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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

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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