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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.