The United States has spent much of the last decade focused on increased accountability. So far there is relatively little to show for this, but the focus on this area is important and long overdue. Parents and students need to know whether achievement is real and substantial and whether they are fully prepared to take the next step – from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school and from high school to college or career – when schools say they are. The communities that invest their money in their schools need to know this as well.
Much of the attention over the past decade and currently has been on trying to improve the Grades 3-8 assessments. There are, for example, two large multi-state consortia currently working on much more sophisticated assessments for elementary and middle school students which would be implemented in 2014-15. (They will probably look much like the NWEA assessments which Herricks and a number of other districts began using last year.) While it is frustrating that we have to wait until 2014-15 to get assessments which come closer to actually measuring what we want students to know and be able to do, this is progress.
The residents of the Village must give a big round of applause to Tom Gannon, the new superintendent of the department of public works, and his dedicated men for the superb job they did in the village during the recent snowstorm.
Their hard work in moving all the snow around so travel was a bit easier for residents and businesses solidifies why living in the Village of New Hyde Park is a true blessing.
With only a few weeks under his belt as the new “super” he got hit with a major blizzard that crippled half of the East Coast over the Christmas week-end, and Gannon got his first dose of reality in his new position and he handled it like a trouper.
I would like to thank our residents, businesses and the employees of Nassau County for their patience and cooperation during last week’s blizzard. With the storm dumping over 16 inches of snow in our community, County employees mobilized early the morning after Christmas Day to deal with its cleanup. Crews were instructed to plow lanes adequate for travel in both directions. First priorities for snow removal included major thorough fares and access to emergency services. In all, over 100 County employees were involved in clearing roadways and dropping over 2,880 pounds of salt on our roadways. When those County roadways were cleared, snow plowing operations were sent to assist towns and villages who requested such help with residential streets.
As I write, I can hear the wind howling outside on a frigid December evening. Yesterday Williston Park and the rest of the metropolitan area were hit with a storm of major proportions. Village employees, under the direction of Keith Bunnell, worked, in shifts, from Sunday at approximately 4 p.m. until approximately 2:30 p.m. Monday. They were out in force, plowing every street in our village a number of times. They are to be commended for their efforts. Both Keith and Kerry Collins worked more than 24 hours straight to oversee this operation. Thanks to both.
The New Yorker Magazine of December 20-27 carried a lengthy article by Peter Hessler on the efforts of a Herricks High School graduate, Rajeev Goyal, to raise funds for the Peace Corps. After graduating from Brown, Rajeev volunteered for the Peace Corps. Some of his efforts as a volunteer from 2001 to 2003 in eastern Nepal were described in detail in the article. The stories are interesting and inspiring. Also interesting and inspiring were the descriptions of Rajeev’s current efforts to raise funds for the Peace Corps. His persistence and creativity are extraordinary, even if they occasionally go a bit over the top and rub someone the wrong way. Given the prominence of the Peace Corps it was surprising to read about how it has struggled for funding, but it was encouraging to hear about increased bi-lateral support in Congress.
Students in all four schools have been busy working on building ELA and math skills that were designated needing improvement from item analysis of the NY State assessments. Two of the four buildings already exhibited their musical and artistic talents at the annual Christmas concerts. Tomorrow will be the Hillside Grade School concert and Wednesday will be the Manor Oaks School concert. All students have been generously involved in service projects to help those less fortunate than us.
This past year a movie on the creation of Facebook was very popular and last week Time magazine selected Facebook’s editor as its person of the year. Clearly, social networking via the internet has come of age. It is more and more widespread and more and more mainstream. The opportunities it presents via Facebook and other social networking sites for staying in touch are both fun and valuable to many people.
There are, unfortunately, also some significant downsides. Many of the problems of the three-dimensional, physical world – theft, scams, sexual predators, etc. - have migrated to the world of the internet. In fact, some of these have found the internet to be an easier place to do business given the internet’s openness and anonymity. Bullying has also found a home on the internet.
We’ve all waited close to nine months for public statements from the Herricks Teacher’s Association and the Herricks administrators regarding a possible temporary freeze in salaries and benefits during these extremely difficult economic times. Nine months of silence ended at the last Herricks School Board meeting with the Teachers’ union president saying “no” to opening up contract discussions. He continued giving the usual and expected “spin” about the per pupil spending as compared to neighboring districts and we being the lowest although we remain one of the top districts on Long Island. Next was the line about how families continue to move into the district because of the excellent school system. Then came the “unfunded mandates” line from the state and local government as well as the New York State budget process. Although this all may be true, all these things can be said in any of the so-called neighboring school districts as well.
In regards to your recent statements that Tully Pool will be closed again to replace or repair the pool liner, which you stated will be done at no additional cost by the contracting company. My question is did the liner come with a warranty and/or is there insurance on the pool? If there is then the repair should be no problem.
How did the “liner” get damaged to allow moisture to seep through? Was the liner defective? Then it would be the company who made the liner’s responsibility. Is it the same liner as the old pool? How could the contractor be responsible for fixing the liner at no cost? Unless the contractor damaged the liner.
You stated that residents are spreading misinformation for political reasons, I strongly disagree. Whatever is happening at Tully the end result is that the taxpayers foot the bill. So if you could please answer the above questions, thus avoiding any more “rumors” about the pool sinking causing these problems, it would be greatly appreciated.
New Hyde Park
Can we break the cycle of uncertainty? The answer is ‘yes we can’ if we have the will. This same uncertain cycle has occurred before except we now have an overabundance of easy fix artists that ply a trade and tone that are not in the best interests of our nation, our state, and our very home towns. Fear not - the solutions will come from the people of our very own home towns.
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