2014-2015 Board of Education
On Monday, July 7 during the Board of Education’s annual reorganization meeting Joseph DiSibio was elected to serve as President and Antonette “Toni” Pomerantz was elected to serve as Vice President for the 2014-2015 school year. New elected board trustee Patricia Farrell joins board trustees Sean Douglas, Ph.D., Jeanne Greco Jacobs, Frank Chiachiere, Ph.D. and William P. Stris.
Howell Road Students Celebrate Moving Up
Students of Howell Road Elementary School were aglow with excitement during the school’s closing exercises, held in the Elmont Memorial Library auditorium. The ceremony signaled the advancement of the graduates to the next step in their academic careers.
The program opened with a slideshow presentation featuring photos of students both as babies and again as the young adults they are now. That was followed by the processional entrance of students, two by two, to the applause of cheering parents, family and friends.
“Think about the experiences you’ve had at Howell Road to grow and learn academically and to help other people,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund. “Those are the values of our school community, your parents and our democracy.”
“I am proud of you and encourage you all to stay on the right path,” said Board of Education President Dr. Sean Douglas in his address. Board Vice President Debra Evans and trustee Toni Pomerantz were in attendance as well. In addition, student speakers Shamely Bueno, Hezekiah Destinboble, Melvin Hernandez and Maya Smith provided insight into the hearts and minds of these students.
“We celebrate the beginning of a new journey that will lead to great success,” said Principal Frank Huplosky in his address to the students. “We are sending you off to junior high school with the skills not only to survive, but to succeed and flourish.”
After all students had been called forward and handed certificates by Drs. Douglas and Robb-Fund, they combined to sing Alan Menken and David Zippel’s “Go the Distance,” followed by the school song, which signaled the end of the ceremony.
Family and friends greeted the graduates in the lobby for congratulatory hugs and kisses and took advantage of the opportunity to pose for memorable photos before heading off for summer now and middle school in the fall.
Dever Class of 2014 Marks Moving Up
Sixth-graders at James A. Dever Elementary School celebrated their moving up from elementary to secondary school at the Elmont Public Library. The graduating students marched into the auditorium to “Pomp and Circumstance,” with parents, family and teachers cheering for them as they made their way down the aisle. Guests viewed a montage presentation that documented the graduates from their youngest years to the present, as well as all of the fun activities they’ve participated in along the way.
While addressing the audience, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund talked about the experiences students have had at James A. Dever in helping others.
“Part of what we instill in all of our children in Valley Stream is to help others,” said Dr. Robb-Fund. “We want to be sure that you take those qualities with you as you move onto seventh grade. We taught you well – you know how to read, write and think – but it’s the commitment to grow with wisdom and the commitment to serve others that are the values of your families, your teachers, our community, our Board of Education, and it is those values that make America and democracy what it is.”
Board of Education trustee Jeanne Greco Jacobs, who addressed the class on behalf of the entire Board, congratulated all students for achieving this milestone. “Today marks a turning point – not an end – in your educational journey,” said Ms. Jacobs. “Although you will no longer be Dever students, you will take with you all that you learned as you continue your education.”
Principal Darren Gruen recounted the day when the students first began school at 5 years of age, remarking that they have grown into impressive young adults. “At Dever, you have begun to realize some of your dreams – your dreams of learning and academic success, of long lasting friendships and of belonging to a community that cares deeply about you,” said Mr. Gruen. “Dever is a safe, nurturing and challenging environment, but from today forward the challenges you face will grow by leaps and bounds. Challenges you are all ready to face.” Together, Dr. Robb-Fund, Ms. Jacobs and Mr. Gruen presented each student with their certificate, congratulating them on finishing sixth grade and continuing their secondary education.
Wheeler Avenue Sixth Graders Celebrate Success
Parents, faculty and central administrators gathered together for Wheeler Avenue Elementary School’s moving up ceremony held at Valley Stream Central High School’s Bert Keller auditorium. Members of the sixth-grade class, who were commended for their strong character, hard work and academic success, now move on to the next academic stage in their lives.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund, members of the Board of Education and Wheeler Avenue faculty were in attendance. Principal Gayle Steele, Board of Education Vice President Debra Evans, Superintendent Dr. Robb-Fund and Wheeler Avenue PTA Co-President Stephanie Seltzer all offered congratulatory remarks, and several students shared their positive experiences at the school.
The sixth-graders performed the musical selection “Rocketeer,” and afterward took to the stage to receive their certificates. The event concluded with the school song “Ode Triumphant,” sung by the sixth-grade class.
Willow Road Grads Celebrate a Milestone
Congratulations to Willow Road Elementary School’s graduating Class of 2014. District administrators and Board of Education members, along with Willow Road staff and family members, filled the auditorium of the Elmont Memorial Library to celebrate the sixth grade students as they concluded their elementary school experiences.
The ceremony began with a slideshow that displayed photos of the sixth-graders during their final year at Willow Road. It was clear through the pictures that the students shared many close friendships and special memories. Members of the sixth-grade class then entered the room and took their seats on the stage, where they stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and performance of the Star Spangled Banner.
Board of Education President Dr. Frank Chiachiere, Superintendent Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund, and Principal Stephanie Capozzoli provided introductory remarks. They each commended the students in this class for their determination and achievements while offering words of advice and inspiration for the children to take with them into the future.
One of the highlights of the evening that parents particularly enjoyed was the musical interlude. The students performed several song selections that they had sung back in kindergarten, when their education in the district was just beginning. One favorite was, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” by Randy Newman, which perfectly characterized the camaraderie within the class.
Student Council members Sophia Romano, Ashley Toma, and Nicholas Koches shared more fond memories. They each addressed their classmates and the audience, reflecting on their favorite experiences from the 2013-14 school year including field trips, school events, classroom activities, and much more.
When it was time for the students to receive certificates acknowledging the completion of their studies at Willow Road School, the sixth-grade teachers called each student’s name, one-by-one, and Dr. Chiachiere and Dr. Robb-Fund presented them with diplomas.
At the conclusion of the program, the audience enthusiastically applauded the students for reaching the next level of their education. Congratulations to all of the Willow Road sixth-grade graduates!
Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen Summer Reading & Math Packet
Shakespeare Comes to Life
During a special performance, the James A. Dever School Room 210 Players brought the words of William Shakespeare to life. Students in Ms. Phillips’ sixth-grade class impressed and entertained their families and invited guests as they performed a mini version of Shakespeare’s tragedies including Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.
Their commitment, including hours of memorizing lines and rehearsing, was evident as they took to the stage with confidence. The auditorium was filled with thunder, lightning, murder, betrayal, magic and true love as students performed the timeless words of William Shakespeare.
As an extension of the district’s Common Core Learning Standards curriculum, the students researched and discussed the history behind Julius Caesar, the negative impact of family feuds and the ultimate price one pays for extreme ambition. The complete immersion in the plays and their thematic messages were clearly evident by the sincerity and intensity of each performance. Brava!
Now We Know Our ABCs
At James A. Dever School, Alphabet Land is a long-standing kindergarten production since Mrs. Roblin introduced it 20 years ago. This year, it was performed again this spring to a full house of appreciative parents, guardians and invited guests.
The students worked hard with their teachers and music teacher to memorize their lines and rehearse their songs. The two lost children in the story, who have no names, meet the queen and king of Alphabet Land who introduce them to all of the letters. The students truly enjoyed performing and especially enjoyed seeing themselves dressed in their costumes on show day. Later on, they were able to view the whole production courtesy of one of the children's parents.
National PTA Reflections Winner
Congratulations to Rainer DeLalio, a fifth-grade student at Wheeler Avenue School, whose music composition entry The Dream Song: Believe, Dream, Inspire was chosen as a 2014 National PTA Award of Merit Reflections winner.
Each year, the National PTA Reflections program provides opportunities for students like Rainer to receive recognition for their artistic interpretation and outstanding creative talent. Eric’s original entry was chosen as a winner at the national level from thousands of student submissions.
Rainer performed his winning composition at the Wheeler Avenue PTA meeting.
Everyone Loves a Picnic
Kindergarten students at Willow Road School celebrated the end of the school year with their family members at the school’s kindergarten picnic. The day was filled with exciting and challenging activities for the students to enjoy including tug-of-war, hula-hoops and rope jumping. A variety of friendly races took place including the good old potato sack race.
With all of the activities completed, the students and their families enjoyed pizza for lunch. This memorable day ended with everyone enjoying a refreshing slice of watermelon that was just what everyone needed to stay cool on a beautiful, warm spring day.
Erik’s Reptile Edventures Visits Howell
For second-grade students at Howell Road School their classroom lessons based on the Common Core Learning Standards modules on insects, plants and animal science came to life when Erik’s Reptile Edventures visited their school.
Erik introduced the students to many of his animals including Dozer the Tortoise, Biawak the Water Monitor Lizard, Wally the American Alligator and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, which Erik likes to keep under his hat. The students expanded their knowledge about the differences between reptiles, amphibians and insects and learned how to be responsible pet owners. Some of the highlights of the program included seeing Mrs. Oquendo wear Twinkie, an Albino Burmese Python, around her neck and seeing Mrs. Faccio kiss a frog.
Students Have a Field Day at Field Day
Students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade at Wheeler Avenue School ran, jumped and played their way through a fun, spirit-building afternoon at Fireman’s Field during the annual school field day on June 3.
The three-hour off-campus event featured a series of supervised contests that tested both natural athletic ability and practiced skills. Students from different grades competed together on blue and gold teams, signifying the Wheeler Avenue School colors. The sidelines featured shady resting spots, cooling water, and areas where the students could cheer on their teammates and friends. Scorekeepers tracked individual winners and their teams, but in the end everyone was a winner for having participated and shared in the fun.
Students Selected to Attend Hofstra Saturday Academy
Three outstanding district math students were invited to participate in Hofstra University’s MathApps Saturday Academy for talented students in grades 6-9. Anna Westfall and Alex Zhuo both sixth-grade students at James A. Dever Elementary School and Victoria Bradley a sixth grader from Wheeler Avenue Elementary School were among fifty students from Nassau and Suffolk counties chosen to participate in this prestigious program. The three students were the youngest students accepted into this program.
The program enables outstanding math students to expand their math skills and to explore learning opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Through their participation in several enrichment experiences with experts and industry professionals, the students had an opportunity to explore and learn more about various careers to consider for the future.
The students were recognized for their participation in the program during a Saturday Academy Final Ceremony held at Hofstra University. During the ceremony, students shared their ideas, prototypes and games with parents and invited guests.
Art with a Message
The members of the Willow Road School Character Connection club combined their creative talents with the positive character traits they promote through their club when they presented school librarian Mrs. Carole Anne Gravert with a dinosaur sculpture made of paper mache. The sculpture will be on display in the library and will serve as a reminder to all students that good character comes in many forms.
The students also presented the school with inspirational quotes from various authors that will be displayed throughout the school. The members of the Character Connection club thoroughly enjoyed working on this project as a team and showing their fellow classmates that good character thrives at the Willow Road School.
Spotlight on Health and Wellness
The annual Wellness Night at James A. Dever School was combined with the PTA's Health Fair to create an exciting and informative evening for both students and their parents. The Dever PTA sponsored presentations from local community services on various health/wellness and safety related topics. At the same time, parents of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students had the opportunity to view videos on important health related topics.
Kindergarten through sixth-grade students joined in the gymnasium for a fun-filled evening of educational activities designed to improve their knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle. The students enjoyed such games as Healthy Island, Knock Out the Fat, Dance Dance Revolution and Fishing for Good Nutrition. The evening brought students and their parents together to promote the importance of staying healthy and was a huge success.
The Great Dougini Visits Dever
Fourth grade students at Dever learned that hard work pays off in more ways than one. As a way of rewarding the students for their outstanding work and commitment to success all year, the students had the pleasure of watching The Great Dougini perform right before their eyes.
The students marveled at his tricks and were kept entertained as they used their critical thinking skills to attempt to figure out how each rick was performed. To make the event even more memorable, students were invited to serve as his assistants. One student slowly peeled an orange and to everyone’s surprise discovered the missing piece of a dollar bill. He also made coins appear out of thin air.
Students Have A Volley “Ball” of Fun
Students representing all four elementary schools in the district, James A Dever, Howell Road, Wheeler Avenue, and Willow Road, continued a nine-year tradition by participating in the annual “Fantastic Four Volleyball Tournament” held at Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School. “This tournament is called ‘The Fantastic Four’ because you have four fantastic schools in this district,” said Scott Cushing who emceed the event sponsored by Hempstead Town Councilman Edward A. Ambrosino and coordinated through the school district.
“We would not be able to do this without the hard work and support of Assistant Superintendent for Business Meredith Brosnan, your principals, your physical education teachers and our board of education,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund in her opening remarks to students. Dr. Robb-Fund was joined courtside by Brosnan and board of education trustees Dr. Frank Chiachiere and Jeanne Greco Jacobs.
Councilman Ambrosino’s support provided funding for the purchase of school- team coordinated tee shirts for the students. The former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature Bruce Blakeman joined Ambrosino with the ceremonial tip off to start the second round of play.
Students from all schools rotated as teams into court-by-court challenges. Parents, family and friends populated the gymnasium bleachers to cheer on the squads. Game scores were recorded on a large grid but in the end all the students were winners for participating.
Showing Their Patriotic Pride
Students in Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen showed their patriotic pride as they marched in this year’s annual Memorial Day Parade.
Members of the Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund, administrators and staff proudly marched with the students as parents and community residents applauded to show their appreciation.
Planting a Reading Garden
Howell Road School students in grades kindergarten through sixth-grade volunteered to use their recess time to help beautify their reading garden and surrounding area.
The children, under the guidance of Mrs. Hopkins and Mrs. Sweeny, added beautiful new plants to the garden.
May I Have This Dance?
A popular tradition at Willow Road School is the annual ballroom dance cotillion under the direction of physical education teacher Peter Gatto. To prepare for this year’s sixth annual cotillion, fourth-grade students had the opportunity to learn ballroom dancing.
Students participated in a ten-week program designed to teach them life skills through the art of dance. Lead by dance coordinator Kathryn de Bruin and dance teacher Eileen Clark of Dancing Classrooms, a nonprofit program of CoDanceCo, Inc. Students were taught the Fox Trot, Merengue, Rumba, Swing, Tango and the Waltz.
Once the students completed their dance instruction, they demonstrated what they had learned during the formal dance cotillion, where parents, teachers and students danced the night away.
Sharing the Joy of Reading
It was a day to make new friends and fond memories, as the students of Howell Road School welcomed residents from the Atria Assisted Living Home.
As part of the school’s monthly intergenerational reading program, students in Mrs. Robbins-Jean’s first grade class warmly greeted their guests and then shared books about the life cycles of ducks and butterflies.