West Hempstead Weekly Update
October 3, 2022
Thinking Flexibly and the Habits of Mind
You know that expression, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"? That is a warning. It's about rigidity. It's about seeing yourself a certain way, seeing your job a certain way and the limitations inherent therein.
A colleague of Churchill once captured the balance perfectly when he observed that Churchill "venerated tradition but ridiculed convention." The past was important, but it was not a prison.
The old ways-what the Romans called the mos maiorum-were important but not to be mistaken as perfect. Think of Queen Elizabeth…a protector of a timeless institution who somehow never allowed herself to fall out of step with the times.
Of course, some things, like our principles, cannot change but everything else? We have to be strong enough to adjust and adapt…lest we end up angry, bitter, and impossible to work with.
The college basketball coach Shaka Smart, upon moving from coaching at Texas to Marquette, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was asked if he was a cold-weather or warm-weather guy. "I'm a dress-for-the-weather guy," he said.
We must learn how to be flexible, to roll with the punches or the weather or the realities of the moment.
I happened into a series of wonderful activities midday today. Our Chestnut Street students were dancing, drawing, and lining up to go to lunch and recess. Every minute of the day is filled with wonderful experiences -- learning experiences -- although the learning looks and feels differently.
You may have heard the term learning loss used during the pandemic. And yes, things were very different then. But you can't "lose" learning. Learning occurs 24/7. Not everything measured is learned, and not everything learned is measured.
Reading, Writing, & Mathematics
At the Cornwell Ave. Primary Center, the staff is helping students build new connections in their minds through various learning experiences. Through daily, ongoing learning experiences, our students will hopefully learn to interpret new knowledge and grow socially, emotionally, and academically. This growth should continue as long as learning continues, but like a muscle that is not exercised, the brain will grow if the learning stops. When our students develop the social, emotional, and academic skills at Cornwell Ave., early learning builds self-confidence in a student and lays the groundwork for future achievement.
What can you do at home? Ensure your child(ren) is reading daily. Ensure they are learning their basic math facts. Practicing these two ideas at home daily is so important.
George Washington & Secondary School
Our thoughts go out to the Molina family.
Tomas was an affable, active, and hard-working student. He joined the RamFam while at George Washington. He progressed quickly on the academic front by grasping the English language and passing the NYSSESLAT with excellence. His teachers shared how he showed up daily during remote learning and actively participated in the learning process. The Secondary Staff was impressed with his good nature and dedication to his studies. Tomas was heading towards the honor roll.
Tomas had a huge smile and was always willing to lend a hand to a classmate.
West Hempstead Secondary School
This week, we had the opportunity to be a part of the secondary school's school safety team meeting. As a part of their practice, they will review the plan, fire drills, lockdown and lockout procedures, and more. As you may be aware, a school safety team and its plan address scenarios, threats, and hazards to the school and safety needs before, during, and after an incident. Examples of threats and hazards include severe storms, hazardous materials incidents, active assailants, and pandemic diseases or outbreaks. We were fortunate to have Officer Natale from the Nassau County Police Department join us today to offer his expertise.
"The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to." -- Marian Wright Edelman
I am reading, Reading for Our Lives by Maya Payne Smart, and over the next several newsletters, some of the ideas she has shared in her writing.
In the introduction, Ms. Smart shares some statistics. 1 in 6 US adults has low literacy skills. This crisis begins early. Low adult literacy has its beginnings in infancy. 5-year-olds have "Significantly lower" emergent literacy skills than kids in other countries. National surveys of 13-year-olds revealed that 29% "never or hardly ever" read compared to 8% in 1984.
Ms. Smart asks, "How do you make family reading a habit? And if you do, does the ritual bring about the host of benefits it's been praised for? What else is required of parents to get the job done?"
Ms. Smart suggests 6 parental levers, and they are:
- Conversation (kids who engage in more back-and-forth dialogue with adults when they are 18 to 24 months tend to have a significantly higher IQ and better language skills as adolescents)
- Book reading (boosts brain capacity, spurs vocabulary growth, increases knowledge about the world, motivates kids to read, etc.)
- Teaching (give kids a multifaceted experience with a word's spelling, prono\unciation, and meaning. Do so in conversations, books they are reading, even shows they watch!)
- Connecting (cultivate relationships with people who have insights and access to your family's needs)
- Budgeting (there are free and inexpensive ways to nurture reading - think public library)
- Advocacy (it comes in many forms and begins with asking questions)
Superintendent's Student Advisory Council
The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) meets with the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents seven times per year to advise, provide feedback, and present viable solutions on District initiatives and programs.
Central Office wishes to begin discussions and hear feedback from students representing every West Hempstead school, except Chestnut Street, to identify ways to further improve their educational program.
The Superintendent’s Student Cabinet comprises student ambassadors from West Hempstead Secondary School, George Washington Intermediate School, and Cornwell Avenue Primary Center.
Have you joined SEPTA, PTA, and PTSA?
Everyone involved is a volunteer focused on meeting student needs. The difference between a great school and a wonderful school community is the strong relationships between teachers, administrators, staff, and parents.
- You can have your voice and perspective heard.
- You can fundraise to support programs and initiatives.
- You can learn about the school community, and they can learn about you.
- You can be “reflective.” Your children can submit their work to The National PTA’s Reflections program. This 50-year-old program provides opportunities for recognition and access to the arts. Students submit artworks in several categories based on the year’s theme.
Join today and follow on social media!
PTA Join: https://whepta.memberhub.com/store Twitter and Instagram @WHEPTA
SEPTA Join: https://1966.memberhub.com/store Twitter @WHSEPTARocks Instagram @WHSEPTA
PTSA Join: https://whptsa-10-285.memberhub.com/store Twitter and Instagram @WHPTSA
West Hempstead Alma Mater
10/10 School Closed
10/12 SEPTA Meeting - 7:30 PM - CA Cafeteria
10/12 SAT - 8:00 AM - Seniors Only
10/13 7 PM - College Financial Aid Night
10/14 Fall Photos - CS/CA/GW
10/18 BOE Meeting - BOE Recognition
10/21 CA Fall Festival
10/22 ACT Exam