Even though Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow on Groundhog Day, administrators and teachers from the district’s three elementary schools happened to see the shadows of 32 enthusiastic high school students, who followed mentors throughout the school day.
A cold day in January could not stop the enthusiasm of Mandalay first-grade students during Cheryl Schwartz and Hope Rubinstein’s lesson on making vanilla ice cream. This activity applied principles learned about measurements, as well as the differences between a liquid, solid and gas.
New York State Assemblyman Dave McDonough visited Mandalay Elementary School’s student council members, who collected new and gently used coats for the Coats for Kids Campaign. Mr. McDonough thanked the students for their efforts and explained that their donations will help a young girl or boy keep warm during the cold winter months. He also presented the student council with an Assembly citation for taking part in this important campaign and for helping others less fortunate.
Students and staff at Mandalay and Forest Lake elementary schools dressed in hockey jerseys and donned blue and orange to welcome four members of the New York Islanders hockey team. On Islanders Day each year, schools are chosen to receive a visit from the players, who speak about teamwork, motivation, a healthy lifestyle and the key to academic success. The players also take the time to sign autographs.
In celebration of Veterans Day, Mandalay students in Colleen O’Callaghan’s and Gina Favata’s classes spent time speaking with Marine Sergeant Mike Monaghan about his tours of duty in Afghanistan. During Sgt. Monaghan’s presentation, the students learned about his experiences in boot camp at Parris Island in South Carolina, his reasons for joining the Marine Corps, the gear and equipment he has used, and what it was like to be in a war zone. They also learned that it was the Marine Corps’ 240th birthday. In addition, select students read essays about why they are thankful for veterans and took a photo with Sgt. Monahan in front of the school’s Veterans Day bulletin board.
It was a day of unity as Mandalay students dressed in orange and took a stand against bullying. In an activity coordinated by the PTA’s Health, Safety and Awareness Committee, students wrote statements about taking action against bullying and being unified as a school on orange strips of construction paper. The strips were then stapled to make chains and were displayed around the cafeteria and gym doors as a reminder that the school is united against bullying.
The boys and girls in Mrs. Morgan's 2nd grade class went to the science lab to perform an experiment that correlated to their current curriculum- learning about the scientific method! They investigated why they should wash their hands. The children performed an ongoing investigation where they all handled one single piece of bread, and then put the bread into a Ziploc bag. They tested this against the control- when the children used plastic gloves to put an additional piece of bread into a plastic bag. Additionally, a hypothesis was created about what would happen, and they recorded results of the experiment.
In order to make sure everyone feels included at recess, Mandalay Elementary School has dedicated a Buddy Bench on the playground. Spearheaded by the student council and Principal Marie Pisicchio, the program encourages students who feel isolated or left out of the fun during recess to sit on the Buddy Bench. A volunteer “bench scooper” will then approach the student and help them to engage in playground activities.
Summertime seems to move faster than we would hope for, and before you know it I will be greeting all of the Mandalay children back to school on September 1st. The start of a school year marks new beginnings, and memories to be made. I am pleased to know each child’s name that is returning to Mandalay, and eager to learn about our incoming kindergartners and new students to the district. One of the greatest joys of my job is gaining a small glimpse of your child/children each day while they are at school.
This summer I promised my son I would teach him how to ride his bicycle, without the training wheels. I began to think back on just how shaky my daughter (now 8 years old) felt when I slowly let go of her shirt- it made me think of school, and how the two experiences are related to each other. A shaky child learning to ride a bike for the first time needs both support and freedom. With that thought, please continue to support your child/children both academically and emotionally, yet give them the freedom to blossom into young men/women. The staff at Mandalay is your partner in ensuring the success of your child/children. In the end, the shaky child will always gain confidence.
We will continue to prepare your child/children with a rich curriculum, and embed opportunities for him/her to think critically, as well as enjoy just being a child!
I look forward to a successful school year.