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Long IslandEducation

LI students stay sharp through summer

In Oakdale, Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Premm Learning Center

In Oakdale, Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Premm Learning Center unveiled a new therapeutic swing for students with physical disabilities. The adaptive piece of equipment will allow many students to use a swing for the first time. Credit: Eastern Suffolk BOCES

The 2019-20 school year officially kicked off last week across Long Island, but for many students the learning never stopped this summer.

Dozens of local districts hosted educational programs — ranging from art academies to invention camps to writing workshops — in an effort to keep students thinking critically during July and August.

In Suffolk County, more than 100 students in grades 8-10 learned skills such as how to make cupcakes, how to build their own grill, and how to style hair and perform facials during a three-week span as part of Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Summer Career Exploration program. It was offered at locations in Bellport, Oakdale and Riverhead.

"Thinking about your career doesn’t start in high school," said Marjorie Guzewicz, ESBOCES' administrative coordinator for literacy, career technology and adult education. "Students can start considering what they want to do in middle school or even earlier. Summer Career Exploration allows them to try new things, make new friends, and be engaged during their summer break."

In Centerport, elementary and primary students in the extended school year program at Harborfields Central School District learned about small pets — such as gerbils, hamsters and rabbits — during a visit from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Topics included what the animals like to eat and where they live.

In Copiague, the school district hosted an elementary summer program that consisted of craft projects such as using tissue paper and ribbons to create jellyfish and making solar systems using paint, glitter and construction paper.

In Port Jefferson, dozens of pupils who play string and woodwind instruments honed their skills during a summer music camp at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School. 


New principals

Joseph Lemke has been appointed principal of Brook Avenue Elementary School, while Kristina Cope has been appointed principal of Fifth Avenue Elementary School.

Lemke, who replaced the retiring Regina Vorwald, had been director of social studies K-12 for the Bay Shore School District since 2012. He also has been a teacher and building administrator in Islip and serves as an adjunct instructor at St. Joseph's College and Long Island University.

Cope, who replaced the retiring Charlotte Wilson, began her career as an English teacher at Bay Shore Middle School in 1999 and later became the school's instructional supervisor. She also has served as assistant principal at four elementary schools in Bay Shore School District and as the district's K-12 director of English language arts.

"We will continue a strong commitment to the highest expectations as we prepare all of our students for their future as global citizens," Lemke said.

"It is our goal to provide Bay Shore's littlest learners with foundational skills in literacy, STEM, civics, cultural arts, health and social/emotional wellness," Cope said. "These areas are essential to developing well-rounded students who will be college, career and life ready in an ever-changing competitive global environment."


New principals

The Middle Country Central School District has two new principals: Elena Baldwin at Jericho Elementary School and Phyllis Saltz at New Lane Memorial Elementary School. 

Baldwin, who replaced the retiring Glen Rogers, had been an assistant principal at the district's Dawnwood and Selden middle schools since 2011. She also has been a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows and worked at schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and the Middle Country and Half Hollow Hills school districts.

Saltz, who replaced Brian Doelger, previously served five years as New Lane's assistant principal and before that was a reading teacher and first-grade teacher in other districts.

"I am most excited about returning to my elementary school roots where I can work with staff and families in developing students' love for being lifelong learners," Baldwin said. "I hope to foster an environment that encourages students to not only be great scholars, but great humans."

"As the instructional leader of New Lane, I look forward to working with our wonderful staff and families to help the children of New Lane Memorial Elementary School achieve academic, social and emotional growth in a safe and nurturing environment," Saltz said.


Scholarship winners

Seven graduating high school seniors from Long Island were among about 540 students nationwide this summer named additional winners of college-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. The scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. 

Winners were Delina Levine of Commack High School, Joshua Koretz of East Islip High School, Weiting Zhang of Floral Park Memorial High School, Patrick Heavey of Garden City High School, Joshua Liu of Great Neck South High School, Erin Rose McCartney of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville, and Madeleine Kestler-DeWan of Northport High School.

WAY TO GO!       

Newsday will continue its weekly Way to Go! feature during the school year, profiling standout students in elementary and secondary schools across Long Island. Nominations can stem from academic achievement or extracurricular activities, involvement in local charities or fundraisers, or for winning local, state or national awards,  or competitions.

To make a nomination, send an email describing the accomplishment with the student's name, grade, school and contact information to

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