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The Power of Positivity

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Shaw Avenue Elementary School students are sharing words of encouragement through the school’s new Positivity Wall. The wall was inspired by research around neuroplasticity, the changes that occur in an individual’s brain throughout their life.
 
The wall is featured outside of Assistant Principal Andrew Canlé’s office. Students in grades 3-6 have their own section of the wall to write inspirational and uplifting messages. There is also a “Take What You Need and Pass It On” spot where students can fill out a Post-it with words of encouragement for others to take when they need a pick-me-up.

“This is where students write encouraging words for others to take and pass on in an attempt to create student-led unity and cultivate empathetic values such as citizenship and civility,” said Mr. Canlé. “It is also a great mindfulness tool for our Safety Patrol members to refer to when mentoring younger children as a way to further develop social and emotional competencies within our student population and build a strong sense of community!”
 
The Positivity Wall has been a great success so far. Students are eager to make their mark in the building and help others while practicing social-emotional learning. Many students have already added to or taken a Post-it from the Positivity Wall and have brought it into their classroom as a source of inspiration and motivation.
 
“It helps me to try my best so that I can do a good job in math, reading or science,” said Shaw Avenue third grader Kyle Lynch.
 
Kyle's classmate, Chelsea James, said the Positivity Wall has made her feel better and comfortable, adding that the words of encouragement from other students have helped bring the school together.
 
“It shows that we can work together to make this a nice school,” she said.
 

Shaw Avenue Students Look Up to Historical Figures

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Shaw Avenue Elementary School students were educated on prominent figures from the Civil Rights Movement through performances by Bright Star Touring Theatre on Jan. 28. Connecting to Valley Stream District 30’s theme of the year “Lift Every Voice,” Bright Star performers Malcolm Hayden and Caylyn Jarmon-Vinson presented their productions of “Let Freedom Ring: Music & Poetry of Black History” for students in grades 4-6 and “Meet Dr. King” for students in grades K-3.

Fourth, fifth and sixth graders were introduced to important people such as Maya Angelou, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth during the “Let Freedom Ring” performance. Hayden and Jarmon-Vinson educated students on the Civil War, the Abolitionist Movement, powerful songs, speeches, stories, poems from the time period and more. The students were encouraged to make a difference in the world just like the activists that were introduced on stage.

“We’d like to remind you of the words of Dr. King and remind you that when we stand up for what is right, when we stand up for justice is when we truly let freedom ring,” Jarmon-Vinson told the students.

The younger students were introduced to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Meet Dr. King.” Before the performance, Principal Christopher Colarossi reminded students that Shaw Avenue School is a family that comes together despite different individual backgrounds and skin color, which is what Dr. King believed in.

“Dr. King worked really hard for what he believed in and to this day, we live by his words,” he told the students.

While learning about Dr. King’s life, the students developed a better understanding of who he was as a person and the concepts of freedom, integration and equality. The goal of both performances was to inspire students to be inclusive, use their voices and make a difference in the world. 

Students Step into the World of Dance

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Shaw Avenue Elementary School fifth graders are putting on their dancing shoes once again. Starting at the end of December, fifth grade classes began working with teaching artist Jessie Salvesen from Dancing Classrooms Long Island to learn ballroom dance techniques in preparation for their culminating performance for family and friends on March 10.

The fifth graders, along with their teachers, participate in the Dancing Classrooms residency program each year, receiving 20 dance lessons during the course of 10 weeks from the program’s teaching artists. Together, the students learn valuable skills beyond the dance floor. While establishing a strong peer-to-peer connection, students build communication, cooperative teamwork skills and an appreciation for cultural diversity as they learn dances such as the Foxtrot, Merengue, Rumba and Tango. The program also fits into the district’s social-emotional learning curriculum by encouraging focus, respect, self-discipline and self-confidence.

Dancing Classrooms Long Island has provided a memorable learning experience for students each year. For the past two consecutive years, Shaw Avenue School earned first place at the Dancing Classrooms Long Island Colors of the Rainbow Team Match. The special event allows Long Island students who participate in the residency program to showcase and celebrate their newly acquired dance skills. The students hope to regain the first place title again this year. 
 

String Students Selected for LISFA Music Festival

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Six outstanding string musicians from Valley Stream District 30 will perform at the Long Island String Festival Association’s Nassau intermediate festival on March 8 at Uniondale High School. During the festival, the student-musicians will join other top music students from throughout Nassau County.
 
The district congratulates the following festival participants: Clear Stream Avenue fifth grader Mia Perez and sixth grader Alyssa Singh, Forest Road fifth grader Metehan Yilmaz and sixth grader Isabella Domrosky and Shaw Avenue fifth grader Kayla Harper and sixth grader Hallie Reid. 
 

Shaw Avenue Students Spread Holiday Cheer to Bristal Residents

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Last month, Shaw Avenue Elementary School students celebrated the holiday season by bringing the gift of music and art to residents of the Bristal Assisted Living Community in North Woodmere.
 
The chamber orchestra students, under the direction of music teacher Lidia Kloc-Alberghini and select choir students, under the direction of music teacher Stephanie Fischer, presented holiday classics such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells,” and “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The performance was very warmly received by the residents and the staff of the Bristal.
 
The residents were then invited to participate in a hands-on craft activity designed by art teacher Paul Farinacci and presented by his student art assistants. Each senior resident was paired with one young artist who demonstrated the process of creating a Victorian Angel. A lively discussion filled with wonderful memories and storytelling united these two groups while fun was had by all. It was a wonderful way for the students to give back to their community while bringing the joys of the holiday season to life through their music and art.
 
Shaw Avenue Principal Christopher Colarossi and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Stirling were both very proud of their students as they not only “lifted their voices” but also their hearts. The students and staff are looking forward to continuing these traditions for years to come!