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High School Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

High School Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month photo

Hispanic Heritage Month got off to an energetic start at Amityville Memorial High School as the school hosted a performance by the Sol Y Sombra Spanish Dance Company on Sept. 15. Experienced dancers donned colorful garb and entertained students and teachers, who gathered in the auditorium for the afternoon show.

The program included a folk dance from Spain, the flamenco and the tango. Several students were then invited up on stage to learn and perform traditional Latin dances like the merengue slide. 

The performance was hosted by the Hispanic Heritage Club, under the direction of advisers Elisa Castro and Maria Leon-Pineros. Throughout the month, there will be daily announcements with facts about Latin culture and Hispanic-Americans who have made significant contributions to society. 


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Through Dance


October 2017 Board of Education Meeting Information


The Regular Business meeting of the Board of Education will now be held on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 6:30 PM at the Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School Auditorium and it is anticipated the Board of Education will immediately entertain a motion to enter to Executive Session, and thereafter resume the public meeting at approximately 7:30 PM. This is in lieu of the Special Meeting.

The meeting scheduled for October 11th is cancelled.

There is only one meeting scheduled for October.

The next Special Meeting is Wednesday, November 1st.

Northeast Welcomes Pre-K Students

Northeast Welcomes Pre-K Students photo
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Amityville’s youngest students took the first steps of their educational journey as they arrived at Northeast Elementary School for the first day of pre-kindergarten classes on Sept. 13. After being welcomed by their teachers during the morning and afternoon sessions, the youngsters unpacked their new school supplies and learned classroom routines.

Feedback Requested – Adult Education Program

The Amityville Union Free School District is gathering information regarding residents’ interest in an Adult Education Program. Please take a few minutes to participate in a short online survey about courses that would be of most interest for the district to offer. The survey will be live until Sept. 29.

To take the survey, visit this link.

SOLICITAMOS SUS COMENTARIOS (OPINIÓN) - Programa de Educación para Adultos

El distrito escolar de Amityville está reuniendo información acerca del interés que los residentes puedan tener en participar en un programa de educación para adultos. Por favor, tómese unos minutos para llenar una corta encuesta acerca de las clases en las que usted estaría interesado que el distrito ofrezca. La encuesta estará disponible hasta la Septiembre 29.

la encuesta acerca:

College Fair/Feria Universitaria


Kiwanis Club Food Truck Rally


Welcome back, Amityville. Let’s make it a great year!


Embarking on a New Learning Adventure

Embarking on a New Learning Adventure photo

More than 3,000 students returned to the district’s five schools on Sept. 5 enthusiastic for the year ahead.

“I want to get good grades and I’m excited to meet my new teacher,” said Tyjae Moore, a sixth-grader at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School. Just as important as the academics, she said, is displaying good character and serving as a role model for the fourth- and fifth-graders.  

Northwest Elementary School Principal Kathleen Hyland said she is excited that students will be able to take advantage of several new resources this year. First-graders will use Lego kits to explore science and engineering, and additional Chromebooks with Google Suite will provide all students with increased access to state-of-the-art technology.

“We are excited that the school is buzzing again,” Ms. Hyland said, as new Assistant Principal Sonia Rodrigo joined her in walking around the building and greeting students and teachers. “It is great to see the children’s smiles and hear their laughter. This year, they will go on wonderful learning adventures filled with opportunities to explore and grow.”

Northeast Elementary School welcomed about 220 kindergartners. Many of those students attended the school last year for the pre-K program, but the beginning of kindergarten meant a full day of school, lunch in the cafeteria, recess and attending all of the special subject areas. 

Several teachers read their classes “The Kissing Hand,” a book about a child going to school for the first time. The first day also included tours of the school, an introduction to classroom routines and some crafts.

“It’s a whole new world for them,” said kindergarten teacher Renee Chandler, who helped her students make “I Love Kindergarten” hats. “I’m just ready to jump back and in and see how much they learn and grow this year.”


Amityville Staff Energized for New Year

staff picture

“For us in the education business, this is our new year,” Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly said in addressing the nearly 600 staff members that gathered in the high school auditorium for the district’s annual convocation on Aug. 31.

In advance of the first day of school, administrators, teachers and support staff came together to celebrate past accomplishments and learn about the goals for 2017-18 and beyond. Dr. Kelly reviewed the district’s mission, belief statement and vision. She renewed the call to “Put Amityville on the map” as a successful, high-performing school district and said data that will be released in the coming weeks and months will show that efforts are paying off.

“I believe that our possibilities are endless,” she said. “Our district has made tremendous strides and I am very optimistic about the future.”

Dr. Kelly introduced new staff members and welcomed them to a team that lives by the theme, “Achieving Excellence Together.” She also spoke about the five-year strategic plan, which sets goals in the areas of student achievement, positive culture and climate, and parent and community partnerships. 

This year’s keynote speaker was Regina Calcaterra, an attorney and best-selling author who grew up in Suffolk County living in homeless shelters and foster care. She related her own childhood experiences about the teachers who inspired her to succeed to encourage Amityville’s educators to do the same for their students.  

“I came to remind everyone of the impact they can have on a child in need,” she said. “No child is a lost cause.”

 After the presentation, Ms. Calcaterra chatted with teachers and signed copies of her memoir, “Etched in Sand.” In the afternoon, teachers returned to their buildings for meetings with their principals and professional development workshops. Support staff members participated in various training sessions. 


Amityville Welcomes New Teachers

Amityville Welcomes New Teachers photo
The district recently welcomed more than a dozen new educators for the 2017-18 school year who are eager and anxious to make a positive difference in students’ lives. 

New teachers attended orientation on Aug. 28 at the Park North Administration Building. Participants included new teachers in the district, as well as those who have moved into permanent positions. The program included welcome messages from Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly and board of education members, followed by presentations on the district’s academic programs, instructional technology resources, business manners and evaluation process.

Teachers were treated to a trolley ride of the district with Village of Amityville historian Richard Handler. Orientation concluded with teachers visiting their assigned buildings to meet with their respective principals. 

Stepping into Sophomore Year

Stepping into Sophomore Year Pic

On an uncharacteristically cool morning for late August, the incoming class of 2020 at Amityville Memorial High School trickled into the auditorium. Students found their seats and awaited the start of their sophomore orientation.

Superintendent Dr. Mary Kelly took the podium and welcomed everyone, remarking that it seemed that their moving up ceremony wasn’t too long ago. She also introduced Amityville’s new high school principal, Maria Andreotti. “We’re lucky to have her with us,” Dr. Kelly said.

Ms. Andreotti welcomed the sophomores to high school, and opened with a few words expressing her excitement for the upcoming year.

“I can’t wait to see what you all are capable of and to help you along the way,” she told the students. “I want you to feel like the people in this building are your family.”

Ms. Andreotti discussed the expectations for students, including the importance of striving for their academic best, good attendance and being on time, and getting involved in extracurricular activities — all aspects that prepare them for life outside of high school. The acronym R.I.C.H. — Responsibility, Integrity, Courage and Humility — represented her hopes for the type of character they would practice during their three years of high school.

Evan Farkas, director of athletics, physical education and health, reiterated the importance of their academics, and explained that they must pass their classes to maintain their eligibility to play on the school’s various sports teams.

After the introductory program, students were given their schedules and encouraged to walk around the school, with tours led by students from the National Honor Society. The newcomers compared schedules amongst their friends.

When reflecting on what she was most excited for this upcoming year, sophomore Briyanna Covington said, “To play basketball for Amityville. I’m hoping to play my favorite position, which is center.”

Ready to Take on Middle School

Ready to Take on Middle School Photo

The district’s newest seventh-graders visited Edmund W. Miles Middle School on Aug. 24 to learn about the place where they will spend the next three years.

The seventh-grade orientation followed their visit to the school in the spring during which they were able to tour the building. Principal Edward Plaia reviewed the classes that students will take, extra-curricular activities and sports that are offered, academic and behavioral expectations and the differences from elementary school. Students and parents were given the opportunities to ask questions. 

The approximately 215 incoming seventh-graders received their class schedules and also were able to take home free binders. They were also able to meet their guidance counselor for the coming year, Kerry Kearney, and several teachers. 

Bond Work Gets Underway

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Construction has been taking place at all five schools this summer, the first phase of the $69.9 million bond referendum that was passed by voters in March 2016.

One of the major projects is the installation of security vestibules at each school. It will add a second set of locked doors at the main entrances to create another layer of safety for students and staff. Visitors would be buzzed in through the first set of doors, then have to present their identification to security staff before being allowed into the building.

Demolition has already taken place and entranceways are being reconfigured with new interior doors and windows. Additional security cameras will also be installed.

Window panes have been replaced at Northwest and Northeast elementary schools. The window frames remained but all of the old Lexan glass was removed, which became cloudy over the years. It was replaced with new glass that will allow more natural light into classrooms.

Approximately 280 window panes were replaced at Northeast, the district’s pre-K and kindergarten center, and about 320 at Northwest, which serves first through third grades.

The new parking lot, containing about two dozen spots, has been finished on the north side of Northwest Elementary School, replacing a gravel lot. The project included new asphalt, sidewalks, curbs and drainage.

The masonry reconstruction project has begun at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School. Pieces of cast stone on the front of the building that were chipped and cracked will be replaced. The stone dates back to the original construction of the south wing in 1923 and north wing in 1932. Scaffolding has been erected around the facade and work will continue during the evening once the school year begins.

Duct work has been replaced on the roof of Park Avenue. Replacement of interior doors and hardware at all schools will take place during the first few months of the school year.

Construction on the addition to Amityville Memorial High School, which includes a new gymnasium, classrooms and science labs, is set to begin in June 2018. Plans have already been submitted to the State Education Department, with approval expected in February. Capital projects are also scheduled to begin next summer at Edmund W. Miles Middle School, including the replacement of original windows.

The exterior portable classroom wing at Northwest is being repainted this summer as a district maintenance project.

Summer Program Supports Skill Development

Summer Program Supports Skill Development Pic

More than 60 students received additional academic support during six weeks as they took part in the Extended Year Summer Program at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School.

The program was open to students entering first grade through high school. There were full-day and half-day classes, depending upon needs. Site coordinator Yvette Carman said the purpose of the program was to help children avoid a regression in academic skills during summer vacation.

“This program helps children develop socialization skills, and it helps maintain and grow the skills that they need help with,” Ms. Carman said. “Their days are full of meaningful learning activities.”

Students received personalized attention in small classes led by certified teachers and support staff. Elementary school students worked on English language arts skills such as identifying site words and reading comprehension, and math skills like number recognition, addition and subtraction. The youngsters took ELA and math tests at the beginning and end of the program so teachers could monitor the progress they made.

Participants in the high school program not only worked on grade-level academic skills but participated in travel training by walking to the train station, riding the bus to the mall and learning how to use the computer to plan a trip. They also spent part of their days working at local businesses including retail stories, restaurants, gyms and yacht clubs.  

Family day was held during the last week of the program. There was basketball and soccer, an inflatable slide, water balloons and a picnic lunch. It also gave parents and guardians a chance to see the progress their children were making and learn strategies to support their academic, social and emotional growth at home

District Welcomes Pair of Administrators

District Welcomes Pair of Administrators Photo
The Board of Education has appointed new building administrators. Maria Andreotti was named principal of Amityville Memorial High School and Sonia Rodrigo will be the new assistant principal of Northwest Elementary School. 

Ms. Andreotti’s educational career began 24 years ago as an English literature teacher in New York City. Most recently, she served as director of humanities for the South Country School District and has held other administrative posts including assistant principal, principal, director of guidance and director of literature and reading. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brooklyn College, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Adelphi University. 

Ms. Rodrigo comes to the district from the New York City School District, where she worked for 16 years as an elementary teacher, leadership team chairwoman, staff developer and assistant principal. She hold a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University, a master’s degree in early childhood education from Queens College and a leadership certificate from the College of St. Rose.

“Ms. Andreotti and Ms. Rodrigo are exemplary educators and proven leaders who will make a fine addition to our administrative team,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly. “They are dedicated to helping all students reach their full potential, which is the core of our mission in Amityville.”

District Recognizes Staff Milestones

District Recognizes Staff Milestones Photo
The Board of Education recently honored retiring staff members, as well as those who have reached milestone years of service with the district.

Retirees include teachers Karen Annett-Grzunov from Northwest Elementary School and Jack Agostino from Amityville Memorial High School; teaching assistants Angela Mack-Brown from the high school and Beatrice Polaski, Lynn Durant and Gail Kaiser from Edmund W. Miles Middle School; clerical staff Barbara Dascoli from district office, Andrea Lottman and Linda Pollock from the high school and Theresa Culotta from Northwest; custodian Milton Allen from the middle school; monitors Jane Nieves and Geraldine Booth from the high school; cook Nora Walker from Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School and nurse Louise Dell’Isola from Northeast Elementary School.

Faculty and staff members reaching 30 years of service were Nicole Beckles-Brown, Ricki Budnick, William Carmen, James Carrington, Donna Jones, Alfreta Lidge, Beatrice Polaski, Linda Pollock, Debra Ross, Joan Wexler-LaMantia and George Williams. Recognized for 25 years were Joan Ahl, Jeanne O’Neill, Deborah Ross and Steven Wexler, and hitting the 20-year milestone were George Alexander, Milton Allen, Carol Bosch, Carmel Ferriola, Angela Gibson, Michael Greco, Magdalena O’Brien, Beverly Powell, Diane Smith, Erica Spence and Roxanne Tannenbaum.

Friday, September 22, 2017