East Elementary School
In the News...
Paws for a Cause
Students in grades 1-5 at East School in Long Beach put their feet to good use when they participated in a walkathon to raise money and awareness for the Rescue Inc. animal shelter in Long Beach. The walkathon, which was organized by the student government, was aptly named Paws for a Good Cause. In addition to the money they collected, which totaled over $1,000, students also collected pet supplies for the shelter. Students worked under the guidance of student government advisor Tamara Grosso.
“The suggestion to raise money for this organization was brought to the Student Government by two fifth grade students,’ said Grosso. “The student government, in turn, came up with ideas to raise funds and finally decided on a walkathon. It was a perfect example of how a student government should function; members listen to the student body and discuss solutions to issues as brought forth.”
Proud Fifth Graders Promoted
Fifth-graders all around the district looked
back with nostalgia and ahead with confidence as they attended promotion
ceremonies marking their successful completion of elementary school.
The ceremonies included fond recollections of shared experiences and
lessons learned along the way, musical performances and slideshows.
Recognition awards were given to students for their individual
accomplishments, followed by the presentation of promotion certificates.
Each school had its own theme: East School celebrated a “Bucket Full of
Wishes,” West School students were “Rocking on Toward The Future,”
Lindell’s theme was “Looking Forward” and Lido School chose Dr. Seuss’s
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”
School Board President Dr. Dennis Ryan reminded students about the
importance of being wrong. “Too often in school the emphasis is about
being right. It’s important to learn from your mistakes and admit when
you are wrong. A little humility is good.”
Superintendent of Schools David Weiss described school years as a
journey full of obstacles to overcome. “It’s a long trip full of
hurdles, potholes and rivers to cross. Today is a day to look back and
see how far you’ve come, take a deep breath and prepare for the next leg
of your expedition. Use the summer well -- stay in shape, read and
explore new things. And remember to stay safe. When you are riding your
bikes and skateboards, always wear a helmet.”
Character Education Celebration
One of the Long Beach City School District’s key
educational goals is to support social and emotional learning and
development by creating a school culture where trustworthiness, respect,
responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship thrive. After using
these six pillars of character as their guiding principles throughout
the year, students took time to reflect on all they had learned during
the district’s annual Character Education Celebration.
Lindell School held a Habits of the Heart Pageant. Each grade chose a
different pillar to highlight, creating posters and writing essays that
highlighted the meaning of the trait. In keeping with the pageant theme,
each grade also crowned one special teacher as a representative for one
of the six pillars.
At West School’s Character Rocks Concert, students gathered together to
celebrate the six pillars with a karaoke-style sing-along.
Representatives from each grade recited inspirational words that
expressed their sentiments about good character. They concluded the
celebration with a slide show chronicling the school’s recent
multicultural day, which was a celebration of diversity and the
commonalities we share with other people around the globe.
The Lido School Chorus performed at a character education assembly,
singing “I Make My Own Sunshine,” “Reach,” and “You Can’t Stop the
Beat.” The songs reflected the school’s philosophy that all children are
valued. The entire student body embraced the music as a celebration of
the school’s character education mission.
At East School, students spoke about the lessons they had learned on
what it means to be a “bucket filler,” which is a metaphor for
encouraging kind and considerate behavior. Each class appointed
representatives to recite examples of what it means to be a bucket
filler. They encouraged their fellow classmates to speak up when someone
is being bullied, help and encourage others, be a great friend, be
helpful, share and help those in need.
Long Beach WordMasters Place Fourth in Nation
Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the
WordMasters Challenge, a team of Long Beach third graders placed fourth
in the nation in the year-end cumulative standings among 520 school
teams participating at this grade level and division. Third grade team
members were Uma Arengo, Tyler Collinson, Francesca Macchia, Aadhi
Murugaverl, Maia Perez, Jude Pizzone, Elias Richter, Violet Schnabel,
Jasmine Soriano and Lucia Tomicick.
In addition, third graders Uma Arengo, Delphine Esformes, Giselle
Fernandez, Francesca Macchia, Aadhi Murugaverl, Maia Perez, Jude
Pizzone, Elias Richter, Mathias Roth and Lucia Tomicick tied for third
place in the nation in the year’s final meet.
Fourth graders Audrey Cozine, Lauren Crotty, Meilin Garfinkel, Arjun
Gupta, Hayden Henry, Elizabeth Kelly, Jack Libasci, Alex Melconian, Evan
Michaels and Erik Roll tied for sixth place in the nation in the year’s
final meet among 698 competing teams.
In addition, nine elementary students won highest honors for individual
achievement in the year’s final meet. Third grader Uma Arengo, Giselle
Fernandez, Maia Perez and Jude Pizzone; fourth graders Hayden Henry and
Evan Michaels and fifth graders Sabrina Eager and Hannah Zelinger all
earned perfect scores in this meet, while nationwide only 113 third
graders, 55 fourth graders and 131 fifth graders did so.
The students participated in the competition through the Long Beach
Public Schools Learning Activities to Raise Creativity (LARC) program,
under the direction of LARC teachers Beverlee Bertinetti and Caitlin
At the middle school level, sixth grader Blaise Derenze also received a
perfect score in the year’s final meet, a distinction earned by only 110
sixth graders in the nation. Derenze participated in the competition
through the middle school’s Activities Promoting Thinking program, under
the direction of teacher Lorraine Radice.
The WordMasters Challenge is a national language arts competition that
challenges students to think analytically and metaphorically to complete
word analogies expressing various kinds of relationships.
Math and Science Fairs
Elementary schools in the Long Beach School
District recently hosted events celebrating the wonders of math and
At the Lindell School Third Grade Math Fair, students introduced their
parents to the magic of math using calculators, dice, Smart Boards and
playing cards to demonstrate their ability to manipulate numbers.
Meanwhile, fourth graders were busy creating research projects that
enhanced their knowledge of the scientific method, including a question,
hypothesis, list of materials, procedure, data and conclusion for each
The entire student body at Lido School participated in the MST Fair,
showcasing their knowledge of math, science and technology with projects
that explored topics as varied as ecosystems, magnets, the human body,
galactic travel, food chains, buoyancy and more.
Students at East School received a visit from John Hinton, math
professor at LIU CW Post and publisher of Math Matters, a national
journal of math games for elementary and middle school teachers.
Professor Hinton engaged students in activities such as “Order in the
House,” a game in which students were asked to roll dice, add the
numbers, and use their reasoning skills to try to place the sums in
order from least to greatest. Student were also intrigued by a guessing
game called “Join the Club,” in which they were invited into Professor
Hinton’s club when they were able to surmise the number pattern and
guess the next number in a given sequence.
Athletes from the Long Beach Public Schools began
training in March for the Special Olympics Spring Games, which were
hosted this year by Huntington High School and Connetquot High School.
The committed athletes practiced weekly for a variety of challenging
track and field events. Athletes Charles Butler, Alan Evangelista,
Robert Greengus, Sophie Hoffman, Anthony Hug, Matthew Karasin, Keegan
McCarthy, Max McCarthy, Jett McKevitt, Emanuel Muniz and Madeline
Sipperley represented the Long Beach Schools with spirit and pride.
Coaches Stacey Durnan and Stephanie Esposito, along with teacher
assistants Aileen Monahan, Justin Salorio and Jean Golia, prepared the
students for the various events. The athletes competed in the 50-meter
dash, running long jump and softball throw. In addition to learning the
skills necessary to compete in these events, the athletes also practiced
teamwork and perseverance. High school student volunteers Stephania
Flores, Ashley Arjune, Cathryna Hughes, Rachel Moehlehoff, Jillian
Bailey, Kelly Dublynn and Vincent Pasqua proved to be positive role
models throughout the training process. They assisted the athletes
during warm-ups, practice and on the day of the event.
“Our determined athletes took home several gold, silver and bronze
medals,” said Ms. Durnan. “It was evident on the day of the event that
athletes understood the meaning of the Special Olympics mantra, which
states, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the
attempt!’ All those involved were impressed to see Long Beach’s Special
Olympians put forth effort, determination and passion to achieve their
District Art Show
The commons area of Long Beach High School was
transformed into an art gallery for Long Beach Public Schools’ sixth
annual District Art Show on May 18-19. The special weekend exhibit
included more than 700 paintings, photographs, prints, three-dimensional
pieces, ceramics, graphic art pieces, drawings and fashion designs, all
created by students in grades K-12. A number of pieces by high school
students that have won awards at juried art shows around the county were
on display, along with works created by the district’s 30 All-County
Senior Ambrose Plante opened the festivities on Friday evening with a
classical guitar performance, setting an elegant mood for visitors as
they viewed the artwork.
Dance Competition Winners
Teams of fifth graders from East and West Schools finished second and
third, respectively, in the first-ever Dancing Classrooms Long Island
Festival & Colors of the Rainbow Team Match. The ballroom dancing
competition took place on Sunday, April 29 at Sachem High School North
in Lake Ronkonkoma.
The East School team of Emily McDonnell, Javonte Neals, Jade Burkes,
Marquial Charles, Jessica Guadagnino, Aidan Kennedy, Emma McGovern,
Natalie Goggin, Giovanni Mangiafreno, Luis Garcia Portillo, Jasmin
Johnson and Alec Chasin practiced under the coaching supervision of
teacher-in-charge Sharon Weiss and music teacher Michele Bennett. The
West School team of Mia Enright, Dane Ceniceros, George Weisendanger,
Fiona Eramo, Emily Nazitsky-Piernick, Cory Eisel, Leila Bouchal, Lauren
Bulik, John Whelan, Emma Herbert, Nicholas Guido and Joseph Carr were
coached by school social worker Deb Bernardino and teacher Eileen
Dancing Classrooms is an innovative character education program that
encourages students to cultivate mutual respect, collaboration and
self-esteem through ballroom dancing. In the process, students also
learn to do a mean tango, foxtrot and waltz. Earlier in the year, the
entire fifth grade at East and West Schools completed ten weeks of
classes through a Dancing Classrooms residency. The festival gave these
students the opportunity to come together with other Nassau and Suffolk
school communities in a display of elegance, partnership and civility
that paid tribute to the invaluable life lessons the participants have
acquired through Dancing Classrooms.
“Students have become more poised and confident because of their
participation in this program,” noted Ms. Weiss. “Dancing together has
helped them become more mature about interacting with one another,”
added Ms. Bennett. “It is rewarding to see students interacting with
their peers with respect and courtesy.”
Each participating school sent a team of students as its representatives
in the competition. The team selection process was threefold: a
combination of student, teaching artist and classroom teacher
nominations. Students were nominated based on their ability to
demonstrate the Dancing Classrooms values of honor, respect, acceptance
and self-confidence, as well as a passion for social dance.
This festive affair included the Colors of the Rainbow Team Match competition (as seen in the film Mad Hot Ballroom
a special dance exhibition of Dancing Classrooms’ eighth-grade
syllabus, performances by special guests, and selected readings and
artwork created by Dancing Classrooms students. Video footage from this
event will be featured in an upcoming documentary on Dancing Classrooms
Fashion Show Benefits Camp Fund
Staff and parents of East School hosted their second annual Spring into Style Fashion Show at Grillfire in Long Beach, raising over $4,000 to benefit the East School Children’s Need Fund. The fund was established several years ago to help provide camp programs for children in need. Over the years, the program has expanded to provide eyeglasses, school supplies, money for class trips and more.
Sporting the latest spring fashions from Long Beach’s own Pinup Clothing Boutique and NY Threads, teachers, staff members, parents and spouses drew the applause of an appreciative crowd as they made their modeling debuts. Central Council PTA President Gerri Maquet (a.k.a. DJ Jazzigerri) was the master of ceremonies, announcing each model’s entrance with a personal flair. Jewelry was provided by Cookie Lee, hair by Salon Due Mila, and make-up by Lisa Baruch of Doll Face Cosmetics. Raffle prize drawings completed the festivities. Donations were gratefully accepted from dozens of local merchants.
“We would like to express our gratitude to teacher-in-charge Sharon Weiss, who organized the event, and to everyone who worked with her to make this evening such a success,” said East School PTA Co-Presidents Lisa Langston and Nora Roth. “We are also extremely grateful to all of the local merchants who were so generous in their support of this worthy cause.”
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the East School Children’s Need Fund may contact East School social worker Jacqueline Agresta at 516-897-2184.
Long Beach School District Named a Best Community for Music Education Second Year in a Row
The Long Beach City School District was one of 166
school districts across the country and 17 on Long Island to be
recognized as a Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM
Foundation. On April 17, the NAMM Foundation announced the results of
its 13th annual Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) survey,
which acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their
commitment to and support for music education in schools. This is the
second year in a row that the Long Beach City School District has earned
The BCME survey is a nationwide search for communities whose programs
exemplify a strong commitment to music education. Established in 1999,
BCME recognizes and celebrates schools, their administrators, teachers,
board members, parents and students for their support of music education
and their efforts to ensure access to all students as part of the core
Each school receiving the “Best Communities” designation scored in the
80th percentile or higher in the survey’s grading process. Participants
in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation
requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities,
support for the music program, and other relevant factors in their
communities’ music education programs. The responses were verified with
district officials and the data was reviewed by advisory organizations.
The 2011 survey was conducted in collaboration with the Institute for
Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an
affiliate of the University of Kansas.
More than 1,600 students participate in the Long Beach School District’s
36 bands, orchestras and choral ensembles. Students in grades 5-12
participate in All-State, All-County, LISFA and NYSSMA festivals. In
2011-2012, four students earned All-State honors, 54 were named
All-County musicians, and seven were chosen to perform at the Long
Island String Festival. The High School Marching Band participates every
year in the Newsday Marching Band Festival held at Hofstra University.
Long Beach High School is one of only a handful of schools on Long
Island that offers a guitar class as part of its arts curriculum, and
the only guitar program in which students present a multi-act stage show
at the end of the year. School groups also perform at various venues
throughout Long Beach as a service to the community. The high school
gives talented music students the opportunity to join the Tri-M Music
Honor Society. Members tutor younger musicians and perform community
“This two-time honor is a well-deserved recognition for the community,
district leaders, teachers and parents who believe in music education
and are assuring that it is part of a complete education for children in
our schools,” said Dr. Dale Johanson, the District Director of
Comprehensive Arts. “It holds us up as an example of community support
and commitment to music education.”
A copy of the survey can be downloaded for review at www.nammfoundation.org
3 Teams Qualify for OM State Finals
Two teams of Long Beach elementary school
students and one team of Long Beach Middle School students finished in
first place in the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) Regional Competition, held
at Rosemary Kennedy Center in Wantagh on March 10. Their first-place
finishes qualified them for the OM State Finals held in Binghamton on
the weekend of March 31. A third elementary team finished in second
place at the regional competition.
The first-place elementary team of Hannah Zelinger, Angelica Gonzales,
Arjun Gupta, Jesse Thornton, Alexandra Melconian, Sabrina Eager and
Sophia Valentin solved a problem called “Ooh-Motion Vehicle,” which
required them to design, build and drive a vehicle that would travel a
course where it encountered three unique situations, displaying
different human emotions for each encounter.
The first-place elementary team of Shira Mann, Madison Gusler, Aidan
White, Jack Libasci, Elizabeth Kelly, Joan Sceppa and Julia Ashmead
solved a problem entitled “To Be or Not to Be” in which they created a
musical production wherein Hamlet is faced with a dilemma that teaches
him that the easy way out is not always the correct choice.
The first-place middle school team of Emily Burns, Paulina Cardona, Dane
DePasquale, Kelly Gannon, Savannah Kile, Mallie Littman and Carly
Siegel completed a problem called “Odyssey Angels,” which required the
angels to travel through various places where they encountered negative
situations and turn them into positives, helping individuals and saving
communities along the way.
The second-place elementary team of Charlotte Kile, Lauren Crotty,
Victoria Strickland, Jessica Greer, Shea McMahon, Sophie Stella and
Talia Fernandez also solved the “Odyssey Angels” problem.
The three elementary teams prepared for the competition as part of the
Long Beach School District’s Learning Activities for Raising Creativity
(LARC) program, under the direction of LARC teachers Beverlee Bertinetti
and Caitlin Fuentes. The winning teams were made up of students from
East, West, Lido and Lindell Elementary Schools, as well as Long Beach
Catholic Regional School.
The middle school team, which consisted of sixth and seventh graders,
prepared for the competition through the school’s OM Club, under the
direction of faculty coach Lorraine Radice. Many of the middle school
winners had qualified to compete at both the State and World Finals in
For more than 25 years, the district has had at least one team qualify
for the State Finals. Last year, a grand total of four teams qualified
for the State Finals, with two going on to compete at the World Finals
for the first time.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that
provides students with opportunities to apply their creativity to solve
problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their
own interpretation of literary classics. Thousands of teams from
throughout the U.S. and approximately 25 countries abroad participate in
The Long Beach students who participate in OM say that it teaches them
to think outside of the box, be creative, practice teamwork, overcome
fears and get along with others. They say they must also be committed to
working countless hours, brainstorming, writing and practicing their
scripts, and creating props and costumes to prepare for competition.
Friends of the Arts Committee
A "Friends of the Arts" committee has been
formed to promote the advancement of the arts in Long Beach Public
Schools and the surrounding community. The goals of the organization are
to further enhance and enrich the cultural life of students by
promoting student arts and cultural events, recognizing student
achievements and providing better communication between the district and
the community at large. The organization hopes to create new ways to
recognize, appreciate and support students’ practice and enjoyment of
the arts through special events and fundraising activities.
The committee recently held an organizational meeting to elect officers.
Superintendent of Schools David Weiss was the guest speaker. “I
appreciate everyone’s support of our students,” he told the group. “You
will play an important role in celebrating the successes of our students
and solidifying community support for the arts.”
The committee has already been active selling T-shirts and refreshments
at the recent high school musical production. Other fundraisers are
planned for the spring concert season. The goal of this year’s
fundraisers will be to raise money for scholarships and awards to be
presented at the high school Senior Award Night.
“We believe that all children possess talents and gifts that if left
untapped will create a void in our society,” said Friends of the Arts
Administrative Liaison Dr. Dale Johanson. “It is our hope that the world
will become a better place through the cultural enrichment of our
children who will someday give their talents to the world.”
The committee welcomes parents, community members, musicians and
concerned citizens to join them in this worthy cause. For more
information, contact President Bari Klirsfeld at 516- 815-7178 or email@example.com
SPIRIT Pilot Program
The Long Beach School District has introduced a grade
3-5 pilot program called SPIRIT, which stands for Specialized Program
Integrating Research, International Baccalaureate (IB) Principles and
21st Century Technology. Under the guidance of Learning Activities to
Raise Creativity (LARC) teachers Beverlee Bertinetti and Caitlin
Fuentes, students have been developing the foundations of critical
research, team building and problem-solving skills.
The first unit of study was entitled “International Mindedness and
Research Skills.” Students learned about the IB Learner Profile, which
focuses on developing international mindedness in young learners,
encouraging them to be inquirers, well-balanced, thinkers, caring,
reflective, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded risk takers and
communicators. Students learned what a blog is, and how technology is
introducing us to new communication tools. They created their own blogs
using reflective IB principles. Through these blogs they have been
sharing their ideas with students from England, Thailand, Bali and
The second unit of study dealt with team building. Students worked
together to take on challenges such as building tall structures that
could stand erect without being blown down.
The team building skills they learned were put to use in the third unit
of study, in which students worked together to gather data for
inquiry-based research projects. They learned how to do a website
critique, evaluating whether a website is reliable when conducting
research. They discussed plagiarism at length and learned how to cite
their book and web sources using APA citation style--the rules and
conventions established by the American Psychological Association for
documenting sources used in a research paper. They are also creating
published websites, “SlideRocket” presentations and “Vod-casts” to share
The SPIRIT program launched at East School, which is the home base of
the district’s LARC program for gifted and talented students. All East
School students in grades 3-5 are participating in SPIRIT, representing
another example of the district’s commitment to provide academic rigor
for all students.
WordMasters First in Nation
Competing in the most difficult Blue Division, a
team of district third graders finished first in the nation among 520
teams in the second WordMasters Challenge meet of the school year, held
in February. WordMasters is a national language arts competition entered
by more than 220,000 students annually. The students participated in
the competition through the district’s Learning Activities to Raise
Creativity (LARC) program, under the direction of LARC teacher Beverlee
The winning team consisted of Uma Arengo, Maya Arengo, Sophia Chigounis,
Elisa Richter, Delphine Esformes, Abbey Carpenter, Aadhi Murugaveri,
Jude Pizzone, Francesca Macchia, Douglas Weiss and Tyler Collinson.
“This was such an amazing accomplishment for third graders who are
competing in the WordMasters Challenge this year for the first time,”
said Ms. Bertinetti.
Several Long Beach elementary students also won highest honors for
individual achievement. Third graders Uma Arengo, Charles Ashmead,
Sophia Chigounis, Delphine Esformes, Aadhi Murugaveri, Elias Richter and
Jasmine Soriano and fifth graders Michael Corsale, Ryan Das, Talia
Fernandez, Joan Sceppa and Hannah Zelinger all earned perfect scores in
the meet. Nationwide, only 83 third graders and 224 fifth graders
achieved perfect scores.
The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that
encourages students to become familiar with a set of new words above
their grade level, and then challenges them to use those words to
complete analogies expressing various kinds of relationships—an exercise
that helps students learn to think analytically and metaphorically.
Science Rules at East School
Did you ever wonder how mammals keep warm, what
acid pollution does to mollusk shells, or whether it is possible to
change the properties of a solid? The answers to these and many other
questions could be found at East School’s Science and Technology Fair.
All students in grades 3-5 completed a scientific research project,
which they presented to parents and fellow students at the fair.
Students worked in groups to research their topics and to develop and
test their hypotheses using the scientific method. After determining a
question, hypothesis, materials, procedure and conclusion, they compiled
the results of their experiments on presentation boards. This exercise
was created to expose students to the research, scientific method and
oral presentation skills they will need when they move on to middle
Grade 5 Orientation
During Grade 5 Orientation Month at Long Beach
Middle School, fifth graders from all four elementary schools were
invited to visit the middle school to get a feel for what life will be
like for them when they become middle school students next year.
In a newly revised orientation program, each class of fifth graders
visited on a separate day, giving the students a chance to experience a
day in the life of a middle school student. Each visitor was paired with
a sixth-grade buddy who was a graduate of the same elementary school.
During their two-hour visit, the younger students went on a building
tour and attended classes with their buddies. During their shared lunch
period, the buddies went together to a question-and-answer session that
provided a comfortable, intimate setting for the fifth graders to ask
questions and for the sixth graders to share useful advice about
academics, clubs, extra help, sports and special activities such as the
annual Grade 6 trip to Frost Valley. While students were attending
classes, each teacher was able to visit at length with the middle school
guidance staff to discuss appropriate placements for his or her
“In the past, all the fifth-grade classes from each school had their
orientation visit on the same day,” said Principal Dr. Michele Natali.
“This smaller scale buddy format, with one class visiting at a time,
gives the students a better chance to get a more genuine feel for what
middle school will be like next year.”
East School students received a special lesson in social emotional learning during Bucket Filler Day. Principal Sean Murray began the week by visiting all classrooms to read a book entitled Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud. The book explained the concept of “bucket filling,” which is metaphor for encouraging kind and considerate behavior and for teaching the benefits of positive relationships.
After each classroom had read the book, the entire student body gathered in the auditorium for an assembly that illustrated the rewards that come from bucket-filling actions such as helping others, learning new things, being kind to others, staying safe and sharing. Children also saw examples of how “bucket dippers” can hurt others by lying, fighting, bullying and being selfish. In the end, they realized that when you fill other people’s buckets, you fill yours too. They also learned that making others feel good makes your home, school and neighborhood a better place. At the conclusion of the assembly, the students all pledged to do their best to fill someone’s bucket every day.
Dance Programs Build Character
Elementary schools in the Long Beach School District participated in two dancing programs that fostered new levels of social and emotional learning through teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect.
Through the Lindell School Buddy Program, classrooms from different grades are paired together throughout the year to help older and younger children make new friends and build on their respect and understanding for one another. The program’s first activity of the year was a Buddy Dance, in which students from different grades paired up to perform a series of traditional folk dances from various cultures. Students studied the history of the dances and practiced the various dance steps with the help of their music and physical education teachers, then met to put all their studies into practice at their first-ever Buddy Dance. Through this exercise, students also learned about rhyming words, sequencing and patterns, increased their memory and listening skills, and developed motor coordination. And all the while, they just thought they were having fun!
At East School and West School, all fifth-grade classes danced the night away in their own version of “Dancing with the Stars,” showing off everything they had learned in the “Dancing Classrooms” program. Through ten weeks of ballroom dancing lessons, this innovative character education program has been encouraging the students to cultivate mutual respect, collaboration and self-esteem, as well as teaching them to do a mean tango, foxtrot and waltz.
Long Beach Schools Celebrate Red Ribbon Week
All across the Long Beach City School District,
students were celebrating the importance of making responsible decisions
as they participated in a celebration of Red Ribbon Week. As part of
the district’s continuing instruction in social and emotional learning,
activities at all four elementary schools were geared toward teaching
students the skills they need to make healthy choices, now and in the
At Lido School, the festivities began with each student signing a banner
and placing their wishes for their future in a Red Ribbon wish box.
During the week, they wore their shirts backwards as a reminder to turn
their back on drugs, participated in a can drive for local food
pantries, and wore caps to remember to put a cap on drugs. On Friday,
everyone wore red to march in a parade around the school, chanting “We
make healthy choices every day!”
Lindell School’s Red Ribbon Week theme was “It’s Up to Me.” During the
opening celebration, students and teachers joined forces, using puppets,
props, songs and dances to present skits about making responsible
choices. Each day, different classroom activities reinforced the message
of the opening assembly.
The theme of East School’s celebration was “‘Bee’ Healthy.” Students
showed their commitment to good health by filling a bulletin board with
bees bearing the names of every child in the school. Throughout the
week, teachers incorporated healthy themes into their lesson plans.
Students wore their team jerseys to team up for healthy decisions, crazy
hats as a reminder to use their heads to make healthy choices, and work
boots to give junk food the boot.
At West School, students pledged to be “Rockin’ Students of Good
Character.” They wore sunglasses as a reminder to shine like a star,
wore crazy socks to rock their socks off and be healthy, and dressed in
pajamas to rock-a-bye baby and be drug-free. They finished up the week
with a Rock Star Rally to celebrate their commitment to a healthy
lifestyle. At the end of the rally, students marched around the west end
of Long Beach with posters depicting slogans such as “We Will Rock You
by Being Drug-Free.”
The Red Ribbon program is the nation’s largest and oldest drug awareness
campaign. The mission of the program is to encourage others to make a
visible commitment to eradicate drug abuse from our homes, schools,
communities and nation.
East School PJ Party Celebrates Reading
Children from Long Beach’s East School donned their most snuggly pajamas, grabbed their favorite stuffed animal and headed back to school with their parents to enjoy an evening PJ Party for kindergartners and first and second graders. While the children cozied up to read books and do crafts with their teachers in the gymnasium, parents attended a literacy workshop in the cafeteria, conducted by Principal Sean Murray and reading teacher Jennifer Pullara.
To reinforce the social emotional learning going on daily at East School, the theme of the PJ Party was friendship. Teachers read a variety of “Henry and Mudge” books that touched on the subject of being a good friend. Then students went to work making keepsake friendship necklaces out of macaroni, string and big paper medallions that spelled out the word “friendship.”
Meanwhile, at the parent workshop, Mr. Murray explained the newly revised NYS Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, and how the new standards will result in a shift in expectations for students, including a new focus on building academic vocabulary, reading non-fiction texts and exposing students to more complex texts.
He then went on, with the help of Ms. Pullara, to demonstrate a number of easy ways that parents can help their children reinforce their reading and vocabulary skills while going about their daily routines at home and around town. To get the most out of their shared reading time, he introduced parents to eight simple steps they could use to engage in “text talk” with their children to help implant new vocabulary words into long-term memory.
“It’s never too early to start using rich vocabulary with your children,” he explained. “But if you haven’t been doing these things, don’t worry, because it’s also never too late to start.”
This is just one example of the district’s ongoing commitment to engage parents as educational partners, working together with teachers and administrators to help every child reach his or her full potential.