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East Rockaway Students Celebrate International Peace Day

International Peace Day Pic

Students at Centre Avenue and Rhame Avenue schools learned about kindness and respect when they celebrated International Peace Day on Sept. 20.

At Centre Avenue, students viewed a brief video to open the discussion about respecting and helping people of all cultures around the globe. Each class also worked together to create a Peace Pledge, which will be displayed in the school’s hallways. All of the students were provided with pinwheels and fastened them to the fence in front of the building. In addition, they collected donations for the American Red Cross to aid the victims of the recent hurricanes. 

Meanwhile at Rhame Avenue, students hand-crafted Pinwheels for Peace, prior to International Peace Day. As the students designed their pinwheels, teachers held discussions about what it means to be peaceful and the importance of being kind and respectful to make their school a better place. On the day of the event, Principal Erik Walter addressed students using the school’s public address system and asked students to keep a few things in mind when they think about peace and what is going on in the world. 

“Please remember how important it is to keep the peace with one another and to always act in a respectful way,” he said. 

After Mr. Walter’s remarks, the entire student body, along with teachers and staff, formed a peace symbol using their pinwheels on the school’s lawn.      


First Day Smiles

Rhame pic
When students arrived at Rhame Avenue School on the First Day of School, Principal Erik Walter was outside to greet them. Kindergartner Aida Martin was happy to take a photo with Mr. Walter, who welcomed her to school.  

East Rockaway Students Pay It Forward with a Car Wash

East Rockaway Students Pay It Forward with a Car Wash photo

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School students had a successful day on Sept. 17, as they helped the people of Rockport, Texas, who were the first victims of Hurricane Harvey.

With smiles and determination, the young people washed cars and raised more than $1,200 to help pay it forward to the community of Rockport, whose town, infrastructure and school were all devastated. 

“A big thank-you to all who donated their time and especially their money,” teacher Don Poland said. “The people of East Rockaway were very caring and generous and understood the victims’ losses, as they endured similar circumstances after Superstorm Sandy.” 

This is the fourth “pay it forward” mission that East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School has been involved in, helping those in Moore, Oklahoma, after a tornado, residents in Dunendin, West Virginia, after a toxic spill, and citizens of Lake City and others in South Carolina after flooding. The school will be conducting fundraisers until the end of October and then plans to adopt a community in Florida shattered by Irma. If you would like more information on how to help, please visit the “Pay It Forward East Rockaway” Facebook page. 


Ceglio Takes the Reins as Fine Arts Chairperson

Ceglio Takes the Reins as Fine Arts Chairperson photo
Long-time music educator Peter Ceglio has been named fine arts chairperson for the East Rockaway School District.   

Ceglio has been with the district since 1994, serving as the elementary band teacher and conductor at both Centre Avenue and Rhame Avenue, and assistant band director at the junior-senior high school. He is also conductor for the high school pep band, and teacher, conductor and composer for the high school percussion ensemble. In addition, Mr. Ceglio has assisted in coordinating NYSSMA solo festivals and teaches music to students in East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s Life Skills program. 

A Commack resident, Mr. Ceglio has a certificate of advanced studies, a professional diploma as a school district administrator and a Master of Science from Long Island University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in music education from Queens College – CUNY and an associate degree in applied science from Nassau Community College. He also holds certificates to work with special needs students and in integrated classrooms from the Long Island Institute of Professional Studies.  

Mr. Ceglio is looking forward to expanding opportunities for students throughout the district and building on the success of his predecessor, Tom Schloen, who retired over the summer.  

“Our focus for the fine arts program this year will include continuing the upward growth in student enrollment, developing more experiences for our students and enhancing our already strong relationship with our community,” Mr. Ceglio said. 

Notice: Board of Education Work Session - September 12, 2017


Seventh-Graders Learn the Ropes at Orientation

Seventh-Graders Learn the Ropes at Orientation photo
Seventh-Graders Learn the Ropes at Orientation photo 2
Seventh-Graders Learn the Ropes at Orientation photo 3
Incoming seventh-graders visited East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School for orientation on Aug. 29. Students learned about programs and support systems available to help their transition, met the seventh-grade instructional and administrative team, and participated in activities, including “Escape the Room.” Several eighth-grade students were also on hand to lend assistance. The day ended with a barbecue lunch. The entire staff was impressed by the maturity and collaboration of the Class of 2023 and is excited for a wonderful year. 

A New School Year Begins in East Rockaway

A New School Year Begins in East Rockaway Photo

With new backpacks, books and other school supplies in tow, students returned to school on Sept. 5 for what promises to be an exciting new year.

Throughout the district, educators welcomed students and provided assistance as they located their new classrooms. Once the children found their classes they took part in a variety of activities, including team building exercises, reading, computer lab fun and learning the rules of their respective classrooms.

At Centre Avenue School, kindergartners in Linda Grace’s class had their first-day photo taken as a keepsake for the new year. The students also learned their new classmates’ names, read and got acclimated to their new surroundings. Meanwhile, sixth-graders in Kelly Dowling’s and Dr. Christian Soto’s classes filled out “About Me” surveys to help their teachers and classmates learn more about them, and fourth-graders in Kellie Higgins’ class were excited to learn how to earn free homework passes.

At Rhame Avenue, third-grade students in Heidi Kreit’s class took part in a science lesson to “save Fred.” The students broke into groups and had to work together to complete the assignment. Children throughout the building could be seen organizing their school supplies with assistance from teachers, singing songs, dancing and having a whole lot of fun.  

All students and teachers enjoyed a wonderful day and are looking forward to the new school year.

Superintendent's Fall 2017 Letter to Parents and Community Members


New Teacher Orientation in East Rockaway

New Teacher Orientation Pic
East Rockaway School District welcomed its new faculty members during New Teacher Orientation on Aug. 28-30 at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School.
The orientation began with the 10 new hires enjoying breakfast with district administrators. It continued with Superintendent Lisa Ruiz presenting the Danielson Framework for Teaching, a session on lesson planning and a meeting with East Rockaway Teachers Association’s executive board members.
Topics to be covered on day two and three included sessions on APPR Plan and the observation process; thinking maps; technology orientation; collecting, understanding, analyzing and using data to drive instruction and teacher professional responsibilities; and participation on the Committee of Special Education.      
Superintendent Ruiz said she is excited about the new faculty members, who have enthusiasm, strong educational backgrounds and expertise.
“I know these new professional staff members will be a great asset to our students and their colleagues,” Ruiz said. “Together, we will continue working towards achieving the goals in our five-year strategic plan. I hope the community will join me in welcoming these fine educators.”
The following is a list of the new hires and their positions: Brianna Lively (life skills teacher), Bryan Palermo (physics teacher) and Jimmy Zervas (math/science chairperson) at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School; Kellie Higgins (fourth-grade teacher), Heather Loughran (first-grade teacher) and Patricia Sertzoglou (fifth-grade teacher) at Centre Avenue School; and Caroline Drummy (kindergarten), Julia Garvey (teacher assistant), Maryann Raffaniello (second-grade) and Kassie Tillem-Spero (sixth-grade math and science) at Rhame Avenue School.

Fall Drivers Education Application


East Rockaway Students Perform with Statewide Honor Choir

East Rockaway Students Perform with Statewide Honor Choir Photo
East Rockaway students Gabriella Baccari (soprano), Sofia Bertolotti (alto), Emma Pollackov (alto), Matthew Pollackov (tenor) and Sofia Valdebenito (alto) performed with the New York American Choral Director's Association Middle School Honor Choir on Aug. 13. 

The students traveled to Albany, New York to work with esteemed guest conductor and composer Dr. Andrea Ramsey of the University of Colorado Boulder. After two days of intensive rehearsals, they gave a successful performance of challenging music to the delight of the audience. 

The Honor Choir is a select group that consists of seventh- and eighth-grade choral students from across the state who were nominated and accepted based on their fine musicianship and overall singing skills. 

The music department is very proud of these students and would like to congratulate them on representing East Rockaway at this statewide event!  

New Director of Guidance at East Rockaway

New Director of Guidance at East Rockaway Pic
The East Rockaway School District Board of Education appointed a new director of guidance for East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School during a special meeting on June 20.

Andrew Rosenberg, a resident of Smithtown, most recently was the director of guidance for Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School, where he supervised five tenured counselors and two support staff. He also performed counselor observations, managed the department’s budget and calendar, served as Services for Students with Disabilities coordinator, and SAT, PSAT and ACT test center supervisor. Rosenberg served on multiple committees in addition to organizing and facilitating many parent workshops. Prior to his time in Cold Spring Harbor, Rosenberg was a school counselor at Syosset High School for seven years.  

Rosenberg has a Master of Science in educational leadership, a Master of Science in school counseling, and an advanced certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration from Long Island University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Quinnipiac University and New York State certificates as a permanent school counselor, provisional school building leader and permanent school district leader.   

“I am very excited to be joining the East Rockaway School District as the new director of guidance,” Rosenberg said. “As the school year begins, I hope to continue meeting and building relationships with students, parents, faculty, staff and community members and discover what makes East Rockaway such a special place. I look forward to building upon the amazing programs offered in the district, and giving students’ the best chance to be successful in any path they should choose.”

East Rockaway Board Appoints Interim Principal

Interim Principal Pic
East Rockaway School District’s Board of Education appointed Neil Lederer as interim principal of East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School on Aug. 8.

Mr. Lederer, a Melville resident, has more than 40 years of administrative experience. His career in administration began in 1976 as assistant principal of Lindenhurst Junior High School, where he served for 10 years before being named assistant principal and then principal, at Lindenhurst Senior High School.  In 1992, Mr. Lederer moved to the Harborfields Central School District, serving as principal at Oldfield Middle School for six years and principal at Harborfields Senior High School for two years, before returning to the Lindenhurst School District as senior high school principal. Ultimately, he was named superintendent of schools for the district, and retained that position for seven years. Since leaving Lindenhurst, he has held multiple interim principal and superintendent positions throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties.      

Mr. Lederer has a Master’s Degree in educational administration and supervision from New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Long Island University.

" I am thrilled to be joining the East Rockaway School District as its interim junior-senior high school principal,” Lederer said. “I hope to build upon its fine programs, so as to further enhance the academic experiences of our students."

Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz said she was impressed by Mr. Lederer’s depth of experience, proven record of success and passion for education.  
“As a highly skilled, veteran administrator, his leadership will be a significant asset to support our team of new administrators at the junior senior high school,” Ruiz said.  

East Rockaway Names New Athletic Director

David Barth, RAA was appointed as the new athletic director for East Rockaway School District during a special meeting of the Board of Education on June 20.
Barth, a Northport resident, comes to East Rockaway after serving at Friends Academy in Locust Valley for 12 years. While at Friends Academy, he taught physical education for students in grades K-12 and health to students in grades K-5. In addition to teaching, he served as an administrative intern since 2014, supervising the athletic facility and various athletic events. Other duties included conducting interviews for potential teacher candidates, assisting with budget preparation for soccer and lacrosse programs, and conducting formal and informal teacher observations.

Barth also has extensive coaching experience, serving as the boys varsity soccer coach at Freeport High School, boys eighth-grade basketball coach at Manhasset Middle School and boys lacrosse coach at Smithtown Middle School. His coaching tenure continued at Friends Academy, where he held assistant and head coach positions for multiple sports.
His educational background includes a Master of Science in educational leadership and administration from the College of St. Rose, a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Stony Brook University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in education/physical education from SUNY Cortland. He is a Registered Athletic Administrator and holds the following New York State certifications: School District Leader, School Building Leader, Health Education and Physical Education K-12. He also holds certifications in several other areas.  

“I am very excited to join the East Rockaway School District,” Barth said. “I have already met many great students, parents, teachers and community members, who have given me insight into this wonderful community. My goal is to continue to build on the strong foundation that has been established by former Athletic Director Dom Vulpis, and to uphold the tremendous reputation that East Rockaway has throughout the county. I also look forward to working with all stakeholders in delivering quality home and career, health education and physical education curriculums, while enhancing our athletic programs in an effort to positively impact our students’ lives.”

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