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Long IslandEducation

Baldwin, Sachem schools win state reading award

Students from Brittany Mueller's and Samantha Czeczotka's third-grade

Students from Brittany Mueller's and Samantha Czeczotka's third-grade class at Babylon Elementary School participate in an engineering project at the school. Credit: Babylon School District

The PTAs at Meadow Elementary School in Baldwin and Tamarac Elementary School in Holtsville have taken the state's top award for making reading fun.

The groups won the Nassau and Suffolk county titles, respectively, in this year's Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) program, a literacy initiative sponsored by the New York State PTA. The initiative asks adults to read with children for at least 15 minutes daily.

Tamarac's PARP theme involved monthly videos featuring an impostor principal who encouraged kids to foil an evil plan to steal and destroy books by finding clues on "Tamarac Island," which was aligned with different book genres. Students would then report on the books they read through postcards mailed to the impostor principal and earn prizes such as binoculars, flashlights and compasses.

The school also won Suffolk's PARP title in 2017.

"The fact that we won twice in three years is pretty amazing," Tamarac principal Michael Saidens said.

Meadow's PARP theme was "Camp Meadow-Waka" and culminated in an event that transformed the school's gym into a campground complete with s'mores, fishing for rubber ducks in an inflatable pool and tents that each contained a different reader. It attracted 450 parents and students. 

The school's other PARP activities included a guest reader day and a Facebook page for parents to post pictures of their children reading for a chance to win a free night of bowling. In total, Meadow students read 225,000 minutes in a one-month span.

"The kids really clamped onto the idea," Meadow's PARP chair Teresa Jimenez said. "It's important to instill a love of reading at an early age."


New principals

Edward Plaia and Earl Mitchell are the new principals of Amitville Memorial High School and Edmund W. Miles Middle School, respectively.

Plaia, who replaced Maria Andreotti, was Edmund W. Miles' principal from 2014-19 and before that was a middle school principal in Mastic Beach. 

Mitchell, who replaced Plaia, was previously an assistant principal and dean at Edmund W. Miles.

"The high school is where I spent half my career teaching before going into the leadership ranks," Plaia said. "Aside from my family, I am who I am because of Amityville Memorial High School. It's home to me, and there's really no place on Earth I'd rather be."

"To serve and to teach are gifts, and my challenge is to [do] both with excellence and consistency every day," Mitchell said. "My career vision statement has always been 'Educating Minds for a Better Tomorrow.' I see it as my duty to multiply lifelong learners by way of mentor leadership."


New appointments

Jennifer Quinn has been named superintendent of the Comsewogue School District, while Michael Mosca has been named principal of Comsewogue High School. Quinn replaced the retiring Joseph Rella, while Mosca replaced Joseph Coniglione, who is now the district's assistant superintendent for staff and student services.

Quinn served the past nine years as the district's deputy superintendent and before that was the high school's principal.

Mosca was previously principal of Islip High School. 

"I am committed to empowering each and every student to realize his or her full potential while acquiring knowledge and attitudes to become healthy, productive, and responsible citizens and lifelong learners in an ever-changing and diverse society," Quinn said.


New principals

The South Huntington School District has two new principals: Gayle Steele at Maplewood Intermediate School and Annie Michaelian at Oakwood Primary Center. Steele replaced Vito D'Elia, who is now the district's assistant superintendent for business and district operations, while Michaelian replaced the retiring Eileen Kerrigan.

Steele was previously principal of Wheeler Avenue Elementary in Valley Stream, while Michaelian was previously assistant principal of the district's Birchwood Intermediate.  

"We will continue to work together to promote challenging academics while supporting the social-emotional needs of our students," Steele said.

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