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Denton Avenue in New Hyde Park wins summer reading challenge

Students at Denton Avenue School, with librarian Donna

Students at Denton Avenue School, with librarian Donna Deodato, placed first in New York by reading a total of 776,496 as part of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Credit: Herricks School District

A New Hyde Park elementary school has taken the top spot statewide in a reading competition coordinated by educational media company Scholastic.

Denton Avenue School in the Herricks School District placed first among New York schools in this year's Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a program in which kids log their reading minutes. The challenge is designed to help prevent the learning loss that can occur in children during the summer months.

To take the top spot, Denton Avenue students collectively read 776,496 minutes between May 7 and Sept. 7. For accumulating the most minutes statewide, the school was honored with a "party-in-a-box" kit, which included a personalized plaque, banner and certificates.

"We're just so proud of the children and how they all come together," Denton Avenue librarian Donna Deodato said.

This year's challenge was themed "A Magical Summer of Reading" and incorporated elements of the Harry Potter franchise in celebration of the 20th anniversary of J.K. Rowling's novel "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Students had the opportunity to unlock digital rewards — such as games and books — for completing weekly reading challenges, Deodato said.

To prepare pupils for the challenge, Denton Avenue hosted several field trips for kindergartners to obtain library cards at the Shelter Rock Public Library. The school also hosted a visit from children's author Alicia Z. Klepeis.

The school's top readers from each grade level were: Matthew Chen, kindergarten; Hanshal Kumar, first grade; Liam Wu, second grade; Gopika Shah, third grade; Preston Wu, fourth grade; and Shlok Patel, fifth grade.


New principal 

Mitchell Levy is the new principal of Countrywood Primary Center in the South Huntington School District. He replaced Barbara Kenney, who retired.

Levy previously served 12 years as assistant principal of the district’s Oakwood Primary Center. Before that, he taught fourth grade in the Freeport School District.

"I will continue to build on the character education initiatives previously put in place, ensuring that all students feel safe and respected as they are nurtured and guided to grow both socially and academically," Levy said. "I recognize the importance of fostering a strong home/school connection and believe that as partners we can create self-confident lifelong learners."


New principals

Comsewogue School District has two new principals: Theresa DiMichele Etts at Norwood Avenue Elementary School and Annemarie Sciove at Terryville Road Elementary School.

Sciove was previously principal of Norwood Avenue and replaced April Victor, who retired. Etts most recently served as an assistant principal at the district's Comsewogue High School and John F. Kennedy Middle School. She has also been a special-education teacher, sign language teacher and a dean in the district.

"It gives me the chance to work with the Norwood families and their children as well as Norwood's outstanding teachers, and help provide the warm, protective and encouraging environment needed to nurture growth in us all," Etts said of her new position.


New principal

James Moeller has been named interim principal of Rocky Point Middle School. He replaced Scott O'Brien, who is now interim assistant superintendent of Rocky Point School District.

Moeller previously served as the middle school's assistant principal for 11 years. Before that, he taught third- and sixth-grade in the district and coached middle school and junior varsity football for 10 years.

"My goals are to continue to assist in moving the trajectory of student achievement upward, as well as expanding our middle school advisory program in order to make student connections within the building more personal and meaningful," Moeller said.


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