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Warm Welcome for Pre-K Students at Northeast

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Amityville welcomed its newest learners on Sept. 11 as it was the first day of pre-K at Northeast Elementary School. Children in the morning and afternoon sessions met their teachers, learned different classroom routines and sang a hello song. The first day followed on orientation program for students and their parents on Sept. 10.

Anniversary Prompts History Lesson for Middle School Students

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The local, national and global impacts of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were the focal points of discussions in social studies classes at Edmund W. Miles Middle School as people across the nation marked the 18th anniversary.

Ninth grade social studies teacher Jack Zider recalled how the attacks occurred during his first week as a freshman in high school. Now, he teaches September 11 as a historical event to students who were born several years after the attacks. He showed students video clips from the day and asked them to discuss their reactions with each other. Additionally, because of Amityville’s proximity to New York City, he talked to students about the impact it had on people in the community. 

In 2001, Frank O’Brien worked for the MTA and was just a half-mile away from the World Trade Center. Now a social studies teacher at the middle school, he shared his personal experiences from the day. 

Mr. O’Brien emphasized the importance of being thankful to and showing respect for the people who fight to preserve freedom. He works with an organization, Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to members of the armed forces overseas. His students wrote thank-you letters to be including in those packages. 

Since the attacks, Sept. 11 has become known as Patriot Day, and students and staff at the middle school were encouraged to wear red, white and blue.

Marching Band Camp Features the Sounds of Queen

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The Amityville Memorial High School marching band will pay tribute to notable British rock band Queen for its 2019 show. At the four-day marching band camp during the last week of August, student musicians practiced the music and choreography.

Featured in this year’s show will be three Queen songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “We are the Champions.” It will be performed at all home football games, including the Homecoming halftime show, and at the Newsday Marching Band Festival in October.

Band director Jolene Maccarone was joined by elementary music teacher Megan Ashe in helping students prepare for the show along with two Amityville music alumni, Shiloh Bennett and Jose Coto. This year’s student drum majors are Bryan Canales, Tatiana Escolero and Karyn Franklin. The musicians practiced both by instrument section and as a full group during the camp. 

Joy and Reflection at Amityville Convocation

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Hundreds of staff members in the Amityville Union Free School District returned with energy and enthusiasm on Aug. 29 for the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Board of Education trustees, administrators, teachers and staff members came together for Convocation at Amityville Memorial High School, which served as opportunity to share ideas before students arrived the following week.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly noted that Amityville is “a district that never sleeps” with numerous summer activities involving both teachers and student including special education and feeding programs, sports camps, curriculum writing and professional development workshops. She introduced new teachers and staff members, and thanked the dedicated custodial and secretarial staffs for their hard work in getting the buildings ready to open for the new school year.

The district enters its fourth year of its Strategic Plan, and Dr. Kelly explained that Amityville is making significant strides in three areas: academic achievement, school culture and climate, and family and community involvement. 

“We have the data to prove that our investment and efforts are paying off – to the benefit of our kids and our community,” she said. “We are well on our way to putting ‘Amityville on the Map’ – our vision for becoming a high-performing school district.”

Dr. Kelly said that those achievements are because of the hard work of every staff member in the district. She reminded them to come to school every day with the goal of making a difference in the lives of children. 

“Every single one of us has tremendous power to positively impact the life of a child, every day, in countless ways,” she said. “This is a tremendous opportunity and an awesome responsibility. This is our purpose, this is our passion, this is our mission, this is our reason for existence as a school system.”

Dr. Kelly led a moment of silence for Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School teacher Marc Engler, who passed away during the summer and had taught in Amityville for 20 years. High school guidance secretary Brooke Brown, a former secretary at Park Avenue, presented Principal Robyn Santiago and Assistant Principal Melissa Wiederhold with a shadow box honoring Mr. Engler. It included a picture of him celebrating his birthday – because he was known for remembering everyone’s birthday – and an engraved plaque.

“It is fitting that we begin this new year in the spirit of Marc’s kindness, care, and unwavering commitment to the children of Amityville,” Dr. Kelly said.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Bryant Marks, the founding director and chief equity officer of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity, and an associate professor of psychology of Morehouse College. His dynamic presentation, “Acknowledging and Managing the Hidden Biases of Good People: Implications for K-12 Educators and Administrators” analyzed the implicit biases in people based on overexposure and how to overcome those biases in their professional life. Following his presentation, he hosted breakout sessions for faculty members from each building.

First Day of School Marks New Beginnings

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It was a big moment for students in Amityville Memorial High School’s Class of 2032 as they started kindergarten on Sept. 3, the first step on their 13-year path to graduation. Faculty and staff at Northeast Elementary School warmly greeted children as they were dropped off by their parents or arrived by bus.

“Today is an exciting day,” Principal Dr. Pauline Collins said. “We are thrilled to meet our new students starting their educational journey.”

While some students became familiar with the building last year in pre-K, Dr. Collins said that kindergarten is the first full year of school for the children so it is a big transition. She said the goal is to create a warm and nurturing environment, where children feel comfortable and supported. All students wore nametags that were color-coded to their class, to help everyone find their way on the first day.

Throughout the district, approximately 3,000 students started school at five buildings following a busy summer that upgraded the facilities. The 2019-20 school year features the introduction and expansion of several academic programs at all levels.

Monday, September 16, 2019