A pedestrian on School Street, the downtown shopping area in...

A pedestrian on School Street, the downtown shopping area in Glen Cove, Nov. 20, 2017

Don’t forget to shop at local stores this season

Although many of us enjoy shopping at malls and big-box warehouse stores, we must not forget to patronize our local stores and small businesses. These small businesses and mom-and-pop shops built our neighborhoods and our towns.

This holiday season, visit stores and shops in your towns and villages to say hello, talk to the owners and, most important, purchase their merchandise.

Small towns and villages are the heart and soul of Long Island, and all of us have a vested interest in making sure they prosper.

Stuart J. Pastrich,Dix Hills

Teen students push themselves too hard

Advanced Placement courses offer high school students college credits and boost their grade-point averages. Kids think taking AP courses looks better on college applications, but what are the consequences?

After taking AP courses in high school, students can potentially complete college earlier. The benefits of these courses are real. But students today are stressed out. They have much to do between extracurricular activities, homework and getting enough sleep. I know some of these kids. Although they can handle the AP workload, they are going on to earn four-year bachelor’s degrees in less time and enter their careers before their time. It takes much more than academic achievement to succeed in our society.

Our message to children needs to change. School districts must reevaluate course offerings. Kids need lunch periods every day. Socialization during this time is essential for proper development, and overloading on AP courses is not healthy, nor in their best interests.

American education is in dire need of a paradigm shift to more divergent and creative thinking.

Lori Koerner,West Islip

Editor’s note: The writer is the principal of the Tremont Elementary School in Medford.