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Schools focus on preventing bullying

Students and staff at Stratford Avenue Elementary School

Students and staff at Stratford Avenue Elementary School in Garden City dressed in orange and formed a giant peace sign in celebration of Unity Day. Credit: Garden City School District

One slogan read, “Don’t blurt what might hurt.” Another said, “Have a heart, don’t take part.”

Such considerate catchphrases filled schools as part of programs held in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month and Unity Day, which was Oct. 19.

In Seaford, middle school students wrote anti-bullying messages on sticky notes and placed them inside a huge heart hanging in the cafeteria next to the words, “United Against Bullying.” At Harbor Elementary School, students traced their hands on orange paper, cut them out and hung them in the hallways to create a long symbol of unity.

“This is the first Unity Day at the Harbor and everyone really came together to wear orange and support the movement,” Principal Thomas Burke said.

In Carle Place, 200 fifth- and sixth-graders at Rushmore Avenue Elementary School attended an anti-bullying workshop hosted by four teenage youth ambassadors with the Tourette Association of America. The ambassadors, in an effort to combat myths about the neurological disorder, shared their experiences.

In Franklin Square, John Street Elementary School held an anti-bullying week with a theme for each day — such as “Put Bullying to Bed,” with children wearing pajamas to school.

In Glen Head, kids at North Shore Middle School sat at lunch tables according to their birthday months to make new friends during a “Mix It Up Day.”

“Our students had the opportunity . . . to expand their social networks and move beyond established cliques,” North Shore counselor Flavia Finning said.


New principals

The Mineola school district has two new principals: Andrew Casale at Mineola Middle School and Margarita Maravel at Hampton Street Elementary School. Casale replaced Matt Gaven, who now is the district’s technology director. Maravel replaced Diane Anderson, who was interim principal.

Casale previously was the middle school’s math and science instructional leader. He earlier taught math in Baldwin and in New York City schools.

Maravel was an English Language Arts and social studies instructional leader at Mineola Middle School and a literacy coordinator at Jackson Avenue School.

“It is my goal to continue to provide our students and their families with an education that is student-centered, technology-driven and promotes critical thinking,” Casale said.

“I am committed to helping each student achieve their very best,” Maravel said.


New principals

Joseph Coladonato is principal of Howard B. Mattlin Middle School and Gregory Scesney is principal of Parkway Elementary School. Coladonato replaced Chris Donarummo, who now is assistant superintendent for transportation and safety for the Plainview-Old Bethpage district. Scesney replaced Ronelle Hershkowitz, who retired.

Coladonato earlier served as a middle school teacher and dean/administrator in the East Williston system.

Scesney previously was principal of Plainview-Old Bethpage’s Kindergarten Center. He also has taught at Parkway Elementary and Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School and was assistant principal at Stratford Road and Pasadena elementary schools.

“My core values place an emphasis on developing trust, providing support and placing the school community above all else,” Coladonato said.

“In many ways, coming back to Parkway is like coming home,” Scesney said.


New Shaw Avenue principal

Alejandro Rivera is principal of Shaw Avenue Elementary School, replacing Bridgette Wilson, who was interim principal.

Rivera most recently served four years as principal of Northern Parkway Elementary School in Uniondale. Before that, he taught in New York City schools.

“I am most looking forward to . . . working with everyone to continue the great work being done in the school and adding to the rich history of the Shaw Avenue School,” Rivera said.

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