Pupil Personnel Services
Surf’s up for students with special needs
Thanks to Surf for All, students in district’s Extended School Year Program reveled in a life-altering summer learning experience.
With the aid of specially trained surf instructors, students set off on longboards to ride the waves and experience the healing powers of the ocean as their families and teachers cheered them on. Surfing helps participants take a step toward independence, challenging them to overcome fears, build trust, establish relationships, enhance gross motor skills and listen to directions — many of the same skills they work to develop during regular classroom instruction.
“My wave was high. It was good,” said Long Beach student Isaiah Bird.
Luke Gilmore has been coming to the program for a few years with his classmates, but he had never worked up the courage to take the plunge. When he emerged all smiles from the water after catching his first wave, he was greeted with applause, high fives and hugs from teachers, friends and family.
“I am so proud that Luke finally overcame his fear and rode a wave,” said Luke’s mother Jennifer Gilmore. “The pride on his face was overwhelming. I'm still feeling so emotional about this achievement. Thank you to everyone who encouraged him over the years and a big thanks to Surf for All.”
Surf for All is a local not-for-profit organization launched by brothers
Cliff and Will Skudin and Long Beach resident Jim Mulvaney to help people
with special needs. Through surfing, they have helped those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments and blindness, Down syndrome, autism, diabetes, as well as those with economic barriers, the Wounded Warriors and
"We believe the ocean provides a sense of healing and positive experience,” said Cliff Skudin. “We will
do anything and everything to spread our mission to share our love for the
ocean with all."
Surf for All is just one of the many recreational, enriching and practical learning activities offered to students in the Extended School Year Program. In addition to their regular summer classroom instruction, students have participated in swim sessions at the high school pool and taken trips to Rockville Centre Bowl and Key Food. This year, students played miniature golf at the new City of Long Beach mini golf course on the boardwalk.
“We are pleased to be able to provide our students with many enriching summer activities,” said Sabrina Cantore, the district’s executive director of pupil services. “We are especially grateful to the Skudins, who have been volunteering their time and talent for many years now. It has been a phenomenal experience for our students and their families.”
HS Special Ed Coordinator Named
The Long Beach Board of Education has appointed
Deborah A. Smith as high school coordinator of special education,
effective July 1. She replaces Lois Jankeloff, who has accepted a
position as the director of pupil personnel services for the West
Hempstead Union Free School District.
Ms. Smith comes to Long Beach from the Baldwin School District, where
she served as supervisor of special education at Baldwin High School for
10 years, providing instructional leadership for a staff of 20
teachers, two teaching assistants and 10 teacher aides. In this role,
she was responsible for implementation of IEP services, Section 504
accommodation plans and services for students with disabilities. She
also served as a special education 8:1:1 Life Skills teacher at Baldwin
High School, where she taught life skills and functional academic
curriculum, assessed students’ level of functioning, wrote student
learning objectives and implemented behavior intervention plans. Ms.
Smith has also served as the principal of the Extended School Year
program at Baldwin Middle School.
Prior to her tenure at Baldwin School District, Ms. Smith was a guidance
counselor at Intermediate School 68 and P.S. 115, both in Brooklyn. She
was also a teacher in the SOAR gifted program at P.S. 235 in Brooklyn.
Ms. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from
Brooklyn College, a master’s degree in special education from the
College of Staten Island and a master’s degree in counselor education
from Queens College. She completed school district administrator and
school administrator supervisor certification at the College of St.
Ms. Smith is a member of the Council of Administrators and Supervisors
and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
A resident of Oceanside, Ms. Smith enjoys spending summers in Long Beach.
“I am a passionate educator who believes that no one rises to low
expectations,” said Ms. Smith. “I believe that all children can learn.”
Best Pals Raise Autism Awareness
The Long Beach High School Best Pals Club held its second annual Autism Awareness Day on April 25. Throughout Autism Awareness Month in April, club members were busy taking orders for autism awareness T-shirts, bracelets and cookbooks, raising more than $1,800 for the Best Pals program in support of individuals with autism. Students and staff members wore their T-shirts on April 25 to support autism awareness. A real spirit of teamwork went into making the event a success. Long Beach High School junior and student intern Casey Roesch helped design the T-shirts, National Art Honor Society members made bracelets, cookbooks were produced by Eric Heck’s Life Skills computer class, and Best Pals club member Charlie Butler made an informational speech as part of the high school morning announcements.
Autism spectrum disorder and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism now affects one in 68 children and one in 42 boys. There is no single known cause for autism spectrum disorder; instead multiple factors may lead to an individual obtaining a diagnosis.
The Best Pals Club was created to give students in the Skills and Academics for Independent Living class (also known as SAIL) a way to make friends with students in other classes. The club members meet regularly for pizza parties, game days, bowling outings, dances and other social activities.
Long Beach High School students are participating in the Challenger Basketball program for the first time this year. Students with special needs have been playing in this intraschool basketball league, burning up the court with their passing, dribbling and shooting skills.
The Challenger Basketball program of Long Island, which began approximately eight years ago with the Seaford, Oceanside and Bellmore-Merrick districts, has grown to include approximately 15 districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Challenger Basketball builds teamwork while helping to boost students’ self-esteem. It supports the inclusion of students with disabilities in sports and allows them to work on their communication skills as well as their gross motor skills. The players feel a sense of belonging to a team.
Legislative Grant for Life Skills Program
Through the aid of Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, the Long Beach School District received a legislative grant for $125,000, which was used to offset the construction costs of a new Life Skills classroom on the main floor of the high school. Assemblyman Weisenberg visited the classroom on March 14 to meet with students and view the completed project. The classroom is equipped with a fully-functioning kitchen to help students master daily skills of independent living.
The Long Beach High School Life Skills program is designed to meet the needs of students with severe and/or multiple disabilities. The comprehensive program meets students individual needs on a multitude of academic, social and behavioral levels in the least restrictive possible environment. All 29 students in the program — including 10 tuition-paying students from other districts — benefit from related services, such as speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and counseling.
The focus of instruction is on real-life skills in mathematics, reading, social skills, vocational training and travel training. Students develop skills to work in a variety of job settings in the community. They also learn to identify, use and manage money, read for understanding, complete job applications, participate in job interviews, read maps, plan trips and travel on public transportation.
One of the main goals of this program is to assist students in becoming contributing members of society. The district has established working relationships with local businesses, giving students an opportunity to gain job-specific training that leads to gainful employment for graduates.
The program also provides transitional services to promote a successful shift from school to post-secondary activities, including vocational training, competitive employment, continuing and adult education, independent living and community participation.
Students in the Life Skills program are also active members of the Long Beach High School community, which is rich in educational, vocational and social activities. They participate in sports, general education classes, fundraising and in-house jobs. Students also socialize with typical peers outside of the school day through the Best Pals Club and the Challenger basketball league.
“By moving Life Skills students from the lower level of the building to a new classroom on the center of the school, we hope to further integrate them into the school community,” said Superintendent of Schools David Weiss. “We were also able to convert the space they vacated into a cardio room for the entire student body.”
Surfers Healing Event
On Sept. 12, the Surfers Healing Surf Camp and the
Town of Hempstead hosted a special day of wave riding at the Lido West
Town Beach in Lido Beach. Students in the Long Beach High School Life
Skills program were among several different school groups to participate
in this annual event. By their side were members of the high school
surf team, who volunteered at the event, helping participants don life
jackets and handing out medals.
Assisted by Surfers Healing instructors, the students set off on
longboards to ride the waves and experience the healing powers of the
ocean as their families and teachers cheered them on. Surfers Healing is
a national organization that hosts day camps at the beach where
children with autism and their families can be exposed to the
therapeutic benefits of surfing. Surfer’s Healing has been partnering
with the Town of Hempstead to host local surf camp events for
approximately 10 years.
As educational as it is fun, surfing can challenge participants to
overcome fears, build trust, establish relationships, enhance gross
motor skills and listen to directions.
Surf for All
The Long Beach Public Schools Extended School Year Program for Students with Disabilities once again teamed up with Surf for All to provide students in grades K-12 with a unique summer learning experience. With the aid of specially trained surf instructors, the students have been setting off on longboards to ride the waves and experience the healing powers of the ocean as their families and teachers cheer them on. In addition to having fun, the children who participate in the program experience multiple educational benefits. Surfing helps them take a step toward independence, challenging them to overcome fears, build trust, establish relationships, enhance gross motor skills and listen to directions — many of the same skills they develop every day during their regular classroom instruction.
Surf for All is a local not-for-profit organization launched by brothers Cliff and Will Skudin and Long Beach resident Jim Mulvaney to help people with special needs. Through surfing, they have helped those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments and blindness, Down syndrome, autism, diabetes, as well as those with economic barriers, the Wounded Warriors, and
"We believe the ocean provides a sense of healing and positive experience,” said Cliff Skudin. “We will do anything and everything to spread our mission to share our love for the ocean with all."
Surf for All is just one of the many recreational, enriching and practical learning activities offered to students in the Extended School Year Program for Students with Disabilities. In addition to their regular summer classroom instruction, students have participated in swim sessions at the high school pool and taken trips to Rockville Centre Bowl and Key Food. This year students were also given the opportunity to take Tae Kwon Do lessons from Mr. Tim of Mister Tim's TKD Kids. This comprehensive approach to summer learning helps students maintain the skills they acquired over the course of the traditional school year.
“We are pleased to be able to provide our students with many enriching summer activities while giving them a fun way to practice and maintain all the skills they learned during the school year,” said Sabrina Cantore, the district’s executive director of special education and pupil personnel services. “We are especially grateful to the Skudins, who have been volunteering their time and talent to the children in our summer program for four years now. It has been a phenomenal experience for our students and their families.”