*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                                                                        APRIL 2015
April 10
General Membership Meeting

April 23
Executive Board Meeting

May 8
History Project Program

Meeting Dates

Calendar of Events
POSTED 4/1/15

March 26, 2015 -  I am reaching out once again as time is of the essence. WE all need to make contact once again with the NYS Senate delegation. I spoke with leadership of NYSUT and the NYSUT legislative department last night and it seems they are getting “COLD FEET” when it comes to standing up to the Governor and his proposals. Once again the Governor is proposing draconian reforms to APPR and refusing to release state aid runs until reforms to teacher evaluations are finished in June! We vote on budgets in May............…     PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE, use the attached script to contact your home senator and Dean Skelos and John Flanangan in ALBANY! This needs IMMEDIATE ACTION NOW!
     Things are going from bad to worse in Albany. Please help save your job, your profession and Public education. It takes 60 seconds to make a call!
     NOBODY has to do everything, if EVERYBODY does something!

Download Senator List and Phone Script:
Senators with Phone Numbers
Phone Script

POSTED 4/12/15
     The ROBS History Project, which started 20 years ago, now has an archive of 153 retiree interview videos. On May 8th we will present them to Dr. Geri Solomon, Archivist of the Long Island Studies Institute of Hofstra University and Tom Tarantowicz, Director of the Brentwood Public Library. A complete set of videos for preservation will be made available to film student, social anthropologists, Brentwood residents and former students for reference only.
     Each interview is unique and a part of this project. Each person who was interviewed, or a family member of a deceased interviewee, will receive a free DVD of their interview.
     Here you can view the list of all the interview subjects. Sadly, we have lost a number of our friends and colleagues or have lost touch with others. If you know someone on this list or a family member, please contact them and tell them about this special program.
     On May 8th, the ROBS General Membership meeting will start at 10:00 and the ROBS History Project Program will follow at 10:30 to Noon in the Brentwood Public Library Auditorium, 2nd Ave. & 34th St., Brentwood, NY.
     Refreshments will be served. Local dignitaries, Board of Education Trustees as well as Newsday, channel 12 and others have been invited. A group picture of all the recipients will be taken and posted on the ROBS website.
     If you plan on attending, you can RSVP to Carmela Criscione at tecnoquuen@aol.com. We hope to see you there.

POSTED 5/7/15

     Please visit the "Member Action Center" in the NYSUT NEWS section on the left side of this page. Here is where you can stay up-to-date with the latest news and where you can take action as a NYSUT Member. Please sign the current Pledge entitled, "Help Reclaim the Joy of Teaching and Learning!"

POSTED 5/7/15
     It is with deep sadness we inform you that Peggy Bloom passed away May 6 in Texas. They will cremate her in Texas and her ashes will go to Vermont where there will be a memorial service in a few weeks. Her birthday just passed. She was 82 years old.
     With Sympathies to those who knew Mrs. Bloom.

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.
Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in April and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for April

April 2015 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays

All About April
April in History

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.

Claudia DeBellis
Special Education

    Claudia Enid Élena DeBellis, was the first born (in rural Concord, New Hampshire) of Helen and Michael DeBellis. In her early years she attended Nursery School in Henniker, N.H. She told us of moving with family to a small apartment in Hempstead, Long Island where she experienced a traumatic adjustment secure in the knowledge that hers were the best parents in the world. She also took with her the early, loving memories of grandparents from both sides of the family. She recalled being her father’s lab assistant in the Biology class he taught at Concord High School next to her Kindergarten in Concord.      
     At the time of this interview on June 5, 2006 she was married to Jeff, living in Bayport and a mother to four children: Frank, Adrianna, Michael and Darryl. Claudia acknowledges the influence that Mrs. White, her 2nd Grade teacher, had on her life. She points to the influences reflected in her varied interests picked up equally from both her parents.
     When the family moved again, this time to Huntington Station (South Huntington), Claudia could actually walk to school. Prior to that she’d attended Nursery School in New Hampshire, and Kindergarten during a brief stay in Queens. In Hempstead she also experienced Kindergarten at the Fulton Street School and then on to South Huntington and a four room school house on Jericho Turnpike where she enjoyed first grade. In second grade she attended Birchwood Elementary school in South Huntington where she met Mrs. White. The school district opened a brand new school and all the children moved to Pigeon Hill Elementary where she started third grade. Next came Memorial Junior High School and Walt Whitman High School.In her Senior year the family moved to Huntington Village and she attended Huntington High School where she met Jeff. Then it was on to Hofstra University where she majored in Anthropology. During those years she also worked in Islip as part of a program for exceptional children. Her favorite subject at this time would have been reading.
   While she may have had lots of experience by the time she landed her first job in Special Education in Brentwood in 1971, she had no student teaching. It was sink or swim that first year. Prior to teaching she had babysitting jobs, worked as a cashier and as a Psychology Lab Assistant while attending classes as an undergraduate at Hofstra.
     Her parents had moved to Huntington Village during her senior year in High School. She met both husbands at different times in her life while they were going to school; one in college and the other when they were in high school. She graduated from Stony Brook University after having attended Hofstra and ended up with 90 credits and certification in Special Education and N-6, when, without an interview, she was hired by Howard Brodsky and Fran Forman because Brentwood so desperately needed teachers. She was later certified in : Physically Handicapped, English7-12 and Social Studies 7-12.
     Claudia loved teaching. She knew from day one that she could make a difference there. She described what she did in a word, "triage". Protecting, reading between the lines, listening, comparing her work to a MASH Unit. She was involved in the ongoing contracts, Book Club, BTA, Her father’s advice had been to join the union and become involved both for the teachers and for students and so she did.
     During her very first year, she made ½ what her friends in private industry had made. During that time she attended lots of meetings, was a union rep and walked a picket line. She was young at 21. It was all very confusing to a newly wed young person. Her father was her role model as was Guy DiPietro who she likened to a Renaissance Prince of a City, with a vision that was moving us all forward. She felt that the Zuckermans (Dot and Jack) were outstanding role models for young teachers. They brought their integrity, honesty, spoke the truth and gave good advice to all who sought their help.
     Her thirty-three years of service covered the period from 1971 -2005. She loved watching the children grow over the three years she had them. Of particular importance to her was attending a breakfast sponsored by the High School where she observed her 8th graders now in 12th grade, end their high school experience. She described the process as water washing over stones in the river. She finished her career in East Middle School.    
     What has she been doing since retirement entered her life? Why did she leave? The NYS Incentive figured large in her decision, and the growing amount of paperwork as well. NCLB was never fun and in her opinion not necessary. She enjoyed going to President Carter's Inauguration w/ the Green Machine, to Frost Valley with South Middle School, that in spite of the stitches she needed for injury sustained on a mountain climb. She helped organize a book club; "The Scarlet Sisterhood", Anne of Green Gables was her all time favorite read. She discovered teaching to be serious anthropology. Re/ the future of public education she said “smaller is better” w/ affiliations smaller class size is important. She discovered how crucial teacher preparation was, to new teachers she advises - be eclectic – learn as much as you can –bring music into the classroom, stress children’s needs at all times “I’ve loved being a teacher in Brentwood”. To Claudia, the movie ‘Teachers’ – epitomized her experience in Brentwood. “Everything in that movie happened here”, she said.    

      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

April 7
Executive Board Meeting

April 28
General Membership Meeting

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.

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