Top Honors

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Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) congratulates Joseph Gramegna on receiving a Congressional nomination to the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Gramegna is currently a student at Massapequa High School.

Magnetic Learning Tools

Tenth- through 12th-graders in Jen Candela’s forensics I class at Plainedge High School have spent the semester learning about all oLearningTools_020316Af the introductory topics and lessons in the forensics field.

Students have conducted case studies, mock crime scene investigations and learned the basics to tools such as fingerprinting.

“Shows like ‘CSI’ have garnered much interest in the forensics courses,” said Candela.
A total of approximately 50 students per semester register for a section of the course. Pictured are students learning about magnetic fingerprinting.

 

Theodore Roosevelt Council Opening Own S.T.E.M. Center In Massapequa

With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) being a critical component in today’s young  people’s education, The Boy Scouts of the Theotr logodore Roosevelt Council have initiated a new program to ensure its young Scouts are provided opportunities for an enriched education beyond their normal academic channels within their local schools through this Saturday’s Feb. 6 opening of its new STEM Center at 544 Broadway in Massapequa.

Commemorating the debut of this new center, an opening ceremony with ribbon-cutting will be held this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. featuring special guest Congressman Peter King as well as tours of the new facility that will be available for Scouts of all ages and rankings as well as public school students are invited to experience the center for the first time. Attendees can interact with numerous displays which include SCUBA, robotics, a planetarium, pendulums, fulcrums and bottle rockets between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Plainedge School District Kindergarten Registration Information

Kindergarten registration for the 2016-17 school year will be from Feb. 8 to 12 at the Plainedge School District board room, located at 241 Wyngate DriNewsBrief_010616Ave, N. Massapequa from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointments are necessary for that week.

Children must be five years of age on or before Dec. 1, 2016 in order to register for the 2016-17 school year. Registration packets are available at all elementary schools and the Plainedge Public Library. For any questions, contact the registrar’s office at 516-992-7420.

 

Making Their Country Proud

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Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) congratulates Massapequa Park resident Nicholas Vinberg on receiving a Congressional nomination to the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Vinberg, a Massapequa High School graduate, is currently a student at the Merchant Marine Academy Prep School. —Submitted by Kevin DeLury, District Representative

 

Events 2/3 – 2/11

Wednesday, Feb. 3
Knit and CrochetMassCal_020316B
Come knit and crochet with Angie Gallo from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Plainedge Library community room. Must register. A program fee of $5 cash or check made payable to Plainedge Public Library is required. Bring your own project or choose from the many instruction books available. Bring knitting worsted weight yarn and a #9 needle for knitting or an H or I hook for crocheting.

 

 

Thursday, Feb. 4
Massapequa School District Board Meeting
The Board of Education meeting will center on general support, including central office administration, school facilities, transportation and estimates of employee benefits. Begins at 8 p.m. in Massapequa High School’s Baldwin Auditorium.

Super Bowl Party Apps
Come to the Plainedge Library and get ready for the Super Bowl. What better way to kick off your party than with Chef Rob Scott’s sliders. Make roasted chicken wings with balsamic BBQ sauce, shrimp sliders with arugula remoulade sauce and sweet sausage and caprese relish. Adults only. A $3 non-refundable material fee is due at registration Limited to 30 participants. From 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the community room.

 

Friday, Feb. 5
Yoga
Using Hatha Yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditative practices, open the body and mind to a new sense of wellness, release, and awareness. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat. Registration required with a fee of $18 for all sessions. Fee due at registration. Checks made payable to the library. From 9 to 10 a.m. in the Bar Harbour Auditorium. Through Feb. 12.

Saturday, Feb. 6
Adopt-A-Battalion Soldier’s Drive
Come help put care packages together for troops overseas. Our volunteers sort, pack and ship items to send to the troops. Looking for personal care items, seasonings and hot sauces and items other than candy. From 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Island Knight of Columbus Council, 2 Eastgate Rd., Massapequa Park.

Monday, Feb. 8
Scrabble
Come in and enjoy a game of Scrabble from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Bar Harbour meeting room. MassCal_020316C

Tuesday, Feb. 9
Plainedge School District Board of Education Meeting
A public work session will take place at 7 p.m. in the conference room at 241 Wyngate Dr., N. Massapequa.

Contemporary Book Club
This month’s selection is The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. From 12:30 to 4 p.m. in the Bar Harbour Auditorium.

Wednesday, Feb. 10
Meditation
Meditation quiets and calms an over-stimulated and distracted mind. Mediation relaxes the meditator, enhancing over-all well-being and deepens insight and opens you to higher consciousness. This introductory class uses different meditative techniques and open discussion. Registration is required. $15 for all sessions with a fee due at registration. Checks may be made payable to the library. From 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. in the Bar Harbour Auditorium.

Knit and Crochet
Come knit and crochet with Angie Gallo from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Plainedge Library community room. Must register. A program fee of $5 cash or check made payable to Plainedge Public Library is required. Bring your own project or choose from the many instruction books available. Bring knitting worsted weight yarn and a #9 needle for knitting or an H or I hook for crocheting.

Thursday, Feb. 11
Weekly Storytime
Come to Barnes & Noble located at 5224 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa Park for a weekly storytime. Begins at 11:30 a.m.MassCal_020316A

Plainedge School District Board of Education Meeting
A public work session and regular business meeting will take place at 8 p.m. in the learning center at 241 Wyngate Dr., N. Massapequa.

Movie: Mr. Holmes
The Bar Harbour auditorium will show a 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. screening of the movie Mr. Holmes. Long-retired and near the end of his life, Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) grapples with an unreliable memory and must rely on his housekeeper’s son as he revisits the still-unsolved case that led to his retirement. The mystery has haunted him for fifty years and now he must quietly slip out of retirement and pay a secret visit to his past in order to determine the future, in this intriguing and thoughtful suspense-thriller. (2015; PG 1 hr. 45min). Starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney.

Ongoing
Volunteers Needed
The Plainedge Public Library is looking for Plainedge School District volunteers in grades six and up for children’s crafts/activities during the 2015-16 school year. All applicants are accepted into a pool of eligible volunteers who will be called upon from time to time during the year. Application packets are now available from the children’s services staff. Contact the Children’s Services Department for more information at 516-735-4133, ext. 12 or ext. 13. Community service credit furnished upon request.

Concerned About The Kids

After reading the article “Board Talks Berner, New Academics,” I was left feeling confused and frustrated.

Like the district’s parent meetings and presentations to the school board, where no questions from the public are permitted, the above-stated article was pro-move in focus.

The article never mentions that almost 3,000 Massapequa residents have signed a petition hoping to convince members of the Massapequa Board of Education to vote against moving the 6th grade to the Alfred E. Berner Middle School. Many residents are against the move for a variety of reasons. Among the top reasons I have heard against moving the 6th grade to the middle school are: 1) the potential of an elementary school to close due to increased unused capacity; 2) no real benefit to students in terms of academics; and 3) more pressing academic priorities (such as moving the 9th grade to the main campus) in the district that need to be addressed.

While I acknowledge that Massapequa Superintendent Lucille F. Iconis has stated that closing a school is not part the reconfiguration plan it is hard to ignore the trend in school closings on Long Island. Most recently, Sachem School district voted to close two elementary schools and a middle school citing decreasing enrollment. Currently all our elementary schools are operating below full capacity. Moving the 6th grade to the middle school will create and even larger void that, in the future, may precipitate permanent school closings; when schools close property values drop. Research has shown that many factors directly related to school closings contribute to a decline in property values. Two Massapequa elementary schools have already closed in our district, why increase the potential of having to close another?

With regard to academics, the district’s most recent presentation, Instructional Program and Expanded Opportunities, proposes the opportunity for Languages Other Than English (LOTE) as a benefit of the 6th grade reconfiguration. Strong evidence shows that time spent on foreign language study strongly reinforces the core subject areas of reading, English language literacy, social studies and math. I have yet to see a plan that will fully immerse our 6th graders in LOTE and provide LOTE to all our elementary students. At best, what has been proposed is LOTE every other day to 6th graders after they have been moved to the middle school. In comparison, the Jericho, Sag Harbour and Syosset (high performing school districts with a k-5 configuration) school districts offer LOTE starting in kindergarten—a critical developmental age for children . Why not, put our effort into designing a curriculum that will put LOTE in our elementary schools providing the academic benefit to all elementary students not just 6th graders, as early as possible?

I want to know why the district is so set on moving the sixth grade when the State has indicated major changes to the curriculum are on the horizon. We have no idea of the types of resources that will be required due to the impending change in curriculum. As has been published in several major New York newspapers, the Common Core curriculum was found to be, in many instances, developmentally inappropriate and too difficult. The June 2015 Algebra Regents was deemed too difficult, as few students attained college mastery scores, and the entire curriculum, from grade K-12, is under review. Therefore, moving the 6th grade to the middle school in order to accommodate an evolving curriculum is premature. Additionally, Massapequa has not provided any textbooks or referential materials for students in math classes. How are they supposed to succeed without basic reference books? New York State’s Department of Education (NYSED) itself has stated the math and ELA modules–used as stand alones by Massapequa–were not meant to be a complete set of curricula tools, but instead were intended as supplementary material. Why are we embracing what appears to be an incomplete program? Why are we not supplementing these materials, as many successful districts do? How are we, in these cynical times, supposed to feel that the move is little more than an effort to boost middle school performance on state tests, when no additional and more substantive curricular materials are provided, only more class time dedicated to ELA and math with the modules as the teaching and reference tools? Furthermore, why aren’t we addressing the gaping holes in our curriculum? For instance a student who is in accelerated math in 9th grade cannot go down a step, for there is not a step for them to go down to–the configurations and current curriculum don’t allow for it. Wouldn’t fixing this quandary be a priority so that students who are college bound in three years have more of a chance to succeed where they may otherwise struggle?
Finally, there are many other priorities facing our school district that seem to take precedence over the 6th grade reconfiguration. For example, effort should be put into moving the 9th grade to the main campus so that our ninth graders can have a true high school experience. On the Ames campus they the ninth grade is completely cut off from interacting with the high school. Students I have spoken to say they do not feel like high school students. They indicate that although they are bussed to the main campus to participate in sports and other activities, they often arrive late and are not able to fully participate as they would like. Additionally, they are deprived of important academic and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Students learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others and by participating in activities in which they can learn from their older and younger peers. They develop skills in organizing and planning learning activities, working collaboratively with others, giving and receiving feedback and evaluating their own learning.

Another troubling problem with having students at Ames is the additional school transition the students have to experience. Some studies suggest that an increase in the number of school-to-school transitions increases student dropout rates. A few studies also show that the number of school-to-school transitions exerts a negative influence on student achievement.

Overall, I am disappointed in the administration’s attempt to push this reconfiguration on residents in just a few short months (presentations began in November 2015 and the BOE will vote on February 9, 2016), especially since many residents are unaware that this move is even being considered and the reconfiguration could potentially affect their home values and taxes. In addition, unlike other districts (like Sachem) considering a reconfiguration, Massapequa has only presented reasons to move the sixth grade. The district has not provided residents with any alternatives to the move, has not attempted to fix holes in our current curriculum and has failed to provide residents with a 5 or 10 year plan for the newly freed space at the elementary schools. This article is extremely misleading and fails to adequately convey the community’s level of frustration of moving forward with a reconfiguration plan that just two years ago was rejected.

—Allison Pulizzi

Final BOE Session Focuses On Finances

It has been four months since Superintendent Lucille F. Iconis presented the Massapequa Board of Education Goals and her vision in furthering academic excellence that included the re-configuration of Berner Middle School. Four months that included multiple community focus groups, visits to establisBOE imagehed 6-8 middle schools, meetings with district administrators and grade 5-8 teachers and work sessions with the Board of Education. On Jan. 26, the third and final work session focused on the financials attached to moving the sixth grade to the middle school.

“I am proud of the fiscal responsibility this plan demonstrates while providing an enriched rigorous program for our sixth graders” said Iconis as she introduced Alan Adcock, Deputy Superintendent, to present the financials. [Read more…]

Massapequa Mustangs Honored

Oyster Bay Town Councilman Joseph G. Pinto (right) recently attended the Massapequa Mustang 2015 Awards Banquet held at JGP-Massapequa Mustangs 2015 Award Banquetthe Memorare Knights of Columbus in Seaford. The Massapequa Mustangs are a nonprofit youth football organization that was founded in 1958. Those involved within the Mustangs strive to keep the legacy of this proud youth football and cheerleading organization alive and strong. Councilman Pinto is pictured a few of the members and board members of the Massapequa Mustangs who all came together for the awards banquet to honor the Mustangs for putting together another terrific season.

Scout Shout Out

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Members of Boy Scout Troop 776 at a recent Court of Honor

If you were a member of Troop 776 we would like to hear from you. Send a note to Andy Cardno at smtroop776mass@yahoo.com telling what the Troop means to you, your recollections of a special camping trip or service project or words of wisdom for the boys now wearing the red and white neckerchiefs and 776 on their sleeves.

Photos or other Troop memorabilia (old Troop newsletters, a favorite skit or camp recipe, Eagle Court of Honor programs, etc.) would also be welcomed. We’d like to recreate and honor our Troop’s history at the Green and White Court of Honor in March. In order to do so, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send your submissions by Feb. 12, and pass this note along to other former 776’ers including Scouts, leaders and committee members.

—Submitted by YIS, Andy Cardno, Scoutmaster