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Curricular Updates and Enhancements

Curricular Updates and Enhancements photo
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In January, the New York State Education Department received approval for a new education plan that was required as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act. As part of this approval process, NYSED has been making changes to the entire K-12 curriculum. These changes – NYS Next Generation Learning Standards – are focused on revising math and English language arts education. 

Educators are being asked to help all students become lifelong readers and writers and NYSED has revised many of the reading and writing standards for classroom teachers. In addition, literacy-based instructional practices have been incorporated into all of the science and social studies classrooms. In math, standards were revised or moved to different grade levels with a focus on increasing student fluency. Last year, NYSED also made changes to the K-12 science standards, mirroring the practices of scientists and engineers through the implementation of hands-on activities in class. 

“Here in West Babylon, we are making certain that all of our students are getting the very best education in every subject area,” said Scott Payne, executive director of curriculum and instruction. “In response to all of these changes, this month we are pleased to share some of the exciting curricular work that is taking place in all our schools.”

Computer-based instructional tools

Parents may have noticed their children coming home and signing on to many of the online educational programs offered both in and out of the classroom. One literacy-based program is comprised of two separate programs called Raz-Kids and Reading A-Z. These programs allow students to read books online based on their interest as well their reading level. It also allows them to answers questions about what they have read and builds vocabulary and acquisition skills through guided quizzes.  

In math, students have access to an online program called Math IXL.  This web-based program allows students to practice specific math problems that are either assigned by their teacher or picked specifically based on their ability.

I-Ready.com is another online resource used by elementary and junior high school students. This program uses educational lessons and games to build student skills in math and ELA. Students earn points and reach milestones as they complete lessons that are either assigned by their teacher or are simply completed for extra credit. Not only are these games fun, but they help teachers get balanced data to help build upon needed skills for students.

Many JHS and SHS courses offer online supplements to enhance the textbooks used in class. Seventh-grade health, courses in science and math and much of the social studies curriculum are featured online. 

“If you see your child watching videos as part of the Discovery Ed website, they may actually be doing homework or getting extra credit, as much of our district’s social studies content is presented in multimedia form,” Payne said.

STEM Skills

“Here in West Babylon, we are very excited for our students to explore the many STEM skill sets,” Payne said. “In our K-8 schools, we have begun creating makerspaces. These spaces are collaborative work areas in part of our libraries that allow students to create projects or designs using their imagination and creativity. One key aspect is allowing students to work together. This creative and collaborative practice is at the core of helping to prepare our students for 21st-century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.” 

In K-6 library media classes, students are learning to code using Ozobot or Dash-and Dot robot kits. These kits guide students through the basic concepts of coding and allow students to program robots to perform different tasks and complete challenges. 

In grades 8-12, a new set of science research courses has been added.  Currently offered in eighth grade, this course will be offered to all students next year at the high school and is designed to teach students how to design and create scientific experiments while enhancing their problem-solving skills. Students will learn to publish their discoveries and will make formal presentations on what they have learned. The goal of these courses is to connect students to real-world scientists and engineers, which will allow them to work in the field to conduct their own research as part of an extended internship. 

“We are also offering two opportunities for STEM enrichment,” Payne said. “Our after-school STEM SCOPE program will be starting soon at each of our elementary schools. This summer, we will be offering a weeklong science camp for all students that will be housed in-district at one of our elementary schools.”

In addition, Payne said, the district will be looking at adopting a new K-5 math curriculum and next year, will be looking at changes in the K-8 science program. In both cases, this selection process will involve building principals from every elementary building forming a team of teachers, administrators and parents. 
 

JFK SCOPE Flyer 2018

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Poets Pen Band-Aid-Inspired works

Poets Pen Band-Aid-Inspired works photo
Lisa DeGennaro’s first-graders at John F. Kennedy Elementary School are working on their poetry writing skills. The students read the poem “Band-Aids” by Shel Silverstein and were inspired to create their own “ouch” poems about things on cutouts of Band-Aids.

Book Characters Come to Life

As a concluding activity to its Parents As Reading Partners program,students in Lisa DeGennaro¹s class at John F. Kennedy Elementary School dressed as their favorite book characters. Some favorites included Piggy and Elephant, the Hulk, Junie B. Jones, Pete the Cat, Harry Potter and Pinkalicious.  

JFK student proudly participates in 2018 St. Baldrick's

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PARP at JFK

VIDEO: Fitness Fridays

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Check out this video to see how John F. Kennedy Elementary School is keeping its students physically active every Friday.

Second-Grader Moves to States in Reflections Contest

Second-Grader Moves to States in Reflections Contest photo
Sadie Searage, a second-grader at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, was recently named a Suffolk County winner in the Parent-Teacher Association’s annual Reflections contest. This year’s theme was “Within Reach.” Her poem, “My Dreams,” now moves on to the state level of the contest. 

J.F.K. School Kicks Off Parents As Reading Partners

Learning to read is thesingle most important activity in a child’s education. Studies show that children who read at home are better prepared to succeed in formal education.

PARP is a program that asks parents to read with their children for at least fifteen minutes daily, stressing the fact that reading can be fun as well as informative. The choice of reading materials can vary from books to anything with printed words. The daily activity of reading together strengthens reading and communication skills in the child and also strengthens the parent/child relationship. Note: The term ‘parents’ may be interpreted broadly to include all adults who play an important role in a child’s life.

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J.F.K. Family Gym Night

2018-19 Budget Preparations Underway

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The administration has presented its first draft of the proposed 2018-19 school budget and has discussed anticipated revenues, state aid estimates and the proposed tax levy during recent Board of Education meetings. 

According to Michele Psarakis, executive director for finance and operations, the district’s goals for the 2018-19 school year include maintaining all student programs while remaining within the state-mandated tax levy cap. 

The Board of Education encourages residents to become informed about the district’s proposed 2018-19 spending plan by attending the scheduled budget workshops and public hearings. Community members are encouraged to cast their vote on May 15 to help determine the future of the district.

Tuesday, March 13: Board of Education meeting; board review/discussion of budget draft No. 2 development, 7 p.m.     

Tuesday, March 27: Presentation of budget draft No. 2, 7 p.m. 
     
Tuesday, April 10: Board of Education meeting; final review and adoption of the 2018-19 proposed budget, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 1: Board of Education meeting; public hearing of 2018-19 proposed school budget, 7 p.m.
                       
Tuesday, May 15: School budget vote and trustee election, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.

Celebrating Dr. Seuss

First-graders in Lisa DeGennaro’s class at John F. Kennedy Elementary School celebrated Read Across America day in honor of Dr. Seuss on March 2. Students wore festive Seuss wear, read many Dr. Seuss books and completed Seuss-inspired activities.

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