Happening at the Great Neck School District

Happening at the Great Neck School District

Great Neck Public Schools Superintendent Search: community focus group scheduled for April 24

The Great Neck Board of Education has engaged District Wise Search Consultants to conduct its search for the next Superintendent of Schools following the retirement of Dr. Teresa Prendergast, effective July 2023.

The trustees of the Great Neck Board of Education value deeply the input of the community and its stakeholders. All stakeholders are invited to share their thoughts during a community focus group, hosted by District Wise, and conducted without the presence of the Board of Education. Community input, on an anonymous basis, will be placed into a report sent to the Board of Education to help define the profile for the candidate ultimately chosen to be the next Superintendent.

The community focus group has been scheduled for Monday, April 24, 2023, at 7 p.m. in the South High School Library. Those unable to attend in-person may join the meeting remotely, at the same time, via Zoom. The Zoom link can be found on the district website at https://www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/suptsearch2023.

For those unable to attend the meeting, or those who prefer to provide their suggestions and opinions privately, the consultants have established a confidential e-mail address: [email protected]. This address will accept emails until April 28.

Absentee ballots for annual school district election & budget vote

Applications for absentee ballots for the 2023–24 School District Election and Budget Vote will be accepted by the Great Neck Public Schools District Clerk starting Monday, April 17, 2023. Qualified registered voters can obtain applications for absentee ballots by contacting the Office of the District Clerk on school days from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (516-441-4007).

Residents who are qualified voters and whose registration records have been marked “permanently disabled” by the Board of Elections will automatically receive absentee ballots.

Completed absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16.

In-person voting for this year’s election will take place on Tuesday, May 16, from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. at E.M. Baker School, Lakeville School, Saddle Rock School, and South High School. District residents can check their registration status and polling location by visiting www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/voting.

The School District Election and Budget Vote on May 16 will be for the proposed 2023–24 budget and for two Board of Education trustee positions. For more information, please call the District Clerk at (516) 441-4007.

North High hosts student-athlete leadership conference

On March 24, North High School welcomed student-athletes from more than 20 high schools for the 2023 Nassau County High School Principals’ Association Athletic Leadership Conference. North High was pleased to host this year’s event, which was coordinated in partnership with Section VIII, Positive Coaches Alliance, Nassau Officials’ Association, and GNPS Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics David Zawatson.

This year’s conference focused on cultivating empathy in sports and improving spectator behavior. The half-day event featured a keynote address, panel discussions, and breakout sessions to empower student leaders to support a positive experience for athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators.

Student representatives from the North High Athletic Leadership Club who attended the conference were seniors Danit Kashi and Jared Kimiabakhsh, sophomores Evan Lavian and Nava Sedaghat, and ninth grader Emma Lavian, along with the club’s faculty advisor, Jennifer Nastri, and North High’s athletic director, Mitch Braun.

In addition to hosting the conference, representatives from North High were involved with various aspects of the program: North High Principal Dr. Dan Holtzman and Mr. Zawatson delivered a welcoming address; North High school psychologist/boys soccer coach Dr. Anton Berzins served as a panelist; and members of the North High Athletic Leadership Club assisted with event check-in.

“We have been offering this opportunity for many years and it was great to have everyone here with us at North High to engage in important conversations on leadership and their influence on spectators at all contests at the respective schools,” said Dr. Holtzman.

The Nassau County High School Principals’ Association Athletic Leadership Conference celebrates, supports, and encourages positive student leadership throughout area high schools. This annual conference provides an opportunity for student team leaders to meet their counterparts from other high schools and share ideas about the meaning and significance of leadership on and off the field.

North High representatives attend youth wellness summit

On March 28, student and faculty representatives from Great Neck North High School attended the Nassau County Youth Wellness Summit, sponsored by the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS). Twenty-five high schools participated in this full-day event in Merrick, which included workshops designed for sophomores and juniors aimed at developing self-care, coping, and communication skills, as well as connecting peers in need to a trusted adult.

Members of the North High Active Minds Club attended the event with faculty from the school’s mental health team to learn strategies that they could bring back to the North High student body. North High’s participants were juniors Lauren Itzhak, Clara Goldman, and Lillian Wu; sophomores Talia Elyaho, Isabelle Ku, and Jimmy Li; school psychologist Dr. David Cheng; and school social worker Oana Scholl.

This is the third year that North High has participated in the Youth Wellness Summit to promote and support student wellness. The goal of the Summit is to instill methods and practices for wellness and mental health that will help enrich students’ lives and transform their abilities for problem-solving, goal-setting, leadership, and well-being.

Rebel robotics wins top awards at FIRST Regionals; advances to world championship

Great Neck South High Robotics Team #2638, known as “Rebel Robotics,” won prestigious team and individual awards at the FIRST SBPLI Regional #1 competition at Hofstra University on March 22-23, earning the team a trip to the FIRST World Championship in Houston, TX in April.

The highest award that Rebel Robotics received was the Engineering Inspiration Award, which celebrates the team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within their school and community. This award automatically qualifies the team to advance to this year’s FIRST World Championships in Houston, with the $5,000 entrance fee paid for by NASA.

Rebel Robotics was also presented with the Excellence in Engineering Award for the arm, wrist, and claw mechanism on their robot, which showcased the team’s ability to conceptualize, develop, and implement an effective engineering solution that is functional and practical.

Additionally, three individual team members were presented with awards for their outstanding work in support of STEM initiatives, mentorship, and teamwork.

Team member Shaan Merchant was announced as a Dean’s List Award Finalist, which recognizes student leaders who increase awareness for FIRST and its mission while achieving personal technical expertise and accomplishment. As a regional Finalist, Shaan is eligible to be one of the ten Deans List Award Winners at the national level.

Team member Sophia Gal was named a Safety Star, which celebrates participants who go above and beyond to promote a culture of safety.

Team mentor Ellen Dressner was announced as the regional winner of the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award (WFFA). The Woodie Flowers Award, named after the engineering education pioneer and distinguished advisor to FIRST, recognizes an individual who excels at motivating students through communication while also challenging students to be clear and succinct in their own communications. Ms. Dressner is a long-time supporter of Rebel Robotics and serves as a team non-engineering mentor (NEMO). She was nominated for this prestigious award by the students of Rebel Robotics.

On the first day of competition, Team #2638’s robot achieved a third-place finish in an alliance with a team from Taiwan. The week prior, Rebel Robotics welcomed their alliance partners to New York, helped them reassemble their robot, and hosted the team members for dinner. On the second day of competition, the Rebel Robotics finished in fourth place on the competition field.

Faculty advisors for Rebel Robotics Team #2638 are John Motchkavitz, South High business/technology department chair, and Matthew Corrigan, business/technology teacher.

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