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District Continues to Provide Top-Notch Music Education

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The Lynbrook School District was recently recognized with the 2019 Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation. This is the seventh consecutive year that the district earned this honor due to its outstanding commitment to music education. Lynbrook joins a select 623 school districts nationwide who received the designation this year. 

School districts across the country are recognized with this honor for providing high quality music access and education to all students. This includes the hard work and dedication of administrators, teachers, parents, students and community leaders who aim to make music education an integral part of the daily curriculum. 

Starting at the kindergarten level, students throughout the Lynbrook School District participate in comprehensive musical instruction. Elementary students have the option to participate in band, orchestra and chorus programs. Junior concerts begin in third grade and progress to more elaborate performances by fourth grade and throughout the middle school years. Elementary and middle school students can also join their school’s drama club to enhance their music abilities.
  
Music opportunities expand even further once students arrive at Lynbrook High School. High school students can join Lynbrook’s concert and marching bands, string and symphonic orchestras, concert and mixed choirs, as well as chamber orchestra, string quartets, wind and jazz ensembles, brass choir and music theory courses. During the 2018-19 school year, students earned All-Eastern Honors Concert Band, All-State, All-County and Long Island String Festival Association musical honors. Members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society also use their musical talents each year to serve their community.

LHS Students Take Stadium Field Trip

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Students in Mrs. Ehrlich's Advertising and Marketing class at Lynbrook High School took a stadium tour field trip on April 11. Mrs. Ehrlich plans this annual field trip as part of her Stadium Design Unit while the students are studying Sports & Entertainment Marketing.

The students started the day with a tour of Citi Field. Students got to see the museum and the most exclusive restaurants at the stadium. They had the privilege of touring the Mets clubhouse and offices and then held their own press conference in the press room. They also walked along the warning track to visit the dugout and the bull pen.

Next, the students enjoyed lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium. Students got to see music memorabilia from events and concerts at the stadium. On their tour of Yankee Stadium, they visited the historical Monument Park and saw hundreds of famous artifacts in the Yankee Museum. Students also got to sit in the Yankees dugout. 

Throughout the day, the students made real-world connections to concepts learned in class. It is an experience that they will remember for a lifetime! 
 

Committed to Community Service

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Lynbrook High School junior James Parco was recently honored with the bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award for his outstanding community service efforts. James, along with junior Madeline Doyle, were also both commended by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program as a local honoree. Created by Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the program recognizes middle and high school students each year for their outstanding service at the local, state and national level.

As a President’s Volunteer Service Award winner, James had to complete a significant amount of volunteer hours. With this distinction, he received a certificate and congratulatory letter from the President of the United States. 

During the summer, James and his mother traveled with about 16 people in the agency America World Adoption, to do volunteer work in Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia. Here, James worked with orphans for about two weeks, traveling to six different orphanages. 

“We played with the kids and there were some medical evaluations we had to do,” he said. “It was a really amazing experience.” 

James is also a leader in his school community as a member of the high school’s National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, track team and school newspaper (Horizon). He has also served as a counselor for the past two years in Lynbrook’s Summer Playground program. 

Madeline has also played a strong role in her community. She created a mentoring program for the Lynbrook Village Pool swim team and the summer leading into her freshman and sophomore year, Madeline spent every morning teaching a group of about 12 children how to swim. As a Girl Scout, she is committed to community service and even received her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can obtain in the organization. At Lynbrook High School, Madeline is also on the school’s varsity swim team and is involved in the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. 

Congratulations, James and Madeline! We are so proud of you! 
 

A Celebration of Diversity

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West End Elementary School students celebrated Diversity Week with a variety of culturally-driven activities from April 8-12. Coordinated by the West End Diversity Committee, the goal of the week was to help students develop a positive self-concept by providing knowledge about the histories, cultures and contributions of diverse groups.

To kick off the week, classes watched a video of Principal Dr. Cindy Lee reading “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña. The story channeled the theme of diversity. During the week, a poem about diversity was read over the morning announcements each day and students learned several dances from Mexico with the PTA sponsored assembly, Viva Mexico! The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company amazed students with their beautiful costumes during the assembly and different dances which students were able to participate in. West End students also completed homework assignments which aimed to strengthen their understanding of their own heritage. 

Towards the end of the fun-filled week, students were encouraged to attend school wearing clothing which represented their heritage. That evening, the school hosted International Story Night to celebrate students’ cultures. Students visited classrooms where they enjoyed stories about different countries and people.  

 

Calendar Update

Please note: School will no longer be in session on May 24. 
 

Spring 2019 Newsletter Available

Attachments:

Waverly Students Participate in “Sip and See” Activity

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Waverly Park Elementary School students in third and fourth grade recently collaborated in a Writer’s Workshop titled “Sip and See!” The students shared their informational writing and poetry books with their peers while sipping lemonade and ice tea. It was a wonderful way for the students to get together and showcase their hard work and creativity. 
 

Lynbrook Key Club Garners Awards and Insight at State Conference

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Members of Lynbrook High School’s Key Club, along with adviser Dr. Benedict Tieniber attended the New York District Key Club Leadership Training Conference for the first time on March 29-31 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany. The annual event invited Key Club members from across New York to network, attend workshop sessions and celebrate a successful service year together. 

Seniors Miranda Zaransky and Salvatore Cimato proudly represented the Lynbrook High School Key Club at the conference with Dr. Tieniber. During the weekend, Lynbrook won the Perfect Paperwork Award, Membership Retention Award and Treasurer’s Award. The students also heard from keynote speakers Tom Krieglstein and Rob Scheer. 

“Lynbrook Key Club would like to thank the Lynbrook Kiwanis for assisting in making this trip happen,” said Dr. Tieniber. “Our students learned so much from this event and will be sharing everything they learned at their next meeting.” 

A Celebration of Cultures

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Lynbrook kindergarten students, teachers, families and board members gathered in the gymnasium at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center for the school’s annual multicultural festival on March 28. 

Students opened the event by carrying in flags from different countries as their classes took their seats. In honor of the special day, all students were encouraged to dress in outfits representing their family heritage and tables were set up with artifacts that students brought in, highlighting their country of origin. Principal Ellen Postman and English as a New Language teacher Madelyn Torres hosted the event which included cultural performances from students and family members.

Families shared songs and dances from their own cultures, including instrumentals from Puerto Rico, a traditional dance from Venezuela, a traditional Korean song and a Greek dance. Guided by Mrs. Torres, kindergartners showcased their dancing skills with dance partners and members of the Lynbrook High School Japanese Club performed a traditional Japanese puppet show for students. Allison Curran, elementary curriculum specialist, also joined in the celebration as her daughter, Molly, showcased her Irish step dancing and invited a group of kindergartners to learn the steps. 

To close out the event, the kindergarten students performed “It’s A Small World” together, symbolizing the school’s unity. 
 

Scavenger Hunt Stars

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West End Elementary School students celebrated the third annual Scavenger Hunt last month! This year’s theme was “A Race Across Space” to rescue Principal Dr. Cindy Lee after she was abducted by aliens. Students worked in cooperative groups in their classrooms to complete tasks and follow clues to Dr. Lee’s hiding spot. Congratulations to all the West End champions on a successful scavenger hunt! 

Click here to watch a video.




Volleyball Champions

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Congratulations to the West End Elementary School staff for winning the PTA Volleyball Scholarship Game again! 

Students Seek to Bring Smiles to Hospital-Bound Children

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Waverly Park Elementary School third- and fourth-graders recently participated in the Starlight Children’s Foundation My Starlight Gown Contest. Students entered the contest after being inspired by the book “Come With Me” by Holly M. McGhee, encouraging readers to make the world a better place. The My Starlight Gown Contest welcomes kids and families to design their own original hospital gowns to bring happiness to hospitalized children. 

The contest is sponsored by Niagara Cares and partners with Scholastic, who with every entry, will give a book to a child in the hospital. Waverly Park students illustrated their designs on the Starlight Gown template and submitted their creations. The designs will be judged in April on effort, originality, creativity and appropriateness of the gown design. Finalists will be announced in May and the two winning designs will be made into real Starlight Gowns for hospitalized children across the country to wear. 

Waverly Park students enjoyed putting their creative ideas to paper with their unique contest entries. The activity not only spotlighted the importance of compassion but also showed students how they can make their mark on the world.  
 

American Pride Shines at Marion Street School

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Dressed in their best red, white and blue attire, second-graders from Marion Street Elementary School invited local service members and veterans to a Patriotic Sing Along on March 22. Families and board of education members were also invited to the event which celebrated those who have fought for freedom. 

The school gymnasium was decorated in patriotic fashion as second grade teacher Anne Conway welcomed the honorary guests and expressed how appreciative the school community is for their service. 

“We want to sincerely thank you for your service on behalf of all the citizens of our great country,” Mrs. Conway said. “You honor us by your service and your presence here to-day.”
 
In addition to the sing along event, all classes in the building participated in a fundraiser to collect items for the troops. Fourth-graders from Christine Castellano’s class collected the most items and were welcomed to enjoy the show.

The second-graders proudly entered the gymnasium waving American Flags and wearing pins with their names on them, created with art teacher Patricia Wierzbicki. The students performed patriotic songs with the help of music teacher Kara Boulay, such as “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America, The Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” “This Is My Country,” “Yankee Doodle,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag” and “This Land Is Your Land.” In between the songs, select students stated facts about America as the veterans and service members sat in the front row. Guests sang along with the students and were welcomed to greet their child at the end of the event. 

Lynbrook Senior to Compete at International Level

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Lynbrook High School senior Kaylie Hausknecht will take her science research skills to the big stage as she competes in the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona from May 11-18. The fair, which is a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition for high schoolers. 

Kaylie is among about 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions and territories who were selected to compete at the Intel ISEF. Here, these driven student-scientists will showcase their independent research to doctoral level scientists and compete for an average $4 million in prizes.

To be selected for the Intel ISEF, students around the world compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs. The winners of these events go on to participate in Society-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF. Kaylie competed in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair with her project “Disentangling Spatial Correlations from Inhomogeneous Materials with Shift-Invariant Artificial Neural Networks.” She placed in the top 25 percent of more than 300 projects in round one and then had to be the best in her category, Physics and Energy, to be invited to ISEF. Only 20 students from the LISEF make it to the Intel ISEF level. 

“Kaylie can do anything and do it well, including just being a regular kid. That’s what makes her so awesome,” said science research teacher David Shanker. “I knew in ninth grade that Kaylie was special. For her final project, Kaylie designed an apparatus that induced head injury in fruit flies and built another to test their response to a treatment she also designed. Kaylie did three projects in one.”

Congratulations, Kaylie! 

Students Cover Others With Kindness

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Waverly Park Elementary School first- and second-graders recently learned the meaning of kindness and inclusion during their library periods with library media specialist Meghan Ceglie. Kicking off the lesson on World Down Syndrome Day, Mrs. Ceglie read the book “The Big Umbrella” by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates to classes, which highlighted the importance of welcoming others in and always having room to share. 

After the reading, the students gathered at tables in the school library to create their own big umbrella. The activity allowed students to reflect on the book while drawing and illustrating who would be under their big umbrella. Students listed friends, family, teachers and more. They also included positive words about what the big umbrella means to them such as kindness, love and friendship. After each student completed their worksheet, Mrs. Ceglie proudly displayed their creations in the hallway to inspire others. 
 

March Math Madness

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In honor of March Madness, West End Elementary School students and staff recently participated in their own math-filled basketball tournament, Math Madness. The object of the competition was to give students the opportunity to work together to solve a number of math problems while engaging in basketball.

Each math problem increased in difficulty level based on color. Once the group successfully completed their math problem, a student would stand on their corresponding color dot and try to score a basket. If they missed, the next student in their group would attempt to make the shot. With each successful basket, the group would receive a colored stick which was worth a certain amount of points. Staff members also joined in the fun. A great time was had by all! 



Sixth-Graders Transform Into Game Inventors

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Lynbrook North Middle School sixth-graders in Christine DeSimone’s math classes put their math skills and creativity to the test as they designed their very own math board games. Working in groups of three to four students, the goal of the project was to create a math board game that could help other students review what they have learned this year.

Each group brainstormed an instructions sheet for their game which included the object of the game, recommended ages of the players and the amount of players that the game is suitable for. Students also had to incorporate at least 20 mathematical question cards into their board game with at least five cards being a word problem. The math problems related to topics from units that the students learned this year. This included Operations with Decimals, Operations with Fractions, GCF/LCM, Exponents/Order of Operations/Algebra problems, Solving Equations, Inequalities, Ratios, Unit Rates, and Proportions. 

The sixth-graders added game pieces, along with fun clipart and illustrations to bring their games to life. After testing out their projects, the games were displayed for other groups in their class to try. The activity was a great way to build upon mathematical knowledge in a fun and creative way!   

 

Kindergarten Center 20th Anniversary Reunion

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You’re invited! Kindergarten Center alumni from the year 1998-99 to 2017-18 are welcomed to join current kindergarten students for a special 20th anniversary reunion celebration on Sunday, June 2 from 12-3 p.m. on the Lynbrook Kindergarten Field. Brunch will be provided as Lynbrook Owls come together to reminisce and celebrate the past and the future! 

Lynbrook Seniors Dominate Class Night 2019

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Family, friends and community members packed the Lynbrook High School gymnasium for the school’s longstanding Class Night tradition on March 15. During the anticipated evening event, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors showcased their best acting, singing and dancing for skits fit for the 2019 theme, “Home is Where the Heart is.” 

With creative costumes, sets, props and the incorporation of talented student-musicians, each grade level impressed audience members. The freshmen took on “Shrek” to tell their own story of home, while the sophomores portrayed the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Juniors took audience members through an under the sea adventure with a skit channeling Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and the seniors successfully represented Muppet characters with their own version of “The Muppet Show.” 

Each grade was judged on five separate criteria: skits, scenery, costumes, box and banner. Seniors were crowned the 2019 Class Night champions, followed by the juniors, sophomores and freshmen, respectively. 
 

West End Gives Thanks

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The West End Elementary School Student Council recently presented more than 140 Gratitude Goody Bags as a sign of appreciation to all the men and women who help keep the Lynbrook community safe and sound. This included Lynbrook law enforcement, fire departments, local crossing guards and school bus drivers.

With the guidance of student council advisers Lori Gus and Jackie McDougal, West End families donated water, Gatorade, snack mix, chips, chocolate, nuts and granola bars to place in the Gratitude Goody Bags for these important community members.

Great job to the whole West End community! 

District Commends Star Students; Provides Important Updates

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Community members gathered for the Lynbrook Public Schools’ regular Board of Education meeting at Lynbrook High School on March 13. Throughout the evening, a variety of talented students were honored, along with a beloved teacher who recently passed away. 

Starting on a solemn note, the board spoke about the passing of Lynbrook High School world language teacher Antonietta Maddalena Coletta, who touched the lives of many students and staff in the district. Coletta’s daughters were present at the meeting and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak, along with board members, tearfully acknowledged just how special Coletta was. One of Coletta’s former students who graduated from Lynbrook High School in 2015, read a beautiful essay during the meeting about how Coletta made an impact on her life. 

The board recognized senior Leo Glassman, who will play double bass in the National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Concert Band this April. Senior Samantha Farber was also praised for being an All-County Art Senior Scholar recipient. She received the award and had her artwork displayed at the All-County Art Exhibition, sponsored by the Art Supervisors Association on March 10.  

Several student-athletes were also commended. Junior Dom Barbuto was recognized for being selected to join the New York State Sportswriters Association Class A All-State team for football. The board also congratulated the boys basketball team for an exciting season and recognized senior Rylan Blondo for scoring more than 1,000 points in his high school basketball career.

During the superintendent’s report, Dr. Burak provided several updates. She noted that the district received the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International, for its commitment to transparency and high quality financial reporting. Dr. Burak commended Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operation, and information systems, and the entire business office for their hard work. 

A quick recap of the 2019-2020 school budget work session from February was given, along with information about substantial equivalency (equivalent education between private schools and public schools). Dr. Burak and Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, attended a workshop with representatives from both private and public schools about this topic which has not been enforced by New York State until recently. Local public schools are now being charged to enforce the substantial equivalency requirement which means the district has to go in and review their local private schools to make sure they are meeting the same standards as public schools. Since the district must follow the unfunded state mandate, Dr. Burak mentioned to the board that BOCES is offering a service to do this and recommended that the district look into it. 

In addition, she invited members of the board to an upcoming meeting with Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblywoman Judy Griffin. Here, the district will share their concerns about items in the budget, how they feel about the tax cap, unfunded mandates and funding for mental health resources for students.
  
Following the superintendent’s report, Dr. Beleckas provided a curriculum update about the Every Student Succeeds Act and New York State assessments. He noted that two changes have taken place. Those who do not participate in the 3-8 math and ELA assessments will be counted as level 1 students for school accountability purposes (the school’s report card). The second change is that schools who have one subgroup not meet their Measures of Interim Progress for two consecutive years, will no longer be in good standing with New York State. 

“As always, we respect the rights of the families to make the decisions for their children regarding the state assessments,” said Dr. Beleckas. “However, we did want to share the possible ramifications regarding our schools’ accountability status.” 

Toward the end of the meeting, Dr. Lynch provided a capital projects overview for the community. He noted that the district is currently monitoring 22 separate capital projects which includes six security vestibules and 10 projects associated with the 2017 bond referendum. Projects include the locker rooms at North and South middle schools, wrestling room at the Kindergarten Center, air conditioning in all the elementary schools, an elevator at Waverly Park and five bathrooms at Marion Street. He also highlighted projects that were discussed at the budget work session. For more information on these projects, please visit the Finance and Budget page of the website.

Lynbrook North Middle School Presents The Lion King Jr.

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Lynbrook North Middle School drama club members took a walk on the wild side as they presented Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.” for loved ones on March 8 and 9. From the Academy Award-winning film “The Lion King,” the stage adaptation tells the story of a young lion prince named Simba, played by Liam Mylan and Daniel Levine, whose father Mufasa, played by Andrew Schiller, is killed by the wicked uncle Scar, played by Jack Ceglie. Audiences journey through Simba’s life of love, loss and fight to serve his new role as king.
  

West End Hosts a Magical Night of Math

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Approximately 115 West End Elementary School students and their families gathered in the school’s gymnasium for West End’s annual Family Math Night on March 12. Principal Dr. Cindy Lee warmly greeted guests, including board of education members, as they prepared to take their math skills to new heights with engaging games and activities. 

Facilitated by the teachers in the school’s Math Night committee, Family Math Night has been an anticipated event at West End for the past five years. This year’s theme, “Math is Magical,” was evident in the form of balloons, unicorn decorations and photo booth props. Each student received a packet as they entered the gymnasium which they used at each of the math stations.  

The teachers planned the math activities for the evening and ran the stations for the different grade levels. Students and their family members worked together on math activities such as a dollar dice counting game, math beanbag toss, creating a magical mixture (slime) and more. Students practiced their problem-solving skills while having fun with their loved ones and fellow peers.  

“The teachers enjoy creating problem-solving activities and science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics activities that encourage the students to collaborate with their peers and families,” said math lab teacher Chelsea Jaret. “This event encourages students to apply what they have learned in school. The teachers enjoy participating in the games and watching the students learn new math concepts!”

Bravo’s Top Chefs “Like” What LHS Graphic Design Is Cooking!

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Students in Mr. Kunz’s Graphic Design class at Lynbrook High School recently finished a menu design project where they designed menu cards inspired by Bravo’s Top Chef “Restaurant Wars” episode. The two-part episode featured the 9 remaining contestants breaking up into 3 teams to create pop-up restaurants, complete with full menus, design schemes, and staffs of waiters, in less than 48 hours. The students in Kunz’s class used the three teams featured: North East, Third Coast, and Thistle, to create some incredible menu designs. 

The students focused on the contestant’s personalities, their food, and vision for their restaurant to create their unique menu designs.    
When the projects were complete, several of the menu designs were posted to Mr. Kunz’s class Instagram, @LHSKUNZ and the projects were immediately noticed and praised by the top chef chefs and judges from the show! 

Chef Brandon Rosen commented, “Amazing work! So happy to see our restaurant creations get developed and improved by students! The up and coming generation of restauranteurs!!! I love seeing so much creativity in the classroom! When I was in school, I used to love my marketing class projects... which were always centered on food and restaurant promotion! Keep at it! Love the teaching method! Great work!!”  

Chef David Viana commented, “Your kids are truly talented!! Thanks for watching this season! All of us chefs are so grateful.” In addition, Chef Adrienne Wright, who commented, “These are really great! Love creative combinations of entertainment and education!” also featured the students work on her Instagram story.  

Great job to all the students in the class! 

West End Goes Green for St. Patrick's Day!

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LHS Announces 2019 Valedictorian, Salutatorian

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Lynbrook High School seniors Kaylie Hausknecht and Sam Cohen were recently recognized as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for the Class of 2019. Both are outstanding students who aside from their strong academic skills and achievements, have made a positive impact on the Lynbrook community. 

As valedictorian, Kaylie has collected many accolades while attending Lynbrook High School. Junior year, she was one of only five finalists selected in a pool of students from across the country for her entry in the Genes in Space contest. Among her many achievements as a senior, Kaylie was recognized as a National Advanced Placement Scholar, a Regeneron Science Talent Search semifinalist, a Coca-Cola semifinalist and a finalist in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Competition. She is highly involved in the high school as a science research student and is the president of the National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and Science Olympiad team. 

As salutatorian, Sam has earned numerous individual awards as an exceptional writer in Lynbrook High School’s newspaper club, Horizon. Here he makes his mark as Horizon’s editor-in-chief. He also joins Kaylie as a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Competition and is president of both the Tri-M Music Honor Society and the Student Government Association. Sam’s leadership roles continue as treasurer of the National Honor Society and marine club board member. His passion for music is evident, serving as jazz band pianist, concertmaster in the school’s orchestra and violinist in the school’s chamber orchestra.

In addition, both students are co-captains of the mathletes team and co-presidents of the Math Honor Society. They take pride in serving their community both inside and outside of school, tutoring others and volunteering. Kaylie volunteers with SIBSPlace and a local Hebrew School, while Sam has shared his gift of music with others at North Shore LIJ during the summer. Both students will bring their talents to Harvard University in the fall. 

Principal Joseph Rainis praised the students for being top of their class. “It could not have happened to two nicer people,” he said.

Congratulations, Kaylie and Sam! 
 

Students Dive into Reading

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During the past two weeks, students throughout the district have celebrated their love for reading with special guest readers, activities and assemblies. 

Leading up to Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, also known as National Read Across America Day, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak read to students at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center, while West End Elementary School students and staff marked the occasion by hosting a pajama day and gathering in the hallways to independently read for 10 minutes. 

Second-graders at Waverly Park Elementary School immersed themselves in Dr. Seuss books, read a Dr. Seuss biography and created Dr. Seuss hats with facts about the author’s life. Waverly Park first-graders also got into the spirit by creating their own “Cat in the Hat” and wrote about how they celebrate their own birthdays. At Marion Street Elementary School, students enjoyed an arts-in-education program which focused on the love of reading and kicked off their Pick A Reading Partner program on March 4. Throughout the week, Marion Street students participated in a Laser Reader assembly, visited the East Rockaway and Lynbrook libraries, invited a special person to school to read with them on pajama day and welcomed author Russel Ginns.
 

Proposed Budget Expands Programs; Meets Allowable Tax Levy

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The Lynbrook Board of Education held a work session on Feb. 27 to discuss the Lynbrook Public Schools’ 2019-20 budget. Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations and information systems presented a summary of proposed expenditures, revenues and use of reserves. The proposed budget of $88,035,308 will result in a tax levy of $68,865,638, meeting the state’s maximum allowable tax levy increase of 2.26 percent.

Maureen Berman, assistant superintendent for personnel, transportation and student support services, outlined staffing needs and enrollment projections for the 2019-20 school year. This includes the addition of 5.80 staff members and a new director of guidance position to oversee K-12 guidance programs as per the state mandate. The new director position would replace the current guidance chairperson position overseeing grades 6-12. Due to the projected enrollment, Berman discussed adding one new class at the Kindergarten Center and at Marion Street School and eliminating a class at West End School. 

Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, outlined the programs, curriculum enhancements and initiatives proposed for next year. At the elementary level, Dr. Beleckas spoke about a centralized Voyager program at West End School, an enrichment program in each classroom for grades 3-5 and completing the final phase of the integrated co-teaching expansion. This would feature an inclusion class for fifth-grade at both Waverly Park and West End schools.
 
At the elementary and middle school level, schools will implement the Teachers College Reading and Writing program to foster literacy. The middle school level will also implement the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention program. This was previously only used at the elementary level. At the secondary level, Lynbrook High School will be partnering with Syracuse University for the first time to offer Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) Forensic Science, a new and exciting course which students can receive college credit for. In addition, the English 12R course will move to more contemporary works to represent more current fiction and nonfiction literature.  

Dr. Lynch provided the budget process timeline and spoke about the new budget requirements which include school-based financial reporting, resulting in 141 new budget account codes. He explained that some major funding in the district had been centrally located in the past but with this new mandate, these funds must now be broken up by schools and departments.

The budgets of the superintendent, board of education, special services and communications showed a decrease, while the budgets of the business department, facilities, special programs (adult education and summer programs) and curriculum, personnel and student support services increased. Due to the change in budget reporting requirements, the combined elementary school budgets and the combined middle school and high school budgets also increased. 

The athletics budget increased primarily due to contractual increases in coaching salaries and the fine and performing arts budget also slightly increased as a result of the success of the district’s student-musicians qualifying for music festivals at record numbers. The larger budget increases included benefit costs and salaries, primarily due to contractual obligations and new positions.

Dr. Lynch also presented a summary of expenditures, revenue projections and the use of reserve funds. Two additional propositions will be on the ballot along with Proposition 1, the proposed budget. Proposition 2, Use of the Technology Replacement Fund Reserve, will give the district authorization to use $473,000 from the Technology Reserve Fund for a touchscreen expansion to grades 3-5 at the elementary schools, ninth-grade 1-to-World tablet program, updates to Lynbrook High School’s architectural design room, a technology replacement cycle for computers and printers and the expansion of Actiontec devices to Lynbrook High School. Proposition 3, Use of Building Improvement and Equipment Fund, will go towards projects such as updates for the Lynbrook High School roof and first floor ladies lavatory, a girls’ lavatory at North Middle School and the installation of an elevator at Marion Street School. The district is requesting voter approval to use $2,450,000 from the fund for these projects. Dr. Lynch noted that voter authorization on the use of reserve money has no impact on the upcoming tax levy.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak thanked the building administrators and central administrators, including Dr. Lynch, for all their hard work in establishing a budget fit for the needs of the students, while taking into account the tax payers. 

The district is scheduled to submit its maximum allowable tax levy to the state by March 1 and the board anticipates adopting the budget on March 13. The budget hearing is planned for May 8, the last day to register to vote is May 15 and the budget vote is on May 21. To view copies of the budget work session materials visit the Finance and Budget page at www.lynbrookschools.org.
 

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Fostering Literacy with Book Buddy Program

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Lynbrook South Middle School seventh-graders in Jeanette Roch and John Christ’s English class recently teamed up with Marion Street Elementary School fifth-graders in Allison Sales and Danialle Nelson’s class during a new Book Buddy program between the schools. Coordinated by Roxanne Migliacci, English department chairperson and Allison Curran, elementary curriculum coordinator, the Book Buddy program allowed the students to work together and form a collaborative book club. 

The program connected to Lynbrook South Middle School’s “Get Lost In A Book” initiative this year, fostering literacy among students. The classes met four times during the program and allowed the seventh-graders to act as reading mentors to the elementary school students. At the first meeting, students and their buddies completed getting to know you exercises about themselves as people and as readers. Each student then independently read the book “Restart” by Gordon Korman which followed with students forming small groups and discussing their experiences reading the book. During their discussions, the students shared the messages that they took away from the novel. Some seventh-graders also recommended other books and gave the fifth-graders an idea of what type of books they would read when they enter the middle school next year.
  
The classes met again and reconfigured their groups based on interests. They selected service projects such as designing a logo, creating public service announcements, drawing posters and recording videos to share their slogan, “Don’t Be A Bully, Be A Buddy,” a message relevant to the book, “Restart.” 

During their final meeting, the students worked together to complete their projects, which they plan to share districtwide.  

“They are having so much fun and are already asking to do it again,” said Migliacci. “The fifth-graders are looking forward to coming to South Middle School next year because they have made all these new friends.” 

West End Scientists

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Students at West End Elementary School presented their research projects during the school’s annual Science Fair on March 7. Family members were invited to the special event in the school gymnasium where the young scientists discussed their projects and showed off their display boards.

Great job to all the participants! 



Middle School Coding Masters

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Lynbrook North Middle School eighth-graders enrolled in the middle school coding course worked on creating their own games on March 1. The interactive course, which is taught by teacher James O’Hara, allows students to learn how to write block code and JavaScript. 

The coding course was added to the middle school curriculum for both Lynbrook North Middle School and Lynbrook South Middle School about two years ago, giving students important technical skills in a world where technology is constantly evolving. According to Mr. O’Hara, students create coding projects during the class sessions which include themed games. The students populate their own codes and work diligently on their tablets to make their ideas come to life. They then share their games with their peers. 

The course introduces many students to coding for the first time. Those that wish to pursue a career in this field can build on their foundation with one of the applied mathematics courses at Lynbrook High School such as Advanced Placement Java Programming. 

History Comes Alive at Marion Street School

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Third-graders at Marion Street Elementary School hosted their annual Civil Rights Presentation and honored Joseph McNeil, a leader in the civil rights movement and member of the Greensboro Four, on Feb. 28. Administrators including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak, board members, families and third-graders from Waverly Park and West End elementary schools were present for the special event.

Third-grade teacher Steve Freifeld proudly introduced Mr. McNeil who has volunteered his time to visit Marion Street School since 1991 to tell his story to students. During the civil rights movement, Mr. McNeil and three of his classmates made history by staging a sit-in at Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter in Greensboro, refusing to leave until they were served.
Mr. Freifeld spoke about how Marion Street third-graders celebrate the theme “Building Bridges” throughout the year, studying bridges and taking trips to different bridges across the Long Island and the New York City area. He related this to the important lesson of bridging connections between people.

“We are very fortunate to have a man with us today who like the great bridge building engineers in history, has worked to make positive connections between people his entire life,” said Mr. Freifeld. “His actions led to changes in the way millions of people were treated in restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, public restrooms and swimming pools across the United States.” 

Attendees watched a video about the Greensboro Four before Mr. McNeil addressed the crowd and answered questions from Marion Street, Waverly Park and West End students. 

“We were trying to make America a great country and it required some of us to put ourselves on the line…if we were going to be successful we were going to have to be nonviolent,” he told students. 

The Marion Street third-graders showed their support for Mr. McNeil by performing a show for him titled “Marion Street School Visits the Civil Rights Museum.” The students performed several songs about peace and a skit featuring important historical figures. 

 

Students Learn Life Lessons During Human Relations Day

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Lynbrook High School student government members, with the guidance of advisor Mary Kirby, hosted the school’s annual Human Relations Day on Feb. 14. Students heard from an array of inspiring individuals and organizations throughout the school day, including key note speaker Rohan Murphy. 

The student body gathered in the school gymnasium where Mr. Murphy, a motivational speaker and former star wrestler, spoke about overcoming obstacles since being born with deformed legs. The presentation inspired students to always strive to reach their goals and to not hold back when challenges present themselves. 

Other speakers also visited classrooms. These included Joe Slaninka from the Henry Viscardi School, members of the Lynbrook Police Department, Ruthanne McCormack from the RVC Coalition, Joanna Formant from SIBS Place, “Impractical Jokers” star Joe Gatto, Jeff Fenn from Long Island TRIO, Holocaust speaker Kathy Griesz and more. The day allowed students to learn more about topics such as living with disabilities, gender identity, organ donations, police encounters, kindness, respect and empowerment for young women.   

As part of another tradition at the high school, the Lynbrook High School PTA prepared its annual Multicultural Luncheon for students and staff during the day, which included a variety of food representing the many cultures that make up the Lynbrook community.
 

VIDEO: Kindergarten Students Celebrate Community Helpers Day

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Students and staff at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center celebrated their annual Community Helpers Day in style, dressing as different professionals on Feb. 1. This is the second year that the school has embraced Community Helpers Day, a fun way to connect to the students’ social studies curriculum about community.