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Summit Lane Students Present Book Buddies Program to Board

After More Than 30 Years,

Vietnam Veteran to Receive Levittown Diploma

The accomplishments of two staff members opened the most recent regular meeting of the Levittown School District’s Board of Education on Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Dowling College and News 12 recognized Levittown United Teachers (LUT) member Judy Ascher as Long Island Educator of the Month. Twelve teachers were selected from 50 applicants to be recognized for this honor.

Dr. Clyde Payne, Dean of Education, presented the award to Ascher last month in her fifth-grade classroom at Summit Lane Elementary School.

Dr. Sean B. Haggerty, lead psychologist in Levittown Public Schools and school psychologist at Summit Lane Elementary School, was presented with the School Practitioner of the Year award by the Nassau County Chapter of the New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP) in October. Haggerty recently began his 20th year as a school psychologist in the Levittown Public Schools.

Then a group of students from Summit Lane Elementary also gathered and gave an academic presentation to the board and audience about their “book buddies” program.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Debbie Rifkin gave a detailed presentation about the Regents test results for the school district. While the Levittown School District performs above Nassau County in the U.S. History Regents test subject, chemistry is the subject that the district performs lower than the county’s average. The Science Department has been taking corrective measures to see where the curriculum needs improvement.

During the public comment session, an East Broadway parent addressed the board, asking for a full-day kindergarten program to be included in the district’s agenda. She explained the trials she faced last year when her now first-grader did not have the option of the program within the district last year. She has a younger son who would benefit from the program if it were to be instituted.

“We are extremely close to making this a reality,” Pappas said. “All day kindergarten is part of this administration and this board of education’s plan to bring Levittown, keep Levittown and maintain it, moving this upward and onward; we are closer now than we have ever been.”

Another set of East Broadway parents addressed the board about a serious, more personal issue.

“When the nation’s attention and the attention of most school districts throughout the United States are directed at anti-bullying and bullying prevention, why is this the only district that I know of that condones and facilitates bullying,” asked the father of an East Broadway kindergartener. “Death threats were made against my son [by another student] on the bus.”

The student’s mother also asked for clarification from the board members and Dr. Sirois and Assistant Superintendent Mark Schissler, that she had been notified that her kindergartener has received a suspension from bus service regarding this matter. The audience began to speak out of turn, and to each other in disbelief. President Pappas called order to the session and moved to adjourn to a brief executive session to discuss the action to be taken regarding the isolated matter. When the meeting resumed, the board announced that no decision would be made during the board meeting or discussed in a public forum to maintain the district’s privacy policy.

Councilman Gary Hudes attended the board meeting also, with Levittown resident and veteran Andy Booth to ask for a diploma to be granted to former Levittown resident Randy Scott who left high school to serve the Army in Vietnam.

Hudes explained that Scott has made a plea to the school district in the past, which has received unsuccessful results. Hudes said while many war veterans have received their high school diplomas in post-war years, Scott has not been able to receive this honor from the district in the past year of discussion with the school’s administration, although he is only one and a half credits short of the graduation requirements.

In addition to awarding Scott’s diploma, Hudes also asked that Scott be invited to receive his diploma with this year’s graduating class.

Board President Pappas said, “He will receive a diploma; Mr. Scott will have it handed to him at the graduation ceremony.”

Many gifts to the schools were acknowledged by the board including: a check in the amount of $101.03 for the Northside Student Activity Fund, given by Kaufman Enterprises, LLC; carpeting for the music room at East Broadway Elementary School, given by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bottone of Wantagh; a 32” television for the ABA room at East Broadway Elementary School given by Tina Fiore of Wantagh; a check in the amount of $100 for East Broadway Elementary School given by FutureCorps/Newsday Media Group of Melville; and one classroom cart for Gardiners Avenue School given by Dr. Raymond Bartolo of Massapequa.

A special acknowledgement and thanks was given to long-time PTA member Diane McPartland for securing two checks in the amount of $500 for scholarships at MacArthur High School given by Lifetouch Studios in Farmingdale.

The next regular Levittown School District Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at the Levittown Memorial Education Center at 150 Abbey Lane. The public session begins at 7:30 p.m. This meeting will be devoted to reports from the superintendent of schools and board members, regular agenda items of old and new business and schedules. Copies of the agenda are available to the residents of the district at the office of the Board of Education three days prior to the meeting date. Copies of agendas are also available three days prior to meeting date at the Levittown Public Library. Tapes of meetings are available at the Levittown Public Library.