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Letter: From The EWSD Superintendent

College Admissions Presentation

At the February work session, Mary Harrison, director of guidance, presented information and data on the college admission process at Wheatley.  There was discussion regarding recent changes in college admissions and the processes used to assist students in their pursuit of college admittance.  The district’s successes in supporting students’ placements in colleges of their choice, as well as important reflection on ways to continue to grow these efforts, were shared.

Moving forward, the District is planning to offer two new courses in the 2013-14 school year. The introduction of a Junior Seminar and Senior Seminar will offer enrolled students an SAT/ACT Prep curriculum while counselors provide targeted assistance on issues related to the college admissions process.

In addition, a workshop is scheduled for high school administrators and staff with an admissions representative from a top-tier school. The admissions rep will share an insider’s view of the college admission process, including maximizing the powerful role of teacher recommendation letters in the college admissions process.  

To meet the ever-increasing challenges of college admissions in today’s increasingly competitive environment, our guidance department and audience members shared some of the following ideas for consideration. These included the possibility of increasing the number and variety of AP courses offered, e.g., AP Art History and AP Music Theory, which promote special talents and interests of our students, as well as AP Economics, which is currently offered in neighboring school districts. Further development of our special program offerings, such as science research, math research, and perhaps the addition of a social science research program, were mentioned.  Additional suggestions included increasing the focus on vocabulary building throughout the school years, K-12, aligned with the new common core curriculum implementation.

Other ideas for exploration included the strengthening of relationships with colleges and college admission officers by supporting more college visits by our counselors.

College Admissions Event

The Wheatley Guidance Department hosted a well-attended College Night for juniors and their parents on Feb. 7. A diverse panel of admissions representatives shared an insider’s perspective of the admissions process.

The evening’s discussion centered around the importance of students challenging themselves within the courses available to them, discovering a passion and exploring it, researching colleges that are most appropriate to their profile and a host of other important factors. After panelists addressed each topic, a brief Q&A allowed for parent and student engagement. Students were provided a copy of the Class of 2014 Wheatley College Guide along with other valuable resources to help them in the process.

Sixth-Grade iPad Presentation

David Casamento, director of science and technology, shared an update on the sixth-grade iPad implementation at the February work session.  Sixth grade teacher Ronald Roaldsen also participated, sharing the teachers’ view from the classroom. Student, parent and teacher surveys demonstrate a positive response to this new initiative.

Positives shared include the opportunity for more differentiated instruction, improved organization as students use the calendar app to keep track of assignments and time management, enhanced communication and student engagement. Examples were shared of students’ taking responsibility for their learning through the creation of supplemental review materials they developed for their classmates for online sharing. Teachers continue to participate in professional development, which started over the summer.

Ongoing training occurs during weekly grade level meetings where ideas are shared for student learning and projects.  For the first time, the sixth grade students are using an electronic social studies textbook, which they access from their iPads.

The electronic textbook provides students with many additional features not available in a print version, including enhanced graphics, vocabulary building and audible resources. The present plan calls for continued implementation of iPads in grade seven, when the current sixth-grade students move up with their devices. 

Strategic Planning Update 

The Community Input Survey was distributed at some district events. You can still respond to the survey by downloading it off the district website at the Strategic Planning Initiative webpage.  All input from the survey will be posted on the website on Monday for you to review.

Present Goals

While the five-year strategic planning is taking place, we continue to move forward on a daily basis with many goals that we are accomplishing this year.   You may recall that at the start of the school year, I shared our District curriculum and program goals for this year. The 2012-13 District goals are posted on our website. You can view them at www.ewsdonline.org > clicking on the District tab > About Our District > scroll down the red bar to District Goals.  In the past month, curriculum leaders and administrators have shared with me their mid-year progress on those goals. Our year-end report will set forth our accomplishments for the 2012-13 school year.

These goals were designed to continue growth in students’ learning and move our school district forward. The introduction of electronic texts and media in sixth grade is one of the goals you read about above.

First grade teachers are well into the piloting of a new first grade social studies text designed to align their class learning with the new rigors of the common core curriculum and non-fiction reading, while alignment of the ninth-grade social studies honors curriculum with the new 10th Grade World History AP course continues. In math, common formative assessments given by all teachers on the same grade level have been developed and are being utilized to benchmark and support student learning throughout the year.

Preparation for a newly developed integrated life science and physical science curriculum in grade seven, starting 2013-14, is in process. The Foreign Language Department has developed a website that provides resources for students and families. You can view the new website by starting at www.ewsdonline.org > Curriculum tab > click on Foreign Languages.

Upcoming Events

Wheatley musicians had their first rehearsal with professional musicians when the Long Island Philharmonic coached our students on Feb. 12. A joint Wheatley and Long Island Philharmonic Concert will be held on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wheatley auditorium.

Elaine Kanas

East Williston School District 

Superintendent


News

Running for his second major office in as many years, Adam Haber touched on familiar themes in a visit to Anton Media Group to discuss his candidacy for the Seventh District New York State Senate seat, where Haber is challenging the Republican incumbent, Jack Martins.

 

Haber entered politics in 2009, when he ran for and won, a seat on the Roslyn School Board. The district was then reeling from an embezzlement scandal that had cost it millions of dollars. Haber touted his achievements on the board, including bringing finances into line to the point where the district has seen the lowest tax increases of any district in Nassau County. Last year, Haber ran for the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Edward P. Mangano for the Nassau County executive’s race. 

After a recent security scare, the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District is leading a push to get public election polling moved out of school buildings. The board of education is aiming to pass its resolution at the state level to encompass all New York Schools and address what they see as a broad school security flaw. 

 

“What’s good for our kids should be good for any child in any other public school in the entire state,” Superintendent Robert Katulak said. 


Sports

 

The Sewanhaka Indians topped the Herricks Highlanders, 26-6, on Saturday, Oct. 25. The Indians (5-2) Garden City High School to close out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. at 170 Rockaway Ave., Garden City.

 

(Photos by Stephen Takacs)


The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season. 

 

It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. 

 

Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board. 


Calendar

International Night - Octobetr 30

Live Music - October 31

Meet Your Dog Trainer - November 1


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