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Sounds of Spring at Chatterton

Sounds of Spring at Chatterton photo

Chatterton School recently held its annual spring concert as teachers Jennifer DiGangi, Marcia Miller and Dr. Richard Nasto directed the band, orchestra and choral students, respectively, during two very entertaining performances.

Merrick School District Voting Results

Merrick School District Voting Results 

Budget Approved. Thank You.
1,146 - Yes                                                                             
311- No                                                               
Proposition No. 2:
268- No      

Proposition No. 3
1,146- Yes

Board Election                                                   
Gabrielle Curcio: 612 Vote total
Sigal Negrin; 872  Vote total
Gina Piskin: 941 Vote total

Congratulations to Sigal Negrin and Gina Piskin on winning the Board election.


Presupuesto Approbado. Gracias.
1,146- Sí

1,177-  Sí

1,146-  Sí
283- No

Gabrielle Curcio: 612 VOTO total
Sigal Negrin: 872  VOTO total
Gina Piskin: 941  VOTO total

Felicitaciones a Sigal Negrin y  Gina Piskin por ganar la elección de la Junta.

Cubs Cave Updates

Initial Parent Letter Regarding Cubs Cave Flooring - May 8, 2019
Dear Levy Lakeside Families:

We have recently become aware that the material in the Cubs Cave flooring at Levy Lakeside School may contain components that could emit mercury vapor. Upon notification, we immediately had an environmental testing company sample the air in the room. Following the initial screening protocols, very low levels of detectable mercury vapor were found. As a precautionary measure, the Cubs Cave has been closed for use until further notice so that our environmental testing company may conduct a more comprehensive monitoring evaluation over the next several weeks. After this thorough assessment is complete, we will be able to determine what, if any, remediation is necessary.

More information will be provided as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience as we work to ensure the safety of our students and staff. 


Dominick Palma

Cubs Cave Update – May 15, 2019
Dear Levy Lakeside Families,

As an update to my letter last week concerning the Cubs Cave, the district held a follow-up meeting earlier this week with J.C. Broderick & Associates, the environmental testing company that completed the preliminary screening of Cubs Cave for mercury vapor. As you can see from the attached report, the levels of detected mercury are below available federal and state short-term exposure limits and slightly above the Environmental Protection Agency’s level for a lifetime of continuous exposure.

Despite this low level of vapor release, the Board of Education and I are very uncomfortable with any level of mercury vapor within our schools. As a result, the Cubs Cave will remain closed for the near future until more rigorous testing can be performed. Negative air pressure has been introduced to the space by an environmental management company to assure no vapor enters other spaces within the school. This is out of an abundance of caution and in preparation for further testing of the materials in the room. The results of this expanded testing will allow the District to determine the best course of action for the Cubs Cave as we move forward.

As additional information becomes available, it will be shared with the community. The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. Your patience as we work on this issue is greatly appreciated.


Dominick Palma

Important Message re: Cubs Cave - May 19, 2019
Dear Community Members:

As I had announced earlier, we have detected low levels of mercury vapor in the Cubs Cave at Levy Lakeside School.  Today, Newsday and News 12 are running stories about school floors and mercury.  In general, they referenced my earlier parent letters and the testing results accurately.  One component that may be misleading is that some of the headlines and trailers imply that Levy Lakeside School is closed.  The school is open - only the Cubs Cave is currently closed. 

As Newsday indicated, the mercury vapor levels are below any governmental or safety industry standard for short term exposure. In an abundance of caution, the Board of Education and I have closed Cubs Cave and introduced negative air pressure to continue to vent the room while it is closed.  This type of floor does not exist in any of our other schools.

J.C. Broderick Company, our district’s environmental testing specialist, is conducting additional testing which will help the District determine what will be the next step to address this problem.  We expect that it will be approximately two weeks before we have the additional information.  At that time, the Board of Education will discuss the matter in a public meeting. Cubs Cave will remain closed.

The Board of Education and I would like to thank you for your patience as we carefully address this matter. We will continue to update you throughout this process.


Dominick Palma



All-County Artists Honored

All-County Artists Honored photo
All-County Artists Honored photo 2
All-County Artists Honored photo 3
During their May meeting, the Merrick Board of Education and administration honored the district’s students who were selected for this year’s Nassau County All-County Art Exhibit held at Farmingdale State College in March. All-County artists were nominated by their respective art teachers, who, along with their principal, awarded them certificates of recognition for demonstrating exemplary creativity in their artwork.

Congratulations to the following students and their teachers:

Birch School:
Elena H. 
Matthew K.
Matthew R.
Teacher: Cory Gerard

Chatterton School:
Ryan K. 
Bridget L. 
Bianca P. 
Teacher: Justine Dujardin

Lakeside School:
Aliza B. 
Rosina P. 
Samantha T.
Teacher: Alexandra Muzek

This year, more than 400 art educators from more than 200 schools in 50 Nassau County school districts submitted student artwork for this prestigious exhibit. Merrick Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dominick Palma is pictured congratulating students along with their respective principals and art teachers. 


Dancing Around the World

Dancing Around the World 2019

Chatterton School third graders recently enjoyed the cultural arts program titled Vanover Caravan, which taught them dances from various cultures from around the world. Third graders also had the opportunity to show their moves  for schoolmates and parents.

Special thanks to the PTA for bringing this amazing program to Chatterton once again!

Chatterton Heroes Helping Others

Chatterton Heroes Helping Others photo
Chatterton Heroes Helping Others photo 2
During the final three months of the school year, Chatterton School students of all grade levels are hard at work completing their service learning projects for the year. Each grade level has been working with a charity to conduct inspiring, generous acts in connection with the social-emotional learning program Lions Quest.

To highlight some of the wonderful things happening at Chatterton, teachers shared the projects that will be completed by each grade:

• Kindergarten students are collecting and donating gently used books to the Book Fairies, a program that distributes books to other schools or children in need throughout the tristate area. 
• First graders are conducting a drive they named “Pennies 4 Paws,” collecting pennies and donating them to the local animal shelter Bobbi and the Strays. 
• Second graders placed personal messages inside of donated books and DVDs and sent 16 boxes of them to the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens. 
• Third graders will be taking a trip to the Community Cupboard at Brookside School in May to collect and organize food donations that help feed 35 families in the Bellmore-Merrick community. 
• Fourth graders will be making laminated meal placemats to donate to The Inn soup kitchen in Hempstead, decorating them with pretty pictures and positive messages. 
• Fifth graders recently mentored incoming kindergarten students as a part of the incoming kindergarten orientation. The fifth graders read books and completed a fun art activity with their future schoolmates, and discussed ways to be kind and serve as a positive influence in the school community. 
• Sixth graders have been completing acts of kindness around the community, and asking sponsors to donate money to send to the Reason2Smile organization, which supports orphans and at-risk children in Africa. This charity has been near and dear to those in the school for several years.

Congratulations to all of the Chatterton students for doing their part to help others in and around their community and abroad, and making the world a better place!

STEAM Day at Birch

STEAM Day at Birch photo

An annual tradition continued at Birch School as it recently conducted STEAM Day, which was filled with science, technology, engineering, arts and math activities that sparked curiosity and promoted ingenuity in young students.

STEAM Day brought the entire school together, as older students guided younger students through multiple stations in which students designed and built structures from recycled materials and also coded to navigate robots through various challenges and mazes. They designed and crafted Hoop Gliders that flew through the air and creatively moved objects Rube Goldberg style. Dominoes were utilized to tell time and index cards were constructed into towers capable of holding multiple textbooks. Students also created and decoded secret messages and even launched their own rockets. Several classrooms were transformed into “escape rooms” where students demonstrated their critical thinking skills by solving puzzles to help them break out. 

The Birch School STEAM Day committee and the teachers planned many exciting and invigorating activities to engage every student on this special day.

Lakeside’s Lions Donate to the Community Cupboard

Lakeside’s Lions Donate to the Community Cupboard 12
This year, while the upper grade-level kids were preparing for the annual danceathon, the Student Council Crew wanted to get ALL the Lakeside Lions in a giving spirit. During the danceathon week, the crew held a collection for the Community Cupboard. We collected toiletries, nonperishable foods and cleaning products. 

The Community Cupboard is a food pantry where 30-40 Merrick/Bellmore families can shop each week. The Cupboard is housed at the Brookside School. We were able to send 17 large boxes over to the pantry. We were very happy that so many of our neighbors will benefit from what we collected. The week of March 25 was filled with LOVE and SHARING at Lakeside! We Roared with pride all week long!

–written by Shelby W.

Lakeside Dance-a-Thon Raises $5,854

Lakeside Dance-a-Thon Raises $5,854 photo

On March 29 the Lakeside Student Council Crew held their annual dance-a-thon. It was a blast! The Lakeside fourth, fifth and sixth graders danced for the Sunrise Day Camp and Phoenix House. We raised $2,643 for the Phoenix House and $3,211 for the Sunrise Day Camp. In total, we raised $5,854. At the dance-a-thon the students won prizes, and sang and danced to all the songs played by the DJ and dancers from Party Harty, which donated their services because we were dancing for charities that day. We owe them a HUGE thank-you!

There was also an amazing photographer that took many pictures of the students having fun. Everyone at the dance-a-thon wore the same T-shirt, which was handed out the day before the big event. The T-shirt was designed by Luca Kaplan, a fourth grader at Levy Lakeside. During the dance-a-thon, the kids signed each other’s shirts so they would have a keepsake from this special event. Other fun activities included The Coke & Pepsi Game, Simon Says and a dance circle. 

The dance-a-thon was one of the most fun events of the school year. The best part was that while we were having so much fun, we were doing so much to help others!

–written by Leah P.


A Harvest of Love

A Harvest of Love photo
During the month of February, the Student Council Crew of Lakeside School held a drive entitled, Harvest of Love. This is something that has been done for several years. The drive is held around Valentine’s Day and the mission is to spread love and kindness out into the Merrick Community. For one day only the Lakeside Family brings in FRESH fruits and vegetables which get donated to The Freeport Inn. Once the donations are delivered, they are turned into nutritious meals. The Inn prepares hot lunches for those who are less fortunate than us. The drive is held in February at a time when the Inn is low on donations after the holiday season. Our Lakeside Family was happy to help!

story by Shelby, Lakeside Student Council Secretary (pictured). Soo Becchina is the Lakeside Student Council adviser.


Cornell Brings the Farm to Class

Cornell Brings the Farm to Class photo
Cornell Brings the Farm to Class photo 2
Cornell Brings the Farm to Class photo 3
Cornell Brings the Farm to Class photo 4
Cornell Brings the Farm to Class photo 5
In recognition of Agricultural Literacy Week, Birch School welcomed Patricia Voll, master gardener and volunteer from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County to speak to second-graders about how the soil and environment are used to grow healthy vegetables. Voll brought different types of vegetables that are grown at Cornell’s horticulture center and farm in East Meadow. She also gave students insight into farming and how the vegetables grown through the cooperative are prepared for local markets and even donated to food banks. 

Students will put their knowledge to good use this spring as they plant seeds to grow vegetables of their own in the school garden. Birch teacher Mindy Seltzber arranged Voll’s visit to the second-grade classes.

String Players Shine at Festival

String Players Shine at Festival photo
String Players Shine at Festival photo 2
String Players Shine at Festival photo 3
Congratulations to the six student musicians who were chosen to represent the Merrick School District at the Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA) concert held at Uniondale High School in March. Thank you for continuing to make us proud!

Elena Hyzak (Birch, violin)
Ian Klimov (Chatterton, violin)
Ryan Levinter (Chatterton, viola)
Jason Lin (Birch, viola)
Rachel Watson (Lakeside, viola)
Jocelyn Yeung (Lakeside, cello)

Merrick Named a Best Community for Music Again!

For the fifth consecutive year, the Merrick School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  

The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the designation, the district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for music programs. 

“We are truly grateful to be named one of the 2019 Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation,” said Merrick School District’s music coordinator Dr. Richard Nasto “We are tremendously proud of all our students and their accomplishments. It is a testament to our Merrick Schools community – our music department, school and district leaders, students, teachers, staff and parents for their consistent support of arts education. They have all played a part in making this recognition possible."

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs.


Facilities Update

Science 1

May Facilities Update

Chatterton School:
During the recent spring recess, the district’s general contractor completed mastic asbestos removal from the Chatterton School basement ceiling. The district’s environmental consulting firm monitored the work and tested the area to ensure air quality prior to students returning from the break.  

Also, during the break, the district’s electrical contractor completed the installation of underground conduits to accommodate the school’s new addition. Due to New York State academic testing, all construction work was placed on hold for the week after the break to allow students to concentrate on their exams without any potential noise distraction. Now that testing has been completed, the general contractor is installing an aggregate subbase within the building footprint as the final step before pouring the concrete floor within the foundation. Municipal Testing Labs is scheduled to check the compaction of the fill prior to concrete installation and will sample the concrete as well. A concrete pumper truck will be on site for the placement of the concrete.

The mason has installed new panels on the exterior of Chatterton’s all-purpose room as well as a third coat of the masonry stain. The district will be sampling a less transparent product to more thoroughly cover streaking that results from this process. 

The district opened bids for Chatterton School casework and toilet renovations Phase 2 on May 7 with the goal of awarding bids on May 21.

March Facilities Update

Chatterton Addition
Weather has affect the progress of exterior construction; however, the footings, foundation and piers for the Chatterton addition have been installed. The soil was also retested during this work and remains in compliance with state environmental standards. Follow-up concrete testing will be done in anticipation of the exterior walls being built. Electrical service installation is underway to accommodate the new addition.
Installation of new panels for the Chatterton All-Purpose Room is anticipated to begin shortly.   

Districtwide HVAC/Restroom Renovation
Contracts are being drawn up for the projects awarded for new heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems and classroom and restroom toilet renovations at Birch, Chatterton and Levy Lakeside schools. Contractor paperwork is being reviewed by the district’s attorney and insurance company. The district has received approval for Birch and Chatterton school casework and restroom renovations.

Districtwide Telephone System
All school office phones have been converted to the new phone system, and training on the new equipment is underway. Many of the classroom phones are also active; some troubleshooting is taking place to address specific lines. For the remainder of the school year, teachers can use the new phones as they become proficient in their use. Several more data drops will be installed along with hardware to connect fax machines.




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.

snake image


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.




Chatterton Sixth-Grade Art Club

Students from Chatterton School’s sixth-grade art club supported this year’s Star Wars art show theme by collaborating to create the awesome giant sculptures you see here! They used a variety of media, such as plastic containers, newspapers, boxes, foam core, masking tape, plaster, cardboard and tempera paint. Justine Dujardin is the school art teacher and art club adviser.

May the Force be with you!


Levy Lakeside Art Club 

The Levy Lakeside fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade art clubs continue to create wonderful works of art during their recess time. 

Fourth-graders created totem poles using recycled cardboard boxes, papier-mâché, paint and a variety of other materials.

Fifth-graders use recycled Styrofoam, plaster of Paris, paint and additional materials to create large sculptures that decorate school and district conference rooms, like this brightly colored llama. 

Sixth-graders collaborated on a large painted mural, this year selecting Winnie the Pooh as the theme.



Ian the Violinist