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Rhame Kindergartners Bid Farewell to Mrs. Lalama

Rhame Kindergartners Bid Farewell to Mrs. Lalama photo
Rhame Avenue Kindergartners celebrated their last day of music class with Mrs. Roxanne Lalama. The students wished her farewell and gifted her a book filled with ideas to do in her retirement. Congratulations to Mrs. Lalama and thank you for all the students have learned from you this year!

Centre Hosts Reading Partners Party

Centre Hosts Reading Partners Party photo

Centre Avenue School held its annual Reading Partners Party on June 14. The party recognized students, staff and community members for meeting each week to share a love of reading. It was a wonderful celebration and the school looks forward to creating more relationships with community members next year!

Scenes from Rhame Avenue’s Field Day

Robots and Fun at Rhame Avenue

Robots and Fun at Rhame Avenue photo
Robots and Fun at Rhame Avenue photo 2
Robots and Fun at Rhame Avenue photo 3
Rhame Avenue third-graders learned to build and program robots with the help of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teacher Mrs. Michelle Healy. Students built Lego kit robots and used a coding program to direct the robots to perform different tasks. Robots were programmed to say hello, danced to disco music and moved around the perimeter of boxes and other items.  

Rhame Students Study Nature in Oceanside

Rhame Students Study Nature in Oceanside photo
Rhame Students Study Nature in Oceanside photo 2
Rhame Students Study Nature in Oceanside photo 3
Third-graders at Rhame Avenue in Mrs. Gail Beyrer’s class and Mrs. Heidi Kreit’s classes studied the marsh ecosystem at the Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside. Students observed male and female blue crabs and fiddler crabs. They also watched the osprey feed her babies fish and learned about the food web in the marshlands. Students cast nets into the water to observe the creatures close to shore. This hands-on learning experience gave the students a deeper appreciation of the local waterways.

A Great Year for Centre Avenue’s Art Club

A Great Year for Centre Avenue’s Art Club photo

Members of Centre Avenue’s Art Club enjoyed a successful year of creating. The student-artists took part in a variety of artistic endeavors and had a wonderful time exploring the arts.

Click here to watch a video.

 


Flexible Seating Enhances Learning at Rhame Avenue

Flexible Seating Enhances Learning at Rhame Avenue photo

Fourth-graders at Rhame Avenue are enjoying new seating arrangements thanks to a “flexible seating” initiative started by their teacher Sarah Kane.

Mrs. Kane has given students the option to choose where they want to sit throughout the day based on the task they are engaging in. Some of the benefits include an increase in the number of calories burned, increased metabolism, increased motivation and engagement, and improved core strength and posture. Flexible seating is also linked to higher academic performance, better health and improved behavior.

“I have found that there is great power in student choice and that all students have different needs that need to be met,” Mrs. Kane said. “As adults we make choices every day about where we sit and where we work best – why not allow our children to do the same?” 

Mrs. Kane also provides traditional seating options for students, and says she found that the majority of her students have reaped benefits from the additional seating options. 

Centre Students Learn About Clean Water

Centre Students Learn About Clean Water photo
Centre Students Learn About Clean Water photo 2
On June 7, first-graders took part in a presentation called the Clean Water Act. Superintendent of Public Works Kevin Conklin and village engineer Juan Garcia talked to first-graders about ways to keep East Rockaway’s waterways clean. They also explained how stormwater runoff affects our community’s waterways. Students received a special care package from our guests, which included pencils, stickers and rubber ducks.

Top Students, Athletes and Retirees Honored at BOE Meeting

Top Students, Athletes and Retirees Honored at BOE Meeting photo

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s Class of 2018 valedictorian Marissela Gomez and salutatorian Gabriella Walsh, as well as scholar-athletes and retirees, were celebrated at the June 12 Board of Education meeting.

The evening began with East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School Principal Neil Lederer congratulating Gomez and Walsh on their achievements. It continued with student-athletes from the girls lacrosse, badminton, track and field, and softball teams being celebrated as scholar-athletes, for achieving more than a 90 GPA. 

The Board also honored the district’s retirees. Each was lauded by their respective building administrator, who all shared warm memories and well wishes with those moving on. Congratulations to the following retirees: Spanish/Italian teacher Frances Cloud (27 years), special education teacher Annette Dubiel (28 years), elementary choral director/teacher Roxanne Lalama (16), library media specialist Nancy Minkoff (24 years) and teacher Carol Sanders (30 years). 

After the retirees were acknowledged, Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz led a PTA installation ceremony for the new officers of each of the school’s PTA units.    



Zoo Visit for Centre Avenue Students

Zoo Visit for Centre Avenue Students photo
Zoo Visit for Centre Avenue Students

On June 7, first-graders at Centre Avenue Elementary School visited the Queens Zoo. The children enjoyed seeing animals such as the lynx, bison, bald eagle and sea lions. Students classified these animals based on attributes learned during their classes’ animal classification unit this year.  

Marching Bands Perform at Huckleberry Frolic

Marching Bands Perform at Huckleberry Frolic photo

The Rhame Avenue and Centre Avenue marching bands joined forces to perform at the local Huckleberry Frolic on June 9. Band teacher Nicole Mihalek did an excellent job leading the band, praising its efforts and encouraging the players during the march.

Rhame Student Is Principal for a Day

Rhame Student Is Principal for a Day photo
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Rhame Avenue student Justin Elliott was “Principal for a Day” on June 7 alongside Mr. Erik Walter. Justin’s mother won a special raffle prize at this year’s PTA fundraiser dinner and her son was awarded this opportunity to walk in the shoes of the principal for an entire day. Mr. Walter and Mr. Elliott began the day together on Newscasters, visited classrooms, and created a special video playing the trombone together to encourage more students to choose the instrument for band. They also visited the East Rockaway Public Library together and had Wendy’s for lunch in the principal’s office with a friend to end the afternoon. It was an awesome day!

Freshmen Work With Rhame Avenue Youngsters

Freshmen Work With Rhame Avenue Youngsters photo
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On June 11, Ms. Melinda Best and Mr. Robert Kennedy’s ninth-grade ELA class visited Ms. Rachele Banducci’s class at Rhame Avenue. 

The ninth-graders began the program by reading the children’s books they created for the younger students and discussed the process of developing a central idea that teaches a lesson to a reader. During this time, the younger students had opportunities to ask questions and give feedback on the books. 

The second part of the program focused on student-led workshops in which the younger students developed their own short stories that focused on the development of a central idea, with support from their ninth-grade counterparts. Overall, the day was a success that everyone enjoyed. The students demonstrated both knowledge and confidence. We would like to thank Mr. Lederer, Mr. Taylor, Ms. Terranova and Mr. Walter for their support in this project. We also want to thank Ms. Banducci, whose class was engaging, thoughtful and fun to work with!  

Students Earn Twilight Awards

Students Earn Twilight Awards photo

On June 7, East Rockaway’s Twilight Bridge Program held its annual awards ceremony to highlight student achievement. The following students received awards for the following categories:

Best Attendance Award (attended 85 percent or more of classes)
Navita Kissoon

Most Star Students Awards (received most Star Students Awards this school year)
Navita Kissoon
Osmin Mayorga

Most Improved Award
Natalie Alayo
Angel Ayala

Highest Average Award (highest overall average in Day School and Twilight Bridge combined)
Melissa Zarate

Leadership Award
Jeremiah Gonzalez
Shabue Mosley
Alison Reicherter
Jonathon Russin

Effort Roll (80-84)
Jesse Evelly (Geometry)
Osmin Mayorga (Geometry)

Honor Roll (85-89)
Shabue Mosley (U.S. History)
Alison Reicherter (Geometry)
Jonathon Russin (Economics and English 12)

High Honor Roll (90+)
Navita Kissoon (English 12)
Melissa Zarate (Geometry)

The Twilight Bridge coordinators, Ms. April Francis and Ms. Mary Ann Goetz, would like to thank this year’s staff members for their dedication and mentorship to our students. Thank you to Mr. Karina Blackstone, Mr. Chris Caputo, Ms. Betty Freeman, Mr. David Kravis, Ms. Nicole Levesque, Ms. Stephanie Medina, Ms. Ester Morreale, Ms. Denise Powell, Mr. Ralph Santiago, Ms. Liz Stack, Ms. Suzanne Volpe and Ms. Amy Weissman. A special thank-you to BOCES liaison Ms. Kellie McLaurin for all her support this year. Congratulations to the entire Twilight Bridge faculty and staff for a job well done!

Rocks Baseball Wraps Up a Great Season!

Rocks Baseball Wraps Up a Great Season photo

Congratulations to East Rockaway’s boys baseball team on a historic season, matching the school record for 13 league wins and winning the program’s first regional championship.

At the highest level of New York State high school sports, the team represented East Rockaway High School and the community with tremendous dignity and pride and were consistently commended on its kind and respectful manner. 

The team’s season unfortunately came to a close on June 8 in the New York State semi-finals with a 6-1 loss to Section VII’s Ticonderoga. Athletic Director David Barth and the administration at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High school congratulate Coach Hickey, the coaching staff and the boys on a great season. Go Rocks!

Rhame Sixth-Graders Learn About Density

Rhame Sixth-Graders Learn About Density photo

Sixth-grade students from Rhame Avenue learned about density during a recent classroom activity led by East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science students.

The academic collaboration took place at the high school, with the older students reviewing the formula for density before conducting experiments that demonstrated its real-life application. First, the younger students were given different items, which they dropped into a jug of water to see which had the greatest density. Next, a few brave students took part in a human experiment, which included getting weighed and then being placed in a 55-gallon drum filled with water. As the students submerged into the water, the high school students filled 5-gallon buckets with the water that became displaced. After determining how much water was displaced, the students worked together to figure out the volume of each subject. They then converted their weights to mass and found their density.  

Gearing Up for Summer Reading

Gearing Up for Summer Reading photo
Gearing Up for Summer Reading photo 2
Rhame Avenue students in Mrs. Gail Beyrer’s and Mrs. Heidi Kreit’s classes recently visited Heather Massa at the East Rockaway Public Library. Mrs. Massa showed the classes where to find books and media in the children’s section. She made so many suggestions of books that would be great for summer reading. The children are looking forward to the summer reading program at the library.

Science Honors for Middle School Students

Science Honors for Middle School Students photo
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Science Honors for Middle School Students photo 3
East Rockaway middle school students presented their science projects at the Long Island Science Congress held at St. Anthony’s High School on April 17. The students were selected based upon their winning efforts in the Middle School Science fair held in January. 
Congratulations to the following students for receiving recognition at the Long Island Science Congress awards ceremony at St Anthony’s High School on May 22. 
 

Most Distinguished Behavioral Science Project Award and High Honors Ribbon
Clare Acuti

Honors Ribbon
Emily McLaughlin

Meritorious Ribbon
Patrick McLaughlin

Achievement Ribbon
Madeleine Prucha
Sofia Valdebenito

Honorable Mention Ribbon
Luke Arciere
Louis DeSano
Katy Howard
Matthew Lacey
Shane Lonergan
Felicia Oosterwijk
Mackenzie Sackaris
 

Rhame Students Visit Cooked to Perfection

Rhame Students Visit Cooked to Perfection photo

Students in Ms. Lori DeVarso’s and Mrs. Ashley Donovan’s classes went on a walking field trip to Cooked to Perfection on Main Street. The students used their math skills to convert, measure and bake chocolate chip cookies! They also enjoyed making egg creams. Everyone had a wonderful time!

Rhame Students Learn Flag Day Etiquette

Rhame Students Learn Flag Day Etiquette photo
Students in grades 4-6 at Rhame Avenue School were honored to have the presence of two veterans from the United Veteran Organization of Nassau County to conduct their American Flag Day Etiquette Program. The students listened with great interest to the veterans. They also participated in a color guard.

High School Peer Educators Inform Youngsters

High School Peer Educators Inform Youngsters photo
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High School Peer Educators Inform Youngsters photo 3
Twenty-five East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School student Peer AIDS Educators visited Rhame Avenue and Centre Avenue Elementary Schools on May 23 and May 25 to present to the fifth- and sixth-grade students on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. 

The Peer AIDS Educators Program is a joint effort between the district, North Shore University Hospital’s Center for AIDS Research and Treatment, and the Department of Professional and Public Health Education. 

High school students from participating districts are selected to attend an intensive HIV/AIDS Education training program at North Shore University Hospital, preparing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to educate their peers on this topic. Upon completion of the training, students are involved in planning and implementing HIV/AIDS presentations and classroom activities as part of the district’s fifth- and sixth-grade health curriculum. The ERHS Peer AIDS Educators Program is facilitated by social worker Kristen Mednick, in collaboration with the district’s Health and Physical Education Department led by David Barth.  

Community Read Aloud at Rhame Avenue

Community Read Aloud at Rhame Avenue photo

Rhame Avenue hosted a Community Read Aloud on May 30. During the school’s final Pick a Reading Partner event, members of the community were invited into classrooms to read a book to the children. Our guests included building and district administrators, Board of Education members, a public librarian, local politicians and members of community groups. In keeping with the “Laughter Through Literacy” theme, books were selected to make the students laugh and smile. It meant so much to have so many community members share their love of literacy with the students. The Community Read Aloud was a special way to end a month of fun literacy events.





Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student Achievement

Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student Achievement photo

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School held its Academic Awards on May 17. Students were recognized for their accomplishments during the 2017-18 school year. Some of the awards presented included the following:

Cassie Araujo won the award for the outstanding effort and energy she put into the school’s Key Club. Cassie became Key Club president in her junior year. She has made sure all school functions and events were successful. Senior Gold Key Winners were also celebrated. These academic scholars met all high honor roll requirements two out of three marking periods. Students who earned honor roll or high honor roll throughout the year, as well as Junior Honor Society participants, were recognized. Congratulations to Jason Miller and Elissa Velasquez, who were honored for their active participation and membership.   

Christopher Levins was celebrated for receiving New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky’s Student Star Award. Chris has participated in numerous academic clubs and activities. He’s an outstanding school citizen and great to the community. Chris was also honored with an award from the University of Rochester, the George Eastman Young Leader Award. Chris is a leader in the classroom, on the field and outside of school.

Seventh-grader Clare Acuti was named Student of the Year. Each month teachers select a student to be the Student of the Month, who is a student who does well academically and behaves inside and outside the classroom. Clare was Student of the Month in the following classes: English, Social Studies, Math, Home and Careers, Physical Education, Spanish, Orchestra, Chorus and Health. In many of those classes, she earned the recognition multiple times. 

Congratulations to all of the honorees! 

Library Visit for District Families

Library Visit for District Families photo
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Library Visit for District Families photo 3
East Rockaway English as a New Language students in grades K-12 and their families met the district ENL teachers at the East Rockaway Public Library for a literacy celebration.

Those in attendance were introduced to the multitude of resources available at the public library to support student learning, language acquisition and family engagement. The East Rockaway librarian Heather Massa and her colleagues designed a program that included a tour of the library, book browsing, crafts, information on academic support and summer programs. They also issued more than 20 library cards to students and parents. The students were encouraged to take advantage of all the helpful resources and to participate in the Summer Reading Programs. 

It was a wonderful evening building bridges and making connections with our families.

A Successful Science Collaboration

A Successful Science Collaboration photo

Centre Avenue students in Ms. Diana Collins and Ms. Kelly Dowling’s science class participated in a Human Density experiment with Mr. Brian Crowley and Mr. Bryan Palermo’s AP Science classes at the high school. The AP Science classes led a lesson on density to provide background knowledge for students. When finished, a few sixth-grade students were immersed into a drum of water and worked together to find the density of a human based on the water displaced. The elementary students had a wonderful time learning from and getting to know the upperclassmen.

Basketball Victory for Centre Students

Basketball Victory for Centre Students photo
Centre Avenue recently completed another basketball tournament with the sixth-grade students during recess. Congratulations to Abby, Erin, Jordan, Josiah and Peter on the 76ers for their teamwork, perseverance and eventual victory in the finals. Thank you to coach Wayne Smyle for organizing and moderating the basketball games!

Fruits, Vegetables and Science at Rhame Avenue

Fruits, Vegetables and Science at Rhame Avenue photo
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Sixth-graders in Kassie Tillem-Spero’s class at Rhame Avenue School used a triple beam balance and the water displacement method to find the mass and volume of fruits and vegetables as a culminating activity to their science unit on density.

Equipped with avocados, bananas, yellow peppers, cucumbers and many more healthy treats, students worked together in pairs to find the volume and mass of their objects. They then calculated the density for each. Ms. Tillem-Spero orchestrated the activities to provide students with an opportunity to utilize the practical skills they learned. The students had a lot of fun as they engaged in the hands-on lessons.      

Seventh-graders Attend LICEE Leadership Summit

Seventh-graders Attend LICEE Leadership Summit photo
Ten East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School middle school students attended the third annual Long Island Consortium for Excellence and Equity Summit “I dream, I lead, I Rise on May 21. 

The students, along with Assistant Principal TJ Terranova, guidance counselor Jim O’Driscoll and seventh-grade social studies teacher Joyce Kenny, had an enlightened time attending various workshops about student empowerment, making sound choices, overcoming obstacles, respect and finding one’s passion. The skills and lessons learned will last a lifetime; and middle school staff will continue to focus on building strong positive character traits as they move forward with the students.

Red Nose Day

Red Nose Day photo

The district celebrated Red Nose Day on May 24. Red Nose Day is a global initiative to eradicate hunger and poverty for children in the United States and across the world.

The East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School Key Club and school social worker Ms. Amy Weissman held a fundraiser during lunch periods. For a donation of $1, students and staff had the opportunity to purchase red noses and took selfies with a selfie frame titled “NOSESON.” 

Students and staff around the district could be seen wearing red noses, symbolizing a life-changing difference for children here in America and around the world.

Students Receive Advice on Advanced Placement Classes

Students Receive Advice on Advanced Placement Classes photo
Students Receive Advice on Advanced Placement Classes photo 2
On May 25, East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School held its annual Advanced Placement assembly. Approximately 130 students who are registered for at least one AP class next year were invited to the assembly. General recommendations for success in an AP class were discussed, and the students heard from a panel of approximately a dozen 2017 East Rockaway graduates about how to be successful in a high school AP class and in college. The students then broke out to meet with their individual AP teachers for next year, so they could hear the specifics for their classes and get their summer assignments.

This Is Your Brain on Drugs: Dr. Stephen Dewey Visits East Rockaway

This Is Your Brain on Drugs: Dr. Stephen Dewey Visits East Rockaway photo
More than 200 students, parents and faculty members crowded into the auditorium at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School on May 1 to hear Dr. Stephen Dewey, a neuroscientist and research professor from New York University School of Medicine, give a talk titled, “The Effects of Addictive Drugs on the Human Brain.” The East Rockaway School District Prevention Task Force made the presentation possible and attendance was mandatory for all students planning to attend this year’s prom, along with a parent/guardian.  
  
In a very sobering presentation on the effects of a number of addictive drugs, Dr. Dewey used PET scan images to show the effects of drugs on the brain. He indicated that every drug of abuse works the same way – by increasing dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which increases feelings of happiness. While a cup of coffee might increase dopamine by 8 percent, he said, alcohol, depending on the dose, could increase dopamine by 1,000 to 2,000 percent, and marijuana, by 2,000 to 5,000 percent. Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, can increase dopamine 900,000 percent. That makes it the most addictive drug, Dewey continued.

He also explained what makes some people more likely to use drugs. Some people naturally have brain dopamine that’s 5 or 6 percent higher than average. Those people, according to Dewey, are more likely to try something different.  

Dr. Dewey said addiction is something that starts in adolescence, while the brain is still developing. Marijuana, in particular, has a profound effect on the front part of the brain, called the frontal lobe. This region of the brain controls impulses and decision-making, Dewey said, so when you start smoking pot in adolescence, you arrest the ability to make adult decisions. Marijuana today, he said, is also laced with other drugs. In Dewey’s studies, he has found that almost three-quarters of the marijuana that people have shown him has been laced with methamphetamine, making it much more potent and addictive. 

“The majority of pot today has meth in it,” he said.

Dr. Dewey went on to discuss heroin and opiates. He said that opiates are “safe in the presence of pain,” but addictive otherwise.  Prolonged heroin and opiate abuse, he explained, could damage the brain much like advanced multiple sclerosis, and is irreversible.

Though the facts can be scary, Dewey said the best way to deal with preventing your child from using drugs is to engage in a simple conversation with them to find out what is going on with them and their thoughts on drugs. 

“The scariest thing is, they don’t know what they are doing and I think the best thing you can do is talk to your kids,” he said. “We know they don’t want to be lectured or told what to do.”

AAA Awards for High School Drivers

AAA Awards for High School Drivers photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School students Kayla Diaz and Zane Zeilberger have been awarded the American Automobile Associations’ driver education award as outstanding students in the East Rockaway High School Driver Education Program. 

The pair was selected on the basis of demonstrated driving skills, knowledge of the rules of the road and mature attitude and approach to driving. AAA instituted this award in 1936. Its purpose is not only to recognize outstanding high school driver education students but also to encourage all young drivers to develop the skills and attitudes that will contribute toward their being safe drivers. Teachers and instructors Mr. Nick Cimorelli and Dr. Christian Soto selected them for the award. 

Centre Students Make Connections With the Environment

Centre Students Make Connections With the Environment photo

Centre Avenue sixth-grade students recently enjoyed a field trip to Smith Pond in Rockville Centre. Students worked alongside Seatuck Environmental Society and were exposed to the diversity, beauty and wonder of Long Island’s natural world. This authentic outdoor experience allowed students to make a connection to the environment and fosters concern for its conservation.

Tenure and Honors at Board of Education Meeting

Tenure and Honors at Board of Education Meeting photo

The Board of Education, members of the administration and community members gathered for the Board of Education meeting at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School on May 22.

The event began with a celebratory tone as two district teachers were presented for tenure. East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School English teacher Briar Falvo and elementary special education teacher Diana Collins were revered by their building administrators for their hard work and diligence. They also received flowers from their respective school’s PTAs. 

In addition, Board of Education vice president Keith Gamache received New York State School Boards Association Board Mastery recognition for his completion of training completed through the School Board U. NYSSBA Area Director Robert “B.A.” Schoen was on hand to present the award to Mr. Gamache and shared why he likes to personally deliver the honors board members achieve. 

“I like to tell the citizens of the districts that I belong to that you have a school board that works hard to represent you and as much as we talk about everything is for the kids, it’s for everybody,” Mr. Schoen said. 

Scripps Spelling Bee winners from Centre Avenue and Rhame Avenue were also recognized. Congratulations to Michael Mahoney and Xavier Jaramillo, respectively. 

The recognition concluded with more than 250 district students being honored for their participation and accomplishments in a multitude of music and art shows and competitions that took place during the 2017-18 school year. The students were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts and contributions to the arts.



NYSSMA Gold Rating for East Rockaway Chorus

NYSSMA Gold Rating for East Rockaway Chorus photo
The East Rockaway Junior High Chorus performed at the New York State School Music Association Majors for the first time in school history at Hofstra University on May 21. The students received a Gold Rating with Distinction, the highest attainable award. Congratulations to Mrs. Seanna Silver and the 52 chorus members.

Author Visit at Centre Avenue

Author Visit at Centre Avenue photo

Centre Avenue students were treated to a visit by Alan Katz on May 17. Mr. Katz is a famous author, songwriter and Emmy-nominated writer for several television shows. He loves to publish books that teach children important life lessons through humor. He spent the morning with the school and even hosted a lunch session with some students. Thank you to the East Rockaway Education Foundation for making this opportunity possible for the students!

VIDEO: East Rockaway Welcomes Incoming Kindergartners

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East Rockaway Junior Earns Star Status

East Rockaway Junior Earns Star Status photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School junior Christopher Levins was one of 28 students recognized during New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky’s second annual Student Stars Awards event. 

Sen. Kaminsky, along with a bipartisan gathering of elected officials from across the Ninth District, honored high school leaders who have succeeded academically and given back to their communities. Each recipient was presented with the New York State Senate Student Stars Award.  

Christopher has distinguished himself as one of East Rockaway’s most outstanding students. He is enrolled in one of the most challenging academic programs, consisting of honors, accelerated and AP courses, which he approaches with grit and determination. Chris also finds the time to contribute to his community as a member of the National Honor Society, varsity soccer team, marching band, jazz band and recreational basketball.

Screen Free Week Winners Celebrated at Rhame Avenue

Screen Free Week Winners Celebrated at Rhame Avenue photo
Rhame Avenue students Ella Pizzo, Julianna Thorgersen and Matthew Travia were named winners of Screen Free Week. These students were selected for completing their Screen Free Week Activity Log. They spent time off their devices doing other activities, such as cooking, playing softball, riding bikes and spending time with family. Congratulations! 

Throwback Thursday at Rhame Avenue

Throwback Thursday at Rhame Avenue photo

Rhame Avenue students and staff participated in Throwback Thursday on May 17. Students had the opportunity to visit their teachers from the previous school year for a read-aloud and fun activity. Kindergarten students had the opportunity to be read to by the sixth-grade teachers. There was even a special surprise when retired teacher Mrs. Mary McLeod came to visit her former students. Everyone was encouraged to wear a fun fashion from a past decade. It was amazing to see all the creative outfits!

Centre Names Screen Free Week Challenge Winners

Centre Names Screen Free Week Challenge Winners photo
Centre Avenue students participated in the National Screen Free Week Challenge during the week of April 30-May 6. Three students were selected to win a prize for completing and returning the Screen Free Activity Log. Second-graders Harlow Tyrell and Mia Vetere, and kindergartner Thomas O’Hagan were among the students chosen to win a prize. These students dedicated the week to spending time off of their electronic devices and completing activities such as reading, coloring, riding bikes, dancing and spending time with family. 

HS Principal Appointed

HS Principal Appointed photo
At its May 22 meeting, the Board of Education appointed Richard Schaffer as the principal of East Rockaway Jr./Sr. High School, effective July 1, 2018.

Mr. Schaffer received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Binghamton University, a Master of Science degree in education, adolescence social studies, from Queen’s College and his school building and district administration certification from the School of Education at LIU Post. He spent more than 17 years at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens, where he taught social studies before serving as dean of students and then as assistant principal.

For the past seven years as assistant principal, Mr. Schaffer supervised the social studies, science, foreign language and technology departments. During that time, he introduced and fostered the development of Project-Based Learning across these departments and lead a districtwide professional learning cohort centered around PBL. Mr. Schaffer provided leadership for the development of a partnership with St. Francis College in Brooklyn, allowing students to attend an after-school science program on a college campus; spearheaded a Software Engineering Program at the school, exposing students to 3D printing, web design, coding, videogame and app design; and created a video studio and an associated curriculum. He also significantly increased family engagement at his school, developed the school’s website and social media presence and implemented a series of parent engagement surveys to connect families with the school community. Additionally, he created the school’s first alumni directory and launched a series of alumni events.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mr. Schaffer to our East Rockaway family,” Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz said. “He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge and I am confident that he will prove to be an invaluable asset to our district.”

Centre Students Focus on Positivity

Centre Students Focus on Positivity photo

Students at Centre Avenue School shared positive thoughts about themselves, their peers, school faculty and family members during the school’s second annual Positive Post-it Day on May 16.

The activity was organized by Centre Avenue’s Positive School Culture Committee as a way for students to share kindness with each other. The youngsters were given a variety of colored Post-its to distribute. One was given to each student so they could share a positive message about themselves. They also wrote a kind message to a peer, a staff member and to someone at home. In addition, teachers shared a kind message with each of their students.    

According to teacher Kirsten Miolan, the activity was expanded this year to include a staff member and a family member to connect those individuals with classroom learning. 

“It was a huge success,” Mrs. Miolan said of the activity. “The students felt really empowered.”   

Special Visitors’ Day at Centre Avenue

Special Visitors’ Day at Centre Avenue photo

Centre Avenue held its annual Special Visitors’ Day on May 11. Grandparents, aunts and uncles were invited to see some of the exciting and engaging learning opportunities that take place during the school day. Some activities included writing celebrations, a “Jeopardy” review game, a class song, the Sixth-Grade Science Fair and various learning stations. The staff and students really enjoyed having our special guests visit the school.

Middle School Quiz Bowl a Success

Middle School Quiz Bowl a Success photo

District students in grades 6-8 demonstrated their academic prowess in a Middle School Quiz Bowl on May 11.

Organized by the East Rockaway Social Studies Leadership Committee, the event brought Centre Avenue and Rhame Avenue sixth-graders to the junior-senior high school to compete against students in grades 7 and 8. There were three rounds of competition, in which students answered questions in the subjects of geography, American history, Ancient Egypt and more. They also went head-to-head in speed rounds, earning additional points. The eighth-grade team won the competition with 190 points, earning the coveted “Golden Globe.” Congratulations to all the students on an outstanding job!     



 

Narratives and Polygons at Rhame Avenue

Third-graders at Rhame Avenue used their skills of narratives and polygons to create stories. The students defined polygons, sequenced a story and wrote a final picture-book copy. They shared their stories with Mrs. Wendy Gorman’skindergarten class and Mrs. Deborah Ferrato’s and Mrs. Eileen Hiller’s first-grade classes. The first-graders then created a circle map to show what they learned about polygons. Next, they created their own story about a polygon with a third-grade partner.

Poem in a Pocket Day at Rhame Avenue

Poem in a Pocket Day at Rhame Avenue photo

On May 9, the students at Rhame Avenue celebrated Poem in a Pocket Day as part of May’s Pick a Reading Partner events. Students were asked to bring a poem to school and share it with a friend. They were encouraged to try to find a poem that would make their friends laugh as part of PARP’s “Laughter Through Literacy” theme.

Seventh-Graders Learn to Build a Strong Foundation

Seventh-Graders Learn to Build a Strong Foundation photo
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Seventh-Graders Learn to Build a Strong Foundation photo 4
The seventh-grade college and careers class at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School built balloon towers as part of a lesson on the importance of a strong foundation. The students enjoyed taking part in this hands-on lesson. 
 

Rhame Students Show Off Their Silly Socks

Rhame Students Show Off Their Silly Socks photo

On May 4, Rhame Avenue students showed off their most fun and wacky socks to kick off the school’s monthlong Pick a Reading Partner event. PARP is a New York State PTA-sponsored program designed to foster a lifelong love of reading in children. The program focuses on encouraging parents or guardians to read at home with their children for at least 15 minutes per day. Throughout the month of May, the Literacy Action Team committee celebrates reading with a partner by hosting assemblies, read-ins, author visits and more.



 

East Rockaway Music Department Honors

East Rockaway Music Department Honors photo
The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation has recognized the East Rockaway School District as one of the Best Communities for Music Education across the nation for the second consecutive year. This honor recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who work together to ensure access to music learning for all students as part of the school curriculum. Congratulations, East Rockaway!

Centre Students Create Line Plots

Centre Students Create Line Plots photo
Centre Students Create Line Plots photo 2
Fourth-graders at Centre Avenue in Kellie Higgins and Kirsten Miolan’s class are working on line plots. As part of the lesson, the students worked together to interpret data and create a line plot on the classroom floor. The line plot represented the distances that students walk to school at Centre Avenue. The students really enjoyed this interactive activity. 

Rhame Students Visit Safety Town

Rhame Students Visit Safety Town photo
Rhame Students Visit Safety Town photo 2
Rhame Students Visit Safety Town 3
Rhame Students Visit Safety Town 4
Rhame Students Visit Safety Town 4
Rhame Students Visit Safety Town 5
Rhame Students Visit Safety Town 6
Rhame Avenue third-graders in Gail Beyrer and Allison Gerbert's, Heidi Kreit's and Ashley Donovan’s classes went to Safety Town at Eisenhower Park to learn about the helpers that keep them safe as they cross the street walking, riding a bike or driving a car. The students had a wonderful time learning the rules of the road.  

Learning to Measure Is Fun at Centre Avenue

Learning to Measure Is Fun at Centre Avenue photo
Learning to Measure Is Fun at Centre Avenue photo 2
First-graders at Centre Avenue are studying measurements in mathematics. During a recent class lesson, students learned how to measure the length of objects in order to compare the shortest to longest.

East Rockaway Eighth-Graders Visit Washington, D.C.

East Rockaway Eighth-Graders Visit Washington, D.C. photo
East Rockaway Eighth-Graders Visit Washington, D.C. photo 2
Members of the eighth-grade class just returned from their annual trip to Washington, D.C., on May 7 and 8. The students had an opportunity to visit many of the historical sites they have been studying in their classes. 

The students embarked on a tour of the Capitol Building, getting to see where the laws of our land are made. They also took a solemn walk through the National Holocaust Museum, making connections to the memoir “Night” by Elie Wiesel and the events of World War II. At dusk, the class went to the Lincoln, Pentagon 9/11, Vietnam and World War II memorials, where they reflected on each of the events they commemorated. At Ford’s Theatre, they learned more about the history of Lincoln and Wilkes Booth.

In the National Archives Museum, the students viewed the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. To end the trip, they took a tour of Arlington National Cemetery, where they learned about the rich history of those who are buried here and witnessed the moving Changing of the Guard ceremony. In a short 36 hours, the eighth-graders gathered both a deeper understanding of our country’s history and a lifetime of memories.

Rhame Avenue Fifth-Graders Participate in Beautiful Me

Rhame Avenue Sixth-Graders Participate in Beautiful Me photo
Rhame Avenue fifth-graders participated in the Beautiful Me project developed by the Hance Family Foundation. 

The students had an opportunity to honor the lives of three beautiful sisters, Emma, Allyson and Katie Hance by participating in this self esteem program that teaches students to understand who they are, to appreciate their own skills and understand that there is satisfaction in helping others. They also engaged in activities that focused on self-esteem, values, problem-solving and positive motivation. 

Screen-Free Week at Centre Avenue

Screen-Free Week at Centre Avenue photo
Screen-Free Week at Centre Avenue photo 2
Screen-Free Week at Centre Avenue photo 3
On May 3, Centre Avenue first-graders celebrated Screen-Free Week. The children took their Journeys textbooks and reader’s response notebooks outdoors. Students read a main selection called, “Where Does Food Come From?” and created a bridge map to identify where their favorite food comes from. 

East Rockaway Senior Places First in SkillsUSA

East Rockaway Senior Places First in SkillsUSA photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School senior Brandon Bilardello took first place in a statewide SkillsUSA competition held from April 25-27.  

Bilardello, who attends the audio production program at Barry Tech, was half of a two-person team in “Interactive Application and Video Game Development” competition. He has been excelling in the program and was selected for this competition by his teacher. This was the first time Barry Tech students have competed in this particular competition. Brandon worked seamlessly with a student from another high school who takes computer game design and programming at Barry Tech. 

East Rockaway Junior Learns to Lift Prints

East Rockaway Junior Learns to Lift Prints photo
East Rockaway Junior Learns to Lift Prints photo 2
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School junior Tariq Chavis attends the Police Science and Criminal Justice program at Barry Tech. During a recent class activity Tariq worked on a project where he and his peers learned how to lift latent fingerprints from a crime scene. 

Rhame Third-Graders Enjoy an Outdoor Math Lesson

Rhame Third-Graders Enjoy an Outdoor Math Lesson photo

Rhame Avenue students in Mrs. Heidi Kreit’s and Mrs. Gail Beyer’s third-grade classes were treated to a special lesson on calculating area and perimeter by math specialist Mr. Jack Bixhorn. The students enjoyed using chalk and rulers to find the area and perimeter of polygons.

Children’s Book Week at Rhame Avenue

Children’s Book Week at Rhame Avenue photo
Rhame Avenue students in Mrs. Wendy Gorman’s kindergarten class listened to a story in the library and then enjoyed an activity to celebrate Children’s Book Week. In addition, they were given a bag and bookmark with the word “READ” on it to remind them all of the great adventure stories that books provide.

Freshman Participate in Abilities Awareness Activities

Freshman Participate in Abilities Awareness Activities photo
Freshman Participate in Abilities Awareness Activities photo 2
As part of Autism Awareness Week and a jump-start to scheduled Unified Basketball games, social worker Maureen Schutta visited ninth-grade social studies classes to provide a lesson on abilities awareness. 

Students were asked to assess their knowledge and comfort level within the following five stations: accessibility for motor, vision and hearing conditions; autism spectrum conditions; intellectual disabilities; mental health; and learning differences and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Students learned about the historical significance of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and participated in both classroom and building-level scavenger hunts to find everyday accommodations that many of us take for granted. Kudos to freshmen Brian Boyce and Rachel Johnson for noticing the wheelchair-accessible water fountain on the second floor. Students interested in learning more about abilities awareness and opportunities for volunteerism can contact Ms. Schutta at mschutta@eastrockawayschools.org

 

 
 

Narcan Training Continues in East Rockaway

Narcan Training Continues in East Rockaway photo
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The district hosted a Narcan training for employees on May 9 at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School. 

Led by East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School health teacher Andrew Rinn, the training taught those in attendance how and when to administer the lifesaving antidote that can reverse the fatal effects of an opioid overdose and save a person’s life. 

In October 2016, the Board of Education adopted a policy that authorized the district to participate in a New York State Department of Health-registered Opioid Overdose Prevention program as an opioid antagonist recipient. The Board permits any school employee to volunteer to receive training from this program. 

According to Mr. Rinn, the district began training last spring after receiving all the proper certification through New York State. To-date, approximately 50 district employees have volunteered to participate. The program issues individual and shared access to communal NYSDOH-provided naloxone nasal spray kits to the trained responders, which Mr. Rinn said is a great thing.

“The more Narcan kits we can get into the hands of community members, the safer we will be,” Rinn said.


 

Seventh-Graders Experience ‘Inherit the Wind’

Seventh-Graders Experience ‘Inherit the Wind’ photo

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School students in Briar Falvo’s seventh-grade English language arts class are acting out Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s play, “Inherit the Wind.” Students are in roles including lawyers, a judge, a defendant and spectators as they follow dialogue and stage directions.

Rhame Students Search Out Simple Machines

Rhame Students Search Out Simple Machines photo

Rhame Avenue students in Mrs. Gail Beyrer and Allison Gerbert’s third-grade class learned about simple machines and created tree maps listing the six different types. After their tree maps were set up, students used their knowledge of simple machines to search for examples on our playground. Student Aleksandra came to the conclusion that “simple machines are everywhere!”



Performance Week at Rhame Avenue

Performance Week at Rhame Avenue photo

During the week of April 23, Rhame Avenue School hosted its third annual Performance Week for Special Visitors. This was an exciting week for students, staff, families and special visitors to watch the students perform on stage. The teachers and students worked extremely hard to bring these performances to life and the feedback was incredible. The students sang songs, showcased special projects, and participated in skits, plays and living museums. The fifth-graders’ Entrepreneur’s Day showcase finished off the week’s festivities. There were many special moments during this amazing week.

Decision Day for Seniors

Decision Day for Seniors photo
Members of the Class of 2018 wore sweatshirts and T-shirts that indicated where they would attend college in the fall on College Decision Day. Good luck to the senior class! 

Students Share Science Research at Symposium

Students Share Science Research at Symposium photo

Juniors in East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s Science Research program presented research plans for the 2018-19 school year at the first-ever Science Research Symposium on April 30.

The students, under the guidance of teachers Emanuela Matthews and Patricia Refino, have studied a variety of scientific topics, reading multiple articles by experts to aid their upcoming research. They are also working with mentor scientists from various colleges and working with Ms. Refino to secure field research opportunities over the summer months. 

During the symposium, each student shared their research topics, important facts about what they’ve learned thus far and articles they’ve read that support the focus of their research. Teachers Brian Crowley, Emanuela Matthews, Lexi Mendyk, Pam Murano and Bryan Palermo served as panelists, and will provide feedback that will help guide the students to modify their presentations for future competitions.

Department Chairperson for Science and Mathematics Jimmy Zervas commended students Joseph Amabile, Nick Becker, Scott Buzzolani, Brandon Frantzen, Cole Keller and Luke Wahlers for the work they have done so far and wished them luck as they moved forward with their research. 



 

Future Students Learn the Ropes at Orientation

Future Students Learn the Ropes at Orientation photo

Incoming seventh-grade students visiting from Centre and Rhame Avenue schools received a preview of the academic and extracurricular activities available to them at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School on April 24.

Student visitors first heard from club advisers and coaches about the many extracurricular opportunities available, then Assistant Principal Ms. TJ Terranova explained how establishing positive school connections develops academic success and social-emotional wellness. Students also completed an activity survey, so that middle school staff can begin preparing for next year's offerings. Students then broke into groups, providing a chance to meet their future classmates. 

The students participated in activities to get to know some of next year’s building support team and peers. They also sat in on middle school academic classes, learning about the importance of each lesson’s essential question, and getting an important preview of their future work.



Students Volunteer at Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

Students Volunteer at Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast photo

Rhame Avenue K-Kids Club teamed up with members of the East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School Builders Club to volunteer at the East Rockaway Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast on April 29. The members helped by serving breakfast and cleaning up after the event. All proceeds from the breakfast go towards the Kiwanis Scholarship Fund for East Rockaway Schools.



Beautiful Me Comes to Centre Avenue

Beautiful Me Comes to Centre Avenue photo

Centre Avenue fifth-graders participated in the Beautiful Me project, developed by the Hance Family Foundation, under the direction of school social worker Ms. Amy Weissman.

The students had an opportunity to honor the lives of three beautiful sisters, Allyson, Emma and Katie Hance, by participating in this self-esteem program that teaches students to understand who they are, to appreciate their own skills and understand that there is satisfaction in helping others. The students discussed alternate views of beauty and distorted views of beauty from the media and learned how to respect themselves and develop healthy relationships. They also engaged in activities that focused on self-esteem, values, problem-solving and positive motivation. 

Rhame Avenue Students Show Off Their Entrepreneurial Skills

Entrepreneurial Skills 2018 Pic

Fifth-graders at Rhame Avenue School demonstrated their ingenuity when they created products from recycled materials to sell as part of the school’s annual Entrepreneur’s Day.

The event began with parents and visitors in attendance receiving play money to spend on the students’ creations. It continued with the fifth-graders singing the song “Currency” before they took their places at their “sale booths,” selling origami bookmarks, piggy banks, pencil holders, decorative booties, an original comic book and more, to visitors. 

Before the event, the students created business plans, advertisements, jingles and logos to promote their products. All of the information was uploaded to a Google site, which was accessible via a QR code on their business cards. 

According to teachers Lori Devarso and Ashley Donovan, the event was a culminating activity to the students’ study of economics. Classes have been learning about concepts such as supply and demand, goods and services, and profit. They said students did a wonderful job and expressed their gratitude to computer teacher Petra Schoen for helping students include technology in this year’s event.  

Music Department Competes in Virginia Beach

Music Department Competes in Virginia Beach
The East Rockaway Music Department participated in its annual trip to the Festivals of Music Competition on April 19-22. This year boasted record participation, with 69 students from band, orchestra and chorus attending. The trip included a tour of the University of Delaware’s Music Department and a discussion panel with undergraduate and graduate music students. While in Virginia Beach, Virginia, each ensemble performed for a panel of judges and received a clinic with a guest conductor. The senior band placed first, the senior orchestra placed second and the senior chorus placed third in their respective categories. All ensembles received a rating of excellent from the adjudicators. The students had a wonderful experience and look forward to continuing this annual tradition next year.
 

Third-Graders Embrace Their Inner Beauty

Inner Beauty Pic

Third-graders at both Centre and Rhame Avenue elementary schools participated in the Beautiful Me Project. This program from the Hance Family Foundation focuses on self-esteem, helping others and friendship. The girls celebrated their uniqueness and focused on their special talents, abilities and potential.

Physics Students Practice Skills

Physics Students Practice Skills Pic
In preparation for the upcoming AP Physics 1 exam, East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School students in Mr. Bryan Palermo’s class had to design an experiment to determine the height of a dynamics track. 

Students were given an index card, scotch tape, graphing calculator, a ruler, photogate timer and a dynamics track with a cart. The constraint was that students were not permitted to directly measure the height of the track. Working in small groups, students had to eventually determine how to use conservation of energy principles to calculate the height.

Sixth-Graders Visit Greenkill YMCA

Sixth-Graders Visit Greenkill YMCA photo

Sixth-grade students from Centre and Rhame Avenue School participated in a three-day environmental trip at the Greenkill YMCA, located between the Delaware Water Gap and the Catskill Mountains. Students were given the opportunity to learn responsibility, took turns leading activities and worked together as a team. The students created friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime.

Rhame Students Clean Up in Honor of Earth Day

Rhame Students Clean Up in Honor of Earth Day photo

The Rhame Avenue K-Kids Club hosted their annual Earth Day Clean Up at Memorial Park on April 21. K-Kids members, students, parents, community leaders and faculty advisers Dawn McCabe and Sherina Lugo met at the park Saturday morning with one mission in mind, to give back and contribute to the community they love so much! They all worked together to pick up trash and clean park equipment.

A special thank-you to Village of East Mayor Bruno Romano and trustees Rich Biello and Gordon J. Fox; David Bilardello, Kevin Conklin and James McGlone from the Department of Public Works; and Ronald Roeil from the East Rockaway Fire Department for helping to make this event a success by volunteering their time and donating all the supplies to help clean the park.



Board Honors Superintendent and Student-Poets

Board Honors Superintendent and Student-Poets photo
Board Honors Superintendent and Student-Poets photo 2
Members of the Board of Education recognized Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz and East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s Poetry Madness winners at their most recent meeting. 

Superintendent Ruiz was celebrated for receiving the Nassau BOCES Education Partner award, which pays tribute to outstanding community and business leaders, civil servants, government officials, nonprofit executives and volunteers, organizations, school administrators and staff, students, teachers and Nassau BOCES employees. 

“The Board of Education thanks Mrs. Ruiz for her leadership in initiating positive changes in our district, which support all of our students and programs,” BOE President Patti Nicoletti said.
 
The high school’s student-poet winners read their inspiring poems to those in attendance at the meeting. Congratulations to Tyler Kelly (first place), Gabriella Padiernos (second place), Jessica Fraumeni (third place) and Anne Blaeser and Marc Crocco (who tied for fourth place).


Rhame Welcomes Spring With Poet-Tree

Rhame Welcomes Spring With Poet-Tree photo
Rhame Avenue students are filling up the school’s Poet-tree with unique poems written on paper leaves. The winter was long and stormy, and the tree remained barren. The addition of the leaves was a beautiful way to welcome the spring.

Screen-Free Week at East Rockaway

Screen-Free Week at East Rockaway photo
The district will be participating in a Screen-Free Week on April 30-May 6. Screen-Free Week is a nationwide event celebrated annually by schools, families and other community groups to encourage students and families to limit screen time as much as possible, especially social media. Instead of using social media (Facebook, Instagram, Livestream video, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.), this can be time to read, think, create, get physically active and spend more time with friends and family.
 
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, too much screen time has been linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, sleep disruptions, attention problems, behavioral problems, loss of social skills and violence. American children spend more time in front of a screen than they do in school! 
 
We ask all parents and guardians to take this challenge and limit screen time for the week. If you are able to complete at least one of the days or set limits on how much screen time is used each day, you are being mindful of how much time is spent on screen use. This kind of support is the best thing you can do to ensure that your child/children will have a successful and beneficial experience. 
 
Please see the “101 Screen-Free Activities” handout for screen-free ideas and learn more about this national event by visiting www.screenfree.org. Please join the movement in East Rockaway Schools to swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen and to reconnect with the world around you.
 

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