The Lynbrook Public Schools Board of Education held its regular meeting in the Lynbrook High School cafeteria on June 8.
The meeting began with presentations highlighting student and staff achievements. The Nassau County Humane Society Contest, co-sponsored by the Nassau County Executive’s Office, Northshore Animal League and Nassau County SPCA, awarded fifth grader Maeve Morrissey for her essay, “Being Kind to Animals.” Marion Street Elementary School students Dahlia Jurena and Charlotte Horowitz will have their art displayed in the Long Island Children’s Museum after their entries were chosen in the PSEG Safety Art Contest. In addition, Allison Wong and Penelope Dole were winners in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest for the second year in a row.
It was also a bittersweet night as the retirements were accepted for several Lynbrook Schools employees who have spent decades serving students and staff. Robert Baldwin, Information Technology Specialist, will retire after 25 years of service effective October 28, 2022. Mr. Baldwin began his career in the fledgling Technology Department by founding the district’s computer network, and later oversaw its expansion when the first school district Wide Area Networks in Nassau County was created alongside then Director of Technology Melissa Burak. He masterminded the creation of the first Network Operations Center at Lynbrook High School, which is now a cloud-based hybrid enterprise connecting over 5,000 devices for 24/7 anytime learning.
“Mr. Baldwin was hired on December 2, 25 years ago,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Burak. “I remember walking into his office and saying, ‘You are the best birthday present I have ever gotten’ – and to this day 25 years later, you are still the best birthday present I have ever gotten.”
Margaret Marchell, senior stenographer and principal’s secretary at Waverly Park Elementary School, will retire after 31 years of service; Francisco Marte, cleaner at West End Elementary School, will retire after 20 years of service; and Maria Madruga, stenographer for the district, will retire after 21 years of service in the Department of Special Services.
Several teachers were granted tenure, including Allison Banhazl, principal at Waverly Park Elementary School; Marion Street teacher Alexa Carvelli; South Middle School teacher Jenna Giblin; North Middle School teacher Keith Hofmann; West End Elementary School teacher Melissa Kulikowsky; North Middle teacher Valentine LoPiccolo; South Middle teacher Caitlin Picht; Kindergarten Center teacher Juliana Rotman; South Middle teacher Matthew Schneck; and High School teacher Karen Smith. The district congratulates all tenured teachers on this well-deserved accomplishment.
Bryan Garcia was appointed to the position of assistant principal at Lynbrook High School, filling the role of Matthew Sarosy, who will become principal. Mr. Garcia comes to the school after serving as the vice principal at the South Bronx Early College Academy Charter School.
Marianne Healy, who is currently serving as the interim principal at North Middle School, was appointed to principal effective July 1.
In addition, Lauren Behan was appointed to music teacher at Waverly Park and the Kindergarten Center; Brian Donaldson was appointed to physical education and health teacher at the High School; Veronica Underhill was appointed to orchestra teacher at North and South Middle Schools; Brendan Larkin was appointed to audio and visual helper; Andrew Rosenberg was appointed as a guidance counselor at the High School; and Stephanie Cuce was appointed to director of information and security systems.
Dr. Burak shared recipients of this year’s You Go the Distance Award, which highlight teachers in the community who go above and beyond for their students. Three teachers, Stamatina Dougherty, Kathleen Scorcia and Maria Mantikas, recently helped peacefully deescalate a potentially harmful situation.
Administrators and board members also said farewell to Heather Hanson, who did not seek reelection after serving as a trustee for nine years. Board members each shared the important lessons they have learned from Mrs. Hanson and acknowledged the passion and energy she brought to every board meeting.
Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations, and Information Systems Dr. Paul Lynch gave an update on the progress of the pilot for elementary school lunches, which was approved at last month’s board meeting. Students took part in a food tasting and gave their feedback on several food options. The price is projected be around the price of the PTA’s current lunches.
Science teacher Charles Vessalico introduced the district’s participation in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, an exciting opportunity for students to have their work featured in the International Space Station. Lynbrook is one of 32 districts in the country to be selected for the program. Starting in September, students in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade science classes will work on a micro-gravity experiment proposal. Twelve semi-finalists of the micro-gravity experiments will be chosen, and three finalists will be sent to NASA for final selection. High school graphic design classes will also work on a mission patch design, and all students in the district can submit art to be chosen for a second mission patch design. Winners will be invited to a Selection Symposium on November 21, 2022. The winning micro-gravity experiment and the two winning patches will be sent to the Space Station in late 2023.
Board president Dr. William Belmont noted that former trustee David Yaker, who was hired by the district to be an English teacher and head football coach, has left a vacant seat that will need to be filled by appointment. The board agreed to choose the candidate who had the next highest vote count in the most recent election, Tara Aragona. The board approved Mrs. Aragona to fill the vacant seat effective July 1. The oath of office will take place at the board’s reorganization meeting on July 5.
Dr. Lynch opened the public hearing for the district’s Safety Plan. The plan, which accounts for the district-wide emergency action plan, will be posted on the district website at https://www.lynbrookschools.org/district/health_and_safety after the July meeting. Public comment will be available once posted and can be sent to Dr. Lynch via email.
Dr. Lynch also noted that a wiring firm will be hired to work on the network wiring upgrade throughout the district, which should be completed by the end of the summer. Security equipment, such as cameras, swipes and more will be replaced by June 2023.
Dr. Burak presented the curriculum update and shared the decision of the committee formed to review the weight of the Regents exams on students’ grade point averages. The weight of Regents exams will be lowered to five percent from the previous ten percent for the current school year only. The action will address the lingering effect of the pandemic while emphasizing the importance of taking the exams seriously. In addition, starting with this year’s junior class, only students’ highest Regents scores will appear on their transcripts.
In his federal grants update, Dr. Lynch shared that the district is planning ahead to 2025 when the influx of federal and state aid is projected to end. Funds are going towards the Sounds Write program, additional reading and speech support staff, special education support staff, professional development opportunities for teachers, summer learning opportunities for students and additional psychologist, social worker and guidance staff. These will be worked into the budget in future years.
The board rejected bids for the Waverly Park Elementary School courts project, due to the winning bid being withdrawn. A new request for bids will be sent out. Plans for the Marion Street turf and playground project and the North Middle turf and lighting project, which were approved by voters, are progressing through upcoming meetings.
Date Added: 6/14/2022