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Forest Road News

District 30 Welcomes Three New Administrators

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During Valley Stream District 30’s final board of education meeting for the 2017-18 school year on June 18, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Stirling and the board welcomed three new administrators to the district while expressing their utmost gratitude for those whose journey in the district will come to a close. 

Jennifer Lewner, current assistant principal at Forest Road Elementary School was introduced as the district’s new administrative director for 21st century learning (formally director of technology) for the 2018-19 school year. Dr. Stirling announced that the director of technology role is being enhanced to focus more on instructional technology.   

Lewner received her Bachelor of Arts in urban studies from Queens College and her Master of Science in secondary education of math at LIU Post. She also earned her certificate in Social-Emotional Learning and School District Leader at the College of Saint Rose. 

“She is someone who is very knowledgeable about technology integration,” said Dr. Stirling. “In addition, her attention to detail and organizational skills and instructional background will support the district in its efforts improving student performance through the use of technology.” 

Moving into Lewner’s assistant principal position at Forest Road School is Michael DeBlasio, who was also appointed and welcomed during the meeting. DeBlasio is an experienced special educator who is currently is an assistant principal at P.S. 26Q The Rufus King School in Queens. Here, DeBlasio oversees numerous departments. He received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Molloy College as well as his Master of Science in childhood education and special education. Additionally, DeBlasio earned his administrator certificate from the College of Saint Rose. 

“He is an avid supporter of children,” said Dr. Stirling. “He is knowledgeable in the instructional pedagogy and instructional skills across the curriculum. In addition, he is experienced with working with families and he has a strong curriculum development background.” 

Adding to the list of new appointees, Brian Phillips, was introduced as the new assistant superintendent for business, replacing Dr. Christopher Dillon. Phillips is currently the assistant director for business and treasurer in the Elmont Union Free School District and is a highly experienced administrator with a background in finance. He received both his Bachelor of Science in applied economics and management and his Master of Business Administration at Cornell University. He also earned his professional diploma in educational leadership and administration from LIU Post. Phillips has held positions as a school finance manager, administrative intern in the East Williston Union Free School District and spent six years at Morgan Stanley and Company as an associate and analyst. 

“Mr. Phillips is very skilled in the work that he does,” said Dr. Stirling. “He has a full understanding of the business office and is detail oriented. We look forward to Mr. Phillips’ expertise because the business department and the school district has consistently worked towards doing all they can for students in a fiscally prudent manner.” 

During the meeting, the board also appointed a new typist clerk at Forest Road School, Ashley Starna, and Dr. Stirling presented Board of Education President Jim Lavery with a certificate for his service to the district for the past two years. 

A Celebration of Excellence

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It was an evening of recognitions as students throughout Clear Stream Avenue, Forest Road and Shaw Avenue schools in Valley Stream District 30 were presented with awards by administrators and faculty members on June 18 at Shaw Avenue School. Students were honored for their service, leadership, academic excellence and musical and art achievements. In addition, PTA reflections and SEPTA personal achievement awards were presented by their organizations.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Stirling welcomed students, families and community members to the event and praised the students for their hard work and dedication during the school year.  

“It’s not so much the ultimate achievement, but it’s the work that you put into getting to the goal that you set for yourself,” he said. “We congratulate you this evening for all of your hard work. Effort is what is most important and even if you don’t succeed, you keep trying until you do.” 

Principals, assistant principals and faculty members approached the podium to announce the recipients of each award from the three schools. Among the many awards, recipients included PTA reflection winners, 2018 New York City NBA Math Hoops Tournament winners from Shaw Avenue School, spelling and geography bee school champions and New York State School Music Association participants. Each student was then congratulated by Dr. Stirling and the board of education after receiving their award in front of proud family and friends. 

Forest Road School Supports STEAM

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Forest Road Elementary School students recently engaged in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Symposium over the course of several days. Students from each grade level had the opportunity to explore different STEAM activities around the building which fostered creativity, critical thinking and innovation. 

In the library, students tested their speaking skills with a green screen project. Faculty members utilized an iPad and the application program Green Screen by Do Ink to film the students. Each grade level that visited the library had a different green screen task. For example, third-graders researched different places around the world and while in groups, collaborated on a script about their location of interest. After memorizing their script, each group went in front of the green screen to do a public service announcement about their country or city of study, which included what to do there, fun facts and what you will learn if you visit. 

Over in the school’s computer lab, students were hands-on while participating in a variety of MakerSpace activities. This included working on challenges to build and create different models with Legos, STEAM kits and Magformers. With the help of faculty members, students also learned how to code with Bee-Bots, mini robots that assist with critical thinking and problem solving. 

In addition to the technology side of the symposium, classes visited the gymnasium to enhance their art, science, mathematics and engineering skills. Younger students learned how to create their own bubbles while third-graders engaged in a pom-pom activity which required them to work together to get their pom-pom through obstacles. With the help of art teacher Colette Giardella, students throughout the school worked on Flag Day projects using marbles in paint and straws in paint as part of an art in movement lesson. Students also learned about how the human hand moves through an engineering activity where they created a “robotic” arm with string, paper and straws.

The STEAM Symposium was initiated last year by Principal Erin Malone and Assistant Principal Jennifer Lewner after seeing how much effort went into STEAM initiatives throughout the year.
  
“We thought it was a great way to keep instruction as a focus in June when it sometimes can be perceived by the kids that we are done for the year,” said Malone. “The tasks are all developmentally appropriate with different grades working on different projects. The commonality between all of the grades is collaboration, problem-solving and FUN!”

Forest Road School has set a prime example of how a school can successfully incorporate STEAM initiatives into their building. Forest Road faculty and district administrators have even presented their MakerSpace at the May 2018 Nassau Association of School Technologists meeting at Nassau BOCES. Due to their knowledge and success, local library media specialists from Garden City and New Hyde Park visited during the STEAM symposium where Malone and Forest Road Library Media Specialist On Kyung Joo walked them through the activities and educational tools that the students have benefited from. 

Students and Staff Commended for High Achievements

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Members of Valley Stream District 30’s Board of Education honored outstanding students and staff during the district’s regular meeting on May 14. The board granted tenure to Shaw Avenue School first-grade teacher Jeanee Gonzalez and honored Forest Road teacher Nancy Blankshine for her passage through Gate.

Gate is a unique district-wide process which examines a teacher as they move through their years in the district. It allows the administrators to take a closer look as to what is happening inside the classroom and reward those teachers with excellent progress the opportunity to move to the next salary range. Both teachers were praised by their respective building principals for their dedication to their students.

Band students from Shaw Avenue School also honored the teachers by performing the songs, “Take On Me” and “I’ll Be There.” Guided by music teacher Brian Kalinowski, the students played for a full house of board members, administrators, students, staff, families and community members.

Several students from Shaw Avenue School were recognized by the board for their recent achievements in the areas of reading, writing and the arts. Twelve fifth-graders, along with teachers Karin Savino and Lauren Rosenthal, were commended for their first place win in the Dancing Classrooms of Long Island “Spring Colors of the Rainbow Team Match and Festival.” A short clip of the students from the ballroom dance competition was shared for the community to enjoy. 

Fifth-graders Nirmal Butt, Salva Dad and Muhammad Sufyan in Karin Savino and Maria Neckonoff’s class were also honored for their outstanding writing submissions in the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest, sponsored by Scholastic and Major League Baseball. Additionally, second-grader Alexander Mazalkov in Victoria Umpornpun’s class and sixth-grader Hannah Mejia in Steven Navarra’s class were praised for their award winning personal narratives in the Nassau Reading Council’s Young Author’s Writing Contest. 

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