Written by Charles Cardillo, Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:00
Manhasset continues to be one of the premier school districts in the United States. The beginning of the 2013-14 school year provides us as parents, community members, teachers, support staff, and administrators with a renewed commitment to assure that the needs of all of our students, from grades K to 12, are met. At a time when public education is under attack, providing for the academic, physical and emotional needs all of our students is a greater challenge than ever. State and national leaders have championed a flawed teacher/principal evaluation system with its emphasis on over-testing; such an assessment-driven approach has contributed to undermining public education throughout the country. Additionally, our educational system is under siege by an oppressive tax-levy cap legislation that presents a clear and present danger to schools’ academic and extracurricular programs. In Manhasset, we have felt deeply the impact of imbalanced fiscal constraints and assessment-driven evaluation systems; these have challenged our mission of providing a high-quality education for each and every student in our schools.
Having said this, Manhasset has the good fortune to be blessed with an incredible student body. Ali McNamara, a graduate of the Class of 2013, is now a freshman at the University of Virginia. Ali had very fond memories of Manhasset and stated, “I was lucky to have grown up here, I received a great education and I am very thankful.” Megan Tomei, a graduate of the Class of 2013 who is now a freshman at Fordham University, shared, “I will miss so many opportunities to succeed. I will miss Manhasset.”
Pride in our schools is shared in the sentiments expressed by our staff. Nicole Heimann said “Words cannot express how happy I am to be a second grade teacher at Munsey Park. I am so proud to tell people what I do and where I work.” Joe Capodicasa, music teacher at Shelter Rock, said “I feel privileged to be part of such a distinguished and fine district as is the Manhasset school community.”
It is precisely this great sense of community that resonates in much of what occurs on a daily basis in our Manhasset schools. At the high school, one of our math teachers, Laura Petras, is on the road to recovery following a serious medical issue. Her husband, Paul, wrote me a note in late April after Laura had completed her surgery. Paul’s note to me said “Without a doubt, this school, this community, this greater family have given Laura a lot of strength and positivity through the process.” Paul’s note continued, “So when you list the best characteristics of the Manhasset students and staff with words like bright, energetic, creative, driven, friendly, athletic and talented, please leave some room at the top of the list for ‘loving, caring, and compassionate’. So powerful.”
As Paul’s words suggest, living and working in a ‘loving, caring, and compassionate’ community is quite powerful. With the strength of these qualities at hand, and as we begin the 2013-2014 school year, we do so with positive energy, ready to face the challenges of our times; in this spirit we remain focused on the academic, physical and emotional development of each and every child in the Manhasset schools.