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Superintendent's Archive

 

Welcome Back Letter 2020
I am pleased to welcome you to the 2020-2021 School year! I hope you and your families are doing well, are healthy, and have continued to adjust to our new reality. It has been a long journey since we closed our schools last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have remained Freeport Strong. This has been an exceptionally busy summer for Freeport Schools as we have prepared for our reopening.  While the start of the school will be different this year, the sense of excitement remains the same, and a feeling of anxiousness is understandable.

We began planning for the re-opening of schools at the close of least school year, although we did not receive guidance from the New York State Education Department until mid-July. Along with these guidelines, we have followed the health and safety guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health. Finally, at the beginning of August, the governor determined that schools in New York State can reopen with an appropriate plan submitted to NYSED and the DOH and by communicating this plan to our families, staff and the community. Our facilities are prepared to meet the social distancing requirements and our buildings are equipped with sanitizing stations throughout. We are ready for our students to return, prepared to support them academically, socially and emotionally and on course to continue to Be the Change as we move forward. 

The health and safety of our students and staff is our first priority. Our plan for reopening has built upon our strong foundational philosophy of holistic education with its focus on the whole child approach. The social and emotional development and wellness of our children is key. We understand the stress and trauma our families have been through with the pandemic and we will continue to provide support to ensure our students feel safe and ready to learn no matter where their instructional location. Our caring, committed staff is set with synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities that will allow our students to fulfill their greatest potential. 

In addition to ensuring we are meeting the DOH guidelines for the safe reopening of schools, the district has also been busy with capital projects necessary to maintain and improve our buildings. Last year, as we closed schools, we gave out Chromebooks to grades 2 through 4. This summer, we have given out over 2,100 Chromebooks. Our pre-k students are getting iPads. This means all our students will have the devices they need in order to complete assignments and work remotely.

As we move forward with the 2020-2021 school year, please remember M-S-W: Wear your masks, Social distance, and Wash your hands. We will be instructing and reviewing the appropriate protocols for this with our students and staff. If you have further questions or need more information, please visit our website at www.freeportschools.org. We have the Reopening Plan and a Family Guidance document. You should also reach out to your building administration with any questions you have.

Despite being a different start to the year, the District remains to be committed to bringing the best opportunities available. We look forward to your ongoing partnership during this year. We will have planned virtual events and Parent Universities to share information and keep you updated. We will continue to Be the Change and to transform the lives of our students and families. Together, we will make 2020-2021 a positive year filled with accomplishments.
Sincerely,

Kishore Kuncham, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools

 

Welcome Back Letter 2019

Welcome to the 2019-20 school year! We are ready to build upon the success of our students and staff from last year. Our students put forth super efforts to meet and exceed expectations in academics, the arts and athletics. They made their small steps into giant leaps. The momentum continued into a busy, productive summer for our many students who attended a variety of summer programs for support and enrichment. Freeport Public Schools provides a wide variety of academic and extracurricular experiences that assist all of our students in achieving their full potential. Our students and staff are prepared this year to Be the Change needed to make a successful difference in themselves and the world around them. 

The staff of Freeport Schools is excited and ready for our students to return. We are deeply committed to our students and their families and prepared for a fabulous year filled with growth and achievement. This year, we will continue to grow upon many of the wonderful initiatives we have begun. Our holistic approach to preparing our students for college, career, and life readiness is key to everything we do with our students. Our targeted initiatives will continue to assist all students, including our English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities, to reach and exceed their potential in all areas. We have further expanded our advanced placement and elective courses at the high school. We are excited with the continued expansion of infusing technology within our instruction enhancing our student-centered learning. The Next Generation Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and the new Social Studies framework have reached the implementation phase and will be guiding our instruction. It is crucial for us to meet and exceed accountability measures under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Social-Emotional Learning guidelines and the safety and well-being of our students and staff will continue to be at the forefront this year. 

The Smart Schools Bond Act enabled us to accelerate implementation of our technology plan. With over 4,300 Chromebooks for every student in grades 5 - 12, and over 1,000 2:1 iPads/Chromebooks in all K - 4 classrooms, Freeport Public Schools continues to provide more opportunities for stimulating shifts in classroom instruction. We are very excited about expanded Augmented Reality opportunities for our students. This year, our schools will utilize 4DLibrary, an augmented reading program that will enhance instruction through virtual 3D models. Students will also engage in MAD (Mobile Application Development) –Learn, a unique web-based curriculum program that teaches students to learn mobile app development, inspiring student creativity and fostering entrepreneurship. Students will plan, create, launch, and market their own mobile apps. Teachers will continue to build instructional capacity through modeling and collaboration for implementation of technology-infused lessons and learning tasks that are differentiated, inquiry-based and student centered.  There will be continued focus on Digital Citizenship with instruction on the importance of being a safe and responsible digital citizen. New and emerging technologies have brought exciting alternate instruction and learning opportunities that inspire our students and teachers beyond the school day. 

Our buildings and grounds have been beautifully prepared for the school year. There were many projects completed this summer including the continuation of installing air conditioners in our classrooms. Between last year and this summer, we have air conditioned 125 classrooms districtwide. The four new Atkinson classrooms are set to go and the portable classrooms have been removed.  Other projects include chorus and band room renovations at the high school, bathroom renovations, electrical upgrades, and new doors and hardware at Columbus providing better security. Other security enhancements and window replacement at Dodd Middle School are ongoing projects. Through our capital reserve funds, many of these projects adding up to over $3 million have taken place at no additional cost to taxpayers. The district will also begin to undergo $6.2 million of projects under the Energy Performance Contract (EPC) at no additional cost due to energy savings and state aid. Some of the EPC projects will be chiller replacements at Dodd Middle School and Freeport High School and energy efficient LED lighting.

We are delighted Freeport Public Schools continues to offer our students exceptional opportunities both during and after the school day. We want our students to soar, not only academically, but as well-rounded individuals ready to take their place as global citizens. We encourage our students to participate in activities that will make a difference in their lives and the world. Each of us can take the steps needed to Be the Change and make a positive impact for ourselves, our families, or our communities. 2019-20 is set to be another amazing year. We look forward to seeing you as we partner together for our children.


Sincerely,

Kishore Kuncham, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools

 

Welcome Back Letter 2018

I’m excited to welcome you to the 2018-19 school year. Last year passed by at the speed of light and what a super year it was for Freeport Public Schools. Our students reached new heights as we guided their growth in academics, music, fine arts and athletics. It was another busy summer with numerous programs providing students with support or enrichment classes. We are super proud of the extraordinary events and accomplishments of our Freeport School community. Our schools provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff, where all children can embrace learning, become lifelong learners and be college and career ready upon graduation. This year, our staff and students will make the next giant leap to reach greater heights of achievement together.

Our staff is prepared to continue its superheroic efforts this year on behalf of our students. We have been very successful in making gains for our students in reading and writing proficiency, math skills and problem-solving, and increasing our graduation rate. We continue to bring innovative science experiences to our students districtwide, keeping Freeport at the forefront in science programs and research. We are pleased to share that we are planning for a visit from a Nobel Laureate, Dr. Ranier Weiss, who will be speaking to our students about the significance of gravitational waves. We continue to have meaningful relationships with several colleges, universities, science research institutes and museums, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, NASA, Hofstra University, Adelphi University and more. These partnerships provide unique opportunities for our students to experience advanced instruction far beyond the K-12 experience.

We have added to the extensive opportunities for our students to take Advanced Placement classes and to earn college credits while still in high school with a course catalog of 25 AP classes and more than 30 college-credit bearing courses. Our technology initiative is moving to Phase 3 and our Dodd students have already been issued their 1:1 Chromebooks. Atkinson will soon be following. We are pleased to be introducing Freshman Seminar at Dodd Middle School to better prepare our students for high school. The Pathways of study will continue to provide our students with a clarity of purpose and a roadmap to future career success. Pathways are multiyear program paths of academic and technical study along with exposure to aligned careers. It links student learning to the knowledge and skills needed for future education and careers.

We are very excited our breakfast and lunch program will now be offered at no charge to all students. This is one more way we are addressing the health and wellness of our students on a daily basis. Students can continue to buy a la carte items or additional meals.
 
It has been a busy summer preparing our facilities for the start of the new school year. In addition to maintenance, numerous capital projects have been accomplished providing upgrades to our buildings, including upgrading science labs at Dodd, replacing the Dodd elevator, working on the four classroom extensions at Atkinson that will replace the portables, air conditioning in some classrooms, casework and flooring in Atkinson, and entry vestibules planned for Archer, Dodd, Giblyn and Freeport High School as part of our ongoing safety and security measures. Many of these projects were supported through the district’s community-approved capital reserve fund at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Freeport Schools prides itself on creating world-class opportunities for our students to excel and become global leaders. We are committed to providing the means for intellectual, emotional, ethical, social and physical growth for cultural and ethnic diversity, which will assist every student in becoming an informed and productive participant in our democratic society. We want all students in our schools to blossom to their fullest potential. They should leave us as happy, healthy, well-educated, caring individuals striving to make the world a better place. We are ready for this school year and making the Next Giant Leap for the success for all our students.


Sincerely,
 
Kishore Kuncham, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools

 

Summer Message

The warm, relaxing summer days are upon us and I hope that you are all enjoying the time off with your families and friends. 2017-18 was an amazing, accomplished year for Freeport Schools. We are extremely proud of our 2018 graduates, who received an extraordinary number of scholarships and acceptances into prestigious colleges. Many
of our graduating seniors left Freeport Schools with college credits accrued. We are confident that they have received the best instruction and extracurricular activities available to prepare them for their journey. We wish them well as they embark on the next exciting phase of their education and are assured that they will continue to be our stars.

This past year, our Superhero students competed successfully on local, regional and international levels in both academics and sports. To highlight a few things, we sent winning teams forward in competition for Future Problem Solvers, Odyssey of the Mind and DECA. Our cheerleaders were Nassau County champions and competed on the state level. Our athletic teams delighted us with their skills. We are proud to be named a recipient of the national 2018 Best Communities in Music Education. Our Select Chorale placed first in the Music in the Parks competition in Virginia. Our super-talented students turned our Performing Arts Center into Broadway with their spectacular star performances.

Speaking of stars, Freeport Schools proudly went into orbit when we made contact with astronaut Scott Tingle aboard the International Space Station. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for our students and staff as we were one of only 13 districts nationwide to be given this unique opportunity to ask questions of an astronaut. The enthusiastic research and learning that the students poured into preparing for the event was inspiring. This year will begin the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo Program, and we will have much more exciting research and many more projects. Safety has always been a number one priority for our district. Although we already put in many enhanced safety and security measures, we continue to work diligently to ensure that our students and staff are prepared and vigilant. Our policies and practices have been reviewed, safety drills are conducted in all school buildings, and we continue to evaluate and improve all safety measures.

We were pleased to present a school budget with a tax levy decrease for the fourth year in a row, and we thank our community for their support. The budget still includes many enhancements to the instructional program to provide our students with the best learning opportunities while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Our district makes the best use of grants to continue to provide additional programs and services for our students without a tax increase to our community. We have many capital projects happening this summer, including the next phase of renovations at Dodd Middle School, window replacements, air conditioning, security upgrades, entry vestibules, classroom renovations, and renovations to building interiors and exteriors districtwide. Many of these will be done through the capital reserves at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The Board of Education and I wish you a safe, invigorating break. Summer is a time to refresh yourselves and enjoy life at an easier pace. We look forward to the return of our students, staff and families in September for another super school year.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools

 

Mid-Year Message

I am excited to share with you all the wonderful accomplishments that have happened already this year. Our superhero students and staff continue to amaze us. The rollout of the Chromebooks and iPads has been highly successful, with increased technology integrated in daily instruction. We continue as the only district on Long Island with a partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory to use its Center for Functional Nanomaterials. Our entire district has been busy preparing for the connection with the International Space Station with Discovery Days at all the schools. Our students are leading the way with their enthusiasm and the high-level critical questions they are preparing for the astronauts. Our students have once again been featured on the Spotlight on LI radio show explaining about the upcoming International Space Station event. Our wrestlers competed in the prestigious Eastern States Wrestling Tournament earning sixth place. Our boys varsity 4 x 400m relay team set a national record, which is still in the top five times. Our select chorale delighted the audience as the opening performance at Radio City Music Hall. Once again, we were delighted to host the robotics tournament with 31 teams competing from Nassau County. We are proud that our students earned the Judges Award, which is given to a team worthy of special recognition.


I would like to congratulate our board president, Mr. Michael Pomerico, on his selection as a recipient of the Nassau BOCES Education Partner award for his outstanding contributions to public education. Congratulations also to Freeport Cares, which was honored at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Freeport Village for its advocacy and leadership in peace efforts. 

For the past three years, including this year, we have been able to present a budget to our public with a reduction in the tax levy. Educational and fiscal responsibility is at the heart of our budget planning. As a result, our district continues with the highest Standard & Poor’s bond rating of AA. As we get ready to present our proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year, we are faced with potential cuts from both the federal and state governments. The governor’s proposed budget would drastically cut the educational budget. The changes to SALT-D (State and Local Tax Deductions) with its limitation on tax return deductions, passed on the federal tax reform bill, will have a significant impact on individuals and institutions. We will continue to advocate for our fair share to provide our community with the best possible budget. 

As you know, we have been following the implementation guidelines for the Next Generation Learning Standards, including science, math, social studies and English language arts. While this work has been progressing, the State Education Department has also put forth educational changes that will affect our students. New standards for the arts are being implemented in the 2018-19 school year. These standards are in keeping with the spirit of the Next Generation Learning Standards and are designed to help students grow into artistically literate citizens, who achieve well-developed creative and aesthetic capacities, as well as robust critical thinking skills and a broad base of communication skills. Our teachers have begun professional development this year to be prepared for implementation.
  
With all the changes coming from the federal and state governments that will have direct impact on our district, it is extremely important that we join together to advocate for our fair share to support the future of our children. Please make sure to attend Board of Education and PTA meetings to stay informed. As always, we are committed to providing our students with the highest quality of education available. Together as partners advocating, we can continue to make this happen. I look forward to meeting you at some of our awesome events and performances in the future.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools

 

Fall Message

We began the 2017-18 school year with super energy and high expectations, and this powerful momentum has been maintained by our students and staff who are all actively engaged in rigorous learning activities throughout the district. We continue to provide our students with excellent opportunities to support and encourage their abilities to meet and exceed the expectations for 21st-century learning and college and career readiness skills. Our amazing students are already dazzling us with their academic, sports and musical performances.


The Next Generation Learning Standards were adopted this past September. The State Education Department has provided districts with a timeline towards full implementation of the standards in September 2020. The revised standards replace the Common Core Learning Standards and have been streamlined while maintaining rigor and high expectations. The number of anchor standards has been reduced and redundancy of standards has been omitted. The new English language arts standards will revise text complexity for every grade and add practices to foster lifelong readers and writers. In keeping with the implementation timeline for this year, we are building faculty awareness of the Next Generation Learning Standards through professional development, curriculum planning and model lessons.

Recently, our district was the first one, in the nation, approved by NASA to be able to interact with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station with both video and audio connections. Although we are waiting for the date to be set, plans are already underway for this amazing event. With our nanotechnology, science research programs and STEM programs throughout the district, Freeport Public Schools leads the way in science by giving our students innovative opportunities, including our partnerships with Adelphi University, Brookhaven National Labs, Cornell University and Hofstra University. 

Our Chromebook roll-out has been a huge success. High School students have their 1:1 devices and are busily utilizing them in class and at home. Classrooms throughout the district are using the additional Chromebooks and iPad carts. Additional technology is being integrated into learning in myriad ways from kindergarten students through to our seniors. Our students are digital citizens and are using technology to research, communicate, collaborate and problem solve. 

I was heartened to see the large number of staff, students and our community participate in our annual Peace Walk and attend our Peace Concert. We stress the importance of educating the whole child and this includes the importance of self-awareness and social awareness. Our message resolving conflicts peacefully and being mindful of our words and deeds provides our students with vital strategies they can use now and in the future. Partnerships with our families are key to fully supporting our children. Please take the time to join our parent groups, attend Parent Universities, communicate with your child’s teachers and come to our Board of Education meetings to stay informed. Together, we will work to provide the best education for our children. I look forward to seeing you at our spectacular programs and events. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!

Sincerely,
Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools

 

Welcome Back Message

Welcome back to the beginning of what is sure to be an amazing and accomplished school year! We are prepared and eager to begin the important work of education – helping to fulfill the potential for learning in each of our students. With high expectations, we continue our commitment to providing our students with the educational opportunities they need to succeed. 

Many new staff members, both teachers and administrators, will join our Freeport Public Schools’ family this year. They join our current staff in providing excellent instruction as highly qualified, committed educators.  Other administrators have changed positions. Mr. Joseph Mille is the principal of Freeport High School and Mrs. Mary Garguilo is the principal of Bayview Avenue School. Both have a proven track record of commitment to excellence and are excited and eager to begin in their new roles. Dr. Helen Kanellopoulos is our new director of pupil personnel services. She will be a wonderful asset for our students and families and is a great addition to our administration. I am pleased to welcome our new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Dr. Mary Anne DeVivio. She brings with her vast knowledge and experience and has already been hard at work this summer preparing for the new school year. 

Our facilities have been meticulously prepared and are ready for our students. The summer has been a busy time for completing capital projects and facility upgrades. Some of the work completed includes updated classrooms and science labs, new bathrooms, and electrical and lighting projects. The field and track at Dodd Middle School has been a big project that will provide enhancement for the Dodd students. 

We are in the second phase of our technology infusion. The buildings are set with additional Chromebooks and iPads in the classrooms or on carts and students at Freeport High School will receive their Chromebooks. We are excited about the enhanced learning opportunities this will provide. We are still moving full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics) ahead. Our teachers and students can look ahead to some very innovative and unique experiences linking science and technology this year. Much preparation and planning, including the use of the inquiry design model, was accomplished last year to prepare students and curriculum for the social studies standards implementation this year. We are in the beginning stages of implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in keeping with the state deadlines. Teachers have been trained and the planning for units reflecting these standards has begun.

Each year, we advocate for our students to ensure they receive the support they need instructionally and through funding to meet federal and state mandates. This advocacy will be more crucial this year with possible policy shifts moving funding away from public education. We will keep our community informed about important issues and encourage you to join us in advocating for our children throughout the school year.

As always, meeting the varied needs of our students is of the utmost importance. We are moving enthusiastically ahead and look forward to the return of our children. Our students are stars academically, in the arts and on the field and our expectations are set high. Together, we will have a year filled with amazing and wonderful opportunities. 


Sincerely,
Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools

 

Welcome Back Message 2016

It’s with great excitement and optimism that I welcome you to the new academic year. The start of school brings with it a sense of enthusiasm and renewed purpose. We are looking ahead to providing stimulating educational opportunities that will ensure our children’s continued success.

The past years have been challenging and demanding as we raced to keep up with the public education reform initiatives. Our outpouring of concern to the New York State Education Department has finally been heard and a recalibration to better align the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and the CCLS assessments is underway.

We remain devoted to the level of rigor and expectations brought about by the change in standards and assessments. There has been commendable growth in our elementary reading levels and our graduation rate maintains at its highest level. Our children will continue to receive the excellent education they deserve.

While strengthening many of our instructional initiatives, this year we are launching a massive infusion of technology, facility upgrades, and numerous program innovations for staff and students. The schools will have additional iPads, chrome books, interactive boards and faster internet service.  Along with these additional devices, our teachers and administrators are receiving training in enhancing learning through the integration of technology. We are preparing our students to be active participants in this era of globalization.

In addition to delivering every opportunity for academic excellence, our students are engaged in social emotional learning programs in every building. On every grade level, our children are learning to make good choices and solve problems effectively.

We are eager for the children to return to school and are enthusiastic about the exciting school year ahead. We look forward to a year of learning, creativity and remarkable accomplishments.   


Sincerely,
Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools



Welcome Back Message 2015


We are excited that the new school year is about to begin. We had a very busy summer in which over 1500 students attended various programs including the Summer Academy of the Arts, secondary summer school, science research, and programs for English Language Learners and special education students.

We are pleased that the Freeport High School June graduation rate reached a record 80%, the highest in memory.  We are also proud that our students received a record-breaking number of academic recognitions as well as outstanding acknowledgments in music, the arts and athletics.

In this school year, we will continue to provide professional development for all our staff to deepen the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards.  Our efforts are focused on readying our students for college and careers.  We are expanding STEM (Science, Engineering, Math and Technology) programs. We look forward to the implementation of the Pathways In Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) Grant, a grant that will allow students to earn a free Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Mechanical Engineering in a 6 year program that includes high school, college coursework, and internships in high tech companies.  Freeport has also acquired a 2 year grant for the purpose of providing a high level, intensive professional development program for secondary math teachers in a partnership with Hofstra University in order to strengthen instructional practice and our math curriculum.  Through dual enrollment programs with Farmingdale State College, students will have the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school.  We work in partnership with The Cradle of Aviation in which Cradle staff works with our teachers in implementing hands on learning in the various running STEM programs in our schools.  

We continue to work within a community that believes educating our children is a high priority. We are truly fortunate to have such a school-community partnership as a foundation for our success.

We cannot wait to welcome the children back. Our staff is enthusiastic and anxious to get started and we look forward to a successful, productive school year for students, parents and teachers.  


Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools


Welcome Back Letter 2014

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year. I hope you are excited to begin
another successful year. We have always valued a quality education, and this
year we will continue to provide the academic opportunities our students need
to be successful.

The members of the Class of 2014 are currently attending many
prestigious colleges and universities across the country, beginning their military
careers or starting in the workforce. Many have earned competitive academic
and athletic scholarships and left a legacy of success for those who follow.

Over the past several years, our district has been confronted by the loss in
state aid, the impact of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, state and federal
mandates, and rising costs. For several years, we have been forced to make
reductions in programs and staff in order to propose a school budget that was
within the property tax levy cap. This year, we were finally able to deliver
a budget without any reductions that maintains all current programs and
services while remaining within the tax cap. We are grateful to our community
for their confidence and continued support and to our elected officials for the
additional aid they provided to our school district. We must continue to work
together to advocate for our school district both locally and in Albany. We are
hopeful our voices will be heard so that assistance from the state will continue
and we can anticipate similar support in the coming years.

Despite our challenges, we will continue to deepen and strengthen our
work as we strive to provide a quality education, implement the Common Core
Learning Standards, and implement data-driven instruction and other aspects
of the education reform agenda.

Moving forward, despite all challenges, our number one priority is to
educate our children with the skills needed to be college- and career-ready and
to teach our children to become productive and compassionate citizens of our
global world. We know that a strong school-home-community partnership
is absolutely essential to achieving this goal. I encourage all parents to be
informed, maintain an open line of communication with their child’s teachers,
communicate with administrators and staff, and become involved in the PTA.

This calendar contains valuable information about the numerous meetings
and student events that will take place throughout the school year. Please plan
to attend as many as possible. I look forward to seeing you, and our students
will appreciate your involvement and support.

Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools

 

Holiday Message 2012

Dear parents,

This school year has been marred by the catastrophic impact of hurricane Sandy. Many of you may not even be back in your own homes. And now the horrific event in Newtown, Connecticut has staggered each of us as educators, as parents, as community members. It is difficult to summon up the holiday spirit.
 
On the other hand, these tragic events are the occasion for each of us to treasure even more deeply the people in our lives that we love and hold dear. And, these events trigger a response in us that makes us feel the need to do something for those for whom such such tragedy has befallen. These feelings are at the core of our humanity, and actually are the very essence of the holiday spirit in the truest sense.
 
With our day to day challenges and frustrations, we too easily take for granted the many positive things in our lives. At this holiday time, I hope you will each take some quiet, thoughtful time to contemplate what is really important to you and to be thankful for all those valuable possessions that money cannot buy.
 
On behalf of the Board of Education and the central administration, I wish all of you a peaceful, joyous holiday season. May we work together to greet the challenges the new year will surely hold.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kishore Kuncham
Superintendent of Schools



September 2012


Welcome to the start of another school year. The 2011-2012 school year was a productive one indeed. The Class of 2012 earned many significant recognitions and numerous scholarships to prestigious colleges and universities throughout the country and had the highest graduation rate in many years.

We also had our first semifinalists in the prestigious Siemens Math, Science and Technology national competition. We implemented a new computerized data system that includes a parent portal through which parents can access their child’s school records online. Taxpayers approved our bond issue under the Qualified School Construction Bond program, thus making possible many needed improvements while saving the district approximately $1 million in interest costs. Taxpayers also approved an expenditure from our Capital Reserve Fund for the construction of our new synthetic turf field with lighting. Our academic achievements and the success of our athletic program and music and fine arts programs have been sources of pride for our school district and community.

The 2012-2013 school year promises to bring opportunities for greater achievements as well as challenges we must conquer together. The impact of operating under the new tax levy cap law will continue to be a major challenge that we must face as we plan for the future. We will fully implement the Common Core Learning Standards and the new APPR program for evaluating professional staff. We will open our new artificial turf field and will continue our traditional focus on peace in our world with concerts and assemblies, culminating with our annual Peace March in May.

We are well aware that the self-discipline and work ethic necessary for student
success begins with what is taught at home. The research is clear; children benefit
when parents and the schools work closely together. Be in touch with your child’s
teachers and the support staff in your child’s school. With your crucial support, I know that we can look forward to a successful year for your child in all of the programs that we offer. I encourage you to communicate with administration and staff and to become involved in the PTA.

I hope that your summer was enjoyable and that you are now ready to begin the
new school year with renewed enthusiasm. I look forward to working with you and seeing you at our many student events throughout the year ahead.


January 2012


It gives me an overwhelming sense of pride to share with you all of the many outstanding recognitions our students and staff have achieved since the start of the school year. On the local, regional and national levels our students are excelling and our staff is being honored. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our administrators, faculty and staff, our students are demonstrating every day that they are preparing themselves for college upon graduation and will be ready to compete and be successful in the future.

The Class of 2012 has already raised the bar on academic excellence for those students following in their footsteps. I am confident they will continue to bring pride to our school district and community. Not one, but two of our seniors were selected as National Merit Semifinalists in the prestigious Siemens Math, Science, Technology Competition for their advanced science research project. Additionally, some of our seniors were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Scholarship Program for their academic excellence. Our students are also successfully engaged in college-level advanced science research projects partnering with NASA, Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Attendance at our College and Career Night was at an all time high and clearly showed that parents and students are planning for the future. We are planning for the future as well, and the implementation of the NYS Common Core Learning Standards to be introduced into our daily curriculum starting with the 2012-2013 school year. For more information visit www.engageny.org.

We are also dedicated to promoting peace throughout our school district, community and the world. Every day our students are engaged in humanitarian service projects to help those less fortunate. The outpouring of support and participation during our annual Peace and Love Concert and Art Exhibition was both heart warming and inspiring. Our students are learning that peace begins with us. We embrace our diversity and celebrate both our differences and similarities.

Lastly, we are already into the design phase of several of the projects overwhelmingly approved by voters on September 20th. Plans for the new high school synthetic turf field and cafeteria air conditioning have already been approved by the New York State Education Department. All of the design plans are expected to be submitted to the state for approval on schedule. Our goal is to complete all of the major projects by the fall of 2012.

As the school year continues, please plan to be a part of our success by attending the events, concerts, plays, athletic competitions and academic awards ceremonies still to come. Our students are the beneficiaries of the quality education provided for all students and will rise to the top with your continued support. Their success is a source of pride for us all.



Fall 2011

Our new school year is off to a strong start and our students are already demonstrating their commitment to succeed. I am very proud to announce that two of our high school seniors have been named Semifinalists in the prestigious Siemens Math, Science, Technology Competition. This year, our students will be engaged in advanced science research projects partnering with NASA, Stony Brook University and Brook Haven National Laboratory. I also share with pride that several of our seniors have earned distinguished recognitions in the National Merit Scholarship Program and National Achievement Scholarship Program. Freeport is also home to a Long Island Math Scholar. These outstanding recognitions are a testament to the hard work of our students, administration and staff, who are devoted to providing a quality education to all students. Competing and achieving on a national level is something in which we should all take pride.

So much has already happened that brings pride to our school district and community. Thanks to the overwhelming support of our community for our referendum vote held on September 20, we are already in the design phase, with plans for the new high school synthetic turf field and cafeteria air conditioning having already been submitted to the New York State Education Department for approval. Our goal is to complete all of the major projects by the fall of 2012. We officially opened our new high school track with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 10, and we have completed the boiler replacement at Atkinson and the air conditioning installation in the high school auditorium. These projects as well as those in progress provide a safe and healthy environment for our children while protecting and maintaining the value of our facilities. Your support is the foundation of our school district.

To see so many students and community members embracing the goal of peace during this year’s annual Peace and Love Concert and Art Exhibition was truly a heartwarming experience. Our efforts to promote peace are ongoing, and I believe Freeport is leading the way and making a difference. Our students and staff are continually demonstrating their concern for others. Congratulations to New Visions staff and students for achieving their goal of fundraising $10,000 for the American Heart Association.

While there is much to be proud of, there is still much to be done. This year the financial planning challenges will be further compounded by the property tax cap, which has been approved by the state. As we work to develop the 2012-2013 school budget, be assured that we will continue to do all we can to provide a quality education in a fiscally conservative environment. Each year, the challenge becomes greater as we are faced with reductions in state aid, continued unfunded mandates, and escalating costs outside of our control.

Please visit our website at www.freeportschools.org for the latest news about our school district. I hope to see you at the many community events, concerts, plays, athletic events and academic awards ceremonies still to come. We must continue to raise the bar and settle for nothing less.



Spring 2011


It is with a great sense of pride that I invite you to join me in celebrating the most recent accomplishments of our students and staff. With just a few weeks remaining in the school year, our students continue to demonstrate their commitment to bring pride to our community through their hard work and dedication to success. Our Board of Education, Administration and staff collaborate every day to ensure that all of our students receive the quality education they need to excel. I am confident that the success they are experiencing now will pave the way for a future where they will, no doubt, continue to contribute to the success of our global society.  

The achievements featured in this newsletter are the result of a curriculum that is ever evolving and should be looked upon as the foundation for the future. Our goal continues to be to provide students with the best education we can offer. This will enable them to be college-ready upon graduation, with the confidence of knowing they can pursue the career of their dreams. We must continue to raise our expectations and expect nothing less.

As we have finalized our budget planning for the 2011-2012 school year, we are well aware of the financial challenges we face. Reductions in state aid will continue to make it even more difficult to achieve our goals. However, we will not be deterred from our mission. We will not settle for second best. Be assured we will continue to operate as efficiently as possible, remaining mindful of our promise to the community to be fiscally responsible.

During the remaining months of this school year, I look forward to seeing you at the various concerts, art shows, theatrical events, and athletic and academic recognition ceremonies. We still have much to celebrate!


Winter 2010


Dear Colleague:

There is no other profession in which noting accomplishments is more important than in education. Our accomplishments are not a direct reflection of any one individual, nor are they an achievement by any one person. When those of us in education celebrate achievement, it’s because our children have done well. As a group of professionals we celebrate the gains of the school community…we see a brighter, healthier future for children.

In this issue we have highlighted a few of the accomplishments we celebrate in our school community - some of them academic, some of them social…all of them important in the life of a child. At the same time, we look forward to achieving more. We will never stop when there is so much that can be done. Each child is clay to be molded…each team is a group that can learn from each other. In every classroom we need to “kick out the ladder” to move to the next level. I spoke in our last issue about “intensity.” It is this intensity that leads us to achieve in the classroom, in the arts, on the field, and in the community.

Last year we began a new program to help bring inner peace to our students as they struggle with the stresses of daily life. We often look at childhood as filled with fun, but today’s world has added new pressures that many of our children have difficulty understanding. The YES program teaches them de-stressors they can use for a lifetime.

We are proud to release our top ten graduates for this year. I hope you will take as much pride in their accomplishments as we do. We know every graduate has the potential of doing great things in the years to come.

The Board of Education applauds the parents and guardians of our students as partners in this journey of preparing our children for the future. We look forward to continuing to make this year even better than the last. There is no hurdle we can’t overcome together.


Sincerely,


Kishore Kuncham, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



August 2010

Dear Colleague:

I hope you have had an enjoyable and restful summer. Summer presents such a great opportunity to explore, learn and reflect.

I began last year with many goals and expectations for myself, the staff and the community. Who would have guessed that the support and outreach I received would have been so overwhelmingly positive? It was exhilarating to have garnered so much support for our schools. The tremendous support we experienced for our budget is one measure of the connection we have to our community.

This summer, the grade 3 through 8 test score adjustment from the New York State Education Department was a surprise to all of us. I know that this state-wide readjustment of student performance levels is not a reflection on the work of our wonderful staff. Key administrators met during the month of August to review our results and to consider an action response that will enable all of our children to meet proficiency standards. I want you to know that I am prepared to offer whatever support is needed to enhance our strategies to reach the new standards.

I am pleased that there was a significant increase in the graduation rate. Our goal for this year is to continue this increase. We will continue to see Freeport Public Schools move forward. We have the talented and innovative staff to become a premier district on Long Island.

Let’s strengthen our partnership with each other and in the community, and let’s reach outside for those collaborations that can impact the lives and futures of our children.

I look forward to welcoming you back on September 1st at Freeport High School. A continental breakfast will be served from 7:30am to 8:15am followed by a staff gathering in the auditorium at 8:20am.

May the remaining summer days bring you joy, growth and renewal. With your continued support and professionalism I know we will make this another outstanding year.

 

October 2010

These are difficult economic times for many individuals, for the State, and for public schools. Freeport School District officials have been sensitive to that this year with a budget increase of 1.88 %, one of the lowest increases in many years, after $2.8 million in cost rollbacks. Historically, our school district has had a track record of prudent, fiscally conservative financial management which is best illustrated in comparisons to other Nassau County school districts.

It is important to understand whether the District is controlling its finances properly. Freeport spends less per pupil than 42 of the 56 districts in Nassau and the district has actually decreased the tax levy in each of the past two years. The average tax levy over the past four years is less than one percent at .63% while the four year average for Nassau County is nearly four percent at 3.96%. Standard and Poor’s has awarded a bond rating of AA to the Freeport Schools, a rating earned by only six of 300 S&P districts, and Freeport is among only five percent of New York Districts to have received a clean audit from the State Controller’s Office.

Freeport is losing $4.5 million in State Aid for next year. In response, the District has cut 20 positions for 2010-2011, closed the Alternative School and has reduced funding for our Extended Day support, equipment, textbooks, capital projects, and supplies. However, the budget provides for maintenance of core existing programs and instruction.

There are two critical elements required to meet our current budget challenge: ensuring quality education and holding down costs. First, we must know whether the children in Freeport schools are achieving good results. The facts tell the story. The State Education Department’s most recent report on our district shows that English, math and science scores continue to rise for both elementary and high school students as well as our high school graduation rates.

There are many opportunities for us to come together as a community. One of the most important occasions is to vote on the school budget. Our children are our future; and whether a family has children attending Freeport schools or not, we can all agree that they deserve the best education we can provide.

As superintendent, fulfilling this responsibility is my highest calling. The community has entrusted its most precious resource, its children, to us at Freeport schools. We have been challenged to find ways to maintain quality education at a time of serious financial constraints – limitations that are affecting all Long Island communities.

An approved budget will cost the average Freeport homeowner approximately 82 cents per day. On the other hand, a defeated budget will result in $2.7 million of additional cuts in staff at all levels, services, and programs such as summer school, after school support programs, clubs, sports, etc.

I would like you to know we are listening to all voices in the community. The Freeport Board of Education reviewed every possible measure to save money. This has resulted in making budget cuts that have the least impact on the quality of education of our students.

The reputation of Freeport schools continues to grow, thanks to the support of the community. Although we are challenged to succeed in this current financial climate, I know that working together we will continue to achieve positive results for our children.
 

August 27th, 2009

It is with great pleasure and a deep sense of excitement for the coming year that I welcome our students, faculty and staff back to school. You will see that many changes have taken place in our district in recent months, making all Freeport schools even more vibrant places to learn.

I do hope you will be able to participate in the “First Day” activities in each school to which all parents are invited.  You will have a chance to meet your child’s teacher, accompany your child to class, and learn about the curriculum and the expectations of the teacher.  It is crucial for you to stay involved with your child’s school throughout the year.  The learning experience is most beneficial when parents and the schools work closely together.

As a parent myself, and as your new superintendent, I want our children to be excited about the opportunities and possibilities in the new school year.  I am hopeful that you will join me in setting high expectations from the very first day for ourselves and, most importantly, for what your child can accomplish in the new school year.

(http://freeportschools.org/board/archive/docs/DistGoals_082009_sans_strategies.swf).

As you know, our public schools are a focal point of this great community. They hold an important place in our hearts and play a vital role in helping to build Freeport pride. With this in mind, I want to assure you of my personal and professional commitment to open dialogue about all district issues. I look forward to continuing our journey together as we strive for academic excellence for our children throughout the school year.

 

July 20th, 2009

 While I have had the great pleasure of working with many of you during my 15 years with the school district, I wanted to take a moment to officially introduce myself as the new superintendent of Freeport Public Schools - a role that I am truly privileged to hold.

I offer my gratitude to the Board of Education for this honor and pledge to continue to build upon the sound academic and fiscal platform that has helped to define my tenure here. I also want to thank Dr. Eric Eversley for his service to the district and wish him well in retirement.

As you know, our public schools are a focal point of this great community. They hold an important place in our hearts and play an important role in helping to build Freeport pride.

With this as the backdrop, I want to assure you of my personal and professional commitment to an open dialogue with you. When we take the time to work together we create a stronger community overall.

Also, you will be pleased to know that I will be working with the board to finalize the district’s goals for 2009-2010 and look forward to sharing them in the weeks to come.

I invite you to visit our Web site regularly for updates from me and to learn more about our district activities. I look forward to continuing our journey together and am thankful for your support.

 

July 7th, 2009

Dr. Kishore (Kish) Kuncham officially took over as Superintendent of Freeport Public Schools on July 1, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public education and the corporate sector.

The superintendent moved to his new post after completing his fourth year as Deputy Superintendent. He has been an administrator with the district for 15 years — 10 as Assistant Superintendent — and has more than two decades of senior executive-level experience in public education and in the corporate world.

Dr. Kuncham is a passionate and uncompromising child advocate and an exceptional leader whose extensive executive experience and vision have provided financial stability par excellence to Freeport School District.

Under his guidance, Freeport’s bond rating soared from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the state. This year, Standard and Poor’s once again upgraded the district’s bond rating to AA, a status reached by only a handful of districts that are rated by Standard and Poor’s. In addition, the district received a clean audit from the Comptroller’s Office in 2008, one of the few districts to do so in New York State.

Dr. Kuncham has created a highly sophisticated educational technology infrastructure for Freeport students and played a central role in successful bond referendums and school budgets. He recently brought a successful $17 million bond issue as well as Energy Performance Contracting bringing $8.6 million of capital improvements to the District at no cost to taxpayers. In addition, his successful implementation of an energy education program, creation of reserves and cash management strategies has provided a savings of over $3 million in the last five years.

As a key cabinet member, Dr. Kuncham has brought valuable expertise in the business management areas, public policy and governance, curriculum and instructional areas and personnel. He has had critical involvement in various educational initiatives, such as the implementation and opening of the first magnet schools on Long Island, class size reduction initiatives, the designing and opening of a brand new elementary school, a science research program, a full-day kindergarten program, an alternative school, as well as various other programs to improve student achievement.

Dr. Kuncham was recently the recipient of the Rotary Club’s Civic Leadership Award. He is a past president of the Nassau Chapter of New York State Association of School Business Officials, has been elected to the Board of Governors of the New York State Insurance Reciprocal, and serves on the executive board of NYBEST. He has also served as the Chairman of the Public Relations Committee of NASBO, as a member of the Finance Committee of New York State Association of School Business Officials, and served on the Advisory Committee of Nassau Music Educators Association. Additionally he is past Vice President of the India Association of Long Island and has sat as an Executive Member of the Institute of Indian Culture.

He is a recipient of PTA’s highest award, the New York State PTA Distinguished Service Award as well as the Freeport PTA Council Lifetime Membership award.

In addition to his doctorate, the new superintendent holds a law degree, a master’s degree in Business Administration, and a professional diploma in Educational Administration.

 

May 19, 2010

To All Freeport Residents:

On behalf of the Members of the Freeport Board of Education, District administrators, teachers, staff, — and especially our wonderful students — I want to express my sincere gratitude to you, the Freeport community, for approving the 2010-2011 School Budget.

This has been a particularly difficult year, primarily due to severe State budget cuts and a freeze on much-needed foundation aid.  Thanks to your support, our District will continue to move toward higher student achievement and performance. Our quality instructional programs, specifically designed to benefit different types of learners, will continue to help our children reach full potential. And, our award-winning sports teams and after-school activities will still be a source of pride for our district and community.

During the last few weeks, there has been much politicized and misleading rhetoric in the media concerning the school budget.  I am thoroughly impressed and extremely grateful to the citizens of Freeport who have taken the time to separate the “spin” from the truth and to recognize the quality education and results that Freeport Schools have produced, and will continue to produce, at a cost far below other school districts ($2,800 per student below the Nassau County per student average).

We pride ourselves on our superior financial practices and assure you that we will continue to exercise prudent fiscal judgment.  Passage of our budget is a vote of confidence in our district, its leadership and management practices, and its ability to deliver the best possible education to our children.