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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. 

Fairy Tale Fun at Forest Road School

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Kindergarten through third-grade students at Forest Road Elementary School are incorporating fairy tales into their science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum due to a $350 mini-grant which library media specialist On Kyung Joo applied to and received from the Long Island School Media Association. With the grant, the school purchased three Lakeshore Fairy Tale Problem Solving STEM kits, three storytelling puppet kits with corresponding books, mood and emotion mirrors and story wands that help with reading comprehension.  

Students can now utilize the new materials in Forest Road’s new Makerspace to further their reading and storytelling abilities, as well as enhance their collaboration and problem solving skills. The STEM and puppet kits feature fairy tales such as “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Students have the opportunity to act out the stories with the puppets and challenge themselves with the STEM kits. Challenges include creating a secure house for the Three Little Pigs, building a bridge for the Three Billy Goats Gruff and constructing beds for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

“With the Lakeshore Fairy Tales Problem Solving STEM kits, students are engaged in the literacy activities by not only listening to the fairy tales, but also acting out with the puppets,” said Joo. “Students are inspired to find a solution for each challenging situation while designing and building the scenes in those tales. I hope that these kits will also enhance their creative expression and social-emotional development.”

Back-to-Back Math Hoops Champions

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Photo of students playing the game during competition
A total of 18 students from Valley Stream District 30 participated in the New York City NBA Math Hoops Tournament on March 24, where for the second consecutive year, a team from Shaw Avenue School were once again crowned first place winners. Students competed against those from schools across Nassau County and New York City but Shaw Avenue students Anjali Edmonds and Karina Ramnauth ultimately came out victorious, winning in the final round with a score of 30-29.  

Under the direction of their math coach Andrew Canle, the team of two trailed for most of overtime before pulling out the win with under a minute to play. Other Shaw Avenue participants included Innaya Ilyas, Aaimen Kashif, Memoona Mustafa and Duaa Zeeshan. 

“We are so proud of all of our students who competed in the tournament. Anjali and Karina are very deserving champions as they are excellent students who know how to work well with others no matter the situation or pressure,” said Shaw Avenue Principal Alejandro Rivera. “We are proud that our students get to participate in experiences like this and are especially grateful to the Learn Fresh Education Company for creating the NBA Math Hoops program. 

The fact that our students have received the opportunity to visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum last year and now the Barclays Center, allows our students to see more of the world around them. We will definitely be going for a three-peat next year!”

NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced basketball board game that incorporates fundamental math skills through direct engagement from NBA and WNBA players with a curriculum tied to the Next Generation Learning Standards and 21st Century Learning Skills. Last year was the first year that students from Shaw Avenue School participated in the tournament where students Athena Pajotte and Priya Mangal were recognized as the 2017 New York City NBA Math Hoops Tournament winners.

Valley Stream District 30 was proudly represented this year as students from Clear Stream Avenue and Forest Road schools entered the tournament for the first time. Under the guidance of their math coach Timothy Rau, Clear Stream participants included Brian Abraham, Cameron Charles, Tolu Diyaolu, Saige Frisco, Sasha Jaikaran and Michael Sukhu. Math coach Christopher Onorato worked with Forest Road participants Jonathan Beltre-Rojas, Shaila Fretel, Justin James, Iman Khan, Emily Persaud and Arshbir Singh. The coaches and students worked diligently throughout the year to prepare for the tournament.  

According to Principal Rivera, the winning team could not have succeeded without the support of Mr. Canle, classroom teachers, fellow district administrators, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Stirling and the board of education.