Wheatley recognizes excellence

Elaine Kanas

Dear East Williston School District Community:

In Recognition of Excellence Dinner

On Wednesday June 17, Wheatley held its 11th Annual In Recognition of Excellence Dinner.  Each year I look forward to this event.  

Dr. Sean C. Feeney, Principal of The Wheatley School, introduced the evening as follows:

“With so much talent in our school, it is still possible for some students to not get the recognition that they deserve. To recognize these students, the In Recognition of Excellence award was introduced 11 years ago. 

This honor is given to 10 students who have demonstrated outstanding service to school and community, demonstrated respect and concern for fellow students, and set high expectations for themselves as they have achieved their goals.  The recipients of this award were asked to select one teacher, staff member or coach from their experiences at North Side, Willets Road and Wheatley who had the greatest positive impact on their life.”

During the course of the evening, the 10 students were introduced by Dr. Feeney who read statements about their accomplishments which were given to the students as a keepsake.  

Each student then spoke about each of the three teachers they had selected and what the teacher had meant to them.  

Dinner was shared at tables where the students, their parents and the teacher honorees were seated together.  Congratulations to all.

The student honorees and the teachers they recognized are listed below.

Shalini Bansal

Wanda Francis (North Side)

Dena Ebstein (Willets Road)

Nicole Girgenti (Wheatley)

Nicole Degliomini

Kelly Donohue (North Side)

Daria Reid (Willets Road)

James Abdale (Wheatley)

Lauren Hogg

Frances Beltrani (North Side)

Dr. Joseph Coladonato (Willets Road)

Ashley Rogala (Wheatley)

Joshua Jacobs

Mary Jane Dunn (North Side)

Dr. Joseph Coladonato (Willets Road)

Cynthia Schwartz (Wheatley)

Benjamin Lee

Scott Hoefling (Willets Road)

Joseph Fina (Wheatley)

Kevin Meyers (Wheatley)

Jacob Rosen

Emily DeVito (North Side)

Lynn Flynn (Willets Road)

Kristen Guyton (Wheatley)

Gabriella Schwartz

Lauren Cifelli (North Side)

Dena Ebstein (Willets Road)

Timothy Schwalm (Wheatley)

Neil Shahdadpuri

Frank Bannerman (North Side)

Dena Ebstein (Willets Road)

Karen Bartscherer (Wheatley)

Phoebe Weinstock

Henry Kupstas (North Side)

Carol Coyne (Willets Road-Ret.)

Colin McKenna (Wheatley)

Kuan Yu

Lynn Kaye (North Side)

Denise Giuliano (Willets Road)

Dr. John Staudt (Wheatley)

The Culmination of Our National 

History Day Projects!

On Sunday June 14th two of our Wheatley juniors, New York State finalists, traveled to the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland with Wheatley library media specialist JoBeth Roberts, to participate at the national level in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day (NHD) Contest.  Joy Bestourous and Jordan Pollack competed against over 3,000 students from around the world who had advanced in state-wide and local competitions.  

Congratulations to Joy who was awarded ninth place nationally for her Senior Paper on Hassan al-Banna, The Father of Fundamentalism.  

Congratulations as well to Jordan who competed with her dance and multi-media performance representing Alvin Ailey’s legacy, “Alvin Ailey: The Leader Who Danced through History.”   

Jordan has been invited to perform her presentation this summer for the Alvin Ailey Education Department at the Ailey Studios in New York City.  

Both Joy and Jordan who, along with their classmates in 11th grade, began their NHD projects in September, a year-long process.  

The National History Day Project was woven into our seventh, eighth and 11th grade social studies courses this year as part of our research initiative.  

Congratulations to all of our students who participated at some level.  As the NHD website states, NHD is about the journey and while we recognize students who have excelled at the highly competitive national level, students who participate at any level develop communication and critical thinking skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Wheatley juniors Jordan Pollack (left) and Joy Bestourous (right) celebrate their National History Day projects.  

Congrats to Joy who was honored with ninth place nationally for her historical paper. Congrats to Jordan who will perform her multi-media dance for the Alvin Ailey Education Department this summer.

East Williston 

Community Read 

In the past, various buildings in the District have organized whole school reads; the principals have organized parent book groups and our East Williston Teacher Center has sponsored book groups for various staff members.   In the 2015-16 school year we are going to try a whole community read!  The book is “Mindset – The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. 

It comes highly recommended by staff members who participated in a professional development book group with this title.    

While Dweck’s research on motivation is well known in the field, this book is an easy to read layman’s version that speaks to parents and educators, as well as many professionals. 

“Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.  She makes clear why praising our children’s intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to improve in school, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional.  Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEO’s and athletes already know, and shows how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.” (Jacket cover) (Dweck)

Possible venues for discussing the book next year include parent book clubs, a book blog, Board of Education work sessions and/or any ideas you may suggest!  

I will be referencing ideas from the book in some of our district publications next year.  If you’d like to join in (and get a jump start with some summer reading), the book is available on Audible.com, Kindle and iBooks. A soft cover version is published by Ballantine Books, ISBN 978-0-345-47232-8.

Fields of Laughter

What a great time everyone was having at North Side’s Field Day when I visited last Friday.  

I wish I could have spent the day; everyone was having so much fun!  Many thanks to our three terrific North Side physical education teachers, who do such a thoughtful and engaging job of planning the physical education events, and making them an integral part of the North Side school program.  

Congratulations Meryl Fordin, Tom Greeley and Herman Lim for another wonderful event and thanks to all the teachers and staff,  Principal Jim Bloomgarden, Assistant Principal of Elementary Education James Foy, the PTO and parents who supported this wonderful event. 

Mandarin Club at North Side

We are excited to be able to offer a Mandarin Language Club at North Side during the 2015-16 school year for our fourth graders.  Look for more details from North Side in the fall! 

Athletic Placement Process

The Athletic Placement Process is a program for evaluating students who want to participate in sports at higher or lower levels, as approved by the state Board of Regents. 

After Board of Education discussions at its work session and business meetings, the board, at the June 15 Board of Education monthly business meeting, passed a resolution to approve the implementation of the updated state APP guidelines with the exception of contact sports (basketball, football, soccer and lacrosse), where middle school students would not be eligible to play on high school junior varsity or varsity teams for safety reasons. 

For a full copy of the APP guidelines and the Board of Education Resolution go to the district website at www.ewsdonline.org > go to Athletics on the left side navigation bar > click on Athletic Placement Process.

Strategic Plan Revisions

At the June 15 Board of Education Monthly Business Meeting, the Board accepted some slight revisions to the five year strategic plan.  

These revisions involved some changes in the math and science goals based on new state regulations, as well as the results of program analysis.  To view both the original strategic plan and to see the revised version go to the district website at www.ewsdonline.org > go to District Plans on the left side navigation bar > click on Five-Year Strategic Plan on the drop down.

Summer’s Coming 

I want to wish my congratulations to all our upcoming graduates, with Wheatley’s graduation this Sunday, June 21 and North Side’s and Willets Road’s Moving Up Ceremonies taking place on Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24, respectively.

The business office and three school offices will be opened this summer, Monday through Thursday.  If you have school business to attend to, please call the offices between the hours of 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM. The offices will be closed on Monday, July 6 in observance of Independence Day.

Have a wonderful and safe summer! 

Have a dood weekend

As always, please email me at kanase@ewsdonline.org 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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