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POB Board Of Education Discusses Science Program

At the Monday, May 21 meeting of the Plainview-Old Bethpage CSD Board of Education, tenure was awarded to four administrators: Jill Gierasch, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction; Suzanne Gray, principal, Old Bethpage Elementary School; John McNamara, principal, Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School; and Laurie Lynn, director of guidance. After the tenure presentation, much of the meeting was devoted to an update on various aspects of the science program from district Science, Technology and Research Chair Joyce Barry.

Barry updated the board on the capabilities of the TI-Nspire, next generation of the Texas Instruments graphing calculators, which teachers in the district recently had a chance to demo. A Plainview teacher will attend an all-expenses paid training course on the new device over the summer, at which point he will become a certified trainer for district teachers, Barry explained. The new calculators have several functions that allow them to integrate with SMARTBoards for a more dynamic learning experience.

Barry also discussed the district’s partnership with North Shore-LIJ, one of the features of which allows first-year medical students to come into the elementary school to teach second-graders about proper hand washing. Next year, the first-year medical students will move up with the children and provide a different lesson for the third-graders, while a brand new crop of medical students will offer the hand-washing lesson.

At the high school level, the district’s new health-related careers course has proven so popular that they will be offering two sections of it in September. Curriculum writing for the program will take place over the summer. Barry also reported that she is working with other science educators and health care professionals to develop a new health care-related science competition for ninth- and 10th-graders.

Board member Evy Rothman asked Barry if she had spoken with North Shore-LIJ about extending the opportunities for POB students to take part in research programs. Barry responded that she had discussed getting district students involved with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at North Shore LIJ, however it wasn’t easy. “They say yes, but being that we don’t necessarily have the underrepresented populations, we don’t necessarily get first dibs, so we’re working with them on different opportunities to have the kids work at Feinstein.”

During Public Participation, Stefanie Nelkens asked if there was any district policy regarding the life span of workbooks, since she has encountered problems with workbooks being disposed of prematurely—both at the end of the last academic year and during the current school year. After a fair amount of dialogue between Nelkens, Assistant Superintendent Gierasch and Superintendent Dempsey, Dempsey said that the issue bore looking into.

“I think in this case we’re in agreement: we need to have a procedure [concerning workbook disposal] that we need to communicate to everybody,” said Dempsey.

Resident Jacques Wolfner congratulated the board on the recent passage of the 2012-13 budget, and also expressed approval of the fact that the district’s budget documentation now shows actual expenditures from two years ago rather than the budget for that year. “It’s been a number of years that I’ve been encouraging to the board to go to actual expenditures, rather than budget to budget,” said Wolfner, commenting that this change provides voters more information and allowed them to vote intelligently on the budget.

In new business, the board approved additional staff development courses for 2012-13 and curriculum writing projects for 2012-13. The next meeting of the Plainview-Old Bethpage School Board will take place on Monday, June 4 at 7:45 p.m. at Mattlin Middle School.