Members of the Lynbrook community attended the district’s board of education meeting on Oct. 10. To kick off the meeting, a special video of the Lynbrook kindergarten students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was presented, followed by the students singing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
In honor of Board Appreciation Month, the district recognized the Lynbrook Board of Education for their support and dedication to the students. Elementary Principals Ellen Postman (Kindergarten Center), Theresa Macchia (Marion Street), Allison Banhazl (Waverly Park) and Dr. Cindy Lee (West End) presented a video to the board which featured their students learning in action and thanking the board for the technology tools the help them learn. They also received giant cards from each building as a sign of appreciation.
Seven students from Lynbrook High School were also honored during the meeting for being selected as performers or alternates in the New York State School Music Association All-State Conference in Rochester from Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The students, Sara Bahri, Arpie Bakhshian, Juliana Condoleo, Leo Glassman, Danny Neri, Kaylin Tephly and Kara Vito, were congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak and received a T-shirt for their achievement.
It was a bittersweet meeting for Nikolaos Kardasis, a dedicated cleaner in the district who will retire after 20 years of service on Dec. 28. He was praised by the board for his hard work at Lynbrook High School as his fellow staff members and wife were there to show their support. Kardasis received a plaque for his service.
During the Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Burak discussed the district’s recent reunification drill which took place on Oct. 5. She thanked parents, students and staff for their support during the drill which was to test the internal safety procedures. Continuing the discussion of safety, Dr. Burak spoke about attending the Nassau County Police Department School Safety Forum with others from the district on Sept. 25. She spoke about the organizations that were present and the topics discussed.
Dr. Burak announced that the district will be celebrating Unity Day on Oct. 24 and encouraged everyone to wear orange. Each school will be participating in a different activity in honor of the occasion. She also updated the community about the financial component of Every Student Succeeds Act, which is a transparency requirement. The district must now report district funding per building. This means that building budgets will look much different than in the past. Where some expenditures are currently shown in central office budgets, these will now be represented in building budgets. This will be presented fully during the February budget work session.
Dr. Burak also spoke about her meeting with fellow superintendents and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice about safety related matters such as the federal government’s talk of arming school employees. The group spoke about how the federal government can help by giving district’s money to help combat mental health related issues. Dr. Burak mentioned that there is a Title Four grant that is used for the purpose of safety. This year is the first year that the district received funding in the Title Four area in a long time but with federal grants, restrictions are set. The superintendents spoke with Congresswoman Rice about giving the district’s money without the restrictions since not every district is the same.
Lastly, Dr. Burak provided an updated on Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The district explored the mentoring program last year and has now partnered with them. Two meetings were held with a representative from the organization to go through the process of how a student might be recognized as needing a Big Brother or Big Sister. An informational packet on how to apply to become a Big Brother or Big Sister can be found on the district’s website, lynbrookschools.org under the community tab.
Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, provided the community with a curriculum update on the Every Student Succeeds Act and Next Generation Standards. He reported that the New York State Education Department released modifications of the ESSA. There will be no financial impact if the district does not meet a 95 percent exam participation rate and 95 percent participation may or may not affect the school district depending on the number of students that score at level 1 or level 2.
“It shows that the education department is listening to feedback,” said Dr. Beleckas.
In addition, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, shared a capital projects and Smart Bond Investment Plan update. The Smart Bond process is at the first stage and on Oct. 15, the bid will go out to the public for various construction companies to pick up the document. On Nov. 1, the district will be opening the bid documents and awarding it at the board meeting that month. The Smart Bond will fund security vestibules for each building in the district. Lynbrook High School currently has a security vestibule in place and the vestibules for the remaining buildings is expected to be built during the school year.
Dr. Lynch also reported some movement on the large bond projects. The plans for the air conditioning are going through the New York State Education Department Office of Facilities Planning and the district is hoping to have them out before next year so that a bid can go out in the spring to possibly get them installed in the summer. The Lynbrook High School preliminary plans are at the New York State Education Department where they are making evaluations and suggestions for the purpose of state aide. The architect will then submit the detailed engineering plan. If the preliminary plan is released in time, the district hopes to have the big plan back up to them before the holiday break.