Letter from Board of Education President re: Superintendent's Search

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Superintendent Search Community Input Survey

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Special Edition of Steps to Learning re: Important Community Updates

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Board of Education Seeks Community Input on Superintendent’s Search

The East Meadow Board of Education invites residents and members of the school community to attend a focus group meeting on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 6-7:30 p.m., at the Leon J. Campo Salisbury Center to assist in the selection process for a new superintendent of schools.
    
Attendees will identify the personal and professional qualities and experiences they believe an East Meadow superintendent should possess. Search consultants from School Leadership, LLC, will begin the meeting by explaining the process and estimated duration of the search. The remainder of the meeting will be devoted to hearing participants’ responses to three prompts: to consider why a highly qualified educator would seek the position of East Meadow Superintendent of Schools; to identify some of the major challenges a new superintendent will face over the next few years; and to discuss prior experiences and characteristics they believe the new superintendent should have.    
The community input will be compiled into a set of search specifications that the Board will approve at its Nov. 10 meeting. Those specifications will be a guide for the Board in their search.
    
Residents and members of the school community who cannot attend the meeting are asked to share their input by completing a brief survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/EastMeadowUFSD. A hard copy of the survey will be provided in a special district newsletter, available at the East Meadow Public Library and the main office of the resident’s local schools.
    
The Board of Education encourages all members of the East Meadow community to attend this meeting and have their voice heard.

Board of Education Appoints New Administration

With the 2016-2017 school year around the corner, the District extends its gratitude to Mary Ann O’Brien for her years of service as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance and welcomes Patrick Pizzo and Jennifer Frisenda to their newly appointed administrative roles.

Ms. O’Brien entered the District as the Assistant Business Administrator in September 2009 and held this position until January 2014, at which time she was promoted to Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance. As she heads into retirement, Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo and members of the Board of Education and Administrative staff thank Ms. O’Brien for her time and dedication to the district.

“As Mary Ann heads into retirement, we wish her tremendous success in all of life’s future endeavors and thank her for her devotion, passion, and years of service to our community, staff and, more importantly, our children,” Mr. Campo said.

Effective Sept. 1, Mr. Pizzo will accept the role of Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance after serving as the District’s Assistant to the Superintendent for Administration and Special Projects for the past eight years. In the latter position, Mr. Pizzo led a team that developed the District’s annual expense budget and prepared budgetary presentations for the Board of Education, parent teacher associations, residents and community members under the guidance of the Superintendent. He also built, defended and implemented annual facilities, operations and capital budgets totaling over $9.9 million dollars, as well as repaired and maintained the plant budget totaling over $2.1 million dollars, for review and approval by the Superintendent and Board of Education. In addition, Mr. Pizzo served on the District Cabinet, where he was responsible for the efficient physical plant operation, environmental safety and preventative maintenance of 10 buildings covering 1.34 million square feet of occupied space and 130 acres of grounds.

Prior to his time in East Meadow, Mr. Pizzo was the Director of Facilities and Operations for the Hicksville School District. He also held the position of Deputy Regional Manager for the New York City Department of Education, a role in which he oversaw the physical plant operation and management of 39 schools.

Mr. Pizzo received his Bachelor of Science from SUNY Oneonta and both his Master of Business Administration and Advanced Certificate as a School District Business Leader from LIU Post.

Also on Sept. 1, Jennifer Frisenda will accept her newly appointed position as the District’s Assistant Business Administrator.  

Ms. Frisenda joined the East Meadow school community in 2014 as District Treasurer, where she maintained district records and files, reconciled monthly bank statements and submitted monthly financial statements to the Board of Education, Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance, as well as performed yearly school lunch audits to ensure compliance with state regulations. Prior to entering the district, Ms. Frisenda was an administrative intern in the Jericho and Oyster Bay-East Norwich school districts. In this role, she established procedure manuals to specify job descriptions of business office personnel, ensuring all aspects of each job were detailed, and created flow charts to show job responsibilities and progression. She also reviewed, revised and recreated budget brochures for the 2013-2014 budget and worked directly with the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations to ensure all data was provided to the community.

Ms. Frisenda holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marist College, as well as a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Education from LIU Post.

“We welcome Patrick and Jennifer to their new administrative positions and know they will be very successful,” Mr. Campo said.       


District Receives ASBO Certificate of Excellence Award

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As one of the very few school districts in New York State, the district received the Association of School Business Officials International Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting.

East Meadow earned this distinction for meeting or exceeding the program’s high standards of financial reporting and accountability. The district was recognized for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ending 2015.

Sponsored by Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, the certificate confirms the school business office’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency. This recognition helps strengthen a district’s presentation for bond issuance statements and promotes a high level of financial reporting.

Fall 2016 Continuing Education Guide Now Available!

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Board Meeting Notice - August 25, 2016

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Board Work Session Agenda - August 25, 2016

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EMHS Wind Ensemble Invited to Perform at NYSSMA Winter Conference

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East Meadow High School’s wind ensemble has been invited to perform at the New York State School Music Association’s 81st Annual Winter Conference at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Friday, Dec. 2. The group has not received this prestigious honor since 1965.   

To qualify for this opportunity, the ensemble submitted a recording of their winter concert in April and heard at the end of June they were invited to perform.

The ensemble’s conductor, East Meadow High School Music Department Chairperson Christopher Hale, is exceptionally proud of these talented student-musicians. “Being accepted to perform at the NYSSMA Winter Conference is a tremendous honor and I could not be more proud of this group for their hard work, perseverance and dedication over the past few years,” he said.

The ensemble, which began preparing for the concert on July 21, will continue rehearsals up until the date of the performance.   

Clarke MS Students Awarded at LISC State Competition

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One team of eighth-graders from W.T. Clarke Middle School placed third, and two additional teams received honorable mention, in the Long Island Science Congress State Competition, Junior Division, held in Buffalo.

Sponsored by the Science Teachers Association of New York State, the Long Island Science Congress exhibits the science projects of middle, junior high and senior high school students in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Projects encompass the fields of behavioral science, biology, chemistry, earth, energy, space, ecology and physics.     
    
Sherin Davis and Deeti Patel placed third with their chemistry experiment, “What Is the Effect of Varied Acidic Fertilizers on the Metal Intake of the Filter?” In the same section, Mark McMahon, Ankit Sayed and June Yeup Seong merited honorable mention for their research, “What Is the Effect of Temperature on the Efficiency of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell?” Arianna Fracchioni, Ana Pinto and Fardeena Yousuf received honorable mention in ecology with their project, “What Is the Effect of Filter Type on the Hardness and Clarity of Contaminated Water?”
    
The district commends all three teams for their success in the competition.

Sweet Sounds of Summer

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With the beginning of the 2016-17 school year on the horizon, students in the district have been enhancing their musical talents through the Summer Music Program.

The program, coordinated by the district’s music department, is held at East Meadow High School and runs from June 27 through July 29. It invites students in grades 4-12 to strengthen their musical abilities and socialize with other student-musicians through ensemble rehearsals.

Within the program, students can enroll in one of four instructional courses. The Beginner Instrumental module is for those entering grades 4-6 who have never played a band or orchestra instrument. The Intermediate Band/Orchestra and Advanced Band/Orchestra welcome experienced performers in middle and high school, respectively.

New this year is the Advanced Choral session for experienced vocalists entering eighth-grade through high school, designed to improve their vocal ability, tone and rhythm.    

The program will conclude with a series of student concerts for the community, which are scheduled for July 26-28 at 7 p.m. and July 29 at 9 a.m.  

Steps to Learning Summer 2016

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East Meadow and Clarke HS Students Honored for Academic Excellence

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Members of East Meadow and W.T. Clarke high schools’ Classes of 2016 were honored for academic excellence with special scholarships, as well as district and community awards, during two separate senior academic awards ceremonies.

W.T. Clarke High School Principal Timothy Voels welcomed parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and scholarship sponsors to acknowledge the outstanding achievements and accomplishments the seniors had made over the past four years, noting, “Tonight is a celebration of scholarship, talent, skill and perseverance of the human spirit.”

At East Meadow High School, Assistant Principal Robert Hardwick closed the ceremony by congratulating the “extraordinary senior class” for their hard work, dedication and determination during their time in the district.

“To the Class of 2016,” he said, “I thank you for making our school and community a better place.”

Rewarded for their Generosity

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Woodland Middle School seventh-graders received a visit from Linda Sue Park, author of “A Long Walk to Water,” as a reward for placing second in the Water for South Sudan Iron Giraffe Challenge.

The Iron Giraffe Challenge, established by Water for South Sudan founder and Executive Director Salva Dut, invites schools to pledge and raise $1,000 to help provide a new drill rig (“iron giraffe”) that will supply clean water to the children of South Sudan.  

The English department welcomed Ms. Park to the school with a breakfast, during which she shared her experiences in writing her novel and her time spent with Mr. Dut.

Afterward, Ms. Park addressed the entire seventh-grade class, expounding on “A Long Walk to Water,” the water issue in South Sudan, the Lost Boys of Sudan – referring to the thousands of boys displaced or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War – and the refugee camps.

 She concluded her visit by thanking the students and teachers for their contributions and encouraged all students to consider their own memories as potential writing topics. 

Sounds of Musical Success

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Isabella Martinez, a sixth-grader at W.T. Clarke Middle School, received a scholarship from the Long Island String Festival Association to participate in the district’s Summer Music Program.  

To apply for the scholarship, Isabella had to submit a letter explaining why she should be considered and how music has transformed her life, including why she had to discontinue playing the violin for a year. In addition, Clarke Middle School orchestra teacher Kelly Gelfer submitted a requisite letter of recommendation on Isabella’s behalf.

The district’s Summer Music Program is open to students throughout Nassau County and will be held from June 27 through July 29 at East Meadow High School. The program boasts beginner, intermediate and advanced level bands, orchestras, jazz ensembles and chamber orchestras. Students also have the option to sing in the show chorus and experienced vocalists have an additional opportunity to participate in the advanced chorus, a new offering this year. The summer program culminates in concert performances for family, friends and community members.

Isabella was both honored and ecstatic upon hearing that she had received the scholarship.

“I am super excited to be going to my first summer music program,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to be in this position.”

Isabella hopes to attend next year’s summer music program, as well.

Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting

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The district’s Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on July 5 where Marcee Rubinstein and Joseph Danenza were elected to the roles of president and vice president, respectively.

The board’s newest trustee Matthew Melnick, alongside re-elected trustees Joseph Parisi and Rubinstein, were officially sworn into their new three-year terms. Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo also took the oath of office for the 2016-17 school year and Jeanne Puma was sworn in as district clerk.

Singing under the sun

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Under sunny skies, Bowling Green Elementary School students partook in a schoolwide outdoor concert on June 13 with children’s singer and songwriter Rick Charette.

Mr. Charette taught the audience dance moves and specific lyrics to accompany his songs. Following his demonstrations students, teachers and invited guests joined Mr. Charette as he performed his hit songs “I Love Mud,” “Popcorn” and “Going Through the Car Wash.”

Magic from the Hair Fairies and Godmothers’ of Woodland MS

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Fifty-three students, “hair fairies” and five teachers, “hairy godmothers” from Woodland Middle School granted the wish of patients by individually donating eight inches of their own hair to create wigs through Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program.

The Beautiful Lengths program helps women battling cancer feel like themselves again by partnering with the American Cancer Society to make and distribute free real-hair wigs.  

Woodland Middle School held its “big cut” ceremony on June 13, during which students in grades 6-8 and teachers volunteered to have their family and friend sponsors cut off eight inches of their hair. Sponsors measured the hair with the help of Impressions Salon stylist Gina.
Following the event, all students who donated their locks had their hair styled by volunteers from local salons.  

Middle school students move on up

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Eighth-graders of Woodland and W.T. Clarke middle schools celebrated the conclusion of their past three years with moving up ceremonies on June 22.

As the schools’ vocal jazz ensembles performed, a sea of red gowns assembled to the cheers and praise of families, friends, teachers and administrators.

In his address, Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo encouraged the Class of 2016 to make the right decisions and build upon their experiences in athletics, the arts, music and extracurricular activities as they head to high school.

“As superintendent of schools, I join your families, teachers, friends and administrators in applauding your success,” Mr. Campo said. “We are all proud of you, as you should be proud of yourselves and know your hard work has brought you to this day of recognition. You deserve it.”  

Following his speech, middle school class representatives reflected upon their milestones and memories from the past three years. They also encouraged their fellow graduates to broaden their horizons and expand upon their experiences in school as well as in life.

Officiating his 11th moving up ceremony at the school, Woodland Middle School Principal James Lethbridge spoke fondly of the dedication, perseverance and growth that the Class of 2016 had experienced during their time at Woodland. “The middle school years are some of life’s most memorable moments, and I want you to think about the experiences you’ve gained,” he said. “You’ve grown physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially since your arrival at Woodland in 2013 as sixth-graders. Apply what you have learned here as you head to the next chapter of your lives.”  

At W.T. Clarke Middle School, Principal Stacy Breslin recalled fond memories with the eighth-grade graduates while reminding them to stay consistent. “You have been consistent in your efforts, kindness and generosity over the past three years,” she said. “It is your consistent performance and dependable nature that will bring you continued success as you move forward to the next phase of your life.”   

During the ceremonies, Vanessa Froehlich from Woodland Middle School and Sanjana Ahmed and Abishek Ravindran from W.T. Clarke Middle School were honored with the Superintendent’s Award. This honor is bestowed upon students at the middle school level for their overall academic excellence, good citizenship, leadership qualities and dignified character.    

The district congratulates the middle school graduates on arriving at this prestigious milestone and wishes them continued success as they advance to high school. 

Elementary Students Move Up

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Fifth-graders from Barnum Woods, Bowling Green, McVey, Meadowbrook and Parkway elementary schools reflected upon their elementary memories and looked forward to their middle school experiences with moving up ceremonies on June 23.

The principals at each school congratulated the students on their hard work, devotion and accomplishments over the past five years. They encouraged the fifth-graders to take advantage of what the middle school has to offer, and to be thirsty for knowledge and curious about all of life’s possibilities.

The district congratulates its fifth-grade graduating class and wishes them happiness and many new opportunities as they move on to middle school. 

Hats off to the Class of 2016

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Clad in blue and maroon caps and gowns, hundreds of East Meadow and W.T. Clarke high school graduates were joined by honored parents, family members, faculty and administrators to celebrate the peak of their academic journeys with commencement ceremonies on June 26.

Filing in to the traditional strains of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” the seniors assembled on their respective schools’ football fields to the applause and cheers of welcomed guests in the stands.

In his address, Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo acknowledged the seniors for their hard work that had guided them to this place of distinction, recognition and accomplishment. He expressed his hopes that as they become the district’s newest alumni, they would take the knowledge and experiences gained over the past 13 years and embark on new horizons.

“Remember that each one of us has been helped by others to reach this place of achievement and recognition,” Mr. Campo said. “Before you take leave of our wonderful school, thank those who have helped you. As you thank them, you enrich yourself.”

The valedictorians and salutatorians of both classes created one last memory with their fellow graduates by reminiscing about fond high school memories. They also encouraged them to thank their biggest supporters and embrace the uncertainty that the world has to offer.

East Meadow High School Principal Richard Howard congratulated the Class of 2016 for not only achieving outstanding academic, athletic, artistic and musical accomplishments, but also breaking a school record by having nine sets of twins in one graduating class.

“I think here today at East Meadow, we have a record that will never occur again,” he said. “From Feb. 14, 1998 through Nov. 30, 1998, eight sets of twins were born and somehow found their way to East Meadow High School’s graduating class of 2016. And as if eight weren’t enough, on July 1, 2014, we welcomed the Fuentes sisters into our East Meadow family.”

Across the district, W.T. Clarke High School Principal Timothy Voels commended the seniors for their academic successes, community service efforts and passions, while also wishing them a lifetime of happiness.

“My wish for you is that you find happiness in whatever you choose to do,” he said. “May your successes be more numerous than your setbacks, and [may you] ultimately experience less stress than contentment.”

Concluding his speech, Mr. Voels asked the graduates-to-be to venture out into the world with pride, holding on to the knowledge that they’ll forever be Rams.  

After receiving their diplomas and moving their tassels to the left, the Class of 2016 tossed their caps in the air, rejoicing with friends and family. The district congratulates both classes and wishes them happiness, prosperity and greatness as they embark on their new journeys. 

 



Top of their class at East Meadow

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Following years of dedication to academics, extracurricular activities and the community, East Meadow High School valedictorian Zainab Nathani and salutatorian Nirali Mandavawala, and W.T. Clarke High School valedictorian Justin Melkun and salutatorian Ryan Seerattan, reflect upon their educational accomplishments in the East Meadow School District.  
    
Zainab, who finishes her academic career with a 109.521 GPA, excelled in her course load of Advanced Placement, honors and college-level classes, in addition to her involvement in school organizations. She was a news editor for the school newspaper, the Jet Gazette, and a member of the Environmental Club, Key Club, Math and Science Research teams, and every honor society offered at her school. In addition, she volunteers as a youth group leader at her mosque, mentoring younger children.

Along with graduating at the top of her class, Zainab is a recipient of the President Volunteer Service Award, the Distinguished Key Club Lieutenant Governor Award, the Senator Kemp Hannon Youth Leadership Award, and the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award. She also won a National Merit Scholarship and a New York Higher Education Services Corporation Scholarship for Academic Excellence. In addition, she is a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership alumna and school representative.

In the fall, Zainab, who aspires to become a doctor, will study medicine at Brooklyn College. She credits her AP Biology teacher, Dr. Joseph Emmitt, for having a major impact on her future.

“Learning from Dr. Emmitt’s AP Biology class influenced me to pursue a career in medicine,” she said. “I never thought I’d like the class or material, but because of his teaching style, I truly enjoyed it.”  

With an equally challenging course load and heavy involvement in school organizations and community activities, East Meadow High School salutatorian Nirali Mandavawala will be graduating with a 108.526 GPA.

Nirali was involved in the Math and Science Research teams, was a member of every honor society at her school, belonged to the Key Club and played varsity tennis. She also teaches piano to younger musicians.

In addition to her achievements in the classroom, Nirali received the New York State Board of Regents Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Stony Brook University Presidential Scholarship.  

Reminiscing about her time in the district, Nirali will miss her friends and teachers the most.

“I’ve been together with my friends since the seventh or eighth grade,” she said. “Not seeing them every day is going to be a difficult adjustment. I’m also going to miss the constant guidance from my teachers, especially my English teacher, Ms. Sideri. She was passionate and always went the extra mile for us.”

In the fall, Nirali will attend the Honors College at Stony Brook University, where she will major in biology.   

Graduating with a 109.843 GPA, W.T. Clarke High School valedictorian Justin Melkun achieved this honorable designation by exploring all opportunities during his high school years. He enrolled in multiple Advanced Placement, college-level and honor courses, served in an array of school organizations and clubs, was involved in sports and volunteered within the community.

Beyond the classroom, Justin was a member of Mathletes, DECA, the Science Research team, and the Mathematics, English and Foreign Language honor societies. He also played alto saxophone in the marching band and jazz ensemble. On the field, he was a running back and safety for the school’s football team and ran winter and spring track. In his scientific studies, he conducted a research project about the ocean’s dead zone to rehabilitate vegetation from which future generations would benefit.       

In reflecting on his time at Clarke, Justin remembers the great experiences he had while playing organized sports with his friends. “I’ve grown up with these kids, and I’m going to miss getting together with them to play sports,” he said.

The top-ranked senior will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this fall, where he plans to major in engineering. “I have a love for both math and science, and I hope to pursue a career that encompasses both elements,” he said.

Continuing the advanced academic course load he’s had since the eighth grade, salutatorian Ryan Seerattan will be graduating with a 108.806 GPA. While achieving success in the classroom, Ryan also participated in numerous organizations, clubs and sports, in addition to helping other students in the community.

Ryan was co-president of DECA, a research liaison, and a member of Mathletes, the Science Research team, and the Mathematics, Science, Foreign Language and English honor societies, as well as president of the National Honor Society. He utilizes his musical talents as a member of the chamber orchestra and second chair viola in the school’s orchestra. Ryan also played on the varsity tennis team during his time at Clarke. In his free time, he privately tutors special needs students.

Ryan will be heading to Macaulay Honors College in the fall, where he plans to major in biology. He said he will miss the small atmosphere of Clarke High School, noting, “Everyone knows everyone here at Clarke. It’s nice to be a part of a small community with administrators, teachers and classmates who support and care for you.” 

United by T-shirts

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Kindergartners at Bowling Green Elementary School expressed their gratitude to Francesco Martiniello, whose daughter is in Kristine Goldrick’s class, for generously donating Class of 2028 T-shirts.  

Cheers to Woodland and Clarke MS Classes of 2016

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Congratulations to the Woodland and W.T. Clarke middle schools’ Classes of 2016. The district congratulates these wonderful eighth-graders for their hard work, dedication and triumph over the past three years, and wishes them continued success as they move on to their respective high schools. Further information regarding the two commencement ceremonies will be given on a later date.

Tuesday,
Aug 23, 2016