and engulfed in the world of literacy.

The district welcomed Allyn for a special visit to New Visions School to see her program in action, lead a read aloud and speak with the students, who have been participating in daily Leveled Literacy Intervention lessons with a reading specialist in small groups.

“We are pleased to provide enrichment and support for our students beyond the school year,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Our summer programs allow our students to continue their efforts to reach higher levels of understanding and achievement in literacy, math, science and the arts. We have 2,200 students attending 13 programs affording them a variety of amazing opportunities. These include programs from credit recovery to earning college credits. Our students grow from the support of the LitCamp, science research projects, project-based learning in the English Language Learner program and the Summer Arts Academy. Through use of alternate funding, we are able to offer many of these programs at no cost to our taxpayers.”

District Hosts Summer Literacy Institute

District Hosts Summer Literacy Institute Photo

In July, the district hosted its inaugural Summer Literacy Institute, a series of literacy-based workshops for teachers, administrators and teaching assistants.

The three-day program, attended by more than 100 staff members, featured internationally recognized authors and educational experts Carl Anderson, Amy Benjamin and Matt Glover as keynote speakers; they led discussions on The Writing Conference, Infusing Grammar & Vocabulary Instruction, and Engaging Young Readers and Writers, respectively. Workshops included Pass the Poetry Please, Learning and the Brain, Set the Stage to Engage, Thinking Maps, Never Too Old for Picture Books, How to Grow a Reader and Adapting Writing Workshop for Special Education.

In his keynote address, Anderson spoke about the importance of conferring among teachers and students of writing.

“Conferring is individualized differentiated instruction,” he said. “It’s the hardest and most important part of teaching writing; it’s a structure that allows us to work with kids one-on-one. We’re not there to make the writing better, we’re there to make the writers better; we are the master writers that are sharing what we know with the apprentice writers. The success of a conference isn’t what happens that day. The success of it is if what you taught shows up later in their writing.”

Summer Literacy Institute was a supplement to the professional development throughout the school year as well as the summer months.

Summer Reading in Full Swing

Summer Reading in Full Swing Photo
Summer Reading in Full Swing Photo 2
Summer Reading in Full Swing Photo 3
Incoming fourth-graders in the district were treated to a fun and educational evening that encouraged students to continue reading through the summer months.

The students, who attended the event with their parents at Freeport Memorial Library, participated in a “Breakout” game devised by district school media specialists. The game was based on the book “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary. Each student also received a copy of the book. Tasked with finding the correct answers to higher-order thinking questions, students worked collaboratively to uncover the combinations of five different locks that opened a “Breakout Box.” The object of the exercise was to find the book’s main character, Ralph, and his motorcycle, both of which were contained in one of the boxes.

The event promoted the importance of literacy and teamwork as students prepare for another successful school year.

Board of Education Annual Reorganization Meeting

Board of Education Annual Reorganization Meeting Photo
On July 5, 2017, the Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting. Re-elected trustees Vilma I. Lancaster and Ronald J. Ellerbe were sworn in for their new terms. Michael C. Pomerico and Anthony J. Miller were re-elected by the members of the board of education to continue serving as president and vice president, respectively.

FHS Seniors Celebrate Milestone

FHS Seniors Celebrate Milestone Pic

With loved ones applauding their dedication and commitment to success throughout their academic journeys, the high school's graduating Class of 2017 gathered at Hofstra University for its annual commencement ceremony.

Following the Presentation of Colors by the NJROTC Color Guard, the high school’s Select Chorale performed an outstanding rendition of the national anthem. In his address that followed, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham spoke about his faith in the graduates’ ability to change the world and encouraged them to use their fearlessness as a catalyst for success.

“You all have worked so hard and come so far to reach this wonderful milestone,” Dr. Kuncham said. “As we celebrate this journey, it is time for you to be bold, embrace risks and act with urgency. I ask you to be fearless. Fearlessness does not mean the nonexistence of fear; it means that fear exists, but you have tremendous energy, faith and courage to live with it and face it. I’m optimistic about you and our country. I have so much faith in each and every one of you, and I can’t wait to see all that you achieve in the years ahead.”

Class of 2017 valedictorian Kimberly Serna, salutatorian Karissa Collins and president Victoria Wright each spoke to their classmates about the memories they have shared throughout their four years at the high school. They attributed not only their success, but the fondness of their experiences, to the strong support system at the school, friendships they have formed and faculty members’ remarkable level of instruction.

Principal Linda Carter delivered an inspiring speech in which she quoted Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”

“You are leaving a legacy to our underclassmen, who will follow in your footsteps, and this will be your gift to our students,” Carter continued. “You are leaving a legacy of character. You have integrity, resourcefulness, strength, intelligence and determination. You also have resilience, compassion and kindness. As you enter the adult world, remember that your education does not stop after graduation. Learning is a moral duty and a lifelong process.”

One by one, graduates walked onto the stage to receive their diplomas, and collectively moved their tassles from right to left following the announcement of all class names. With their families giving them a thunderous ovation, they then tossed their caps high into the air.
Twelfth-grade Assistant Principal Joseph Mille expressed his appreciation for the Class of 2017, thanking the graduates for the experiences they have shared together.

“I have stated over the years that we are a family, for better and for worse,” Mille said. “The bonds that we have formed can never be broken and will last a lifetime. This group always wanted to be different and special, and you were and are; I knew from the beginning of your ninth-grade years that you were. You have made me a better administrator and a better man, and the doors of Freeport High School will always be open to you.”

Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS

Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo
Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo 2
Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo 3
Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo 4
Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo 5
Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo 6
Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo 7
The high school’s Class of 2021 is set to begin freshman year in the fall following its graduation from Dodd. The ceremony, which took place at Atkinson, included families, administrators, members of the board of education and staff members celebrating students’ past two years of hard work and commitment to success. Following a welcome by Principal Johane Ligondé, Select Chorus Director Sherill Spruill led her group through a remarkable rendition of the national anthem.

Student addresses were delivered by Aaliyah Daniels and Allesandro Benitez Pineda, who recognized faculty members who they said were instrumental in their progress and journey at Dodd. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Board President Michael Pomerico then spoke to the graduates about the importance of continuing their hard work through high school and beyond, and to begin thinking about where they would like to be in the future.

“There’s an ancient proverb: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’” said Dr. Kuncham. “You are about to take that important step. The choices you make are going to impact your path. I urge you to push yourselves, to do your very best, and give all you can to your studies, as well as to any clubs, arts or sports that you are interested in. Remember that it is the effort you put into something and the repeated practice that move you to the next level. Set your goals high and choose to reach them.”

“It’s not going to be easy; there will be setbacks, but start thinking now about where you want to be in four years when you’re graduating high school,” said Pomerico. “You cannot wait. What opportunities do you want to take advantage of? What extracurricular activities do you want to join? What classes do you want to take? Take advantage of all that awaits you.” Pomerico also shared the inspiring story of Freeport High School Class of 2017 graduate Ismary Jimenez, who years ago did not speak any English but learned the language, graduated sixth in her class and will be attending Princeton University in the fall. “I would love to be here in four years talking about someone sitting here right now and about the success you have achieved,” Pomerico said.

Following a beautiful rendition of “I Believe” by the Select Chorus, Ligondé spoke about how crucial it is for students to keep their sights set on their goals and to never let any setbacks deter them from their will to conquer them. She referenced the career and motivation of National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James as an embodiment of that advice.

“Our commitment is to ensure that every child who walks through the doors of Dodd walks out a winner,” Ligondé said. “In life, every winner needs two types of goals: short-term goals and a long-term ultimate goal. So I ask you first, what is your ultimate goal in life? Really think about it. LeBron James’ ultimate goal was to win the NBA championship. He achieved this goal, and still strives to be a champion after winning three. Even after this year’s loss, he didn’t give up. What would you ask yourself if you were him? Would you quit? Would you give your 100 percent? Did you use all your resources? These are the questions that you should ask yourself every day at the high school.”
Assistant Principal Paulette Acquavito then spoke about the heart and character of the graduating class as a prelude to the presentation of the graduates by eighth-grade homeroom teachers. Students’ names were individually announced, and each proudly rose from their seat to be recognized.

Graduation ensemble directors Candice Mordhorst and Adam Rubin led the performance of “Sine Nomine” during the recessional, and the new Dodd graduates walked off the Atkinson field and into the horizons of their promising futures.

Fourth-Graders Move on Up

Fourth-Graders Move on Up Photo

Students across the district’s four elementary schools celebrated their successful completion of fourth grade in moving up ceremonies. With their loved ones applauding their success, students received certificates and awards to commemorate their advancement and accomplishments, respectively.

At Bayview, representatives of the class graced the stage to thank faculty members and parents for their remarkable support at school and home, and honored retiring school Principal Odette Wills with heartfelt words of appreciation.

“When I look into your faces, I see the next mayor of Freeport, police officers, firefighters, senators, governors, and I see the next president of the United States,” Wills said. “Understand that the choices you make from this day going forward will determine the type of life you will live. Boys and girls, you know that I love you, I appreciate you and I respect you. There is greatness in each and every one of you.”

In addition, students read aloud author Nancy Tillman’s book, “You’re Here for a Reason,” personally relating it to their own experiences at Bayview. Freeport High School Class of 2017 valedictorian and Bayview alumna Kimberly Serna spoke to students about the fond memories she cherishes of her elementary years, and wished them the best of luck during their transition to Atkinson.

Teachers then announced the names of students, who proudly walked up to receive their certificates and were met with warm congratulatory hugs by Wills.

A Field of Fun at Columbus

A Field of Fun at Columbus Photo
A Field of Fun at Columbus Photo 2
A Field of Fun at Columbus Photo 3
A Field of Fun at Columbus Photo 4
Prior to the end of the school year, Columbus Avenue hosted Field Day to teach students about teamwork and the importance of an active lifestyle. Students participated in activities such as scooter racing, balloon ball hopping and wiffle-ball carrying, and worked in groups to accomplish certain goals. With staff members and parent volunteers providing assistance, students enjoyed participating in the outdoor tasks and learning how to work with one another.

Staff Celebrate Success

Staff Celebrate Success Photo
As part of an annual “Celebration of Success” tradition, the final meeting of the Board of Education featured each of the eight principals recognizing a faculty member at their school who demonstrates excellence and goes above and beyond in their craft. Each month, a theme was assigned to each school, and an extraordinary teacher who exemplifies that theme was selected. At the board meeting, the principals delivered speeches about the honorees, who were then presented with celebratory plaques by Board of Education President Michael Pomerico. The ongoing tradition is another way for the district to celebrate the hard work and dedication of staff members throughout its schools.

Music and Rides

Music and Rides Pic 1
Music and Rides Pic 2
Fifth- and sixth-graders at Atkinson were recognized for Superior Performance at the High Note Festival in New Jersey. One hundred eighty-five students — from the Wind Ensemble, Concert Orchestra, Mariachi and Select Choruses — performed remarkable selections for a panel of music adjudicators. The students received a trophy representing the highest level of achievement at the festival.

Following the awards ceremony, the students celebrated their achievement with a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.