The start of a new academic year requires more than just books and school supplies.
Long Island schools hosted everything from orientation picnics to mental health discussions in recent weeks to help reintroduce students and staff to learning — and one another.
In Elwood, teachers attended professional development sessions that included a two-day course covering basic Spanish for communication with the district's English-language learners. The sessions also addressed strategies to support all students in the classroom.
"There were a lot of group discussions and sharing," said Nicole Gendjoian, a Spanish teacher at Elwood High School. "Every school in the district was represented, so it was nice to hear everyone's experiences and perspectives from all different levels and content areas."
In Middle Island, Longwood School District hosted a "Diversity Institute" that helped incoming fifth graders focus on understanding the community's diverse cultures and included strategies to help others feel welcomed. The program was geared toward those moving up to middle school from the district's four elementary schools.
In Rocky Point, the parents of incoming kindergartners had the opportunity to tour the grounds and ask questions of administrators during an orientation day at Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School. Children were also treated to ice cream and made new friends on the school's playground.
In Huntington, the high school held a freshman seminar over the course of three mornings that included topics ranging from peer pressure to time management.
"The kids spent their time learning, exploring and getting acclimated to becoming a ninth grader," Huntington business teacher Suzi Biagi said.
Donald Murphy has been named superintendent of the Hauppauge School District. He replaced Dennis O'Hara, who is now superintendent of the Islip School District.
Murphy, who has been with the district since 2012, was previously the director of math and information systems and assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology.
"Hauppauge has been my home for the past nine years, and I am thrilled to get started in my new role," Murphy said. "I want to thank the Board of Education for putting their trust in me to serve as the next superintendent."
Meghan Shore is the new principal of Alleghany Avenue Elementary School. She replaced Valerie Filbry, who is now director of literacy and English language arts for the Bethpage School District.
Shore was previously the assistant principal of Ulysses Byas Elementary School in Roosevelt and before that was an assistant principal at PS 199X – The Shakespeare School in the Bronx.
"I have been teaching and leading for the past 18 years, working with elementary school and middle school students from diverse backgrounds and developmental stages," Shore said. "I am incredibly excited to bring that experience and knowledge to Lindenhurst and to work with the dedicated faculty and staff of Alleghany Avenue."
Four graduating seniors — Anthony Barone of William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, Lauren Enos of Riverhead High School, Elias Giuliano of Northport High School, and Emily Howell of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School — were named 2021 recipients this summer of Distinction in Music Awards, valued at $500, from the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
The award recognizes their music accomplishments and plans to pursue music studies in college.
"The talent that exists on Long Island is something we want to celebrate," said the hall's Education Chairman Tom Needham. "In addition to following their own dreams, we believe these students will encourage and inspire others."