Long Island children are learning to be careful what they share online.
Many local schools have been educating students on the importance of being safe and smart while using social media. At a recent assembly at Massapequa High School's Ames Campus, students explored the positive and negative aspects of websites like Facebook and Instagram during a visit from representatives of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. One discussion involved the digital footprint each person leaves when they post online and how it can be seen by everyone from potential employers to college admissions officers.
"It's my hope that this information will assist students in developing skills related to decision-making, being mindful of how we communicate with others, and developing empathy," the school's principal, Tania Willman, said.
In Bellmore, retired Nassau County police officer Sharon Galvin spoke to pupils at Shore Road Elementary School about the dangers of social media and encouraged them to always project kindness and act against bullying as part of the school's Healthy and Safety Week. The event was sponsored by the Bellmore-Merrick Community Parent Center.
In Oceanside, the school district has partnered with SmartSocial, a company that strives to keep students safe online by offering tips, guides and a newsletter that informs parents about upcoming workshops and technological advancements. So far, over 500 district families have signed up for the company's website, webinars and videos.
In Smithtown, teens at High School East learned how they often grant access to use their content when they sign up to apps like Snapchat.
"Just because a picture disappears in the app doesn't mean it's gone forever," said Karl Allison, an officer in the Suffolk County Police Department's Community Relations Bureau.
Northside Elementary School recently joined forces with Bethpage State Park to create an outdoor garden classroom designed to introduce nature to the school's children.
The new garden will enable students to learn about native plants and observe the different stages of the plant life cycle, while also improving their mental health by allowing them to be outdoors. In addition, they will use their senses to create art inspired by their surroundings.
"Our goal is to immerse students in this visitation on a regular, ongoing basis so that they will experience how nature changes throughout the seasons," Assistant Principal Christopher Peterson said.
Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the cafeteria's transformation into the "Lion Café" courtesy of 14 fifth-grade girls who are members of Junior Girl Scouts Troop 120.
The project consisted of murals that incorporate the school's lion mascot, including images of a lion wearing a chef's hat and holding a sandwich. The effort earned the girls their Girl Scout Bronze Award.
"This achievement not only showcased their creativity and teamwork, but also exemplified the values of leadership, community and service that the Girl Scouts stand for,” said the school’s principal, Jennifer Washington.
Michael DeLuca is the new principal of Lockhart Elementary School. He replaced Michael Yannucci, who is now principal of Martin Avenue Elementary School in North Bellmore.
DeLuca served the past five years as the assistant principal of Roland A. Chatterton School in Merrick. Before that, he was an elementary school teacher, an English as a new language teacher and an assistant principal in the Bronx.
"I know the unity that exists in this town and I'm looking forward to becoming a part of the Massapequa family," DeLuca said.
Daniel McKeon has been named principal of Longwood Middle School. He replaced Yvette Mercado-Tilley, who is now the district's director for English as a new language and languages other than English.
McKeon's past positions include superintendent of the East Moriches school district, principal of West Babylon Junior High School,and an assistant principal at Northport High School.
"One of my goals is to expand our collaborative environment for learning and teaching that will continue to foster the development of our future leaders in the Longwood community and beyond," McKeon said.
Northport High School's orchestra is one of four nationwide selected to perform and attend a master class this February at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
The orchestra was invited to apply based on a performance last spring at the American String Teachers Association's National Orchestra Festival in Orlando. Northport orchestra teacher Michael Susinno then submitted videos of the group performing.
"It's just really great to be a part of an orchestra that's willing to put themselves out there," said orchestra president and senior, Hannah Cho.
Melissa Argaman is the new principal of Oyster Bay High School. She replaced Sharon Lasher, who retired.
Argaman, who most recently served as the school's acting principal, joined the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district as the high school's supervisor of guidance in 2021. Before that, she was a counselor at New Hyde Park Memorial High School and the Queens Outreach Alternative Academy.
"I am excited to use my experience to build upon the successes of Oyster Bay High School while also helping us to reach new levels," Argaman said.