07/13/2015 1:05 PM
Ken Wagner (Credit: NY Department of Education video image)

Ken Wagner (Credit: NY Department of Education video image)

A former principal and administrator in the Shoreham-Wading River School District, who rose through the ranks in the New York Education Department after leaving the district in 2007, was tapped to lead Rhode Island’s Education Department last week. (more…)

06/30/2015 2:10 PM

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Spring Yu

VALEDICTORIAN

GPA: 101.77

College plans: Dartmouth College

Major: studio art, architecture

AP scholar: Spring took a whopping 10 Advanced Placement courses during her high school career: world history, U.S. history, U.S. government, calculus, chemistry, physics, literature, English language and composition, statistics and studio art.

On ice: For the past 10 years, Spring has trained as a figure skater. She’s competed in tournaments and says she plans to continue the activity during college.

The music in her: Spring has played violin since she was 3. She played in the high school’s chamber and pit orchestras and in her junior year was a founding member of the school’s string quartet.

Extracurriculars: Spring was also a member of the Shoreham-Wading River Mathletes team and was the secretary of the school’s National Honor Society chapter.

Parting words: “High school teaches you how to balance schoolwork, your social life and your mental health … but sometimes you have to give up on sleep a bit!”

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Madison Dwyer

SALUTATORIAN

GPA: 100.89

College plans: College of William and Mary

Major: neuroscience and kinesiology

A passion for gymnastics: Madison has been a gymnast since she was 8 and is now a level 10 competitor at Gold Medal Gymnastics Center in Rocky Point. As one of two seniors on the team, Madison has become a leader. She trains five days a week for four hours each day. She will attend college on a half scholarship in that sport.

Inspired to help others: Madison has recovered from many injuries during her gymnastics career. It’s these experiences that motivated her to pursue the study of medicine. She hopes to promote better health in others and learn more about the complex functions of the human body.

Advanced Placement scholar: Madison took numerous AP courses during her four years at Shoreham-Wading River, including chemistry, environmental science, macroeconomics, calculus and statistics.

An avid volunteer: Every week, Madison aims to spend an hour doing community service of some kind. She’s worked with the Peanut Butter Jelly Gang, tutored students and volunteered at the John J. Foley Nursing Home and at her gym.

Parting words: “My sport has taught me that I have to work hard to obtain something I want and that I should always keep striving for my goals, because anything is possible.”

06/29/2015 9:00 AM
(Credit: Nicole Smith)

A LED sign is expected to replace this sign at Wading River Elementary School. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Thanks to a donation from the Wading River Parent Teacher Association, the outside of the Wading River Elementary School will soon be getting a modern addition. (more…)

06/24/2015 5:47 PM
Jack Higgins’ Pollen App is his second sold in Apple’s App Store. Higgins is a student at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Jack Higgins’ Pollen App is his second sold in Apple’s App Store. Higgins is a student at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

A few years ago, Jack Higgins’ friends bet him five dollars that he couldn’t build a computer in his middle school locker. Jack proved them wrong, building a computer in two empty lockers at Albert G. Prodell Middle School.

Now, that expertise has helped him earn a lot more than one Abraham Lincoln.

The Shoreham teen currently has two apps for sale in the Apple App Store, plus another in the works that could add an entirely new meaning to the expression “you snooze, you lose.”  (more…)

05/28/2015 5:59 AM
SWR Board of Education president William McGrath explains why he opposes field testing during last Tuesday's meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

SWR Board of Education president William McGrath explains why he opposes field testing during last Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Last December, the Shoreham-Wading River school board took a stand against so-called “field testing” of students.

In a unanimous 7-0 vote, the board condemned the tests, which are ordered by the state to help testing companies fine-tune their questions. The board wrote in a resolution that the testing “would hurt children and abuse the public trust by subsidizing private enterprise without public discussion.”

The district’s administration moved forward with a plan to forgo the tests and have students go through normal school days during that allotted time.

But last Tuesday, the board was forced to backtrack on resisting the state’s rules after facing potential cuts in state aid — or worse — as punishment.

According to the school board, the state has not clarified whether the tests are mandatory.

The state refused to clarify what that means, said school board president William McGrath, leaving the district uncertain of whether it can opt out of the tests without facing consequences.

“This is clearly a situation of legal uncertainty,” said the district’s attorney, Patricia Unz.

“It’s a load of crap,” Mr. McGrath said. “I think that these tests … are a waste of instructional time.”

Earlier during last Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. McGrath pushed to cancel the tests and face any potential consequences from the state, which could include withholding state aid or punishment of district administrators.

“If it ‘means my job’ then it means my job,” Mr. McGrath said.

But while every board member at last Tuesday’s meeting said they opposed the field tests, Robert Rose and John Zukowski said they were worried the state would make an example of Shoreham-Wading River if they resisted.

“I totally disagree with them, I really do,” Mr. Rose said. “But I’m not willing to throw someone’s career out there and let the state do what they want with it.”

“People are drawing the lines in the sand in Albany, and I don’t want to be caught, as a district, on the wrong side of that line and maybe be the poster child for what Albany can do to a district,” added Mr. Zukowski.

An assistant district superintendent said the tests would be 45 minutes long and take place during the students’ normal class time — meaning, for example, that social studies field tests would be given during social studies class.

In the end, the risk was too great for the board, which unanimously and begrudgingly voted to hold the tests.

After the vote, Mr. McGrath explained to the one parent present at the meeting that the board’s hands were tied by the state education department. He urged residents to contact their state representatives and demand the tests be stopped.

“It has to come from the public,” he said. “The message has to get to them.”

psquire@timesreview.com

05/19/2015 9:37 PM
Superintedent Steven Cohen (right) smiles as the results from Tuesday's school budget vote are read aloud. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Superintedent Steven Cohen (right) smiles as the results from Tuesday’s school budget vote are read aloud. (Credit: Paul Squire)

 

The Shoreham-Wading River school budget passed by an overwhelming majority Tuesday night, with more than 65 percent of voters approving the $68.6 million proposal.

Board of Education incumbents Mike Fucito and Robert Rose, who were running unopposed, were also re-elected. (more…)

05/17/2015 12:00 PM
Resident Michael Burns (center) addresses the board last week as neighbors watch on. Mr. Burns was one of a handful to criticize a plan to build a new parking lot. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Resident Michael Burns (center) addresses the board last week as neighbors watch on. Mr. Burns was one of a handful to criticize a plan to build a new parking lot. (Credit: Paul Squire)

After a swarm of angry Miller Avenue Elementary School neighbors attended the Shoreham-Wading River school board meeting last week, demanding the district reconsider plans to build a new parking lot near their homes, architects presented second and third proposals for the project at Tuesday night’s meeting.  (more…)