POLAR PLUNGE CHECKLIST!!

webpp20152Tomorrow is the day!! 

Here is what you need to know:

TIME: Arrive by 10:45– WE ARE LINING UP AT 11:30.  

WHAT TO WEAR: Wear your Village Vikings gear (if you bought something), Bathing suit under your clothing, hat, gloves, warm socks and boots.  It’s best to overdress and take off layers rather than wear too little!!

WHAT TO BRING: A towel or robe for after the jump.  You should be able to put back on the same things you wear to the plunge.  But, in case things get wet, have an extra sweatshirt and socks, just in case!  Also bring a plastic bag for any wet clothing.

**Put your cell in a ziplock JUST IN CASE!!

**You don’t have to plunge in order to join the fun– students, family, and friends who are coming just for moral support are more than welcome!  Land-lovers should bring their phones/cameras and snap as many pics as they can!!

 

 

Should we have family meetings at Village School?


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Recently, there has been some… hostility here at Village.  And yes, after Credit Boards it seems to be getting better, but we all can clearly sense that Village is not as friendly as it used to be and certainly not as much as it used to be!

After a recent general meeting, Steve talked about and addressed the problem. Later that day, I think we could all tell that tensions were lowered. About a week later, we were all much better but there still seems to be hostility. How can we fix this? I interviewed Steve, our principal, and he shared good words of wisdom, “Mostly, I think talking things out is a good move”, he said. But he also admitted that though it sometimes works, you can’t hit things when they are hot, because that might end up blowing up in your face and exacerbating a situation.

So it seems true that the best way to solve problems is to talk them out, but how can we do this in a productive, effective way? Well, family meetings, so to speak, held once a week or every other week might be the answer. In these meetings, we can talk to each other in a non-hostile, friendly environment, and explain what school, teacher, student or even family matters is making us stressed and agitated.

While someone might argue that these meetings would just be a bunch of people yelling at each other and fighting, if we organize it well and go into it with the mindset that we are going to solve our problems rather than just make new ones, then everyone will be able to stay calm and communicate effectively. Communication is key in order for a functioning family to work, and at the end of the day that is all what we really are, a family.

What if the issues we are dealing with are private ones? “Sometimes the issues involve private items and so they can’t really be discussed in a big forum, but I think in a place like this we can get closer to private than in a bigger school,” Steve told me.  We all know each other, we should be able to help each other not only with in- school problems but with possible home or other personal issues. People here should be happy and able to learn, without having to burden Lisa with every problem we have with someone. When we have a problem with someone, the best way to deal with it is not to tell everyone else, but address the person in question, and tell them what is wrong, whether it is about something that happened during lunch or during class. The communication skills that we learn during these meetings could carry over into these smaller, one-on-one interactions and later in life.

While the whole school is obviously never going to be perfect and there will always be people that don’t like each other, we should never use the word “hate” when talking about a classmate– we should all be able to tolerate each other. At the end of the day, we are all in the same school and  in close proximity to each other. The more tension there is, the worse it is going to get. So, if we don’t want to hinder our ability to earn credit in our classes, we should all just sit down and have mellow conversations about what is bothering us. And, if your behavior (directly or indirectly) is being addressed, try to take that feedback and use it constructively to make better choices later on.

So how might this all work?  One way is to only have the students who are having issues come in to talk, but Steve said by not meeting with everyone, “I’m punishing [the students without issues] by depriving them of not knowing what’s going on in the school.” Whether you agree with the whole concept of having a meeting with everyone involved, one can understand where Steve is coming from; he wants everyone to know that if there is indeed a problem, it should be shared and solved, not ignored. Some students may even think that not being invited to the meeting means that they are the ones being talked about. It seems best then, if we were to have bi-weekly or even monthly meetings in which everyone is invited and everyone- the involved and not involved- can voice their opinions and give suggestions.

Looking to Village School history can help guide us when it comes to these issues.  Steve himself has been here for about 20 years, and has been principal for 15. When we discussed whether or not there have ever been meetings like this in the past, he said that through the years, from meetings, and reforms to the school, he is proud to say he is a part of the Village School community. But 20 years ago, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to work here.  I think that this really says a lot about the power that meetings can have on the school culture. From just 15 minutes of talking about what is wrong and how it can be fixed, Steve was able to help transform the school into something that we can all agree is really great.

At the end of the day, we have to coexist because none of us want to have to leave the school because of something someone did or something we did, because as we all know and say often, we really are all here for a reason and this school has helped each and every one of us. If we are aware of our faults, then we can try to work on them and make changes. That way, we can all focus on what really matters here, doing well academically and giving ourselves the opportunity to go somewhere in life.  That is, after all, the ultimate goal of school, and yes, this is a real school.

 

The New Superintendent (according to Steve..)

I recently interviewed Steven Goldberg, principal of Great Neck Village School, about our district’s new superintendent, Dr. Teresa Prendergast.

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Dr. Teresa Prendergast

My first question was about the history of superintendents. He mentioned sadness to see Tom Dolan leave, which all of you probably know. He’s soon-to-be former superintendent. From Steve’s knowledge, Dr. William A. Shine was superintendent for 24 years, followed by Dr. Ronald Friedman, and most recently, Dr. Tom Dolan.

And if you’re wondering why you should continue reading this article, it’s actually really important when a new superintendent is chosen because it actually is an extremely big deal. Steve used words like “educational leader” and “top-notch”. Not only that, Steve went on to say that the board of education has an exceptional skill set to be able to fill the positions of Great Neck educators. The superintendent is the go-to person for school principals and anyone in between. Aimagend Dr. Prendergast now has the power to make the majority, if not all, of the educational decisions. So, it’s a big deal.

There is no question about the qualifications of the superintendent because the job requires a bunch of degrees. Starting with an SDA, which stands for School District Administrative Degree, next is an SBA, (School Building Administrative degree), and with some other credits you’re qualified to be a superintendent. (If you didn’t know, Steve actually is qualified to be a superintendent too!), but he’s fully satisfied as principal.

After acquiring those degrees, it takes a while to climb to the top. You can jump from position to position very fast either, because you want word to get out that you’ve been good at each and every position. It takes a while. Steve said he’s never met a superintendent under 45.

Steve continued on to say that Dr. Prendergast was very kind, competent, and eager to teach, as well as learn. She is probably going to come to our Village School graduation as well.

Wrapping up the interview, he wanted to thank the board of education for having a talent for finding amazing people to keep Great Neck, well… Great.

Celebrating a 200 Year Anniversary

THE HISTORY OF GREAT NECK SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Great Neck School District 7 was created in 1814 which was about 200 years ago. This means we have an old district; two years after New York was started to have a statewide public school system. In this time period, it was common practice for schools to be open for 6 days instead of 5 for the whole year, so the students could divide their school year into quarters. This way they could drop out for a few months during crop season to help their family or friends.

Fairview Aveunue school, used from 1840- 1869.

Fairview Aveunue school, used from 1840- 1869.

Arrandale, which was originally Fairview Avenue School, was pretty interesting. Since paper was scarce, students had to bring in their own slate and sponge for their work, sitting in double-row desks and seats. The things that they learned consisted of reading, writing and arithmetic. The recreational time that the kids had were separated between girls and boys with a fence in between their spaces. Also, if they got thirsty some student had to get a bucket and go to the well.

In January 1895, the district became a Union free school district. Moses R. Schenck, who was the first chairman, served a few years before being succeeded by John C. Baker. His wife, Elizabeth M. Baker, was an ex-schoolteacher who joined after her husband resigned and later became board president. On October 7, 1895, the first high school in this district was created! The district bought a $29 microscope and models of the human eye, ear and heart to offer its first science class just to qualify for Regents certification.

In 1900, the district spent $24,000 to make a new 3-story building in Arrandale from grades 1-12. It was a nice school but sadly burnt down in the 1920’s. Great Neck’s population began to rise due to the opening from the Queensboro Bridge and the building of the Long Island Railroad.

In 1914, the district built a gymnasium which was one of the the nicest gyms in the country. The school didn’t have a gym teacher but the students still made a football team and played their home games on a cow pasture.

The Kensington school was built in 1921 and during this time period, many actors, artists and writers lived in the community.  This included F. Scott Fitzgerald, George M. Cohan, Ed Wynn, Groucho Marx and Eddie Cantor.

Lakeville

Lakeville

Great Neck North was made with a $1,500,000 bond issue and opened in 1929. The structure was created so nicely that it caught newspapers’ eyes. The same time, Lakeville school opened in District 8 (Lakeville). Lakeville and district 7 (Great Neck common school) combined to make the district we have today.

May 12, 1938, was the most debatable day in history of Great Neck. About 800-1200 students left their classrooms to go to the auditorium to hear student leader speech’s about the administrators decisions to get rid of teachers that had been working there for many years. The reporters were there. Two hours later the principal tried telling everyone to go to class but it drew an even bigger crowd of about 1,500 people and parents. The Board of Education wanted to fire the four teachers, the principal and the dean met, so they met 11 times in two weeks and made parent teacher investigation committees. Later that fall, the New York State Tenure took effect and created the Great Neck Teacher Association.

After World War 2, John L. Miller had to deal with four times the amount of students than in the preceding 20 years, and still only had four schools. New schools were built within the next ten years.

CELEBRATING THE DISTRICT

banner200With the 200 year celebration just over a week ago, schools in the district are holding special events. Our principal, Steve, told me that here, at Village, we are having a bbq with trivia and some traditional food that was eaten 200 years ago.  Hopefully, people will enjoy it! North High made an episode on the Guide Post. South Middle School’s TV production crew created a film on the history of the Great Neck Schools. Steve also mentioned how this past Sunday, all the high schools: North, South, and Village, chose an alumnus that represents the population; they made speeches and introduced themselves to everyone.

IN STEVE’S WORDS…

What makes Great Neck so great to celebrate?

“I’ve been working in this district for 20 years, and with everyone I have ever spoken to in 20 years, that worked anywhere else, it’s just not the same. Great Neck education can open doors to kids. This is a district that is, I think, ranked third in the country, but in my opinion, best in the country because of its attitude and the way that it thinks. So what we’re dealing with here is, kids go to good colleges, everything from Ivy League to community colleges and everything in between, and there are programs and schools like Village School, SEAL or the ACE program at North or [The] Peak [Experience Program] at South. Every kid that exists in this town, has a place to go to, where they can feel like the place was just about created for them which gives them confidence, [and] sets them on the right path after high school. And the reason that all these programs exist is not because of any political reasons, but because Great Neck cares for their kids, and it really does. It’s an educated community, it’s wonderful educators who want to be in this community, and all of this to me, makes the school district worth celebrating.”

What a Trip!

Here at Village School, we have many interesting field trips. Some reasons we have trips in the first place include learning and experiencing education in different fields (mostly social studies and science related things), getting some exercise in order to get physical education credit in the place of a gym class, and lastly, having some fun.
I recently did an interview with Sam, our history teacher, so he could tell us about some of these trips.

One of our upcoming trips is one to Sand’s Point Reserve, where the school will hike up to the beach, picnic there, then hike back on a fitness trail. A field day in Memorial Park and an end of the year hunt and BBQ in the park is also planned.

A trip we are repeating is one that proved to be liked by most of the students in the past years. This trip is a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge followed up by a taste test between Grimaldi’s and Julie Anne’s Pizza. This is also the trip that Sam is looking forward to the most! Aside from that, two city trips are also in the works and have yet to be determined.

This year, the canoe trip was unfortunately cancelled due to changes in safety conditions and laws, even though it was a trip that Sam and a lot of the students liked and had looked forward to. However, plans are ever-developing, and Village school traditions like our bowling and IHOP trip return every year. There is no doubt that this year will be filled with fun and new experiences!

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody

By Mhaya Polacco

Village School's 2014 Starry Night Dance

Village School’s 2014 Starry Night Dance

I hope you’ve got your dancing shoes on, Village School, because our second annual dance is right around the corner! For those of you who didn’t attend our dance last year, here are a few things to look forward to. This year, there will be a 1920’s ‘Great Gatsby’ theme, and we will provide everything from food to music to a photo booth and so much more!

We hope you will be able to swing your way over to our extravaganza. Remember your bow ties, boys and girls, make sure to wow us with your shimmery flapper dresses! It’s sure to be the talk of the town.

 

Village School Eats Pancakes and Knocks Down Pins

By Jon Roshan

Students feasting at iHop

Students feasting at iHop

The bowling trip at Village School has been a tradition for a long time, and in some cases going on for longer than some of the teachers have been working here. Starting 24 years ago, it is a long standing custom for our school. On March 21, 2014, we walked off the school bus in Massapequa with smiles on our faces, ready to devour breakfast at iHop.

This iHop seemed to look like any other and as we walked in, despite being such a large group, we were immediately seated. We chose where to sit and who to sit with,  so everyone had their own group, which eventually led to the groups that would form at the bowling alley.

Many students ordered the go-to pancake or waffle specials, but others ordered items such chicken dinners, French toast or omelettes. Other guests at iHop that morning were confused about why students, who would typically be in school, were in iHop instead, so several students explained how our school has field trips rather than traditional gym classes.

And, with our stomachs full and the bills paid, we began our walk to the bowling alley.

Bowling at Massapequa Bowl

Bowling at Massapequa Bowl

The walk was approximately 1.8 miles, and although the walk seemed far, we found ways to make the walk as entertaining as possible. Some students sang songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, while others, such as Toby, the science teacher,  were content to observe the nature around us.

As soon as we arrived at the bowling alley, we were greeted by the kind staff, grabbed our pairs of appropriately- sized bowling shoes, gathered our groups got to it! The atmosphere was great and the bowling alley itself had many features that made the games fun and simple.

Some of the features that the bowling alley had consisted of assist bars for those with a bit less bowling experience, interesting animations on the monitors, and a really simple interface on the moniors where names and settings were entered. The bowling alley also had vending machines and arcade machines that the students used.

All of these things contributed to a wonderful bowling experience and I can definitely tell that my fellows students enjoyed the bowling alley as much as I did, and I certainly hope this tradition continues for years to come.

A Village Valentine’s Day

By Amanda Long

As February 14th approaches, the question always arises– what to get your sweetheart for the most romantic day of the year?

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image via wallpict.com

Valentine’s Day is coming up and   stress is filling the air– what to get for your boyfriend, girlfriend or crush? Flowers? Chocolates? Jewelry? Well, the best thing to give your special someone Valentine’s Day should be from your heart (not literally). Express yourself deeply. If you recently started dating, don’t come off too strong, a small teddy bear or chocolates would be appropriate. Jewelry should be given only if you have been together for some time now. Remember, Valentines Day isn’t just about giving red and pink gifts, it’s about love, so unleash your inner -romantic!. If you and your partner have been dating for months, then the best thing to do is get them something worthy of all the things she or he has done for you.

Luckily for you, the Village School Student Government is selling candy-grams for only 50 cents– it’s a simple and sweet gesture– I know I’m buying some. The candy -grams will be delivered during first period on Valentine’s Day. If you are single this Valentine’s Day, it’s still perfectly fine to indulge in a little chocolate. After all, even though it’s nice to love someone, it’s always best to love yourself.