E3 Newsletter

Excellence Through Equity In Education

The Impact of a Teacher

It is no secret that I am a proud alum of Uniondale School District. I attended Cornelius Court, California Avenue, Lawrence Road, and graduated from the high school in the early 1990s. Last spring, my students and I learned about Katherine Johnson and focused on the impact a college professor had on her life. He recognized her gifts, created a math class for her and guided her on her career path. He saw her and made a connection. Looking back at my time as a student in Uniondale schools, there were several teachers that took the time to connect with me; Cynthia Cafarella, Hayden Slomack, Diana McIntyre, Todd Schlegel, Kathryn Cerky, Dr. Jennifer Huie to name a few. In their own unique ways, they took the time to connect with me in order to maximize my growth as a student and more importantly as a person. I teach the way I do partly because of the impact these men and women had on my life.

Each weekday we stand before our students with a common goal; we want them to excel. Many of us go beyond teaching. We meet the various needs our students present to us on a daily basis; lack of food, need of clothes, guidance, encouragement, intervention... There are days we may become overwhelmed, yet still we meet the challenges we are face with day after day.

Teachers, administrators, staff members, we matter. The impact you have on the lives of the students that pass through your doors or engage with you throughout the building will stay with them beyond their grade school years. As we work toward full implementation of restorative practices know that there are somethings we already have in place...we build amazing relationships with our students!

We would love to highlight some of the things you do. Please share some of the things you do to connect with students at gyoung@uniondaleschools.org.

Gabriella R. Young

UHS E3 Officer

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Global Village Celebration

Uniondale High School has a diverse student body. We have scholars from as far as Saudi Arabia and as close as Haiti. Popular culture is infinitely more widespread than the diversity which exists among our scholars. If we can tap into at least twenty percent of the languages and cultural expressions of our student body we would be better for it. Like the wider community, we have become a melting pot as opposed to a salad bowl which is inclusive of distinct taste and colors. Individual expression use to be a prize possession for teens, now our scholars all blend together as one.

This Global Village celebration aims to recognize our scholars who come from continental Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and right here in America. In order to make scholars feel proud of their unique backgrounds, it’s imperative that they feel comfortable to be as they become aware of their own unique identity. The goal is to make scholars aware of the gift in being multi lingual and bi cultural or multi cultural. The world is becoming more and more of a global society, and Uniondale High School must reflect the world, as is always true of schools, which are microcosms of the world we live in.

Adeola Tella-Williams

UHS E3 Officer

Morning Meeting

Walnut Street School’s first step towards integrating restorative practices into our building is through the implementation of morning meeting. Following in step with Northern Parkway School, all classrooms kindergarten through fifth grade, are beginning the day by gathering in a circle for about 20 minutes. The meeting routine includes Greeting, Sharing, Activity and Morning Message. Across the school, communities are being established and students are starting their day ready to be socially and academically successful. Teachers have the opportunity to learn more about their students each day and use that information to create classrooms that are truly responsive to their needs. As students develop their social/emotional capacity and build relationships with their fellow classmates, the foundation is being laid for using responsive circles to solve problems and resolve conflicts in the classroom. Our fifth grade students will be well prepared to participate in circles when they transition to middle school.

Marina Phillipe

WSS E3 Officer

At Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue is dedicated to continuing to build our communication and engagement with families. Our Multicultural Night was a great success with great attendance and involvement. Many of our families prepared foods that highlighted their culture and heritage, to share with our school community. In the effort of building community and collaboration, our Student Council has continued working with the students at the Pre-K. Members have gone to Shubert to read books, assist pre-k students with various academic tasks, and helped them pick a pumpkin at their pumpkin patch. As we begin to build our restorative practices we will focus on implementing Restorative Circles and shared language.

Jillian Khani

E3 Officer

Northern Parkway News

In November, Northern Parkway School began having discussions regarding the celebration of Thanksgiving. Teachers and students were challenged to think of more than the single story of Thanksgiving and have students look at it from multiple perspectives.

Northern Parkway participated in a book study of the book, Reading, Writing and Talk: Inclusive Teaching strategies for Diverse Learners by Mariana Souto Manning and Jessica Martell. Jessica and Mariana visited and hosted a book talk in January with the staff. They had the opportunity to answer questions teachers may have had and discuss in small groups certain topics from the book.

Third grade teachers were challenged to make contact with every parent of every student in their class on a positive note. This helped open lines of communication between parents and students, especially those students who may have had more challenging behaviors or academic concerns. Parents are more open to teacher contact when they receive positive comments, or notes about their child. The positive communication could be made either by email, letter home, a phone call or in person contact. Third grade teachers also discussed how to make sure they were meeting during morning meeting with their students every day to continue building the sense of community in their classrooms.

Alicia Boardman

E3 Officer

Finding Ways to Connect

California Avenue School is working diligently to increase family and parental involvement. In an age of mobile phone and social media, our teachers are using the technology at our fingertips to connect with our families. We've begun to use social media and mobile apps as a means of making positive and meaningful communication with parents. Recognizing the large Hispanic population we have at our school, in September we hosted Salsa Night as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. Our website has been updated to include messages in both English and Spanish. In addition, we continue to facilitate parent workshops to keep families abreast of grade specific information.

Nadra Lipka

CAS E3 Officer

Activism at Smith Street School

Smith Street School is promoting Student Voice through activism. Students are concerned about gun violence in our schools, communities and country. Our students and staff participated in several activities to support students in their gun violence activism. In March, students participated in a “walk-up.” During our “walk-up,” students approached other students and made an inclusive environment that supported and celebrated differences.

In April, we participated in the nationwide student walk out. Students walked around our blacktop for 17 minutes. The 17 minute walk was to honor the 17 students and staff who were lost to gun violence in Florida. Students made signs of to remember the students lost to gun violence and to raise awareness to their right to receiving an education without the threat of gun violence.

Colleen Parris

E3 Officer, SSS

Empowering Youth

In step with the district’s initiative of Restorative Justice, Lawrence Road has focused on empowering our students to be aware of their worth, their goals, and their leadership potential. To foster this development, Lawrence Road partnered with CoolSpeak, a Youth Empowerment Program that presented assemblies as well as small student-mentoring workshops. As students gain this mindset of self-worth and self-motivation, they will be able to work with each other on handling conflicts. Here at Lawrence Road, we have been working on a Peer Mediation Program which will be in effect during the 2018-2019 school year.

Karen Wynter

E3 Officer, LRMS

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THMS and Restorative Practices

In partnership with LIU, Turtle Hook Middle School opened the 2017-2018 school year by providing professional development on Restorative Practices Training. This program was not easy to implement, however with continuous encouragement the community has begun to embrace the Restorative Practice.

“I appreciated the use of restorative justice in my class, particularly “Circle Time”. I was able to implement “Circle Time” several times a week, with the use of funny, serious, emotional, and thought- provoking sentence prompts. It became a sought-after part of the class, with students requesting more “Circle Time” and even coming up with their own sentence prompts. It was a beloved part of my class that allowed us all to build a connection beyond the classroom. In all, I cherished “Circle Time” because it better helped me teach my students as it better helped me understand them.” Ms. Akanmu

The program includes many goals, including family and teacher engagement. It has been a delight to watch teachers find new and inventive ways to increase family engagement by incorporating Google Classroom and Remind to keep parents engaged in the education of our young scholars.

We coordinated with CoolSpeak-The Youth Engagement Company and had three keynote speakers who provided grade-wide interactive assemblies, faculty professional development and after school youth sessions.

For the 2018-2019, we are looking forward to continuing our training sessions and achieving new goals.

Valerie Desrouleaux

E3 Officer, THMS

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E3 Committee - Chairperson: Rhonda Taylor Advisory Board Members: Sergio Argueta, Celeste Cruz, Dr. Sheilah Jefferson-Isaac E3 Officers: Alicia Boardman - NPS; Valerie Desrouleaux - THMS; Renee DiIorio - UHS; Jilian Khani - GAS; Nadra Lipka - CAS; Colleen Parris - SSS; Marina Philippe - WSS; Cindy Powder-Holmes - THMS; Teodora Smith - Shubert; Adeola Tella-Williams - UHS; Karen Wynter - LRMS; Gabriella Young - UHS