School Notebook: Oceanside, W. Hempstead win 'Solve for Tomorrow'
Three Long Island teams have been named winners in a national competition that asked students to develop solutions to problems facing their communities.
Teams from North Oceanside Road Elementary School 5, Fulton Avenue Elementary School 8 in Oceanside and West Hempstead High School are among 100 state winners nationwide in Samsung's 2021-22 "Solve for Tomorrow" Education Contest. The annual contest challenges students in grades 6 to 12 to show how their communities can be improved through the application of science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.
West Hempstead's team, for example, proposed the creation of a device that can detect basement flooding and would be coded to set off an alarm and contact the local fire department.
"I find it commendable that our research students are basing their project on helping to prevent the tragedy of the people who died from the New York City flooding from happening again," said Joe Cangemi, West Hempstead School District's STEM director.
Oceanside School 5's team designed a shoe and pedal system for children who use a prosthetic lower limb to help them ride a bicycle without their feet sliding off the pedals; and Oceanside School 8's team proposed reusing last year’s COVID-19 protective desk shields as solar panels.
Each school received a $6,500 prize package that included Samsung products and classroom resources. Ten national finalists and three national winners will be announced this spring and will receive $50,000 and $100,000 prize packages, respectively.
Long Beach High School hosted an annual Tech Expo that was intended to give teens a hands-on look at several technology-themed trades they might want to pursue upon graduation. Fields ranged from architectural design to television studio production.
The inaugural event also introduced students to some of the school's classes as well as the equipment and technological tools used in those classes.
"By providing them with hands-on experience, they can make better decisions about what courses to take in the future," said Long Beach technology teacher Eric Krywe.
Fine motor skills
The Northport-East Northport School District has launched a new program to help kindergartners get a head start with regard to their fine motor skills.
The program teaches a variety of fine motor skills — ranging from holding pencils to coloring inside the lines — once per week for a 10-week span. An occupational therapist also visits each classroom to help identify kindergartners who may need additional support.
"Not only does having the occupational therapist in the classroom support the students, but it provides the classroom teacher with resources and helpful techniques for correcting fine motor skill issues," said the district's assistant superintendent of special education Louis Bonnadonna.
Many students learned about the civil rights movement and participated in service-themed projects last month in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In Southampton, high schoolers worked collaboratively to create two mosaic-style portraits of the late civil rights leader by painting 12-inch square canvases that were combined to form a finished four-foot square portrait.
In Valley Stream, William L. Buck Elementary School students made cards that were delivered to residents of Bristal Assisted Living Center in Lynbrook, as well as decorated and filled more 100 snack bags that were provided to the nonprofit Meals on Wheels.
In Bellport, middle schoolers created posters with uplifting quotes and images, and painted rocks with peace-themed messages as part of a Peace Week.
In Bellmore, Wellington C. Mepham High School collected more than 2,000 books for the Freeport-based nonprofit Book Fairies, while Merrick Avenue Middle School collected 4,000 food items for a district-run pantry.
In East Hampton, 70 sixth-graders in the Springs School District created a video slideshow, called "We Lead Nonviolent Lives," that showcased their original artwork and essays that reflected King's teachings.
In Franklin Square, children discussed King's "dream" and what the concepts of peace, love and friendship mean to them at Willow Road Elementary School in the Valley Stream School District 13.
Art scholarship program
The New York State Summer School for the Arts is offering $150,000 in scholarship opportunities for high schoolers to attend regional arts programs this summer. Interested students can apply through May 1 via an online application at bit.ly/NYSEDsummerartprogram2022.
The scholarship program's goal is to promote access and equity to arts education by providing need-based grants to low-income students. The application will evaluate each student's financial need and will not include an audition or portfolio component.
"Arts education can change a student's life, and this new scholarship program will break down financial barriers that may prohibit students from attending summer arts programs," said state Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa.