Gardening & More at the Village School

Economics and organic gardening came together in a practical and hands-on way at the Village School (VS) where students learned how to grow their own organic food and save money in the process. The Farmer's Market class, began last fall with a relatively simple idea presented by their science teacher Toby Hatten. They would plant a small indoor garden in the school's greenhouse. By March, the class was ready to take it to the next level&emdash;a larger outdoor garden. Freshmen through seniors, working collaboratively, grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, including radishes, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and strawberries.

The idea for an on-site vegetable garden at VS began when Mr. Hatten, the mastermind of the project, noticed the unused greenhouse behind the school. He thought would be ideal for an organic garden. During the fall, the class grew lettuce and winter crops. Spurred on by this successful, though small crop, Mr. Hatten again offered the course in the spring, with its longer growing season. His plans included expanding the garden by establishing it outdoors, to an area near the greenhouse. He also hoped to show students how much more affordable it was to grow their own food rather than buy it in supermarkets. "I wanted to show the kids where their food comes from, hands-on," said Mr. Hatten. "It was hard work, but the payoff of a garden without any pesticides or chemicals is priceless."

After harvesting, students feasted on what they had planted. A freshman, cut up the radishes and baked them. "They're just like chips, but radishes! It was so easy and had a kick to it!" Salad was also prepared with red sail lettuce, Romaine lettuce, and radish leaves. A junior described the lettuce as "having more character" than what he would normally buy at the store.

For their final project, students could either make a "how-to" video on the planting process including preparing plant cuttings, installing trellises for certain plants, and ascertaining when plants would be ready for harvest, or they could plan plots for the raised beds that students had built independently.

Principal Stephen Goldberg praised the class' efforts saying, "Giving students the opportunity to grow something with their own two hands affords them the luxury of understanding how we as teachers feel when cultivating the young lives of the very students involved in this project. What a pleasure."

The hands-on Farmer's Market class is not the only approach to husbandry at VS. Mr. Hatten also teaches Aquaria, where students conducted research on tropical fish, with tanks brought from home to house the fish. The class sported four tanks and five fish bowls, with over six species and 14 individual fish.

Next year, Mr. Hatten will expand the Farmer's Market to a school-year-long class called "10-Month Harvest," using both winter and spring to show students how to make gardens of their own. His plans already include a pumpkin patch and an expansion to the outdoor garden to grow a larger variety of crops, again involving the students in preparation, planting, weeding, and harvesting.


South Robotics Team Visits DaVinci Robot

Members of the South High School Robotics Team were invited to view a demonstration of the DaVinci Robotic Surgical System at Winthrop-University Hospital. The robot, known as "George," performs laparoscopic gynecological surgery affording patients the least invasive treatments available. Other patient benefits include a reduced hospital stay and risk of surgical complications, and a decrease in blood loss. Students were able to use the robot to perform non-surgical functions. Dr. Gary Levine, an Attending Physician at Winthrop and a South High graduate, Class of 1966, was one of the participating doctors during the student's visit.


GNPS/TV Programs

Current viewing over Great Neck Public Schools Television (GNPS/TV) includes: Spotlight and Middle School Concert Highlights. Details follow.

GNPS/TV Spotlight

GNPS/TV Spotlight features school news, sports, and events in a lively, magazine-format. This month's show highlights the North Middle Anti-Bullying Assembly, North High's Battle of the Classes, South Middle's Dancing Classrooms program, and much more! Viewing times are: 10 a.m., and 12, 2, 4, 6, and 8 p.m.

Middle School Concerts

Featured are highlights from the North Middle Choral Concert and the South Middle Spring Concert. Watch some of our district's top middle school musical talent perform works ranging from Tchaikovsky to Justin Beiber! The viewing times are: 11 a.m., and 1 3, 5, and 7 p.m.

GNPS/TV Programming

GNPS/TV programming reflects the offerings of the Great Neck Public Schools and the achievements of its students and staff. Programs are student-produced and can be seen in the incorporated villages of Great Neck on Cablevision Channel 75 and on Verizon Channel 32. In addition, selected programs can be seen by all Cablevision viewers on Channel 20, on Sundays, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. For information about GNPS/TV and its programs, please contact Robert Zahn, district educational cable TV producer/director, by e-mail at, or by phone at 441-4676.


Master Class: Lunch & Theater--Aug. 3

Enjoy a delightful lunch and a Wednesday matinee theater performance with the Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program on Aug. 3. See Master Class--Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning play--a love letter to diva Maria Callas. While giving a master class at the end of her career, Callas revisits some of the joys and sorrows of her passionate and dramatic life. Master Class stars Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Tyne Daly. The play centers on the making of art--any kind of art, and the thrill and responsibility of that enterprise. Registrants will meet at a restaurant at 11:30 a.m. Restaurant information is sent prior to the event. The performance is at 2 p.m. The matinee performance takes place Wednesday, Aug. 3. Fee: $150, includes lunch, orchestra seat, and gratuity. Must be pre-registered. Background on the play and its players will be presented over coffee by group leader Shirley Romaine, longtime resident of Great Neck and coordinator of performing arts and an instructor for the Great Neck Adult Program. Ms. Romaine has created theater- and art-oriented programs, which she performs throughout Long Island, the metropolitan area, and beyond at museums, libraries, and art centers. She hosts the award-winning television program Artscene on Long Island, and the New Playwrights series for public television. To register for Master Class, or for more information, please call the Adult Program at (516) 441-4949 or go to


Boston in October with the Adult Program

The Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program invites you on an extended autumn arts tour to Boston from Tuesday, Oct. 25-Friday, Oct. 28. Our trip is planned with every detail in mind, featuring the best of art, theater, and culture. Transportation is by luxury coach, departing from and returning to the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave. For more information and to register, please call the Adult Program at (516) 441-4949. The tour is accompanied by theater instructor Shirley Romaine. Theater highlights include performances at the American Repertory Theater and Huntington Theater, followed by discussions with the theater's artistic staff. There will also be a morning at the new wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and visits to Harvard's Sackler Museum and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Excursions to Cape Ann and Rockport, MA, and a stop in historic Newport, RI, to see the Doris Duke mansion are also included. Trip departs Tuesday, Oct. 25, and returns Friday, Oct. 28. Tour includes luxury coach transportation from Great Neck to Boston and return; three nights hotel accommodations; two orchestra-seat theater tickets; three breakfasts; three lunches; three dinners; excursions to Cape Ann and Newport; visits to Boston Museum of Fine Arts, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and Rough Point. A detailed, day-by-day description may be obtained by calling the Adult Program at 441-4949. Fee: $1,475 (per person, double occupancy). Single occupancy, subject to availability: $405 additional. Nonresident surcharge: $20. When registering, please make check payable to Great Neck Public Schools (no credit cards). Deposit: $300 due by July 11; balance due by Aug. 15. No refund unless you can be replaced, in which case a refund minus $75 will be issued. Trip cancellation insurance is available and strongly recommended.