Students from Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf are getting a firsthand look at the retail industry and financial planning this winter without leaving the school grounds.
The school - which teaches 115 hearing-impaired students from around Long Island on its Nassau County campus - recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new school store and a banking system designed to better prepare youngsters for life beyond the classroom.
While the store allows kids to learn skills ranging from taking inventory to advertising, the bank lets them withdraw and spend at the store "school money" that they earn based on grades.
"These are all concepts that transfer to the working world," said Mill Neck teacher Nicole Romano. "They [students] are even noticing little things - like the importance of positioning certain items near the register."
According to Romano, the store's student staff - Sean Kessler, Kelly Kildare and Ricky Manwill - each work two-hour shifts selling items ranging from office supplies to water bottles. To further simulate an actual business, the trio even held a Black Friday sale in November and have implemented a delivery system for those who can't visit the store between 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Before the store opening, the students attended a money management lecture by Liz Materia, the vice president of First National Bank of Long Island in Locust Valley.
Students at Park Avenue Memorial and Northwest elementary schools recently studied the mechanics of fractions with a first-time Fraction Day that required kids to attend school wearing armbands emblazoned with fractions - one-fourth, one-half, etc. Using their new "identities," the students took turns standing in line to form human math equations.
Other activities included cutting a pizza pie.
"Many students feel anxious when they perform a math function with a fraction," and the event was intended to reduce that anxiety, said district math director Claude Irwin.
'Fundreds' for Big Easy
Dozens of students from Babylon High School, Babylon Junior High and Babylon Elementary recently participated in the national Fundred Dollar Bill Project to clean up lead-contaminated soil in New Orleans, an aftereffect of Hurricane Katrina that puts kids at risk for learning disabilities.
As part of the project, students made $100 bills that will be stored until 3 million - or the equivalent of $300 million - are made nationwide.
The "fundreds" will be delivered to Congress this summer with a request to exchange them for real currency.
Holidays for homeless
A group of 35 current and former members of the Connetquot Teachers Association hosted a holiday dinner and distributed donated clothing to more than 600 homeless people last month at St. Lawrence the Martyr Church in Sayville.
Children were also surprised with wrapped gifts from Santa himself, district officials said.
Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan and pro wrestler Mick Foley from East Setauket were among those in attendance.
Soccer champ visit
Students from Westbrook Elementary School recently received a soccer demonstration from Chris Wingert, a player with Utah's Real Salt Lake team that won Major League Soccer's 2009 Championship Cup. During the visit, Wingert performed ball tricks and showed a video of the deciding shootout between his team and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"It's great seeing one of the local kids who has done well, come back," said district coach Kevin Lewis, noting that Chris is a son of high school social studies teacher Norm Wingert.
Sharing the gift of literacy
Charles E. Walters Elementary School collected some 2,800 books last month through The Gift of Literacy, a program coordinated by the school's Harmony Committee that benefited Nana's House in Mastic and the Middle Island Caring for Kids Day Care Center.
Kindergarten and first grade pupils wore pajamas to school for readings of children's books by various guests on "Comfy, Cozy PJ Day."
A team of nine local students won "Adelphi Apprentice," a marketing competition modeled after NBC's "The Apprentice" show as part of the university's 2009 Business Conference for High School Students. The winning presentation described efforts to market a fictional concert to benefit breast cancer awareness. On the team were:
Bellmore: Dylan Blumenthal of John F. Kennedy High School; Commack: Robert Hastings of Commack High School; Deer Park: Blaise Cresciullo of Deer Park High School; East Setauket: Scott Brekne of Ward Melville High School; Hauppauge: Samantha Muenkel of Hauppauge High School; Malverne: Kiara Swittenberg of Malverne High School; Plainview: Jordan Shwide of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School; Valley Stream: Michael Dern of Valley Stream North High School; West Hempstead: Judy Chen of West Hempstead High School.