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From The Desk Of Superintendent Dr. Elaine Kanas

New Website

On July 1, the district will be moving to its new website. It will still have the same web address,, but a new look. Thank you to all who provided feedback on how we could enhance our website features and communication as we worked on developing a new website.  We tried to incorporate as much of that feedback as possible.   While most material will be migrating to our new website, it will be “under construction” with changes being made during the summer and through the beginning of the school year.  Please be patient as we are being trained and learning the new features at the same time it is being developed.  We hope you like the new look and we believe it will be easier to navigate and also to access on iPads and iPhones.


Summer Reading Assignments 

Summer Reading Assignments can be found on the district website. Please look on the home page in the NewsBox. 


Strategic Planning Update 

At  the June 17 Board Meeting, Michael Porges, our volunteer community co-facilitator of the Strategic Planning Committee, presented a Report of the Strategic Planning Process this year.  The PowerPoint can be found on our website at  > click on the Strategic Planning Initiative in the NewsBox and follow the link. The District received 867 responses to the Survey, which was seen as a favorable return rate.  The results of the survey were consistent across community, parent and student groups.  Mathematics, Science, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in an articulated program), enrichment opportunities and college placement were identified by the survey as areas for the District to particularly emphasize and grow over the next five years.   Next steps, after Board approval of strategic choices, will involve the Educational Team beginning work translating strategic choices into a draft five-year action plan.   


Student Recognitions

As you know, I recently asked students and or parents to share any recognitions students received outside of our school related activities, so we could highlight these successes as well, now at the end of the school year.  Below, I believe, are the last of the responses I received. Congratulations to the following students.   


Oops …

Last week I inadvertently honored two gymnasts from Wheatley, Sarah Goldman and Lianna Goldman. I meant to honor sisters Sarah Golden and Lianna Golden who both competed at the New York State Gymnastic Championships.  Sarah competed in April in Rochester, New York at the Level 7 Championships. Competing on the vault for 15 year olds, she came in 8th overall in the state with an overall score of 34.275. Lianna competed in May in Buffalo, New York at the Level 6 Championships.  Competing against other 13 year olds, she came in 9th overall with a score of 35.375.


Gifted & Talented Math Students

Congratulations to 5th graders Karen Li and Trenton Wong who have been invited to attend The Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students on the campus of SUNY Old Westbury beginning in September, 2013. The Institute’s mission is to enhance the problem solving skills of exceptionally talented students using advanced mathematics and creative thinking.  A rigorous entrance exam begins the process for entry into this nationally recognized program.


All-Star Lacrosse Player

We know where 8th grader Lewis Grama will be this summer, honing his lacrosse skills. Lewis was named a 2013 Brine National All-Star and has been selected to attend the Brine National All-Star Lacrosse Academy and compete in the Brine National Lacrosse Classic in Maryland. 


Girl Scout Congratulation

Congratulations to Alexandra Blach, a sophomore at Wheatley who completed her Girl Scout Gold Award this past February, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve.  Alexandra was also selected to represent the Girl Scouts of Nassau County at the 2014 National Convention in Salt Lake City as their First National Delegate Alternate where she will be representing the voices of the 22,000 Nassau County girls in scouting. 


North Side Lends A Helping Hand

The North Side Kids Take Action Community Service Club was looking for a project.  They started fundraising by collecting e-waste, e.g. old cell phones, laptops, and used ink cartridges and raised more than $300.  With their money, they were able to answer the call of Clark Botanical Garden.  Having lost 40 large trees during Hurricane Sandy, the Garden put out a plea for help, which resulted in their Project 40, fundraising to replace their 40 lost trees by the end of this year.  North Side families and staff who contributed their e-waste, under the leadership of the North Side Kids Take Action Club will have a new tree planted in Clark Garden.  Jerilyn Dreitlein, Chair of the Board of Directors, came to North Side last week to talk with our students and accept a donation in the amount of $322.  She explained that the donation will be used to plant a very special tree … a Monkey Puzzle tree … and she hopes that our students and their families will visit the Garden and enjoy the Monkey Puzzle tree.  A special thank you goes out to North Side librarian and club advisor Karen Homer and teaching assistant Jessica McGee for their help on this project.


Guidance Presentation

Mary Harrison, Director of Guidance, presented a follow up to February’s College Admissions Workshop at the June 17 Board Meeting.  To view the PowerPoint presentation go to the district website at > click on the District tab > click on School Board > click on Meetings > click on BOE Presentations 12-13 > scroll to bottom of page and find June 17 Board Meeting where you will also see a list of the colleges our students are attending next year.



Also at the June 17 Board Meeting, our District retirees were recognized and honored.  When we added up the years of service among the 18 retirees we found that combined, they contributed 435 years for the welfare of our students!  Each retiree was given a perennial plant that was divided from a larger plant.  The retirees were encouraged to plant their plant in their garden at home while we planted the twin plant on the grounds of the school at which they had served.  In this way, when the plants bloom each year, memories will always be renewed, and ties remain connected. Thank you and congratulations to the 2013 retirees:  Lorraine Bua-Elliano, Rose Castora, Mary Jane Creighton, John DiMartino, Nancy Eschemuller, Beth Feuerstein, Robin Hananel, Gail Harrison, Sharon Lebolt-Distaso, Linda Linick, Audrey McGee, Sharon Nicholson, Joanne O’Brien, Susan Peterson, Kathleen Saville, Margaret Sileo, Alison Sobhani and Dr.Paul vanWie.


Staff Development 

Though the children left school for their summer vacation today, there are many activities that our staff participates in during the summer months with the aim of continuing to move their learning forward, as they plan ahead for their students’ continued achievement and growth next year.  For example, Monday June 24, the members of our foreign language department, under the direction of Foreign Language Chair Joan Anderson, will be meeting with the foreign language teachers from Jericho School District to participate in a joint collaborative professional development session.   This professional development opportunity supports one of the Foreign Language Department’s smart goals next year, of creating and implementing a thematic unit tied to Common Core and the new Foreign Language Themes.

There are many other learning activities our staff is involved in this summer. I will be sure to highlight more when we return in the fall!


Thank You, All 

As this is the last Superintendent Newsletter of the 2012-13 school year, I must take a moment to thank each and every one of you for all your participation in, involvement in and support of our school community this year.  As a Superintendent new to the District, I found the feedback, input, encouragement, support and insight from community members, staff and students alike, to be such a valuable contribution to a successful school year.  All best wishes for an enjoyable summer.  The Superintendent’s Newsletter will resume at the start of the 2013-14 school year.  In the meantime, I will be working much of the summer vacation and in the office, so, as always, do not hesitate to give me a call 333-3758, or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   with any questions, suggestions, etc.