The Lynbrook Board of Education held its first monthly business meeting since the sudden passing of beloved Superintendent Dr. Santo Barbarino on Wednesday night at the high school.
“We had a good school opening, even though we did open the schools with heavy hearts," Dr. Melissa Burak, who was appointed from assistant superintendent to interim superintendent last week, and is now leading the district in Barbarino's absence.
Burak said on the first day of classes all the district's schools observed a moment of silence for Dr. B. The Lynbrook Teachers Association have also established a scholarship fund in Dr. Barbarino’s name.
“In the spirit of community, which Dr. B was all about, the LTA felt that what better way to honor Dr. B than by developing a scholarship in his name,” Criag Kirchenberg, president of the Lynbrook Teachers Association, stated during the board meeting.
Any community groups or individuals interested in making a financial contribution, they can send checks, made payable to The Dr. Barbarino Scholarship Fund, to The Dr. Barbarino Scholarship Fund c/o The Lynbrook Teachers Assocation, 9 Union Avenue, Lynbrook, NY 11563. Anyone who wants to be involved in determining the parameters of the scholarship, can e-mail the Lynbrook Teachers Association at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Dr. Barbarino Scholarship Fund" as the subject line.
School officials also discussed how the district commemorated the 11th anniverary of Sept. 11th on Tuesday. The students dressed in red, white and blue, observed a momemnt of silence as the names of the victims were read and they listened to a teacher who spoke about how she lost her spouse that day.
The board also addressed a concern brought up at last week's special business meeting, when a resident raised a concern regarding traffic during afternoon dismissal at Lynbrook South Middle School. Since then, a police officer has replaced the crossing guard there to better control the traffic so students can safely cross the street.
In regards to open enrollment for Advanced Placement and Honors classes -- another topic that has come up at prior board meetings -- the district shares some statistics that residents had been asking for. The latest figures show that of the 1,447 students enrolled in AP and Honors courses (each student can be enrolled in multiple classes) a total of 34 dropped out, which is 2.35 percent.Some courses even had no dropouts. They also saw that dropouts were more prevalent in the science classes, but even so, the maximum amount of students to drop out in any one class was three.
Wednesday's meeting also includes a review of the district's performance on standardized exams given in 2012. Last year, the Lynbrook School District performed very well on state tests. Elementary students outperformed students in Nassau County on the New York State Engligh Language Arts and Math exams. The one exception was the Grade 3, but there was a drop seen in both the Nassau County and New York State averages for this grade, which has been credited to the changes in this particular exam. Among Lynbrook's sixth graders, 94 percent of the students passed the Math exam, which was higher than other schools in the state.
Lynbrook seniors performed exceptionally well on the Regents exams last year. The high school students in general did well overall, but their performance was comparable to the previous school year and did not show substantial improvement.
“When I saw the AP test results, I almost hit the floor because they were so great,” said Gerard Beleckas, the assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction and assessment. “I have to give the teachers and students of last year credit where it is due.”
On another high note, Lynbrook learned that its APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) plan for evaluating teachers, which all districts must submit to the New York State Education Department, was one of only eight that have been approved by NYSED so far.
The Lynbrook School District also recently received multiple grants to improve its schools. The Waverly School got a grant from Crayola for materials, supplies and crayons. Susan Osborne and Andi Schorr, two teachers at Marion Street School, received recognition for a $25,000 grant to be used for iPads in the classroom. A third grant of $25,000, which was received through State Sen. Dean Skelos’s office, is designated for purchasing and placing security cameras throughout the district.
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