As your birthdays come at you with greater regularity, you (or at least I) become a little depressed. It is nothing serious or life threatening, but it leaves a mark on you.
I first noticed it while getting in and out of a car. I used to spring in and out like a jack-in-the-box and go about my business swimmingly. Now I feel like a salted pretzel that is being unwound.
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote in this space that the Syosset School District should change its Audience To The Public policy so that residents can ask questions at meetings without being limited to the items on the evening’s agenda. At the Monday, June 4 meeting, they announced that they had done just that.
I actually found out about this rather late last week, hence I didn’t get to write an editorial about it for our June 8 edition. However, belated or not, I would like to thank the district for making this change for the better. This is a huge step in the right direction.
In sacred Ebbets Field many years ago, there was a sign in right field. It was about four feet tall and it stated “Hit Sign—Win Suit.” It was an advertisement for Abe Stark’s Men’s Clothing Store. Any batted ball that hit the sign would get the hitter an expensive suit from Brooklyn’s leading clothier.
The one impediment was a tenacious guard who played right field, Carl Furillo. Carl has been called the best defensive right fielder in the history of baseball by some. He was known as the “Reading Rifle” because of his powerful throwing accuracy and because he hailed from Reading, Pennsylvania, son of an Italian immigrant family.
On a warm morning this spring I’m at Alley Pond Park hoping to see migrating songbirds. At a familiar cattail pond I’m taken aback because it is little more than half its usual size due to the lack of rain. On a stick in the shallow water there is a lone male red-winged blackbird negotiating it like a tightrope walker. At least one female mallard and two males are in the pond. The sides of the males’ heads’ have an iridescent purple hue. Some mourning doves stand at the water’s edge. I’ve not seen doves here before, and I wonder why?
On a stone bathroom there’s a male house sparrow with a rich chestnut-colored head. On its upper white breast is a cluster of black dots, which will become a solid mass and cover its throat during the breeding season. In its bill is what looks to be a discarded piece of clear cellophane that was once part of a snack wrapper. Is it to become part of a nest inside this small structure?
After the pom-poms, the drums and the uniformed marchers have gone, we are left with our inner thoughts and memories.
Many years ago, my son Gregg and I went over to Pinelawn Cemetery on Wellwood Avenue in Farmingdale with a flat box of flowers. We placed these flowers on the graves of fallen servicemen. It was Gregg’s idea and I was more than happy to accompany him on his holy mission.
Bravo! Your editorial titled “Transparency: You’re Doing It Wrong” accurately described the workings of the Syosset CSD and the board. I am one of many residents who is frustrated by the school district and the board.
I have resided in the district for over 28 years. My two children went through the system and graduated from the high school. Over the years, the administrators and the board have failed to respond to any questions I had and ignored me. I have many friends with similar experiences. We all feel helpless.
What is this elusive thing called talent?
Many Americans use the terms genius and talent interchangeably. Awards are constantly showered on these clever and skilled persons, and while some accolades are richly deserved, some recipients are over-praised.
Meryl Streep is a gifted actor who can assume the identities of many famous subjects. Her performance as Margaret Thatcher was ingenious. She also portrayed Julia Child and her acting was apt and on target. She has also spoken in various accents and dialects, including Italian (Bridges of Madison County), and Polish (Sophie’s Choice). Her singing in Mama Mia! was also quite good for someone who is not a known vocalist.
A little less than two years ago, I wrote an article on the annual America’s Best High Schools List (“Jericho #32, Syosset #142 On Newsweek’s ‘America’s Best High Schools’ List”, June 18, 2010). At the time, longtime SHS principal Dr. Jorge E. Schneider had yet to retire, and I remember being a little shocked at how blunt he was in his criticism of the list. Schneider said the list is meaningless because the metric it uses—the amount of AP tests given in an academic year divided by the overall number of students, devised by Jay Mathews of the Washington Post—is completely arbitrary.
One could dismiss Schneider’s opinion as sour grapes, since Jericho routinely beats the stuffing out of Syosset in the rankings (and that was going on even back when I was an SHS student), but Schneider is a man of conviction, and I, for one, was convinced he was speaking from the heart. He didn’t care about his district’s placement because he saw the list as a cynically motivated attempt to draw media attention to education in general, not a legitimate tool to help districts evaluate their instructional programs.
“What am I going to do with my life?”
This question is being asked all over our country as college graduations take place. The caps and gowns will soon be discarded and the job search will begin. The celebrity speakers have disappeared and their vague statements are all in the past.
In response to questions about increasing the transparency of the workings of the school district, both incumbents insisted the board has spirited, lively discussions and debates—only they have them behind the scenes, during executive session. Now, for all we know, they might. But how are we supposed to know—because they said so?
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