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  IN THE NEWS                                                                          MAY 2013

May 3
General Meeting

May 8
High Tea

Calendar of Events

May 16
Executive Board Meeting
Meeting Dates

POSTED 5/2/13

     On April 20, 2013 a memorial was held in Honor of Jeff Wolfe in the Brentwood High School Sonderling Auditorium. As part of the service, the cafeteria where Jeff held so many practices was named in his honor.
    The photo album of this program can be viewed here.

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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.

Reprinted from Newsday.com, April 24, 2013

     Finally, somebody is touting reality television that I would willingly watch, and it could be bigger than "Swamp Kardashians" or "Mirandizing with the Stars." Call it "Cameras in the Classrooms."
     The idea of putting cameras in every public school classroom in the United States is reportedly going to get a big boost when Bill Gates proposes it in an education special airing May 7 on. The Gates Foundation has been quietly floating the idea since 2011.
     And I have some good news for Gates.
     Although supporters of cameras in classrooms have come up with a price of $5 billion, I say they're wrong. I think we've finally found a way to turn schools into profit centers.
     Virtually every parent I know would gladly pay $10.95 per month to see what's going on in his or her kid's classes, for reasons far beyond wondering how pithily her teachers explain the Pythagorean theorem. We are fascinated by the lives of our children, and mostly face information blackouts.
     For all I know, my 11-year-old daughter spends her time outside the house running an organized crime family. I recently asked what she does at lunch and she said, "I sit with my people, at our table, taking care of business." I'm not saying she's definitely running numbers and loaning out money, I'm just saying I have no idea what happens in her life on weekdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. and she always has more cash than me. 
     If the schools would throw in a "Playground Cam" and a "Cafeteria Cam," they could name their own price. The biggest problem would be in families with multiple offspring:
     Dad: "Turn the channel back to Jenny. I think that senior is trying to smooch her."
     Mom: "Are you crazy? Timmy is about to get in a shoving match with a guy the size of Shrek". Besides, I've seen this Jenny episode before. She turns her head and all he gets is cheek."So the fact that the cameras would cost $5 billion isn't a bar to the plan. But I do sometimes wonder if the whole "what's wrong with our failing schools" mantra isn't out of hand.
     In The New York Times last week, William Reese, a professor of educational policy studies and history at the University of Wisconsin, wrote an enlightening piece about the birth of educational standards and standardized testing in Boston, about 160 years ago. The problems were the same then: low scores on the new tests, students seemingly woefully ignorant, and huge achievement gaps between rich and poor, black and white. The response: Blame the teachers.
     We think of schools as factories, and we demand they turn out well-educated students. When they don't, we tend to blame the teachers, but we don't talk about what teachers have to work with. A linen factory forced to use rough cotton can't make comfy sheets. A knife factory sent shoddy steel can't make great blades.   
     And schools sent students with a tiny vocabulary, no self-discipline, poor nutrition, terrible sleep habits, unstable home lives, and emotional, behavioral and developmental problems can't, generally, produce great scholars.
     We love to believe great teachers make great schools, and there's some truth to that. But there's a lot more truth to this: Great students make great schools, and a lot of what goes into being a great student has little to do with teachers.
     I believe we need to evaluate teachers with measurable results and observation. I have no problem with putting cameras in classrooms. But if you want to find out what's causing bad educational outcomes, particularly in the poor communities and schools we're having the least success with, put the cameras in these kids' homes, and on the streets they walk. That's where most of the problem is. And that's the reality show no one wants to look at.
View Article Online

Lane Filler is a member of the Newsday editorial board.   


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May 7
Executive Board Meeting

May 8
West Point Tour

May 21
General Membership Meeting

For information visit
RC 21 Website: http://ny.aft.org/rc21

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Academic Enrichment and Remedial Websit

Why did we do it?
     What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; for which we evolved a script of questions and got answers from over 150 subjects for two decades?
     We couldn’t answer the question in 1994 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational purposes we had to document our record now or lose the chance to preserve so many poignant accounts, funny stories and touching tales told by exemplary educators. We knew these dedicated public servants might shortly, for reasons yet unknown, be leaving Brentwood for good.
     So, we decided to let time sort out the details. We began scheduling appointments. We asked questions and listened saving for generations the essence of what it meant to have been an educator or employed, in this large public school system during the second half of the 20th century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all others; a diverse microcosm of America reflecting 124 districts on Long Island while simultaneously resembling thousands across the U.S. We’ve accomplished something here to be proud of. Whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few professionals in the State of New York or elsewhere have positioned themselves to share in the way we have.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting with a subject for an hour and giving them a hundred percent focused attention seemed somewhat daunting to a number of friends and colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined our repeated invitations to speak with us as they left careers or retired from full employment. Despite all assurances that we were not about investigative journalism or invading privacy, they deferred. Now, twenty years after we began, some are saying they may be ready. “Better late than never” we say. However, to all among you who were willing to share not only your classroom experiences and personal stories, but precious memories from your lives along with your fondest hopes for the future, we say “Thanks”. Thanks for allowing us to continue the process by paying it forward as we share these interviews with the Brentwood community and countless professionals and researchers near and far. Through an acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with Archivist Dr. Geri Solomon and The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University our History Project lives on in academia as well as in the collection of the Brentwood Public Library, thanks to Director, Thomas A. Tarantowicz.
   Enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org where you can watch and listen to segments from featured Interviews in the ROBS History Project Section on our Announcements Page each month. Return here to listen and learn again and again.


Barbara McNicholas

English and Reading
     Barbara remembers being hired her first year as a Reading Consultant for the taxable amount of $12,600. Until she became an English teacher, her position lacked any description, serving as she did, at the discretion of the building principal. She was one of the original Tier 3 teachers to retire from the district in 2011, at the age of 55.
     Serving for approximately 33 years in public education, she achieved her Master of Science degree in Reading, beginning her career in Brentwood in 1978. There she met and fell in love with Kevin Mc Nicholas her husband, when he was active as a Principal and while she taught in the district. They were married in 1982.
Barbara sat for this ROBS interview on December 9, 2011. 

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

Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
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


    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 5/17/13
     Jessica Fishenfeld, Grace Fishenfeld's granddaughter, performed Zerbinetta's aria from Ariadne auf Naxos. You can view the video here.

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