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The Supe in the Hat Returns to Celebrate Seuss

The Supe in the Hat Returns to Celebrate Seuss photo
The Supe in the Hat Returns to Celebrate Seuss photo 2
The Supe in the Hat Returns to Celebrate Seuss photo 3
The Supe in the Hat Returns to Celebrate Seuss photo 4
Keeping with Birch School tradition, kindergartners were treated to a visit from a special guest during their celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 1, as the always-engaging Cat in the Hat stopped by to greet youngsters and encourage them to continue reading. 

During his visit, the Cat asked students to tell him about their favorite Dr. Seuss books, while he shared some fun facts about himself, including his favorite president – “President Garfield” – and his favorite dessert – “tuna pudding” – as well as other interesting “cat-eristics.” The Cat also read to students. 

What the surprised students didn’t know is that the Cat was actually Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dominick Palma, who annually slips on the Cat in the Hat suit to visit Birch kindergartners. 

Dancing With the Birch Stars

Dancing With the Birch Stars photo
Dancing With the Birch Stars photo 2
Dancing With the Birch Stars photo 3
Birch School students recently went dancing with the stars. This wasn’t an appearance on the popular network television dance show, but rather a chance for them to bring a star of their own to dance, all for a good cause. 

The Birch PTA hosted a special theater residency dance, “Dancing With the Stars of Birch’s ‘Annie Jr.’” The voluntary event took place in the Birch School auditorium on a recent Friday evening.  Proceeds from the dance benefited the Birch theater residency.

Birch students could attend one of three grade-appropriate dance sessions. K-2 students were afforded the opportunity to invite a star parent or guardian. Cast members of the school’s upcoming theater residency production of “Annie Jr.”  also served as stars for the evening and even performed a little preview of their upcoming production. 

“Annie Jr.” will take place at the Birch auditorium on March 28 at 7 p.m. and March 29 at 4:30 p.m. Lesley Wade directs; Robert Normandeau is the musical director. Brandi Fernandez and Marianna Psakis chair the Birch theater residency, which consists of more than 60 cast and crew members. Thanks to all who participated in the dance!

Community Members Share Their Love of Reading

Community Members Share Their Love of Reading photo

As part of its Parents as Reading Partners celebration, Birch School held a Community Read Aloud, welcoming a special guest reader to each classroom. Thank you to all of the readers, as well Birch library media specialist Vanessa Schroeder and the Lifelong Readers Committee for coordinating this special event. Additional thanks to all of the parents for reading with your children at home.

During PARP, students log minutes that they have read at home, play word games, welcome guest readers and presenters, and visit the Merrick Library, among other reading-related activities. Birch also celebrated World Read Aloud Day, which calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. Students participated by holding special reading events, including Skyping with authors and reading with friends.

“My kids do enjoy reading, and we do enjoy playing games together, but the past two weeks have reinvigorated the time we spend together and took it up a notch,” said one Birch father of three. 

Birch School’s two-week PARP celebration kicked off and closed with Prismatic Magic’s Laser Reader show, which coincided with the theme, “Birch Readers Are Laser-Focused.” The show uses laser illustrations to show students how to use the mind’s eye to imagine places, characters and ideas.

“PARP is always a fun and exciting time at Birch, and it’s terrific to hear when it has had an impact on families,” Birch Principal Kerri Galante said. “We hope all Birch families enjoyed these PARP weeks.”

Laser-Focused Readers

Laser-Focused Readers photo

Birch School students were thrilled by Prismatic Magic’s Laser Reader show, which served as the kickoff to this year’s Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) event. The theme for Birch PARP this year is “Birch Readers Are Laser-Focused.”  During the two-week event, students are logging minutes that they have read, playing word games and visiting the Merrick Library with a partner from home.

Prismatic Magic’s Laser Reader show uses laser illustrations to show young readers how to use the mind’s eye to imagine places, characters and ideas. You can get a glimpse of the Birch show here.


A Journey Through Time…at School

A Journey Through Time photo

For a day, Birch fourth-graders took a journey back in time. Thanks to the Journeys Into American Indian Territory program, students learned all about local tribes from the Northeast Woodlands territory. The Journeys program brought a traveling interactive museum to the school containing over 70 artifacts. Students enjoyed Native American games, songs, dances and even pottery. They also walked through a lifesized longhouse and tried on Native American garb.

Facilities Update

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February Facilities Report 

Chatterton School
Work on the Chatterton School addition continues as the site is being prepared for construction. The district general contractor for the addition recently removed an abandoned drainage pool and backfilled this area with approved fill.  The site for the new addition has been excavated down to virgin soil . All excavated fill has been tested and is in compliance with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation standards. An abandoned drainage pool was also removed from the area and backfilled with DEC approved fill.  
The district’s environmental firm monitored the air at the site and reported that no dust or particulate matter entered the building while soil was being moved.  Blankets have been installed over the foundation footprint and the contractor will use a ground warmer in order to begin pouring footings and foundations as the weather permits. Inclement weather and cold temperatures have slowed progress to this point.
The masonry contractor has also been installing new metal panels above the south windows of Chatterton’s all-purpose room.

Restroom and HVAC Systems
Bids have been awarded for air conditioning and classroom restroom renovations at Birch, Lakeside and Chatterton schools. 

Districtwide Telephone System
CORE BTS has installed classroom telephones and identified various locations where data drops are required. Installation of these drops is underway. Once completed, the remaining phones will be installed and once completed, the district will begin switching over to the new system.

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January Facilities Report

Chatterton Masonry Work
All major sitework at Chatterton School, including masonry work in the front of the building, has been completed. The masonry contractor recently installed the roof hatch and gravel stop, and the safety bridge at the front entrance has been removed. The mason will apply a third coat of finish on the cast stones once temperatures rise to the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines.  

Chatterton Addition
Excavation for the construction of a major classroom addition at Chatterton began in late December. The general contractor has installed the required walls to provide emergency egress for nearby classroom (19) and a wall prohibiting access to the construction area located to the north exit doors in the 40s corridor. 

Sewer connections and roof drain connections were completed over the holiday break. A new line was connected to a previously broken line. In total, 20 drain pools have been installed (as required by Nassau County based on the new and existing space). Five drain pools that were either filled. abandoned or were serving as roof drains were removed.

Exterior filters for classroom unit ventilators have been ordered and are expected to arrive by mid-January, at which time installation will begin.
Further major construction at Chatterton will be limited until the forecasted temperatures are well above freezing.

New Telephone System
Classroom telephone installation is underway and all three schools will be completed by mid-January. Once classroom phone systems are complete, various school offices will be addressed.

Restrooms and HVAC Systems
Contract documents for air conditioning systems and classroom restroom renovations at all three school buildings have been posted for contractors. Bids are due Jan. 25. 


November/December Facilities Update

Chatterton Field and Sitework
At Chatterton School, major sitework projects have been completed and minor punch list items are currently being addressed to close out this portion of the work there. 

The Chatterton field has been regraded. The masonry contractor has installed parapet metal coping which the architect called to be replaced. Replacement of the roof hatch has also been completed. The contractor has restored the eagle above the main entrance and necessary repairs to the entrance are being made, including installation of new stone. The safety bridge will remain at the Chatterton front entrance until all masonry restoration is completed.

Chatterton Addition
The bid opening for the Chatterton addition was held on Nov. 1, 2018. Bids have been accepted and vendors are in place for all four major components of the addition (general contractor, HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors). Initially, the district’s attorney notified the low bidders for plumbing and electrical that their bids were not complete and therefore they were disqualified.

Metal exterior panels for the all-purpose room are scheduled for delivery within days and the contractor has begun prep work for their installation.

Temporary construction fencing is being erected over the next few weeks in the area of the new addition and in the rear of the property to accommodate construction vehicles.  Excavation is expected to begin shortly. 

The district retained the services of environmental consultants JC Broderick & Associates to perform soil analysis in the area where the new addition will be constructed and where drainage pools will be installed. The analysis ensured that there were no hazardous contaminants in accordance with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation criteria for permissible levels of contaminants. Schools have the same criteria as residential use. None of the results pertaining to Chatterton exceed permissible residential use levels, and in fact are well below. 

According to DEC standards, any excess soil from the project that must be removed from the site must be classified as unrestricted use  (by raising of livestock) or otherwise subject to a disposal fee. One pesticide was found to be slightly above the unrestricted level but well below the permissible residential use level. The architect had included an allowance for any disposal cost incurred in the bid documents. Soil tested where the drainage pools will be located has been categorized as unrestricted, and will not require an extra expense.

Once the addition project commences, JC Broderick will be onsite performing air monitoring during the foundation excavation to ensure that students and staff are not affected by any dust developing from the construction. Once the district is satisfied that the excavation will not cause a concern, mason block work will commence. Air monitoring will continue during foundation construction. A filter will be placed on the exterior to the air intake for the unit ventilator units to address any potential concerns.

The general contractor and plumber are also working together to relocate existing underground sanitary lines identified in the area of the addition.

Telephone System (districtwide)
New telephone cabling has been installed in most district locations. Additional cables will be installed in several locations at Birch and Chatterton (areas have been identified). The contractor will be providing a schedule shortly. Data collection is complete and training is underway in anticipation of the new phone system rollout. New phones are being inventoried in preparation for installation.


October Facilities Update

Chatterton School:
Chatterton School’s new playground and basketball court have officially opened to students! Playground equipment and the rubber surface installation were recently completed and cleared for use following inspection. The color coating for the blacktop area around the playground as well as the basketball court surface were also recently completed. 

Final installation of equipment was delayed due to some parts that were not delivered in the original shipment of equipment. Once this was realized, the manufacturer’s representative sent the missing parts via overnight delivery. Three new benches were also installed at the playground. 

A safety bridge remains at Chatterton’s front entrance until stone finishes are completed. This will provide a uniform appearance for the cast stone surrounding the school entranceway. A masonry company is also scheduled to inspect the north and east side of the school’s gymnasium to repair and fortify the area to stop and prevent the infiltration of water. 

Bids have been advertised for the Chatterton building addition project, with the official opening of bids scheduled for Nov. 1, 2018.

Districtwide (Phone Systems):
New cabling will also be  installed throughout the district buildings for greater telephone access. Levy Lakeside has already been inspected and locations for new lines have been identified to ensure all areas of the building have telephone access. Merrick maintenance staff members have installed telephone mounting boxes and have confirmed all areas of Lakeside are covered. An internal inspection is also being conducted at Chatterton and Birch to arrive at solutions for uncovered areas in those buildings. Much of the equipment for these upgrades have been received by the district.