The start of a new school year begins before the first bell even rings.
Long Island schools hosted everything from back-to-school barbecues to orientation sessions to team-building activities in preparing students, their families and staff for the 2016-17 school year.
In Wantagh, more than 200 incoming sixth-graders and their parents were treated to a barbecue last month that included middle school tours and an opportunity to find and open their lockers. Members of Girl Scout Troop 3435 also distributed fliers listing tips on how to succeed in the school, while representatives of the Miss Wantagh organization assisted with handing out schedules.
“Orientation is a great opportunity for students from all three elementary schools to familiarize themselves with the school, become reacquainted with their former classmates, and to make new friends,” Principal Dawn Matrochano said.
In Plainedge, kindergartners at John H. West Elementary School wore sailor’s hats as they “set sail” on their educational adventure before the first class day by practicing activities such as riding a bus and responding to a fire drill. Valley Stream School District 13 also aided kindergartners in a three-week readiness program that featured workstations on language development and motor skills.
In Freeport, the high school hosted a freshman orientation, with administrators and department chairs speaking about the school’s many programs. Members of the school’s peer leadership program hosted small group discussions for freshmen to ask questions.
In Herricks, new staff members navigated obstacle courses in the high school’s courtyard. For instance, some walked a tightrope while suspended at the height of a telephone pole, and others climbed over logs with a partner.
“I think this experience has made me trust and rely upon my colleagues when I need it,” said Malori Steinhauer, a family and consumer science teacher at Herricks Middle School.
Samuel Thompson is principal of Farmingdale High School, replacing Glen Zakian, who now is the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources and administration.
Thompson most recently served as principal of Herricks High School and previously was assistant principal at Farmingdale High for eight years.
“I am eager to return to the community where I spent the bulk of my years as an administrator, with the renewed perspective of a principal,” he said. “I look forward to serving the Farmingdale High School community in its effort to prepare 21st century global citizens.”
Gina Faust is the principal of Cantiague Elementary School, replacing Antony Sinanis, who now is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Plainedge school district.
Faust most recently served as principal of Harbor Hill School in Greenvale. Before that, she held several positions — including as an elementary classroom teacher, a literacy coach and ultimately principal — in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district.
“It brings joy to my heart to witness the pride this community has in this school,” Faust said. “I look forward to upholding our school’s traditions of excellence and championing a love of learning alongside Cantiague’s incredible students, talented educators and dedicated families.”
Thomas Burke is the principal of Seaford Harbor Elementary School. He replaced Donna DeLucia-Troisi, who retired.
Burke previously served two years as assistant principal of Seaford Middle School. Before that, he taught at Mandalay Elementary School in Wantagh and Wantagh Middle School.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to an elementary school and couldn’t be happier that I have the opportunity to do so in the Seaford district,” Burke said.