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Atkinson Students Receive Visit from Cycling Peace Advocate

Atkinson Students Receive Visit from Cycling Peace Advocate photo
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Atkinson Students Receive Visit from Cycling Peace Advocate photo 3
The physical education classes at Atkinson received a special visit from Nitin Sonawane, of India, who has been cycling on a journey around the world in an effort to promote world peace. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham welcomed Sonawane, praising his commitment to the advocacy of peace and the power of his message.

Accompanied by members of the Shanti Fund, which has sponsored him while he is in New York, Sonawane spoke to students about Mahatma Gandhi’s messages of peace and nonviolence, and the role the kindness of others plays in continuing to inspire him on his journey.

Sonawane has been on his journey for more than one year, having traveled more than 16,000 kilometers on bicycle and foot in countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan. He aims to complete his journey on Oct. 2, 2019, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.

FHS Inducts 108 to National Honor Society

FHS Inducts 108 to National Honor Society photo
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One-hundred and eight academically outstanding students at the high school were inducted to the prestigious National Honor Society in a special candlelighting ceremony on Nov. 14.

The new inductees, sitting among current members of the NHS, were sworn into the esteemed organization that recognizes the four tenets of scholarship, service, leadership and character. Adviser Eileen Shultis, who led the program, announced the six NHS officers: President Jaidiver Morales, Vice President Kevin Brown, Secretary Maya Brown, Treasurer Ashley Hernandez, Student Liaison Heaven Jenkins and Director of Community Service Kayla Sewer.

“Tonight, you join the ranks of our Freeport superheroes,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. MaryAnne DeVivio to the inductees. “Superheroes are scholars: they solve complicated problems and make the world a safer, better place through their wisdom, quick wit and decisiveness. Superheroes are leaders who inspire others by their own actions to work and live together in harmony. All superheroes work to serve others. It is the job of every superhero to save the day. Superheroes are not just characters – they have character. They have virtues that make them stand apart including honesty, loyalty, grit, kindness and empathy. Finally, superheroes do not rest on their laurels. As a Freeport National Honor Society student, your work is not done. I urge you to challenge yourselves to do more, be more and give more than you already have. Your initiative will lead you to excel in school, work and life.”

Individually, the officers spoke about what each pillar represents and student class representatives lit candles to symbolize how the new inductees demonstrated these characteristics. The names of the students who earned induction to the NHS were announced, and each received a medal from Principal Joe Mille prior to taking the Honor Society Oath.

As part of a longstanding FHS tradition, the 108 new inductees were encouraged to proudly wear their medals to school the following day.

FHS Science Chairperson Accepted to Prestigious Program

FHS Science Chairperson Accepted to Prestigious Program photo
High school science department chairperson Peggy Parigoris has been accepted to the Science Coaches program, an educational outreach initiative jointly sponsored by the American Association of Chemistry Teachers and the American Chemical Society.

As part of the program, Parigoris will be working with Hofstra University professor Ling Huang to incorporate the New York State Science Learning Standards into chemistry lessons and presentations, enhancing the academic rigor of the chemistry curriculum. She also received a $550 Flinn Scientific Gift Certificate, which will be used to further aid the school’s science program.

The district extends its congratulations to Parigoris and commends her for helping to maintain a rigorous and enriching science curriculum.

Bayview Adopts Cops

Bayview Adopts Cops photo
As part of its commitment to helping students build relationships with local law enforcement, Bayview Avenue hosted its 22nd annual Adopt-A-Cop event.

The program, designed for the school’s fourth-graders, was comprised of Village of Freeport police officers first meeting the students in the auditorium before accompanying them to their classrooms. The special guests spoke to students about the importance of being model citizens and assured them that their priority is to protect them. The event was aligned with Bayview’s ongoing lessons in character education.

STEMming for Success at Giblyn

STEMming for Success at Giblyn photo

Students at Giblyn participated in a variety of fall-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities.

While some classes worked independently, others collaborated with classes on different grade levels to complete a challenge. First-graders used recycled materials to design and build a safe escape for a pumpkin before it was cooked into pie or soup, in addition to building a structure to support five little pumpkins. Another class constructed a pumpkin tower using pumpkins, craft sticks and toothpicks. In other classes, students worked together to discover how bat wings were similar to human hands, and what the result of leaving candy in liquid for differing periods of time would be.

As follow-up activities, classes toured the building to read about and observe the various experiments. Teachers also spent time discussing the exhibits and what methods worked, did not work or could have been completed differently.

Toys for Freeport Tots Donates Instruments to Atkinson

Toys for Freeport Tots Donates Instruments to Atkinson photo
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As a result of its ongoing commitment and support of the district and the Freeport community, nonprofit organization Toys for Freeport Tots donated more than $3,000 in musical instruments to Atkinson.

Toys for Freeport Tots, comprised of volunteering members of the Freeport Benevolent Association and their families, visited Atkinson to personally deliver violins, violas, trumpets and a cello. During the visit, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham expressed his appreciation to the organization and its president Patrick Franzone for going above and beyond in their endeavors to support the students of Freeport. As a token of appreciation on behalf of the district, Dr. Kuncham presented Franzone with a framed rendering of this year’s “We Are Peace” themed artwork.

Winter Coat Donations

Winter Coat Donations photo
As part of an ongoing partnership between the district and the Rotary Club of Hicksville, the district received new winter coats as a donation from Rotary Club President Dr. Urmilesh Arya.

The coats, which will benefit community children in need, were delivered to the district in October as a kickoff to the holiday season. The club’s generous effort was a follow-up to its donation of 100 backpacks to the district in September. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Dr. Arya were recognized by Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino for their collaboration and outstanding commitment to students and service.

New Visions Honors Everyday Heroes

New Visions Honors Everyday Heroes photo
Students, staff and administrators at New Visions gathered to celebrate everyday heroes in the school community in the Heroes Among Us assembly.

The event, designed to teach students that there are true heroes among them every day and that they can be heroes themselves, was organized by school reading specialist Lori Golbert. The program celebrated the hard work and selflessness of four heroes: school nurse Toni Pincus and her guide dog in training, Captain; Al Villanueva, the husband of a former teacher at New Visions School who provides tutoring and support for students; U.S. Army Sergeant and student teacher in the district Peppy Cabrera; and U.S. Marine Private Jose Medina, who is the brother of New Visions fourth-grader Joceiry Duran. Each honoree was introduced by a member of the New Visions community and presented with a certificate of appreciation for their heroism.

“Heroes aren’t just famous people,” Golbert said. “They are everyday people, just like us. Who is a hero? A hero is someone who is admired for qualities or achievements and regarded as a role model. A hero is a person who is distinguished by exceptional courage and strength. You should recognize that you can be a hero, too!”

Students Perform at Senator’s Health Fair

 Students Perform at Senator’s Health Fair photo
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Student-musicians from the high school were invited to perform at the annual Nassau County Golden Gathering Health Fair hosted by Sen. John Brooks at the Freeport Recreation Center.

The ceremonial opening of the event was performed by the high school’s Select Chorale, who showcased their remarkable talents in renditions of the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” under the direction of Monique Retzlaff. Under the guidance of teacher Jill Boardman, student Marcus Brodsky then led the Caprice Chamber String Ensemble through a variety of beautiful selections.

Being invited to perform at the event was a testament to the students’ and teachers’ commitment to musical excellence. It was also a wonderful opportunity for the students to give back to the community.

Archer Hosts ‘Coffee with the Principal’

Archer Hosts ‘Coffee with the Principal’ photo
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Archer Street welcomed the parents and families of its students for “Coffee with the Principal,” a fun and educational evening of activities led by Principal Paula Lein and faculty members.

Students and their families worked together in centers designed to support the STEAM curriculum taught in the classrooms and to promote critical and creative thinking skills through high-tech activities such as Bee Bots and Ozobots, and artistic activities such as creating a butterfly with cardboard and coloring a bookmark. They also worked with Legos and Keva Planks as part of an enriching journey through the world of engineering.

Dodd Raises Funds and Breast Cancer Awareness

 Dodd Raises Funds and Breast Cancer Awareness photo
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As part of its observance of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, students and staff at Dodd raised more than $1,600 to support breast cancer awareness.

In addition, they participated in a five-mile Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Jones Beach. The efforts were inspiring ways to raise needed funds for research, honor survivors of breast cancer and raise awareness about steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of getting the disease.

Dodd’s Splendid Mentorship

Dodd’s Splendid Mentorship photo

Students at Dodd reconnected with their mentors and expressed their appreciation to them during the annual Fall Kickoff/Get-Together on Oct. 25.

The school’s mentoring program, now in its ninth year, serves to connect faculty members with students in a mentor-mentee relationship. The mentors assist students in transitioning into middle school and annually offer their time and leadership to them in making the most of their middle school experience. Fifty-two Dodd mentors and 90 mentees participated at this year’s kickoff, with food provided by Jersey Mike’s Subs. The kickoff was organized by school social worker Felice Niland, who started the program in 2008 and has overseen its increasing participation since then.

As a follow-up effort, seven members of the program attended the Mentor New York Mentoring Benefit at the Garden City Country Club on Oct. 26. The annual benefit is designed to honor mentors and supporters of mentoring.

Giblyn is Making Magnificent Mathematicians

Giblyn is Making Magnificent Mathematicians photo
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As part of its commitment to ensuring that all students are developing the skills necessary in solving mathematical problems and equations as swiftly as possible, Giblyn has designed a variety of creative activities for students.

As the result of an effort spearheaded by school math specialist Pat Vollkommer, the school’s hallways have been decorated with math problems. With dry-erase markers in hand, these grade-appropriate exercises allow students to work together in solving the equations. In addition, on one Friday per month, the math period in all classes is devoted to learning a new specific skill that is needed to problem-solve, such as Draw a Picture. During this time, students learn strategy and have the opportunity to implement it themselves. The teachers then provide daily problems for students to practice and perfect the skill.

Bayview Teaches Good Behavior

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As part of its ongoing character education and observance of National Red Ribbon Week and Bully Prevention Month, Bayview hosted a variety of activities designed to teach students about the importance of compassionate and upstanding behavior toward others.

In addition to participating in a No Smoking poster contest, students learned about the dangers of tobacco products and smoking through facts that were communicated in the daily morning announcements. Second- and third-grade students also participated in the Safety Rules and Steer Clear of Bullies classroom programs, respectively. The professional performing group, Theatre Three, from Port Jefferson visited the school to present Stand Up! Stand Out! The Bullying Project.

Celebrating Hispanic heritage

 Celebrating Hispanic heritage photo

The district celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month across all of its schools with a variety of spirited activities and assemblies.
At Atkinson, students took the stage to perform various acts such as skits, a Gozadera Dance, and a rendition of “Hablando Claro” by the sixth-grade select mariachi band. At Columbus, staff members explained the significance of celebrating Hispanic heritage to the students, who then performed a rousing range of traditional dances popular in the Hispanic culture.

In celebrating the richness of Hispanic heritage, students throughout the district showcased their talents in the performing and visual arts.

Board of Education Honored as Superheroes

 Board of Education Honored as Superheroes photo
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In honor of their leadership, dedication and commitment to the students and Freeport community, the Board of Education was celebrated at its October meeting at Atkinson.

“Our board has been making great decisions in securing the future of our students,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham said. “President Michael Pomerico, Vice President Anthony Miller and trustees Ronald Ellerbe, Vilma Lancaster and Ernest Kight, on behalf of Freeport Schools, the community, students, the cabinet and myself, you are superheroes and champions of our students and our community. We salute you for your hard work, sacrifices that you make and your tireless advocacy for our students and education. Your commitment to service and public education affects the present and the future of our students and our community. We are very proud of our district, we are very proud of you and we celebrate your work.”

Students from Atkinson gave a spectacular presentation that served to commemorate Board Recognition Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. Students role-played famous Hispanic-Americans and explained why they would make exceptional members of the Freeport board before coming together to serenade them with their peers who were dressed as superheroes.

Representatives from several organizations, including Freeport Teachers Association, Freeport School Administrators Association, Freeport Teacher Aide and Assistant Association, Freeport Educational Office Staff Association, Freeport Custodial Unit and the Food Service/Security Unit also expressed their appreciation to the board by informing them that donations had been made in their honor to worthy organizations, including the Freeport Educational Foundation.

“We are the ones who should be thanking you,” Pomerico said. “Serving as your board gives each one of us tremendous satisfaction and seeing your children grow from Columbus all the way to the high school fills our hearts with joy. We owe it to you for allowing us to do everything in our power to create a future as bright as can be for them and for this amazing district.”

Idols Astound

Idols Astound photo
Students at the high school put their vocals to the test during the fifth annual Freeport Idol competition.

The popular event, based on the national singing competition television series “American Idol,” featured 10 students individually performing songs and being critiqued by three special judges: Mahendra Morales, Talonda Thomas and Justin Friedman, all music teachers at Atkinson. The first-, second- and third-place winners in the 2017 Freeport Idol contest were Michael Desir, Mayralee Martinez and Jasmine Tejada, respectively.

Archer Students Sing at Toy Drive Kickoff

Archer Students Sing at Toy Drive Kickoff photo
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Under the direction of music teacher Jennifer Skelly, fourth-grade dual language students at Archer Street performed at the Coral House at the annual Long Island Toys for Tots kickoff. The students had the opportunity to showcase their talents in a spirited performance of “Celebrate the World.”

“It was an honor to participate in this worthwhile cause, and it was a wonderful experience for the children,” Skelly said.

Top of Their Class

Top of Their Class photo
The district applauds the outstanding achievements of the top 10 students of the Class of 2018. On Oct. 24, the names of the seniors with the highest cumulative grade point averages were announced, including the valedictorian and salutatorian.

The district congratulates Joseph LaRocca (valedictorian), Zoe Stetson (salutatorian), Kira Brizill (3), Kenny Martinez (4), Franco Ramirez (5), James Hastings (6), Hannah Cotter (7), Roseanne Hylton (8), Zoie Gold (9) and Jordyn Smith (10).

Atkinson Students Learn More About Antibullying

Atkinson Students Learn More About Antibullying photo
As part of its ongoing character education and its commitment to teaching students about the importance of compassion, Atkinson hosted “The Power of One,” an interactive antibullying program for fifth-grade students presented by Soren Bennick Productions.

The performance featured two actors, one wearing a green mask and the other wearing a purple mask to identify the bully and the person being bullied, in several different real-life scenarios. Students learned what bullying looks like, the actions they can take to prevent it and how to help those who may be experiencing it.

Bayview Students Learn Fire Safety

Bayview Students Learn Fire Safety photo
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Third-graders at Bayview learned about fire safety during the 12th annual Hooked on Firefighters event.

As part of the program, local firefighters visited various classrooms to speak to students about ways to prevent a fire and proper procedures in the event of a fire. Students then participated in a simulated smokehouse and fire truck demonstration to complement their lessons.

Homecoming Brings Community Together

Homecoming Brings Community Together photo
A forecast for early rain did not deter the district community from coming together for an afternoon filled with school spirit, community pride and exciting football as everyone celebrated homecoming 2017 on Oct. 14. 

District administrators, staff, students, alumni and parents filled the bleachers to watch the Red Devils take the field against the Hempstead Tigers. Adjacent to the field, the district’s traditional family fair, complete with fun games and a delicious variety of foods served by members of the high school’s clubs, class representatives, and PTA, provided an abundance of entertainment. 

This year’s special guests were members of the Class of 1967, who were recognized throughout the program and arrived an hour prior to game time for a tour of the high school led by Assistant Principal Nelson Holland. The alumni were also involved in the game: members of the 1967 football team were invited onto the field for the coin toss prior to kickoff, and members of the 1967 cheerleading team were presented with gifts by the current cheerleaders.   
As a festive precursor to the varsity football team’s entrance, a parade featuring the Freeport High School marching band, cheerleaders, members of the Navy Junior ROTC and the homecoming court —  freshmen Jaiden Ramos and Giovana Robinson, sophomores Darron Roberts and Chrisoula Drakopoulos, juniors Jeffrey Estevez and Valentina Vinasio, and seniors Rashiem Briggs and Camryn Taylor — made its way onto the track surrounding the field.      

During halftime, the marching band and cheerleaders performed their synchronized routines to precision. The Red Devils returned to the field where they continued to dominate and secured their victory over the Tigers with a final score of 28-6.

Freeport’s homecoming festivities and victorious football team contributed to the celebration of community pride.

Archer’s Amazing Act of Altruism

Archer’s Amazing Act of Altruism photo
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As part of their ongoing commitment to altruism, students and staff at Archer Street raised $1,200 in relief funds that were used to purchase much-needed supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The effort included Archer staff members shopping for the necessities at a Freeport supply store, where they were met by local firefighters who arranged to have them delivered to Puerto Rico.

“Hurricane Maria has left Puerto Rico without power, water and basic necessities for all of its residents,” said Archer teacher Josie Velez, who has family in Puerto Rico. “The island is in need of absolutely everything and it is important that we do our part to help in any way possible.”

The fundraiser and follow-up effort to help aid Puerto Rico’s recovery was also designed to teach students about the importance of compassion and helping others, especially in their times of need.

Coach Cellan Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Coach Cellan Inducted Into Hall of Fame photo
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As a testament to his impressive array of accomplishments and remarkably successful career as head coach of the high school varsity football team, Russ Cellan was inducted into the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame before several of his former players. The event, which was held at Crest Hollow Country Club, is designed to recognize, preserve and promote the heritage of interscholastic sports in Nassau County and honor the contributions and achievements of individuals who uphold these values.

Coach Cellan has coached football for 34 years, the last 31 at Freeport High School. Over the course of his career, he has won more than 200 games and five Long Island Championships, in addition to five Rutgers Cups, which is presented to Nassau County’s most outstanding team.

The district extends its congratulations to Coach Cellan and wishes him continued success as a dedicated coach, mentor and leader.

FHS Names 48 AP Scholars

 FHS Names 48 AP Scholars Pic
Forty-eight students in the high school’s Classes of 2017 and 2018 have earned the prestigious designation of Advanced Placement Scholar from the College Board due to their outstanding achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement exams.

The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on a student’s performance on AP exams. Two students were named National AP Scholars. Sixteen students were named AP Scholars with Distinction. Nine students were named AP Scholars with Honor and 21 were designated as AP Scholars.

At FHS, Advanced Placement courses are open to students who are recommended by their teachers; students must then maintain an average of 85 percent or better to remain at the AP level. Students can earn college credits while still in high school, advanced placement or both for successful performance on the AP exams. As college admissions become more competitive and tuitions more costly, participation in AP courses has become an increasingly important component for acceptance to the top colleges and universities. Successful completion of AP courses is also considered a good indicator of future success by most colleges.

National AP Scholars
Two students qualified for the National AP Scholar award by receiving an average of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. These students are Melissa Alvarez and Abbey Ebesu.

AP Scholars with Distinction
Sixteen students received AP Scholar with Distinction awards by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are Melissa Alvarez, Nan Adom Appiah-Agyemang, Dylan Dominguez-Sulca, Abbey Ebesu, Joseph Frye,* Ismary Jiminez, Joseph LaRocca,* Javier Lechuga,* Gabriel Lemmie, Braydon Luna, Kenny Martinez,* Kaitlin McLaughlin, Johnny Palma, Franco Ramirez,* Zoe Stetson* and Victoria Wright.

AP Scholars with Honor
Nine students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Nina Banks,* Kira Brizill,* Hannah Cotter,* Michael Desir,* Sabrina Guerrero, Jennifer Herrera, Jocelyn Jovel,* Nyeem Maloney and Samuel Stetson all achieved this distinction.

AP Scholars
Twenty-one students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by receiving scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. These students are Kaitlyn Almonte Hernand, Myles Carter,* Joel Castro, Rajiv Chanda, Karissa Collins, Tania Cuevas Moreno, Alexander Dasque,* Melanie Escobar, Michael Guerrero-Calderon, Jasmine Harrigan, James Hastings,* Daniella Herrera, Erik Jiminez Villeda, Isaiah Louder, Erica Matos De Los Santos, Eboni Porter, Erick Rivera,* Magnolia Robinson,* Kimberly Serna, Jordyn Smith* and Katiana Thompson.

*current senior

Dodd Students Experience Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality Pic
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As a supplement to their lessons about DNA, students at Dodd participated in the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program during their science classes.

The program provided students with the opportunity to experience elements of augmented reality — the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in “real time” — using smartphones provided by a representative of Google for the lesson. Working in pairs, students were able to view and study images such as molecules that appeared all over the classroom through the smartphones.

Freeport Schools ‘Grow Peace’

Freeport Schools ‘Grow Peace’ photo

In celebration of International Day of Peace, the International Day of Nonviolence and the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the district hosted its eighth annual Peace Concert and Art Exhibit on Oct. 2 at the Performing Arts Center at the high school.

Hundreds of students, parents, board of education members, administrators, elected officials and community members attended the inspiring performance and viewed the spectacular artwork that were showcased by each of the district’s eight schools. The event, this year themed “Grow Peace,” was emceed by high school seniors Michael Desir and Kira Brizill, both of whom provided inspiring messages about harmony and peaceful coexistence as transitions from one performance to the next.

Following his speech about the importance of cultivating peace, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham presented the board of education and elected officials with framed prints comprised of student artwork titled, “We Are Peace.” This beautiful poster was displayed electronically to the audience.

“We are living in interesting times and it’s up to us to promote acceptance and harmony,” Dr. Kuncham said. “We must continue to embrace and value our diversity and work toward unity. Gandhi reminded us that ‘gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.’ Each of us can be an ambassador for peace and nonviolence. It is easy to speak of peace, but it is our actions that truly build the culture of peace that is needed in the world today.”

Following the presentation of the colors by members of the high school’s Navy JROTC and a rendition of the national anthem by Desir, Columbus Avenue kindergartners graced the stage to begin the slate of performances. They sang and danced to “Let There Be Peace On Earth” under the direction of Christina Prisco-Buxbaum; the New Visions Glee Club performed “Harvest for the World” under the leadership of Crystal Leotaud; Archer Street fourth-grade dual language classes sang “Celebrate the World” under the direction of Jennifer Skelly; the Dodd Select Chorale performed “Let There Be Peace” under the leadership of Dr. Sherill Spruill; Bayview fourth-grade dual language classes sang “The World is Ours” under the direction of Jennifer Leal; Giblyn fourth-grade chorus students performed “Just Be Happy” under the leadership of Shannon Abramovitz; Caroline G. Atkinson fifth-grade chorus students sang “One Day,” which featured a solo by Ashley Retzlaff, under the direction of Stephanie Arnell; high school student ensemble “Brass Bois” performed “Heartland” and “Imagine” under the leadership of student conductor Myles Carter; and all schools’ student performers came together for a remarkable rendition of “The Candle Song,” which was arranged by high school student Elijah Zelaya and featured high school student Mayralee Martinez as vocalist.

The Peace Concert and Art Exhibit was a symphonious and beautiful forum to spread the messages of peace and nonviolence from the district throughout the world.

District Partners with Hofstra University in STEM+C Grant

District Partners with Hofstra University in STEM+C Grant photo
Freeport is one of six school districts on Long Island that have been selected to take part in an interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering, Math + Computing Partnership (STEM+C) program through Hofstra University. As a result of a $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to Hofstra, Freeport will be introducing computer coding in ninth-grade Living Environment classes, which will ultimately deepen and enhance students’ understanding of the topics introduced in the classroom curriculum.

“We are excited to be partnering with Hofstra University on this innovative grant,” said Dr. Kishore Kuncham, superintendent of dchools. “Students throughout our district have been utilizing coding in math and other STEM activities. We will now be able to incorporate computer coding within the science curriculum which will further expand our students’ abilities with coding. It will be in keeping with meeting the Next Generation Science Standards idea of 3-D learning. ”

Beginning in summer 2018, five Hofstra professors from a variety of academic disciplines will be training high school teachers in coding to help them develop a computationally enhanced biology curriculum. Freeport High School teacher Michael Smith will be participating in the program, and will be able to introduce coding to students in science the 2018-2019 academic year. The program will also provide tablets to students and teachers associated with the grant at no cost.

“Involvement in this grant provides students with more in-depth exposure to computer programming in science, an essential 21st-Century skill,” said district Director of Science Dr. Vincent Pereira. “Computer programming also enhances mathematical reasoning, making our students better problem solvers.”

Freeport’s partnership with Hofstra is its latest accomplishment in the field of computer coding. The district has been teaching computer coding across all of its elementary schools, and students are also honing their coding skills in after-school clubs at J.W. Dodd Middle School. The math department at Freeport High School offers an Advanced Placement Computer Science Class, and coding is regularly used in its research courses. In addition, Freeport Public Schools library media specialists Debbie Bergen, Mimi Bino and Lisa Eisenberg led a presentation on coding last year at the annual conference of Science Teachers Association of New York.

Backpack Donations

Backpack Donations photo
As part of their ongoing support of the district and their commitment to students’ academic enrichment, the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) donated 200 backpacks and school supplies that will benefit community children in need. On behalf of the district, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham expressed his gratitude to TANA Executive Vice President and President Elect Jayasekhar Talluri, Regional Coordinator – Backpack Community Project Raja Kasukurthi and Regional Vice President Vidyadhar Garapati.
Following the start of the school year, members of TANA visited New Visions School to personally deliver their donations, and were thanked by staff members and students. In addition, Dr. Kuncham presented the members with peace-themed framed artwork as a token of appreciation.
The Rotary Club of Hicksville also donated 100 backpacks to the district and Dr. Kuncham thanked Rotary Club President Dr. Urmilesh Arya for their generosity.

Dodd Security Team Honored

Dodd Security Team Honored photo
As a testament to their dedication to maintaining a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff members, the security team at Dodd was presented with a community recognition award at the Freeport United Methodist Church.

The presentation, which featured board of education trustee Ronald Ellerbe as guest speaker and pastor Rev. Edward J. Norman, was attended by district Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Dodd Principal Johane Ligonde and board of education trustee Ernest J. Kight Jr.

All-State Musicians

All-State Musicians photo
The district is proud to announce the selection of several student-musicians to perform as All-State participants in the New York State School Music Association All-State Festival being held Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Rochester. The six students were selected for the honor based upon a rigorous audition process. The district congratulates the following students:

Gabriel Alvarado (Select Chorale)
Maya Brown (Select Chorale)
Asher Cook (Select Chorale)
Michael Desir (Select Chorale)
Leah Hochman (Select Chorale)
Joseph LaRocca (Wind Ensemble)

Freeport Schools to become first district in nation to establish audio and video contact with International Space Station

Freeport Schools to become first district in nation to establish audio and video contact with International Space Station photo
Freeport Public Schools has been chosen by NASA to be among 13 institutions across the country to make contact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Unlike the other 12 institutions making audio contact, Freeport is the only institution in the country that will make both audio and video contact with the astronauts. 

“This is a once-on-a-lifetime opportunity for our students and we are honored to have been selected by NASA for this distinction,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “As part of our STEAM initiatives, all aspects of the curriculum districtwide will incorporate lessons focusing on preparing for this unique educational experience and real-world lesson.”

The contact is scheduled to take place between January-May, 2018. NASA will provide the district with the exact date and time approximately two weeks before the contact is initiated. The contact will be for approximately 10 minutes, during which time it is expected to field 10 questions from students across all grade levels.

Currently there are six astronauts aboard the space station, two from Russia, three from the USA (including one woman) and one from Italy. The crew members are studying more efficient solar arrays, the physics of neutron stars, a new drug to fight osteoporosis and the effect of prolonged microgravity on the heart.

“We are excited to take on this incredible challenge and the unique opportunities it provides to expand our STEAM curriculum for our students,” said Director of Science Dr. Vincent Pereira. “I would like to thank the Freeport staff for working tirelessly with me to make this opportunity possible for our students.” 

Schools Roll Out Chromebook Initiative

Schools Roll Out Chromebook Initiative photo
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Schools Roll Out Chromebook Initiative photo 4
As part of Phase 2 of the Smart Schools Bond Act and aligned with its commitment to equipping students and staff with additional 21st-century technological resources, the district started the new school year by hosting a Chromebook rollout at the high school. More than 2,300 Chromebooks were distributed to high school students. Teachers and administrators had received Chromebooks last year in Phase 1 to become adept at becoming Google educators.

The incorporation of Chromebooks in each classroom and use of the Google platform is designed to enhance the teaching and learning process and to expand and strengthen collaborative learning environments. Students and staff members have learned how to optimize their Chromebooks, navigate Google Classroom and integrate resources such as G Suite for Education.

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

Additionally, the district was also awarded a grant from Sprint Foundation’s 1Million Project to provide high-speed internet access for any high school student who may not have adequate internet access at home. This is a five-year grant worth more than $200,000 per year. This year, the first 300 students will receive internet access and a device. There will be another 300 students each subsequent year totaling 1,500 students in all.
“Some of the many benefits of the Chromebooks are that they save a lot of time and paper,” said high school junior Jocelyn Mora. “You can log on anywhere and work on Google Docs. It’s preparing us for college because everything is put online, all assignments can be accessed electronically and it’s very conducive to conducting research.”

In addition, Atkinson and Dodd have been equipped with carts of Chromebooks, iPads and laptops, and technology learning opportunities have expanded and have been put in place for all grade classrooms. This past summer, a 2-to-1 program of iPads for all kindergarten and first-grade classroom students was implemented, and all second-, third- and fourth-grade classrooms were equipped with a 2-to-1 model of Chromebooks.

Constitution Harmonies

Constitution Harmonies photo
Constitution Harmonies photo 2
Third-graders in Jennifer Skelly’s music class at Archer Street celebrated Constitution Day by singing “We the People,” a song about the preamble.
As part of the harmonious activity, Skelly led the students on a line-by-line analysis of the song, defined key words and contextualized the lyrics to the Constitution. Students learned not only about why there is a day dedicated to the nation’s founding document, but also how it plays a role in protecting freedoms.