*Members: 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                                                                          SEPTEMBER 2012

September 14

General Membership Meeting
"Welcome New Members"

September 20
Executive Board Meeting
Meeting Dates

October 10
High Tea
Calendar Events
Information Flyer

POSTED 9/1/12
By Ellen Edelstein
     I have great news! Thanks to Tom Gernon, we have a website! The address is: www.brentwoodhis.org When you get a chance, please check it out and if you have any suggestions, or would like to submit a "Memoir" or a photo, please let me know.
     In addition, there's a PayPal button on the website so we can begin our serious fund-raising efforts. You don't have to have a PayPal account to use it - you can sign in as a guest. As most of you know, PayPal is a very trusted and secure method of transferring funds so I hope you will share this information with anyone who would like to help with the restoration of the old school house, and
other projects that may come up.
     Our next meeting will be on October 15 at 4:00. We're trying an earlier time to see if our attendance improves. Mary Koferl, from the Brentwood Library History Room, will be doing a presentation on The Women of Brentwood. I'll send a reminder when the date gets closer.

POSTED 9/1/12

OPENCULTURE.COM is a website that offers FREE Courses, Audio Books, Movies, Textbooks, Language Lessons and much more. One example is that iTUNES U - offers free courses from Stanford,MIT,Oxford and UC Berkeley,as well as MoMA and Library of Congress.
     You may want to check this website out.

POSTED 9/1/12
By Ellen Edelstein
     OK, friends. I'm finally ready to ask for your support for a project that means a lot to all of us Brentwood folks. I've become president of the Brentwood Historical Society and our major focus is to restore the Modern Times school house that's been sitting (sadly) on the Administration Bldg. grounds. We're going to need a lot of money for this restoration and we can't count on our bankrupt government for grants. If you're one of those people who've said "I wish somebody would do something about that!", here's your chance to help. Please visit our website, www.brentwoodhis.org, and use the Donate button, or send a tax-deductible donation to Brentwood Historical Society, 34 Second Ave., Brentwood, NY 11717. Please share this with everyone you can. Let's show the world our Brentwood spirit! Thank you!                 

POSTED 9/7/12
     On Wednesday, September 5, the 2nd Annual Brentwood High School Retirees Reunion was held at the View in Oakdale, NY. The following is a video of the event that was taped courtesy of John Sherin. The menu at the bottom of the video will allow you to also view it full screen or directly on YouTube. You can also view the 2011 reunion.

View on YouTube

View 1st Annual High School Retirees Reunion - September 2011

POSTED 9/1/12

     This is to inform you of the passing of Lucy Medina’s mother, Calixta Gonzalez.
Lucy, who is retired, was the Senior Secretary of the Registration Department at Special Services under the direction of Moe Green for many years.
      The wake for Calixta Gonzalez is at Romanelli’s Funeral Home, 89-01 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park, Queens.
     Viewing will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 28th and 29th – 4:00PM until 9:00PM Burial will be on Thursday, August 30th.
Condolences can be sent to:
Lucy & Victor Medina
181 Woodbine Ave.
Merrick, NY 11566

POSTED 9/9/12

Hi Friends and Colleagues,
     Earlier today I finished the YouTube video for the 2012 BHS Retirees Reunion. For those of you who were there and those of you who were not, I think you'll really enjoy this happy video.
     I'm already looking forward to next year's reunion. For our colleagues who travel to be here and might want to get the cheapest flights by reserving early, next year's date is Tuesday, September 3, 2013. We are having the reunion on Tuesday instead of Wednesday because Wednesday the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins.
     Have a wonderful autumn and a great year. Continue enjoying retirement and relaxation!
Enjoy the video; the link is below.
Warmest Regards,

BHS Retirees Reunion 2012 - YouTube


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.

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

September 4
Executive Board Meeting
NYSUT Office 10:15 a.m.

Sept 25
General Membership Meeting
West Islip Library
10:15 a.m.

September 27
Congressional Luncheon
Info and Registration

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

This is a selection from the Brentwood High School Writers Group Project written in 2003.

by Carl Fogliano

     The night before each new school year, I would suffer the same anxieties that many of my colleagues would be suffering. A new school year. Damn! I was just getting into summer. However, the money that looked like it would last forever, which I received in June, had long since dissipated. Like all of us, I was forced by the realities of finance to return for another year.
     The night before each new school year, I would suffer the same anxieties that many of my colleagues would be suffering. A new school year. Damn! I was just getting into summer. However, the money that looked like it would last forever, which I received in June, had long since dissipated. Like all of us, I was forced by the realities of finance to return for another year.  
     For five school openings, I noticed a particular administrative mistake that made me inwardly laugh hysterically. After the superintendent's address, another high ranking administrator would inform the staff as to which administrators would be in charge of directing either the Sonderling High School or the Ross High School. The administrator would inevitably read this information off a long prepared list. He usually first informed the staff of the Ross High School of the administrator assigned to that building. Mrs. Rosenthal would always be announced as being in charge of the Ross Building. When the administrator had finished informing the staff of these assignments, an assistant principal or dean would cry out, "A mistake has been made on the list! Mrs. Rosenthal will not be in the Ross Building, but will be an administrator in the Sonderling High School."
This same scenario continued each year for five opening days until our bureaucratic administrative staff caught their mistake and changed it on the assignment sheet.

What a way to start a new year! The terminology of all administrators on opening day was, "A year of challenge and change." It took them five years to change a yellowing piece of paper to read correctly that Mrs. Rosenthal, indeed, would be assigned to the Sonderling Building.
      During my teaching career, I honestly tried to give colleagues and administrators the benefit of the doubt. However, I feel, as many others do, that administrators should lead by doing. To keep repeating a known snafu for five years, as insignificant as this one was, did make me feel as though I was working in a Kafkaesque environment.
      We could all count on the fact that on the second day of school, Mrs. Rosenthal would be an Assistant Principal in the Sonderling High School.

by Nick Siciliano   1/05
     One aspect of my world view is that we do not have to accept the status quo. We have the ability to improve the situation. Yes, I am an idealist. In 1965, my second year of teaching at Brentwood High School, I got involved in the Brentwood Teachers Association (BTA), thanks to Dave Martz. These were the days when teachers sought recognition and the right to collective bargainin.  In New York City, Albert Shanker, the head of the teachers union, had been successful in organizing his teachers into a union.
     I became involved in the BTA just as the first president, Charles Gray, was ending his term of office. The next president would be Dave Martz. Dave invited me to become a member of the Executive Council of the BTA. In 1965, teachers had little power and were not treated fairly when it came to salaries and conditions of employment. I recall one Board of Education meeting in 1965 or 1966 when the Executive Council had to make a presentation to the Board regarding teacher salaries. I do not recall exactly what we wanted but I believe it was somewhere in the area of $500 to $600 per year. Dave made a forceful presentation to the Board of Education as to why the teachers deserved a raise. The Board discussed the proposal and agreed to give us an increase in salary. This method of seeking an increase in salary would change within a few years when we were granted the right to collective bargaining. In 1966, Governor Rockefeller created a Public Employee Relations Board, chaired by Professor George W. Taylor of the University of Pennsylvania to make legislative recommendations that became the Taylor Law. This law was a landmark for teachers as it allowed for teachers to form unions and for school districts to recognize and negotiate with the teachers' representatives. As you may be aware, the law also stated that it was illegal for public employees to strike.
     With the passage of the Taylor Law, the Brentwood Teachers Association was really a union, although we did not call ourselves a union. At this time we were affiliated with New York State Teachers Association and with the National Education Association. It would be five years later when New York State Teachers became part of the American Federation of Teachers, and we joined. Officially, we were now a union.
     When, in 1967 we were granted the right of collective bargaining and the right to form a union, things began to change. Some administrators saw this as the beginning of the end for teacher-administrator cooperation. They felt that a union made it difficult in being flexible with the teachers and now everything had to be done by the rule book.
      The Taylor Law affected how the BTA would operate in each school and on a district level. Each school building was encouraged to set up a teacher committee to meet with the building administrator to discuss issues of common concern. In the high school, the teacher committee became known as the Planning Committee. Ideally, our professional aim was to have the teachers share power in the running of the school. Administration would never agree to this revolutionary idea. Thus, the building teacher committees brought to the attention of the administration issues of concern to the teachers and tried to persuade them to take appropriate actions.
     On the district level, the BTA now had to negotiate a contract with the Board of Education which entailed not just salary but working conditions and other aspects of teaching. One result of this contract was to see that it was enforced in each building. One way we did this was by establishing a grievance procedure. In each building a grievance chairman was chosen and s/he would deal with complaints from teachers regarding violations of the teacher contract. If the issue could not be resolved at the local level, it would be referred up to the BTA District Grievance Chairman, who would try to resolve the issue.
Of course, the major concern of teachers was to receive adequate compensation. Under the Taylor Law, we met with representatives of the Board of Education—usually a member or members of Central Administration—to negotiate an increase in salary. In 1966 or 1967, the BTA negotiating team headed by Guy Di Pietro was able to negotiate a salary index tied to other districts in the Town of Islip. This was really a revolutionary type of salary system which is still with the District to the present day.
     By the end of the 1960's, much had been accomplished in the formation of the local teachers union.

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

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.


Karen Scharf
Assistant Coordinator of Language Arts and Staff Development

     Karen was our first interview in 2012. Relaxing at her Brightwaters home we learned of her birth in Mineola Hospital in1950, how until the age of five she grew up in Boro Park, lost her brother of six when she was 3½ and moved to Floral Park where she attended First Grade in St. Hedwigs. East Meadow was next and then to North Babylon for 2nd Grade. In1956 her family moved to North Bay Shore, (Greenwood Knolls) where she attended the first of many Brentwood Schools including South West Elementary, North East, South East, South Elementary, St Ann’s, West Middle and the High School. After graduation she matriculated at Suffolk Community with a Business Major and went to Dowling and changed to Education. As a Part Time student worker she was employed by the district while still in college and received mentoring over the years from the likes of Mary Vollar, Andy Caruso, Virginia Datre and Pete DiMento. Crediting Mr. Grey, her Junior High English teacher as an early hero, she admitted to missing people like Kate Corkery with whom she’s still in touch. Karen’s career spanned 38 years. She began as a Primary Teacher and finished as An Assistant Coordinator of Language arts and Staff Development from 2002 - 2008. Her decision to retire was made on the last day of her next to last year. Since then she’s been consulting for Scholastic Magazine, Eastern Suffolk BOCES and at many places around the country. Active and past President of the Suffolk Reading Council she’s made presentations for the International Reading Association in Atlanta, Chicago and Albany. She suggests approaching any position with empathy and acknowledges Brentwood teachers as being unique in that respect. “They give 100%, are dedicated, creative, with a great sense of community” As Tony Felicio used to say, we’re all part of an extended family. She recalled posing for a photo with the 500 staff members who graduated from Brentwood High School, all of whom shared memories and made an investment in the place where they started. The occasional negative press and ongoing economic situation makes things harder across the board but “we hang in there due to the spirit we have”. Brentwood In that way,  "hasn’t changed. “Our sense of community is important”. She never expected to be an Administrator but it happened. She thinks of herself as “a person who did the job and cared about it.”

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

Barbara Mascaro
Beverly Carpenter
Edward Hannan
Florence Koehler
Franklin Spencer
Ivy Rosenthal
Jack Zuckerman
Joan Lange
Joseph Purcell
Lorraine Sopp
Lynn Desoto
Marcy Fiore
Mike Fasullo
Patricia Stuhler
Pattie Monsen
Rich Curio
Richard Mundy
Ron Pace
Wally Balinski




    Classified Section
THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn DePlaza
  "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 9/23/12

A note from Marty Riger:
     Please see if you can contribute to this worthwhile cause. Elen Edelstein, a retired Sonderling teacher, is attempting to raise money to rebuild the Modern Times School Building that has been decaying on the high school property for a long time. I believe it is the first school building built in Brentwood. Elen is very enthusiastic about this project and needs our help. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. Open up the attachment to find out all the particulars.



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