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Long IslandEducation

Mineola Middle School recognized for use of technology

Sixth- and seventh-graders from Mineola Middle School share

Sixth- and seventh-graders from Mineola Middle School share their robotics knowledge with younger students at the First Lego League Junior Expo in March. Credit: Mineola Middle School

Mineola Middle School has been recognized for its efforts leveraging technology to improve students' educational experiences and achievements.

The school recently received the 2019 Student Voices Award from the State Educational Technology Directors Association, a nonprofit membership association that supports the use of technology in schools. Mineola is the first New York school to win the award. 

For winning, the school also received a scholarship that allows it to send a team of students and educators to present next month at the association's Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

"Mineola Middle School is very excited to be recognized for its commitment to integrating educational technology into instruction practices," Mineola principal Andrew Casale said. "Our students, our greatest ambassadors for the teaching and learning taking place in our school, will benefit from the opportunity to speak about and reflect on their process."

To get selected, school officials engaged in an application process that included answering questions about the school's project-based learning initiatives and submitting a video outlining its technology, Casale said. The school's tech efforts have included computer coding programs, a robotics club with more than 80 students, and a 1:1 iPad initiative that provides devices to 600-plus students.

The school also has participated in the LIRR Expansion Project STEM Competition, which invited participants to explain how they would spend $10,000 to benefit communities through which the project is being built.

In addition, the school has earned the designation of Apple Distinguished School six times, meaning they demonstrate Apple's vision for learning with technology.


New appointments

James Cummings is the new superintendent of the Deer Park School District, while Kelly Benson and Philip Paniccia are the new principals of John F. Kennedy Intermediate School and May Moore Primary School, respectively.

Cummings, who replaced the retiring Eva Demyen, previously was the district's assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services and principal of Deer Park High School and Robert Frost Middle School.

Benson, who replaced the retiring Susan Bonner, previously was an associate principal at John F. Kennedy, while Paniccia was an associate principal at Robert Frost. He replaced Alicia Konecny, who is now the district's assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services.

"I will work tirelessly, along with our wonderful staff, to ensure that our district stays on the forefront of current educational trends, and that our students are prepared for the ever-changing world they will be thrust into upon leaving us," Cummings said.


New appointments

Scott T. O'Brien has been named superintendent of the Rocky Point School District, and Jonathan Hart has been named principal of Rocky Point High School. O'Brien replaced the retiring Michael Ring, while Hart replaced Susan Crossan, who is now the district's assistant superintendent.

O'Brien previously was the district's interim assistant superintendent and principal of Rocky Point Middle School and Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School. Hart was an assistant principal at the high school.

"Rocky Point has always felt like home away from home for me," O'Brien said. "I am honored and humbled to begin this new professional journey here."


New principal

Vanessa Williams has been named principal of Manetuck Elementary in the West Islip School District. She replaced Dawn Morrison, who is now the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Williams previously served as an assistant principal, literacy coach and teacher at Aquebogue Elementary.

"It is my intent to preserve the valued traditions of the school community while supporting districtwide initiatives, such as enhancing instruction with the use of Chromebooks and iPads," Williams said. 

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