In Massapequa, fifth-graders at Lockhart Elementary School decorated brown paper...

In Massapequa, fifth-graders at Lockhart Elementary School decorated brown paper bags that were used for food packages given to families by the parish outreach at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. Pictured here are Lillian Rourke, left, and Justin Vonness. Credit: Massapequa School District

Long Island students showcased their generosity last month by helping families in need have a special Thanksgiving.

In Massapequa, fifth-graders at Lockhart Elementary School decorated paper bags with inspirational illustrations and messages for the parish outreach center at St. Rose of Lima Church. The bags were filled with food and distributed to underprivileged families.

"This was about helping other people who need it," Lockhart fifth-grader Matthew Oweis said. "I feel good because it's going to make other people happy and it hopefully will help them have a nice Thanksgiving."

In Merrick, first-graders in Ilene Klein and Chris Wolf's class at Norman J. Levy Lakeside Elementary School donated food items — including canned vegetables, stuffing and cranberry sauce — for Thanksgiving baskets that were distributed local families in need based on information gathered by the school's social worker. They also raised more than $100 for the cause by completing chores at home.

In Lynbrook, West End Elementary School's Student Council hosted a virtual craft night in lieu of its traditional food drive, attracting about 80 participants. The council sold bags of craft materials for $5 each, raising $390 for the food pantry at Our Lady of Peace Church.

In Levittown, six families from Northside Elemementary School each received about four boxes of nonperishable items from of food drive facilitated by fifth-grade teacher Theresa Heaney. Fifth-graders helped by sorting the donations into boxes.


Valley Stream School District 30 hosted a competition in which...

Valley Stream School District 30 hosted a competition in which remote and hybrid students showcased their creativity on facemasks with one winner being selected from each grade level. Shaw Avenue Elementary third-grader Jowell Melgar, pictured, created a bat-themed mask after his class read Nicola Davies' children's book, "Bat Loves the Night." Credit: Valley Stream School District 30

New superintendent

Michael Harrington has been named superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, effective July 1. He will replace John DeTommaso, who is retiring.

Harrington is currently the district's assistant superintendent of curriculum; he also has been principal of the district's Wellington C. Mepham High School and an assistant principal at the district's Sanford H. Calhoun High School. He began his career as a social studies teacher in the Island Trees School District in 1998.

"I promise to continue the ongoing path of excellence that John has paved," Harrington said.

In Hicksville, students in Melissa Butler's art classes at Old...

In Hicksville, students in Melissa Butler's art classes at Old Country Road Elementary School created artwork to send to children in Pakistan through the nonprofit The Memory Project.  Credit: Hicksville Public Schools


Veterans Day

Many schools showed their appreciation for those who have served our country in recognition of Veterans Day last month.

In Merrick, Roland A. Chatterton Elementary School displayed 100 American flags along its courtyard as part of an inaugural "Field of Honor," which was sponsored by the PTA. The flags were purchased by community members to honor friends and family who have served and benefited causes including the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District's Community Cupboard.

In Wantagh, elementary school students donated plush toys that were included in care packages sent to soldiers overseas through the nonprofit Operation Gratitude. They also wrote thank-you letters for members of the Wantagh American Legion and the Bellmore Veterans Association.

In Freeport, kindergartners at Columbus Avenue Early Childhood Center made paper crowns highlighting the different branches of the military.


Parent dashboard

The New York State Education Department has launched a "parent dashboard" to increase transparency and make information about school performance and other school-level data easier for parents and the public to access. The dashboard can be accessed at

The department is welcoming feedback, which can be provided in 17 languages, via an online survey to help guide enhancements to the dashboard over the next year.

"The State Education Department strives to maintain strong connections with families and communities," Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said. "A key aspect of this connection is transparency. The Parent Dashboard increases data transparency by providing parents with valuable information about their child’s school, enabling them to make informed decisions about their child's education."


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