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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 Elementary 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 principals

Freeport School District has two new principals: Constance Malcolm-Grant at New Visions School and Meg Sheehan at Columbus Avenue School.

Malcolm-Grant, who replaced the retiring Renee Crump, has been a lead reading teacher and assistant principal at New Visions during the past 16 years. 

"We will work together to prepare our students to become lifelong learners academically, socially, emotionally and physically," Malcolm-Grant said of the school community.

Sheehan, who replaced Cleopatra Panagiosoulis, had served as director of the North Shore Montessori School in Stony Brook since 2010. 

"In the coming year, we will continue to build a community that is respectful, nurturing and focused on providing our youngest students with a solid foundation for continued success in education and in life," Sheehan said.   


Blackboard Catalyst Award

Obridge Academy, a private online school for grades six through 12, has received a 2018 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Student Success from education technology company Blackboard Inc. in recognition of the school's "creative program application," the company said. The academy was the only local school to win an award.

Obridge was selected for offering a "personal touch" to online learning through its Accommodation Station, which includes such services as live advisement, counseling and tutoring, Blackboard officials said. 

"Our students should enjoy the same level of supportive interaction afforded to students in traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, and we are delighted to have found a means to do so through Blackboard," Obridge's head of school Jennifer Albert said. 


New principal

Patrick DiClemente has been named principal of Locust Valley High School. He replaced Kieran McGuire, who retired.

DiClemente previously served two years as principal of Massapequa High School. Before that, he served as principal of Massapequa Ames High School, assistant principal of Oregon Middle School in Medford, and assistant principal of R.C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook.

"My focus is on providing a challenging, inviting and supportive school experience for the students and all individuals associated with our school," DiClemente said.


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