Two Parent-Teacher Association groups on Long Island are regional winners in a statewide contest designed to foster a love of reading among youngsters.
PTAs at Tamarac Elementary School in Holtsville and in the Garden City school district were named Suffolk County and Nassau County winners, respectively, of 2017 Pick a Reading Partner Awards for programs they created to make reading fun and exciting.
The program, known as PARP, is a New York State PTA program that asks adults to read with children for 15 minutes daily.
Tamarac’s rock-and-roll-themed program, titled “Rock & Read PARP Tour,” featured a mock tour with fictional tickets. Each month focused on different types of books, such as fiction, graphic novels and picture books. Activities included visits from ventriloquist Steve Petra and children’s author Steve Metzger.
Tamarac students read more than 2,500 books.
“Anything we can do to help kids love literature is fantastic,” Tamarac Principal Michael Saidens said.
Garden City’s space-themed program, titled “Blast Off to Reading,” consisted of everything from a video conference call with representatives at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to a rocket-making assembly with Woodmere-based Mad Science of Long Island.
The program involved five district schools for kindergarten and elementary grades: Hemlock, Homestead, Locust, Stewart and Stratford.
“Reading is a part of everything,” Garden City’s PARP co-chair Donna Kraus said. “We want children to read because they want to read and love reading.”
The program included a collection of 80 boxes of books for The Book Fairies, a Freeport-based nonprofit, and activity sheets with options such as “reading by flashlight at night,” Kraus said. Students received a star for each completed activity, and the class with the most stars from each school named a star through the Online Star Register.
Susan Connolly has been appointed principal of Coram Elementary School in the Longwood school district. She replaced Vaughn Denton, who now is the district’s assistant superintendent for pupil personnel and community services.
Connolly began her Longwood career in 2000 as assistant principal of Coram Elementary School and departed to become principal of Brookhaven Elementary School in 2004. She returned to Longwood as elementary education director in 2007.
“I am honored to be appointed as principal of Coram Elementary, and I look forward to working with the dedicated staff to provide the best possible educational program for our students,” Connolly said.
Susan Kenny has been named principal of Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School. She replaced Marguerite Greene, who retired.
Kenny previously served as an elementary assistant principal in the Garden City, Roslyn and Eastport-South Manor school districts. She also had been a reading teacher in West Babylon.
“This year, our focus is going to be on creating an atmosphere where students can take risks, learn from failure, come up with the skills to problem-solve, and persevere when faced with challenges,” Kenny said.
Aurelia Henriquez is the new superintendent of the Riverhead school district. She replaced Nancy Carney, who retired.
Henriquez spent 23 years in the Brentwood district, where most recently she was assistant superintendent for elementary education and personnel. Before that, she had been a principal, assistant principal and teacher in the district.
She also has been an adjunct professor at SUNY Old Westbury.
“As a team, we are working to advance the district’s STEAM program to provide students with the skills they need to succeed in college and in the 21st century workplace,” Henriquez said. “It is the district’s goal to empower students to learn through inspirational, creative and innovative lessons.”