Professional Development in Action

Teachers in the Willow Road School participated in a professional development activity enabling them to collaborate with their colleagues while acquiring a better understanding of how students learn most effectively.

The teachers participated in the district’s first Learning Walks event facilitated by instructional coach Laurie Salvatore. They worked collaboratively by watching and reflecting on student work and student behaviors in the classroom. As part of Learning Walks, the teachers also shared and discussed their best practices with one another. The four major elements in Learning Walks are:

• A focus question
• Classroom visits
• Structured analysis
• Next step planning

The focus question determined by the Willow Road cohort addressed student engagement or how to better engage students in the lesson and what evidence indicates student engagement. At the conclusion of the Learning Walks activity, the teachers expressed their appreciation to the administration for the opportunity to participate in this project and also shared how the lessons learned will be incorporated into their classroom instruction.

Dancing Brings Everyone Together


Willow Road School held its Eighth Annual Dance Cotillion, defined as a formal dance with frequent changing of partners, as the culminating event of for the fourth-grade classes who participated in a program called Dancing Classrooms. Dancing Classrooms is a ten-week residency that uses ballroom dancing as a tool to encourage children to break down social barriers, to treat others respectfully and how to improve self-confidence. In addition the children learn communication, cooperation and to how to accept others despite their differences.

Special thanks to educational liaison, Ms. Eileen Clarke and teaching artist, Angela Trivigno from Dancing Classrooms for their professional expertise and devotion while working with the students at Willow Road School. Physical education teachers Peter Gatto and Cindi Gomez also practiced with the students during their physical education classes during this ten-weeks course. Additional participants and support came from fourth grade teachers Maureen Byrnes, Matt Costantino, Karen Higgins and their classroom aides Randi Carcione and Toniann DiMartino. The Dancing Classrooms cotillion was a spectacular display of dedication, hard work and discipline, truly an incredible event at Willow Road School.

Literacy Night in Willow Woods

Willow Road School was transformed into Willow Woods as part of the school’s Literacy Night. The faculty and staff assumed the role of camp counselors as they guided eager student-campers through an adventurous evening of literacy activities.     
Campers enjoyed the opportunity to visit a variety of activity stations where they read around a campfire, had their picture taken at a photo booth, created pet rocks and decorated picture frames.  At the end of a fun-filled excursion into the woods, Willow Road was left with many happy campers. Remember… the S'more you read, the S'more you know.

Community Residents Approved 2016-17 School Budget

On Tuesday, May 17, community residents approved the 2016-2017 school budget by a vote of 627 YES to 301 NO.  Antoinette “Toni” Pomerantz was re-elected with 795 YES votes and Milagros Vincente was elected with 519 YES votes. Both were elected to three-year terms beginning July 1, 2016.

Thank you to all community residents who participated in the 2016-2017 vote.

Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen State Report Card

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SCOPE Information


They Say Everyone Has A Twin

Morgan Jenkins, a student in Mrs. Rezek’s kindergarten class happened to pass Willow Road School Principal Stephanie Capozzoli in the hallway and complimented her on her dress. Mrs. Capozzoli returned the compliment and both posed for a photo to capture the moment.

Lead Test Results Community Letter - May 2016


Valley Stream Guides the Light for Education

Valley Stream Central High School District hosted the Council of PTA’s 55th annual Lights On For Education on April 21 at Memorial Junior High School. The evening featured comprehensive displays and presentations on the academic, performing arts, visual arts and physical education programs throughout the fourteen Valley Stream elementary and secondary schools. This year’s theme was “Be the Guiding Light for Others to Follow.”

Valley Stream Districts 13, 24, 30 and the Valley Stream Central High School District were all represented at this event. The opening ceremony featured students from each district speaking on the theme, as well as remarks from each superintendent and a ribbon cutting by Board of Education members to officially kickoff the evening.

“We’re all here for one reason and one reason only…the children,” said Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education President/Valley Stream District UFSD Thirteen Board of Education Trustee Dr. Frank J. Chiachiere. “You have all chosen to send your children to our schools, and as adults you have choices, and we thank you for choosing us.”

All visitors were urged to tour the school building, where interactive programs were featured in each of the first floor classrooms. Showcased programs included: culinary arts, family and consumer sciences, cosmetology, performance groups, physical education, STEAM-related activities, 3-D printing and Advanced Placement courses.

Saving the Planet One Old Printer at a Time

Students in L.J. Butler’s third-grade class at James A. Dever Elementary School did their part to help save the environment by participating in the West Hempstead District 6 E-Cycling Program.

Teaming up with Girl Scout Troop #2273, the students collected old printers, cell phones, computers and VCRs, which will be recycled by the town, to help keep harmful toxins out of the waste stream.

Bridging the Generations over Brunch


In a tradition dating back more than 15 years, students at James A. Dever Elementary School hosted their annual Juniors Meet Seniors Concert and Brunch, honoring the adult volunteers who participate in the school’s intergenerational reading program.

The youngsters greeted their guests with flowers and escorted them to the auditorium, where they enjoyed performances by the orchestra, senior chorus, concert band and jazz band.

After the concert, the PTA served a festive brunch, to thank their esteemed volunteers for taking the time each week to read with students, while building bonds of friendship across generations.

As a fitting ending to day’s festivities, many of the senior guests then headed to classrooms to participate in intergenerational reading activities with their favorite junior partners.

Science is Everywhere

Dirtmeister, a PTA sponsored science program presented by the entertaining Dirtmeister himself Steve Tomecek, who is also an accomplished geomorphologist and author of more than 45 science books for children and teachers, brought science to life for students at Willow Road School.  
The show, titled "Science Around the House", explores the science behind gravity, air pressure and sound energy in and around our homes. With the use of simple items such as coffee cans, Rice Krispies, mixing bowls and even a toilet plunger in his experiments, Mr. Tomecek showed the students how air pressure helps the toilet flush, how gravity makes juice spill to the floor and how the phaser shooting sounds for "Star Trek" were created using a vibrating metal coil.  
The Dirtmeister and his unusual science demonstrations captivated the students and showed how science is applied in everyday life. The Willow Road School wishes to thank the PTA for the program and Mr. Tomecek for his generous donation of autographed books for the school's library.

Board of Education Hosts Second Commendation Ceremony


The Board of Education hosted its second Commendation Award Ceremony, an initiative introduced earlier this school year, on March 22. A number of students, along with two staff members, received certificates of acknowledgment and rounds of applause as they were individually recognized during the celebration.

Superintendent of Schools Constance D. Evelyn welcomed the honorees and their guests on behalf of the Board of Education and administration. “The recognition you are receiving this evening is a tribute to how much we value your hard work and dedication to excellence. We hope that it will encourage the maintenance of your outstanding efforts,” she said. “We commend your efforts and want you to know that we highly value your level of commitment.”

Howell Road school psychologist Dr. Gaston Weisz and James A. Dever art teacher Janis Boremski were recognized prior to the presentation of student awards. Dr. Weisz was congratulated for co-authoring research that was selected for publication in the journal Psychology in Schools, and for developing two presentation proposals that were accepted for use at the National Association of School Psychologists’ annual conference. Ms. Boremski was honored for leadership with students through efforts such as Lights On for Education, Reflections and Youth Art Month.

The first students honored were those who had participated in the Colors of Long Island Art Exhibition, a festival that invites students to submit artwork for display at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. The honorees included Joseph Chetram, Joshua Hunt, Afia Kapadwala, Gabriella Rivera, Kira Sherman and Leah Thyme.

The next round of student recognitions were presented to members of the Care Package Club, who created blankets and cards for children in hospitals, as well as for veterans and service members. The award recipients were Ricky Chen, Mikayla Cittadino, Gabrielle DiCostanzo, Jenna Graziano, Megan McDermott, Olivia Muscatelli, Nyla Phillips and Christina Ravo.

The largest presentation of awards was bestowed upon students who performed in the All-County Music Festival, an opportunity sponsored by the Nassau Music Educators Association for which students are selected based on their New York State School Music Association solo evaluations. This year, an unprecedented number of Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen students were selected to All-County ensembles. Those honorees included the following: Samantha Altieri, Sofia Barry, Gianna Betzu, Frank Castrofilippo, Isabella Cheque, Ava Cicilia, Michelle Cuocci, Ynah Delamerced, John Delcarpine, Connor Donovan, Madelyn Dusel, Charlotte Graham, Nicholas Grosso, Lindsay Guerra, Sarah Gutierrez, Aiden Hack, Joshua Hunt, Lindsay Jacob, Kate Kalb, Vivian Laskowski, Elyas Layachi, Hannah Lee, Eilanna Madonia-Brea, Grace Mahoney, Rei Maldonado, Giovanni Mascetti, Grace Mastandrea, Ashley Matos, Sarah McGrath, Matthew Meaney, Emma Michel, Nicole Morera, Fazan Munshi, Steven Munson, Sophia Mura, Leah Narain, Marissa Nardone, Craig Papajohn-Shaw, Gianna Petrucelli, Johansson Ramos, Michael Ramos, Kayla Santo, Kira Sherman, Abigaille St. Fort, Samantha Szabo, Megan Taylor, Matthew Tineo, John Valencia, Olivia Walsh, Melan Williams, Amanda Wong, Lucy Wu, Karen Ye, Ivan Ymaz, John Youssef, Alexandria Zerbarini, Ella Zhuo and Kate Zydor.

Also honored for her musical accomplishments was Tiffany Wong, who, along with Michelle Cuocci, was selected to participate in the Long Island String Festival Association’s specialized ensemble.

The next group of awards was presented to participants in the Farmingdale State College All-County Art Exhibition, which featured the works of students throughout Nassau County. Tazio Barra, Sophia Buonomo, Camila Camacaro, Ricky Chen, Reannah Dautruche, Melanie Gangi, Nalani Gayle, Argelina Jeune, Josephine Scalia, Zainab Shahzad, Paris Siegel and Jimmy You were the honorees.

Recognitions were then bestowed upon Aleeza Dhillon, Ericka Leus, Tamryn McKenzie, Sofia Raza and Laraib Rehman, whose artwork was chosen for display in the New York State Art Teachers Association Legislative Art Exhibit. Their pieces were showcased at the state capitol and viewed by the state’s political leaders as well as the Albany community.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of honors for students who are taking part in the Long Island Art Teachers Association’s “Art in HeART” exhibition, held in conjunction with the New York State Art Teachers Association. Sophia Buccellato, Iveilys Castro, Sabrina Garufi, Christopher Gutierrez, Aiden Hack, Ariann Jean-Baptiste, Ryan Mangru, Allister Roache, Logan Schafer, Peter Tumminello, Sophia Valverde and Gabrielle Walker will have their work showcased in this exhibition.

“We are so proud of these students and their diligence in achieving excellence,” Ms. Evelyn stated as the event came to a close. “To our parents and community members, we also commend you on your commitment to supporting our young people to strive for high achievement.”

History Comes to Life at Howell Road


Fourth-graders at Howell Road School culminated their studies of Colonial America with a Colonial Times Celebration on March 22. Donning clothing representative of the era, the students were brought back in time as they explored a variety of traditional colonial activities.

The students constructed their paper bonnets and hats in school prior to the celebration, and many took their attire to another level by sporting long dresses, slacks and collared shirts that were typical of the colonial time period.

As the morning kicked off, students sang the classic tunes of “Sarasponda” and “Soldier, Soldier Will You Marry Me?” They then danced the Virginia Reel, which entertained the audience of parents, staff members and other guests who were in attendance.

Following the performances, the fourth-graders broke into three groups and rotated among various craft activity stations where they created yarn dolls, whirligig spin toys and cross-stitch projects. Teachers Paula Barnick, Danielle Dodge, Rachel Jean-Claude, Catherine Ricchiuti and Kelly Wilcha organized the event and helped to create a realistic colonial experience for all involved.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016