When West Hempstead students head back to school on Sept. 5, students and faculty may notice that not everything is the same as they left it in June.
Here's a look at some of the changes they can expect to see upon their return and throughout the rest of the 2012-2013 school year.
Facility Upgrades - For the past few weeks, construction has been going on in front of West Hempstead High School to repair the roof and masonry that had been damaged by leaks. As long as the weather cooperates though, the school district expects the work will be "substantially complete" when classes start next month. The fences and the construction vehicles will be removed from the front of the building as the masonry work continues to the back. "All the big stuff should be done," Deputy Superintendent Richard Cunningham told Patch earlier this week.
students will also notice that the blacktop they play on during recess has been replaced. The baseball backstop at has been taken down to make room for soccer and football. A new scoreboard has also been ordered for the football field at the high school.
Equipment: The guidance office at West Hempstead High School has also been reconfigured to create a small computer lab, where students can access college admission resources and SAT prep materials. Additional interactive whiteboards have also been installed throughout the high school and.
Wireless Internet: The wireless internet network that is going to be installed district-wide will not be ready by the first day of school. The school board was considering the financing for the project, which will be paid for over three years, Tuesday night. Once that has been worked out, the contractors will begin the work. School officials expect it to be installed early in the school year. At first, only district-issued equipment will be able to access the network, but going forward it could be used to incorporate students' own devices for educational purposes.
Intramurals: Although cut from the budget a few years ago, the district will be bringing back its intramural programs for sixth graders and students at its elementary schools this year.
New Cyberbulling Policy: The signed into law on Sept. 13, 2010, took effect on July 1, 2012. It requires schools to take action to prevent, detect and investigate cases of cyberbullying by providing training and guidelines to its faculty and students, and adopting preemptive measures and protocols. Like neighboring school districts, West Hempstead appointed DASA coordinators at each of its school buildings (the building principals) and Richard Cunningham will serve as the district coordinator to address these issues.
Students in every grade will begin the school year by getting an overview of DASA. It's principles have been incorporated into the science classes, under Health, in Grades K- 5. The health curriculum for Grades 9-12 has also been updated to include units on cyberbullying, bullying prevention, sexual harrassment and Facebook education.
New Curriculum: The district's faculty and administrators spent much of the summer writing curriculum to start implementing the state-mandated Common Core Learning Standards for the first time. West Hempstead has incorporated CCLS into the K-8 Math curriculum. The curriculum for English Language Arts in K-8 have been aligned with the CCLS standards, and Grade 12 has been aligned with the Common Core with a focus on college and career readiness.
ELA has also been integrated into "all content areas," explained Assistant Superintendent Ann Peluso, so that subjects like Social Studies, Science, World Languages, Family and Consumer Science and Health now include atleast one rigorous piece of reading material and an agrumentative writing assignment.
Teacher Reviews: This will also be the first year that the school district will have to evaluate its teachers according to an Annual Professional Performance Review Plan that the New York State Education Department is requiring it to adopt by January 2013. The district submitted an incomplete plan to the state during the summer as it continues to negotiate with the teachers union. Superintendent John Hogan doesn't expect the plan will call for increased testing for the students but instead may incorporate existing learning objective requirements to evaluate the teachers' performances.
Retirements - Some familiar faces won’t be returning to West Hempstead schools in September. They include: who retired at the end of the school year.
New Teachers: A few new faces will be joining the faculty though. The following teachers will serve as full-time leave replacements during the 2012-2013 school year: Kristen Barnett (Speech and Language), Megan Lupo (Grade 2, George Washington School), and Mary Shannon (Special Education, WHHS)
Gabriella Simone was also appointed as a part time Special Education teacher at Cornwell Avenue Elementary School.