Long Island students showcased their generosity last month by helping local families in need have a special Thanksgiving.
In Elwood, members of John H. Glenn High School's World Language Honor Society sponsored 12 local families as part of Long Island Cares' Adopt-a-Family program. The honor society's donations included everything from canned vegetables to dessert mixes to gift cards used to purchase turkeys.
"It's humbling to be a part of something that's bigger than yourself," Elwood student Jack Schelin said.
In Greenlawn, the Harborfields' Alliance for Community Outreach Students Club spearheaded an initiative that raised about $1,400, with each $20 donation providing a family with all of the Thanksgiving fixings. In addition, Catherine Purcell's math class at Harborfields High School donated bags of food to the club.
In Bayport, Sylvan Avenue Elementary School held a food drive to benefit community organizations. School nurse Angela O'Leary collected the donations each morning dressed as a turkey in the school's parking lot so that students could drop off food items before class.
In Deer Park, May Moore Elementary School held a two-week drive that collected more than 500 pounds of food for Island Harvest.
"Since the pandemic, even more families are struggling to make ends meet," May Moore social worker Sandra Polichron said. "We thought it was important to continue our food drive despite the new obstacles COVID-10 presented."
Schools in the Harborfields Central School District have launched new initiatives to keep students interacting and healthy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Centerport, Washington Drive Primary School created a "Chew and Chat" initiative in which students are connected with peers from different classes and grades — both in-person and through Google Meet. During the first meeting, children discussed their plans for Halloween and offered clues for classmates to guess their costumes.
In Greenlawn, Oldfield Middle School started a "Mindfulness Mondays" initiative in which kids practice breathing and mental health exercises after the morning announcements every Monday.
Many schools showed their appreciation for those who have served our country last month in recognition of Veterans Day.
In Port Jefferson, first-graders at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School met virtually with local government officials and military personnel — including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Bellomy. They also wore paper hats saying, "Thank you, veterans."
In Sayville, the middle school's eighth-grade band made a tribute video and sent it to the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook. The video included artwork, speeches and performances of such songs as "Gold Bless America" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
In Hampton Bays, the elementary school held a car parade in its traffic circle, with participants waving U.S. flags and cheering veterans in attendance while patriotic music played.
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 nysed.data.gov/parents.
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."