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Outstanding Students, Faculty Honored at Jericho BOE Meeting

Jericho celebrated another stellar awards night on May 20 at the Jericho Board of Education meeting. Among the students who received honors was Jericho’s first-ever Presidential Scholar, Yvette Leung. Leung is also this year’s co-valedictorian and will be going to Washington D.C. next month to receive a medal and have dinner with President Obama. In addition, Michael Tandatnick received the George Farber Award, making him one of only 10 students in Nassau County to receive the award. The board also recognized and congratulated the achievements of the debate team, which placed fourth in statewide tournaments; History Day participants who won in three different categories; Long Island Math Fair participants who reclaimed first place for Jericho (tied with Great Neck); and Mathlete winners, including eighth-grader Kevin Huang, who was the highest scoring “ninth-grader” in the competition.

As the spotlight turned toward faculty, the Board was proud to congratulate and grant tenure to John Cicale (Chemistry and Biology), Danielle Dunbar (Mathematics), Lauren Fischer (English), Serena McCalla (Coordinator of Science Research), Joseph Sapienza (Special Education), and Pamela Travis (Social Studies). After Board President Barbara Krieger read the criteria required of teachers seeking tenure, she praised each teacher for his or her individual achievements and added that “[Jericho’s] standards are even higher” than those of the state.

In business news, three resolutions were put to a vote, all of which passed.  Two of the resolutions included the Board’s approval of allowing Jericho students to take classes elsewhere and receive college credit, and the approval of the Tax Anticipation Notes for the fiscal year 2010-2011. Krieger and Superintendent Henry Grisham also agreed to sign an agreement that supports the Race to the Top Fund, whose purpose is to retain qualified teachers and provide support to local, low-performing schools.

When members of the public were given an opportunity to speak, long-time Long Island resident Peter Kramer urged the Board to revise Award of Bid – Sanitation & Refuse Services as a safety precaution. Kramer recommended adding a clause in all contracts with the sanitation company that would require garbage trucks to exit the school property before students arrive each morning. “Garbage trucks should also be equipped with an alarm that is turned on at all times,” advised Kramer. The Board agreed to incorporate his recommendations into future contracts.

Representatives from the Middle School Student Council reminded the public that used ink cartridges and cell phones are being collected for troops overseas. They also presented findings from a recent Harvard and Stanford study about attitude and ability. The study concluded that 80 percent of success is due to attitude, whereas the other 20 percent is due to ability. According to award-winning teacher and author Dr. Hal Urban, “attitude is far more important than intelligence, education, special talents, or luck.”

As PTA President Nancy Weiss gave her last report of the year, she thanked everyone in the community who helped pass the budget last week and congratulated all the teachers, guidance counselors, and students for their hard work this year. In turn, Grisham and Krieger conveyed their gratitude to Weiss and thanked her for her time and dedication as PTA president this year. The meeting ended on an upbeat note, as those in attendance agreed with the board that 2009-2010 will be remembered as a highly successful school year for Jericho.