Lindell students thank bus drivers

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Lindell Elementary School students recently expressed their appreciation to the bus drivers who get them to and from school safely. On Feb. 15, members of the Student Council and Safety Patrol led their peers in an effort to acknowledge the transportation staff.

Under the direction of Student Council advisor Jane Quinton, Student Council participants were joined by fifth-grade volunteers who help to ensure smooth arrival and dismissal times through their service on the safety patrol. The group encouraged all students to take a Vow of Silence, promising a quiet ride home on the bus.

Bus Driver Appreciation Day was a surprise for the drivers, who learned of the initiative upon their arrival at the end of the school day. Students greeted them with signs that they created prior to the event and provided small gifts including water bottles, tissue paper flowers, pop-up cards and treats wrapped in bus-themed paper.

LB Student-Faculty Basketball Game Supports EB Research

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On Feb. 15, Long Beach High School students and teachers faced off in the second annual Student-Faculty Basketball Game. The event was organized by students Kate Hanson, Lily Yoemans, Jennifer Stern, Monica Spinelli, Paris Rubin and Rachel Cheung for their Creativity, Activity and Service project through the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

The game served as a fundraiser for the EB Research Partnership, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing treatments and finding a cure for the rare and life-threatening condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa. The initiative was a great success, raising approximately $3,500 for EB and culminating in a 38-36 victory for the students.

March 2 BOE Work Session Canceled

East School’s first Founder’s Day a success

East School’s first Founder’s Day a success

East School in Long Beach celebrated its inaugural Founder’s Day event on Feb. 8. The event paid homage to the founders of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and included award presentations, student performances and remarks from organizers. It was held in conjunction with East’s 90th anniversary year and featured a 1920’s theme in honor of the building’s 1926 construction.

East’s Founder’s Day was attended by members of the district’s board of education, administration, staff and PTA. Senator Todd Kaminsky, an East graduate, came back to his former elementary school to support the initiative and district.

Principal Kathleen Connolly welcomed guests and discussed the significance of the event.

“Tonight is a celebration of how an amazing Parent Teacher Association can work and pull together as a team. Our school is filled tonight with staff and parents who willingly give up their time from their own families and who are dedicated to making East the best it can be for the children that attend,” she said.

East School PTA Co-Presidents Leah Enfield and Patrice Krzeminski shared the history of Founder’s Day to reflect on the individuals who took active roles in improving children’s lives.

The evening also included the presentation of the PTA Life Membership Awards to Ms. Krzeminski and AIS Reading Teacher Shari Steier. Former East Principal Ronni Reimel and current Central Council PTA Co-President Gerri Maquet were honored as past recipients of this distinction.

As a highlight to the event, fifth-grade band and chorus participants performed “When the Saints Come Marching in,” “Hard Rock Blues,” “1812 Overture” and “Dr. Jazz.” Students also demonstrated the Foxtrot, which they are practicing as part of the Dancing Classrooms program that will culminate with a special show in March. Attendees were offered 1920s-style headbands that students created under the guidance of teachers, and members of the high school’s National Honor Society provided free babysitting.

Founder’s Day was a collaborative effort that illustrated the sense of unity that is prevalent in Long Beach. Ms. Connolly and parent Sherri Fackler developed the idea to bring the event to East, and PTA Vice President of Membership Jennifer Ragona and parent Jaimie Calkin helped to coordinate it. A number of local restaurants and stores donated food, including Long Beach Bagel Café, East End Café, Himawari, Stop & Shop, Brixx & Barley, Mo’Nelisa, Sutton Place, Super Pollo, Whale’s Tale, Country Boy Bakery, Monarch Beverage and the Bungalow. Decorations were contributed by Verbena Designs and Shira Z Photography captured memories from the gathering.

East plans to make Founder’s Day an annual occasion and extends gratitude to all who played a role in making its introduction a success.




County Voters say "YES" to Nassau BOCES purchase of Carman Road School

 

By a vote of 2,184 to 223, Nassau County residents approved Nassau BOCES’ public vote to purchase the Carman Road School in Massapequa Park for $9 million. The results are unofficial until approved by the agency’s Board at its Thursday, February 16 meeting. Nassau BOCES has leased the school from the Massapequa Union Free School District since 1979, incurring an annual rental expense that was charged to all 56 component districts. Owning the building will eliminate that expense, nearly $900,000, in 2017-18 and in all subsequent years.  

 

“We would like to thank everyone who participated in this vote,” said Dr. Robert J. Dillon, Nassau BOCES District Superintendent. “Our purchase of the Carman Road School will provide long-term savings for our local school districts and a permanent home for a program that is critical to some of the most fragile students in Nassau County.”

The school serves medically fragile students who live with a range of disabilities. Many of the160 students began attending the school when they were just 3 years old and will stay in the program until they are 21.

The purchase will be made with funds in the Nassau BOCES Capital Fund that were set aside specifically for this purpose. No borrowing or debt service expense will be incurred so that the impact of the savings will be immediate.


Valentine’s Day Fundraiser Benefits Best Pals

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Students from Long Beach High School’s Life Skills program organized a Valentine’s Day fundraiser sale to support the Best Pals club. They sold heart balloons, necklaces and other festive treats and gifts. Best Pals was created to give students in the Life Skills class a way to make friends with students in the general population. Participants meet regularly for social activities and outings.

LBHS senior Alexandra Thursland named National Merit Finalist

LBHS senior Alexandra Thursland named National Merit Finalist
Long Beach High School is pleased to congratulate senior Alexandra (Ali) Thursland for earning the prominent distinction of National Merit Finalist through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Ali was named a semifinalist this past fall based on her Preliminary SAT scores, and advanced to the next level after meeting rigorous academic requirements and achieving outstanding SAT results.

An estimated 1.6 million students from across the nation entered this academic competition by taking the PSAT. Approximately 16,000 of them earned recognition as Finalists this year.

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.

Lindell’s Colonial Day Combines Core Subjects

Lindell’s Colonial Day Combines Core Subjects
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Fourth-graders at Long Beach’s Lindell Elementary School brought Colonial times into the 21st century with an exhibit of projects that incorporated literacy, technology, research and visual components. The building’s first Colonial Day event served as an opportunity for students to share the knowledge they have learned and engage with guests and each other.

Dressed in hats, bonnets, long dresses, vests and slacks, the students enthusiastically provided detailed descriptions of the Colonial period. They presented projects that centered on topics of their choice, some of which included Colonial daily life, transportation, games and toys, education, medicine, clothing, food and trade. Parents and guests from the district toured the informative, museum-like classroom settings.

The entire initiative aligned with a curricular unit on the Colonial period. The students spent approximately six weeks developing their work from start to finish, which involved extensive research in addition to classroom lessons. They utilized the building’s computer lab to create PowerPoints, formulated questions to generate conversations with the event’s attendees, and prepared display boards that contained written pieces, illustrations and images, and even props.

All of the projects were produced through inquiry-based learning. Students were required to conduct their studies with specific questions in mind, such as whether the Boston Tea Party was just, whether they would be a Patriot or a Loyalist, and many others.

"This is a great example of how we have integrated content area curriculum into our Nonfiction Units of Study,” said literacy coach Lauren Kaufman. “Literacy is infused into all academic areas. We have been working toward a more student-centered approach to learning."

LBMS students learn importance of internet safety

LBMS students learn importance of internet safety
Long Beach Middle School students gained insight about internet safety on Feb. 8, when each grade attended an assembly led by Police Officer and School Resource Officer Josh Groshans. The presentations equipped students in grades 6-8 with a greater awareness of proper internet protocol, as well as risks and consequences, and offered advice to support positive, appropriate and beneficial use of digital resources.
Groshans discussed social media, texting, apps and other topics related to the online world. He expressed that even when information and pictures seem limited to a private audience, they can quickly be shared through today’s technology and make their way into the public eye.

Students were informed of laws and the legal ramifications that internet misconduct can carry. Groshans reviewed news stories about teens that students could relate to and how they were impacted by social media and cyberbullying. He stressed the importance of speaking up if students witness something potentially harmful or dangerous.

“You need to tell us if you see something, so that we can help,” he said.

Digital citizenship was a large component of the presentation. Groshans explained it with the acronym THINK, which stands for True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind. He encouraged students to think, before sharing on the internet, about whether these words would accurately describe their post. He also discussed the four P’s; parents, police, principal (or college president) and peers, and asked the students to consider these individuals before posting online.

LBHS Theatre Department to Present Sister Act in March!

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LBHS Photo Students Showcase Work in Exhibits

LBHS Photo Students Showcase Work in Exhibits
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Three Long Beach High School students were selected to have their photography featured in distinguished exhibits. Senior Phillip Persky’s piece, “A Ride through the Park,” is on display at the Art Guild in Manhasset. Juniors Sarah Reznick and Jovanna Vincente will have their respective works, “Placid Lake” and “Window Reflections,” showcased at the New York State Art Teachers Association’s Legislative Exhibit in Albany.

All three students are currently enrolled in the high school’s Studio in Photo 2 class. Phillip earned his exhibit spot after entering the Art Guild’s “My Perspective” competition. Sarah’s and Jovanna’s photographs were submitted to the NYSATA and will be presented at the exhibit, to be held at the Legislative Office Building, between March 27-29. Legislators from across the state will have the opportunity to view the student artists’ work.

Islanders Inspire at East

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Long Beach students at East School learned valuable lessons about the power of teamwork during a visit from New York Islanders NHL team representatives. Joined by the team’s mascot, Sparky the Dragon, the guests led an inspirational presentation and encouraged their audience members to demonstrate good character and work hard in school.  

Every student received an Islanders folder and pencil, as well as a form to apply for two free tickets as part of the team’s Blades for Grades academic rewards program. Students must show that they have received an "A" or moved up a letter grade in a subject in order to earn complimentary tickets through the initiative.




LB TV student produces award-winning PSA video

LB TV student produces award-winning PSA video
Long Beach High School sophomore Melody Moy has earned a second place award in the Nassau County Drugs Alternative PSA Contest. A second-year Television Studio and Production student, Melody has developed the knowledge and technology skills necessary to create films that involve advanced techniques.

Melody’s PSA is titled, “Alone,” and portrays various stories that convey the detrimental impacts of drug use. It features a set of scenarios that illustrate the danger and isolation that substance abuse brings.

The contest was open to high school and college students, with the objective of helping to make Nassau County a drug-free community through education about addiction. As an award recipient, Melody is invited to a reception in March.   
    
Melody edited her film in the Television Studio and Production 2 class, where she utilized the high school’s computers, Final Cut Pro software and recording equipment. She is currently in the process of making her next film, which will be a movie trailer.

Pre-K Students Make Groundhog Day Guesses

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Are we in for a six more weeks of winter, or can we celebrate spring coming soon? Groundhog Day reports offered some insight on Thursday, Feb. 2 -- but pre-K students in the Long Beach Public Schools made early predictions as to whether or not the groundhog would see its shadow. They spent time learning about the day and read books and news articles about the tradition and its story. In Molly Drake’s class, the results of a vote revealed that nine students anticipate an early spring while six believe that the groundhog will emerge to find its shadow, which legend says indicates a longer winter. The students illustrated these numbers in a worksheet coloring activity.

Lindell Highlights Healthy Habits and Hearts

Lindell Highlights Healthy Habits and Hearts

In conjunction with American Heart Month, students at the Long Beach Public Schools’ Lindell Elementary School participated in a day of food, fruit and fitness on Feb. 3. Classes rotated an assortment of workshops and activities that were designed to support physical, mental and emotional wellness through aerobics, sports, relaxation techniques and health and safety lessons.

Lindell staff members and guest health professionals from the community led groups in yoga, kickboxing, dance, jump rope, Jiu-Jitsu, hula hoop, mind and body connection and volleyball sessions.

In an African Dance class, students performed a traditional welcome dance. The choreography was explained in ways that they were able to understand and remember. In kickboxing, students had opportunities to create their own combinations of the basic movements they practiced with their teachers.

The yoga workshops featured everything from high energy activities to breathing exercises. The poses were based on animals, which helped students make the connection between fitness and fun.

“I think it’s really getting us out and exercising more than we would on a regular day,” said student John Sofield. “The African Dance had patterns that helped us learn how to do it,” said Shane Ferrante.
Pediatricians Dr. Chow and Dr. Matt and Orthodontist Dr. Bitton presented about care and control of one’s mind and body. As another component to the day, students created Healthy Heart bookmarks as well as Healthy Heart Valentines, with coupons redeemable for healthy heart activities with family members.

The Food, Fruit and Fitness Fair is an annual event at Lindell that emphasizes the many ways that physical activity, positive choices and mindfulness are incorporated into the educational program throughout the school year.




NIKE Students Develop Business Skills Through Virtual Enterprise

NIKE Students Develop Business Skills Through Virtual Enterprise
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The Long Beach Public Schools’ NIKE Work-Based Learning Center introduced a new Virtual Enterprise program at the start of the 2016-17 school year. Those involved hit the ground running with their innovations and ideas, and achieved an Honorable Mention at the Long Island Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition and Trade Fair, held at SUNY Farmingdale on Feb. 17.

Virtual Enterprises International is a worldwide simulation of entrepreneurship and business for high school and college students that equips them with firsthand knowledge and experience that is applicable to the challenging corporate world. At this point, NIKE is the only alternative school involved at the local level, with a group that meets every school day for two periods. Thanks to the district’s relationship with SUNY Farmingdale and the Perkins Consortium, Long Beach’s participants are able to earn up to 15 college credits for a modest fee upon completion of the program.

The NIKE students are navigating the process of business development from start to finish; they brainstormed ideas for merchandise and companies, and eventually decided to focus on marketing premium, filtered, bottled water infused with fruits, vitamins and herbs. Putting a unique twist on the chemical name for water, the group named the product 02H, and created a logo, business plan, business cards and other forms of branding under the guidance of teachers Howard Fuchs and Joe Jerimias and teacher’s assistant Sadie Garone.

Seniors Leianna Alcock and Amber Santos hold the leadership roles of CEO and Vice President, respectively. They oversee and advise their team to ensure that all steps are taken and deadlines are met. “We came up with ideas to make our water different, and had to think about the competition of other waters being sold,” said Leianna. “We researched the background of water, the people who would be buying it and where it would be sold.”

Virtual Enterprise is student-driven and involves the same level of collaboration and teamwork that is necessary for an actual business to succeed. “We show the students concepts, but they figure things out and are accountable to each other,” said Mr. Fuchs. “They are realizing that this is fun and are becoming entrepreneurs who will have valuable skills right out of high school.”

Those involved are learning real-life finance and economics through the manufacturing and sales simulations, while at the same time enhancing their writing skills and creativity through the branding components. Attendance at the competitions also presents learning opportunities, as the students observe products from other schools and take note of strategies that yield the most positive outcomes. Next on the students’ agenda is a trade show in New York City in April, and they continue to fine-tune their work as they prepare for the upcoming event.

Playing a part in learning

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Long Beach’s East Elementary School participated in Global School Play Day, an initiative that classes all around the world took part in on Feb. 1. Research shows that play is important to healthy brain development as children engage and interact with their surroundings, use their creativity and imagination, and increase their physical, cognitive and emotional strength.

East students brought toys and games from home and shared them with classmates. They enjoyed board games, dolls, Legos, blocks, trucks, cars, racetracks, playing cards, empty cardboard boxes, markers, jigsaw puzzles, blankets (for forts) and social games. Classes reviewed different play scenarios such as deciding who goes first in a game, including everyone and what to do when someone is playing alone.

“As part of our Social Emotional Learning Program, (SEL) East School recognizes the value that play has in and out of the classroom setting,” said East School Principal Kathleen Connolly.

Teachers provided students with simple ‘play rules’ that would enable them to socialize with their peers in activities that they enjoyed. Staff members maintained data on how students participated, communicated, shared and were able to join groups with different peers. In addition, the students assessed their own ability in regards to how well they got along with classmates, shared materials, followed directions and were able to problem-solve during play.

LB Chromebook plan moves forward, approved for Smart Schools Bond Act funding

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The Long Beach Public Schools is excited to announce the approval of its one-to-one technology initiative for funding under the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act. During the first two weeks in February, each student in Long Beach Middle School and Long Beach High School received a Chromebook through this plan. Support from Senator Todd Kaminsky’s office also aided in the acquirement of devices.

For the district’s sixth- through 12th-graders, this means the Chromebook will be theirs to use for the duration of the school year. The devices enable them to access a whole world of new educational opportunities. Instead of reading about the Mona Lisa, students will be able to see it through a virtual tour of the Louvre. Texts about the great pyramids will be enhanced by a visit to the structures through Google Earth. Video chats with NASA scientists will enable students to be part of space exploration firsthand, and electronic mathematical simulations will help them to visualize complex equations.

Chromebooks also accommodate Google Classroom, a platform that allows students and teachers to collaborate on work and edit in real time and improves communications between teachers and parents.

Staff members at both the middle school and high school have been engaged in professional learning about Google Classroom and other electronic resources, and are eager to expand upon the unique, interactive opportunities for instruction.

Elementary students will also soon see an increase in computer devices in their classrooms and a greater linkage of technology tools to the literacy, math, science and social studies standards.

 “The technology initiative is just one part of the Long Beach Public Schools’ ongoing commitment to provide up-to-date, rigorous, student-centered instruction across content areas and grade levels,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Jennifer Gallagher. “It is designed to prepare our students for the dynamic and ever-changing world of college and careers in the 21st century.”

Morning Madness Fashion Show Supports Safe Post-Prom Celebration

Morning Madness Fashion Show Supports Safe Post-Prom Celebration

Long Beach High School’s auditorium stage was the setting for fancy formalwear on Jan. 31, when students stepped on stage as models in the Morning Madness Fashion Show. This annual fundraiser, organized by the Parent Teacher Student Association, is in its 26th year of supporting the substance-free Morning Madness post-prom celebration.

Morning Madness provides a safe and festive opportunity for seniors to enjoy the final hours of their prom night together at Dave and Busters of Westbury. Every year, students look forward to entering raffles that have become known to provide extraordinary prizes.

The fashion show was a collaborative effort that involved many classes, clubs, departments and staff members in the district. From fashion details to technological features and behind-the-scenes set-up, members of the Long Beach Public Schools and community came together to present another memorable, five-star event.

Members of the high school’s National Honor Society assisted volunteers from the PTSA and Morning Madness Committee. DollFace Cosmetics and Bonnie Stern from Mary Kay helped to get the students runway-ready, Maria Perrone worked with them on choreography and Adriane Glassberg served as model coordinator. The jazz band, under the direction of Marino Bragino, presented musical entertainment in the commons as guests entered the building. Food for the students was provided by Brixx and Barley.

Masters of ceremonies Kristen Abbott, Peter Mcquade, Sean Reilly and Bridget Van Well announced the models and described their attire. Gowns and tuxedos were provided courtesy of Sniders Formal Wear of Oceanside, Bridal Reflections of Massapequa and Carle Place and the Dessy Group of New York City.

This occasion is just one of the many efforts that the PTSA coordinates to make Morning Madness possible, and the group is still working toward its goal. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or making a donation can contact Morning Madness Committee Co-Chair AnnMarie Scandole at amscandole@optonline.net

Surfing samurai visits Lindell

Surfing samurai visits Lindell
Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from the Long Beach Public Schools’ Lindell Elementary School were treated to an inspiring presentation about perseverance and possibility thanks to Dylan Hronec, alternatively known as the Surfing Samurai. On Friday, Jan. 20, Hronec shared his story with an enthused audience in the Lindell auditorium.

Like many Long Islanders, Hronec finds solace in the oceans off of Long Beach. As a surfer with cerebral palsy, he is proof that people can discover passions and find something positive by taking on challenges and facing fears. The Surfing Samurai shared his story with Lindell students and offered encouragement. He stressed that in the water, he was the same as everyone else despite his disability.
 
Hronec has been featured in several news segments, one of which was shown at the assembly. Following his remarks, students asked the Surfing Samurai questions about his experiences.

West’s Family Matters Program provides skills that will go a long way

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West Elementary School supports social emotional learning, a subject that is emphasized throughout the district, with a program entitled “Family Matters.” The initiative began in 1999 under the name, “School Families,” and has evolved from a mentor program to one that includes a gratitude and growth mindset. Every Day 6, students and staff members partake in specialized activities and lessons that incorporate social and emotional values.

Family Matters events encourage students to be aware of their own feelings, as well as the feelings of others. The sessions also provide techniques that help reduce anxiety and negative thoughts by teaching students to manage their minds and emotions positively and stay in the moment. While some workshops are held as class activities, others involve “partner families” where different age groups pair up to learn from one another and develop new bonds.

Most recently, on Jan. 23, all kindergarten through fifth-grade classes viewed a video on mindfulness, engaged in group discussions and participated in a guided meditation exercise. They practiced a strategy called pause, breathe, smile, which is used to improve focus and let go of stress, and reviewed words such as calmness, attention and awareness.
Students visualized their favorite places and were conscious of their breathing and senses while they relaxed and listened to their teachers’ prompts. Afterwards, they created illustrations based on their experiences and shared reflections with classmates. An assortment of “favorite places” ranged from vacation destinations to family members’ homes, from sports arenas to theme parks.

“Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help focus our students and help them to be present where they are,” said teacher-in-charge Donna Fee. “Mindfulness also helps children develop kindness and curiosity, and improves their ability to focus on one thing at a time while supporting social and emotional wellbeing.”

Other Family Matters activities held this school year have concentrated on breathing variations, other visualization and meditation exercises, kindness, acceptance and making a difference. The initiatives often tie in with current events and themes. Prior to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, activities and conversations were dedicated to diversity and appreciating people for their uniqueness. During the holiday season, students explored traditions and the common values that exist regardless of how a person celebrates. West will continue this program with many more sessions in the upcoming months.

Long Beach Science Research Students Contribute to International DNA Studies

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A novel DNA sequence that Long Beach High School seniors and International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates Savannah Kile and Leah Shokrian identified through their participation in the school’s Science Research program and via the Barcode Long Island program through Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center, was published to the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s international database, GenBank. The students were the first researchers to record a partial sequence for the Pleurogonius malaclemys isolate DNAS-104-145386 18S ribosomal RNA gene, and as an outcome of their explorations, scientists around the world now have access to their discoveries.

For three years of their high school careers, Savannah and Leah spent countless hours observing and analyzing Pleurogonius malaclemys, a parasite that often forms cysts on its hosts. The students learned about the parasites and turtles in consultation with two Hofstra University professors, Dr. Russell Burke and Dr. Jason Williams. The students investigated the infection rate of mud snails in the tidal wetland located on the campus of Long Beach High School. This trematode species relies on two hosts – turtles and snails, in this case –  in order to complete its life cycle.

Specifically, the hosts for the Pleurogonius malaclemys are diamondback terrapin turtles and mud snails, formally known by the corresponding names of Malaclemys terrapin and Ilyanassa obsoleta. “Because the parasite is a trematode, its presence on one of the hosts indicates that the other is nearby,” said Leah.  

Mud snails are abundant, often found in quantities of hundreds or even thousands in marshlands, ponds, and other wetlands. Diamondback terrapin turtle numbers are known to be declining and there is a need for more data regarding their population ecology. Therefore, as Leah and Savannah explained, presence of the parasitic cyst on snails likely means that the turtles are in the area as well, and measures can be taken to preserve their habitats and enforce efforts to protect their nests.

Leah and Savannah collected snails in sites local to western Long Island, including the Long Beach High School pond, and studied them for cysts in the building’s science lab under dissecting microscopes. While conducting their research, they realized a positive correlation between the size of the snails and presence of the parasite. This enabled the students to work more efficiently by narrowing their selection pool from hundreds of snails down to those that were most likely to be infected. “We knew that if larger snails were not infected with the parasite, it was most likely not going to be found at that location,” said Savannah.

Leah and Savannah took their research even further by conducting DNA barcoding of the cysts, which confirmed the identify that their samples were Pleurogonius malaclemys and now their sequences can used by others to identify the parasite species based on any life history stage. The in-depth barcoding technique allowed students to isolate the parasitic DNA and sequence a specific region of the 18s ribosomal RNA gene, which can be used to potentially identify a species when aligned to available sequence information on GenBank.

DNA barcoding is a relatively new innovation developed by Paul Hebert, a researcher at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, in 2003. Recently, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center developed a student driven DNA barcoding research program, Barcode Long Island, through funding provided by an NIH SEPA grant to work with Long Island schools and explore and map Long Island’s biodiversity. This project includes the potential for students to discover unpublished organismal DNA barcodes, or “novel sequences,” which students can in turn publish to GenBank after taxonomic identification of the organism by professionals in the field.  This is the third year that the program has been underway, and Long Beach was one of the first high schools to become involved.

“Taxonomy, especially of smaller organisms, has traditionally been done by specialized experts,” said Long Beach High School science teacher Cody Onufrock. “DNA barcoding allows people to study biodiversity on a much more sophisticated level than ever before. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center and local students are building a database of life.”
DNA sequences are stored in the GenBank database with the objective of providing scientists with a way to obtain genetic information about a species that they are studying, or to act as a “barcode” which can be matched by a researcher with a found sequence; this allows for ID without the need of a specialized taxonomist. Leah and Savannah found no record of a precise match for the Pleurogonius malaclemys in this system, but they did discover evidence that it was related to other parasites in the trematode class. The pair moved forward in uncovering their sequence and making it available to researchers worldwide.

Manipulating the obtained snail parasite to obtain desired DNA and determine the sequence involved many steps. First, the students identified which part of the snail would yield veritable findings. They recognized that the operculum, or foot of the snail, is a protein, therefore not comprised of DNA. “We removed the operculum that contained the cyst so none of the snail’s DNA would be included, only the trematode’s,” said Savannah. She and Leah then ground the cysts in a lysis solution to extract DNA from the cells and put their samples through a number of subsequent DNA isolation and purification phases. They made use of a trematode primer and PCR thermal cycler, which amplified the target DNA sequence and created millions of copies of the 18s rRNA gene.

Through a process known as gel electrophoresis, Leah and Savannah ran their samples through a gel that separates DNA molecules by size and allows for visualization of amplified DNA strands, and thus confirms that the preceding actions to obtain DNA were successful. The students replicated the DNA barcoding protocol three times to confirm their results. The amplified DNA was converted into base pairs at a sequencing facility and translated into text form. Dr. Diana Padilla from Stony Brook University conducted the taxonomic identification of the parasite. The students then used bioinformatics software tools to analyze their results and connect with GenBank.

After a year-and-a-half-long process of submitting their results and securing approval, Leah and Savannah’s work was published in GenBank this December. “The benefit is that this will come up as a match for anyone studying the Pleurogonius malaclemys Trematode,” said Savannah.

 “This is a professional-level accomplishment for two high school students,” said Director of STEM 6-12 Deborah Lovrich.




LB LARC Students Excel in WordMaters Challenge

LB LARC Students Excel in WordMaters Challenge
Two students representing Long Beach LARC have received perfect scores in the first of three meets for this year’s WordMasters Challenge™—a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually.

Fifth-grader Hunter Stadtman and fourth-grader Ronin Rugolsky each earned perfect scores of 20 in the recent meet. Only 52 fifth-graders and 12 fourth-graders achieved these results out of over 12,000 students across the nation.

Long Beach LARC fifth-graders Michael Rossi, Gabriel Klarikaitis and Dean Parenti and third-graders Luke Morita and Catherine Maguire also received outstanding results in the first meet. The students were coached 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.  

LARC, which stands for Learning Activities to Raise Creativity, is the district’s gifted and talented program that focuses on goals related to critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and group process. Students are taught based on inquiry and essential questions, and participate in a number of competitions and events such as the WordMasters challenge each year.  

LBHS photo student takes national win

LBHS photo student takes national win
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Long Beach High School senior Cindy Reyes won second place in the Landscape category at the national Photographic Society of America competition. Her award-worthy photograph is titled “City Lights,” and was taken at Wollman Rink in New York City.

Cindy first received second place recognition in the Scapes category of the local Photographic Federation of Long Island, an achievement that advanced her to the national level. She is among only four students from Long Island who reached this stage of the contest. Cindy is currently in the Studio in Photo 3 class and previously completed Studio in Photo 2.

Outstanding Physical Education Students

 Physical Education Students
Long Beach High School seniors Megan Sofield and Shane Morris were named Outstanding Physical Education Students by the Nassau Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Two students from each Nassau County high school were selected for this honor based on their ability to demonstrate understanding of the New York State Learning Standards for Health and Physical Education.
 
Both athletes exhibit physically active lifestyles, demonstrate responsible behavior, serve as leaders and positive influences, value healthy lifestyles and lifelong learning, perform exceptionally in physical education classes and achieved high levels of fitness on a test.

Megan is a three-sport athlete and has participated on the varsity lacrosse, varsity swim and varsity indoor track teams, and holds four All-County and several County Qualifier titles for swimming. She also works as a Long Beach lifeguard and was a Scholar-Artist nominee for dance.

Shane is on the swim and lacrosse teams and achieved Most Valuable Player and All Long Island titles for swimming and All Conference status for lacrosse. He signed a letter of intent to participate on the swimming and diving team at Binghamton University.


Math success multiplies at LBMS

Math success multiplies at LBMS
Long Beach Middle School is pleased to congratulate four students who have excelled in the Grade 8 American Mathematics Competition. Maya Arengo, Uma Arengo, Brady Romano and Alexandra Wiesendanger were recognized for their distinguished performance on this exam, presented by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).
 
Uma, an eighth-grader, took first place and earned a Gold Award; an achievement that indicates her to be within the top 5 percent of nationwide AMC 8 test-takers. Brady and Alexandra are in the sixth grade and competed against students up to two years older. They demonstrated excellent mathematics skills as second place winners of Silver Awards. Eighth-grade student Maya Arengo placed third and was named winner of a Bronze Award.

Thousands of students across the country apply their problem solving-skills in the 25-question, 40-minute, multiple-choice examination in middle school mathematics each year. More than 130,000 students from more than 2,000 schools participated in the 2016 AMC 8. According to the MAA, the AMC 8 provides an opportunity for middle school students to develop positive attitudes towards analytical thinking and mathematics that can assist in future careers.

#YouMatterLBMS Day Has Positive Messages for All

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Long Beach Middle School ran a program called #YouMatterLBMS on Dec. 17. The program, which supported the district’s social emotional learning principles, focused on the importance of positive behaviors and the prevention of bullying.

As the day began, all classes viewed an encouraging video created by Long Beach Middle School staff members who shared some of the countless reasons students should know and believe that they matter. The segment can be viewed on YouTube via the link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhW2L5qFyoQ.

Activities organized by the Guidance and Pupil Personnel Services departments were held during lunch periods. Students filled out “You matter because” cards with kind reflections about others. The cards were affixed to a LBMS #YouMatter banner displayed in the hallway so that students will always have a place to see reminders of their many positive qualities and sentiments about why they should appreciate themselves as individuals. The banner was created by art students and features an ocean theme.

Throughout the day, brief announcements were broadcast over the loudspeakers to provide continuous facts about the event’s importance.

LBHS coat drive brings community warmth and connection

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Long Beach High School junior Danielle Breen organized a coat drive in December through her involvement in the Key Club, with support from students and teachers. The initiative was named, “Unzip Your Hearts,” and provided coat donations to the Long Beach Martin Luther King Center, Inc. to help keep others warm this winter.

“I felt excited that I was giving back to my community, but it turned out to be much more than that,” Danielle said. “Seeing people I have never met and my close friends donating coats to the coat drive I organized was an emotional and joyful experience. I never imagined how inspirational this whole project was.” She noted that the inspiration continued when she met the MLK Center’s Board of Directors Chair, James Hodge, and witnessed his devotion to the center and people of Long Beach while delivering the coats.  

Many generous individuals contributed coats to this effort, and one even included a note. “That coat made me realize that there are so many people out there that care and how important giving back to the community really is,” said Danielle.

Ancient Egypt Comes to Life in LBMS Library

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Long Beach Middle School’s sixth-grade social studies department showcased its annual Ancient Egypt Museum in the building’s library. Students conducted research, selected topics that were of specific interest to them and collaborated with classmates to develop projects that featured various aspects of ancient Egypt.

Each project involved a book component for which students demonstrated their knowledge of the subject matter through writing and illustrations. They also created displays and presented details about their studies to those who visited their galleries for a museum walk.

Among the featured themes were the pyramids, papyrus, afterlife, gods and goddesses, hieroglyphics and the mummification process.

Chess at West builds critical and creative thinking

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Students at West Elementary School in Long Beach experienced the game of chess in an interesting and entertaining light on Dec. 12. Joe Miccio, a retired New York City firefighter who invented the award-winning QuickChess game, visited fourth-graders and shared his child-friendly variation of the traditional design.

QuickChess features a smaller board and fewer pieces but follows the concept of the original game. It also comes with numerous introductory activities such as “Power Pawns,” “King’s Conquest” and “Raging Rooks” that help players become familiar with the components and rules.
Miccio provided an engaging presentation that taught the magic and challenges of chess in a creative way that the fourth-graders were able to quickly grasp. He demonstrated the movements of pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, kings and queens by inviting student volunteers up to play the roles of these pieces. He also walked them through different exercises using the board.

Students were excited to strategize their next moves, as they took on their classmates in friendly competitions. They learned through trial and error and made use of problem solving skills as they thought ahead about how to approach various challenges.

“When you see kids pick up a chess piece and their minds engage, it’s rewarding,” Miccio said. “It really is a great game to develop critical thinking.”  
Miccio donated several sets of QuickChess to West, so that students can continue to practice and improve in a game that keeps their minds sharp.

Winter 2016-17 Saturday Morning Enrichment Information

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