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School Board Recognizes Students, Staff for Community Service During Sandy

Board also announces the opening of school during winter break and responds to the arrest of a former school employee.

The Levittown school board held a meeting on Wednesday night at Levittown Memorial.
The Levittown school board held a meeting on Wednesday night at Levittown Memorial.
A number of Levittown residents were acknowledged for their outstanding community service efforts at Wednesday night’s board of education meeting.  

Students from Lee Road Elementary school's “Commitment to Community Service” group were recognized for their efforts in giving back to the community throughout the entire school year.

Teacher Kim Welsch said that although teachers and parents help, the agenda and activities planned at the beginning of the year come from the children.

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Some of the ways the kids gave back this year included a recycling program by fourth and fifth graders, a peer mediation program where students help other students settle problems, the donation of supplies to a local animal shelter and donation of toys for children in need, and the donation of Halloween Candy to a local dentist, who ships it overseas to active military.  

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the group took on a new project, working on making care packages for those in need. Thanks to the generosity of Lee Road families, Welsch said that 50 care packages were made and shipped to families in Far Rockaway, for people who were displaced and in great need.

School Board Thanks Residents for Efforts During Sandy

The school board also acknowledged the efforts of faculty, staff, administrators and members of the PTA for the job they did during the aftermath of Sandy.

“Tonight we are here to recognize… the District and community that pulled together to get our schools ready for a second opening day,” said Board President Michael Pappas. “Providing shelter, hot meals, not only to our residents, but to over 400 residents of Nassau County right here at the Red Cross shelter at Levittown Memorial.”

The head of each department was recognized, starting with the custodial and ground crews who worked extra hard to get school open to use for the shelter during the storm, making sure the building was open safe and ready on time.

“All the Red Cross kept saying to me was your custodial crew is phenomenal," said Trustee Peggy Marenghi.

"We want you to know that the board of education appreciates and recognizes the extra efforts, of our employees, at a time when even getting gas took half a day, just to get to work," Pappas said.

Schools to Open During Winter Break

The school board approved the revised 2012-13 school calendar, which opens school during Winter Break in February. The new schedule makes Wednesday Feb. 20, Thursday Feb. 21 and Friday Feb. 22 a school day. 

Due to the unprecedented loss of school time during the Hurricane and Nor'Easter, the school said they had to change the schedule to make sure they meet New York State requirements. New York State requires 180 “days of session” for state aid purposes.

"It’s unpleasant for anyone to lose vacation time but the Levittown School District is in a much better position than many school districts," Pappas said. This is an unpleasant measure that I believe we have to take.”

Reaction to Arrest of Former Employee

Ronald Kister, former Director of Computer and Media Services at the Levittown School District, was recently arrested and charged with stealing camera equipment from the school.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Grossane opened up Wednesday night's meeting with the following statement.

“It is the duty of the Levittown School District to ensure all infractions and offenses against the district are reported to the proper authorities," Grossane said. "We are then guided by the decisions of those authorities. And therefore as this is part of an ongoing investigation, there will be no further public comment, until we are advised.”

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