The community gathered for the Lynbrook Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Oct. 16. It was a special evening as the district celebrated the board, students were recognized, and important updates were shared.
In honor of School Board Appreciation Month, students and staff at Lynbrook High School showed their appreciation for the board. Students in Lauren Reganato’s cooking class baked cookies and Michael Kunz’s art class created a backdrop for photo opportunities during board meetings. Surrounded by her peers, junior Jenereth Tamayo from the high school’s English as a New Language program expressed her gratitude for the board and shared her positive school experience.
“Everyone here gives their love and support to make you feel that you can do it and feel safe,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine being in a better place. I would like to say thank you to the board on behalf of all my ESL friends for your continued encouragement…you continue to support our families and we truly appreciate it. Thank you.”
As a final treat for the board, New York State School Music Association All-State student-musicians Ricki Rizzo and John Kelhetter performed a beautiful rendition of “Ave Maria.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak announced that Ricki and John are among six Lynbrook High School students who were recognized by NYSSMA to perform or be an alternate at the All-State Winter Conference in Rochester from Dec. 5-8. She praised the students along with their fellow NYSSMA participants: Camilla Bahri, Arpie Bakhshian, Emily Bergin and Joshua Christian. Dr. Burak also announced that 103 Lynbrook High School students were designated as Advanced Placement Scholars from College Board. Thirty-three were named AP Scholars with Distinction, 22 were named AP Scholars with Honor and 12 were named National AP Scholars.
Following the recognitions, the community received important updates. Dr. Burak reminded the community that the district will be celebrating Unity Day on Oct. 23. She also highlighted the great work being done in the district. Students at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center and Waverly Park Elementary School donated more than 300 pairs of shoes to a school in Peru during their “Peds for Peru” drive and Lynbrook High School received the Scholar Athlete School of Excellence Award. To earn this honor, at least 75% of the school’s varsity teams had to maintain an average GPA greater than or equal to 90 and receive the Scholar-Athlete team award.
Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, shared an update from the New York State Education Department. The Board of Regents has not and is not planning on getting involved with the New York State Health Department’s decisions regarding vaccinations. Additionally, based upon recent discussions, Regent Roger Tilles does not believe that public schools will be required to monitor the private schools within their borders. According to Dr. Beleckas, if this does become official, it would be positive news for the district. To monitor the private schools, the district would have to pay BOCES to provide necessary oversight.
In addition, Dr. Beleckas shared that the Board of Regents acknowledged that the current assessment programs need to continue to be revisited to provide teachers with appropriate scores and students more reflective 3-8 math and English Language Arts examinations. The hope is that fairer examinations would encourage all students to participate. Lastly, Dr. Beleckas reported that the high school graduation requirements and instructional programs will continue to be discussed at the state level. Although there have been several changes to the graduation pathways during the last few years, the curriculum itself has not been discussed. The hope is that the curriculum for the required courses will be reviewed to better prepare students for future endeavors.
Before the close of the meeting, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, provided a capital projects update. Projects are almost completed at North Middle School, South Middle School, Waverly Park Elementary School and the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center/Atlantic Avenue. The district is getting ready to put the Lynbrook High School project and the Waverly Park elevator out to bid which should occur before the holiday break. The work is anticipated to start next summer.