MID-SUMMER UPDATE 2019

SUPERINTENDENT MID-SUMMER UPDATE 2019

Dear North Shore Parents,  
I hope you are staying cool and are having an enjoyable and relaxing summer. Our schools are not the same without you, but we are busy getting them ready for the return of our students in September. The summer months are very busy since we have such a short window of time to prepare the facilities and the instructional program. With that said, it is a good time to share some exciting news with you about our students college acceptance and academic performance rates as well as plan, reflect, and ready ourselves to stay on a path of continuous improvement.

Class of 2019 - College Acceptance Rates Increase in Three Main Categories
An increase from 58% to 76% of North Shore graduates gained admission to the colleges and universities in the Most Competitive, Highly Competitive, and Very Competitive categories. There was a noticeable increase of our students gaining acceptance to the Most Competitive (up 7%) and Very Competitive (up 16%) colleges and universities.   

Regents Examination Performance Rates Rise
Increased passing and mastery rates throughout middle school and high school Regents exams. Highlights include:

  • The highest passing AND mastery rates ever recorded in Physics (94% passing; 62% mastery), up from 82% passing and 33% mastery and Algebra 2 (100% passing and 56% mastery), up from 99.5% passing and 50% mastery.
  • The best performance in Geometry (98% passing and 51% mastery), up from 44% mastery and 98% passing.
  • The highest passing rate on the Living Environment (99.5%) and Algebra (100%) Regents exams.
  • A 3% increase in passing rate to 99% in Global History, while also maintaining a 76% mastery rate. 

At the elementary schools, to coincide with the three main pillars of our 2018-23 Strategic Plan (i.e., Teaching and Learning, Equity for All Learners, and Social-Emotional Learning), our administrators, in collaboration with our faculty, have been busy working on the following new scheduling, curriculum, and elementary program initiatives:

New Elementary Scheduling Initiative 
We have completed a new “Exploration and Enrichment Block,” schedule at the elementary schools. Each elementary student will engage in the following courses during this consistent time block in their classroom schedule: Counseling (Grades 2-5), Chorus (Grades 4-5), FLES,  Health, Library, STEM and SWES (School-Wide Enrichment) for all grades.
Each classroom teacher will have the benefit of time consistency and flexible time during this block for teachers to plan social studies and science extensions as well as outdoor learning and play-based learning opportunities. 

Elementary Wellness Program
We are excited to kick-off our new Elementary Wellness Program that will include a scheduled push-in program for Grades 3-5 with the new elementary counselor in addition to a program co-taught with the elementary health teacher in Grade 2. The elementary health teacher will work with all classes K-5.

Partnership with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
We are excited to expand our collaboration with FIRST Robotics. This work will be incorporated into the curriculum at the elementary, middle, and high schools as we strive to sponsor several robotic teams at each level. It is a strong step forward in both our work with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and our effort to bring more motivational, positive competition to the learning process. 

Curriculum Development
The faculty is busy at work developing curriculum for new courses and programs as well as enhancing current courses to meet the needs of all learners. It incorporates the initiatives outlined in the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan and our Shared Valued Outcomes. These include the new 8th grade coding curriculum, IB and AP course enhancements, the new elementary health and elementary counseling programs, a K-12 research/library curriculum, middle school math enrichment, service learning, digital citizenship, a Grade 2 capstone project and more!

Professional Development for Faculty
Administrators and faculty have created professional learning opportunities for our teachers that are being hosted at North Shore. These opportunities include workshops in Teaching Innovation and Creativity, Nurturing a Growth Mindset, Mathematical Thinking and Problem Solving, Expanding Curricular Diversity, Developing Google Classrooms, Fostering Student Conversation and Building Student Agency in Learning. These workshops directly link to the three pillars of the North Shore Schools Strategic Plan. 

Twenty First Century Classrooms
Each school building is piloting the design and furnishing of two 21st Century classrooms.  These classrooms will include flexible furniture and instructional tools to enhance collaborative work while also meeting students' individual learning needs.
In addition, our Buildings and Grounds teams are busy making many improvements to all five of our North Shore Schools. Below summarizes the most significant projects scheduled for July and August. It includes safety and security upgrades that are being installed throughout our District that are scheduled to be completed this summer as well as larger approved Capital Reserve construction projects that are happening now as well as others that will take us into the future.

Construction Projects Happening This Summer

  • Capital Reserve Projects & Capital Projects                                               
    • Installation of air conditioning in GH (library & cafeteria), GWL (auditorium & library), and MS (cafetorium).
    • The following projects will be bid in the Fall 2019: Installation of air conditioning for SC (cafeteria) and HS (gym and HVAC upgrades in the cafeteria).
  • Security Projects
    • Say Something App: Student & staff training set up for September 2019 with the goal of launching app in the new school year.
    • Completion of Walkie-Talkie Lockdown Message  
    • Installation of Access Gates with Keycard Readers (at HS and GWL), Keypad Card Readers at Main Entrances, Extra Blue Lockdown Lights, PA Speakers in Bathrooms, Installation of Visual Light in Gyms to Signal Incoming PA Message, and Shades on Classroom Doors.  
  • Capital Projects Starting Now with Future Work Planned
    • Architects working with engineers on the following projects: MS Softball Field Renovation, HS Main Entrance Landscaping, and 21st Century Classrooms.

Please help me welcome to the North Shore School District our new administrators including Glen Head School Principal, Dr. Peter Rufa, Sea Cliff School Principal, Ms. Jeanette Wojcik, and Director of Counseling, Mr. Daniel Doherty. Additionally, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Christopher Zublionis, began his new position in the Central Office this July 2019.

As the summer progresses, you will hear from me or your respective principals on a more frequent basis. Please enjoy the rest of the summer with your children and families. We all look forward to seeing you at the start of the new 2019-20 school year!
Kind regards,

Peter Giarrizzo, Ed. D.                                                                                                                    
Superintendent of Schools