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School Notebook: Mineola among nation's 'Most Innovative Districts'

Mineola High School students create wooden stools in

Mineola High School students create wooden stools in the school's fabrication lab, also known as a FabLab. Credit: Mineola School District

Mineola School District has been named one of the nation’s “most innovative school districts,” based on its creation of new norms for future-focused learning.

The district, which has about 2,900 students in five schools, was among 25 nationwide to recently earn the designation from the School Superintendents Association and the Successful Practices Network. The designations were based on case studies, on-site visits and detailed data analysis, the association said.

Mineola was the sole Long Island school district to receive the designation.

“This award is truly a reflection of all the amazing administrators and teachers in this district, who can take an idea and really run with it for the benefit of our students,” Mineola Superintendent Michael Nagler said.

Specific district initiatives cited as part of the designation include providing iPads to all students, fabrication labs for pupils to design products, and green screens to help educators make videos. Students also have digital portfolios and create webpages to document their careers at Mineola.

In addition, the district has been named to Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools and was the first statewide to have all its schools earn the designation of Apple Distinguished School, meaning they demonstrate Apple’s vision for learning with technology.

“At Mineola, thanks to the standards-aligned, purposeful adoption of universal technology, students truly own their learning,” the case study of the district said.


Nureva Wall

Bellport High School has began using a fourth-generation Nureva Wall, a visual collaborative system combining a panoramic projector with a cloud-based canvas that is both projected onto a wall and accessible through personal electronic devices. The school is the first in the tristate area to use this technology, school officials said.

The wall consists of two 7-foot touch-sensitive high-definition screens positioned side-by-side that can be used independently or collectively as one screen. Students can work directly on the wall using digital sticky notes, templates and flip charts, among other things.

“The Nureva Wall truly provides 21st century learning skills, as well as skills important to employers, such as leadership, the ability to work as a team, written and verbal communication and problem-solving skills,” South Country School District Superintendent Joseph Giani said.


New Makerspace

Harley Avenue Primary School hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to unveil a Makerspace that will allow students to learn through hands-on activities and problem-solving tasks.

The space includes such low-tech items as LEGOs and such high-tech tools as Snap Circuits and Code & Go sets. It was funded through donations from the Elwood Education Endowment and the Harley PTA.

“The Makerspace is a place where you can let your imagination run wild,” said instructional technology specialist Krista Albrecht.


Fire safety

Many area schools hosted programs last month designed to teach fire safety skills in recognition of National Fire Prevention Month.

In Bohemia, Edward J. Bosti Elementary School students learned safety tips — such as the importance of staying low to avoid smoke inhalation — during a visit from members of the West Sayville Fire Department. Pupils were also encouraged to develop an emergency escape plan with their parents and have smoke detectors on each floor of their home.

In Shoreham, children at Miller Avenue Elementary School toured a functioning fire truck, learned about its lifesaving tools, and participated in a fire safety-themed Q&A during a visit from members of the Rocky Point Fire Department.

In West Babylon, students in Patricia Neville’s library class wrote thank-you letters to local firefighters that included words such as “strong,” “brave” and “helpful,” school officials said.

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