Safety, local STAR, APPR discussed at PTA meeting

The parents of the M.W. Downing school met with the building principal, Mrs. McDaid, on Tuesday, April 5th, but without a teacher representation.

About an hour was dedicated to the safety and security measures at the school. The review of guidelines was triggered by a recent post and comments on a FB page. The principal explained the situation in question and used the meeting to review other, related regulations, e.g. morning dropoffs, afternoon pickups and bus loading procedures, dealing with an ill child, etc. Continue reading


My Blog Is Three Years Old

I launched the blog on March 22nd, 2013, inspired by a website launched by an anonymous group of Malverne UFSD activists whose mission was to promote their candidates for the BOE. Their mission ended with the elections.

I intended to post information related to Malverne school district 12 for a longer time. Perhaps, for as long as I have kids in the school district, which could be another 12 years. I broadened the topic for decisions in education made in Washington, DC, or in Albany, as they affect our district gravely, but are not imminently visible. Continue reading


Malverne UFSD students in need of a nature person and owners

On the last day of April, 2015, the PTA at M.W. Downing elementary school held a sale of flower plants in the garden adjacent to the school. The plants were beautiful and were going fast. Soon we had to go to the local store, Cross Island Fruits, to purchase some more. The classes were coming in predetermined order and parents were helping kids select the right plant for their money.

The plants were arranged on the enormous concrete slab that was recently built. Beyond the slab, it was a wilderness. Despite being late into the spring season, the garden didn’t show signs of love. Abundant weeds were covering flower beds, overgrown grass was everywhere. (Photos taken on May 13th, 2015). Continue reading


Malverne UFSD budget review and HS career day

Originally, only the instructional part of the budget review was on the BOE agenda for February 23rd, but a regular “meeting in public” was added in order to make up the Feb. 9th meeting.

The evening started by a quick budget review followed by birthday celebration of Mrs. O’Connor, school board trustee. As a perk of low attendance, all attendees were offered a piece of the cake.

The BOE announced that at the Annual School District Awards Dinner there will be recognized 3 outstanding individuals: Brian China, the teacher of the year, Dr Romano for his leadership, and Allen Lewis for decades of dedicated volunteer work. Continue reading


LICEE quiet secret, College Board trip, 2016-17 budget

The residents’ representatives modified their regular “meeting in public” on February 9th, as only two of them were present. The management showed again their prezi they have shown at the LICEE meeting in January. Three district delegates will travel to “A Deferred Dream” conference organized by the College Board in Charlotte, North Carolina. (The College Board is home to David Coleman, the author of the Common Core Standards. He now moved on to “reform” the higher education. This Saturday, March 5th, students will take the SAT tests that were modified for the first time since 2005. A third of US colleges don’t require the SAT and colleges abroad have their particular admission requirements.) Continue reading


Presentation for Malverne school district owners

At the residents representatives’ meeting on January 12th, the management presented slides entitled “ Why we were chosen…” (pdf) with motto “Excellence for All.” It was a shorter, modified version of a presentation that they had shown at a meeting of the Long Island Consortium for Excellence and Equity (BOCES). Malverne UFSD was one of 6 districts that presented and in Mrs. Ricca’s opinion the presentation was very well received.

presentation-to-liceeIt certainly caught my attention. There were really good segments that can be repurposed for presentations targeting current and potential district owners. I exchanged few emails with the management on this topic and plan to present a concept to the owners’ representatives at “their meeting in public.” The final product can be distributed to local real estate companies, so they can play the presentations in addition to the evaluation system based on the Common Core they currently use. Self-running, narrated presentations, one overall for the district and one for each individual school will add to the “telling our schools story” branding efforts and also to the Mission Hill dream. Continue reading


Welcome, Project Enroll Now increases its visibility

Last week, Project Enroll Now promoted the open house at the Long Island High School for the Arts (LIHSA). They posted a promo flyer at one of the Malverne FB groups dedicated to education. (The post has been deleted since then). Project Enroll Now is a Malverne UFSD-based group. At the time of its founding, in 2004, its original purpose was to promote public schools located within the district. As the group members’ children are growing, they are calling parents to “enroll now” in the out-of-district magnet school. Certainly a shift in the group’s original mission. Continue reading


Leaky pipe, athletic awards, and Regents exam

Few reflections on two Malverne UFSD BOE “meetings in public” that took place on 11/24/15 and 12/8/2015, respectively.

Two days before the Thanksgiving and in anticipation of being served something better than “cookies and common core,” I attended a special BOE meeting on 11/24/15. It was supposed to start at 7 p.m. At 7:25, an absent board member was contacted by phone. While waiting, we shared our family Thanksgiving habits. The socializing came to the end with the arrival of the board member at 7:40.

The reason for calling the special meeting was that a heat pipe connecting HTH and HS cracked on November 19, causing a leak and loss of pressure. A temporary arrangement was made in the form of a mobile boiler that was placed in front of the Malverne HS. A repair had to be approved and adopted at the special meeting. The pipes will be relined with an epoxy coat that will last about 10 years. The board approved spending not to exceed $500M. About half will be paid from the emergency repair fund and the other half from the general fund. The repairs have to be paid first. The reimbursement from the insurance will come later. An alternative, considered also by the board, would be to install a new boiler at the cost of $800K to $1M. Continue reading


Parent academy, or social hour?

Both, but with the emphasis on the social aspect. If you go on Twitter and type #gomules in the Search field, you’ll see an unusual trending of the hashtag between 7 and 8 pm on Jan. 21. The Malverne UFSD organized a “session” on how to use social media for telling the story of district schools.
It was not the first gathering on the topic. This project, still in development was presented at the PTA meeting in November, as I documented here. Continue reading


Lovely discussion at Davison Ave school PTA meeting

This post was updated on 1/15/16.

On Jan. 7th, I attended my first PTA meeting ever at the Davison Ave. school, as I transitioned to a higher grade. (After attending many meetings at M.W. Downing primary school previously). Davison Ave. school serves students in grades 3-5. It was not a totally strange environment, as I recognized few familiar and friendly faces.

Fair part of the meeting was dedicated to the upcoming Bingo and other fundraising activities. It was suggested that the mural painting on the side of the school is in need of a redo. When discussing the logistics when and how to do it, I suggested the students could take turns during those 3 testing days in April that governor Cuomo calls “practice testing” anyway. But I immediately realized it would not qualify as the “quiet reading,” the regulations specify as an alternative activity. So parents need to send books with their kids. Continue reading