Mepham High School Students Film Bellmore Leaders Song Video


Earlier this school year, select choral students from Reinhard, Winthrop and Shore Road gathered together to sing the district’s “Bellmore Leaders Song.” As a way to connect to the community, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo invited students from Bellmore-Merrick Central School District’s Mepham High School to assemble a highlight reel of the elementary school students singing the song, which is now broadcasted on the district’s website. Under the direction of broadcasting/English/media teacher Filiz Cooney, the Mepham Broadcasting Communications students, learned firsthand about the filming and eventual broadcasting of an event.

Dr. Joanne C. Dacek, the district’s assistant superintendent for instructional services, noted that the invitation for the high school students to film the elementary singers was a great opportunity for the school communities to collaborate on a communications project of great importance to the district.

Ms. Cooney explained that the filming of the “Bellmore Leaders Song” gave the high schoolers a better understanding of the organizational and technical skills involved in a one-day shoot. “Knowing the crew had only one chance to acquire the footage they needed required a lot of preparation,” she said. “It was an unbelievable learning experience, and for first-timers, my students did an excellent job overall.”

Connecting Core Values with Art

Second-grade students in Michelle Block’s class recently connected the district’s core values to the art curriculum through their “Legacy Bench” project.  Using the style of popular 1960s pop artist Roy Lichtenstein as inspiration, the Reinhard students painted the bench using bright colors. The bench will be donated to the school during the moving up ceremony in June.

Ms. Block explained that the students annually vote on their favorite artists studied during the school year. Using a repurposed bench as a canvas, the second-graders paint in their favorite artist’s style, with this year’s favorites being cave artists Wayne Thiebaud and Roy Lichtenstein. The students also chose to paint the words “respect” and “trust,” further connecting the district’s core values with the art curriculum.     

Students Make a Big Splash for the Environment

Shore Road student council members involved with Operation Splash visited students in Stacy Reiner’s third-grade class at Winthrop Avenue to demonstrate ways to protect Long Island’s environment. The sixth-graders have been working with the grassroots environmental organization by clearing storm drains around their community streets and writing to the town about environmental problems and issues.
The Shore Road Operation Splash volunteers, under the direction of advisors Carolyn Acevedo and Kelly Popielaski, led the younger students in a variety of games, lessons and activities to drive home the value of being savvy environmentalists. The Winthrop students learned which everyday items should be recycled or placed in the trash, made a bottle cap fish bowl craft, read Dr. Michael J. Kruger’s book “Footsie and Lunko Meet Captain Al,” and played a game of hopscotch created out of recycled paper and bottle caps.
The goal of the program was to educate the third-graders about the importance of recycling and to promote Shore Road School’s involvement with Operation Splash.           

A Celebration of Spanish Culture

First-graders at Reinhard celebrated the colorful Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo on May 4-6.

In preparation for the event, the students constructed and painted serapes, a Latin American shawl, out of paper bags. Rotating through four stations, they honed their Spanish-speaking skills while playing bingo and singing various songs, created Mexican flags, read about what it’s like to attend school in Mexico City and enjoyed chips and salsa.

Foreign language teacher Lisa Goldberg organized the annual event and explained that the Cinco de Mayo fiesta was not only a way to strengthen the students’ knowledge of the Spanish language, but to also celebrate this vibrant culture.

Bellmore Teachers Granted Tenure

During the April 19 Board of Education meeting, teachers Amanda Kowalski and Christopher Merz were granted tenure, effective September 1.
Since 2007, Ms. Kowalsi has taught in each of the district’s schools, first as a leave replacement teacher at Shore Road and then as a third-grade teacher at Winthrop Avenue. She currently teaches first grade at Reinhard.   
A sixth-grade mathematics teacher at Shore Road, Mr. Merz joined the staff in 2009 as a teaching assistant before becoming a leave replacement teacher in a first-grade classroom. He also taught second- and fifth-grade students prior to his current assignment.
The District congratulates both teachers on this outstanding professional accomplishment.

Frog and Toad

Reinhard first-graders are more acquainted with the differences between frogs and toads following a hands-on demonstration of their characteristics by Frog Man. Science consultant Brian Wallrapp introduced the students to Bob the bullfrog and Tammy the tree frog among others as he explained the differences in the shapes of their bodies, skin texture, position of their eyes on the head and vocalizations.

The lesson precedes the first-grade science unit on the life cycle of frogs and toads in which students will observe the growth of tadpoles in their classrooms.

PTA Bestows Life Membership Awards


The Bellmore PTA presented 13 individuals with New York State PTA Life Membership awards during the annual Founders Day Celebration, held on April 12 at Reinhard. An honorary New York State membership is the highest honor the PTA can bestow upon an individual and is given to those who have made a significant contribution to the welfare of children.

PTA co-president Beth Fingeroth explained that she and co-president Natalie Molloy tried to keep the names of the recipients a secret prior to the ceremony. “You have all done so much for the students of Bellmore,” Ms. Fingeroth said in her introductory remarks. “We thank you for your service.”

 After each of the recipients was called to the podium, family members filed on to the stage with flowers and hugs. The Reinhard Rising Star Chorus, the Advanced Recorder Ensemble and the Shore Road Chorus punctuated the celebration with musical performances. To top off the evening, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo and the Belltones entertained all who attended this cherished Bellmore tradition.  

The Bellmore Elementary PTA congratulates the following Life Membership recipients: Alison Burke (prekindergarten teacher), Sally Curto (Winthrop Avenue principal), Dr. Joanne Dacek (assistant superintendent for instructional services), Lisa Garry (Shore Road sixth-grade teacher), Joanne Genzone (outgoing sixth-grade parent), Randi Giller (PTA member), June Guardiola (outgoing sixth-grade parent), Helen Lambe (Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center nurse), Natalie Molloy (PTA co-president), Karen Reilly (Winthrop Avenue third-grade teacher), Jenn Renck (outgoing sixth-grade parent), Kerri Rinaldi (PTA member) and Laura Strawa (outgoing sixth-grade parent).

Once Upon a Time


Dressed as fairy princesses, kings and queens, farmers and more, Reinhard second-graders performed short plays based on the fairytales “The 12 Dancing Princesses,” “Many Moons” and “One Gift Deserves Another” (“The Turnip”) for delighted parents and peers. The plays were a culmination of workshops by artist-in-residence Lorraine Zeller-Agostino, who taught the students nonverbal improvisational acting techniques through the study of fairytales.

In addition to reading and studying fairytales, the students learned to depict expression, emotion and choral techniques on stage. The goals of the program were to provide students with the opportunity to discover their creativity, learn cooperation skills, feel successful and explore the art of drama.   

“I appreciate how hard you’ve worked to acquire this level of performance,” Ms. Zeller-Agostino told the students.

Newest Artwork Unveiled at Bellmore Star Arts Gallery


The exemplary artwork of district students was unveiled during the opening of the 2016 Bellmore Star Arts Gallery, held at the district office on April 11. More than 40 pieces of artwork were exhibited in matching gold frames, donated by alumnus James Perna. Under the guidance of art teachers, Michelle Block and Stephen Gorey, the students expressed themselves through a variety of media and skills sets including mask making, watercolor, pencil and more.

Both Ms. Block and Mr. Gorey explained the difficulty in choosing the star-quality pieces for the gallery. “I considered the student’s dedication to the arts, as well as his or her ability to follow instructions,” Ms. Block said.

Mr. Gorey noted that there are so many talented art students in the district that the gallery could triple in size. “I chose the artwork of students whose quality and effort exemplified the leadership skills of time and effort,” he said.

Exhibitors received a certificate of achievement, and their work will continue to hang in the gallery for one year.  

Artistry on Silk


Winthrop Avenue students learned the ancient technique of dying silk during a workshop with visiting artist Esther Tollen and her son Sam Tollen.

After learning about the fascinating silk cultivating process used today, each student was called up individually to learn how to hold a bamboo paintbrush correctly before being instructed on how to dye a small portion of the silk banner. The students also learned how to mix colors to give the banner a richer color.

“This is a great opportunity for all of you to learn this style of painting,” Ms. Tollen said. “The method is very different because the paint migrates through the fibers.”

Upon completion, the banner will hang on a school wall and will depict a leafy tree with the words “Winthrop Avenue Growing Leaders.”

Bellmore School District recognized as a Best Community for Music Education

The Bellmore Union Free School District was recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation as one of 2016 Best Communities for Music Education.
Among the 13,515 school districts across the nation, Bellmore received this honor with 475 other districts for its outstanding efforts and exceptionally high commitment to music education and for ensuring all students are offered exceptional musical learning in their curriculum. Along with our outstanding general music program, Bellmore offers instruction in string, woodwind, and percussion instruments and provides opportunities for students to participate in band, orchestra and chorus and perform in various school concerts, choral and recorder groups, and musical theatre productions.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization, which advances active participation in music. The District’s music program was analyzed for funding, highly qualified music teachers, commitment to high music standards, community support and participation and access to music instruction.

“We are extremely proud of our music department, faculty and young musicians for receiving this tremendous honor,” Superintendent of Schools      Dr. Joseph Famularo said.

Winthrop Avenue Musicians Attend Day of Recorder

Seventeen Winthrop Avenue student-musicians participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association Day of Recorder, also known as the Eugene Reichenthal Recorder Festival, held at Brentwood High School on March 19. The program’s goal was to provide festival opportunities for recorder players, many of whom are emerging as instrumentalists.

Music teacher Erica Davis congratulates Alec Ader, Noah Barrett, Michael Benfante, Sophia Benno, Valerie Daliendo, Gabriella Elliott, Sean Harris, Tali Kichel, Dylan Kratenstein, Brian Laudman, Jack Levitt, Avery Levy, Athina Malafis, Giovanni Scimeca, Jayden Simon, Matthew Sharp and Maximo Walaitis for this musical achievement.

Frances Zwerling Named a Star Polisher Leader

During the Board of Education’s March 22 meeting, the Board and administrators recognized longtime Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center substitute teacher Frances Zwerling as a Star Polisher Leader. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph F. Famularo explained that Ms. Zwerling, who has taught for the past 50 years, is deserving of the district’s highest award for having instilled warmth and creativity in the classroom environment and having displayed exemplary core values.   
“Fran Zwerling remains an inspiration to us all,” Dr. Famularo said. “She has exemplified our core values since her very first day in Bellmore Schools.”
Ms. Zwerling began teaching in the Bellmore School District in 1973 and has been employed as a substitute teacher since her retirement in 1995. Ms. Zwerling began her career as a kindergarten teacher at P.S. 190 in Brooklyn in 1952. She has also held positions as a pre-school teacher, library story hour teacher, Girl Scout troop chairwoman, assistant leader of a Camp Fire group and a substitute teacher in the North Bellmore School District.  
“The greatest gift you have given the students is that they have learned from the beginning that the Bellmore School District is a fun place to learn,” Board President Jay L.T. Breakstone said.
Ms. Zwerling was also recognized by the district’s unions and local government representatives and received a banner decorated with a star containing the thumbprints of district students.
Ms. Zwerling said receiving the award is overwhelming and that teaching in the district has been an honor and privilege. “I have seen many changes, but a change I have never seen is the superintendent’s and Board of Education’s dedication to educational excellence and their ability to bring out the best in children,” she said.

Bellmore Teamwork to Program Robots

Using their knowledge on engineering and coding, fourth-graders in Phinola Baeza’s class programmed robots and created challenging courses for their bots to best. Using the hallway as their roadway, the eager students carefully plotted courses on the floor with masking tape. The designs included sharp right and left angles for small robots that whirred and followed the directions programmed by student teams. If the robots veered off the desired course, new measurements were taken and coordinates were re-programmed to match the course.   

Ms. Baeza explained that the Winthrop students have recently learned the basics of coding and were instructed to apply those skills in the programming of robots. The students had the free choice of design for their courses. “The activity requires a lot of teamwork and problem-solving skills, in addition to coding and measurement skills,” she said.

An Exploration of American Indian Territory


Shore Road School students attended the Journeys Into American Indian Territory in-house field trip to learn more about the Eastern Woodland Native Americans. During the curriculum-based event, presenters Bob Vetter and Maddie Cheers shared artifacts from their portable museum, told a Kiowa story called “How the Big Dipper Got Into the Sky” and taught a popular “hand game.”

The students learned how the Cheyenne people used the entire buffalo for clothes, food and shelter. A few of them also modeled typical clothing worn by Native Americans and learned how they tanned clothing out of hides. The most popular part of the program, however, was the installation of a traditional and authentic tepee in the gymnasium for the students to explore.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016