District Spotlights Next Steps; Honors Staff and Student

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During the Lynbrook Public Schools Board of Education meeting on March 11, staff members and a student-athlete were proudly recognized. Important updates regarding construction projects and the COVID-19 outbreak were also shared with the community.
Lynbrook High School senior Dominick Barbuto was commended for making the New York State Sportswriters Association’s All-State football team. This is the second consecutive year that Dominick received the honor. Three staff members were also recognized during the meeting. Deborah DeBetta, a physical education and health teacher from Lynbrook High School was honored for being selected as a 2020 Distinguished Teacher by the Harvard Club of Long Island. One of Ms. DeBetta’s former students who now attends Harvard University recommended her for the distinction based on the positive impact that she made on his life.
The Spector family returned to the district to award the Charles and Marjorie Spector Grant, established to honor the memory of Charles and Marjorie Spector. Charles served on Lynbrook Board of Education for 15 years and his wife Marjorie was a former PTA president and author. The grant supports teachers in the district each year. In the past, the scholarship was based on writing but this year it was changed to reflect the times and the importance of innovation in the classrooms. The Spector family presented their grant to the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center and the district’s English as a New Language department. With the generous grant, kindergarten teachers will enhance their use of the GoNoodle program into their classrooms to support physical activity. The ENL department will be able to purchase more diverse reading materials and some bilingual texts for new students who need extra support.
Following the recognitions, Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations, and information systems, reported that the two air conditioning projects at Marion Street and West End elementary schools and the elevator project at Waverly Park Elementary School were awarded. Due to this construction which will be taking place this summer, the Lynbrook Summer Playground Program will be housed at Lynbrook North and South middle schools. In addition, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak shared that the high school would be doing a brief groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of the high school construction. The Lynbrook High School bond project was approved in 2017 by voters and will create a 33,000 sq./ft. school extension.
Dr. Burak also reminded the community about the importance of participating in the 2020 census. She explained that census data is used to decide how much funding the region receives for hospitals, schools, roads, health insurance and more.
In addition, Dr. Burak provided a new update about the preventative measures that the district is making during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thus far, the district has instituted disinfecting and cleaning protocols, emphasized the frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitizer use and encouraged social distancing in the classrooms. Moving forward, all evening events in the district will be suspended, along with field trips, until further notice to keep everyone safe and limit the exposure of COVID-19. She explained that performance-based events will still be conducted by the students and will be videotaped for families. The goal is to limit the number of visitors in the schools. Principals will be sharing individual details about their specific school events.
Lastly, Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, shared a curriculum update with the community. He spoke about the writing progression tool which is part of the Teachers College Reading and Writing program. The assessment tool helps teachers determine student reading levels, the overall development of student writing and more. Staff developers from Teachers College have been instrumental in coaching Lynbrook teachers how to use this tool for students in grades K-8.