The district hosted the 10th annual Long Island Regional Braille Challenge for students of Braille on Feb. 4 at W.T. Clarke High School.
The Braille Challenge is an academic competition developed by the Braille Institute of America to motivate school-aged visually impaired or blind children to continue their study of Braille.
During the challenge’s opening ceremony, members of the W.T. Clarke High School pep band performed as the six participants gathered in the Little Theater for recognition.
In his welcoming remarks, Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo acknowledged these students who excel in the study of Braille.
“We’re here today to recognize our Braille champions as they continue to accomplish, overcome and demonstrate what they are capable of,” he said. “We are the beneficiaries of their hard work.”
Patrice Dobies, the district’s director of special education and pupil personnel services, expressed her gratitude to the district, Board of Education, Braille Challenge Coordinator Petra Tarrant, volunteers and sponsors for hosting and coordinating the annual event.
“Thank you to everyone who made today’s Braille Challenge a success,” she said. “This day could not have happened without all of your hard work, dedication and commitment. I am so proud of all these students and am blown away by their amazing ability to read and write in Braille.”
Following, students had the opportunity to participate in three interactive workshops. In the first, they practiced martial arts and self-defense techniques with Sensei Devin Fernandez from Third Eye Insight in West Islip. With the help of volunteers, participants learned defensive moves using their knees, fists and elbows.
The students transitioned to the classroom for the second workshop, where they displayed their proficiency in reading, writing and comprehending in Braille. They also created valentines using cookie cutters, metallic paper and stickers.
During the third activity, students met and played with members of the Long Island Bombers Beep Baseball team, a group of players who demonstrate their version of baseball by using beeping baseballs and bases. The young students ran the bases and located the baseball from the sound of its buzzing.
At the closing ceremony, the students received Braille Institute medallions, certificates of recognition and goody bags for participating in this year’s 10th annual Braille Challenge. Participants and their families also attended a brunch graciously provided by the East Meadow Special Education PTA.
Among the participants in the Braille Challenge were Meadowbrook Elementary School second-grader Kayla Ochtera, Bowling Green Elementary School third-grader Matthew Palmeri and Woodland Middle School seventh-grader Robbie Stahl.
The regional event is the first step toward the national competition, which will be held in June at the Braille Institute’s headquarters in Los Angeles. Students from across the nation are in the process of completing preliminary testing in the hopes of qualifying among the top-scoring 60 contestants. Those top scorers will advance to nationals to represent their state as they compete against the best Braille students from across the United States and Canada.
East Meadow Joint Bond Vote March 7 from 7 a.m.- 9p.m. at All Elementary Schools
Average annual cost to taxpayers = $57.53 or less than 16¢ per day
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, residents will have an opportunity to vote on a joint bond referendum proposed by the East Meadow Public Schools and the East Meadow Public Library that, if approved, will renovate and improve the schools and library to better serve students and community residents into the future. For the first time in East Meadow’s history, residents will vote on a joint bond at significant savings to the taxpayer.
The East Meadow schools are more than 60 years old and in need of major repairs and renovations that are too costly to include in the annual school budget without significantly increasing taxes and/or cutting programs and services to students. The public library has not undertaken a major renovation in more than 30 years, and requires major repairs and upgrades.
The bond initiative will fund the repairs and renovations to the schools, improve energy efficiency, support science initiatives and restore the district’s natural grass athletic fields for school and community use. The proposed bond would also support major repairs and upgrades to the public library to enhance additional programs and services, improve energy efficiency and security systems and increase opportunities to serve students and patrons.
During the life span of the bond, the average annual cost to the taxpayer is $57.53, or approximately 16¢ per day. The projected average annual cost to the taxpayer is calculated using the average assessed property value as determined by the Nassau County Assessor’s Office. It is anticipated the work in the schools will begin during the summer of 2018 and the library work will also begin sometime in 2018.
This is an exciting time for the community. All residents are encouraged to vote on Tuesday, March 7, from 7 a.m.-9 p.m., at all district elementary schools. For more information, visit the school district website at www.eastmeadow.k12.ny.us or the library website at www.eastmeadow.info. You can also find information on the bond on Facebook by liking East Meadow Schools and Public Library Joint Bond.
School District and Public Library Joint Bond Referendum
In a joint decision, the first of its kind in the community’s history, the school district and public library plan to propose a single bond referendum that would support major renovations and improvements to both the district’s schools and athletic facilities, and the public library. If approved by voters, the proposed work will bring the public library into the 21st century and facilitate greater opportunities to serve the community, while the school district will be able to address much needed repairs and improve its instructional space and athletic facilities at schools that are more than 60 years old.
The Virtual Enterprise class at W.T. Clarke High School demonstrated their business acumen and ingenuity when they competed in the Virtual Enterprise International Northeast Regional Trade Show at Farmingdale State College on Jan. 13.
According to its website, VEI is a global business simulation that offers students a competitive edge through project-based, collaborative learning and the development of 21st-century skills in entrepreneurship, global business, problem-solving, communication, personal finance and technology.
Consisting of 19 seniors, W.T. Clarke’s VE class mimics the operations of a real business, with departments including accounting, marketing, human resources and web design. The company is entirely student-run, with teacher Joseph Pavia acting as its consultant. In addition to managing its daily operations on a multi-departmental level, the students also evaluate employee growth and receive a virtual salary that can be spent on products and services offered by other schools’ VE firms, both local and international.
W.T. Clarke’s firm, Munchkings, sells snack mixes that are customized to targeted consumer groups’ tastes. The “Lazy Man Mix,” for example, is an assortment of potato chips, popcorn, chocolate candies and mini chocolate chip cookies and is geared toward the armchair athlete, while the “Veggie Mix” is a blend for the more health-conscious consisting of veggie straws, veggie chips and pressure-cooked potato chips.
At the regional show, the Munchkings’ administrative team presented their 30-page business plan and a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges. In addition, undercover judges walked the sales floor to analyze the businesses of more than 900 students. They awarded the Munchkings first place for best sales pitch and second place for most enthusiastic firm, the latter bestowed upon those companies that exhibit the most passion, energy and perseverance.
“This is not an ordinary class,” said Pavia. “My students always amaze me with their dedication, hard work and perseverance. I am very fortunate to teach this class and am beyond grateful for the incredible support I receive from my administrators.”
The results have not calculated, but if the Munchkings advance, they will participate in VEI’s 2017 Youth Business Summit, a national-level competition that will be held in New York City from April 3-5. This competition brings school firms from all over the U.S. and the world to trade live with each other.
The East Meadow School District wishes the Munchkings much success as they continue in the competition.
Lessons in character education were promoted as the entire student body at Bowling Green Elementary School lent their hand to a “unity mural” outside of the school’s library.
The project, led by Joyce Raimondo, founder and director of Imagine That! Art Education, was open to all first- through fifth-graders. With smocks tied on and paintbrushes in hand, the students worked together to create a dynamic, colorful masterpiece that illustrates positive character traits and embodies the school’s motto of respect, citizenship, trustworthiness and caring.
Their teamwork and collaboration resulted in a masterpiece that teachers, staff and administrators will enjoy for years to come.
Students, parents, staff and administrators in the district experienced an evening of resilience, empowerment and hope when singer/songwriter Jared Campbell led an ACCESS Workshop on Jan. 17.
Sponsored by the East Meadow PTA Council in conjunction with the East Meadow Kiwanis, the concert took place at the Leon J. Campo Salisbury Center, where Campbell performed songs containing powerful stories. The singer/guitarist also visited all of the district’s elementary schools over the course of the week to share positive messages with the students.
“Music has the ability to transcend words,” said Campbell, who visits schools across the country on national tours. “I want my music to leave an impact on kids and get them to think about how they’re treating one another, what they’re going after in life and how to work together.”
Campbell kicked off the show with “Life Is Good,” an original song about focus. “As students grow up and go through life, honing in on the power of focus is huge,” he said. Among other tunes were “Change the World,” about looking out for others, and “Life I Haven’t Lived Yet,” conveying the importance of hard work and believing in oneself.
The audience was entertained by these and many other songs, often clapping along or echoing the lyrics. Campbell discussed every song that he presented and encouraged attendees to think about the ways these messages could be applied to their own lives.
Woodland Middle School students participated in a variety of team building activities on Jan. 13.
The Social Emotional Learning Club held a game-themed Mix It Up Day for sixth- and seventh-graders during their lunch periods to meet new people, develop their social skills and work in teams. During their homeroom period, the students received different colored bracelets that grouped them with new peers. Together, they took part in activities inspired by board games such as Apples to Apples, Uno, Scrabble and Monopoly.
Across the hall, eighth-graders practiced their team building skills with exercises and gaming applications. Working collaboratively to accomplish a common goal, they participated in exercises such as human rock, paper, scissors and land mine travel, where teams had to direct their classmates across a field of “land mines” without stepping on a mine or bumping into another competitor. The students also teamed up to play the puzzle game Candy Crush.
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, second-graders at Barnum Woods Elementary School studied Dr. King’s dream of living in a world of equality, compassion and kindness.
Teacher Denise DeMarco began the lesson by reading the picture-book biography, “Martin’s Big Words” by Doreen Rappaport. The book explained Dr. King’s life journey as a civil rights activist in pursuit of a world where everyone is treated fairly.
Afterward, students brainstormed aspirations inspired by Dr. King’s message. Among them were “treating everyone fairly and with kindness,” “that there will be no wars” and, to quote Dr. King, “that people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
With these aspirations, students drew themselves in an “I have a dream” activity using one of the above wishes.
Fourth-graders at Parkway Elementary School got their feet wet in exploring natural disasters and the media. After conducting research and planning out their segments over the course of several weeks, students in Kelly Zawasky and Allison Cellura’s class presented a series of natural disaster news broadcasts on Jan. 13.
The project, part of the students’ literacy curriculum, posed the essential question of “How do people respond to natural disasters?” The fourth-graders responded to this inquiry by researching different types of natural disasters and watching numerous weather broadcasts to understand what information is needed for a typical weather report, which proved useful when the time came to prepare their scripts.
The class also studied the importance of eyewitness interviews and the role of the meteorologist as they learned about firsthand and secondhand accounts of events. In addition, they learned about the elements of dramatic text, which they incorporated into their scripts. Finally, they created their own backdrops and ran through several dress rehearsals to ensure they were camera-ready.
Along with on-set reporting from the news desk, each broadcast involved “on-site” scenes in front of the backdrops. Students were creative in their use of props and costumes as they portrayed the roles of reporters, meteorologists and civilians impacted by the events.
Broadcasts included coverage of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri in 2011, the Great Blizzard of 1888 and the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
Students spanning first through 12th grade in the District were recognized for their talents and creativity during the district’s “A Young Artist Exhibition” on Dec. 20.
Students, families and faculty members browsed the 130 pieces of artwork on display at the Leon J. Campo Salisbury Center as W. Tresper Clarke High School’s string quartet performed winter classics. Those who had their work on display had been chosen for their adept technique in collage, painting, drawing and photography.
The district extends special thanks to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Cindy Munter, Director of Music and Art Kathryn Behr, Art Chairperson Heather Anastasio, art show coordinator Lisa Young and the district Art Faculty for their hard work and dedication in arranging this year’s gallery.
First-graders in Camille Iovino-Coli’s class at Barnum Woods Elementary School held a “Festival of Lights” party to observe the different holidays celebrated in their class.
Prior to the celebration, the children studied the variety of cultures, traditions and religious holidays celebrated by their fellow classmates. They learned about the similarities and differences of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali. The main message Iovino-Coli hoped her students would take away is to be respectful of one another’s cultural diversity.
For the festival, families brought in treats representing their ethnic backgrounds. The class and guests enjoyed latkes (a Jewish potato pancake), Cozonac (a Romanian pound cake), kheer (a Muslim rice pudding) and Pfeffernusse (German gingerbread cookies).
Additionally, each first-grader received a poster with candy canes and a writing activity to identify their favorite holiday tradition. Responses included spending time with family, decorating the tree and opening presents.
Months of preparation and practice paid off as students in the REACH program at W.T. Clarke Middle School and High School performed their winter concert .
Students, teachers, central administrators and family members gathered in Clarke High School’s Little Theatre to hear a variety of winter classics, including “Winter Wonderland,” “Let It Snow” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Closing out the show, the students performed “We Wish You a Happy Holiday” in American Sign Language with the help of Clarke High School students who are studying ASL.
The East Meadow school community gives these young musicians a standing ovation for their talents and dedication.
During their communication meeting on Dec. 15, the members of the East Meadow Board of Education recognized several individuals in the community amid musical performances by students districtwide.
The Board began the evening by presenting their Distinguished Service Award to East Meadow residents and World War II veterans John Hughes and Angelo Auletta, who served in the U.S. Navy and Army, respectively. The award honors veterans in the community for their loyalty and devoted service to the nation.
“It is a privilege to recognize individuals who served our country,” said Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo. “All of us are here today because of those who sacrificed to protect our freedoms.”
The Board also presented community member Deborah Coates with a certificate of recognition for being named a recipient of the New York State School Boards Association’s Everett R. Dyer Distinguished Service Award. According to its website, NYSSBA presents this award each year to a current or former school board member for their outstanding contributions to public education and children in their own school district.
“In addition to serving as an East Meadow Board trustee and president, as well as an outstanding member of Nassau BOCES’ board, Ms. Coates has always been a valued member of our community and an outstanding PTA leader,” said East Meadow Board President Marcee Rubinstein. “We are so proud of her.”
The evening ensued with musical performances by the W.T. Clarke brass ensemble, woodwind quintet and saxophone quartet; the East Meadow High School wind ensemble, steel drum ensemble and handbell choir; a Barnum Woods Elementary School violin and cello duo; the string ensembles from McVey and Barnum Woods elementary schools; members of the Bowling Green Elementary School band; and the Woodland Middle School vocal jazz ensemble.
Students and staff at Parkway Elementary School spread winter cheer on Dec. 14 by transforming their classroom doors into winter-themed wonderlands for the annual Decorate the Door contest.
Sporting their favorite ugly holiday sweaters and applying their creativity and collaboration skills, every class in grades K-5, as well as the school’s ancillary departments, decorated their doors to reflect a winter theme. Competition criteria required them to display a winter theme in a tangible and clever way that was visually appealing, imaginative and creative, and exuded school spirit or Parkway paraphernalia. Judging was based on originality, complexity, creativity and relevance to the theme.
Winners for each grade were announced, acknowledging the classes that most innovatively used materials such as lights, cotton balls, paper snowflakes and wrapping paper to transform their doors. Among the ancillary departments, the main office reigned supreme with their “Gingerbread Lane” theme.
Along with their first-place ribbons, the K-2 winners received a movie day with popcorn and juice, those who placed first in grades 3-5 won a game of freedom ball during gym, juice and cookies, and the main office earned bragging rights.