Special Meeting Notice - December 4, 2013
Transportation Update Message
You may have heard, as we have mentioned in recent Board of Education meetings, PTA meetings and other venues, that the Atlantic Express Bus Company, which provides transportation services for many of our children through its subsidiary company, Courtesy Bus Co., has filed for bankruptcy. Company representatives have said it would use the Chapter 11 process to explore financing, to market its assets and to continue labor negotiations. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy a company continues to operate while it tries to work out a reorganization plan.
We have discussed the bankruptcy filing with our legal counsel, and are taking all of the necessary steps to protect the School District’s interest.
It is our utmost priority to maintain the continuity of student transportation service with no disruptions, and we are working diligently to ensure this for our children. We will have further information for you after rulings that will emerge from court proceedings scheduled for early and mid December. We will keep you informed using our automatic calling system and in postings on our web site.
I wish you and your family a peaceful, safe and joyous Thanksgiving Holiday
Very truly yours,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham,
Superintendent of Schools
Dodd Students and Teachers play for Unity
John W. Dodd Middle School held a basketball scrimmage pitting students against their teachers as an after-school bonding exercise on the Friday before the Thanksgiving holiday break.
Rotating units of five players took to the hardwood with the overarching goal of building relationships through exercise, fitness and fun. The game accomplished all three as the teachers squeaked past the students by two points in an exciting “next-basket-wins” situation as the clock ran out.
Students and teachers used the opportunity to demonstrate their individual skills and styles on the court as well as their ability to effectively be team players. After the game, everyone lined up for a traditional handshake and hug before posing for a group photo.
12/4/13 - BOE Planning/Action Mtg. Atkinson 7:30pm
Students Honor Local Precinct with Adopt-A-Cop Assembly
Students at Archer Street Elementary School welcomed officers from the Freeport Police Department to a special assembly built around the district’s Adopt-A-Cop program. “They help, they protect us, they are our friends,” said Principal Paula Lein of the officers in her introductory remarks.
During the assembly, student representatives – one from each fourth-grade classroom – read essays of appreciation for the visiting police regiment. “The idea of the program is that you can get to know us as regular people and we can get to know you,” explained Officer Steven Rampanelli, the coordinator of this PBA program. Archer students promised to write letters to the officers during the rest of the school year. After the assembly, the officers made scheduled visits to classrooms to further their bonding with the students.
Nearly 40 officers participate in this program, which reaches out to the students of all four elementary schools – Bayview Avenue, Archer Street, Leo F. Giblyn and New Visions – to foster an ongoing cooperative relationship between students and local law enforcement that will endure as the students continue their education.
Much to the delight of everyone in attendance, Rampanelli announced that the annual end-of-year picnic for police and students is in the planning stage.
Students Explore the Future at Career Expo
The students at Bayview Avenue School had the opportunity to learn all about different professions from the people who work in them during the school’s annual Career Awareness Expo. Local professionals rotated through K-5 classrooms to share their work experiences and explain how their education was the foundation of their career choices and advancement. “Our students are good listeners,” said Principal Odette Wills. “They appreciate the wisdom spoken by these voices of experience.”
Workers from a range of occupations – including real estate broker, correction officer, doctor, dentist and bank executive – volunteered their time to visit as many as three classrooms. They described their jobs to students, answered questions about their career choices, and spoke anecdotally about their professional experiences.
Many of the visitors demonstrated the special equipment they use on the job to help students better understand the importance of knowing how to use specific tools for specific jobs.
Freeport High School Inducts 78 into National Honor Society
Seventy-eight Freeport High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society during a candlelit ceremony at Freeport High School. The inductees were recognized for their achievements in the areas of scholarship, leadership, community service and character, and included students from both the junior and senior classes.
During the ceremony, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham addressed the inductees. “Today we are here because of the wonderful things you have done,” he said. “You have excelled, and only you know the path to success.” Dr. Kuncham also told students to continue to work to achieve greater goals. “When you reach a new height, kick the ladder of success and move to the next level,” he said.
National Honor Society President Karolynn Ellis also addressed the new inductees. “I believe what should make you and your parents the most proud is not this honor itself, but what you have done to earn it,” Ellis said. She also encouraged the students to continue to achieve. “I challenge you to not rest on your laurels, but continue striving toward even greater goals,” she said. “Only by setting difficult goals and achieving them can we find true self-worth.”
National Honor Society adviser Eileen Shultis led the ceremony, which was highlighted by the inductees taking their oath and receiving a medal from Freeport High School Principal Linda Carter. Carter also expressed her pride in the students’ achievements. “Our students have worked tremendously to achieve this goal, and we hope this honor will continue to open doors for them as they move forward in their educational endeavors,” she said.
Giblyn Playground Reopens with Costume Parade and Fanfare
The new Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School playground was officially reopened for students with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting nearly a year to the day after it was damaged by the floodwaters of Superstorm Sandy.
The extensive rebuilding effort included a complete demolition that ultimately led to upgrades in hardware and safety. The large gathering included community members who joined students, administrators, teachers and staff for the celebration. Students, along with several administrators and staff members, were dressed in costume for the event, as it coincided with the school’s annual costume parade.
The winners of a schoolwide essay contest, one representative from each grade level, were asked to read their compositions that expressed their appreciation for the new playground.
“Last year on this day we were not in school; we were all home recovering from the storm,” said Giblyn Principal Amanda Muldowney. “I am especially happy and thankful to have all of you, your parents and your friends here today for the reopening of our playground.”
Board of Education President Debra Mulé, trustee Michael Pomerico, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Dr. Mary Bediako, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities James Robinson and Director of Facilities Thomas Fucci joined Muldowney on the podium for the ceremony.
“Thank you to the members of the Board of Education and to the community; this would not have happened without the passing of the bond referendum,” said Dr. Kuncham in his remarks to the crowd. “We believe in investing in the future of our students, in education and in our facilities, and this new playground is something we take pride in.”
The ceremony concluded with music teacher Shannon Abramovitz leading students in a song of gratitude for the new playground.
Archer Students Work Side-by-Side with Students Hundreds of Miles Away
Archer Street School students were selected to connect with students hundreds of miles away in Newark, N.Y. via the Internet to work on a learning program facilitated by the New York State Distance Learning Consortium.
The Smart Board in the school’s computer lab served as the portal for Jessica Polikoff’s third-grade dual language class as they connected with Lora Prebalick’s
third-grade class at Kelley Intermediate School in Newark for a learning exercise called “Monster Match Collaboration 2013.”
The classes exchanged, via email, their own description of a make-believe monster and then set about building the monsters based only on the written descriptions. When the monsters were finished, the classes videoconferenced to compare and contrast their creations.
There was also time for a question-and-answer period, where students had the chance to share information and learn more about each other’s home community. Many students hope to continue to communicate with their new friends.
Freeport High School Announces Class of 2014 Top 10 Students
Freeport High School senior Karolynn Ellis has been named valedictorian of the Class of 2014, based on her No. 1 ranking with a weighted GPA of 104.54. Javier Otero, with a weighted GPA of 102.92, is the salutatorian. Karolynn and Javier, both award-winning students, are also members of the Freeport High School chapter of the National Honor Society and New York State Science Honor Society.
Principal Linda Carter revealed the top 10 ranking, a closely guarded list, over the school PA system during first-period classes on “Congratulations to Karolynn, Javier, the rest of our Top 10 and all of our students,” said Carter. “You have worked hard and have earned your success.”
Ranked third through 10th were students Lee Stetson, Graciela Jamieson, Alana Ezeji, Danny Pineyro, Kaylinn Ellis, Adia Matthew, Celine Orosco and Alanna Gordon.
The top 10 students were invited to the guidance office for a brief reception and were personally congratulated by Carter, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Guidance Chairwoman Emma Perdomo, guidance counselors and school staff.
Healthy Lifestyle Lessons Shared at Wellness Fair
Students at Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School were given a dose of helpful information during a school health and wellness fair, presented by a team of visiting senior nursing students from Molloy College.
As part of their community health course work at Molloy, these nursing students entertained the students with a series of engaging presentations they had created while also dispensing simple tips that can lead to improved health and well-being.
“The nursing students are well-equipped to relate healthy habits to children,” said Molloy College Associate Professor of Nursing Elaine Burger. The presence of the nursing students at the fair was part of an ongoing relationship between Molloy College and Freeport Schools. Freeport High School students Margaret Moore, Maria Halton and Kayla King-Sumner and Giblyn school nurse Agnes Ford-Burgess helped facilitate the event.
The fair’s displays promoted better wellness through dental care, personal hygiene, fitness and exercise, and the monitoring of daily eating routines. Students were given take-home handouts and flyers to reinforce the fair’s messages.
Cradle of Aviation Museum Representatives Visit Giblyn
The Cradle of Aviation Museum came to Giblyn and the sounds of excitement echoed in the fourth grade hallway at Giblyn as the students participated in hands-on lessons focused on learning the basics of aviation.
A teaching representative from the Cradle of Aviation Museum taught the students through rich vocabulary, model plans, and demonstrations. The highlight of the visit was when students were able to experiment with various ways to create their own gliders and to compete to see which glider would fly the farthest.
“We are very fortunate to be involved in this wonderful program,” said Amanda Muldowney, principal. “It truly adds another level of interest in science and brings it to life for our students.”
The Cradle of Aviation Museum has partnered with the Freeport Schools to teach a series of lessons throughout the school year that span the science curriculum.
Freeport Idol Contest Ends on a High Note For Winning Student
One dozen talented Freeport High School students were given the chance to sing before a panel of judges and an enthusiastic audience for the opportunity to be crowned as the first Freeport Idol.
The competition was based on the popular “American Idol” TV series. These 12 finalists culled from earlier auditions were introduced one by one to perform before a panel of judges and the audience at Freeport High School auditorium. The three judges were accomplished vocalist and Board of Education President Debra Mulé, professional singer and voice-over artist Royale Mosely, and Broadway actor and musician Jason Michael Webb.
After each performance, the judges constructively critiqued each singer and offered supportive advice. Vocal teacher Tim Warner served as emcee of the after-school event. “All of our performers were spectacular,” said District Coordinator of the Arts Ann-Marie Hudley Simmons. “And what can I say about our finalists? They’re all winners as far as I am concerned.”
The four finalists were Victoria Baez, Jasmine Euell, Shijuan Williams and Stephanie Workman. Each then had to sing one more song. Shijuan Williams was the overall winner of Freeport Idol and received a prize of $125.
Archer Students Tie Learning to Pumpkin Day Celebration
The annual Pumpkin Day celebration at Archer Street School blended the excitement and traditions of the fall harvest season with valuable curricular activities to create a recipe for fun and learning.
Classes set out in groups to the school’s side yard, where students had the chance to select pumpkins that had been placed on the school grounds earlier in the day. Back inside, teachers at every grade level conducted appropriate lessons in literacy, math and art. Students took home their pumpkins at the end of the day.
Freeport NJROTC Participates in Veterans Day Salute
The Freeport High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, under the direction of Major Donald R. Moore USMC (retired), participated in the annual Veterans Day service held at the Freeport Recreation Center.
The NJROTC, nearly 50 strong, marched into the meeting hall populated by veterans, their families, local officials, honored guests and dignitaries prior to the ceremony. Uniformed students had the honor of presenting the American flag for the Pledge of Allegiance. The Freeport American Legion chapter, William Clinton Story – Post 342, hosted the event and called upon several honored guests to speak about their service to our country and the tours of duty they served across different wars and conflicts. The ceremony ended with the traditional and solemn playing of “Taps” to honor those who gave their lives defending our nation.
Students Spread Warmth with Coat Drive
The John W. Dodd Middle School student volunteers in the Future Corps group ran their annual warm coat drive this fall, and with uncanny timing hand-delivered more than 100 coats to the Salvation Army just ahead of the recent cold snap.
“The generosity of the human spirit is astounding,” remarked Future Corps adviser Lillian Salzer as she reflected on the sizable donations from within the Freeport community, which was so harshly affected by Superstorm Sandy just a year ago. The coat drive, an annual charitable school wide effort, is now in its fifth year.
Once inside the Salvation Army Freeport Citadel, the students were warmly greeted by Major José Guzman and his wife Captain Ana Guzman before being seated in the sanctuary. The Guzmans conducted a brief discussion with the students on the history and mission of the Salvation Army and the importance of looking after one another.
The Guzmans indicated that the coats would be distributed to the needy in Freeport.
The Wonderful World of Reading
Parents as Reading Partners
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island,” once stated Walt Disney. With this belief in mind, Parents as Reading Partners (P.A.R.P.) kicked-off their popular reading program with a special assembly including visits from popular Disney characters including Winnie the Pooh, Tiger and Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
This year’s theme is “The Wonderful World of Reading” and is sponsored by the PTA to help reinforce with students the link between reading at home and school. Every night, students were asked to enter into their log that they have read with a partner and return it to school to help their class win prizes.
“Reading for fun is a crucial component to a child’s education,” says Amanda Muldowney, principal. “PARP connects students, parents and teachers.”
P.A.R.P. runs for two weeks and has special events, including Pajama Night when the students return to school in their pajamas and listen to fun nighttime stories read to them by various teachers; Bingo Night, where students play a version of the popular game based on children’s books; and Guest Readers who go to classrooms to surprise the class with reading a very special book.
Students Pledge to Quell Bullying in Schools
Students at New Visions School pledged to do their part to keep their school and community safe and comfortable during a special assembly that reinforced the basics of a maintaining a bully-free environment. “When we are in school we are family. It’s up to you to make the right choices and make our school bully-free,” urged Principal Renee Crump-Dedmon.
Administrators, teachers and other staff members were dressed in blue T-shirts custom lettered with the phrase “It is up to me” to reinforce the message to students.
Guest speaker Maya Moseley, a Long Island student, recounted her own problems with bullying in school and how she coped and eventually resolved the problem. She entertained questions from students regarding her experiences and their own concerns with bullying.
The assembly finished on a high note when Assistant Principal Susan Deluca led the students, in unison, through an anti-bullying pledge that promoted ideals such as responsibility, respectfulness and caring.
Earlier in the day, students signed their names on a large poster that affirmed their commitment against bullying of all sorts.
Special Meeting Notice - November 21, 2013
Junior Achievement/Capital One Day at Giblyn
Giblyn students welcomed the Junior Achievement of New York volunteers, who are all managers from Capital One Bank, into their classrooms. The students were eager to make connections between what they learn in school and how it applies to “the real world.”
Fourth graders participated in the “Our Region” program that introduced them to the relationships between the natural, human, and capital resources found in different regions. It also explored regional businesses that produce goods and services for consumers. “The students were so enthusiastic to make real-world connections to what they have learned in math, social students and reading,” said principal Amanda Muldowney. “They participated in many activities. It’s amazing to see the teamwork they displayed.”
The students had a great time designing their own businesses. Following that, they played “The Hot Dog Stand Game” where they learned about the difficult road to businesses ownership. The students had to subtract their expenses from their revenues to find out if they made a profit or suffered a loss of money.
Junior Achievement of New York (JA New York) is a non-profit organization that connects volunteers with students in grades K-12. Through in-class activities, after-school programs and workplace experiences, students acquire the confidence they need to succeed in their future careers and in life. Junior Achievement of New York’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.
Freeport Schools Awarded $700,000 Competitive Grant
The District has been awarded the largest physical education grant in the district’s history. Over the next three years, the district will receive a total of $701,917 to expand and enhance its district wide physical education and wellness curriculum for students in grades K-12.
The district applied for the highly competitive Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant in partnership with Adelphi University. During the first year the district will receive $326,416, in the second year $187,752 and in the third year $187,749.
“Achieving this grant is a remarkable accomplishment and it will provide immediate and ongoing benefits directly to our students across all grades,” stated Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “This grant will enable us to expand our physical education and wellness programs. We are grateful to Adelphi University for working with us to achieve this grant and for their continued involvement in the development of our programs.”
The objectives of the proposed projects are to provide students with enhanced physical activity opportunities and to raise awareness of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Students will benefit from programs focusing on proper nutrition, healthy eating habits, the role physical activity plays in a healthy lifestyle and stress management. Students will use state of the art equipment such as new “spinner” bicycles and will be able to monitor their progress toward achieving personal fitness goals through an array of biofeedback technologies and data bases.
“This grant will enable us to go to the next level of physical education and wellness instruction ensuring our students receive the knowledge and skills they need to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Jonathan Bloom, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics.
The grant will also support enhanced professional staff development enabling teachers to implement standards-driven instruction to motivate students to live a healthier lifestyle. Professional workshops and training sessions will allow for new K-12 physical education lesson planning, instruction and data collection using baselines to measure to monitor student progress.
Reading is Better with a Buddy
When the current fourth graders at the Leo F. Giblyn School were in kindergarten they were partnered with fourth-grade reading buddies, who brought stories to life and made reading twice as much fun. Ever since then, the program has continued and this year those same kindergarten students, who are now in fourth grade, have become reading buddies bringing the program full circle.
“It’s a wonderful way to allow our kindergarteners to feel at ease in a newer, larger school,” said principal Amanda Muldowney. “The students love seeing their buddies in the hallways and are beyond excited to read with each other.” Students meet about once a month to read and share stories. They also meet to do seasonal and holiday thematic activities.
How to Apply for Your STAR Relief