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Celebrating Cultures with International Day


Leo F. Giblyn School’s fourth-grade students participated in performances that honored different cultures for the school’s 2019 International Day Luncheon.

For the celebration, the gymnasium was adorned with colorful student-made decorations that reflected different cultures from around the world. The theme this year was a quote by Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” To expand on this theme, several students delivered speeches about what the quote meant to them. 

In addition, students sang cultural songs and the step team delivered a powerful and energetic performance. Students and staff also enjoyed a multicultural feast that was donated by various local restaurants and Giblyn families.

The Mary Johnson International Day Award was given to Susan Wandzilak. Each year, this award is presented to a member of the Giblyn staff who embodies the characteristics of Mary Johnson, a retired Giblyn teacher who went above and beyond in promoting, cultivating and celebrating diversity. 

Exploring Forces and Motion Through Video Conference

Exploring Forces and Motion Through Video Conference photo
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Danielle Appel and Josephine Velez’s third-grade dual-language class at Archer Street School participated in an exciting, hands-on video conference with science instructors from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The focus of the lesson was on forces and motion, where the classroom was converted into a high-action lab ruled by the laws of motion.

Forces and motion can be difficult concepts to describe, but they were easily observed and understood when the students used them in real-life situations. Through hands-on experiments and observations, students explored gravity, inertia, Newton’s three laws of motion, friction, acceleration, velocity and how virtual field trips can be interactive. 

‘Shining Above the Rest’ SCOPE Honors District Members for Support

‘Shining Above the Rest’ SCOPE Honors District Members for Support photo
During SCOPE Education Services’ 18th annual School District Awards Dinner, several representatives from the Freeport School District and the community were chosen for recognition based on their exemplary contributions to the field of education and for embodying the night’s theme of “Shining Above the Rest” during the 2018-2019 school year.

During his remarks, SCOPE Executive Director George L. Duffy noted that the individuals were being recognized for their outstanding service to school, community and children. 

Members of SCOPE’s Board of Directors assisted in presenting the night’s honored guests with commemorative and personalized plaques. Congratulations to the following award recipients: Ernest J. Kight Jr., School Board Service Award; Jonathan Bloom, Administrator Service Award; Monique Retzlaff and Laurie Kolodny, Teacher Service Award, and Christine Waters, Community Service Award. 

Students Sharpen Characterization Skills

Once again J.W. Dodd Middle School had the honor of hosting Long Island author Jennifer Wolf Kam, when eighth-grade students were given a special opportunity to participate in a writer’s workshop.

Thirty students interested in writing creative fiction participated in the workshop. They were able to sharpen their skills in characterization and then shared their creative writing pieces with the author.

With this, the district generously purchased hardcover copies of Kam’s first novel, “Devin Rhodes Is Dead,” which won the Children’s Book of the Year Award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals. This chilling coming-of-age mystery has captured the attention of the students at Dodd Middle School.

Annual Exhibit Highlights Student Talents

Annual Exhibit Highlights Student Talents photo
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Students from kindergarten to sixth grade were recognized for their talents and dedication in visual arts during the Freeport Public Schools annual Elementary Art Exhibit.

Hosted by the Freeport Memorial Library, the exhibit features a wide variety of beautiful artwork that the Freeport community is encouraged to view.

Students from Columbus Avenue, Archer Street Elementary, Bayview Avenue, Leo F. Giblyn Elementary, New Visions and Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate schools celebrated their achievements, along with their families, teachers and building administrators.

The exhibit is open for public viewing until March 29.



Students Make International Connections

Students Make International Connections photo
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Mrs. Gabrus and Mrs. Correnti's second-grade class at Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School have been busy writing letters to pen pals in Canada, after participating in the Global Read Aloud initiative from October to November.

For this worldwide initiative, the class connected with a second-grade class in Winnipeg, Canada, through SeeSaw. Both classes read "A Boy Called Bat" by Elana K. Arnold and also enjoyed interacting through a video chat. The purpose of this was to increase reading among students.

After completing the Global Read Aloud, the two classes decided to continue their connection and become pen pals. Each student wrote a letter to another student in Canada and recently received their first letters back. They plan to write back and forth a few more times before the end of the year.

Students Place in Odyssey of the Mind Competition

Students Place in Odyssey of the Mind Competition photo

The Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School hosted the 40th Annual Odyssey of the Mind competition, where students from Nassau and Suffolk counties organized and solved problems in their respective categories. Representing Freeport were students from Atkinson, Dodd Middle School and the Freeport High School.

For this problem-solving contest, students from the elementary and high school levels were given categories in the fall and then tasked to solve a set of challenges with technical and artistic solutions. After working on these problems, students then presented their results during the competition.

Freeport students placed in the competition within their respective divisions. The high school students placed first in the opposites attract category; Atkinson students placed second and third in the opposites attract category, and then earned fourth place in the Leonardo’s workshop category. Dodd students placed second in the Leonardo’s workshop category, and then placed third in the opposites attract category.

For their accomplishment, the high school students will take part in the state Odyssey of the Mind tournament at Binghamton University on March 23.

A Walk Through African-American History

A Walk Through African-American History photo

Bayview Avenue School of hosted its first Black History Museum, where kindergarten to fourth-grade students went on an African-American history quest and participated in hands-on activities with items on display. 

To kick off the educational journey, students were taken on a path that started on the second floor of the building and then led to the museum on the first floor. With that, students took a walk through African-American history following the facts posted along the wall on footprints. With their Chromebooks in hand, students scanned the QR codes on each footprint, where further information popped up on their screens. 

When students arrived at the museum, they rotated to eight different stations that presented a question for students to answer regarding an influential African-American figure. This included Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and more.

Also set up were poster boards with information on a specific African-American inventor, such as Garrett Morgan, George Franklin Grant, Jan Matzeliger and Madam C. J. Walker. With some poster boards, students were challenged to put together a puzzle that would reveal the individual’s respective invention.

Other interactive activities included the memory game, domino games, riddles and more. In addition, students also viewed traditional Nigerian hand-woven clothing and accessories that were on display throughout the room.

The colossal museum was put together by several Bayview staff members, with the goal to teach students about African-American history in a fun and interactive way.

Musical: The Little Mermaid

Dance With The Cast
Dance With The Cast

Athletes Have Successful Run in Winter Season

Athletes Have Successful Run in Winter Season photo
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The high school boys and girls track teams have a lot to celebrate after dominating the New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships, held in Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island.

For the girls 4-by-2 relay team, which consists of Efe Omokeni, Enyero Omokeni, Nyah Porter and Alexandria Yarbrough set a school record and placed first in the championship. Meanwhile, the boys 4-by-2 relay team, which consists of Trevon Campbell, Justin Lescouflair, Jahmel Maynor-Mendez and Kevon O’Brien Smith also set school records and placed third. 

Individual achievements included Kevon taking first place competing in the 600-meter; Jahmel taking third place in the 300-meter; and Efe placed sixth in the long jump. In addition, Kevon was the State and Federation Champion.

The district congratulates each student on their hard work, perseverance and accomplishments throughout the season.

Eighth Annual Black History Month Celebration

Eighth Annual Black History Month Celebration photo

Students within the district were dancing, singing, clapping and stomping during the eighth annual districtwide Black History Month celebration. The Freeport High School’s Performing Arts Center was packed with Board of Education members, administrators, parents and community members who witnessed the powerful performances displayed by students from each school as they honored the achievements and contributions African-Americans have instilled around the world.

The program kicked off with a beautiful rendition of “Lift Every Voice,” sung by high school student Hailey Brown. Following that, the J.W. Dodd Middle School and Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School step teams delivered a collaborative and dynamic performance.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham expressed the significance of commemorating the achievements, imagination, character and extraordinary contributions of African-Americans to society. “Black History Month is a time to remember the past greatness of those who made a huge difference in the worlds of public education, politics, science, medicine, business, sports and entertainment,” Dr. Kuncham said. “It is also a time to look forward to future African-American leaders, who will break records and make incredible changes in the world. This is an evening we all look forward to as our students, our future, amaze us through their awe-inspiring performances today.”

Board of Education President Michael Pomerico also spoke on behalf of the board and thanked members of the community for supporting the significant district event and the students. “We are pleased that you have joined us this evening. Freeport schools is proud of the many amazing artistic talents of our students.”

The impressive performances from each school showcased the remarkable capabilities of the students. Following the celebration, community members, students and staff witnessed an impressive display of student artwork in the high school lobby that reflected and celebrated the achievements and contributions of African-Americans throughout history.

Legislative Priorities and Advocacy 2019


Dodd Pasta Night

Dodd Pasta Night photo
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It was an amazing fun-filled event at Dodd Middle School, as the school’s PTA hosted Pasta Night. Students and parents enjoyed delicious food and drumming aerobics, which was run by parent, Mrs. Trenchfield. In addition to that, there was also a presentation on school attendance and homework tips. Special thanks to Ms. Burke and the Ladies of Dodd for helping serve the food.

Early College Awareness Day at Dodd

Early College Awareness Day at Dodd photo

It was a sea of white at Dodd Middle School, as students wore white T-shirts sporting the names of colleges and universities for the school’s Early College Awareness Day.

Representatives from colleges and universities included SUNY Geneseo, Adelphi University, New York Institute of Technology, Hofstra University, St. John’s University, Stony Brook University and more. Each speaker was stationed throughout the school to meet with students and discuss early college preparations. Topics included the benefits of going to college, the positive approach to take when becoming a college student, and the significance of networking and developing friendships.

Atkinson Students Reach the Stars

Atkinson Students Reach the Stars photo
Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School students of the Freeport School District participated in Star Lab through the Nassau Community College Liberty Partnership Program under the direction of Ms. Emily Hertzberg. 

The Science Museum of Long Island brought a portable planetarium, where students discovered the night sky and mythology of ancient Greek and Native American people. In addition, students learned how to use star-maps to find constellations and how to locate planets. The experience was truly “out of this world.”

New Visions Celebrates Acts of Kindness

kindness photo

New Visions School students celebrated acts of kindness by creating love baskets filled with a variety of food items for Our Holy Redeemer Parish Outreach. These baskets were donated during winter break and will be given out to families in need.

Fourth-grade student body president Jenae Omel, vice president Nicolas Pereira, secretary Brishell Collado and treasurer Jordin McCullough teamed up to arrange the food baskets, which contained cereal, pasta, oatmeal, beans, tea and other canned food items.


Students Deliver Dynamic Performances

Students Deliver Dynamic Performances photo

Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School students displayed compelling performances through their artistic and musical abilities during the schools multicultural assembly in celebration of Black History Month.

Students from a dozen classrooms teamed up and performed skits, read poems, danced, rapped and sang songs for fellow classmates and parents in the audience. Each performance reflected a powerful message pertaining to African-American history.

The assembly ended with a roar, as the school’s step team clapped and stomped in powerful dance number.


Freeport Celebrates 100 Days of School

Freeport Celebrates 100 Days of School photo
Mrs. Nellie Petraglia's Kindergarten class at Archer Street Elementary School participated in several activities involving 100 items, as a way to celebrate the district’s 100th day of school. After reading Elinor J. Pinczes’ “One Hundred Hungry Ants,” students were tasked to apply their creative skills to craft a team picture using 100 pieces of paper ants.  

Fun-Filled Parent University

Fun-Filled Parent University photo

Members of the district joined together at Freeport High School to participate in the district’s fun-filled Parent University event. Students, their families and representatives from each school building experienced the event, which hosted several exciting activities for students and educational programs for parents. Students also provided musical performances for district families as they entered the building.

Throughout the school, several stations were set up for students and parents, including Combating Substance Abuse in Our Homes, Ending Bullying, #Freeportreads Student Workshop, Healthy Nutrition, iTutor for Grades 7-12, Mental Health: Knowing the Signs and Pre-K-2 Helping our Children Read.

Students Recognized for Efforts in Township Program

Students Recognized for Efforts in Township Program photo
Bayview Avenue School students of the PeaceJam Juniors Enrichment program received certificates of recognition from Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney for their efforts in the “Valentines for Veterans” program. For the program, students crafted a valentine card and wrote a message expressing their appreciation for the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served the country. 

Bayview Hosts Adopt-A-Cop Valentines Luncheon

Bayview Hosts Adopt-A-Cop Valentines Luncheon photo

Bayview Avenue School was decked in the color red on Feb. 14 as staff members and students welcomed members of the Village of Freeport police for the school’s annual Adopt-A-Cop Valentines Luncheon Celebration.

Before the luncheon began, each fourth-grade class presented a Valentine’s Day card to their adopted police officer and took a class photo. Students also surprised the group of officers with a performance, where they danced and sang “Freeport’s Finest.” Soon after, they were joined by their adopted officer, where they engaged in conversation while enjoying freshly delivered pizza.

Students Turn Chefs for Valentine’s Day Lunch Date

Students Turn Chefs for Valentine’s Day Lunch Date photo

Mrs. Dana Berner’s and Ms. Nicole Rivelli’s kindergarten class at Columbus Avenue Elementary School sharpened their cooking skills while crafting homemade ravioli for a parent lunch date in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Before the lesson began, which was led by chef Robert Altadonna, students powered up for the activity by touching the golden chef hat. Students then took direction in fusing the ingredients together to make the dough. They took turns and then worked as a team to knead and roll out the dough. After the dough was done rising, students proceeded with the final step in adding the ricotta cheese to the dough before throwing it in the pot to cook.

Topped with warm marinara sauce, students and parents savored every bite of their finished product while also enjoying the screening of the classic Disney film “Lady and the Tramp.”

Bayview Book Club Performs ‘Chrysanthemum’


The Bayview Family Book Club performed a pantomime production of “Chrysanthemum,” by Kevin Henkes, as part of the school’s Parent University. The theme of the night was celebrating who we are and the performance was done in both English and Spanish. Lauren Quezada, the lead character, ended the evening with an amazing rendition of “This is Me.”

At the end of the show, students joined in on the fun by coming up to the stage wearing their “This is Me” t-shirts. After the performance, students were able to choose from over 600 books donated by the Book Fairies. Students were given an English language arts activity to do at home and when completed they will receive a copy of the book, “Chrysanthemum,” which has been donated by the PTA.

Author Revealed for #Freeportreads

Author Revealed for #Freeportreads photo

Elephant and Piggie, the stars of Freeport School District’s #Freeportreads initiative, returned to the District to reveal daily clues to students about this year’s author. The schools participating in the exciting initiative are Archer Street Elementary School, Bayview Avenue School, Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School, New Visions School, Columbus Avenue School, and Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School.

Building administrators teamed up with Elephant and Piggie to have students research book titles and popular authors each day. Each building hosted an author reveal assembly, where students got to watch Elephant and Piggie open a giant box to reveal the author's name. 

As many students guessed Kevin Henkes as the surprise author, they were excited to find out that they were correct. Digital read-alouds of Henkes books started this month and can be found on the #Freeportreads website. 

LI Nets to Honor Freeport Teacher

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, during a game against the Delaware Blue Coats, the Long Island Nets professional basketball team will recognize Bayview Avenue School speech therapist Jamie Rasulo as their Teacher of the Month. 

The Long Island Nets have partnered with Delta Air Lines to recognize outstanding teachers based on excellence in the classroom, commitment to education and the community, leadership abilities, and dedication to students. 

The district congratulates Jamie Rasulo on this outstanding recognition.

Freeport High School School Based Health Center


TRI-M Honors Society inducts 24 new members

Freeport High School hosted the second TRI-M Honors Society Induction on Feb. 7, where Chapter 7760 adviser Mrs. Jill Boardman welcomed 24 new members along with 20 second-year students. The officers were inducted by Mr. Michael LaSorsa and Mrs. Monique Retzlaff. Officers include Gabriel Alvarado, president; Tiffany Tavares, vice president; Lesly-Hannah Gutierrez, treasurer; Leah Hochman, secretary; Hailey Brown, librarian; and Mayralee Martinez, historian. 

Every member was presented with a certificate and a medal for several accomplishments, including achieving a minimum NYSSMA score of 93 level five, maintaining an 85 or higher academic GPA, and proving constant service to the music department. Each installed officer shared moments orchestrating parts of the ceremony, since the society is designed to be mostly student-driven.

Highlights of the evening included members reading their individual responses to an excerpt titled “Who Inspires Them to Make Music?” The entire membership then joined in performing the national TRI-M Song, where choral and instrumental musicians combined successfully under the direction of the society's newly inducted secretary, Leah Hochman. Following the singalong, all in attendance were invited to a private reception, where homemade goodies were donated by Mrs. Melissa Fuentes, Mrs. Ruth Breidenbach and the Music Parents Organization.

25 Employees Honored for Years of Service

25 Employees Honored for Years of Service photo

It was a packed house at the Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School for the District’s Feb. 6 Board of Education meeting, as district board members and administrators honored 25 staff members for their 20 years of service and dedication in the district and students. Together, the honorees have served a collective 500 years in the district. Each honoree received a plaque and a pin as a token of appreciation for their hard work and devotion.

“Our wonderful colleagues have given 20 years of dedicated and committed service to our children, our district and our communities,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “All the great work that’s going on in the district would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of each and every one of you. On behalf of the school district, it’s with great pride and admiration we congratulate all of you for reaching this very important milestone.” 

Spirit Day

Archer school’s third-grade dual language classes participated in a variety of interactive activities in honor of Spirit Day. Activities included students dumping balloons into bins without touching the floor and moving pencils using only their fingertips while listening to explicit directions. This event engaged team building and promoted character within students. 

Fifth Annual Robotics Competition

Fifth Annual Robotics Competition photo

The Freeport High School hosted the fifth annual Freeport Robotics Competition, where 35 robotics teams from 18 schools/community groups from around Long Island/NYC/Westchester competed. This was the largest event the district has ever hosted.

Freeport had six teams compete, including three high school teams (FHS Club Team A, FHS Club Team B and FHS Club Team D), which were led by adviser Mr. Kevin Harrison; two J.W. Dodd Middle School teams (Dodd Club A and Dodd Club B), which were led by advisers Mrs. Kristen Santamaria and Mrs. Jennifer Cotrone; and a Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School team (Atkinson Club A), which was led by adviser Mr. Matt Yatsalya. Each club had nearly 20 student members.  

FHS Club Team D scored the highest out of the district and were quarterfinalists in the tournament. They are also ranked 28th in New York State. In two weeks, the team will find out whether or not they will be invited to attend the state championships in March at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School.

Math Lesson Brings Interactive Fun

Math Lesson Brings Interactive Fun photo

Ms. Ferriso’s and Ms. Smith’s fifth-grade class at Atkinson school had a blast during their math review lesson, where the group of scholars engaged in critical thinking and discussed evidence that proved their answers. For the lesson, students were divided into groups and then rotated to five stations that featured math challenges including adding, subtracting and multiplying fractions. At two stations, students worked independently to solve and discuss posted problems, and at a third station students worked on Fraction Nation using their Chromebooks. The last two stations were teacher-led and focused on solving word problems. Students enjoyed the interactive lesson, where one student expressed, “Wow, this is so much fun!”

Schools Celebrate Life of MLK

Schools Celebrate Life of MLK photo

Columbus Avenue School, J.W. Dodd Middle School and New Visions School participated in several activities to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

At Columbus, students in Ms. Janet Silverman’s class joined their hands together as a symbol of Dr. King's hope of spreading equality, freedom and kindness throughout the world. Students in Ms. Amanda Rodriguez's art classes participated in New York State Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Art and Essay Exhibition, where they created artwork that focused on Dr. King's six principles of nonviolence and crafted portraits of Dr. King. Students worked collaboratively to follow Dr. King's ideas of unity and community. Their artwork will be on view in the exhibition at the Empire State Plaza in Albany throughout the month of February. 

At Dodd, the peer mediation team is sponsoring a stick together mosaic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where all students can stop by the library during lunch and afterschool to collaborate on this amazing poster. Students will grab some stickers, check the color key and apply the stickers to the color key coded grid to reveal an eye-popping image. Along with bringing people together to collaborate, stick together mosaics provide a chance to focus on the “A” in STEAM and offer embedded opportunities to foster critical thinking, prediction and social skills.

Meanwhile, students at New Visions participated in an assembly where various classes performed songs and recited poetry to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. King. The assembly also recognized four fourth-grade students who were nominated for the Martin Luther King Award. Jennyfer Rodriguez was crowned the winner of the award, based on her ability to demonstrate the non-violent virtues and qualities of Dr. King.

District Highlights Mental Wellness

District Highlights Mental Wellness photo

The District is committed to educating its students on the importance of mental health and wellness. The district hosted two We Are All a Little “Crazy” assemblies at Freeport High School and J.W. Dodd Middle School. We Are All a Little “Crazy” is a nonprofit organization founded by Eric Kussin, former sports executive, with a mission to highlight the significance of mental wellness. These assemblies were funded by The Sophia Valsamos Foundation.

Through the organization, Kussin also developed the #Samehere movement, where people hand gesture “same here” in sign language to show others that they’re not alone in any struggles they are facing.

Kussin shared his life story with students about his struggle with mental health and how he overcame the battle. Another presenter, Eric Kelly, former four-time national boxing champion and former member of the U.S. National Olympic team, also shared his story as well.

Kelly advised students to act as a sponge by taking in what positively affects them and filtering out what negatively affects them. “You may get knocked down a few times, but the fight isn’t over,” Kelly said. “Everyone has struggles but don’t give up.” 

Kussin provided students with helpful strategies to relieve stress, such as breathing techniques, meditation and exercising.  

Students also heard from Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, owner of Hartstein Psychological Services and psychologist specializing in CBT/DBT. Dr. Hartstein advised students to ask for help when battling challenges.

Dodd Presents Annie Jr.

Dodd Presents Annie Jr. photo

Don’t miss tonight’s “Annie Jr.” performance, which will be presented by the talented students of J.W. Dodd Middle School. Led by directors Vashti Burke and Demelina Valonzo, Dodd students will entertain the audience with the classic tale of orphan Annie. The production will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the performing arts center at Freeport High School.

Students Craft Masks for Artifacts Alive

Students Craft Masks for Artifacts Alive photo

Bayview Avenue School’s third-grade students’ artistic talents were in full force as they kicked off their projects for the Artifacts Alive program. In conjunction with Hofstra University Museum of Art, students were instructed by art teacher Laurie Kolodny to begin the first steps in creating their own masks. These different assignments included crafting Kenyan Masks, Chinese Opera Masks and Brazilian Masks.

Students traced their designs with a pencil for the first step. During this process, they learned to trace inlines, how to effectively create a diamond shape, and that their masks must be symmetrical. Students will make their masks unique by adding color and some decorative pizazz. 


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