A North Merrick Minute

An e-newsletter from the North Merrick Schools: Fall 2020

Update from the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cynthia Seniuk

I am happy to report that the new school year has gotten off to a positive and productive start! We are reimagining the school day thanks to the resilience of our students, parents, faculty, and staff. Both the in-person and virtual teaching and learning models are running smoothly, and everybody is so happy to be back in the school routine.

Our district is adapting and modifying as needed, whether that means Physical Education teachers are being heard more clearly with megaphones, classroom teachers are conversing through microphone headsets, or arrival procedures have been tweaked for a more streamlined entry to school.

Meet the Teacher Night was held virtually and was a great success. Instrumental Music lessons are also being taught virtually before and after school, and the WINGS program, along with clubs, are being redesigned as virtual after-school activities. Even field trips will be taken virtually, and our district will participate in a variety of rich programs from local cultural institutions.

This month, the Reopening Task Force and subcommittees will reconvene to provide more feedback and suggestions. We are continuing to innovate and create a nurturing school environment for our students. North Merrick is making it happen each and every school day!

New and Virtual Learning Teaching Staff

Thanks to all of our faculty for supporting our students this school year!

New Teaching Staff: Nicole Basile (Teacher Assistant, HDF), Michelle Bautista (Grade 4 Leave Replacement, HDF), Daniel Fine (Building Substitute, OMR), Brian Fox (Building Substitute, Camp), Victoria Hinners (Grade 2 Leave Replacement, Camp), Debbie Iannacci (Grade 2 Leave Replacement, Camp), Athena Kardiasmenos (Teacher Assistant, HDF), Alyssa Masten (Building Substitute, HDF), Gina Pulewitz (Grade 2 Leave Replacement, OMR), Deborah Rudolph (Teacher Assistant, Camp), Jacqueline Sekunda (Guidance Counselor), Diane Sigler (Library Teacher Assistant, Camp), and Christine Vanella (Kindergarten Leave Replacement, OMR).

Virtual Learning Teaching Staff: Breanna Romero (Kindergarten), Lisa Bernstein (Grade 1), Debra Morello (Grade 2), Lindsay Corrado (Grade 3), Patricia Black (Grade 4), Joyce Kelley (Grade 5), Arlene Nucero (Grade 6), Gianna Giovanniello (Teacher Assistant), and Cathy Marketos (ENL).

Additional Changes: Maria Castle (Grade 6 Teacher, HDF), Denise Kaufman (Teacher Assistant, Camp), Marcy Rodriguez (Reading Teacher, Camp), and Erin Wan (ENL Teacher, Camp).

Take a look at the new teaching staff profiles and photos that are being posted on the district website @ NEW STAFF PROFILES.

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Guidance Counseling for K-6: Creating Trust, Offering Support

Jacqueline Sekunda, the new part-time district guidance counselor, has started visiting with kindergarten through grade 3 classes in four-lesson modules. While guidance is mandated by the state, she is especially focused this year on the theme of trust within the framework of social-emotional learning. "I want the students to see me not as a visitor but as a familiar face in the hallways or classroom who is part of the school community," she explained.

Ms. Sekunda likes to make her lessons fun using age-appropriate and seasonal aids. In the first lesson, she introduced herself accompanied by Mrs. Potato Head in the kindergarten classes and by sharing true/false statements from a Hokus Pokus game for grades 2&3. During the next three lessons, she discusses feelings, conflict resolution, and goal setting, respectively. When she visits with grades 4-6 later this fall, she will begin with these four foundational lessons and also talk about making good decisions, dealing with peer pressure, and exploring academic and career options.

In the spring, Grade 6 students will spend time learning about Naviance, a secondary level guidance software, and aligning their interests along possible college and career paths. In addition, Ms. Sekunda will help the sixth graders with the transition to middle school. "It's an exciting time but also a little scary for them. I will provide support so they will look forward to going to middle school," she says.

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International Walk to School Day - October 7, 2020

Every year, the North Merrick School District, in partnership with PTA, encourages families to participate in the International Walk to School Day, which promotes the benefits of walking. The world-wide event was held this year on October 7, and the PTAs rewarded the walkers with individual pieces of chalk when they arrived at school so they could "chalk the walk" in front of the buildings as well as water bottles and stickers to take home.
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North Merrick Teacher Wins Scholastic Grant for Books

Congratulations to teacher Debra Morello for winning a $500 grant from the James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs Partnership. With the grant and 500 bonus points credited to her Scholastic Books Club account, Ms. Morello can purchase quite a collection of books that she knows her students will love to read!

Next Board of Education Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 13th, 7pm

This is an online event.

Please note that the start time for the Board of Education meetings this year has been changed to 7 p.m. and the meetings will continue to meet virtually as ordered by the Governor.