DISTRICT DIGEST NORTH BABYLON SCHOOL DISTRICT www.northbabylonschools.net • Issue 1 • Fall 2011
STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE OF SCIENCE A Note From... BOE President Barbara Leun It is hard to believe that school has started and the holidays are approaching. Already our students have achieved honors in many areas and continue to be a great source of pride for North Babylon. You may read about a few of these accomplishments in this edition of the Digest or visit us on our newly redesigned website at http://www.northbabylonschools.net. On a different note, in these past few months, nature has produced a vast array of erratic weather. Although our school district weathered these events fairly well, the state is creating another “storm” that we will not endure as easily. We have a new 2% Tax Levy Cap. In addition, Albany has already been hinting that our State Aid may be less than initially proposed, the mandates are not decreasing as promised, in some instances they are increasing, and we are losing a portion of our federal funding. Preparation for this “storm” will be the Board's focus in the coming months. We urge the community to attend all budget workshops and become a part of the budget process. Last year, with the community's support, we passed a budget that preserved programs and services for our students. That will continue to be the goal this year. Please help us in this effort.
Students interested in science at North Babylon High School and Robert Moses Middle School have recently been afforded opportunities to pursue their interests and expand their knowledge. Two programs that the district participates in, NASA Inspire (Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience) and NYIT STEP (Science & Technology Entry Program), offer enrichment opportunities for the students.
NASA INSPIRE The NASA Inspire program is an online learning community that utilizes NASA’s unique mission to spark interest of students in NASA STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and career opportunities. This year, which is the district’s first year participating in the program, eleven students at the high school completed an intense application process and were selected for participation. Throughout the year, the students will take part in online activities that enhance their in-class experiences. INSPIRE students will also have the opportunity to speak with NASA researchers and experts in live video chats, which provide a direct connection to the centers and feature NASA-unique content, as well as role models. “In addition, participation in community service and educational activities offered by other organizations is encouraged to further enhance the student’s knowledge and experiences,” explained Director of Science Alison Offerman-Celantano.
NYIT STEP In the summer of 2010, through a New York State Education Department grant, the district partnered with the New York Institute
...students have recently been afforded opportunities to pursue their interests and expand their knowledge. of Technology (NYIT) to offer a summer and afterschool enrichment program for incoming seventh and eighth-grade Robert Moses Middle School students. The program is geared toward students who are classically under-represented in STEM-related careers. During the summers of 2010 and 2011 and throughout the 2010-11 school year, the students took part in marine, adventure, and aeronautics programs, in which they participated in classroom activities, conducted laboratory experiments, and designed and implemented their own experiments utilizing computer-based technology. This school year, the program has expanded to include incoming ninth graders and is poised to expand into the upper grades in the high school. “Our students love this program,” remarked Mrs. Offerman-Celantano. “They’re continuously praised by the STEP faculty for their interest level and enthusiasm for learning.”
Awards &Recognition RECOGNIZED FOR INNOVATION Kathryn Dein, a math AIS teacher at Parliament Place Elementary School, was honored at the Long Island Technology Summit as the recipient of the first annual Fred Podolski Leadership and Innovation in Technology Award. Nominated for her creativity in the classroom, Mrs. Dein received the Most Innovative Use of Technology Award. The award is given to one teacher on Long Island who has demonstrated a creative, unique and resourceful use of technology in the classroom.
NATIONAL LEADER North Babylon High School student Emily Ragusa was selected to participate in the Economics for Leaders program, which is designed to help students develop an appreciation for different leadership styles and economic reasoning related to public policy. Emily was one of only fifty students from around the country who were accepted into the program based on their demonstration of excellent leadership potential. The program was sponsored by the Foundation for Teaching Economics and conducted at Cornell University. During the weeklong program, the students gained an understanding of economic reasoning principles and how to employ these concepts for successful and effective leadership. Additionally, participants achieved a heightened awareness of the impact that their decisions have upon others.
MARCHING BAND SHOWS THEIR “SOUL” The North Babylon High School Marching Band, under the direction of Frank Rizzo, performed selections from their 2011-2012 repertoire at the Newsday Marching Band Festival Festival held at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium. This year’s show, entitled “Soul Patrol,” featured music from blues artist Robert Randolph and the motion picture The Blues Brothers. The performance will be featured on MSG Varsity, Cablevision Channel 14, on Thanksgiving Day, with repeats to follow. The show will also feature studentmusician Brian Manzo, who has been selected to perform in the New York State School Music Association’s (NYSSMA) All-State Conference this December.
Keeping Healthy The sun was shining and the weather was the perfect temperature, as the students at Belmont Elementary School took part in their annual Healthy Run. Organized by physical education teacher Shannon Halleran, with assistance from physical education teacher Bill Monroe and student teacher Joseph McDonnell, the students gathered in grade-level groups to run the quarter-mile around the school field. With music playing in the background, the kindergarten through fifth-grade students warmed up their muscles, got their blood flowing, and raised their heart rates as they did jumping jacks and stretched their limbs in preparation for their brisk run. Upon completion, the runners received breakfast prepared by the PTA. “Today is an opportunity for us to reinforce with the students the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and beginning every day by eating breakfast,” remarked Ms. Halleran.
Stop, Drop, and Roll The students at William E. DeLuca, Jr. Elementary School celebrated October as Fire Safety Month by receiving a special visit from the North Babylon Volunteer Fire Company. During the visit, students learned about the importance of fire safety and were reminded to practice fire drills with their families at home, and to designate a safe meeting place in the event of a fire. Additionally, the students had the opportunity to practice a fire drill in a mock house and explore the fire trucks used by the North Babylon Volunteer Fire Company. To complete the visit, each student received a firefighter’s hat and a fire safety coloring book that reinforced his or her lesson for the day.
During the visit, students learned about the importance of fire safety...
Celebrating Community in the Fall On Saturday, October 1, Marion G. Vedder Elementary School hosted its First Annual Fall Festival. During the event, MGV families gathered together on the front lawn to participate in fall-themed activities such as pumpkin picking, an animal show, and family games. Students and their families were also given the opportunity to get their heart rates up, as a DJ played music for the students to dance and sing along to. All of the proceeds went to the MGV PTA to support cultural arts programs and various student activities throughout the year. “It was an outstanding community event which was supported by many of our local stores,” remarked Principal Kerry Larke.
If you’re looking to begin your holiday shopping early and want to know which toys will be bestsellers in December, look no further than Kerrie Nocella’s sixth-grade class at Robert Moses Middle School. The students were selected by the “Kidsday” section of Newsday to review more than 70 toys and games for an upcoming issue. Each of the students will be responsible for playing with the toy or game for two weeks, writing a detailed review, which will include their thoughts as well as their age-range recommendations, and rating the items on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best. “You are the reporters,” said Newsday representative Patrick Mullooly. “I want your words and your opinions.” Added Ms. Nocella, “I thought that participating in “Kidsday” would be a great experience for my students to see their written work published. It gives them a great sense of purpose when they see that their ideas and written words are read by others and valued. I am hoping that some of the students will be intrigued by the idea of a career in journalism, and I also hope that they will be motivated to keep writing for an audience. In addition, it supports the writing skills units in my Academic Foundations class.” Once the students have completed their assignments, a few of the toys and games will be given back to the manufacturers, with the remaining items given to the students to keep. The student reviews may be seen in a full-page spread in the December 11th edition of Newsday, with an additional four days of reviews.
Parliament Place Elementary School is going green! A new recycling program has been put into place at the elementary school, where the students and staff are learning the importance of recycling and keeping our planet clean. To kick off the program, the school hosted a few assembly programs in which guest speakers discussed landfills and waste materials such as paper and plastic. Throughout the year, students and staff will be utilizing containers to properly dispose of trash, plastic, aluminum cans, and paper. Students will also be showing their support for the program by participating in “Green Days,” when they will wear their favorite items of green clothing.
Latin Night In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month and its diverse student body, Woods Road Elementary School celebrated its first Latin Night on Friday, October 21. Throughout the night, students learned about musical instruments used in Hispanic music, created crafts that represent various Latin cultures, and viewed their own artwork that was displayed around the building. Sponsored by the PTA, the students and their guests also enjoyed authentic Latin cuisine, which was donated by area restaurants. Following the delicious food, the students showcased their dancing skills.
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Homecoming 2011 Pride in community was in full effect in North Babylon as Homecoming 2011 was celebrated on Saturday, October 15. The day began with a parade through town, which was led by the Board of Education and featured the North Babylon High School Marching Band, cheerleaders, student-created banners, a caravan of decorated cars, and a special appearance by the North Babylon Volunteer Fire Department. The day kicked into high gear as the Bulldogs took on the Deer Park Falcons in a varsity football game. With the game tied at 6-6, the North Babylon High School Marching Band took to the field to perform their halftime spectacular, “Soul Patrol,” with assistance from the Kickline. Members of the Homecoming Court were also announced during the halftime show, with TQ Grant and Rovina Simon being named king and queen, respectively. Their court included seniors Cassie McLeod, Angelica Rosa, Jessica Franciosi, Kristen Klein, Musa Bryant, Ryan Slane, Nick Hautman, and Avishkar Ramdut. The cheerleaders closed the show as the team returned to the field with renewed excitement, where they handily defeated the Falcons 20-6.
Cutting a Ribbon Community pride was on display and a new tradition was born on Saturday, September 24, as members of the North Babylon High School Touchdown Club and varsity football team gathered with the Board of Education and administration to cut the ribbon on the new entrance to the football field. “We are all here today because of the love and pride we have for our town, community, and most of all, our children,” stated Touchdown Club President Madeline Jordan. “It is because of that pride that we have come together to put this grand entrance onto our football field.” Included on the brick entrance is a graphic representation of the district’s bulldog mascot. Prior to the varsity football game
against Half Hollow Hills East, each member of the team began what is poised to become a longstanding tradition of touching the mascot for good luck, reminding themselves to play with pride. The Touchdown Club would like to thank the following alumni and community members for the donation of their time, materials, and labor: Jack Argila, Billy Hellem, The Giaquinto Family, Kevin Hughes, Tom Fackner, Anthony Evangelista, Jason Pierce, Michael Schutt, Tom Mugavero, John Martin, Pete Smyth, and Joey Lombardo.