While much seems to have been made in recent years about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM, as the subjects are known collectively — there’s at least one other thing that ties them all together: words.
In an effort to improve the students’ reading and writing skills and enable teachers to learn, and then teach, any subject in the book, the Shoreham-Wading River School District has created a new position: humanities director. And Rebecca Chowske of Floral Park has been hired to fill that spot.
Ms. Chowske is currently elementary supervisor — a job much like that of an assistant principal — in the Wantagh School District. During eight years with that district, she said she’s played a variety of roles helping to support teachers and K-12 students.
Ms. Chowske said she believes the best approach to helping students develop a love of reading and writing is to position tasks as a reward instead of a chore or punishment.
Her husband serves as science chairman at a private school in Queens. Their older son, who studied English, recently graduated from Fordham University; their younger son is a high school junior.
“I’m very aware of what families are up against in applying for college,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the SWR families and supporting teachers and students.”
Ms. Chowske starts work July 1. We talked with her about her new role. The following was excerpted from our conversation.