(NOVEMBER 2022)—During the recent New York State School Board Associations’ (NYSSBA) annual convention, Valley Stream 24 students’ art was featured in the conference’s digital art display of student artwork from around the state. The New York State Art Association (NYSATA) sponsored the 2022 art exhibit.
“It’s truly remarkable to see our students’ talents and creativity be applauded and featured in the distinguished NYSSBA art exhibit,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “At our District, art education is an important component of our curriculum. It fosters creativity, imagination, and expression.”
The NYSATA is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1948 with a mission to strengthen art education by encouraging the study of art in public and private schools in the state of New York. The art exhibit at NYSSBA annual conventions provides a showcase for student artwork from student artists ranging in grades from elementary to high school. To view the NYSBBA virtual art exhibit please visit https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1DmrVb8AeiBinoTbdVIV7MY1sWBCiBpLNsgpVfEuzI1s/edit#slide=id.g9c87e2204e_0_1
(OCTOBER 022)—Recently, Brooklyn Avenue Elementary kindergarten students welcomed the Nassau County Fire Marshal K-9 team to further the children’s education on fire safety and learn what the brave men and women who serve as firefighters do.
“It was such an exciting day for our kindergarten students! They truly enjoyed all that they learned during Fire Prevention Week, and it was awesome to be able to continue their fire safety education with the Nassau County Fire Marshal K-9 team,” said Dr. Scott Comis, Principal of Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School. “Many thanks to the Nassau County Fire Marshal K-9 team, Fire Marshal Kerin, and fire dog Leah for taking the time to visit our school.”
Fire Marshal Kerin and fire dog Leah gave the students an insightful, interactive, and educational presentation about how Leah is able to speak and find danger during fire safety inspections. The Brooklyn Avenue kindergarten students enjoyed learning about Leah’s role and learning how dogs play an important role in keeping us safe.
(OCTOBER 2022)—Valley Stream 24 Schools celebrated Diwali on Monday, October 24 with classroom lessons and activities designed to illuminate the meaning and traditions behind this Hindu holiday.
“It is important for our students to celebrate different cultural holidays to highlight the importance of the strength in diversity in our community,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “Highlighting different cultural holidays is a great opportunity to appreciate our differences and similarities as well as fostering an inclusive mindset in our students.”
Brooklyn Avenue Elementary Schools celebrated by lighting Diyas and learning about Diwali often referred to as the Festival of Lights. They read It’s Diwali by Kabir Sehgal and Suristha Sehgal. After, they learned about rangolis and drew their own. The students spoke about repetition, color, lines, and shape as they drew their own designs and decorated them.
Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School celebrated Diwali by reading Let’s Celebrate Diwali by Anjali Joshi and making rangolis. Rangoli is an art form where patterns are created on the floor or tabletop representing happiness, positivity, and liveliness. Students who celebrate Diwali share stories with their classmates about their family traditions.
At William L. Buck Elementary School, Scholar leaders gave presentations to their younger peers and read them stories. Parent volunteers also came to the school to do crafts with the students. who learned all about how Diyas are made and what they represent. A Diya is an oil lamp made from mud or clay with a cotton wick dipped in ghee. Students learned that Diyas are used during prayers, religious ceremonies, and festivals.
(OCTOBER 2022)—Valley Stream 24 had a successful Unity Day recently. This day is organized nationwide by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and is celebrated as a signature event for bullying prevention month. On this day, Valley Stream 24 students, faculty, and staff wore orange to create a visual unity statement.
“No child should ever have to experience bullying. Our students are encouraged to be upstanders and we highlight the importance of social-emotional wellness,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “Unity Day is a great opportunity to remind our students and staff to keep each other safe and show a visual message to end bullying.”
Valley Stream 24 students created unity chains and kindness webs out of orange construction paper and orange strings to symbolize togetherness and show that they are linked together. Students also took the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and cover the school's floors with colorful and positive words and affirmations.
(OCTOBER 2022)—Valley Stream 24 Schools are celebrating National Fire Prevention Week with visits from firefighters of the Valley Stream Fire Department. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week, started in 1922 by National Fire Protection Agency
“Thank you to the Valley Stream Fire Department for educating our students on fire safety and fire prevention,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “It’s vital for our students to be equipped with all the knowledge they need to be safe, especially during an emergency.”
The schools were visited by members of the Valley Stream Fire Department’s Fire Education Unit, who discussed fire safety prevention with the students. Mattew Roth, a Robert W. Carbonaro teacher who is also a firefighter, spoke to students about fire safety. Valley Stream 24 students engaged in hands-on lessons including how to escape safely, what to do in a fire, and how firefighters use certain types of equipment in case of a fire.
(OCTOBER 2022)—The New York State School Boards Association recognizes Monday, October 17 to Friday, October 21 as School Board Recognition Week. Valley Stream 24 celebrated its Board of Education members at their last board meeting on Wednesday, October 19.
“School Board Recognition Week is a fantastic opportunity to promote awareness and understanding of the vital work that is performed by our Board members,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “It takes dedicated individuals who selflessly devote untold hours of time in service to the students and families of our district to ensure the quality education the children of our Valley Stream community deserve. Each member of our Board of Education exemplifies such an individual. We are fortunate to have such outstanding men and women on our Board.”
Two students from each of the Valley Stream 24 Schools represented their school building as they gave a heartfelt speech filled with gratitude toward the Board members. Family, friends, staff, and administration were joined on this night to celebrate and enjoy refreshments after the recognition ceremony.
Valley Stream 24 Board Members:
John Maier - President
Donna LaRocco - Vice President
Cynthia Nuñez - Trustee
Kimberly Wheeler - Trustee
Armando Hernandez - Trustee
Melissa Herrera - Trustee
Markus Wilson - Trustee
(OCTOBER 2022)— As part of William L. Buck Elementary Schools’ One School, One Book initiative, the students read aloud I’ve Got the School Spirit by Connie Morrison. Students were introduced to the story in their classrooms and discussed different ways to show school spirit. On their first spirit day, all students wore their school spirit shirts proudly and gathered for a special pep rally at the end of the day.
William L. Buck Elementary School students also challenged their minds during the event by completing word scrambles. The students also took the opportunity to restate their firm commitment to having a safe school for all. Inspired by the No Place for Hate Campaign, the students recited their no-place-for-hate pledge. William L. Buck Elementary School is committed in engaging in conversations and active learning on the topics of bias, bullying, inclusion, and allyship with their students and staff.
A committee comprised of Chris Chruma, 4th-grade teacher; Katarina Sloboda, kindergarten teacher; Kristen Seiger, reading teacher; Elizabeth Moriarty, physical education teacher; Johanne Gaddy, William L. Buck Principal; and Kerriann Pieper and Traci Ritterbrand, school psychologists; gathered before school to plan the pep rally. There were games such as corn hole, basketball dribble, and an obstacle course for staff and students to participate in. The day ended with a pie in the face for selected teachers and Mrs. Gaddy.
(OCTOBER 2022)—Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing at Valley Stream 24. Students love celebrating and recognizing the influences of Hispanic American people and their contributions to our country. The 30-day celebration (September 15 – October 15) is another excellent opportunity to highlight diversity and inclusion.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is always exciting for our Valley Stream 24 students. All three schools enjoyed researching and learning about influential Hispanic artists as well as using their creative artistic talents,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “Hispanic Heritage Month is another great opportunity to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Americans, their diverse cultures, and the many great contributions they have made to our history.”
Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School students learned about Pablo Piccaso, a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, and ceramicist who spent most of his adult life in France. The students studied many styles of his artwork and how he was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Students learned his legacy through the history of his art and created self-images and added color as an expressive element to their drawings.
Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School students worked on art projects inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month. Students learned about Hispanic artists including Spanish artist Joan Miro, Peruvian artist Lizeth Prieto, and Mexican artist Ines Alivdres. The students also learned about corn, commonly called maize in Mexico, and how important it is within the Hispanic culture.
William L. Buck Elementary School students had a great time learning about the origins and the history of piñatas. They were also asked to work with their families and challenge themselves to build their own piñata at home. Students brought their completed piñatas to school to be put on display. Students were challenged to use recyclable materials found in their homes such as toilet paper rolls, streamers, stickers, wrapping paper, construction paper, and cereal boxes.
(SEPTEMBER 2022)—International Dot Day is a global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration. This day began when a teacher named Terry Shay introduced his students to The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds on September 15, 2009. Every year since then, students all around the world are encouraged to read the book so they can rediscover the power and potential of creativity in everything they do.
Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School students listened to The Dot during class. The book is about a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust herself and her abilities by being brave enough to make her mark. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, sparking a journey of self-discovery and sharing. After, the students used their creative minds and worked in groups to create and present something out of a dot.
In celebration of International Dot Day, the students at Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School were challenged to create their own unique dot structures by using toothpicks and mini marshmallows or Dots candy. This STEAM lesson enabled the students to explore, collaborate, and then share their creations with their classmates and families.
William L. Buck Elementary School students celebrated International Dot Day in the media center by using technology and their creative skills to create their own dot. The students used the Quiver App, a digital application that makes learning fun by incorporating physical coloring with augmented reality technology to create an engaging, educational yet magical experience.
(SEPTEMBER 2022)—This year marks the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 national tragedy that forever changed our country. To honor our heroes on that day and the lives that were lost, students all across Valley Stream 24 wore red, white, and blue. One William L. Buck Elementary School student even wore a special jacket that belonged to her father who was part of a special clean-up crew at ground zero. Valley Stream students also participated in classroom activities. For example, students read Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman, which is an inspiring true story about a retired New York City fireboat that was reinstated on September 11, 2001. After reading the book, students reflected on what makes someone a hero and wrote about who their everyday heroes are.
Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School students had the opportunity to participate in the 9/11 Museum Anniversary in the Schools webinar. Students watched the documentary focusing on four people that were directly connected to the events at the World Trade Center. The speakers talked about how they were personally impacted that day, highlighting the need to continue telling these stories to future generations so that no one will ever forget. They also focused on the positive themes that could be taken out of the event such as people helping others, random acts of selflessness, the sacrifice made by first responders, and the need to strive for a world of respect and kindness.
(SEPTEMBER 2022)—Valley Stream 24 recently held Superintendent’s Conference Day in its three school buildings in preparation for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. “Superintendent’s Conference Day was a great success and it was awesome to see our new and returning faculty and staff excited to be in our schools, ready to welcome our students back for another year of discovery and achievement,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Schools. The goal for the day was to provide faculty and staff with the information, tools, and motivation that would help ensure an awesome and successful start to the new school year.
After a welcoming breakfast, staff and faculty met with their principals to discuss expectations for the 2022-2023 school year and welcome new staff to their schools. Afterward, everyone joined a virtual meeting with Dr. Sturz for a welcome-back message and words of encouragement. The day also included mental health training with Dr. Robert Mueller, Director of Pupil Services.
(SEPTEMBER 2022)—Schools in Valley Stream 24 recently opened their doors to their students for the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. Students and faculty at Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School, Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School, and William L. Buck Elementary School started the school year with great excitement as they look to create another memorable and successful year.
“We are thrilled to be opening our doors to welcome new and returning students to the 2022-2023 school year,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Schools. “I have great confidence that our students, our administrative teams, our outstanding faculty, and our District staff will all work together to make this another awesome school year, with wonderful achievements and milestones to be celebrated!
In commenting on the District’s main priorities and vision for the new school year, Dr. Sturz noted, “we will continue to move forward with our programs and initiatives that support our four pillars: Student Achievement; Parent Engagement; Wellness; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We are particularly excited about the reintroduction of Spanish in the fifth and sixth grades and continuing to build on our Enrichment for All initiative.” The District’s robotics program is also slated to be expanded and the District will be introducing a new reading curriculum.
(AUGUST 2022)—Valley Stream 24 Schools recently hosted New Teacher Orientation for the 2022-2023 school year. The orientation was held over the course of two days at William L. Buck Elementary School. “New Teacher Orientation is a great opportunity for our new hires to become familiar with our District’s goals and the specifics of our curriculum,” said Dr. Lisa Conte, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. “It was a great experience for everyone and we are excited to welcome them to the Valley Stream 24 family and are excited for the wonderful contributions we are confident they will be making to our District.”
The New Teacher Orientation started with a welcoming introduction by Dr. Lisa Conte. She spoke about Valley Stream 24 Schools’ mission, vision, and beliefs statements as well as going over the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plan overview, new staff member professional goals, classroom management, and differentiation and active learning strategies.
The new staff members were able to meet with their respective building principals and go over the school calendar, auxiliary services, special subjects and services, school day, before/after school extra help sessions, the annual professional performance review (APPR) and inspect and become familiar with their classrooms. The orientation program ended with a Special Education overview by Dr. Robert Mueller, Director of Pupil Services.
Ashleigh Jones - William L. Buck Elementary School classroom teacher
Jennifer Joyce - Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School reading teacher
Janet Marrero - Valley Stream 24 School District Spanish teacher
Brooke Martins - Brooklyn Avenue kindergarten teacher
Joanna Milanese - Valley Stream 24 District music teacher
Leighanne Jaronczyk - William L. Buck part-time art teacher
(AUGUST 2022)—The Valley Stream School District 24 Board of Education, at its July 26 special Board meeting, appointed Cynthia Nunez to the seat left open as a result of the resignation of Lisa Pellicane. Ms. Pellicane had previously submitted her letter of resignation to the Board effective July 15, 2022.
Ms. Pellicane served on the Board for 12 years. In explaining her resignation, Ms. Pellicane noted her expanding responsibilities at work and her decision to return to school to get her certification in hospital administration. “It was a really hard decision to make,” said Ms. Pellicane. I was first elected when my older daughter was in the sixth grade at Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School. I loved serving on the Board of Education and I worked with wonderful people who always had the best interests of all our kids at heart. I decided to resign because I knew I couldn’t give it my all with my new responsibilities. Cynthia Nunez is a wonderful addition to the Board and I know that she will do great things and work with the current Board to ensure that every child continues to get the most diverse and best education possible.”
Cynthia Nunez currently works for a private law firm in Manhattan as the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Practice Group Manager, where they practice Arbitration and Mediation. Ms. Nunez has been an involved Valley Stream resident for 13 years, she has been an active PTA member and sixth-grade parent committee member for over a decade. Her eldest child, now in her second year in college was a Valley Stream District 24 student and a Valley Stream Central High School District graduate. Her son, who just graduated the sixth grade at the Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School is now headed to South Junior/Senior High School. Over the past 2 years, Ms. Nunez has served as a parent delegate participating in the District’s hiring interviews.
“This is an honor and a privilege to serve on this esteemed Board of Education. I am truly humbled that I was chosen from so many qualified Valley Stream 24 residents to complete Ms. Pellicane’s term. When I previously ran for this Board, I stated I wanted to serve because I know firsthand the wonderful quality of education offered in this District, and I wanted to be a part of ensuring that excellence continues to be afforded to all children in our District for generations to come. I am excited about this opportunity to serve, and look forward to working with my fellow Board members, Superintendent Dr. Don Sturz, and the District’s inspiring group of administrators, faculty, and staff in the coming school year.”
(JULY 2022)—Valley Stream 24 held its Board of Education reorganization meeting on Monday, July 11. At the meeting, the Board members elected Vice President John Maier as the new Board President and Trustee Donna LaRocco as the new Board Vice President.
“We congratulate John Maier and Donna LaRocco on their election as the District’s President and Vice President respectively for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “Both have been strong advocates for our students, the comprehensive and diversified education we are committed to in our District, and encouraging parent engagement and District transparency. We are looking forward to an exciting and positive school year ahead under their leadership.”
During the meeting, re-elected Board members Markus Wilson and Kimberly Wheeler were administered the oath of office, as was Mr. Maier as Board President and Mrs. LaRocco as Board Vice President. Dr. Sturz also took the oath of office as Superintendent of Schools.
(JULY 2022)—The Nassau Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Summer Program at Valley Stream 24 is a unique program developed specifically for Valley Stream 24 students. The program offers a wonderful opportunity for District students to maintain, enhance or bolster their academic skills while also having hours during the day to enjoy summer’s respite with family and friends. The program runs through July for approximately three hours a day.
“Our summer program is designed to strengthen mathematic concepts, and English Language Arts skills, and challenges students through a collaborative project-based learning approach,” said Mr. Joe Schumpf, Valley Stream 24 Summer Program Coordinator. “The students also receive specialized instruction from technology and STEAM teachers integrated into their weekly schedule. Students truly enjoy coming to this program.”
The Valley Stream Nassau BOCES Summer program is held at William L. Buck Elementary School. There are approximately 150 students currently enrolled, with a class at each grade level from rising kindergarten through rising fifth grade, three Entering Kindergarten Pre-K classes as well as two specialized classes. All the classes participate in STEAM, technology, and SEL activities integrated through virtual morning announcements and by their own classroom teachers. The students also have the opportunity to receive direct instruction from a STEAM and technology teacher once a week.
These summer classes are tailored to grade-level standards to strengthen and further develop mathematic fluency and concepts and foster English Language Art skills. Each class can also select their own project to focus on throughout the program. Some of the topics the classes selected for this year are health and wellness, an all-inclusive playground, and a schoolyard beautification project.
(JUNE 2022)—As the school year comes to an end, the Valley Stream 24 School District recently held commencement ceremonies to congratulate the sixth-grade graduates of Robert W. Carbonaro, William L. Buck, and Brooklyn Avenue elementary schools.
“I am incredibly proud of our graduating sixth-grade students. As they move toward new opportunities in middle school, I want to congratulate them for all they have accomplished during their years in their elementary schools in Valley Stream 24” said Dr. Don Sturz, Superintendent of Valley Stream 24 Schools. “Middle school is a great and exciting adventure. We cannot wait to see what wonderful things they accomplish there. Thank you to our Valley Stream 24 family, friends, and faculty who were able to join us during these commencement days with love and pride!”
Mrs. Lisa Pellicane, President of the Valley Stream School District 24 Board of Education, addressed the graduates and their families and friends at each of the ceremonies. Principals of each school also addressed their graduating students. Dr. Sturz made comments at Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School and William L. Buck Elementary School’s ceremony while Dr. Lisa Conte spoke at Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School’s ceremony. After a year filled with fond memories and love, Valley Stream 24 couldn’t be prouder of the soon-to-be middle schoolers!
To watch the Robert W. Carbonaro slideshow: https://youtu.be/rV46h6B-9tQ To watch the Robert W. Carbonaro graduation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM6-rePfyVE To watch the William L. Buck slideshow: https://youtu.be/iXdYjz24VmI To watch the William L. Buck graduation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of5BlybBFHc&feature=youtu.be To watch the Brooklyn Avenue slideshow: https://youtu.be/5ftnOOyFqP8. To watch the Brooklyn Avenue graduation video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roDR7dHI1s4
(MAY 2022) —Sixth-grade students from all three Valley Stream 24 Schools elementary schools, accompanied by Dr. Scott Comis, Principal of Brooklyn Avenue Elementary School, and Mr. Rosario Iacono, Principal of Robert W. Carbonaro Elementary School, traveled to the Ashokan Center, located in Olivebridge, New York, for an overnight trip of learning and exploration. The Ashokan Center is an independent music and nature nonprofit which was established in 2008. In addition to field trips from schools across the New York region, the Center hosts festivals, music, and dance camps, and rents out its facility for private retreats.
The sixth-grade students had the opportunity to make connections and friends with students from all three schools in Valley Stream 24. While on the field trip, the students learned about nature and respecting the environment. They worked together to prepare meals and venture into the outdoors. They were given a presentation on wild birds of prey and enjoyed a campfire as they sang songs and wrote their own lyrics about their experiences and feelings during the overnight trip.
(MAY 2022) — In celebration and in recognition of Earth Day, students in Valley Stream 24 Schools were busy learning creative ways to reuse and repurpose materials to create new things. For example, at Robert W. Carbonaro School, students were given the opportunity to participate in various activity centers set up by teachers and student council volunteers. The multiple activities for the students to take part in were based on grade level, including creating rain sticks, making recycled papers, tornadoes in a bottle, terrariums, tic tac toe boards, suncatchers, board games, and recycled art projects.
In addition, students participated in a recycled materials carnival, a recycling relay race, and an Earth Day escape room activity. Every student in the school was able to plant flowers in the school gardens. They also planted milkweed seeds in a paper towel roll that was turned into a pot, which they were able to take home. For all students at Robert W. Carbonaro, the celebration of Earth Day resulted in newfound knowledge and appreciation for the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling in order to make our Earth a better place for all of us.
(MAY 2022) —Children’s mental health affects their social, emotional, and behavioral development. Valley Stream 24 strives to create a learning environment that challenges each student to become a self-sufficient, responsible, contributing member of their community and the greater global society and encourages them to achieve their highest potential. One of the ways Valley Stream 24 makes that possible is through the District’s Wellness CARE initiative.
For example, A new task force has been developed at the William L. Buck School. They are the Wellness Warriors, and they are the student voice when it comes to mental health. The group was set up to ensure that staff members were hearing firsthand how Scholars were feeling and why. The Wellness Warriors engage in conversations about stressors for our Scholars and strategies to promote mental wellness.
The Wellness Warriors engaged in think tanks, where they developed and have scheduled activities for Mental Health Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays for the month of May. Activities will include Scholars exploring their identity and values, talking about causes of stress, brainstorming solutions to problems as a school community, and exploring activities for self-care. These activities allow a safe space for Scholars to share their feelings and experiences and allow Scholars to develop coping tools.