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Island Park Update


Eighth-Graders Pass the Challenge

Eighth-Graders Pass the Challenge photo
Eighth-grade students enrolled in the Challenge Up program at West Hempstead Middle School achieved exemplary scores on the recent Regents exams, with the class notching a 100 percent passing rate on both the Living Environment and Algebra tests.

The mastery rate, which is the percentage of students scoring an 85 percent or higher on the exams, was also impressive. On the Living Environment assessment, 87 percent of students achieved the mastery rate, while for Algebra, 65 percent of test-takers attained this threshold.

The district congratulates these students on this academic accomplishment and applauds them for their hard work.

DeTommaso Named West Hempstead High School Principal

DeTommaso Named West Hempstead High School Principal photo
James DeTommaso has been named the new principal of West Hempstead High School, effective July 1, following 27 years in the East Rockaway School District.

"I am excited to share my 27 years of experience as an educator with the West Hempstead community,” said DeTommaso. “It is my goal to provide rich academic opportunities for all students to reach their potential, including extracurricular activities, clubs and social events. I plan on assisting the community to help ‘raise the bar’ so that our student body can continue to compete academically with students on Long Island and across the country. "
DeTommaso’s most recent position was as assistant principal at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School, a role he held since 2001. Concurrently, he was the supervisor of the business education and technology departments and served as summer school principal for eight years. Prior to that, he was the assistant dean of students for six years while also working as a special education teacher.

While at East Rockaway, DeTomasso served as co-chair of the Prevention Task Force and Restorative Practice committees, in addition to being a member of several progressive committees. He also modified the curriculum for the business and technology departments by introducing college-level courses such as robotics, accounting and AP engineering. Additional responsibilities included all facets of attendance and disciplinary matters, as well as serving as the district’s attendance coordinator. 

DeTomasso graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. Shortly thereafter, he earned a master’s degree in special education and a professional diploma in education administration from LIU Post. 

West Hempstead Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting

West Hempstead Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting photo
West Hempstead Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting photo 2
West Hempstead Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting photo 3
West Hempstead Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting photo 4
The Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on July 3, with District Clerk Kathryn Girolamo administering the oaths of office. 

After the meeting was opened by newly appointed Superintendent of Schools Dan Rehman, Tony Katrakazis was sworn in as the newest Board member, while Andrea Shinsato took an oath for a new three-year term. This was also the second straight year that Shinsato was elected vice president, and the sixth consecutive one for Karen Brohm as president.

Important Information on District Restructuring

Restructuring image
The district’s Board of Education unanimously adopted a plan at its Jan. 30 business meeting to move forward with restructuring the district’s schools. For detailed information, click here.

West Hempstead Holds 64th Annual Commencement

West Hempstead Holds 64th Annual Commencement photo

It was a time for sharing memories, congratulatory remarks and inspirational words as West Hempstead High School’s Class of 2018 bid farewell to their alma mater at the 64th annual commencement exercises on June 24.

Held at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LIU Post, the annual exercises were led by Assistant Principal Adam Hopkins, who served as master of ceremonies. In traditional form, the seniors paraded down the aisles to “Pomp and Circumstance” through a sea of family, friends and guests before taking their place on the stage. 

Several students took the podium to address their peers with encouragement and sage advice. Senior Class President Sydney Hoffman reflected on how the class came together through the character of each individual to make a difference in the school and community. She implored her classmates to remember the education they had received and the friendships they had made at West Hempstead at times of uncertainty and fear in the future.

Salutatorian Lee Boodoo and valedictorian Shadman Syed used their time at the microphone to express their gratitude toward their support systems, which included teachers, administrators, parents, families and fellow classmates. They also urged their peers to stay in touch and to keep making a difference in the world.

“Change is possible,” said Syed. “The end result is based on your mindset and the work you put in. Together, we can make a huge impact on the world.”

Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, who turned the podium to address the graduates directly, prevailed on the theme of how the class can continue to make an impact.

“As you go on to your next stage in life, it is relevant and meaningful to know that you too can have an impact on the people around you and the world you live in,” she said. “Your voices matter, individually and collectively, so use them wisely.”

Following addresses from Assistant Principals Hopkins and Michelle Maron, the chamber choir provided musical entertainment under the direction of Nicole Blier. Along with the school’s alma mater, the group performed the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You,” made famous as the theme song to the TV show “Friends.”

The crowning moment came as Principal Dr. Robert Hanna presented the Class of 2018 and the diplomas were awarded, with Sullivan-Kriss officially introducing the newest alumni of West Hempstead High School. For the more than 200 graduates, the traditional cap toss that followed marked the end of a high school journey and the beginning of a new adventure.  

West Hempstead Yields Green Benefits

West Hempstead Yields Green Benefits photo
PSEG Long Island recently announced that the West Hempstead Union Free School District received approximately $66,500 in rebates for going green in its school. PSEG delivered a check to the district on June 25.

As part of the PSEG Long Island Commercial Efficiency Program, the district upgraded lighting fixtures and replaced bulbs throughout its school buildings, saving money for the future and reducing its carbon footprint in the process.  

“PSEG Long Island commends West Hempstead Schools for doing its part to provide a safer and cleaner environment for its students,” said Michael Voltz, director of energy efficiency and renewables, PSEG Long Island. “By making these upgrades, the district will save tens of thousands of dollars a year, while conserving energy for our immediate and long-term future.”

The school district upgraded the lighting throughout its five school buildings, replacing nearly 4,000 fluorescent fixtures and incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient LEDs. In addition to the PSEG Long Island rebate, the new, greener bulbs will benefit the district by yielding substantial annual energy savings. With lighting accounting for the largest portion of energy used in commercial buildings — typically around 25-30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy — it is estimated the West Hempstead will save more than 248,900 kilowatt hours (kWh) and $44,050 a year on its electric bill through these improvements.

“On behalf of the entire district, I am extremely proud of the fact that we have taken these important steps to conserve energy throughout the district,” said Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss. “Not only are we saving valuable dollars in energy expenses, but we are lessening our impact on the environment at the same time. PSEG’s Long Island Commercial Efficiency Program has truly been a ‘win-win’ for the district as a whole.”

2018 High School Graduation

Middle School Chapter Complete

Middle School Chapter Complete photo

Eighth-graders from West Hempstead Middle School are now looking ahead to joining the hallways of the high school this fall following a special moving up ceremony on June 22.

The middle school students marched into the high school auditorium as family, friends, teachers, faculty, administration and Board of Education members welcomed and cheered the high school’s class of 2022. Middle school principal Dina Reilly provided opening remarks before Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss addressed the crowd.

Sullivan-Kriss used Shel Silverstein’s children’s book “The Giving Tree” as a reference in her speech and words of wisdom for the eighth-grade students. “My hope as you go from the middle school and on to the high school is that you go beyond the childhood stage of receiving and become like the tree and realize the true joy is in giving.”

Among those receiving a certificate was Tierney Cole, presented to her by her father, Board of Education trustee Byars Cole. Also highlighting the ceremony was the recognition and acceptance of the class of 2022 from high school principal Dr. Robert Hanna. 

Following the presentation of certificates and special awards, Reilly reminded the students of the significance of this accomplishment and encouraged them to continue on their learning path.

“This is a truly momentous mile marker on your educational journey as you transition into your high school careers,” Reilly stated. “I have had the pleasure of watching you grow and mature into young men and women who are ready to take on your next challenge of becoming the class of 2022.” 

This district congratulates the middle school graduates and wishes them continued success as they begin high school this fall.

Board of Education Appoints New Superintendent

Board of Education Appoints New Superintendent photo
On Tuesday, June 19, the Board of Education unanimously appointed Daniel Rehman as superintendent of schools effective July 1, 2018. He will be replacing Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, who is retiring due to personal family reasons.

“My years in West Hempstead have been filled with wonderful moments and certainly a plethora of fabulous people whom I will miss. I have greatly appreciated working with a Board of Education who serve selflessly to serve our schools. The West Hempstead school staff are an incredibly hardworking group of individuals who work day in and day out to serve our children. Our supportive parents and community regularly assist us in meeting our goals, always exuding “Ram Pride,” said Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Patricia Sullivan-Kriss for her dedication and commitment to the success of our students,” said Board of Education President Karen Brohm. “During her time as superintendent, she has successfully implemented several professional development opportunities for our administrators and staff, along with programs and initiatives that provided expanded opportunities for our students and a higher level of success for our school district.”

“The Board of Education is confident that Daniel Rehman has the professional leadership skills and vision to continue to build on the plans in place for the future success of our school district,” Ms. Brohm continued. “His dedication and commitment coupled with his knowledge of our schools, students and community will ensure a seamless transition as we move into an exciting new school year.”

Daniel Rehman has been serving the West Hempstead School District for the past nine years. He began his career in the district as principal of the Chestnut Street School, was appointed as principal of West Hempstead High School and currently serves as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Prior to serving the district, he served as a teacher and administrator in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District. 

He holds a S.D.A/S.A.S. from Long Island University-C.W. Post Campus, a master’s degree in elementary education N-6 from Adelphi University and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from the University of Richmond.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Board of Education for the confidence they have shown in me,” said Daniel Rehman. “I am honored to serve as the next superintendent of schools and I look forward to continuing the work that has been started with our administrators, staff, students, parents and community as we move our students and school district to the next level of success. I look forward to working together to build upon our success and expand the opportunities for all our students.”

Celebrations Abound in West Hempstead

Celebrations Abound in West Hempstead photo

In what was truly a day of celebration and appreciation, teachers and staff were commended on June 19 for their years of dedication to West Hempstead.

First, the annual Tenure Tea was held in the West Hempstead High School library to recognize tenure recipients, district retirees and those who’ve served 20 years of service in the district. Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss thanked all of the honorees and had a special message for the retirees.

“As they move on to new adventures in their lives we thank these teachers, administrators, teaching assistants and support staff for 274 years of educating the children of West Hempstead,” she said. 

The following staff members were honored: 

Sevan Angacian
Antonella DeLuca
Seamus McEntee
Nicole Morace-Blier
Michael Paul
Michelle Phelan
Matthew Scanlan
Gina Silecchia


Steven Baron
Edward Bickard
Joan Ciaravino
Patricia Dunbar-Lepanto
Elizabeth Ehlen
Alvaro Escobar
Dianne Hawxhurst
Rochelle Mevorah
Denise Mongiello
Kathleen Prete
Margaret Santarelli
Donna Seeberger

20-Year Employees
Melissa Benson
Theresa Bryant
Matthew Caruthers
Jeannette Casto
Jennifer Corrado
Sandra Kurzban
Thomas Lee
Lisa McCarthy
Sylvia Migliaccio
Cathieann Rowland
Aileen Sheridan
Christian VanKovics

At the monthly Board of Education meeting, which followed Tenure Tea at the high school, Suzanne Kenney was recognized for being this year’s recipient of the Nassau County Girls Lacrosse Coach of the Year award. She took over the girls lacrosse program at West Hempstead High School two years ago, which paid immediate dividends, improving the team’s record from 2-8 to 7-3.

“Coach Kenney has instilled the very values of the great game of lacrosse that she embraced as a student-athlete in high school and college,” Sullivan-Kriss said. “As a result of her vision, work ethic and determination, the West Hempstead High School girls lacrosse team has soared!”

Safety Message from the Superintendent of Schools


West Hempstead MS is No Place for Hate

West Hempstead MS is No Place for Hate photo
West Hempstead MS is No Place for Hate photo 2
West Hempstead MS is No Place for Hate photo 3
West Hempstead Middle School has been recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as a Gold Star No Place for Hate school for 2017-18, representing the fourth consecutive year of earning this title. 

The ADL’s No Place for Hate initiative provides schools and communities with an organizing framework for combating bias, bullying and hatred, leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate. Schools receive the designation by building inclusive and safe communities in which respect is the goal, and by empowering students, educators and family members to take a stand against hate and bullying by incorporating new and existing programs under one powerful message. 

West Hempstead earned the honor once again by introducing new initiatives that support the program. These included the Gent’s Club, a group where middle school boys can discuss social responsibility, positive peer relationships, conflict resolution and a growth mindset. The school also invited the Long Island Crisis Center to conduct student assemblies on cyberbullying and how to be a responsible digital citizen. In addition, for the second year in a row, students took part in P.S. I Love You Day, a national anti-bullying initiative, and “pay it forward” activities that focused on kindness and inclusivity among peers.

The middle school was among 207 schools throughout New York and New Jersey to be formally recognized during the ADL’s annual No Place for Hate Ceremony, held in New York City in May.

A Garden for a Better Tomorrow

A Garden for a Better Tomorrow photo

Students, staff and district administrators gathered outside of West Hempstead High School on June 6 to plant a tree in the school’s new “Garden for a Better Tomorrow.” The ceremony inaugurated a student-led tradition of honoring victims of school violence.

Following the tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, student leaders from the school’s National Honor Society, Key Club and student council met with administrators to discuss finding a space at the school where they could honor the many lives that have been lost to senseless violence. Together, they decided on a garden in the front of the building that would symbolize life, growth and hope for a better world.

A student representative from each grade level stood before attendees to share their thoughts on the new garden, and how it represents a collective effort to instill change and leave an impact on the school and community. The ceremony was graced by the high school’s acapella group performing “Pompeii” by Bastille and “Home” by Daughtry. Working together, the students then planted the garden’s first tree, donated by the National Honor Society Class of 2018. A plaque was also placed, inscribed with the garden’s name and a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“We have been planning this since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida,” said Sydney Hoffman, senior class president. “We’re very excited that it’s finally happening. It was a long road with a lot of planning and people involved, and it’s truly amazing to see it in action.” 

District Hosts Restructuring Forum

District Hosts Restructuring Forum photo

The district has been hosting a series of important meetings for parents to outline the district’s restructuring plan beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.

On Monday, June 11, George Washington Elementary School hosted the final meeting of the series. Led by Principals Deanna Sinito and Michelle Notti, they each took parents through the new school model. Topics included what a typical school day would look like, as well as how the district will be maximizing its resources for all students under the new structure. 

Sinito and Notti also provided an overview of the benefits associated with restructuring, including increased opportunities for whole-grade collaboration and development among teachers, greater consistency in classroom practices and resources, and comprehensive programs in each elementary school. These include continuity in the enrichment opportunities and special education programs offered to students, as well as programs and services offered for English as a New Language learners. Class sizes will also be more consistent throughout the district once the restructuring is complete.

The final forum of the school year was very well-attended by the parents, who also had the opportunity to ask any last-minute questions. 

For all information related to the district’s restructuring, please click here.  

West Hempstead ENL holds international luncheon

West Hempstead ENL holds international luncheon photo

English as a New Language students in the West Hempstead School District gathered for an international luncheon on May 30 to celebrate the progress, achievements and challenges they had made and overcome during the year.

The event brought together both middle and high school ENL students, who were tasked with bringing in native dishes to create a buffet. The varied cuisine featured traditional foods from several geographic regions, including Central America, South America and Haiti. The students in each ENL class also created posters to highlight their greatest achievements from the academic year, as well as their future goals. 

Along with enjoying a variety of ethnic foods, some students engaged with teachers and staff to discuss their accomplishments, while others participated in a game of soccer. The festive celebration concluded a year of learning with camaraderie and plenty of fun.

Culinary and Career Skills Come Together for Food Truck Challenge

Culinary and Career Skills Come Together for Food Truck Challenge photo

West Hempstead Middle School eighth-grade students coordinated and assembled a buffet of dishes and refreshments on May 17 and 18 as part of a Food Truck Challenge based on the Food and Consumer Sciences curriculum. This project-based learning activity served as the culminating assignment after a school year filled with valuable instruction.

Students worked in groups to develop business plans for starting up their own food truck businesses. They carried out all steps from start to finish, complete with marketing and advertising, cooking and nutrition, budgeting, menu planning and other components of the class content. The initiative fostered career skills and the students explored the various aspects involved in launching a business and appealing to customers. Business students, administrators and staff members toured the array of food truck booths in the gymnasium and had the opportunity to try samples. 

Students presented foods from a variety of cultures and areas, which they prepared in the classroom. Specialties included waffles, crepes, cakes and churros. Members of each group pitched in to cook and contribute their own strengths, and many created websites, business cards, social media accounts and other promotional resources to make their businesses unique.

Living Resources Museum at GW

Living Resources Museum at GW photo

Fifth-graders at George Washington Elementary School in the West Hempstead School District culminated a recent study on the earth’s natural resources by presenting a Living Resources Museum for peers, parents and other special guests. The students collaborated in groups and used project-based learning to answer important questions on the subject. The museum celebrated the students’ work while giving them a forum to share their research and proposed solutions on the topic with others.

West Hempstead High School welcomes back alumni

West Hempstead High School welcomes back alumni photo

Sophomores, juniors and seniors at West Hempstead High School gathered on the morning of May 23 to welcome back graduates for a “Business Alumni Day” workshop.

Divided into three sessions, the students met with alumni to discuss life after high school. Returning students ranged from recent graduates to established professionals in their fields. Current students, including the groups’ moderators, were able to ask them questions, and the alumni shared their experiences in college, internships, first jobs and professional careers. 

Along with gaining this valuable insight, the current students learned about specific fields, such as nursing, accounting and marketing, to help guide their postsecondary decisions. 

STELLAR STEAMs Ahead with 3D Design Project

STELLAR STEAMs Ahead with 3D Design Project photo
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STELLAR STEAMs Ahead with 3D Design Project photo 3
STELLAR STEAMs Ahead with 3D Design Project photo 4
Fourth-grade students at George Washington Elementary School have been engaging in a hands-on STEAM learning project that brings their ideas to fruition. The students, who are enrolled in the district’s STELLAR program (Success in Technology, Library, Literacy, Artistry and Research), designed and constructed their own roller coaster carts using laptops, Tinkercad software and 3D printers. 

Under the guidance of their teacher, Dara Perlow, each student created a cart that incorporated their own personal style. They started by learning the science behind roller coasters and the principles of physics involved. After the initial research, they built models from materials such as piping insulation and tape. They then took their innovations to the computer screens and utilized Tinkercad’s features to work on their three-dimensional designs and prepare them for the printer. 

Tinkercad presents an assortment of pieces and connectors that the students pieced together to form their structures. They added names for their designs and selected colors, shapes and decorations to make their carts unique. The projects involved much trial and error, and students learned from mistakes and found solutions to problems. In addition to the subjects of science, engineering and technology, the process tied in with math concepts such as geometry, symmetry, graphing and measurement. 

WHUFSD Photo Gallery

October 2017