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Syosset BOE Holds Meeting

At the Monday, December 21 Syosset Central School District Board of Education meeting, holiday cheer was in the air. Along with the usual holiday well-wishes, there was a surprise event when the board and members of the community joined the Syosset High School Adelettes on stage for a very special performance of Jingle Bells. One of the things that made this performance so special was that, while some audience members might have preferred to sit in their seats and enjoy the show, members of the board made it clear that participation was mandatory.

During the Treasurer’s report, it was revealed that the cash on hand for the district, for the period ending October 31, was $17,743,663.52. There was a brief public hearing on the subject of attendance policy, in which it was reported that Syosset Schools will be instituting programs in order to both increase attendance overall, and provide more intervention for students who require it.

During the Superintendent’s report, Dr. Hankin congratulated all of the students recently inducted into the High School Chapter of the National Honor Society; according to the corresponding memo, 251 students were inducted. In order to qualify, these students needed to have a 90 (or better) average, and have participated in school activities. Also in Dr. Hankin’s memo was the subject of Transition Planning, or the planning of several meetings and student activities to help facilitate a smooth transition for fifth-graders into middle school and eighth-graders into high school.

In general board news, the entire board attended recent PTA and PTSA meetings, and went on a tour highlighting the state-of-the-art features available at Syosset High School, along with members of the community. This tour included a tutorial on how SMARTBoards are used in math classes, and a tour of the Geological and Ecological Research Facility (GERF), a 5,000- square-foot on-site research facility.

The subject of the GERF tour segued nicely into the audience of the Public segment, where Dr. Herman answered a question about the extent of environmental education available in Syosset Schools, which had been posed at the previous meeting.

According to Herman, elementary school students are exposed to a wide variety of environmental topics from the very beginning, and environmental education remains important for students of all levels. In elementary school, there is a particular emphasis on conservation- students learn about Earth Day, recycling, and how to utilize “waste” products such as bottles and newspapers in the form of art projects. Later on, students engage the material on a more academic level, with numerous classes devoted to topics like Earth Science and Environmental Science. Additionally, several after-school clubs are devoted to this sphere of interest, such as the Horticulture club.

Before voting commenced, the Adelettes, the all-female A Capella group conducted by Kristin Howell, performed several holiday-themed songs. Outside of the aforementioned audience participation event, the Adelettes were literally pitch-perfect, and continue to be a credit to the music program at Syosset Schools.

The Board voted on 45 resolutions, all of which passed. These resolutions included the Approval of the School Calendar for the 2009/2010 School Year and Authorization for Contract with HTP Mechanical Corp., for the purpose of repairing a cracked boiler at Baylis Elementary School.