If you have any announcements that you would like to post on the ROBS web site, please contact Nick Siciliano at
             News2@robsny.org. Announcements will be posted each month on this page. If you miss any previous month's announcements,
             you can view them at the Archives page of this web site. You can also read more news in our Newsletters. In addition, if you have
             your own web site, and would like to share it with other members, let us know and we can include the link on the ROBS site.
  IN THE NEWS                                                                         OCTOBER 2014

Oct 3
General Membership Meetinng

Oct 22
High Tea

Calendar of Events

Oct 16

Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates
POSTED 10/1/14

     Just a reminder to our members to renew your ROBS membership for the coming year. You can download the Membership Application here and mail it along with your check for $25 dollars to Marge Kirchner, 666 Hawkins Road East, Coram NY 11727. Make checks out to ROBS.
     If you are not currently a member, please go to the Membership page of this site to learn more about the many benefits of joining ROBS.  You can also download the application from that page.
     We hope you will be joining us, and to our current members, thank you for your renewal.
POSTED 10/10/14

     All Checks sent to the Scholarship Fund should be made out to ROBS and on the Memo line write SCHOLARSHIP. Some of you have sent in checks made out to "Dot Zuckerman Scholarship Fund". We can not cash your check as it must be made out to ROBS. There is no separate fund for Dot but we will be establishing a scholarship for Dot. Thank you for your contribution.

POSTED 10/20/14
     At a time when Ebola is all over the news and it's easy for misinformation to get interpreted as truth, make sure you have the clear-cut facts. The following are facts from the White House:
1. You CAN'T get Ebola through: Casual contact with someone who has no symptoms of the disease, air, water or food in the U.S.
2. The only way a person can get Ebola is through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is already showing symptoms of the disease.
3. If a person does not have symptoms, they are not contagious. Read more about it here.


POSTED 10/10/14
     Greetings, I hope this e mail finds you well. I am forwarding along the following dates in the hope that you will share them with the members of ROBS. Some members have expressed interest in helping man the NYSUT phone banks at the Suffolk Regional Office, 150 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge. Throughout the month of October through Election Day the phone banks will be running from 2:30- 7:00pm. On Tuesdays, the phone banks will be open to retirees during the day to help get the message out and support elected officials who support public schools. We are well aware of the "day time army" retirees can be in the fight to advocate for public schools, public employees and retiree benefits. Below are the dates and times the phone banks will be open. I know each day lunch is provided as well as plenty of snacks and beverages. Thanks in advance for any time members of ROBS can make to support our efforts.

Retirees—all day starting at 10 am
10/7 Tom, 10/14 June, 10/21 June, 10/28 June
     The Ready Suffolk County campaign encourages our residents to be ready for all types of emergencies. Develop a disaster plan and decide where you and your family will meet in the event of an emergency. Gather emergency supplies — some to keep in your home and others to keep in backpacks in case you must leave your home in a hurry. Finally, learn how to keep informed about the hazards you may face in Suffolk County. We have included the link below to our Ready Suffolk Household Preparedness Guide for your information.
Ready Suffolk Household Preparedness Guide

How are we doing?
We'd like to hear from you.

Please visit our
Letters to the Editor

where you can share your views and comments

View the "In Memoriam" page
with the list of our Brentwood colleagues who have passed away. This list will be updated on a yearly basis.


Watch our new Back-to-School ad

Support VOTE-COPE with your voluntary contribution. Download the VOTE-COPE Contribution Card here.

Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in October and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for October
October, 2014 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays

All About October
October in History
Why did we do it?
     What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; the one for which we’ve evolved a script of questions with corresponding answers from over one hundred and fifty dedicated volunteers for nearly two decades?
      We couldn’t answer the question in ‘94 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational and informational purposes we had better document our record or lose any chance to preserve innumerable poignant accounts, humorous stories and touching tales told to us by exemplary educators and dedicated public servants, who shortly and for reasons unknown might soon be leaving our Brentwood for good.
     We decided to let time sort out the details as we commenced making appointments to ask questions and simply listen. Listen we did as this project evolved saving for subsequent generations the very essence of what it means to have been an educator or employed in a large student centered public school system during the latter half of the twentieth century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all the others; a diverse microcosm and accurate reflection of the approximately one hundred and twenty seven neighboring school districts on Long Island and the thousands across this country. We’ve accomplished something here, something we can all be proud of having been part of, whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few other professionals in the State of New York are positioned to share in a like manner.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting for an hour with the Subject of our interview and giving them one hundred percent of our focused attention for that period of time seemed a little threatening to many of our friends and former colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined repeated invitations to be interviewed as they left careers behind or retired from full time employ with the District. Despite all assurances that this was not to be about investigative journalism or invading their privacy, they’ve deferred. Until now, almost seventeen years after we began, some say they may finally be ready. We say, “Better late than never”. However, to all those among you who were willing to share openly not only your classroom experiences but personal stories, precious memories from your lives and fondest hopes for the future, we say thanks for allowing us to be able to continue the process of giving as we now are able to share interviews with you, with the community and with countless regional professional educators and researchers through tentative acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University.
      You can now enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org/ where you’ll see and hear segments from the History Project Interviews featured here in the ROBS History Project section on the Announcements Page archived each month thereafter for those wishing to return again and again.


Margaret Helen Kirchner


     Margaret Helen Kirchner was born at Williamsburg Maternity Hospital in Brooklyn, New York and named after her maternal grandmother who died before Marge was born.  She had 2 older brothers and a much younger foster brother, John, who she raised like a son until he died at age 24 soon after the deaths of her parents.
     Her oldest brother helped her to do large puzzles and they often played checkers.  He was 5 ½ years older and wasn’t around much.  Her next older brother taught her about playing marbles, trading comic books, flipping baseball cards, stoop ball and a ball game named, “Ace, King, Queen.”
     Marge’s earliest memories of Brooklyn, a place she still loves, include roller skating, stick ball and Hide and Go Seek.  She loved to be outside with her friends and her cousin, and best friend, Berta.  She remembers her maternal grandfather taking them downtown to Namm Loeser’s Department Store to meet Hopalong Cassidy.  She remembers the great cowboy putting his arm around her and kissing her on the cheek.
     Marge’s mother was a giving, caring person who was kind, thoughtful and spiritually minded.  She was filled with a desire to help others throughout her entire life.   Not only was she a loving mother, she was also a great baker.  All holidays were celebrated with customized cakes that marked the particular occasion.  There were heart shaped cakes at Valentine’s day,  bunny cakes at Easter, turkeys at Thanksgiving and, of course, December 25th’s cake was a Christmas tree.
     Marge’s Mom influenced her to also become spiritually minded, care for others and love writing.  She also took Berta and Marge to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas shows followed by trips to the automat for lunch.  She fed the “hoboes” who knocked at their door and would find out their favorite foods so their lunch bags were filled with delightful treats.

     Marge’s fun-filled Dad taught her many things including wrapping a package for the post office, and how to fix all manner of things around their house.  Her favorite times were the days he took her way downtown in Manhattan and showed her the many important buildings in our history.  We’d sit in Trinity Church to pray and then walk through Wall Street where he pointed out the exact place where George Washington took his oath of office as our first President.  They rode the Staten Island ferry just to enjoy the ride and before coming home, always stopped and got black and white ice cream sodas.
     Marge loved going to school, reading, playing with her dolls and roller skating.  She was a very nervous child perhaps as a consequence of needing to stay in bed for eight months while recovering from rheumatic fever at age 7.  It was indeed difficult for her to not go to school during that time, but her Mom would get assignments from school and always brought many library books home for her to enjoy.
     Her favorite season was spring because of its rebirth and renewal and her favorite subjects were writing and math.  (They were Mom and Dad’s favorites, too.)  It’s interesting to note that her years at P. S. 137 were great for Marge, but they were great for her mother, too.  Although separated by 25 years, Marge and her Mom both had the stern principal, Dr. Hollywood whose claim to fame was walking into classrooms with a ruler that landed on hands of any child she found misbehaving.
      Among Marge’s early influences was a person she called Aunt Lydia.  She was Marge’s Sunday school teacher in a group called “The Little Tots.”  All of those kids went on to the next class every year or two.  Marge stayed until she was 12 having convinced Aunt Lydia she’d be a great assistant.  She was like the “grandma” Marge never had.
     Another influence was Aunt Lilly, someone Marge never met who lived in Maryland and was a relative of her mother.  Every Christmas a package would arrive to go under our tree.  It was for Marge and was filled with many small outfits that Aunt Lilly had made for Marge’s dolls. 
     Marge flocked to people like her parents who were open and accepting and always willing to help others.  Berta’s parents were right up there with giving and caring and they were an important part of Marge’s life until their deaths.
     Marge’s education credits include Franklin K. Lane in Queens for her sophomore year.  Then her parents moved to Lake Ronkonkoma where she finished high school in the Sachem District.  She was the very first student accepted for admission to Suffolk County Community College where she received her A.A.  She got her B.A. from Adelphi University and her Master’s in Counseling from Hofstra University.
     Although she student taught at Loretta Park in Brentwood with the amazingly talented Florence Dornan, Marge returned to Sachem to begin her teaching career.  After 2 years, she knew she wanted to return to the innovative Brentwood District.  Art Breiger hired her in 1966.       Feeling strongly that education happens every day if you are open to it, she made a proposition to her principal sometime in the mid 70’s.  Before expanding their special ed. programs, many Brentwood children with social, academic, and emotional needs were placed in heterogeneous classes.  Marge made a proposal to take each of the most deficient children from the four fourth grade classes that year and teach them in one class.  Her demands were few:  the class could not have more than 16 students and she would keep them together for two years.  She enjoyed the challenge, told the kids to store their reading books in the locked cabinets and proceeded to teach from comic books and class generated stories.  That proceeded to providing closed comprehension sheets to the kids each day and meeting to figure out the stories.  Eventually, she found books they could read and tremendous strides were made.  The best part of each day was when they had “CIRCLE CHATS” at the end of each day.  It was then that problems like crummy food in the cafeteria, internal classroom conflicts and personal difficulties were discussed.  She was proud of their being able to really “look” inside themselves and feel the comfort of being able to talk about their most painful issues.  At the end of their second year together, the kids had all progressed to no more than one year behind in their academics and totally advanced in their abilities to handle difficulties.
     She was active in the BTA for several years where she served as delegate and then chief delegate.  She was on Building based committees and continued taking courses at C.W. Post to further her career.  She recalled that Jack and Dot Zuckerman’s involvement with B.T.A. as well as the school district, contributed to everyone’s growth.  Her sense of awe in looking up to Jack was unashamed and she became very dissatisfied with the breakdown of communication between the Union and Administration.  She saw many injustices and saw the favoritism shown to those who were “in” the inner circle of Administration and those who weren’t.
     In February of 1986, Marge became one of the District’s 2 elementary counselors.  It was there she found more need and she relished her assignment, often teaching in-service courses on Sexual Abuse and “Good Grief” a program of dealing with death and dying.
     Marge broke her back in ’96 and in ’99 she suffered serious injuries to her foot and leg.  She decided to ask Dot Zuckerman for a meeting about retirement.  Following that was a video conference with Albany and a trip to her financial consultant.  It took only 2 days in late May to decide she wanted to retire and she did in June of 1999.
     At the time of this interview, she began her involvement on the Board of ROBS and was involved with a prayer circle at her church named, “WOW” or Women on Wednesdays.  Even though she was the youngest member, she eventually became its leader and enjoyed all their time together.
     Marge met Pat in 1980 when Pat was giving a seminar at Stony Brook University on autonomy in lesbian relationships.  After a friendship of many years, the Counselor and the Psychotherapist became a couple and live in Coram, New York.  Marge has been completely open about celebrating life with Pat and their Shih Tzus.
     Pat always wanted to move to Florida, but Marge didn’t want to live there.  After a time of serious thought, they compromised, had a home built in Palmetto, Florida and are now snow birds.

     Marge describes Brentwood as a place that does not get the respect that it needs and deserves.  Innovative ideas always come out of the District and many spectacular concepts were often put into practice.  Her life in Brentwood was working with children, a dream that started in Aunt Lydia’s “Little Tots” class.
     In the last 2002 ROBS NEWSLETTER, Marge wrote an article in which she proposed that the District become more involved with teaching children and less involved in testing.  Her remedy was to go back to focusing on the “whole” child rather than always testing them.
     Her advice to new teachers is the same that her cooperating teacher, Mrs. Florence Dornan told her in February of 1964.  “Dress professionally. Be a teacher first and a pal later.”

You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :

Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Balinski, Wally
Brooks, Ronda
Carey, Dick
Carpenter, Beverly
Cerullo, Peter
Corkery, Florence
Cuneen, Ray
Curio, Rich
DeBellis, Claudia
DeBellis, Helen
DeBellis, Michael
DePlaza, Marilyn
Desoto, Edward
DiMento, Peter
Edwards, Richard
Efron, Martin
Fasullo, Mike
Felicio, Anthony
Filosa, Edith
Fiore, Marcy
Hannan, Edward
Helman, Harriet
Hodges, Shirley
Kirschner, Marge
Koehler, Florence
Lane, William
Lange, Joan
Laub, Dr. Herb
Martz, David
Mascaro, Barbara
McNicholas, Barbara
Monsen, Pattie
Moss, Ken
Mundy, Rick
Murray, Alma
Nanos, Jim
O'Conner, Thomas
Pace, Ron
Purcell, Joseph
Rosenthal, Ivy
Rosenthal, Ruth
Salerno, Hank
Scharf, Karen
Sekac, Evelyn
Sheele, Raymond
Sopp, Lorraine
Spencer, Franklin
Stuhler, Patricia
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Vannoy, Evelyn
Veech, Chris
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
Wolfe, Jeffrey
Zuckerman, Dorothy
Zuckerman, Jack


Oct 14
Executive Board Meeting

Oct 16
Essex Steam Train & Boat Ride

Oct 28
Welcome New Retirees Brunch
Flier & Registration

Nov 19
NYSUT Regional Conference

RC 21 Website:

Sheila & Letty Sustrin
Children's Books Authors

John M. Sherin
Local /Regional
(Jigsaw Maps)600
Geography Manipulatives


Complete Team Building Kits
Teaching Cooperation/ Collaboration
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)


Alida Thorpe
Island Vision Photography, Inc.

Rick Mundy
Watercolor Prints of L.I., Adirondacks, NYC...

Gloria Hannemann
Hardwood Flooring and
Home Improvement


Elmon Kazandjian
NYC Art Gallery

Rose Marie Brousseau
Brentwood Rotary Club

Ronda Brooks
Children's Social Skills Groups
Rich Graziano
Mr. Graziano's Science Class
Academic Enrichment and Remedial Websit


    Classified Section
THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn De Plaza
The Town Crier" was set up a number of years ago so that the retirees of the Brentwood School District could have an email center to stay in touch. Since I began to send out all sorts of information, retirees from all over the country have sent me their email addresses. Some have asked, "Do you have any idea where so and so is?" Others have sent proud news of their accomplishments, their family news, photos,etc. and sadly, we often get bad news. Many retirees whom I have never met write me to thank me for keeping this connection going, as everyone remembers the Brentwood years with warm feelings.
POSTED 10/1/14
     Ethel Carter (East-Math lab) passed away on Sunday, Sept. 28. Services will be at Grant Funeral Home in Brentwood on 9/30 and 10/1 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9.Funeral Mass will be Thursday at 10:30 at St. Joseph Church, 59 Church St. , Kings Park.
     Condolences may be sent to her daughter Cathy Murray, 55 Primrose Lane, Kings Park 11754

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