To make-up some of the instructional time that was lost when its students were not in class for eight days because of Superstorm Sandy, the Malverne school district has cancelled parent-teacher conferences and local assessments, and made other adjustments to its calendar.
At the Nov. 13 meeting of the Malverne Board of Education, Deputy Superintendent Richard Banyon explained that the fall parent-teacher conferences have been cancelled, because holding them would have resulted in further "loss of instruction."
The district is also modifying how it offers professional development to its teachers for the remainder of the year. Banyon added, "Teachers [will not be] coming out of classrooms during the school day." Instead, professional development will take place after school or at other times that do not interfere with classroom instruction.
Sandy has also cancelled the second round of the new STAR local assessments, which all students in Kindergarten through Grade 12, were scheduled to take in November. The students underwent the first phase of this testing, which is intended to track growth over the course of the year, in September. Instead, they will not undergo this testing again until January.
Banyon explained that administering the STAR now "would've taken away from instructional time."
District officials did not indicate whether or not they would be tapping into the February vacation to make-up some of the lost days, an action that the Lynbrook School District is considering and some Long Island districts have already taken. Many school leaders are waiting to see if the state waives the 180 school day requirement this year.
As for the school district's buildings, they sustained minimal damage during the hurricane.
"Compared to the district south of us, we really came out unscathed," Assistant Superintendent for District Operations Spiro Colaitis said. Davison Avenue Primary School lost power for five days but it was restored in time for schools to re-open on Nov. 7.
A window in the high school library broke and a window wall in the central staircase partially collapsed. Colaitis explained that the staircase was closed off and students underwent a fire drill so they know how to safely exit in the building without having it available.
"They know how to handle it," he said. "It's totally safe."
Schools Superintendent Dr. James Hunderfund stated, "We've all been shaken severely by the devastation of Sandy and now in the aftermath and recovery, we certainly are reaching out to members of our staff, student familes and community.
He explained that students in all four buildings are collecting food for hurricane victims and researching other ways they can help.
The school district is also participating in a program approved by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that gives residents an additional three weeks to pay their school taxes without being hit with a penalty. Click here for details.