Suffolk: Saving pets at shelters
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With canines masquerading as everything from a ladybug to a lobster, a recent pet parade at Eastern Suffolk BOCES in Riverhead raised money for a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving animals in municipal shelters.
The event at the Harry B. Ward Career and Technical Center featured 14 dogs in costumes and even a ferret that sported an antenna.
"Everyone came back a little disheveled after [superstorm] Sandy, and this was a great way to be together and support each other while having fun," said Eastern Suffolk BOCES principal Marie Davis, adding that several hundred dollars were collected. "It was a true collaborative effort."
Early-childhood students walked the dogs along the parade route, culinary arts students sold homemade dog biscuits and audio production students broadcast doggy introductions over the PA system, Davis said.
The parade, held outdoors at a closed-off section of the campus, attracted more than 250 students, staff and community members. The animals were pets of students and staff at the career and technical center.
"In addition to the monetary donations, students collected many items on the Forgotten Friends' wish list like food, toys and blankets," animal science teacher Lori Beckmann said.
The event originally was scheduled for the day before Halloween but was delayed by Sandy, she said.
Babylon High School students were shown the methods of widely used laboratory tests during a recent visit from Kirby Pereira, a medical laboratory scientist for Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
Pereira conducted simulated pathology tests, such as blood typing and urinalysis, and described typical patient-doctor interactions in hospitals and medical labs.
In other news, Babylon Memorial Grade School held a Family Game Night. Dozens of families played games such as Scattergories and Scrabble Slam, with the aim of improving children's vocabulary, spelling and thinking skills in a fun way.
Lynn Burke has been named interim principal of Harley Avenue Primary School, replacing the late Maryann Llewellyn, who died in early November. Burke previously was an elementary principal in Port Jefferson and an interim principal in Islip.
In other news, Elwood Middle School recently raised more than $5,000 for cancer research and awareness through a dodgeball fundraiser, titled "Dodge Cancer," that attracted more than 300 local students.
Students at Henry L. Stimson Middle School raised more than $4,700 and about 2,200 food items through an "Extreme Penny War," in which students in homerooms earned points by bringing in spare change.
Students in the winning classroom -- Homeroom 311 -- will donate a portion of the money to a charity of their choice. The remainder will support student programs at Stimson.
"This turned out to be a wonderful effort by everyone here at Stimson," said Jim O'Brien, a special-education teacher who helped coordinate the fundraiser. "Everyone helped out; everyone got involved."
Ten Long Island school districts were among 49 statewide that received grants under the state Education Department's Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) program.
The program supports districts that used a "comprehensive approach" to recruit and develop effective teachers and school leaders as part of their Annual Professional Performance Review plan for evaluating principals and teachers.
Districts were eligible for the grants if at least 25 percent of their students are from low-income families. Local districts receiving grants were Freeport, Hicksville, Huntington, Island Park, Long Beach, Patchogue-Medford, South Huntington, West Babylon, William Floyd and Wyandanch.
"Research shows the best way for schools to help students succeed is to have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every school building," Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said in a statement. "STLE grants will help school districts recruit, develop, support and retain effective teachers and leaders at every level."