An Expression of Gratitude toward First Responders

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During this unprecedented time, fourth graders in Gina Foppiano’s and Lauren Bianco’s class at Winthrop Avenue wanted to express their gratitude toward the first responders at the Bellmore Fire Department, who have been working countless hours to keep the community safe and healthy.

Each student was instructed to write a thank-you letter or create a poster to demonstrate their appreciation for the first responders’ work during the pandemic. With much synergy and collaboration, the letters and posters were digitized on a banner which now hangs in the firehouse as a token of the class’ appreciation.

On behalf of the class, Ms. Foppiano said, “We are so proud to be part of this tight knit community and to be able to give thanks to all the essential workers.”

‘Be Strong and Lead Together’

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Dr. Famularo Pens Graduation Song for 2020 Graduates

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo applied his musical talents to write and produce an inspiring graduation song, “Be Strong and Lead Together,” dedicated to the entire Class of 2020. Originally written for the District’s own Bellmore Shining Stars and adapted from Steven Curtis Chapman’s “More to This Life,” the music encourages Class of 2020 graduates to be strong and to lead together during these challenging times.

Dr. Famularo said he was originally inspired to write the piece for Bellmore students who are dealing with the disappointment of canceled graduation celebrations and end of year activities. When Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order canceled school for the remainder of the year, he knew he wanted to write the song not only for his district, but also dedicate it to all of the graduates of the Class of 2020 affected by graduation ceremony cancellations brought on by the pandemic. This inclusivity is seen in the YouTube video which includes clips of every Nassau County high school to create a musical tribute to every student graduating this year.

Dr. Famularo wrote the lyrics and plays the guitar, but it is his cousin AnnMarie Lupo who shines with her beautiful vocals. He said this graduation song is just one of the songs he has written over the years for family weddings and a tribute to his 90-year-old mother.

“The song contains many of the lessons that we have tried to instill in our students, such as focusing on your own leadership and act on what we have control over.” Dr. Famularo said. “The song encourages students that their future is bright with many opportunities ahead of them, even though nothing seems very normal at this time.”

Those who are familiar with the District’s character development program will recognize the references to the adopted leadership principles and core values, such as “carrying your own weather” and “leading each day like a star.” Dr. Famularo further explained that leadership and the principals and core values the District been teaching for years are more important today than they have ever seen.

The schools community is regularly graced with Dr. Famularo’s musical talents. He is regularly seen toting his guitar to classrooms districtwide to play beloved songs steeped in tradition for students. He also performs each winter at the district’s PTA’s Founders Day celebration and during other important district events as a member of the Belltones, a band comprised of the district’s music teachers and Dr. Famularo. During the school closure, Dr. Famularo has taken to social media to sing Happy Birthday to district students every week, teaching the children and showcasing a new instrument each week as he plays them (see 10 episodes to date on twitter @doctorfamularo -

Dr. Famularo said the feedback he has received from fellow superintendents has been wonderful and he hopes the music resonates in the hearts of the Long Island educational community and provides unity and optimism for the future.

Click here to listen

Book Buffet

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Fifth grade students in Nicole Osterhoudt’s class at Shore Road have combined their love of reading with art during the Book Buffet project.

Students were instructed to choose a book to read independently and were encouraged to take notes on various story elements as they progressed, such as theme, characterization, point of view, literary devices and plot. Instead of a traditional pen and paper book report, the students translated the information into the shape of food. Utilizing recycled or repurposed objects around their homes, the students included the various book elements in their “buffet” choice, making sure that the parts of the report were typed, neat and proofread for correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

Ms. Osterhoudt said, originally, the Book Buffet project was supposed to be completed among the students’ class book club groups and displayed for everyone to see. School district closings, however, made the project more individualized.
Some of the books chosen for the Book Buffet were E.B White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “Fish in a Tree,” and Mike Lupica’s “Heat."

Students Honor Local Nurses

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No time in the nation’s history has it been more important to honor nurses, the community’s front-line workers, for National Nurse’s Week, held annually on May 6-12. In honor of the individuals who have worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, second grade students in Caryn McCabe’s and Theresa Padula’s class at the C.A. Reinhard decided to spread cheer among the nurses at Plainview Hospital Northwell Health by writing letters of hope and appreciation for a job well-done.

Ms. McCabe said, “The activity connected with our study of character education and leadership and was meant to show gratitude for all those who are sacrificing for the safety of the community.”

Ms. McCabe said a friend works in the intensive care unit and has been treating COVID-19 patients and shared the students’ letters with her colleagues. “The nurses were extremely grateful and took a photo to demonstrate their appreciation for the students’ sentiments.

‘I Wonder’ how plants grow

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First grade students in David Reilly’s class at the C.A. Reinhard are wondering and figuring out how plants grow through participation in several virtual field trips to Crossroads Farm in Malverne. The virtual field trips and study of seeds, farming and crop growth are part of a science unit named “I Wonder.”

“I tell my students that scientists use this essential question when they begin to study something important,” Mr. Reilly said.

Under the direction of farmers Mary Jean McCarthy and Susan Salem and using Google Meet technology, the students questioned how a seed grows on the farm. Ms. McCarthy took the students on a tour of the farm’s greenhouse, which housed onion, cotton, melon, sunflower, pumpkin, corn and pea seeds. They also learned that the farm does not use chemicals on their plants because of the effect on humans and animals. The students were also encouraged to participate in an imaginary enactment of what it would be like to be a seed while listening to Ms. McCarthy’s information about the journey from seed to plant.

In a second field trip to the farm, Mr. Reilly’s students focused on how scientists sketch and take notes when they have “I wonders” that question how things work. After the field trip, the students were instructed to make their own sketches, depicting the elements that affect the growth of a plant.

In addition to the virtual field trips, the students were encouraged to plant their own garden, using seeds left on their doorstep by Mr. Reilly, co-teacher Theresa Padula and teaching assistant Jennifer Siano.