- Great Neck Public Schools
By Dr. Teresa Prendergast, Superintendent, Great Neck Public Schools
Welcome to what is sure to be another exciting year in the Great Neck Public Schools. A new school year always ushers in a sense of optimism and excitement for the wonderful opportunities we provide our students. I was delighted to warmly welcome so many of our students, their families, and our staff on September 4.
This week, we were excited to welcome the Pre-Kindergarten class of 2033 at the Parkville and John F. Kennedy schools, and within a few days of their arrival, they own the classrooms they inhabit and the halls they travel.
It is amazing how just a few minutes into the first day of the new school year, when you walk down the halls, it hardly seems possible that school was on vacation. The start of a new school year reaffirms my belief that we have wonderful opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our students and that we are extremely fortunate to serve a community that values education.
Commitment to Excellence
Our school district remains committed to upholding a tradition of excellence. During the past year, our school district, our students, and our staff received recognition for achievements in various content areas, the arts, athletics, research, and overall performance.
In August, the Great Neck Public Schools was ranked by Niche.com as the best school district in New York State and the third best school district in the country. The annual Niche School Rankings use several key factors to determine the quality of a school district, including academics, state assessment proficiency and SAT/ACT scores, athletics and extra-curricular offerings, health and safety, school culture and diversity, student-teacher ratio, and teacher quality. This past spring, our schools were also acknowledged by U.S. News & World Report in their annual list of “Best High Schools” and top STEM schools in the nation.
We recognize that the members of our community place a high value on education, and we work diligently to make certain that our students are provided with meaningful, challenging, and developmentally appropriate materials and courses of study that build the understanding, skills, and appreciation of the responsibilities of citizenship that lead to success in the classroom and in future endeavors. Our school district also serves the community at-large by providing access to countless activities, educational opportunities, trip offerings and special events through our Great Neck Community Education and Adult Learning Programs.
Physical Plant Improvements
Our Facilities Department worked with great diligence all summer long to enhance the physical plant and to prepare our buildings and grounds for the launch of the new school year. Our greatest effort this summer has been enacting district-wide improvements utilizing funds from our annual budget and the May 2017 Capital Projects Bond Proposition. These bond projects will enhance our facilities, and many of them—including roof replacements and library renovations at South Middle School, South High School, and the John F. Kennedy School—will be completed in early fall. The window replacement project at Parkville School and corridor ceilings project at the John F. Kennedy School are complete, and the construction of the North High School parking lot is underway. New auditorium seating at South Middle School will be installed in October. Residents can expect to receive a detailed capital projects newsletter highlighting these and future Bond projects later in the fall.
New Visitor Procedures
Visitors to our schools will note changes to our school building visitor management procedures. The main entrance at each of our schools has been modified and consists of a new double door security vestibule, which provides our schools with an additional layer of perimeter security. These security vestibules are equipped with an intercom system, interior and exterior cameras, and bullet-resistant film. A secure pass-through window has also been installed to facilitate communication with our security personnel. Once visitors are processed through our LobbyGuard system and a background check is complete, the visitor management system will print an identification badge and the authorized visitor will then be buzzed through a second set of doors and allowed access into the school.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Superintendent of Schools. I wish every member of our school and larger community a wonderful school year, and I look forward to seeing you in the days and weeks ahead. I know the Board of Education joins me in extending our best wishes to you and our students for a successful and rewarding academic year.