Southampton High School is one of nine schools statewide — and the only one from Long Island — to be recognized for its leadership's efforts to create an inclusive school community.
The school has been named a National Banner Unified Champion School by Special Olympics International, a distinction that marks the highest level of achievement among the nation's 10,000 Unified Champion Schools. Nationwide, 155 schools received the designation.
Unified Champion Schools are those that demonstrate a commitment to social inclusion with sports as a foundation, according to Special Olympics.
"This is an amazing honor for Southampton, one that our schools, students, parents and entire school community has accomplished together," said Southampton Principal Brian Zahn.
To be eligible for the designation, schools must have students with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same interscholastic sports team. The students also must serve as youth leaders who engage the school community in activities that encourage and promote inclusion among peers.
Southampton's efforts have included unified programs for basketball, bowling, floor hockey, soccer, and track and field. The school district also has a unified physical education program and hosted a Special Olympics track and field competition during the 2013-14 school year.
"Every day, I see teammates with and without intellectual disabilities forming real connections by training and competing together," said Southampton's Unified Coach Brian Tenety. "That connection, and that confidence, transcend the playing field."
Jordan Margolis is the new principal of East Broadway Elementary School in the Levittown School District. He replaced Jeanmarie Wink, who retired.
Margolis previously had served as the district's assistant director of special education since 2015, and before that was a social worker at the district's Jonas E. Salk Middle School. He began his career as a lecturer at Assumption University in Bangkok.
"It's an honor to be in this position, and I am looking forward to supporting the students, families and staff at East Broadway Elementary," Margolis said. "I have a great respect for the role of principal and will do my best to set up our students for success, both academically and emotionally."
Jeannine Stutz has been appointed principal of the Nassau BOCES Carman Road School.
Stutz was previously assistant principal of Nassau BOCES Rosemary Kennedy School and before that was principal for the Center for Development Disabilities in Woodbury. She started her career as a behavioral therapist for the Redwood Learning Center.
"I hope to bring my extensive background in special education and leadership to my new role as principal and to make a difference in the lives of children with and without disabilities," Stutz said. "I feel that through positivity, enthusiasm and a high regard for the importance of collaboration, all children will succeed."
Merit scholarship semifinalists
Nearly 250 high school seniors from Long Island are among about 16,000 nationwide named semifinalists for 2021 scholarships issued through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. They now have the opportunity to continue in the competition in spring 2021 for more than 7,600 scholarships worth more than $30 million.
Long Island's school districts with the most semifinalists were: Syosset, 32; Great Neck, 29; and Jericho, 21. The Half Hollow Hills and Port Washington school districts each had 16, while Manhasset had 13, and Herricks had 10.
To become a finalist, the student and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the pupil's academic record, community service efforts and leadership experience, among other things.