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Board of Ed Meeting - Thursday, May 25 - LBHS Auditorium @ 7:30 PM

LB athletes applauded

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Long Beach High School celebrated numerous accomplishments in athletics during a gathering held on May 12. Administrators, staff members and students’ parents applauded the victories of many athletes as well as two award-winning coaches.

Seniors Chrystal Posada and Sam Brown both signed Letters of Intent to participate on college teams. Chrystal will play soccer at West Virginia Wesleyan, and Sam will play lacrosse at Binghamton University.

Five members of the Girls Varsity Swim Team were honored for earning Academic All-American distinctions, which are presented by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association based on athletes’ abilities to maintain a minimum unweighted GPA of 93.74. Maggie Aroesty, Kristen Romano, Blaine Siegel, Megan Sofield and Cassidy Zawatson were applauded for this achievement.

Recognitions were also extended to Varsity Wrestling Coach Ray Adams and Junior Varsity Coach Bernard Valentin. Adams, in his 21st year of coaching at Long Beach High School, was named the New York State Coach of the Year and the Region One Coach of the year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Under his guidance, Long Beach has been ranked the No. 1 varsity wrestling team in New York State for the past two years and received the Pascal Perri Cup in recognition of this success. Valentin is in his 16th year serving as a coach for the high school and was commended by the Long Island Wrestling Officials Association for Outstanding Sportsmanship and contributing to preserving the integrity of Long Island Wrestling. 

Budget Passes

Residents of the Long Beach Public Schools voted in favor of the 2017-18 budget, with a final tally of 1,967 yes votes and 589 no votes. Congratulations to Dr. Dennis Ryan and Maureen Vrona for their re-election to the Board of Education. Thank you to all who participated in the budget development process and for your interest in our schools and the education of our students. This budget will preserve all district programs and will continue to support opportunities for enrichment, learning and achievement.

LB students’ art and photography takes the spotlight

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L-R: Sunset Shadow by Erin Brown, July Fourth by Kaitlyn Murphy, Girl in the Rain by Jovanna Vicente, Security Blanket by Madison Murray.
Each spring, the Long Beach Public Schools celebrate numerous achievements in the department of media, visual and performing arts. Students recently earned several distinctions and opportunities to showcase their talents, dedication and creativity.

Long Beach High School’s photography students won four out of six honors at the Long Island Arts Council's High School competition. Erin Brown received a first place award for her entry, Sunset Shadow; Kaitlyn Murphy placed second for her photo, July Fourth; and Jovanna Vicente and Madison Murray were exhibitors for their respective pieces, Girl in the Rain and Security Blanket

Jovanna also won a second place award in the national Photographic Society of America competition. Her photo, Rizal Boulevard, was submitted in the photojournalism category after placing in the Photographic Federation of Long Island contest earlier this season.

Students from East, Lido, Lindell and West elementary schools, Long Beach Middle School and Long Beach High School all had their work on display during the districtwide Art Show, held on May 12 and 13. This annual event was held in the high school’s upper and lower commons areas and provided opportunities for students, staff, family members and other guests to view a gallery filled with artistic creations that were developed during the 2016-17 school year. Students learn a variety of techniques in their art classes and an assortment of mediums and inspirations were featured. Ranging from photographs to paintings, from sketches to sculptures, the designs demonstrated extraordinary skills, bright visions and unique levels of originality.

East students make Mother’s Day special

East students make Mother’s Day special Photo
Kindergartners at East School in Long Beach created special Mother’s Day crafts, thanks to a donation of reusable bags from the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. Under the guidance of teacher Mary Jane Rochford, students decorated the bags with illustrations and meaningful notes.

This project supports the City of Long Beach’s ordinance to encourage environmentally-friendly shopping and help reduce plastic and paper bag waste. Students brightened up their gifts with paintings of hand-print flowers and heartfelt letters.

The cards read, “I am like a flower that is raised with love by you. You help me grow up big and strong, Mom. Thanks for all you do!”

Math Medals for LB Students

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Three Long Beach students recently excelled at the Long Island Math Fair, the final round of which was held on April 28 at Hofstra University. High school sophomore Joshua Kapilian and middle school eighth-grader Uma Arengo both earned gold medals, and eighth-grader Maya Arengo was awarded a bronze medal.

According to the Nassau County Association of Mathematics Supervisors, the math fair helps students who have an interest in mathematics explore topics outside the realm of the traditional required mathematics courses.

Joshua prepared a paper that focused on the number of degrees of multiplying a number’s digits to reduce an n-digit to a one-digit number. Maya created a poster board project that linked math and music, and Uma developed a PowerPoint presentation about her studies of irrational numbers.

All three Long Beach students have achieved several honors in mathematics during the 2016-17 school year. Maya and Uma were among a select group of Long Island Young Scholars of Mathematics accepted to the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY College at Old Westbury. They both also received awards in the Grade 8 American Mathematics Competition. Joshua has been participating in the Institute of Merit's Math Research Program as a follow-up to his completion of the Institute for Creative Problem Solving program. He was additionally named top winner from Long Beach High School in the American Mathematics Competition.

LB inducts 116 new NHS members

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On May 2, Long Beach High School celebrated the induction of 116 10th- and 11th-graders into the National Honor Society’s Arista Chapter. NHS members demonstrate the organization’s four key values of service, scholarship, leadership and character.

Board of education members and administrators joined the NHS officers and their advisor Jeanne O’Shea on the auditorium stage. Students’ families and friends, along with staff members, gathered in the audience to celebrate this educational milestone for the inductees.

Ms. O’Shea summarized the events, volunteer projects, fundraisers and donation drives that the organization has coordinated in the district and community through efforts guided by NHS officers Mary Sabedra, Megan Sofield, Sarah Wachs, Jen Arnaud, Natalia Quintero and Joseph Aebly.

Four candles were placed before the group, representative of leadership, character, service and scholarship. In a moment that signified their commitment to all of these principles, the inductees were called up on stage to officially be named the newest members.

The NHS annually recognizes a role model with the honorary membership distinction. NHS President Mary Sabedra spoke and presented to this year’s honorary NHS member, guidance counselor Patricia Baron. Musical performances by the high school’s Soundwaves and Chamber Orchestra ensembles provided entertainment throughout the event.

Event Postponed: Tech Expo and Car Show Rescheduled for May 20

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The LBHS Technology Education Department will present the 2017 Tech Expo & Car Show on Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.! Stop by the high school (322 Lagoon Drive West) to see the many projects that our students have been working on, tour the TV Studio and take a ride in the student-built Hot Rod!

Long Beach LARC student scores perfect 20 in national competition

Long Beach LARC student scores perfect 20 in national competition Photo
Long Beach LARC fourth-grade student Theodore Clancy recently earned a perfect score of 20 in the second meet for this year’s WordMasters Challenge™ — a national vocabulary competition that involves nearly 150,000 students annually.

Only 116 fourth-graders out of more than 6,000 across the nation achieved a perfect score.

Other students representing Long Beach LARC who achieved nationally recognized results on the second and third meets include fifth-graders Troy DeFrancesco, Francesca Papetti, Jason Rea, Michael Rossi and Kira Argiro; fourth-graders Riley Mascolo, Ronin Rugolsky, Zachary Scouten, Jack Broughton, Vincent Napolitano, Leofwin Muskin and Henry Donahue; and third-graders Luke Morita and Marissa Miller. The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge™ by Dr. Caitlin King and Mr. Justin Sulsky.

The WordMasters Challenge™ is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically.  

LBHS senior Alexandra Thursland wins National Merit Scholarship

LBHS senior Alexandra Thursland wins National Merit Scholarship Photo
Long Beach High School senior Alexandra (Ali) Thursland has been selected to receive a scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Ali reached this level of distinction in the 62nd Annual National Merit Scholarship Program after many steps, which included recognition as a semifinalist this past fall and then a finalist in the winter.

This success was achieved based on academic excellence and outstanding PSAT and SAT scores. An estimated 1.6 million students from across the nation entered the initial competition by taking the PSAT, which serves as a qualifying test each year. Approximately 16,000 of them earned recognition as Finalists, and about 7,500 National Merit Scholarships are being presented.

Ali is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate focusing her extended essay on “How does Vladimir Nabokov's manipulation of language in Lolita mask Humbert Humbert's nefarious deeds?” She is president of Model Congress, a National Honor Society member and a student government participant. She serves as editor for the Fragments literary magazine and also participates in the high school’s Talented Writer’s program, through which she has earned awards. Also a musician and athlete, Ali plays the trumpet, piano and ukulele and has participated on the junior varsity tennis and track and field teams in previous years. She will attend Duke University in the fall.

East Students Place First in Nation in Sumdog Competition

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A fourth-grade class at East School in Long Beach achieved first place in the National Sumdog mathematics competition that ended on March 31. They were up against approximately 2,000 other teams from across the country as they completed 1,000 math problems designed to sharpen and strengthen concepts covered through the curriculum.

Under the guidance of teacher Douglas MacConnell, the class collectively succeeded. Additionally, Isabelle DePalma attained the highest score in the nation out of approximately 17,000 students, with 995 correct answers out of 1,000. Patrick Henry was also within the top 10, placing seventh with a score of 970.
Sumdog promotes teamwork and fosters confidence in students. Teachers can set starting levels and create their own challenges for students, and the Sumdog program automatically makes problems more difficult as students excel.

The fourth-graders took on this challenge with a deeper motivation – they hoped that by winning, they would be able to help a second-grade class in the building receive a free Sumdog membership. After fulfilling their goal, they proudly wrote and presented cards to teachers Sara Hagen and Christine Walsh, informing them that their class would now have the opportunity to partake in educational games that promote learning and develop skills in reading and writing.   

Lido supports healthy lifestyles and habitats

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Long Beach Public Schools’ Lido Elementary School observed its annual Health Week between April 24-29 with culminating events that celebrated Earth Day. This year’s theme was, “Find your selfie…be healthy!”

The program kicked off with a Stay Active Day, during which students wore their favorite team jerseys or sports shirts and heard a presentation about healthy food choices led by Director of Food and Nutrition Services Steven Kamlet. They also counted steps around the track for a Math-in-Motion exercise. Health Week also involved a presentation about the importance of hand washing, led by Nurse Teri Polivy, and various activities that promoted fitness, mindfulness, reading and getting sufficient sleep.

Students got moving in Zumba and yoga sessions, and the entire school gathered to dance to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” on the school’s lawn. Thanks to the efforts of PTA members, who donated seeds and volunteered their time, students ranging pre-K through fifth-grade planted flowers in the Lido Habitat.

As a highlight and conclusion to the week, Lido’s Habitat Committee organized a special event on Saturday, April 29. Students and their parents spent time exploring nature and planting perennials, vegetables and fruits. The “I Love Long Island” signs were put into the ground indicating that no pesticides or high nitrogen fertilizers were used.

LB Middle School Book Talk Promotes Acceptance and Builds Connections

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Long Beach Middle School hosted its second annual book talk for parents, students, staff members and district officials on Friday, April 28. The featured book was “Gracefully Grayson,” by Ami Polonsky, and participants discussed the theme, "What if who you are on the outside doesn't match who you are on the inside?”

“Gracefully Grayson” tells the story of an adolescent who comes into her own as a transgender girl and experiences struggles as well as strengths. Noting the importance of the book’s messages, Principal Paul Romanelli stated, “Identity is an issue that many middle school students struggle with, and we all have our own unique journey. At Long Beach Middle School, we want all students to know that they are welcome and accepted!”  

Students, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members and parents met in the middle school library and broke into small groups. Together they explored the main character’s journey and reflected on their own analyses of the story.

The main objectives of the book talks are to bring parents, students and staff together to connect over reading each year. “We love to welcome the community into our school,” said Mr. Romanelli.

LB Student Rewarded for First Place Photo

LB Student Rewarded for First Place Photo
Long Beach High School freshman Carmen Sabedra won first place in the Open category of Huntington Camera Club’s Annual High School Competition. This prestigious event is sponsored by Nikon and drew 1,100 entries from 17 different schools.

Carmen was awarded a Nikon Digital SLR camera and tripod as a prize for her achievement, and was formally honored at an award ceremony held on April 25 at the Huntington Library.

The Huntington Camera Club’s Annual High School Competition recognizes student photographers for their creativity, technical aspects and ability to fit the category theme. This is the third year in a row that Long Beach High School students have participated in this competition and earned awards.

More awards for LBHS TV Production students

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Long Beach High School students took the spotlight at LIU Post’s Video Festival on April 28, when they achieved two out of the three awards that were presented. Scott Powers, Sean Reilly, James O’Connor and Logan Kohn represented the TV Studio Production classes with talent and excellence.

Long Island high school students entered original films in the categories of documentary, narrative and open genre. Scott's film, "Nepal Visual Documentary," won for best documentary and received complimentary remarks from Jean Carlomusto, an Emmy Award winner and director and professor of the LIU Post Television Center who served as one of the event’s judges. A collaborative work created by Sean Reilly, James O'Connor and Logan Kohn won for best narrative. All were presented with certificates and each winning video/film received a $100 Visa gift card.

The festival featured screenings of the featured videos/films and all participants had the opportunity to critique one another’s work. The Long Beach students were praised by the facilitators for their ability to offer constructive criticism that was very contemplative.

“This is something we practice in class and put to practice at the festival,” said teacher Eric Krywe. “It reinforced the effort made in class to delve deeper, not only in the technique of the work we produce, but also in the theory and vision behind the work we produce.”

Career Days Inspire Students at Lindell

Career Days Inspire Students at Lindell
Lindell Elementary School in Long Beach held two consecutive Career Awareness Day events for fifth-graders on April 20 and 21. An array of vocational fields were represented by parents who volunteered their time to visit classes and discuss their roles and responsibilities.

Students gained insight from a physician’s assistant, dietician, physical therapist, mechanic, news reporter, interior designer, attorney, teacher, firefighter, police officer, personal trainer, non-profit organization affiliate, sanitation worker, librarian, chef and business owner, among other professionals. The presenters described their typical day at work and the qualifications and skills that their jobs require. They also shared the reasons they chose their careers and the most rewarding aspects of their occupations.

Each fifth-grade class had the opportunity to explore approximately ten careers, and students found inspiration in the variety of possibilities to which they can apply their talents, enthusiasm and interests.

Paws-itive Role Models at LB Elementary Schools

Paws-itive Role Models at LB Elementary Schools
Elementary school students in Long Beach took action to make a difference by supporting a pet food drive coordinated by Assemblywoman Melissa Miller’s office. The initiative is providing much-needed items for animals and benefits Baxter’s Pet Pantry, operated by Long Island Cares, Inc.

Assemblywoman Miller visited Lindell and West schools in April, and will go to East on an upcoming date. She was met with enthusiasm from students who had gathered donations of food, treats and new toys for dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, ferrets and other pets during March and April.

“We don’t want animals to go hungry,” Assemblywoman Miller told the students. “This is really important -- to be able to get food donated so that pets can stay with their families. I really appreciate you all doing this.”

West’s efforts were spearheaded by third-, fourth- and fifth-grade Student Council representatives, pictured, as a service project. They eagerly involved classmates, faculty and family members in their effort to help.

Nominations and Applications for the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award

Governor Cuomo is accepting nominations for the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award. Students, parents, colleagues, and others can nominate a teacher and teachers can “self-nominate” and fill out the application immediately.

Every day, thousands of teachers across the State of New York are making a difference in the lives of children. These teachers hold high expectations and academic goals for each one of their students, fostering critical thinking, cultivating creativity, and instilling a love of learning. They are eager learners who pursue meaningful professional development throughout their careers.

‎This year, Governor Cuomo will award 60 teachers from across the state to receive the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award. Awardees will receive a stipend of $5,000 for continued learning and professional development, and have the opportunity to directly advise education policy makers. To apply for the award, or to nominate an exceptional teacher, visit:

LB Middle School Team Takes on State-Level Odyssey of the Mind Competition

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The Long Beach Middle School Odyssey of the Mind Team (OM) competed in the New York State Odyssey of the Mind competition on April 8, 2017. This year’s team came in fourth place out of 19 teams, which earned them a shout-out at the award ceremony.

“This was a tremendous accomplishment and we are especially proud of this year’s team,” said coaches Christina Kile and Dayna Obidienzo.

Odyssey of the Mind teams at the middle school level are made up of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. This year’s Long Beach Middle School team was comprised of eighth grader Tyler Collinson and five sixth graders: Jordan Collinson, Keira Hult, Christopher Lehr, Matthew O’Connor and Ava Rand. The team chose to solve the problem entitled “To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger.” In this problem, a superhero must save “creativity” from a villain who is trying to eliminate it from the world.

The Middle School team said that “OM” has taught them to think outside of the box, be creative, practice teamwork, overcome fears, and get along with one another. They also said that the team must be committed to work countless hours brainstorming, writing scripts, creating original props, and making costumes for the competition. The coaches pointed out that there is also an administrative edge to the Middle School Odyssey of the Mind competition. The students must complete the paperwork entirely on their own that describes and supports the solution to their problem. Tyler Collinson guided her team through this time consuming process, dedicating many lunch periods to completing this task as she compiled the suggestions of her teammates.  

Ms. Kile and Ms. Obidienzo reported that as the team sat and waited for the results, they held their breath and crossed their fingers. When their fourth-place win was announced, they let out screams of excitement. Later, as the team reflected on their journey, the sixth-grade teammates exclaimed, “Let’s start working on next year's problem over the summer and let's have Tyler come back to be a student coach.”
“It is said that once the thrill of an Odyssey of the Mind tournament is experienced, it’s in your life forever,” the coaches expressed. “After all, Odyssey of the Mind is not just a journey you experience but it is a ‘way of life!’”

Long Beach Board of Ed. Celebrates the Arts

Long Beach Board of Ed. Celebrates the Arts Photo
The Long Beach Public Schools’ April Board of Education Meetings spotlighted the district’s art and music achievers. On April 6, All-County musicians representing the middle school and high school were commended, as were four students who performed at the Long Island Strings Festival Association concert. The April 20 gathering featured recognitions of students at all grade levels who have excelled in photography, visual arts and photojournalism.

At both meetings, parents, community members and the Board of Education watched proudly as Julia Lang-Shapiro, Director of Media, Visual & Performing Arts, presented select students with certificates.  The Long Beach schools consistently provide many opportunities for students to explore the arts and cultivate their talents. See below for the full list of honorees.

The April 6 meeting included a review of the proposed 2016-17 budget, which the community will vote upon on May 16. At the April 20 meeting, Director of Elementary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Sean Murray gave a detailed and informative presentation on Elementary Social Studies and Science Curriculum. He explained that the district has excelled in all phases of the integration of state standards and has created an environment of inquiry based learning and exciting experiences for all students.

Certificate Recipients:

Long Island String Festival Association: Sophia Elenson, Joshua Kapilian, Claire Ezratty, Jorge Romero

All County High School: Alec Chasin, Luc Esformes, Sam Miller, Joshua Kapilian, David Newman, Amanda Roman, Samantha Snow, Olivia DiResta, Mikayla Faria, Sophia Elenson, Jorge Romero, Michael Corsale, Harrison Phillips, Thomas Walsh, Logan Friedman

All County Middle School: Delphine Esformes, Chandler Rosenzweig, Justin Small, Jasmine Soriano, Liam White, Maryn Ascher, Aaron Conte, Louise Dattolico, Ava Lithgow, Jacob LoCascio, Isabella McCavera, Matthew O’Connor, Noah Robinson, Ryan Stout, Matthias Roth, Jonathan Wachs, Jordan Collinson, Natalie Lessard, Ashley Friedman

Art League of LI Go APE Exhibit Award of Excellence: Natalie Manzanilla

“My Perspective” Art Guild Juried Photo Exhibit: Phillip Persky

National Art Education Association Conference Presenters: Kristen Miciotta, Savannah Kile, Natalie Quintero, Bianca Hayes

Long Island’s Best Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum: Kristen Miciotta (Third-place overall winner), Daniella Bruzzone (Promising Young Artist Award winner), Maiya Abramson, Lea Jaffe, Lindsey Kranitz, Madison Murray

PFLI Annual HS Photography Contest: Jovanna Vicente (first place), Charles Mandell (third place)

Nassau Community College Honors Program 19th Annual Arts & Science Fair: Meilin Garfinkel (Best in Show for Art), Margaret O’Malley-Rebovich (Honorable Mention for Art) and James O-‘Connor (third-place)

Art Supervisor’s Association All County Art Show Elementary: Simaiyah Wardana, Zachary Scouten, Jacqueline Ching, Myla Sanchez, Allison Blanco Cruz, Christopher Mitchell, Alana Roscoe, Rihanna Bishun, Aidan Tarsia

Art Supervisor’s Association All County Art Show Middle School: Livia Casalaina, Ashley Friedman, Andrew Geller, Caroline Roser Dialma, Natalie Lessard, Arielle Nason, Cecile Lessard, Lucia Tomicick, Jhana Prue

Art Supervisor’s Association All County Art Show High School: Janeris Gonzalez, Nina Capofarri, Anna Xiao, Jaci Zitman, Julianne Jacobson, Shannon Gioia, Gabrielle Gravina, Rianna MacKay, Carmen Sabedra, Phoebe Keane, Grace Rosenberg, Ava Tassiello, Emily Tejeda-Postigo, Gabrielle Cerullo, Katherine Farrell, Angela Maure, Morgan Rubel, Kristen Miciotta

LB Elementary Team Wins at State Problem-Solving Contest

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Heads to World Level Tournament

Long Beach’s elementary school students have continued their longstanding success at the Odyssey of the Mind competitions, with two teams earning regional trophies, and one of those teams going on to finish in second-place at the state-level tournament.

Each team solved both spontaneous and long-term problems that comprised the competition. They practiced and prepared for the spontaneous portion, which required them to solve a newly presented problem on the spot, during weekend sessions led by parent volunteers.

As for the long-term component, the groups spent months working together after school in order to be ready for the event under the guidance of teachers Douglas Mac Connell and Justin Sulsky who coached the elementary Odyssey of the Mind teams.
The regional tournament was held at the Caroline Atkinson School in Freeport on March 18, 2017, and teams from all over Long Island competed. Long Beach’s elementary teams includes students from all four elementary schools. The state event took place on April 8, 2017, at Binghamton University.

Emily Backlin, Jack Clancy, Eldjima Djandabri-Holt, Samantha Feingold, Ruby Patton, Shayna Rivera and Sean Sarmuksnis placed second in both the regional and state tournaments. As a result of their success, they have qualified for World Finals, which will be held at Michigan State University in May. The team depicted how OMER inspired three artists -- Chen Hongshou, Rachel Ruysch, and an original team-created artist, Mr. Unknown, to complete three different pieces of art. The students recreated Plum Blossoms and Wild Bird and Still-Life with Fruit and Insects. They also created the original work Mr. Unknown's Garden.

Mia DiNardo, Orly Keynan, Laika Khan,Vincent Napolitano, Jack Passman and Zachary Scouton placed third regionally for their depiction of how a superhero saved creativity from a villain. In accordance with their problem requirements, they had a superhero, villain, and sidekick that blended in with society at times and revealed their powers at other times. They also included a choreographed battle and a cliffhanger ending!

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. It supports the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile traits that the district emphasizes throughout its curricula. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and other countries participate in the program.

LB Named a Best Community for Music Education for Seventh Year

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For the seventh time, the Long Beach Public Schools has been recognized by the NAMM Foundation as one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education.

This designation is granted to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

The BCME title indicates that Long Beach is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

More than 1,600 students participate in the district’s 36 bands, orchestras and choral ensembles. Long Beach High School presents students with further musical experiences such as guitar and IB Music courses, as well as the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Long Beach IB Students Conquer Advanced Research Topics Based on Scholarly Interests

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Senior year of high school is filled with many social milestones for students: prom, driver’s licenses, increased independence and fun with friends. For more than 60 Long Beach High School seniors, these traditional milestones co-exist with the demanding academic work of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. These IB Diploma candidates are completing the Extended Essay, a 4,000-word paper with topics which may sound like doctoral theses to those unfamiliar with IB.

Here is a sampling of the challenging topics that this year’s Long Beach IB Diploma candidates researched:

•    How is Kurt Vonnegut’s style effective for conveying the theme of religion as a means of control in “Cat’s Cradle?” - Jennifer Arnaud    
•    To what extent was anti-Semitism in the United States’ responsible for an ineffective response to the persecution of Jewish people from 1930 to 1945? - Eric Ricci
•    What is the comparison between the botanical diversity of artificially treated lawns to natural lawns using DNA barcoding? - Melissa Baldeo                

IB Diploma candidates are introduced to the Extended Essay process during their junior year and wrap it up by the midpoint of their senior year. With graduation on the horizon, each Class of 2017 Diploma Program candidate has successfully completed an essay that corresponds with one of their IB courses, such as Environmental Systems and Societies, English or Visual Arts.

Some of this year’s seniors chose to write papers related to their future aspirations. For Iain Wall, who researched artist Wassily Kandinsky, the experience supported his plans to study art in college by requiring him to analyze art techniques and describe them in depth. Kaitlyn Murphy, who discussed the effect of allusions in Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor &  Park,” shared that she is considering a career path in editing. After multiple visits to rural Mexico, Fey Villagomez, who plans to major in agricultural and biological engineering in college, chose to investigate the question “How does the addition of chitosan to a PVA based hydrogel affect the amount of iron and copper ions adsorbed from water?”

Other students took advantage of the opportunity that the Extended Essay offered to delve deeper into the IB program’s curriculum. Christian Jovel-Arias addressed the research question, “To what extent did ethnic superiority play a role in the Rape of Nanking?” after learning about the topic in his History of the Americas class. Cassidy Zawatson welcomed the chance to investigate the relationship between two areas that interest her – sports and politics – for her history essay, which involved the Olympic Games of the 1980s. Mashiyat Ahmed compared organic and conventional farming in her essay, after finding inspiration in previous research she conducted that investigated reversing the effects of global warming.
Students like Robert Del Prete (who investigated the question, “How do the characterization and conflicts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes shed light on Holmes’ spectrum disorder?”) saw the essay as a chance to combine their personal interests with their areas of IB study. Sam Miller incorporated his interest in the rock band Queen by analyzing the song “Bicycle Race” for its effects of rhythm, melody and harmony.

Reflecting on the past year’s work, the seniors shared some of the individual obstacles they encountered. Robert faced the logistical difficulties of narrowing the dozens of short stories he had read down to three for his essay. In addition, “[structuring his essay] was a long process that involved making each short story connect into one essay with common themes and organized thoughts.”  Fey discussed the challenges of modifying pieces of other procedures and determining how to carry them out in a high school laboratory setting. “It was a big learning process in figuring out what works,” she said.     
Completing this process requires persistent effort not only for these students, but for the team of faculty members who guide them through it. Each student is assigned a mentor: typically a teacher from the department that houses their subject area. They check in with them at different stages via email or during in-person meetings at school. “It’s a good way to involve teachers from different grade levels in the IB Diploma Program,” said Extended Essay Coordinator Toni Weiss.

Students are also encouraged to attend workshops that are held in the summer prior to their senior year. Led by Ms. Weiss and IB Coordinator Jennifer Quinn, these sessions are offered at the high school as well as the Long Beach Public Library as a way to further the research they began in their junior year and to kick off the composition stage of their essays.

In the final leg of their Extended Essay process, members of the Class of 2017 benefited from the district’s technology initiatives. Thanks to the efforts of the school’s library staff, their avenue of research expanded to include the invaluable Questia Schools database. Drafting their essays and sharing each stage with their mentors became even easier due to the students’ acquisition of Chromebooks, funded through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

Now, with this momentous journey behind them, the seniors are able to offer advice to younger peers who are just getting started. “Make yourself aware of what’s required and of certain guidelines,” said Cassidy. “It’s easier if you plan in the summer,” said Mashiyat, adding that students should “figure out a topic and start the research, [and then] make a skeleton outline with headings and subheadings.” When it comes to editing, Kaitlyn suggests, “Read your work aloud, especially in sections, so you’ll hear errors.”

The students in the IB Diploma Class of 2017 expressed gratitude for the experience of participating in such a significant project. Rather than viewing their senior year as “light” in academics, these students accepted the challenge of reading academic journals, analyzing documents and conducting research. They are well prepared to enter the next chapter of their academic careers. According to Ms. Quinn, “We expect great things from these students in the years ahead—they may well become the scholars and experts of the future!”  

Lights, camera, action! LBHS film students earn spotlight at festival

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Long Beach High School’s TV Studio Production students achieved strong success at the Locust Valley Film Festival, an annual event held at Locust Valley High School that provides students with an opportunity to showcase their films with the prospect of earning distinctions.

Fourteen schools were represented at this event. Of the 300 videos that were entered in the competition, 30 were created by Long Beach students. Nine of the Long Beach High School students’ films were granted finalist recognition – a title that only 60 submissions achieved – and two placed and were presented with awards.

Melody Moy took first place and a finalist designation in the Trailer category for her film, “Invisible.” A group piece titled “Kick Me Over,” developed by Gavin Byrne, Scott Powers, Max Scelfo and Katie Whelan, placed second and was named a finalist in the Music Video category. Other finalist honors were earned by Shaena Sennett for “Face Your Fears” and “Running On Empty,” both in the Drama category; Lea Jaffe, Jeannie Ripley-Grier and Carly Siegel for “Pay it Forward” in the PSA category;” Zach Farrell and Hanna Kagansky for “The End” in the PSA category;” Logan Kohn for “A Way Out” in the PSA category; and Sean Reilly and James O’Connor for their collaborative pieces in the Comedy category, “Spooky House” and “Work is Hell 2.”

The finalists’ works were shown before an audience of students and staff members, and were judged by a panel of experts. The film festival was established to provide high school students an opportunity to showcase their talents in film and video production.

Long Beach High School’s TV Studio Production students learn how to film and edit footage and have received numerous awards for their creative works and documentations of events. The classes are held in the digital media studio, which features professional-quality technology.

High scores for LBHS students on American Mathematics Competition

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Long Beach High School is pleased to congratulate two students who have excelled in the Mathematical Association of America’s American Mathematics Competitions for grades 10 and 12. Joshua Kapilian and Eric Ricci were recognized for their excellent performances on the AMC 10 and AMC 12, respectively.
Joshua, a sophomore, was top winner out of all Long Beach High School’s AMC 10 test-takers. Eric is a senior and was the school’s top winner for AMC 12.  

The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are both 25-question, 75-minute, multiple-choice examinations in high school mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills. According to the MAA, the AMC program positively impacts the analytical skills needed for future careers in an innovative society.

LB Science Research Students Win at Science Competitions

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Long Beach High School students have continued the Science Research Program’s historic success, again earning awards in competitions. Countless hours of research, experiments, analyses and many other steps resulted in outstanding results at the New York State Science and Engineering Fair, the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, and the Molloy College Science Fair.

Vinny Pagano won a NYSSEF first place award in the Mathematics category, a LISEF Honorable Mention in Mathematics, and the Mu Alpha Theta math awards (at both fairs!) for his project, Comparison of Multivariate and Lagrangian Interpolation. He compared two methods of interpolation and created a program that would generate functions to determine the most efficient interpolation method given a particular mathematical function.

At LISEF, Lauren Bulik and Emily McDonnell won third place in the Earth and Environmental Science category and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their project, Analyzing, Collecting and Studying Microplastics in Reynolds Channel. They found that there is a high concentration of microplastics – especially Styrofoam – in Reynolds Channel. They are currently developing a plan to further analyze the samples collected.

Lauren and Emily also earned recognition for their work at the Molloy event, as did Joshua Kapilian for his project, Creating a More Robust and Efficient Model of United States Airspace Control. He created a simulation to test aerospace in which planes flew from one destination to the next, and concluded that direct routing is more efficient.

The high school’s science research program is open to all students who wish to participate. It provides freshmen through seniors opportunities to engage in authentic scientific learning experiences and engage in the same level of work done by professional scientists.

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LBHS Photo Students Focus on Success

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Long Beach High School junior Jovanna Vicente and sophomore Charles Mandell received awards in the Photographic Federation of Long Island Youth Showcase competition. They were formally honored during a ceremony held on April 2 in Westbury. Jovanna won first place in two categories, and Charles earned a third place honor.

Jovanna’s top distinctions were achieved in the categories of Photojournalism-Prints and People/Animals–Prints for her pieces, “Rizal Boulevard” and “Girl in the Rain.” Charles was recognized in the category of Photojournalism-Digital for his “City Sounds” image.

Both students will now advance to the Photographic Society of America, an international contest.

Video: Redeemable recycling initiative at LBHS

Long Beach Celebrates Youth Art Month

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On Saturday, March 25, the Long Beach Public Schools held an artist's reception for the Youth Art Month show at the Magnolia Senior Center. The talent and creativity of Long Beach students is being spotlighted through 95 pieces of artwork that are on display. Senator Todd Kaminsky joined the students, parents, administrators and teachers for this celebration and presented the Department of Media, Visual and Performing Arts with a proclamation in honor of Youth Art Month.