Greeting Students with Principal Debbie Shalom:
First Day of School at Parkville,
Engaging in a Class Discussion:
First Day of School at J.F. Kennedy,
Superintendent of Schools
Opening of School: Clear Skies Ahead
by Dr. Thomas P. Dolan, Superintendent of Schools
The school year has begun in Great Neck, and it would appear that we have picked up right where we left off! The most significant (and positive) example of this is the degree to which each of our schools, and all of our students, transition to an active mood, as if there were no intervening summer vacation.
I have had the privilege of seeing our youngest students arrive at Parkville School to begin their careers and it was remarkable how quickly they adapted to their new environment and assume a role that is new to them. They walk in the building wide-eyed, but seeming a bit apprehensive. They are greeted warmly and sorted efficiently and soon find themselves in a classroom meeting, in some cases, with their very first teacher. But, within minutes, they are exploring the classroom, interacting with their peers and getting to know that new adult in their lives. They become students quickly, because it is a natural progression. We are all students at some level and these students remind us that learning, and especially learning with others, is something that we are born to do.
This process is viewed just as easily in our other schools, and within just a few class sessions all of our schools are engaged in active teaching and learning. The organizational component that can take up days is not present here because of a high level of preparation and the fact that students and teachers want to be there, want to meet with success and want to contribute to the success of others.
Another reminder of last year's ending was presented to us on the first Friday that schools were open. A serious storm again caused considerable damage to our schools and forced the closing of North High School due to a lack of electrical power. We will (again) affect the necessary repairs, and I'd like to (again) commend the quality of work done by our buildings and grounds, custodial, maintenance and security staffs. They are responsive in an emergency and responsible in their work.
Another location impacted by the storm was North Middle School and because there was no electricity, the Open House planned for Thursday, September 16, 2010 was (of course) postponed. A rescheduled event will be announced the week of September 20th as soon as we examine calendars and work with the building administration to organize the event.
The year begins with some important personnel changes also. At the central office, our new Assistant Superintendents for Instruction are Dr. Steve Lando (Secondary) and Ms. Kelly Newman (Elementary). They have already been visible presences across the District and will continue to do so. We also experienced a retirement in our Special Education Department, as Dr. Dennis Ryan will be leaving the District. He is with us through mid-October and I thank him for all that he has done and is doing now. We will be conducting another search to find a replacement in the fall, and the search for an interim leader in that department is nearly complete.
I wish everyone well as we begin the year and can only hope that we continue to experience the kind of success we've already seen. Needless to say, I also hope for clear skies, a mild winter and no more weather-related headlines.