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Letter: A Word From The East Williston Superintendent Of Schools

Strategic Planning Update

Thank you to those of you who were unable to attend the Community Forum on Dec. 5, but who responded by email with your thoughts.   A reminder that, in order to kick off our long-range planning for the next five years, participants at the Community Forum were asked to consider the current district mission statement, suggest any changes, and discuss alignment of our present programs with our mission. Participants were also asked to suggest program ideas for new or continued alignment.   If you would like to add to this discussion, you can find the questions by reading my Dec. 7 newsletter [by going to the district website at www.ewsdonline.org > District tab > About Our District > Superintendent’s Corner > scrolling to the bottom and clicking Superintendent’s Corner Archive] or by clicking on the Strategic Planning Initiative news item on the front page of the website [clicking on the news item > clicking on Strategic Planning Initiative Information > clicking on the Compilation of Round Table Discussions].  Just email me your responses at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or submit your ideas on the Strategic Planning Initiative page.

Where can I see my fellow community members’ ideas and suggestions about the future of our district?

All responses from the forum are posted on our website on the strategic planning initiative page (see directions above to view the page). In addition, you will see a section of other suggestions and ideas both in response to the Forum questions and general feedback and ideas that community members have shared with me. We will continue to update this site.

It is important that the strategic planning process, which will set the direction for our district over the next five years, involve all of us. As such, the district and the Strategic Planning Committee will be sure to keep all of you in the loop by consistently sharing information with you and providing opportunities for feedback and comment on suggested proposals, goals and implementation steps to be recommended to the board of education. 

Facilities Committee  

The East Williston School District is fortunate to have so much expertise within our community, which is so generously shared in support of our district.  As do all the board committees, the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee provides an important source of consultation to the board of education.  At a recent meeting, the CFAC reviewed a draft of the facilities evaluation prepared by our district architect and his engineer.  The evaluation, which lists a detailed review of required and suggested facilities projects over the next five years, itemized in detail potential capital projects which can be incorporated into long-range planning. 

Categories include: educational/programmatic projects - potential projects that benefit building occupants from an educational standpoint, e.g. the science lab for Willets Road that was approved last year, to be constructed this summer; and nuts and bolts projects - potential projects such as site work, athletic facilities, building envelope, including exterior walls, windows, doors, roofs, HVAC (boilers, hot water heaters air handling and ventilation equipment, etc.), plumbing, electrical, handicapped accessibility and environment and indoor air quality.  

Each board committee has a representative on the Strategic Planning Committee. CFAC representative Burt Roslyn will report on the facilities evaluation at the initial meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee which will be scheduled soon after the New Year.  We will post information on our website regarding the report to keep you updated. Some aspects of the report will need to be considered for next year’s budget (2013-14) planning process, as well.

Longer School Day?

Newsday ran an article that New York State was one of five states to increase class time in some schools.  Several of you emailed me to ask if this affected any schools in our district. At this time it does not.

This is a three-year pilot program affecting students in only 40 schools. As reported by the Associated Press, there are long-term hopes of expanding the program to include additional schools especially those that serve low-income communities. 

Holiday Concerts And More

Due to scheduling conflicts, I was not able to attend all of the musical performances of the past couple of weeks. The concerts that I had the good fortune to attend represented the high quality and committed work of our students and faculty in the entire arts arena.  For example, if I closed my eyes this morning while at the holiday concert at Old Westbury Gardens, I could have easily imagined I was sitting at Carnegie Hall, listening to the amazingly talented Wheatley Honors String Ensemble, under the direction of Ms. Angela Luftig.

Speaking of the arts, there are new works by our talented and hard-working students hanging in the Wheatley Gallery. 

If you are in the building be sure to stop by and enjoy the students’ strong and creative works.

Connecticut Shooting

Just as I am finishing writing this newsletter, news has come about the terrible tragedy and shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut.  Here are some links that can provide you with information on supporting your child when they hear upsetting news.  

The first link is for parents of younger students and the next for parents of older students:

http://www.parenting.com/article/5-tips-on-talking-to-kids-about-scary-news

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/aftermath.aspx

You can find additional links on the district website.

Our school psychologists and guidance counselors are, of course, always available for your questions and to support our students with concerns or anxiety they may express.  I will follow up in communications next week.

Please remember to call 516-333-3758 or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions, suggestions, etc.  If you have district related questions, please don’t hesitate to give a call or email.

Elaine Kanas

East Williston Superintendent


News

Winthrop University Hospital employee Jeffrey Brenner, a hyperbaric technician with the Life Support Technologies group in Mineola, recently received the American Heart Association’s prestigious Louis J. Acampora Heart Saver Award at a dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The award is named for a Long Island teenager who succumbed to a sporting injury that is understood to have been preventable if a cardiac medical device had been immediately on-scene and applied. 

 

“I hope that I have made a real difference in my town and the world around me to help prevent death and improve the quality of people’s lives” said Brenner.

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com