Many students jumped into the learning process this school year with a full head of steam — or, rather, STEAM.
The learning format for science, technology, engineering, art and math is intended to show kids how select concepts can be used in the real world.
In Dix Hills, nearly 200 children have been working in a three-story STEAM laboratory built five years ago at Park Shore Country Day Camp & School, which attracts students from more than 40 districts. September lessons included racing apples down a ramp to learn about gravity and handling sea life in the lab’s marine touch tank.
“We’ve adapted to the times and to what children need in their lives,” said Bob Budah, co-owner of Park Shore and creator of its Extreme STEAM Science Kids program. “I believe any time a child is constructing something using their hands and mind, they’re learning.”
In Garden City, one of the school year’s first activities was a STEAM-themed harvest for first-graders at Hemlock Elementary School. Students tasted tomatoes from the school’s new garden, gathered mint leaves to brew flavored water, and harvested zucchini that was made into zucchini bread for snack time by Principal Audrey Bellovin.
In North Bellmore, students at Newbridge Road Elementary School invited relatives for a STEAM activity as part of a “Sit in Your Child’s Seat Day.” Activities included studying the chemical makeup of coins and whether pumpkins float.
The Bayville Intermediate School’s gym was transformed into a STEAM Museum with exhibits challenging kids to build an arch out of foam blocks and operate a light show powered by bikes, among other things.
In East Rockaway, students “will be applying content knowledge in meaningful ways that are applicable to the ever-changing world of technology,” said Michelle Healy, a teacher at Centre Avenue Elementary School, which began its first six-week cycle of STEAM classes with computer coding.
Interim high school principal
Carisa Burzynski is interim principal of Elwood-John H. Glenn High School, replacing James Ruck, the new interim principal of Herricks High School.
Burzynski most recently served two years as Elwood’s assistant principal and before that was an assistant principal in Seaford. She also has taught social studies in the Hauppauge and Sewanhaka districts.
“[Elwood] is a special place where parents, community members, faculty and staff work collaboratively to provide the best educational opportunities for each and every student,” Burzynski said. “I am overwhelmed by the support of everyone and look forward to a productive school year.”
New high school principal
Philip Scotto is acting principal of William Floyd High School. He replaced Barbara Butler, who now is the district’s executive director of K-12 instruction and administration.
Scotto, who spent 2015-16 as the school’s assistant principal, first joined the district as an English teacher in 1984 and served as department chair from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He came out of retirement to be English director for grades 6-12 before becoming an assistant principal.
New elementary principal
Michael Grimaldi is the new principal of Southampton Elementary School. He replaced Bertha Richard, who retired.
Grimaldi, who most recently spent four years as the school’s assistant principal, earlier was an assistant principal in Bay Shore and a special education and physical education teacher in Lake Grove. He also lectures on school reform initiatives and is a teacher trainer at Columbia University.
“Not many individuals can say that they work with their family. I can,” Grimaldi said. “Southampton Elementary School is just that — a family.”