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Herricks High School Teacher John Lavas demonstrating 40-lb backpack to be carried on Ecuador expedition in July.

At the last Herricks School Board meeting it was announced that given the current financial restraints that the school will be facing in the approaching fiscal year, the board will hear public presentations and suggestions on Feb. 12, the first night of scheduled budget discussions.

School Superintendent, Dr. Jack Bierwirth said, "The more that the board and the community can get on the table in the beginning so they know all of the issues they're going to be wrestling, the better." The four dates designated for budget discussion are Feb. 12, 26, Mar. 5, 12. The final budget vote will be on Mar. 12.

Further, it was announced that the start time of all regular school board meetings has been changed to 7 pm.

Ten Herricks High School students have been preparing and learning outdoor trekking skills for over a year, laying their groundwork for the 30-day itinerary through Ecuador in July. A practice expedition was recently completed by the students at Bear Mountain in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

In addition to the learning outdoor survival skills, the students are required to raise more than $5,500 per student to finance the trip as well as budget all monies needed for daily living abroad. World Challenge Expeditions is an international organization that promotes teamwork, charity, conservation in an outdoor trekking program. Planning is underway for the next expedition. Anyone interested should contact John Lavas at Herricks High School. Visit www.wcexpeditions.com to learn more about the organization.

A recent published report in Newsday has prompted school officials to call for the State's Department of Education to examine a discrepancy of state aid issued to Herricks. Helen Costigan, assistant superintendent for business assured that the published report is in error; likely a coding error in another district's transportation report. A correction will be made by the state and reissued shortly. More than four years ago, special education teacher Sharon Morando began a voluntary Literacy Day as an enrichment seminar that has serviced over 62 of the district's teaching staff. Dr. Jane Modoono, principal of Herricks High School said, "Most content area teachers don't see themselves as reading teachers, they see themselves as content area teachers and so we started to talk about literacy and how to help kids be able to read in specific subject areas." Morando gave a detailed overview of the tools and techniques taught in the seminar and said, "The Literacy Day is geared to helping teachers gain a better understanding of how to incorporate these strategies into everyday lessons." Jodi Thompson teaches Social Studies at the high school and has participated in the Literacy Day seminars for several years. She said, "I just assumed that kids have gone from kindergarten through now and they know how to read; the school district prepares them so well, but at the high school level we are asking them to do college level work." Board members were impressed with the progress made in this program and expressed interest in expanding the seminars to all schools within the district. Nine grants were awarded to district staff members from the 11 applications submitted. No district funds were used toward these awards; all grants were chosen and awarded by the Herricks Community Fund Committee. Center Street award: $701.09 to Sharon D'Andrili and Sharon Judge for Center Street Community Nature Walk. Middle School awards: $618.14 to Michele Klatch and Scott Wilkolaski for Moving into the Modern Italian Artistic Age by Means of Medieval Techniques, While Learning a New Language, $799.99 to Diane McCabe for The Pond in the Courtyard (Our New Herricks Ecosystem), $750.00 to Jeannette Baxter and Alex Paresi (student) for A Tree Grows in Herricks-HMS Gardening Club. High School awards: $800.00 to Tony Vittorino and Tania DeSimone for Pump Up That Podcast!, $927.24 to Brendan Curran and Sharon Morando for What's the Matter, Readings in Physics, $711.22 to Jennifer Cavalluzzo for Rebuilding of New Cameras to the Photo Room, $768.71 to Allyson Zebrowski for Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Scanner to the Photo Room, $743.00 to Karen Renna and Richard Ganes for Digital Documentation for Art.

Three students of Herricks High School, 12th- graders Sanchita Singal and Lenny Wang and 11th- grader Foram Parikh will have their recorded findings published in upcoming science journals as a result of their research over the past summer.

BOCES Awards Dr. Deirdre Hayes, assistant superintendent for instruction, announced Dr. Bierwirth and music director John McNeur have been named as recipients of Nassau BOCES "Education Partners" award for most influential work in public schools.

The district's website has been upgraded and redesigned. Some pages are still under construction but there is a considerable amount of information now available to community members including daily updates to photos, videos and classroom highlights pages. The district still maintains www.herricks.org as the same homepage address. Mary and Manuel Araujo of Manhasset Hills donated one 43" Hitachi Projection TV to Denton Avenue School.

A new organization is forming within the community intended to educate parents about risky behaviors and dangerous trends that children are exposed to. Information will be circulated to parents as it becomes available. "I think as parents it's important that we really know what's going on and what our children are doing," said board president Richard Buckley. He gave the example of the hookah pipe as a precarious phase presently in the community and said, "What's horrible about it is that it glorifies smoking in some other way."

The next Herricks Board meeting will be held on Jan. 22 when the board will meet with the students of Herricks High School at the high school.


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