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From the desk of Dr. James Grossane: October 4, 2012

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome you back to the 2012-2013 school year. The district’s administrators, teachers and staff worked hard to ensure a smooth opening for our students, who arrived at their respective campuses ready to learn and grow.

During my first year as superintendent, our district realized many notable achievements by both our students and staff. Both U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek placed Division Avenue and MacArthur high schools on their lists of the top-ranked high schools in the nation. Most recently, Summit Lane Elementary School was identified as one of 250 New York State Reward Schools for its high performance. This honor places Summit Lane in the running for federal grant monies in accordance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These honors are indeed a testament to the supportive families and committed educators who assist students in reaching their goals each day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Board of Education who have continually provided our students with opportunities for educational growth and success.

In looking forward to the year ahead, the district will face unprecedented fiscal and academic challenges. In May 2012, the community approved a 2012-2013 spending plan that, through careful and resourceful planning, complied with the governor’s tax levy cap without the district having to make any reductions to existing instructional programs. In the years ahead, however, meeting the state’s tax levy restrictions will become increasingly difficult, and it will take diligence and additional cost-saving measures for the district to continue offering its stellar programs. I am confident that the community will embrace these challenges and will continue to offer the best educational opportunities for our most valuable asset, our students.

The district will also continue to address several New York State Education Department initiatives and mandates. Levittown was one of 61 Nassau County school districts to submit on time an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan for teachers and principals. Under the state’s APPR, each teacher will be evaluated on the basis of instructional delivery and student performance. The State Education Department will contact the district this fall with any proposed modifications to the APPR plan.

The district has also worked hard to realign its curriculum to comply with the introduction of the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. During the spring 2012 semester, the administration announced four curriculum associates who will now supervise K-12 content area in an effort to support teachers and students as they meet the challenges of the common core curriculum.

One of our greatest challenges is preparing students for the 21st century. The age of technology is continually changing, and the district is working to ensure that the needs of students and staff are met. In May, the technology department installed 400 SMARTBoards (800 series) and the component projectors in every classroom throughout the district. Another instructional component includes the recent purchase of 150 iPads to be utilized by special education students in select elementary schools.

Whether or not you have children enrolled in the district’s schools, I invite you to attend the numerous concerts, plays, art shows and athletic events offered throughout the year. Our students have been the benefactors of a home-to-school collaboration that has largely contributed to the extent of academic achievement and accomplishments attained at both the elementary and secondary levels. I am confident that together we can make this partnership even stronger.

News

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


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