East Meadow and W.T.
Clarke High School students in Cecelia Fisher and Emily Giglio’s classes took
part in a Pinwheels for Peace project on Sept. 21, which marked the
International Day of Peace.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project that was
founded in 2005 by Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who were art teachers at
Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida. The project serves as a way for
students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in
East Meadow students constructed one-of-a-kind pinwheels that were
displayed outdoors in front of both high school buildings. Students enjoyed
creating these unique works of art and sharing them with the community.
The district welcomes seven new administrators for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Betsy Lashin, Director of Special Education/Pupil Personnel Services
Betsy Lashin has been named the district’s Director of Special Education/Pupil Personnel Services. Ms. Lashin joins East Meadow from the Glen Cove City School District, where she served as the Assistant Director of Special Education since 2015, as well as the Interim Director for almost a year. In this role, Ms. Lashin supervised pupil personnel and special education staff, served as the Chairperson of the Committee of Special Education, and created programs that challenged and addressed the diverse learning needs of students with disabilities, while focusing on the least restrictive environment. Prior to her time in Glen Cove, Ms. Lashin worked for the Island Trees Union Free School District as a special education teacher in integrated co-taught classrooms, resource room and special class classrooms.
Amelia Garcia, Principal of Parkway Elementary School
The district is also pleased to announce the appointment of Amelia Garcia as the new Principal of Parkway Elementary School. Ms. Garcia is a familiar face to the East Meadow community, having served as a vice principal within the district for the past nine years. In her past role, Garcia assisted in designing a new arrival and dismissal procedure to keep students and staff safe, assisted in the creation of a distribution system for 1:1 student devices, and produced and maintained building-level COVID-19 contact tracing information, among other duties. She also provided daily leadership and supervision to over 100 staff members and 850 students. In addition, Garcia has experience as a teacher, and as a staff developer/coach, as well as the Interim Acting Principal of C.S. 102 in the Bronx.
Jaime Assortato, Assistant Principal at Bowling Green Elementary School
In addition to these appointments, the district welcomes Jaime Assortato as the new Assistant Principal of Bowling Green Elementary School. Ms. Assortato has worked within the district since 1999, holding a variety of roles including math lab teacher, classroom teacher, literacy coach, systems operator, and technology specialist. She most recently served as an administrative intern for the district, assisting in the development of the master schedule, facilitating class placements, coordinating professional development opportunities, and supporting staff during the transition to fully remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Francesco Balivo, Chairperson of English and Social Studies at East Meadow High School
Francesco Baglivo, the new chairperson of English and Social Studies at East Meadow High School, is also a familiar face to the district, having worked as a social studies teacher at the high school for the past six years. Prior to coming to East Meadow, Mr. Baglivo taught in the Levittown School District for three years. He has taught a variety of social studies courses, including U.S. History, Global History, Government, Economics, ENL Global History and numerous electives. In addition, Mr. Baglivo has taught AP Seminar, an English and humanities course through which students learn research, collaboration, and communication skills in a variety of areas.
Caitlin Hale, Chairperson of Music at Woodland Middle School
The district also celebrates the appointment of Caitlin Hale as the new Chairperson of Music at Woodland Middle School. Ms. Hale served as the Choral Director at East Meadow High School since 2012 and as the Director of the high school’s Theatre Guild musical production since 2015. She most recently co-chaired the district’s summer music program, where she planned and supervised students and teachers throughout the month-long program. Ms. Hale has also dedicated time to various leadership roles within the Nassau Music Educators Association for the past 12 years and has served as a new teacher mentor for the past year.
Dr. Gustavo Loor, Dean of Students at W.T. Clarke Middle School
Dr. Gustavo Loor, new dean of students at W.T. Clarke Middle School, joins the district from the Glen Cove City School District, where he served as an instructional technology coach for the past two years. Dr. Loor has also worked as a classroom teacher within the Great Neck School District and Albany City School District. During his time in Albany, Dr. Loor also served as the Dean of Discipline of Albany High School, where he addressed and managed disciplinary referrals.
Kelly Xylas, Assistant Principal at W.T. Clarke High School
Finally, East Meadow welcomes Kelly Xylas to the role of assistant principal at W.T. Clarke High School. Ms. Xylas previously served as the chairperson for English and Social Studies at W.T. Clarke High School, where she was responsible for supervising instruction, leading monthly department meetings, and evaluating teacher performance through observations. Prior to joining the East Meadow School District, Ms. Xylas served as the Assistant Principal at Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability. She also has eight years of experience as a social studies classroom teacher at University Heights High School in the Bronx.
“We are incredibly fortunate to appoint these outstanding administrators,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth A. Card, Jr. “Whether they are familiar faces or are new to our district, we congratulate them on their new roles and look forward to their contributions!”
Throughout the day on Sept. 10, students from the district took time to reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Each school recognized the 20th anniversary of the day with age-appropriate conversations and activities.
At Barnum Woods Elementary School, for example, kindergartners wore red, white and blue and colored an American flag, while first grade students discussed heroes and how they can show gratitude to those who act heroically in their own community. Meanwhile, fourth grade students created patriotic quilts to demonstrate their respect and appreciation for our country and to honor the heroic action of our nation’s heroes.
At Parkway Elementary School, students in Mrs. Izzo's fifth grade class listened to a story titled “The Man in the Red Bandana” and learned about a local hero from Sept. 11. Students shared their thoughts, feelings and questions with their peers and created a list of qualities that makes someone a “superhero.” To honor their heroes, students chose one of three projects. They created origami paper cranes, which serve as a reminder of the importance of community during an emergency, designed first responder badges, or wrote "Dear Hero" letters to honor and thank heroes in the community.
At East Meadow High School, the social studies department crafted lesson plans to teach students about the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and how it changed the world. During the day, teachers led students through the hallway, where the names of all of those who tragically passed were displayed on the walls. Students then visited the school’s 9/11 memorial, consisting of two trees to signify the Twin Towers, as well as a small piece of the World Trade Center. American flags were planted in the memorial and all staff were provided with American flag pins to stand in unity of remembrance.
“This small act of service is intended to unite our students, faculty, and staff, to remember this horrific day 20 years ago, and motivate us to do good things for one another, no matter how big or small,” East Meadow High School Principal Richard Howard said.
At W.T. Clarke High School, the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society in conjunction with the art department and school library, created a space for the school community to reflect and remember the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. They produced an exhibit titled “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World”, which presented the history of Sept. 11, its origins, and its ongoing implications through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks.
Told across 14 posters, this exhibition included archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 9/11 Museum’s permanent collection. It explored the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities at the local, national, and international levels, and encouraged critical thinking about the legacies of 9/11.
“Twenty years after the attacks, with terrorism still a threat today, the events of 9/11 and its aftermath remind us that we may never be able to prevent all the actions of people intent on harming others, but we do have control over how we respond to such events,” said W.T. Clarke High School English and Social Studies Department Chair Kelly Xylas. “Whether by volunteering in our local communities, serving our nation in the military, caring for the sick, or through other efforts, all of us can help build the world in which we want to live. As we witness history unfolding in our own time, the ways we choose to respond—both large and small—can demonstrate the best of human nature after even the worst of days.”
On Thursday, Sept. 2, administrators and teachers in the district officially welcomed students back for the start of the 2021-22 academic year. They were greeted with enthusiasm by students at all levels and spent the first day getting to know each other, reviewing policies and delving right into academic lessons. The East Meadow school community looks forward to a successful year ahead!
At their Aug. 25 business meeting, the district's Board of Education recognized the district’s assistant principals and directors for their outstanding efforts and dedication in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year. The district extends its appreciation to:
Harriet Alfano, Assistant Principal at Barnum Woods Elementary School
Danielle Betz, Assistant Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services
William Brennan, East Meadow High, Assistant Principal
Meredith Broxmeyer, Meadowbrook Elementary, Assistant Principal
Craig Cammarata, Director of Facilities
Terrence Chase, Dean at Woodland Middle School
Elizabeth Dowling, East Meadow High, Assistant Principal
Christina Egan, Assistant Principal at East Meadow High School
Janine Farinella, Parkway Elementary, Assistant Principal
Amelia Garcia, 2020-21 Assistant Principal of Bowling Green Elementary
Kelly Gelfer, Director of Music and Art
Drew Genoino, East Meadow High, Assistant Principal
Patricia Graham, Assistant Principal at Woodland Middle School
Robert Hardwick, Dean at W.T. Clarke High School
Debra Harley, Director of Math and Science
Nicole Hiken, Assistant Principal at W.T. Clarke High School
Danielle Lasher, Woodland Middle, Assistant Principal
Frank Lukasik, Director of Literacy and Funded Programs
Linda Lynch, W. Tresper Clarke Middle, Assistant Principal
Jim Mendonis, Director of Social Studies and 21st Century Learning
Leonard Minerva, Assistant Principal at McVey Elementary School
JoAnne Naccarato, Director of Testing, AIS, and District Technology
Dr. Gerilyn Smith, Director of Guidance
In addition, the Board honored Denise Michaelis, the district’s PTA curriculum co-chair and chair to the ACESS committee and Unity Day, for her continued dedication to the students of East Meadow.
Finally, the Board of Education officially welcomed five new administrators to the district. They are:
Jaime Assortato, Bowling Green Elementary, Assistant Principal
Francesco Baglivo, East Meadow High, Chairperson of English and Social Studies
Amelia Garcia, Parkway Elementary, Principal
Caitlin Hale, Woodland Middle, Chairperson of Music
Dr. Gustavo Loor, W. Tresper Clarke Middle, Dean of Students