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From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: November 16, 2011

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 18 November 2011 00:00

Parents are the most powerful and needed force in educating children. They set the expectations for future success. After all, a child spends about 900 hours a year in school and 7,800 hours at home. Naturally, a parent’s job is not an easy one, especially today when we’re all pulled in a million different directions in our work and home lives. We all try to prioritize what’s important and how to manage all of these priorities, including our most important priority – our children. It’s like anything else in life – if you put a lot of time and energy into your children – the fruits of your efforts will be bountiful. If you do not, most of us know how this story ends. I’m asked over and over what parents can do to help their children succeed. Read to your children from infancy through the elementary grades. Read to them, read to them, and read to them some more. This modeling and practice will not only emphasis the importance of reading, but will enable your child’s vocabulary to grow exponentially, as well as create a tremendous foundation of knowledge. Equally important, reading to children creates a powerful parent/child bond – a connection that will provide a lifetime of memories for child and parent.


Letter: An Open Letter to President Patricia Mahon and the Members of the Island Trees Board of Ed

Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00

A recent article on the Internet, from November 1, 2011 (that can be found at is a preliminary promulgation of NYSED Assessment score rankings pitting Island Trees against eight contiguous districts. These districts were not “cherry-picked.” There was no flawed methodology, skullduggery, or black magic used during this research.

There’s an old axiom; “numbers don’t lie, people do”. If you were to place IT in the center of a map, you could draw straight lines to Plainedge, Hicksville, Wantagh, Levittown, Bethpage, etc. If you were to drive from the IT business office, you could arrive at any of these eight other districts within 10 minutes.


Letter: Don’t All Volunteer at Once

Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00

Imagine living in a community that has no churches, charities, museums, sports leagues, art galleries, historical societies, fraternal organizations, youth centers, or senior citizens services. Hard to imagine except in the worse inner-city slum or in some rural backwoods? Not really. These institutions depend on volunteers to keep their doors open and fewer and fewer people volunteer.

In a society where people watch a few hours of TV a night, spend hours Facebooking people they’ve not seen in 20 years about what they had for lunch, and sufficiently wired into computer games in their cell phone to resemble the autistic in their disconnection with the rest of the world, it’s difficult to get people to donate a few hours a month in the community. (I’ll doubtless receive flack about the autistic comparison, but I have a profoundly autistic nephew. It kills me that he’ll never hold a job, enjoy the eloquence of literature, get married, or wonder at scientific discovery. Yet in many ways, those who chose to isolate themselves from the rest of their community out of apathy are no less tragic).


From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: November 2, 2011

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00

Many years ago, I was engaged in the process of gaining an Irish passport. Ireland grants citizenship to descendants. For example, if your grandparents were born in Ireland, you could apply for citizenship based on descent from Irish grandparents. At the time, I was looking into opportunities in Europe, but unfortunately the international rules and regulations were impossible to overcome.

However, I found out dual citizenship in one of the European Union countries was a way around the red tape. The application process required specific documentation - birth and marriage certificates - tracing back the lineage to Ireland.


New York to Seek NCLB Waiver, Improve Test Security

Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00

Statement of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA)
Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer

Today’s decision by the state Board of Regents to seek a federal waiver from the strictures of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is welcome news for school districts across this state that were facing unrealistic expectations, such as requiring 100 percent proficiency in English/Language Arts and mathematics by 2014.


From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: October 27, 2011

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

The common AP? CUNY? SUNY? GPA. On site registration? Four-year schools.  SATs. Two-year schools. Naviance? Class rank. Financial aid. There is so much to learn about the college application process that managing the process can not only be overwhelming to students, but to parents as well. Stressful may be an understatement. The college selection process is a culmination of thirteen years of schooling – kindergarten through 12th grade. Children spend over 2,300 days in school leading up to the process and one could say this is the true final exam for higher education. In fact, our children only get one good shot at it from high school, so we want to make it count. But how?


From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: October 19, 2011

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 21 October 2011 00:00

Island Trees students are fortunate to receive science instruction from a number of outstanding teachers, as well as take part in many top notch classes. Recently, I was able to spend time with two of our science teachers – Dr. Andrew Sass and Mr. Joseph Manna. Dr. Sass is MIT educated with a PhD from Purdue University. For two decades, Dr. Sass has cultivated the Island Trees Physics program, including developing our AP Physics C class.


Letter: Examine State of Town As Elections Approach

Friday, 21 October 2011 00:00

As the elections for key Town of Hempstead positions draws near, voters need to take a close look at how things have deteriorated in the Town under the current administration. We also need to be aware of the patronage and waste that exists in the Town. One example is the projected $900,000 increase in the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter budget, a facility that has a current operating budget significantly higher than other similar shelters, and a facility that is loaded with highly paid patronage positions. This needs to be explained to the voters. There are other wasteful practices in the Town, such as the many mailings sent to our homes. These are nothing more than campaign literature disguised as “important information,” and are paid for by the taxpayers.


Letter: Protests Worth a Second Look

Friday, 14 October 2011 00:00

It’s too easy for liberal Democrats to dismiss the Tea Party people as reactionary cranks and for the conservative Republicans to dismiss the Occupy Wall Street folks as hippie anarchists. Both protest movements have more in common with one another - and with the average American citizen - than with the dysfunctional system they are protesting.

These protestors are not nut cases or fringe extremists. They are our friends, families, and neighbors who are being taxed, downsized, and outsourced into poverty and homelessness; the scores of millions of working people who aren’t politically-connected bankers, businessmen, bureaucrats, lawyers, union bosses, or foreign governments.


Letter: Remarkable or Alarming?

Friday, 14 October 2011 00:00

(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the column From the Desk of Dr. Charles Murphy that appeared in the Friday, Oct. 7 edition of the Levittown Tribune.)

The Levittown Tribune ran an article written by ITUFSD Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy on October 7, 2011, detailing Island Trees High School’s current AP rankings. According to Dr. Murphy, 207 students passed AP exams in 2010-11, which represented a one-year increase of 83 students passing AP exams. He referred to this increase as remarkable. Is it? You decide.


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