Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 23 October 2009 00:00
At the Monday, Oct. 19 Syosset Central School District Board of Education meeting, the board celebrated Columbus Day a little late. Third graders from every elementary school in the district performed a short play about the life of Christopher Columbus, complete with two songs. While some of the performers needed a little prompting to remember their lines, the play was a huge success; it was very close to standing-room only in the South Woods Middle School auditorium. There was also plenty of enthusiasm for Board of Education Appreciation Week.
There was the usual procession of awards: 26 Syosset High School seniors were recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars, and received certificates. Superintendent Carole G. Hankin also received recognition in the form of the Sister Rose Acquin Caimano Distinguished Administrator Award, bestowed by the New York State Association of Foreign Languages (NYSAFL). Hankin is credited with starting the district’s extraordinarily robust world language program, which exposes students to Russian, Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin, all before graduating elementary school.
The Columbus Day play was directed by Josephine A. Maietta, herself the winner of the first National Italian American Teacher of the Year Award. After the play, the Syosset Council of PTAs took the opportunity to give back to the school board during the Audience to the Public segment of the meeting. The organization gave the board small gifts of chocolates and booklights, the rationale being that the time-strapped board members must stay up very late to catch up on their reading, and could use some help. Chairman Dr. Marc Herman cheerfully accepted the gifts, accepting them “on behalf of my eyes and my stomach.”
In honor of Board of Education Appreciation Week, members of the board took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the community. In most cases it was a re-introduction; most current board members are Syosset BOE veterans. Only Alan Resnick introduced himself as new to the board, though he has lived in the district for 17 years. Many board members candidly spoke about their children, current students and graduates of Syosset schools alike, and Hankin’s leadership was often complimented. April M. Neundorf even referred to her as “Syosset’s Walt Disney.”
The Board voted on 34 resolutions, all of which passed. The resolutions included the authorization of a Special Education contract with Daytop Preparatory school (a school for students in treatment for substance abuse), the adopting of new purchasing and expense reimbursement policies, and the acceptance of multiple donations. One donation came from the Target retail chain, which offered the district $1,182.27 as part of its Target Take Charge of Education School Fundraising program. Another donation was courtesy of the Syosset High School Tri-M club, which donated five roll-up electric keyboards and various karaoke accessories.