Some reading suggestions for parents

Elaine Kanas

Interesting Article on Screen Time

Periodically I will take the liberty of sharing articles I run across that I think might be of interest to you. 

Two such articles are Jane E. Brody pieces from the Personal Health section of the New York Times on screen time and children, Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children, July 6, 2015 New York Times and Limit Children’s Screen Time, and Your Own, July 14, 2015 New York Times

The July 6 article presents some thought-provoking research and concerns regarding problems inherent in not limiting recreational screen time (phones, T.V., internet, video games, etc.) for children and teenagers.  

The July 14 article provides recommendations for planning device-free family activities that help parents control children’s screen use more effectively.  

District Goals 2015-16

Our District’s instructional goals are the yearly road map that guide district priorities for staff development, instructional planning and allocation of instructional resources.  These goals are developed by our District Leadership Team, which consists of the building and district administrators, secondary department chairs and K-12 directors, along with input and feedback from faculty from the various departments. 

Each year the team establishes district goals that are our SMART goals, (specific, manageable, attainable, realistic and time bound).  These SMART goals support our broader “big picture goals,” which generally remain consistent over a period of years, with the SMART goals moving us closer to our “broad picture goals.”  

For example, one of our “big picture goals” has been to “ensure development of astute student researchers who understand how to ask and answer important questions.”  

In 2013-14, a supporting SMART goal was to  define and articulate specific skills in research and writing and define student products in grades seventh, eighth and ninth English and Social Studies to support student success with 10th grade research paper.”  

In 2014-15, using a backward design, the SMART goal developed into drafting grades five and six research skills curriculum and outcomes in ELA/Social Studies to articulate with the seven-12 research curriculum.  

With our foundation in place, the supporting SMART goal for this school year is to plan for the interdisciplinary implementation of the AP Capstone Program in 2016-17 that brings math, science and social science research initiatives together at the secondary level.

Another “big picture goal” is Goal No. 1: A common framework and language supports unified practice and collaboration among all staff for achieving student learning.  Over the past three years, the district has undertaken and accomplished several supporting SMART goals in this ongoing pursuit as our programs continue to grow and change.  

This year, two SMART goals that support this “big picture goal” are establishing an Instructional Advisory Council with K-12 representation from administration, leadership and teaching staff while creating opportunities for articulation within and across content areas and grades within the context of a collaborative professional learning community.  

In just one of many examples of the type of action planning that supports our SMART goals, earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a lively, informative and very valuable meeting, chaired by our Secondary ELA Chair Stephen Collier. 

Last year’s fourth grade academic intervention support teacher from North Side and the grade five, six and seven ELA/AIS teachers shared their programs and ideas with each other.   

Many thanks to Mr. Collier and Jacqueline Busking, Antonia Laruccia, Allison Sussman, Michelle Ricci and Nicole Scala for the insight shared and efforts made in a great model of articulated collaboration, which promotes maximizing our students’ learning through the building of vertical articulation and common language.  

You can view our district instructional goals by going to our website at > clicking on Our District on the horizontal navigation bar > clicking on the district instructional goals listed at the top portion of the page.   

Reminder: The Carnival 

is Coming!

The East Williston Educational Foundation* is hosting a professional traveling carnival on Oct. 9, 10 and 11.  It will take place at the Willets Road parking lot.  

There will be rides, food, and an all-around great fun weekend of entertainment.  Proceeds will benefit the East Williston Schools.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars and tell your friends and neighbors in surrounding towns as well. All are welcome! 

*The East Williston Education Foundation is a non-profit organization established to support and benefit our school district. 

Virtual Backpack

Just a reminder: The district maintains a virtual backpack where all your flyers will be posted, instead of putting them in your child’s backpack.  Please check the VB periodically for the latest postings. (On the district homepage, > scroll down left side vertical navigation bar to Virtual Backpack > click on VB.)

The following is a listing of the new flyers posted on the VB this week:

North Side PTO Membership Dues

North Side PTO Student Directory Info- Link

Willets Road PTO KidStuff Coupon Book

Cradle of Aviation Museum After-School STEM Program flyer

Creative Arts Fall Tennis Program

Creative Arts Workshop Registration Info flyer

Willets Road PTO Membership Dues

Willets Road Photo Day

Willets Road Chess Nuts

Max Tennis Fall Tennis Program

Girls on the Run Board Member

You may have seen in this Thursday’s Newsday, that I was recently named as a new board member to Girls on the Run of Nassau County.  GOTR is an international organization which uses trained volunteer coaches, and delivers a curriculum that creatively incorporates running with lessons focused on developing essential life skills.  

During the 12-week program, the girls learn the importance of teamwork and cultivating healthy relationships. Lessons are designed to inspire the girls on the path to becoming strong, and self-confident young women.   Many thanks to our North Side PTO who has energetically and successfully supported this club at North Side over the past two years for our very own girls! 

New Staff

In the next few Superintendent Newsletters, I’d like to introduce you to our new administrators and faculty members.  Please join me in welcoming them to our district.  

At our Sept. 1 staff convocation, our administrators introduced our new members to all the District Staff.  

Dr. Feeney shared the following comments regarding our newest member of the Wheatley English Department, Michael Dunn.   

Michael Dunn, 

Wheatley English Teacher

Having taught at Long Beach High School, North Shore Middle School, Bronx Leadership Academy and JFK Middle School, Michael comes to Wheatley with a wide range of experiences at both the middle and high school level. 

Michael’s supervisors praised his expertise at engaging students, his solid training in reading and writing workshops, and his effectiveness as a writing coach. Michael’s student-centered instruction and his ability to reach struggling students made him a sought-after teacher. This year he is teaching eighth and ninth grade English and SWS classes. 

Join me in welcoming him to Wheatley!

Have a Good Weekend

As always, please email me at or call me at 333-3758 with any questions, suggestions and/or any topics you would like to see in this newsletter.

About the author

Elaine Kanas

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