Budget Meeting Letter - February 11, 2016

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Abracadabra– No Name Calling

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On Friday, January 15th, as a kick-off to No Name Calling Week at Willow Road School, the students assembled in the gym for a magical experience.  Sponsored by the PTA, TAKE P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Respect, Responsibility, Independence, Determination and Empathy), a magic show presented by Mr. Robert McEntee, is an interactive and humorous character education performance with a positive message.
    
Through the use of visual illusions and props, Magic Bob presented a unique educational show that promotes anti-bullying and self-esteem by teaching the importance of self-respect and respect for others.
     
The students were truly captivated and entertained, while at the same time learning very important character building lessons that will benefit them for life.

Focus on STEM Include Robotics

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Students in the district’s Gifted and Talented Program are participating in a Robotics Program that incorporates several STEM initiatives where students can utilize their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.

Using innovative Vex Robotics parts, the sixth-grade students built clawbots to learn how robots work. Each team used their clawbot in a competition where the goal was to stack blocks remotely in order to achieve the highest possible score. Each clawbot has four motors and a sensor to help it complete the required tasks. Currently, the students are working on their second robot using different designs and parts.

Fifth-grade students working on their Bridges Project learned about the many different types of bridges, why they are built and how they balance the forces that interact with each structure.

The fourth-grade students are learning about Simple Machines, and, working with the fifth grade and sixth grade students, helped to build a working ferris wheel that is eight feet tall.

Board of Education Hosts Inaugural Commendation Ceremony

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During the Board of Education meeting held on Jan. 26 at the James A. Dever Elementary School, the district introduced its first celebration of excellence with an inaugural Board of Education Commendations Award Ceremony. Outstanding students, staff, Board of Education members and community representatives who have gone above and beyond to positively represent the district were recognized for their contributions.

“It is my privilege to present this program this evening that has been specifically dedicated to recognizing the outstanding achievements of our students, staff and community members within and beyond our classroom walls,” Superintendent of Schools Constance D. Evelyn said. “We commend your efforts and want you to know that we highly value your level of commitment. Thank you for continually inspiring us to do our very best for you.” The first honorees were the 10 students, representing Howell Road and James A. Dever schools, who participated in the All-County Peak Festival at Molloy College. Students took part in a variety of workshops, including Australian Stick Dancing, Hand Chimes, African Drumming and Bollywood-style dancing.

Those honored included the following:
•    Benjamin Banchiero
•    Imani Brockington
•    Emily Dahl
•    Chamille Malcolm
•    Mathew Olivencia
•    Nicholas Ottomanelli
•    Swaraj Pandit
•    Sasha Persad
•    Elijah Peterson
•    Christopher Pierre

The next honorees were Matthew Ricchiuti and Christopher Rakeman, from Dever and Wheeler Avenue, respectively, who took part in the All-County Jazz Ensemble. They were part of an elite group of student-musicians throughout Nassau County, and participated in the All-County Division II concert on Jan. 17.

Three commendations were presented to educators in the district, including Johanna Land, a teacher at James A. Dever for continually securing grants to support the school’s music program through Donors Choose.org, Roxanne MacDonald, a librarian at James A. Dever for securing grants to support the school’s Preschool Lending Library and Hands-On Reading Workshops and Guy Jacob, a teacher at Wheeler Avenue for increasing science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) education at Wheeler.

Superintendent Constance D. Evelyn also presented the AAA Safety Patroller of the Year award to district alumna Sumaiya Ramsaroop, a former student at Howell Road School. She was the first student in the district’s history to ever be honored with this award.

Two Board of Education members and two community members were recognized as well. Board Trustee Dr. Frank Chiachiere earned the New York State School Boards Association SCHOOL BOARD U in recognition of Lifetime Achievement. Board Vice President Patricia Farrell was honored with the Board Excellence Award. Farrell was honored again, along with long-time community member Jerilyn Lewis, for their many years of dedicated volunteerism and service to the district by the Nassau Region PTA.



Wellness Matters at Willow

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On January 21st, second grade students at the Willow Road School participated in a very informative program on wellness facilitated by students from Valley Stream North Jr.-Sr. High School’s Physical Education Leadership Program.

Students in Mrs. Minuto’s, Ms. Richards’ and Mrs. Sciscioli’s classes assembled in the GP room where stations were set up for the wellness event. The high school students spoke with the children about the importance of always making healthy choices. Topics included information about the five food groups and why eating healthy foods and exercising regularly contribute to a healthy and fit lifestyle. The program also stressed that every person is special and that everyone has his or her own unique bond shape.

This annual event is a highlight for the students, especially when former students return as role models to share their knowledge with the younger students. 

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Students at Willow Road School celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with numerous creative projects. Lessons and activities surrounding the accomplishments of this great humanitarian were the focus in classrooms. The kindergarten classes listened to biographies and learned about Dr. King from articles in their Scholastic News Magazines. They learned that love comes in many colors.
    
Mrs. Wahl's sixth grade class created a special project in their art class with Mrs. Geidel titled I Have A Dream. For this project, the students studied Dr. King's famous 1963 speech and Wassily Kandinsky's painting, Squares With Concentric Circles. Using rectangular shaped recycled cardboard on which to paint the concentric circles, the students painted sections of Dr. King's image in each one and applied principles of mathematics to arrange them into a cohesive painting. Excerpts from his speech were written by each student in their classroom and included in the project. This tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is being displayed in the school's main lobby.

Worthy of Applause

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For the past two weeks, 53 students from Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen represented their schools, the district and the community in the All-County Music Festivals for both fifth and sixth grades. Participating in the Orchestra, Band, Jazz Band and Chorus, the students rehearsed music for these specialized concerts that took place at the Tilles Center.
    
Each year, the festival provides an opportunity for these talented music students to work with special guest conductors and to study and perform challenging musical programs. Students are nominated by their teachers and selected by a special committee based on their NYSSMA scores from the previous year. Our students did an outstanding job performing with these honor ensembles.

A tremendous thank you must be given to the district’s music department, who helped the students prepare and rehearse their NYSSMA solos and continue to provide the students with incredible opportunities for enrichment in music. We are extremely proud of our student musicians who participated and our dynamic and enthusiastic music staff. They all get a standing ovation!

Commendation Ceremony - January 26, 2016

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Before & After School Program (SCOPE) Flyer for 2016-2017

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Sing-A-Long and Smile

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Students, parents, and teachers joined together in the auditorium at James A. Dever School to celebrate the holiday season in song. Members of the Student Council, under the guidance of Ms. DeMeo, and the junior chorus, under the direction of Mrs. Land, performed several holiday classics and introduced several other songs.  
    
Both groups invited the kindergarten, first- and second-grade students to join in the sing-a-long, creating a wonderful opportunity for the younger students to enjoy singing and dancing with their older schoolmates. This musical event was a true celebration of the holiday season and put smiles on the faces of all who attended. 

Music Brings Everyone Together

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During three winter concerts hosted by the James A. Dever School, the orchestra, band and chorus took center stage and entertained classmates, family, friends, and community residents with several holiday favorites.

This year, there was a special performance by members of the Sign Language Club, who meet after school to learn and perfect their sign language skills. The students utilized their talents to perform several holiday classics.  What a wonderful experience it was for all the students and the audience to have everyone performing together.

 

The Mystery of the Missing Gingerbread Man

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The James A. Dever kindergarten classes went on a wild chase to find the missing Gingerbread Man.  After reading the story of the gingerbread man, each class worked together to bake their own gingerbread man cookie. Much to their surprise, when they went to the oven to remove their cookie, the gingerbread man had disappeared.  
    
The students set out to find the missing gingerbread man following clues left throughout the school. They checked in the kitchen, principal’s office, nurse’s office, and other locations asking everyone if they had seen their missing cookie.  After a valiant effort, each class found their cookie in a different location.   

Saturday, February 06, 2016