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Schools Appoints New Administrators

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The Freeport School District’s Board of Education is proud to announce the appointments of new administrators, including Tiffany Pendola as Atkinson Intermediate School principal, Alma Rocha as Columbus Avenue School principal, Stephanie Berg as Bayview Avenue School assistant principal, Michael Campiglia as Freeport High School assistant principal, and Maribel Maia as Freeport High School assistant principal.

Tiffany Pendola, new principal of Caroline G. Atkinson School, was principal of Intermediate School 349 in Brooklyn as well as an assistant principal and achievement coach, prior to coming to the district. She also served as assistant principal for Instructional Support Services at a high school in Queens and also for the Food and Finance High School in Manhattan.

Alma Rocha, new principal of Columbus Avenue School, was the Columbus Avenue School assistant principal. For the past eight years, she has served as the assistant principal at Bayview Avenue School. Her career within in the district began in 1999 as a pre-k Spanish teacher in the Dual-Language Program.

Bayview’s new assistant principal, Stephanie Berg, comes to Freeport after serving as the assistant principal at Southampton Elementary School. She was also a literacy coach and response to intervention coordinator. In addition, she served as tenured Dual Language kindergarten and second grade teacher within the New York City Schools from 2008-2013.

Michael Campiglia, new Freeport High School assistant principal, served as an acting dean at Freeport High School and was previously chairman of the science department. In addition, he has also worked as a teacher on special assignment since the 2017-2018 school year.

Maribel Maia, new Freeport High School assistant principal, has served in Freeport High School in a leadership role as a teacher on special assignment and as coordinator of the Freeport High School summer school program. 

The district congratulates the newest administrators who joined the Freeport Public Schools. 

District Wins Grant to Build CubeSat

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District students are sharpening their skills in space engineering this summer by designing a prototype and utilizing a three-dimensional printer to construct a CubeSat that will carry an experiment NASA will launch into outer space. This project became a reality when the district was awarded the prestigious NASA/New York Space grant. Freeport is the third public school district in New York State to win this grant and the first school district on Long Island.

“The CubeSat is a nanosatellite that is being built exclusively by Freeport students and will carry an experiment that will go into space with the help of a rocket,” said Dr. Vincent Pereira, director of science. “We are currently working with the students in making the CubeSat and designing it so that it can perform the required experiments in space.”

This coordinated team effort through the science, math and technology departments will allow students in grades 4-12 a once-in-a-lifetime STEM experience. The district will also be collaborating with professor Mason Peck of Cornell University.

Students have designed their own prototypes of the CubeSat and used three-dimensional technology to print out the pieces. They are now in the process of building its structure. Once this development stage is complete and the results are shared with NASA, a final CubeSat containing sensors will be sent into outer space by NASA. These sensors will accurately predict the altitude of the CubeSat and will allow students to calculate its total energy. 

“We are pleased to offer this amazing unique opportunity for our students,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham said.  “We hope this inspires an interest in our students to move toward math, science, engineering and technology fields in the future.”

District Welcomes Brazil’s Colonel Brandao

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The district held an informative discussion on with Colonel Anselmo Brandao, general commander of the State of Bahia Police in Brazil, and discussed useful techniques in reducing stress and improving mental health. Attending the meeting was Freeport district administration, staff, members of the board of education, Colonel Brandao and his team of experts, and representatives from Nassau County and Freeport Village. Also at the meeting was Nassau County Police Department Assistant Commissioner Marianela Casas and Freeport Village Assistant Chief of Police Ray Horton.

Colonel Brandao met with the district after he spoke at the National Mental Health and Mental Fitness Summit in Denver. He has been commended for implementing a wellness program for 2,000 out of his 32,000 total officers that helps reduce stress and decrease the use of violence among his police officers. The goal is to properly manage mental health for the stressful job of police officers. Since its successful implementation, he has been sharing the program with others in law enforcement.

Colonel Brandao came to the district after meeting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham during an International Consortium for Creating a Culture of Peace in Brazil in January. Dr. Kuncham spoke about the district’s YES (Youth Empowerment Seminar) program that has been implemented for students and staff for the past 10 years. The YES program, which has also demonstrated positive results, provides techniques for stress reduction including breathing techniques, mindfulness and social emotional learning. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham expressed his excitement in welcoming Colonel Brandao to the district. “Why we’re all here and why we take action is to improve things for our future leaders of America. The Commander is doing an extraordinary job having brought mental health and stress management programs to 2,000 police officers and now he’s working on introducing it into schools for students,” Dr. Kuncham said. “The International Consortium focuses on how we can all come together internationally because these programs are working, bringing tremendous changes and providing tools to adults and young people to be able to cope with the stressors that occur in our lives.”

During the meeting, attendees discussed the significance of practicing positive mental health awareness and provided feedback on ways to continue this in the future.


Students Continue to Sharpen Literacy Skills

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With summer in full swing, the district continues to provide education for students and has invited kindergarten to seventh graders to participate in its summer reading/literacy camp at New Visions School.

The camp highlights reading, writing, drama, art, math and intensive reading intervention every day. Students are selected for this based on their academic level.

The program also works hand-in-hand with the ENL Summer Literacy Camp, which focuses on English language development through student engagement in speaking, listening, reading and writing activities.  

Literacy camp is built around the seven strengths of belonging, curiosity, courage, kindness, confidence, friendship and hope. The goal through the summer program was to help students develop the resilience to be lifelong readers and learners, while having fun and refining their academic skills for the upcoming school year.

Students Jazz Up the Summer

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The high school’s performing arts center was transformed to the time of the Roaring ‘20s, as students showcased this year’s “Jazz It Up” theme for the district’s annual Summer Academy of the Arts. 

The performances were a culmination of music and art-related instruction that took place during the month of July. Students in grades 4-8 expanded their artistic knowledge and skills in band, chorus, orchestra, theater, dance, visual arts and technology, with help from grade 9-12 interns. Featured ensembles included orchestra, band, ukulele, mariachi, chorus, cardio drumming, and musical theatre/dance collaboration. 

During the performance, media and visual arts were displayed in the main lobby. For visual arts, they utilized the art elements to create unique jazz-related images and collaborated to create cubist-inspired instruments and the juke box. Media students created short stories on a day in the life of a jazz instrument and used sound, motion, graphics and text through computer programming to animate these stories.