Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

InBloom Withers

Hicksville school officials weren’t sad to hear the news that inBloom, a nonprofit organization that planned to mine student testing data and personal information, was closing up shop. The thought of a national database chronicling student addresses, birthplaces, economic statuses, race, ethnicity and disabilities, had many parents and school officials all across Long Island up in arms.

Hicksville school board president Phil Heckler says he initially liked the concept of collecting student’s data for research purposes, but once he realized that names were going to be linked to the findings, lost support for it.

“The implementation was problematic. I initially wasn’t too upset by inBloom, but then I realized any one can get hacked and there is a chance they could sell this to corporations and it could hurt children in the future because they get stigmas attached to them,” said Heckler. “I think it’s good that it’s gone because it created this fear that people were going to use it to monetize it.”

The move towards inBloom by the New York State Education was part of its push for Race To the Top funds, a pool of federal funds available to states that champions education reform. inBloom suggested it would streamline how school districts access student records. The system would have extracted student data from different school grading and attendance databases, store it in the cloud and funnel it to districts where teachers would track the progress of individual students.

Superintendent Maureen K. Bright said she was “pleased” with the state’s decision to not use inBloom. On March 28, the Hicksville School District’s Common Core Committee wrote a letter that was signed by the Heckler and Bright to Senator Jack Martins, stating their request to abandon inBloom.

“We request that the disclosure of personal student information be abandoned until such time as the State Education Department provides justification for the data requested and assurances that it will not be shared, stored or utilized for any purpose other than to measure individual student learning. The collection of indentifiable data regarding student disabilities or discipline history is unacceptable,” stated the letter.

Federal regulations under FERPA require school districts to maintain student databases responsibly. inBloom gave those guarantees, but people weren’t buying it.

“We have realized that this concept is still new, and building public acceptance for the solution will require more time and resources than anyone could have anticipated,” inBloom CEO Iwan Streichenberger said in a statement last week.

State Education Commissioner John B. King defended inBloom at a town hall talk in Mineola last year. “The data stored is encrypted when stored and when transferred. The data security are as high or higher than many third-party groups holding data for schools throughout the country.”

The New York State Legislature recently ordered the deletion of existing student records possessed by inBloom in the wake of parental outcry over Common Core’s testing and private data sharing. Assemblyman Ed Ra has been opposed to the Common Core. Ra said hearings held with inBloom were inconclusive.

“Now that our children’s personal data is no longer at risk, we can work on remedying the other structural flaws in Common Core: the rigorous high-stakes overtesting of our students and the curriculum that is doing a disservice to teachers and kids alike,” said Ra.

News

You could say Darren Butler has quite the entrepreneurial disposition. The Hicksville resident not only founded a church, but invented a doorstop that does not require screwing any holes into your wall or door. The device simply clamps on to the bottom of any sized door without requiring tools.

“I never envisioned myself as being an inventor,” explained Butler. “I became one by accident and out of frustration.”

After Butler and his wife purchased their home, they wanted to decorate and maintain it.  “We have four children and at the time we wanted to minimize the damage that occurs from doors slamming into walls because as young children do; they have a tendency to aggressively open doors, and as a result the door knob created holes in our wall,” said Butler. “We purchased conventional doorstops so at the very least we could minimize that reality if not eliminate it all together.”

The Hicksville Fire Department hosted the Nassau County Parade and Drill Championships this past Saturday, an event that was entertaining for both guests and participants.

The Motorized Drill competition held in the morning had 16 participating fire departments. The drill included eight events and each racing team was judged based on how fast they completed each event. Events included the Three Man Ladder, Motor Hook and Ladder, Motor Hose, Efficiency, Motor Pump, and Buckets. The Hicksville Hicks came in fifth place and received a trophy.


Sports

Madeline Huffman, a fourth grade student at Our Lady of Mercy School in Hicksville, recently became the New York State Free Throw Champion in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Competition, 9 Year Old Girls Division at the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Huffman’s journey to the state championship began at her home parish, Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church in January. The local qualifier was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Joseph F. Lamb Council #5723. Boys and girls ages 9 through 14 competed, each receiving three warm up shots and 15 free throw attempts.

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

“I meet my goals and maintain my health. I stay mindful of what is important to me and seek balance in all endeavors. With gratitude, I am fully present to this moment in time.”


Calendar

Hicksville Street Fair

July 20

Blood Drive

July 23

Our Lady Of Mercy Family Festival

July 30 - August 3



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