The community gathered for the first Lynbrook Public Schools Board of Education meeting of 2019 on Jan. 9. Students were praised for their recent achievements while important updates were shared, including a presentation on the elementary guidance requirements.
During the evening, the board spoke about Corner of the Sky, an annual musical revue at Lynbrook High School which features student performers, cast, crew, lighting and set designers from Lynbrook High School’s career development program. The board commended Lynbrook High School seniors Benjamin Gagliardo and Kara Vito for continuing the program, which was started by a former Lynbrook student, and taking the initiative to make the show a success. The board also recognized Lynbrook South Middle School eighth-grader Scarlett Dellacona, whose writing piece titled, “Michael (Excerpt),” was published in The Ellipsis, one of Writopia Lab’s online literacy magazines.
Following the recognitions, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak spoke about the district considering an early dismissal policy for snow days. This would not be in effect until the 2019-2020 school year but would be a solution to incorrect weather reports and wasted snow days. Dr. Burak stressed that calling an early dismissal would not be abrupt and that families would receive a phone call in the early morning announcing that an early dismissal could be placed.
During the superintendent’s report, Dr. Burak spoke about the 2019-2020 school calendar which was officially adopted during the meeting. She then introduced Lynbrook High School guidance chairperson Laurie Mitchell, who presented the district’s K-12 school counseling and guidance plan. Ms. Mitchell explained that the New York State Education Department now requires a guidance program not only for students in grades 6-12 but for elementary students as well. She spoke about the social-emotional learning, career and academic-driven curriculum that the district already has implemented and how the new program will be more data-driven, focusing on accountability. The program will begin in Sept. 2019 as a way to look at how the curriculum is measured and what could be improved.
Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, also shared a curriculum update with the community regarding the English as a New Language initiatives. He announced that an elementary and secondary class were established this past summer to help maintain and continue language development for students. Dr. Beleckas also spoke about the Wise Owl Program at West End Elementary School which gives students homework support and families the proper tools to support their children at home. The Wise Owl Program has been extended to Lynbrook North Middle School and Lynbrook High School this year. Dr. Beleckas also reported that the district is offering courses through the Lynbrook Teacher Center and offering conferences to help educators support English Language Learners in their classroom.
Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, updated the public on the district’s capital projects. He reported that the air conditioning projects for the gymnasiums at Waverly Park Elementary School, Lynbrook North Middle School and Lynbrook South Middle School are due to come out of New York State around March. Additionally, he stated that the Marion Street Elementary School and West End Elementary School air conditioning projects that were expected to come out of the state in June are now undergoing an expedited third party review process based on the Board’s approval last month. The district has already received feedback which is a great sign that the project review is moving forward.