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Long IslandEducation

Teaching students what it means to to say, ‘I voted’

Kindergartners at Martin Avenue Elementary School headed to

Kindergartners at Martin Avenue Elementary School headed to the polls to pick their favorite cookie: Oreos or Chips Ahoy. Before the election, students drew campaign posters and made speeches in support of their choice. Credit: North Bellmore School District

There’s no debating the prevalence of politics in this month’s lesson plans.

Local schools hosted everything from mock debates to fictional votes to visits from legislators in recent weeks to help educate students on the ins and outs of election season.

In Lynbrook, eighth-grade debate teams at South Middle School spent weeks researching various topics — such as terrorism, immigration and law enforcement — before taking to the stage to defend the presidential platforms of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both sides were so compelling that the audience was split when asked to choose a winner, school officials said.

“The students truly embraced the assignment and were not afraid to take on the challenges of discussing these difficult topics,” Lynbrook South’s social studies and debate teacher Al Marrazzo said.

In Malverne, Davison Avenue Intermediate School students spent the days leading up to Election Day learning about the candidates and the voting process — including how the Electoral College works. The children also lined up to cast their fictional ballots on an app and received “I Voted” stickers.

In Massapequa, some 7,000 students districtwide cast fictional votes through the Youth Leadership Initiative, an online resource from the University of West Virginia. Trump won all of the district’s nine buildings.

In Bellmore, Wellington C. Mepham High School was visited by the C-SPAN Campaign Bus, which featured interactive exhibits on the network’s coverage of government and politics.

“It’s important for students to realize they have a voice,” said Glen Cove High School English teacher Valerie Stazzone, who hosted a mock vote as part of her nonfiction unit. M>


Innovation Awards

Freeport and Hewlett-Woodmere school districts were two of three winners statewide of “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards, which includes a $5,000 prize, issued by the New York State School Boards Association and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. They won for their exciting approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

Freeport was selected for introducing nanotechnology into the curriculum through nano-enabled lab activities. Hewlett-Woodmere was selected for an outdoor environmental center at Woodmere Middle School. M>


New principals

West Hempstead School District has three new principals: Faith Tripp at Chestnut Street Elementary School, Deanna Sinito at Cornwell Avenue Elementary School and Dina Reilly at the middle school.

Reilly, who replaced Teresa Grossane, was previously assistant principal of East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School and chairwoman of the Languages Other Than English/English as a New Language Department.

Sinito, who replaced Anthony Cali, was principal leadership facilitator at District 15 in Brooklyn and principal of M.S. 442K Carroll Gardens School for Innovation in Brooklyn.

Tripp, who replaced Amy Sullivan, was formerly an English as a new language teacher at West Hempstead High School. M>


Red Ribbon Week

Long Island students learned the importance of healthy decisions last month during various activities held for Red Ribbon Week, a drug prevention campaign running from Oct. 23-31.

In Lynbrook, West End Elementary School students wore red and formed a giant ribbon outside while holding a banner reading “YOLO, Be Drug Free, #youonlyliveonce.” They also signed pledges vowing to avoid drugs and respect themselves.

In Plainedge, Charles E. Schwarting Elementary School hosted various themed days — including a “Plant the Future Day” in which kids wrote positive messages on large flower pots by the school’s entrance.

In Seaford, middle schoolers signed drug-free pledges hung on big ribbons in the cafeteria, while kids at Manor Elementary School planted red tulip bulbs as a symbol of resilience.


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