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Herricks Director of Facilities James Brown presents the Energy Performance Project to the board.

The Herricks School Board recently met with the Herricks High School students and the very first item on their "wish list" for the board members was, "would it be possible to establish a nap room?"

The students felt that since they had to start school so very early, at 7:30 a.m. and do homework so late at night, it would relieve a lot of their stress if a nap room could be created and the spokesman for the group added, "it would prevent students from sleeping in the library."

Board president Rich Buckley said he thought it was an "interesting" idea but he said he just didn't know how it could be facilitated and where.

The same student went on to say it could be done with a series of empty cots in a room where there would be no talking and it would be a place to "crash" and the student said that the cots could then be sprayed down to make them sanitary.

High School principal Dr. Jane Modoono said that it would be very difficult since so much space is already occupied in the school and there is really no space available for a nap room.

Most of the students who spoke jumped from topic to topic, one saying that the students also need a computer lab, where they could go and work when all other computers were occupied. Dr. Modoono said that, too, would be hard to do especially due to such tight space constraints.

One student asked if any programs would be cut due to the economy and Board President Buckley said that the board has not, as yet seen the budget, so he could not comment on that. He said, "The board will receive the budget from the administration at the Feb. 12 meeting and we will know more at that time."

Still another student wanted to know if "block scheduling" is being considered. He said it was being done in Port Washington and wanted to know about Herricks.

Dr. Modoono said that they would be looking into block scheduling, but nothing will be decided until there can be committees formed and there can be research done as to the ramifications of such a system.

Another student wanted to know if there could be a test exemption for seniors and yet another wanted to form a group to do community service perhaps on the Martin Luther King Day off.

Some wanted to know about the AP load of subjects; others asked about a later day schedule. This subject has been brought up many times before, but it is always mentioned that the bus schedules for the various other schools enters into that decision.

Sleep deprivation and the stress that goes with it seemed to run through all of the comments made by the various students.

One young woman addressed the issue of the bomb threat and wanted to know what was being done about it. She said that everyone handled the situation very well, but wanted to know what further was being done.

Board President Buckley said that the board felt it was just one student and they were looking for that student. He added, "What's to be done? What I think is that we need to talk to students about not doing things like that. It was just a waste of a lot of educational time. I don't know what we do other than that. The country is surrounded in security and all our lives have changed drastically since September 11 seven years ago and we do have a security program that we don't talk about."

Board trustee Peter Grisafi said, "We were in communication with the administration and we felt that Dr. Bierwirth and Dr. Modoono and the staff at the high school were 100 percent on top of this and so there was really nothing for us to do. Obviously, if things didn't go the way they did we would have jumped in, but when things are happening the way they should, in fact better than we could dictate, it makes our job easier."

One student said he had heard there would be increased security cameras, especially in the bathrooms, and is that true and if so where is the funding coming from?

Dr. Modoono said, "Yes, we have talked to Mr. Brown and we are definitely going to put more cameras in hidden places, where nobody knows where they are!" And, she got a laugh with that line.

Dr. Modoono added, "I could not have been prouder of the students doing the bomb threat. They all acted in a very touching way because they all came together. So, I commend all of you. It was a difficult situation, but you couldn't have acted more maturely. "

Trustee Grisafi wanted to know about the school spirit at Herricks.

One student said in most schools it is measured by sport teams but the focus at Herricks is really on education and the quality of education. He added, "But we do have a whole lot of cultural events, not just ethnic, that make us very proud." He continued, "I think when I look back over my last four years of high school, I have been involved in many organizations, but we have never really done anything that has entwined the community members with high school students. Maybe something could be started that would be able to bring those two factions together."

Trustee Dr. Sanjay Jain asked the students if they were happy. The student said, "I can say that over the last four years Herricks has the best teachers and the best administrators."

Dr. Jain asked, "Do you love going to school every day?" One student countered, "Do you love going to work every day?" That, too got a big laugh.

President Buckley said, "The bottom line is, are you happy at Herricks High School because that is what it's all about. Just by a show of thumbs up or thumbs down, how many are happy?"

Few students gave the thumbs down and some even gave the thumbs sideways, indicating, they said of being happy sometimes.

One student said he loves going to school and loves learning, but when "school" goes home with him and stays with him for two or three hours is when he becomes stressed and then he said he feels like giving it a 'thumbs down.'

One young woman asked, "Since Herricks is so competitive then why don't colleges appreciate us more?"

Dr. Bierwirth pointed out that students who apply for early decision sometimes apply and are accepted to all the colleges they apply. He said he is trying to encourage students who are accepted and who know they want to attend that school to let the school know and then the other schools can consider Herricks students for acceptance, especially if there is an area quota.

He said it may have to ask students not to apply to anymore than 10 colleges, but so far they haven't had to do that as yet.

Since there were no more questions or comments Buckley listed the items the students wanted researched by the board. The items are:

Nap Room

Computer Lab

Block Scheduling

Test Exemption for Seniors

Community Service

AP Load

Later Date Schedule

Sleep Deprivation and Stress

Pressure Seminar for Parents and Students

Herricks Superintendent Dr. Jack Bierwirth announced that the day before the meeting the school received a bomb threat.

Dr. Bierwirth said, "We still haven't caught the person who did, but we hope we will. This is a different world and just like we wouldn't joke about hijacking an airplane this kind of prank that we might have ignored 20 years ago, now unfortunately we have to disrupt a lot of people's lives in education. So I hope we get the kid, but everyone was unbelievably cooperative and I want to thank them."

Herricks Announces Three Intel Semifinalist

At the outset of the regular portion of the meeting Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Deirdre Hayes announced that three Herricks students have been named as Intel Semifinalists. They are: Steven Ham, Neil Patel and Vijay Raj.

Energy Performance Project Update

Director of Facilities James Brown was present to give an update on the Energy Performance Project

He explained that there was a total contract amount of $3, 855,174 which will be recouped over the next 18 years through savings.

The projects include:

Lighting and lighting controls

Weatherization Improvements

Boiler Controls

Steam Trap Retrofit

Window Replacement

Roof Replacement

Vending Machine Controls

Window Film

Brown explained, in detail, how each of the projects will save energy for the district and to that aim LIPA has approved the district's request for a rebate for energy efficiency in the amount of $35,620.

The meeting ended after the meeting with the students. The next Herricks Board meeting will be held on Feb. 12 when the budget will be presented to the board.


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