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Summer 2013

Dr. Vincent Romano

Vincent A. Romano, Ed.D., formerly serving as assistant principal of Malverne High School, took the helm as principal, effective July 1, 2013. He was appointed to the position at the May 14 Board of Education meeting, and followed the retirement of principal James Brown. Dr. Romano is a nine-year veteran of the Malverne School District, having served in his current role for the last four years, and as an assistant principal at Howard T. Herber Middle School and as the districtwide chairperson for social studies in years prior. He has also been an adjunct professor at St. John’s University and a social studies teacher in the Elmont School District, for a total of 14 years in education. “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead an incredible team of educators and professionals who genuinely love and care about the children they serve,” Dr. Romano stated. “Malverne has made significant progress over the past several years, and I hope to continue to work collaboratively with teachers, students, support staff, parents and the entire school community to ensure that all of our children continue to succeed academically, socially and emotionally.” Dr. Romano earned both his Bachelor of Arts in history and his Master of Science in secondary education from SUNY Stony Brook and his doctorate in administration and supervision from St. John’s University. He has served as a presenter at national, state and local conferences and was named a Phi Delta Kappa “Friend of Education” award winner by Molloy College in 2008.

The Torch Has Been Passed In honor of Assistant Principal Vincent Romano taking over as principal of Malverne High School, the school held a special “Passing of the Torch” ceremony on June 4. The ceremony, which was rounded out by student performances and a small reception, featured special guest speakers who spoke highly of former Principal James Brown and all that he did to improve student achievement. Speakers also shared how Mr. Brown and Dr. Romano consistently worked as a team to make the school a better place, and how confident they are that Dr. Romano will continue to raise the bar for students. “We have been the beneficiaries of your leadership,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund said of Mr. Brown. “I have not seen a school take this many steps toward excellence as our high school has under your leadership. I always think of you and Dr. Romano as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, leading our starship to glory.” “Thank you to everyone who supported me and helped me,” Mr. Brown said in his address to the students and staff who had gathered in his honor.

MHS RANKED AMONG NEWSWEEK’S BEST U.S. SCHOOLS For the first time in history, Malverne High School has been featured on Newsweek’s list of the Best High Schools in America. The ranking, which pegs the district at No. 1,682, features only 2,000 high schools across the entire United States and approximately 200 from New York State. The high schools were ranked based upon those which best prepare their students for college, with the determining factors including graduation rate, participation in college-level courses and student acceptances to college. “Everyone connected to Malverne High School should feel extremely proud of this accomplishment,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund said of the honor. “Due to the diligence and dedication of our wonderful, hardworking students, teachers and staff members over the last several years, the standards for educational excellence have continued to rise. Making a NATIONAL LIST for “Best College Readiness” is another major indicator of success.” This ranking places Malverne in the top 10 percent of New York high schools. Malverne was also recently ranked No. 122 in New York State by The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews on a list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools and as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.

Malverne School District 301 Wicks Lane Malverne, NY 11565

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BE PART OF Making the Grade

Second-graders from Maurice W. Downing Primary School and fifth-graders from Davison Avenue Intermediate School celebrated their completion of education at each level in a special moving-up/ promotion ceremony held at Howard T. Herber’s auditorium on June 20. In separate ceremonies that day, the two principals honored their students who accomplished so much during the past three years. As a result of this year’s completed reorganization, this was the first fifth-grade class to hold a promotion ceremony in the district. Both principals cited the district’s Dare to Dream initiative in their speeches. “Your time at the Downing School is the foundation for your life,” Margaret McDaid said. “Anything is possible from here on in because you dare to dream.” Mr. Edward Tallon, principal of Davison, elaborated to his class: “As D’Brickashaw Ferguson shared with us, your goal is to give back because you have been given so much. We need each other to make a difference in obtaining your dream.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund, as well as all members of administration, were on-hand for both ceremonies and spoke to the students on the importance of reading, especially over the summer. Both programs also included stellar student musical performances. Select students at Davison were presented with national awards, including the Triple C, Citizenship Award, the President’s Educational Excellence Award and the NYS Comptroller’s Achievement Award. A complete list of the award winners as well as photos and a copy of the entire program from the ceremonies can be viewed at Congratulations to the students on advancing to the next level of education!


THE PRIDE: Succ Sights Set High for HTH Grads

“Set your sights high and know that you will have to work hard to achieve them.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund shared this advice with eighth-grade students at the Howard T. Herber Middle School Moving-Up Ceremony on June 19. He urged students to “carry on the legacy” of studying, working hard and getting involved in order to make themselves well-rounded individuals as they enter the high school in September. Staff, family members, Board of Education trustees and administration gathered to commemorate the occasion. The ceremony included acknowledgement of student awards and honors, as well as special performances from members of the schools performing groups. Before handing out the diplomas, Principal Steven Gilhuley urged the students to always apply the RICE principles, as well as to establish a dream in order to accomplish their goals. Each eighth-grade student received a certificate marking the completion of their middle school courses and their advancement to the next phase of education.


Notable achievements for the class: • • • • •

13 Scholar-Athlete Teams 50% of Students made the Honor Roll Regents exam passing rates were higher than years past Held first annual musical Participated in the Dare to Dream program



cess at Every Level A Success Story: The Class of 2013

In its first ceremony on the new stadium field, Malverne High School hosted its annual Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2013 under sunny skies on Friday, June 21. Together with members of the Board of Education and administration, Valedictorian Jessica Mele and Salutatorian Sheniqua Young led the class in its final act as students of the district by marching on to the field. The evening’s ceremony included special student performances, which showcased the district’s musical program and validated its recent designation as One of the Best Communities for Music Education by NAMM. In her speech to the class, Jessica thanked everyone in the crowd for the most memorable high school experience anyone could ever ask for. She offered advice to her peers, including “Don’t get easily discouraged and be open to learning new things along your journey” and cited that Malverne taught her to “Speak your mind with profound dignity.” Salutatorian Sheniqua Young urged her classmates to, “Remember all of the notable achievements we have made on our journey to graduation.” She left them with a quote from Apple founder Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund addressed the class, as well. “You have given so much to our school and community, as well as to yourselves. You have set an improved standard of excellence for our district that others must now achieve. You leave a real legacy here in Malverne.” He then went on to count all of the notable achievements that the class accomplished this year, which are listed below.

Achievements this year:

• Newsweek and Washington Post national recognition for college readiness • Advanced Placement School of Excellence • More than 50% of the class achieved honor roll status • Highest grade point average of any graduating class to date • Approximately 60% of athletes met classification as New York State Scholar-Athletes • 95% Regents Diploma Rate – highest to date for the district • Almost 50% graduates earned an Advanced Designation Regents Diploma • 90% of graduates continuing their studies at college-level • Over $2 million in scholarships offered to the Class of 2013

Retiring Principal James Brown concluded the speeches with a brief thank you to the Board, administration and the students before certifying the class for meeting or exceeding their requirements for graduation and presenting them with their much-anticipated diplomas. Each student received their diploma and paused for a photo with their principal, who served as a role model and mentor for the students. Congratulations to the entire graduating class of 2013. Best of luck in all of your future endeveaors.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR SENIORS! A complete slideshow of photos from the graduation, as well as all of our senior award winners from the Senior Awards Ceremony, are available at



with Davison

Students at Davison Avenue Intermediate School received a special visit from New York Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The athlete spent more than an hour with students, reading his new book “Brick’s Way” and sharing his own experiences in school. “You never know what type of impact your teachers will have on you,” he said. “It can last a lifetime. Your goal in life is to give back, because you have been given so much.” Mr. Ferguson discussed with students the importance of setting goals and having dreams, and what to do if they ever feel as if they are not reaching their goals. “You keep fighting until you reach that goal!” he enthused. The visit culminated the school year’s “creating dreams” theme and served as a real-life reinforcement for what can happen when a person dreams big.

Downing’s Teacher of the Year Marguerite Robles was recently named Maurice W. Downing Primary School’s PTA Teacher of the Year. She was honored with the award at the annual Ladies Night Out fundraiser on March 21 and was chosen based upon her commitment to the students and community of Malverne over the last 22 years. An early childhood educator for more than 35 years, Ms. Robles earned her Bachelor of Arts and master’s degree in early childhood education from Queens College. In addition to being a teacher in Malverne, she is also a resident with two students who are accomplished alumni of the high school. During her time here, she has held many leadership positions and is currently serving as vice president of Central Council PTA, vice president of the Malverne Scholarship Committee, first-grade Fundations coach, student council adviser, team captain of Relay for Life and a parent member of the district’s Committee on Special Education. Ms. Robles was also one of the first directors of the Malverne Afterschool Center and is an executive board member of the Malverne Teachers’ Association. Over the years, Ms. Robles has also received the Malverne Afterschool Center Director’s Award, designation as the New York State Lottery Educator of the Month, the Lynbrook Elks Teacher of the Year award and the Dowling College/News 12 Educator of the Week award.

Time Capsule


Five years of history unfolded for former students of Davison Avenue Intermediate School when they visited their old school to unearth a time capsule that they had buried in the schoolyard in 2008. After digging up the capsule in a ceremony officiated by school social worker Eileen Duffy, students retired to the science lab to examine the contents of the time capsule, which included photos of the students as they appeared five years ago along with their comments about what life was like in 2008. The older students, who are now in grades 6-9 at Howard T. Herber Middle School and Malverne High School, were happy to share their memories of the “good old days” with current Davison Avenue students. They were also impressed to see how much their old school had changed in five years. “In the five years that have passed since we buried this time capsule, I became older and you became taller,” said Ms. Duffy. “You moved on from Davison Avenue to the middle school and high school. Time moved on, and though the time capsule stayed in the same place, the world around it changed. It will be your ability to adapt to the changes within and around you that will determine your success in the future.”

NASSAU PTA RECOGNIZES DOWNING PRIMARY SCHOOL Maurice W. Downing Primary School was recently awarded the Highest Membership Growth Award for the Elementary Unit by the Nassau Region PTA. The school received a plaque for the honor, in recognition of its outstanding efforts towards membership growth for the 2012-13 school year.


Davison Avenue Intermediate School held a Math-a-thon fundraiser to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital. All of the school’s students solved math equations to raise money for the cause. The district congratulates the following students who raised the most money and were awarded prizes from St. Jude: (from left) Alexie Dacosta, Kayla Shuhnanan, Kareena Shuhnanan, Hannah Hardeo, Christopher Tarmin and Sophia Negrino. They are pictured with math teachers Kathy McDaid and Barbara Allaire.


Middle School Orientation Reminder

All incoming sixth-grade students and their parents are invited to attend an orientation at the Howard T. Herber Middle School on Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 5:45 PM. The orientation will give students an opportunity to meet their teachers, tour the building, receive their locker assignments and ask any questions they may have.



MHS FIRST MEET On April 29, Malverne High School hosted its first track meet in more than 15 years. Malverne had not been able to host a meet due to the condition of its track, but with the new athletic complex completed, the school was able to reenter the ranks as a host for future meets. That day, the girls track and field team, coached by Florence Balay and Franci Marcelin, ran the first 400, 200, 100, 4x1, shot put and discus events for the school. “It’s exciting,” one of the team members said. “We’re the first ones to run on this track.” The boys track and field team hosted its first meet on April 30.

Malverne High School’s music department recently participated in the Music in the Parks event at Williamsburg, Va. Under the direction of Ken Zagare and Deanna Vitola, 22 students from the district’s select choir performed “Ain’t No Grave” and “Sing Me to Heaven.” With a “superior” rating of 91, the group placed first out of four choirs in its division from the East Coast and was the top mixed chorus out of eight groups across all divisions. The group received compliments from the judges on their collegiate sound and ability to perform at such a high level of expertise.

Relay for Life Results Top fundraisers for Malverne’s third annual Relay for Life event, held in May, were recognized at the district’s June 11 Board of Education meeting, with Assistant Superintendent for District Operations Spiro Colaitis presenting the honors. Teachers and faculty members responsible for raising the most amount of money, as well as those who were integral in organizing the event, were honored for their service and commitment to the cause. This year’s top fundraiser was Downing teacher Marguerite Robles. In total this year, Relay for Life garnered more than $34,000, and was supported by more than 500 participants.

Summer Reading To kick off the 2013-14 school year, the district has implemented a new summer reading program for all students. Summer reading keeps students engaged in learning and focused on success for the coming school year. The assignments have been designed to encourage the students not only to read, but to become critical thinkers, to read with a purpose, and to stimulate their creativity and imagination. This new program is rooted in the district’s mission and incorporates the new Common Core Learning Standards in K-12. Communication between students and teachers for these summer assignments is encouraged and teachers will provide a timely response to all student questions.

For a complete description of th e summer readin g program for your child’s grade, please v isit the district website at www.malvern and click on “Summer Read ing Assignments ” in the Announcements section at the to p. Board of Education

Marguerite O’Connor, President Danielle Hopkins, 1st Vice President

Michael Taylor

Josephine Bottitta, 2nd Vice President

Jack Tulley

Dr. James Hunderfund, Superintendent of Schools Publications Coordinator: Danielle Lambert


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