Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
Community commentary on last week’s article written on WUFSD’s parent concern over Park Avenue School's new bell schedule is the hot topic for many working parents. The Board of Education forgot it’s first operational goal: to work closely with the community to ensure that Board actions and performance take into consideration the concerns and aspirations of the community.
Changing the instructional start time for 1st and 2nd grade students from 8:55 to 9:40 as a means to saving employee compensation by avoiding cutting the equivalent of 1 full-time and 1 part-time teacher is a move in a direction of more negative consequences than it is worth.
The student drop-off time of 9:20 is for all students no matter whether they are transported by bus, dropped off by parents or are walkers. No child should arrive before 9:20 a.m. The drop-off time is also the start time that breakfast will be served to all students under the Universal Breakfast Program. It will be very interesting to see how, within a span of 20 minutes, approximately 900 first and second grade students will be allowed into the building, be served a nutritious meal, have time to eat and be escorted to their classrooms to start instruction at 9:40. I foresee that instruction session time will be unofficially reduced by late starts.
The bell change that results in a 45 minute delay in the start of the instructional day lowers the probability of student success when combined with the breakfast program that will serve approximately 900 students if all participate in the universal breakfast program. Hypothetically, if 150 students are served within 5 minutes of arrival, are allowed 10 minutes to eat and 5 minutes to be organized and taken to class, then the possibility is more realistic with the current staffing and facility constraints. More than three times that number are bus transported, and based on facility constraints that limits lunch for all to multiple seatings, its unconceivable that the breakfast program will be run more efficiently than the lunch program. I believe there may be six 20 minute lunch seatings to accommodate 900 students.
All of this for the benefit of a $160,000 to $180,000 transportation savings at a impact cost of minimal instruction session time and disruption to working parents job schedule changes, loss of job security or increased out of pocket cost for childcare. Let’s just hope that wise decisions are made in the homes of the affected families and that the bell change is not triggering a hazardous environment where there is an increase in the number of latchkey kids.
The Westbury Board of Education did not serve the parents and students of our community well with this decision to save teacher jobs in this manner. Shame on the trustee that brought forth the bell change idea that the Board directed central Administration to make happen. The plan that this idea has evolved into should makes us all pause and wonder: “Is this the best they can do & what’s next?”.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00
Thanks to a grant from the Early Years Institute (EYI), several area daycares and early childhood organizations will be able to expand their services and continue to help Westbury youngsters learn valuable skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Eleven groups applied for the Ready Set Achieve grant, which was donated to the EYI by The Rauch Foundation. Grants were awarded to nine groups in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
The grants will go toward a variety of community agencies dedicated to helping improve school readiness for children ages one to five. Many applicants wanted to use the money to expand their daycare programs, while others wanted to use the funding to increase literacy or create educational workshops for parents. The LIFE Lutheran Church is one such group that received a grant for $7,500, which will help them continue their free ESL program.
Friday, 13 December 2013 00:00
Got a pooch that won’t sit still, climbs the furniture, or jumps on the neighbors? A dog imbued with limitless energy that has you at your wits’ end? Perhaps it’s time you school your out-of-control canine with the discipline and control of the “Martial Arfs.”
Martial Arfs, a new dog training facility in Carle Place is set to prove the old adage that “a good dog is a tired dog.” Run by Jeris Pugh, Martial Arfs takes a novel idea to working with our four-legged friends that has proven to be very successful; combining unorthodox exercises and equipment with the principles of the Asian fighting arts.
“We work primarily with incorporating physical activity into improving behavior. But we’ve created a facility where we don’t just tire your dog out, we teach it how to behave while at the same time tiring it out,” he said. “There’s a huge obesity problem right now, about 54 percent of all dogs are overweight, and just because you let your dog out in the year once or twice a day doesn’t mean he’s actually getting proper exercise.”
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Congratulations to the Westbury boys varsity basketball team who defeated East Meadow High Schoool 57 to 51 to win the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.
The tournament was dedicated to Coach Martin “Bunky” Reid and the 1985 state championship team. Before the finals of the tournament, a poster signed by many of the players from the 85’ team was presented to Mrs. Reid to honor her son.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The wrestling team at Westbury High School looks forward to a fresh start this season. Last year, they struggled to stay atop the Nassau Conference, but this time, the team has a lot of valuable pieces that are crucial for them to flip the script and potentially climb to the top of the standings.
One of the shining stars in the school’s team this year is the dominating Raeco Jackson. For the past two seasons, Jackson has had an extraordinary winning record in the 113 and 120 weight classes. “Last year, my record was 28-5 and the year before that it was 30-5,” he said. With a total record of 58 wins and 10 losses, he has won 85 percent of his matches. His impressive feat helped Jackson receive all-county honors last season.