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Student Campaign for Ronald McDonald House

As part of an annual service learning project, fourth graders in Alexandra Grodin’s class at Winthrop Avenue held a collection for the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park.

The students were unfortunately not approved in time to tour the facility, but instead were provided with a virtual tour using the district’s technology. They learned that Ronald McDonald House provides families from around the world a place to stay while seeking medical treatment for their children at little or no cost. They also discovered ways they can support the organization. 

The fourth graders were encouraged to sign up with their families or Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops to participate in Ronald McDonald House’s Meals from the Heart and Little Hands Helping Little Hands cooking programs to provide meals to families dealing with medical treatments. After studying propaganda techniques used in advertising, they also created posters that were prominently displayed in the school building and which advertised a school collection for Ronald McDonald House. The students also wrote brief announcements shared over the PA system to encourage school participation and to provide facts about Ronald McDonald House’s mission. 

Bellmore Recognizes Student Leaders

Bellmore Recognizes Student Leaders photo

Prior to the June 18 board of education meeting, Reinhard, Winthrop Avenue and Shore Road students were recognized for achievement in school service and academics during the district’s annual Recognition Night.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo said the students worked hard and have shown leadership throughout the year. “Lead and Learn is our district motto,” he said, “and all of you have shown leadership qualities throughout the school year.”

Twenty-four C.A. Reinhard students were recognized for outstanding contributions to the school community as Student Advisory Council Reporters and 23 second grade students were congratulated for their work with Principal Patricia Castine and other staff members, in which they created opportunities for district leadership principles to be reinforced. 

Winthrop Avenue School Students Advisory Council Leaders Emily Greco (president), Kiera McGlynn (vice president) and Jared Eisenberg (secretary), as well as spelling bee winners Dillon Hopp (first place) and Jake Greco (second place) were honored. In addition, 19 fourth grade Star Polisher Team members were recognized for their work with the principal to create opportunities for the district’s leadership principles to be reinforced. 

There were 24 Shore Road School students who received recognitions for achievement in school service and seven students on the Star Polisher Team who worked to reinforce the district’s leadership principles. Sophia Benno (first place) and Tristan Montalbano (second place) were congratulated as the school’s top spellers in the sixth-grade spelling bee. In addition, fifth grader Tristan Bissoondial was also recognized for being a winner in the CBS Sunday Morning Science Lab Contest, sponsored by Altice. Tristan submitted his science fair project in which he explored the use of titanium dioxide in everyday products. Tristan received a $500 award, and the district received an award totaling $2,000. 

The Bellmore School District congratulates the students on their continuous improvement and leadership, making the district a Community of Learners.

Shore Road Graduates are Ready to Navigate New Challenges

Shore Road Graduates are Ready to Navigate New Challenges photo

Shore Road sixth graders marked their final elementary milestone during the school’s annual promotion ceremony, held in the John F. Kennedy High School auditorium on June 19.

After the flag salute by Justin Barrera, Dilan DeJesus, Hudson DiTuri, Lana Jewett and Evan Kolberg, Principal Patrice Matthews welcomed the administration, parents and faculty to this memorable event. She explained to the students that there are connections between superheroes and leaders. “You are real-life superheroes and will use your powers for good,” she said.

The sixth-grade band and orchestra, under the batons of Jennifer MacVicar and Kelly Brandstadter, performed musical interludes of Katy Perry’s “Firework” and “What a Wonderful World,” as well as a special choral presentation of “A Million Dreams,” led by the sixth grade Chorale. Student speakers Eliana Conrad, Kathryn Powder and Nikki Ayoub also reflected on their elementary school experiences and the next steps to come in middle school.

In his remarks, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo told the graduates that they must develop leadership “inwardly and outwardly.” He told them they are “leaders and persons of influence,” and by using the leadership principles, they will be able to accomplish anything they put their mind to.

Board of Education President Maryanne Kelly told the graduates that they have proven that they are ready for their next academic step. She encouraged them to begin with the end in mind by thinking about what they will have accomplished by the last day of attendance at Grand Avenue Middle School, to find inspiration and inspire others and remember to be kind to one another.

After an address by PTA presidents Leslie Cerverizzo and Chantal Dembo about how the students have emerged into persons who can “navigate the world independently,” the graduates gifted a framed photo of the Class of 2019 to Ms. Matthews and the board of education. The sixth-grade teachers then presented their individual classes to Dr. Famularo, Ms. Matthew and board of education trustees as the students walked across the stage to receive their promotion certificates, marking the completion of elementary school to the cheers of family. 

Field Trip Biome and Ecosystem Comparisons

Field Trip Biome and Ecosystem Comparisons photo
Shore Road fifth-grade students in Jody Leibowitz and Jennifer Lucchetti's classes visited a number of Long Island beaches to compare their scientific findings during a unit on biomes and ecosystems. During a Nassau BOCES Environmental STEM field trip to both Short Beach and Jones Beach, the students explored both the bay and ocean shorelines and the coasts’ plants and animals.

Like scientists, the students used field instruments to gather abiotic data about water conditions by measuring temperature, pH levels, salinity and dissolved oxygen levels. They also observed organisms’ structures and marine adaptations and collected and studied plankton.  

Upon their return to the classroom, the students and their teachers compared the Long Island’s south shore environment to the north shore by comparing their experiences at Short Beach and Jones Beach to Garvies Point where they visited the museum earlier in the year. 

Blast-off Science Fun

Blast-off Science Fun
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Winthrop Avenue fourth graders collected in the school’s play area to test whether their individually designed rockets would blast off into the atmosphere to the delight of their peers. One-by-one, and under the direction of teacher Chris Merz, the students individually set their rockets onto a launching site with mixed outcomes.

Even though some of the students’ rockets had ignitor issues because of problems between the fuel and fuse, the students were happy to go back to the proverbial drawing board to figure out how to make their rockets take off.   

“This is how the students learn that the scientific method is not necessarily linear, but circular,” Mr. Merz said. “The students learned that, in many cases, they have to revisit stages to get a good outcome.”

The students have been studying alternative rocketry, which ties into learning of engineering, the solar system and forces in motion. Upon receiving a kit from the BOCES Elementary Science program, students learned to follow the instructions to build the rockets, a rocket’s parts and its possible fuels (propellants), and then utilized math skills for precise measurement. The students also learned about the history of rocketry and read about Apollo 11’s mission. 

Being Different Can be Wonderful

Being Different Can be Wonderful photo
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Kindergarten Rising Stars, under the direction of teachers Christine Wuchte and KerriAnn Sanpietro, took parents and faculty on a trip to the Jungle Ranch as they performed the story of the “Rainbow Zebra” on Reinhard’s stage. The play was student-driven in that the class was responsible for writing their biographies for the playlist, assisting with the decorations, and learning the lines of the story about how being different can be wonderful.

In January, the students read the popular story about a zebra with rainbow-colored stripes that didn’t feel she fit in with the other animals in the jungle. The class decided that it would be fun to turn the story into a play. The class’ 21 students have been busy learning their lines, as well as stage direction, and perfecting their roles as zebras, monkeys, leopards, lions, elephants and flowers.  

Principal Patricia Castine congratulated the students on their teamwork and synergy. To the parents she said, “It has been really great to see the students shine and come alive on stage.” 

Leaders in Origami

Leaders in Origami
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Bellmore provides students with a variety of clubs to explore and hone their diverse interests. During the school year a small group of highly motivated Shore Road students participated in the origami club each week to create modular, STEAM and traditional origami pieces, under the direction of co-advisers Kelly Brandstadter and Heidi Weiner.

Ms. Weiner explained that the origami club exposed members to geometric math concepts, which involve types and properties of polygons, symmetry, rotations and more. “Students were able to witness one type of polygon morphing into another as we fold, which is always exciting for them,” Ms. Weiner said.

In addition to making traditional origami figures like fish, turtles and sharks, members worked on modular origami pieces, which involved the construction of replica pieces used as building blocks for larger projects. Examples included a two-sided under the sea display, which was showcased during the school’s open house, and a mobile of cranes, gifted to Principal Patrice Matthews.

Ms. Brandstadter said, “Origami involves perseverance and geometry, turning two-dimensional squares into three-dimensional art, so it’s both mathematical and beautiful.”

Compassion as a wildly important goal

A Celebration of Music
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In addition to the students’ monthly focus on specific leadership principles and core values, Winthrop Avenue’s Staff Star Polisher Team has been working with the student body to develop compassion as a wildly important goal, or WIG. 

Principal Sally Curto explained that each class was assigned an open-ended opportunity or project to demonstrate compassion, which is “empathy in action.” The Winning Star students have been tracking their projects on the school bulletin board as an example of a WIG. 

Carolyn Buckley’s fourth grade class practiced Thankful Thursdays in which students have been writing letters to one person in their lives who has inspired them. Not only does this project exude a sense of kindness and compassion, the students encouraged the recipients of their letters to, in turn, write to someone who has also touched them in a positive way. 

In conjunction with their recent presentation of “Peter Pan,” Stacey Reiner’s and Anne Craine’s third grade combined classes sponsored a food drive in conjunction with family performances of the play in March. Instead of collecting an admission ticket, the students asked the audience to donate a canned good for the price of admission. Through teamwork and synergy, the class collected 100 cans of food to be donated to the Bellmore-Merrick Community Cupboard, which serves more than 40 community families who depend on its services to keep food on the table. 

Deirdre Golden’s and Gina Foppiano’s fourth grade classes worked together to conserve beaches and wildlife. Working with the Town of Hempstead’s Conservation and Waterways  Department, the students posted signs asking visitors to clean up trash, keep dogs and people from disturbing piping plover nests and to recycle trash at Point Lookout Beach. The students received a citation from Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura A. Gillen and visited the piping plover and oyster catcher nests. They also learned to use scientific equipment to assist them in making and recording observations on the beach’s wildlife. 

Avery Breakstone’s and Deana Genovesi’s third grade classes talked about making others feel good and creating more beauty in the world. On Earth Day, the students made seed bursts, a ball of dissolvable clay, seeds and soil. Each student presented the seed bursts to a special person. After the seed burst was tossed in the dirt, flowers eventually bloomed after dissolving in the rain, making the world a more beautiful place.   

Deanna Genovesi’s and Kristin O’Connor’s third grade classes also collaborated on making birthday boxes for Hope for Youth. The boxes contained handcrafted cards, tablecloths, a decorative banner, cake mix and icing for children to have a birthday celebration, who could not otherwise afford to hope a celebration.  

A Celebration of Music

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Shore Road student-musicians displayed their musical talents and skills during the school’s annual spring concert on May 23. For all of the students, the concert was an opportunity to show how they have improved during the school year, while sixth graders took the stage for the last time during their elementary careers. 

The concert featured the orchestra, chamber orchestra, symphonic orchestra, fifth- and sixth-grade choruses and band. Under the batons of orchestra director Kelly Brandstadter, choral director Laura Itskovitz and band director Jennifer MacVicar, the student-musicians performed a variety of classical and popular tunes to the delight of family and peers. 

Musical Leaders Recruit Future Musicians

Musical Leaders Recruit Future Musicians photo

Shore Road’s fifth and sixth grade students transported their instruments to the auditorium at Reinhard for a special concert on May 17. Instead of playing for parents and faculty, the student-musicians demonstrated their leadership in music for second graders by introducing the band’s and orchestra’s various instruments during a recruitment concert.

Under the batons of Kelly Brandstadter and Jennifer MacVicar, the students played a variety of songs, and some of the students performed brief interludes, so that the Rising Stars could hear what each instrument sounded like. The goal of the concert was for second graders to begin thinking about what instrument they would like to pursue during elementary school and beyond. 

The Bellmore School District’s award-winning music program provides ample opportunities for students to explore their musical talents. Through the Star Music Program, all students receive instruction in violin in second grade. Additionally, if interested, second graders may become members of Reinhard’s Rising Star Chorus. Third and fourth-grade students may participate in lunchtime recorder and ukulele groups as well as chorus. Students in grades 3-6 have the opportunity to take string instrument lessons and participate in orchestra, while students in grades 4-6 may take woodwind, brass or percussion instrument lessons and participate in band. At Shore Road, the District offers both a chorus and a chorale, which are open to all students willing to make the commitment to rehearsals. In addition to band and orchestra, a select band and chamber orchestra are open to students by audition. A unique feature of the Star Arts program is that students in grades 3-6 are introduced to playing the ukulele in their general music classes. They may opt to  participate in the Ukulele Club at both Winthrop Avenue and Shore Road schools.

Reinhard Hosts a Groovy Concert

Reinhard Hosts a Groovy Concert photo
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Reinhard’s Rising Star Chorus took a visit back to 1969 during the ensemble’s annual spring concert for family, faculty and peers, held in the auditorium on May 22. Under the baton of teacher Randee Andersen, with choreography by teacher Mallory Aronoff, the Bellmore music leaders synergized their voices to make the featured songs magical.

Dressed in tie dye outfits to reflect the time’s fashion and space gear costumes to commemorate the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon, the chorus took the audience on a trip back 50 years ago by singing the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” and “One Small Step” and “Oh Moon” to celebrate the nation’s leadership in space during that decade. The audience then joined the chorus for their last musical selection, Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” with student Vincent Trotta on bass guitar. There were also ample leadership opportunities for select students to provide the audience with 1969 facts, such as the introduction of Sesame Street, Woodstock and Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon.

Random Acts of Kindness Club Fosters literacy

Random Acts of Kindness Club Fosters literacy
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Shore Road School’s fifth and sixth grade leaders in the Random Acts of Kindness Club shared their love of literacy with The Book Fairies organization. The students placed boxes in the school lobby for the collection of gently used books in April.

The Book Fairies is a nonprofit organization that collects reading materials for people in need throughout the New York metropolitan area. By providing books to those less fortunate, the organization can fulfill its mission to foster literacy and academic success.

After the book drive was complete, The Book Fairies representative Stephanie Freese collected the books from the RAK club and shared how the books are distributed, as well as the many volunteer opportunities available. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019