*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                                                                          FEBRUARY 2013

No General Meeting

February 21
Executive Board Meeting
Meeting Dates

POSTED 2/2/13

The lollowing article appeared in the online edition of the Islip Buletin:

The beauty of life’s dramas
Story By:  LIZ FINNEGAN, Editor

31 January 2013
ISLIP—It’s not every day that an ordinary business becomes a part of something as renowned as the Academy Awards. But then there’s nothing ordinary about Racine’s Salon de Beauté and Spa, which is located at 341 Main Street in Islip, especially every third Monday of the month. That’s because since 2002, the salon has opened its doors on that day to women and even men undergoing cancer treatment to offer them any service on their menu free of charge. And as a result, it has brought comfort and companionship to hundreds of people who face a dreaded diagnosis, and the resulting unforeseen drama that takes over their lives.
Read more>>>>>>

View Monday at Racine Movie Trailer

POSTED 2/13/13

The lollowing letter was published in Newsday.com, Feb 12, 2013

"Letter: Liberal Arts Important to Career"
By Judi Weissman

     Kudos to Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz for addressing an educational trend that bodes poorly for America's future ["A liberal arts education is still relevant," Opinion, Feb. 10]. At a time when young people don't capitalize the pronoun "I" and are perfectly content to substitute "l8r" for later, the thought of diminishing the importance of liberal arts should scare all of us.
     As Rabinowitz reminds us, it is surely imprudent to push students "to pick a major based solely on perceived or projected career potential." I remember many years of telling my seniors to find something they love and then aim to do it for a living. Is this always possible? No, I understand that it is not. However, I strongly believe that when it comes to career advice, we should still do everything possible to avoid trying to put a square peg into a round hole. If that occurs, everyone loses.
     Thoreau famously reminded us that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Educators, parents, career counselors -- all of us -- should help young people identify and then pursue their personal passion rather than suggest they sacrifice their dreams for a career they never truly wanted. Buildings are strongest when their foundations are solid and well built. We should look at liberal arts the same way; it's the strong base that will uphold all future education. View Article Online 

Published in NYTimes.com
February 19, 2013
     A question came to mind as school bus drivers prepared to start their engines on Wednesday on 7,700 public-school routes in New York City and end their monthlong strike: Why are most school buses yellow?
     Why not some other color? Why not burnt sienna, like a crayon? Why not light-medium robin’s egg blue, like a jewelry box? Why not magma orange, like a Lamborghini?
     The answer is Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, who became known as the “father of the yellow school bus” for research he led in the 1930s.
     Dr. Cyr, who died at 95 in 1995, had traveled the country, surveying pupil transportation in an era when school buses cost $2,000 apiece but differed widely from manufacturer to manufacturer and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some states had safety standards; some left the task to local school districts. “In many cases, standards have been set up by more or less hit-and-miss methods,” according to an account that Dr. Cyr oversaw. Read More
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.

February 25, 2013
"Reclaim the Dream"
Special Retiree Regional Meeting

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

by Tom 0'Connor 2/04 

     Some of us, (all retired high school teachers who meet for breakfast each month) were talking on February 5th about a local news story involving a school district that was hiring a company to bring in drug sniffing dogs which, if I heard right, were to be used in school buildings to root out drug users.
     This news, of course, is important for several reasons, not the least of which is from the civil liberties perspective, which raises the question of how far school districts and their employees should involve themselves in crime detecting activities, a role for other government agencies. Also, this was not the first time I had heard about a school district being tapped for help in making the work of other governmental agencies successful. Back in the past — perhaps in the 1970's or 1980's — the administration of the high school where we taught decided we would participate in an effort to sign up 18-year-old male students for the selective service draft. I believe we had someone in the school administration who was serving as an officer in the reserves at the time and that perhaps he had a role in this effort. Anyway, the administration asked us (each teacher with a senior homeroom) to sign up eligible male students for the draft. We refused. The administration did nothing. Incident over. Another poker hand played out.
To return to the subject of dogs in schools, Brentwood Public Schools contracted with a company which was to supply highly trained dogs to patrol the school district's many buildings, ensuring their security and safety against all intruders. I recall an assembly we were all required to attend in the gym of the Sonderling High School Building. This was a demonstration of these specially trained and vicious animals. First, a handler came out onto the gym floor with a big dog on a chain. Then, the handler put a thickly padded sleeve onto his arm, released the dog, and then went through a series of moves, perhaps to demonstrate the dog's prowess and frightening nature. All this was quite convincing to any sane person (who probably would never think of trying to break into a high school in the first place). How this dog demonstration was taken by a few in the audience who might have considered it a challenge, we can only imagine.
     The upshot of the guard dog experiment, according to rumor, was that a short time after the company was contracted to provide the animals, a check was done of all the school buildings in the district. Only a few of the buildings were being guarded by ferocious animals like those used in the demonstration we saw in the gym. The other 20+ buildings?
They were inhabited nightly by big, friendly mutts, the kind that go up to a stranger and lick his hand. According to the rumor, this marked the abrupt end to the guard dog experiment. It was said that the custodians' union threatened to strike because of the nightly messes its members had to clean up throughout the district's buildings. There were other, more far-fetched rumors including one that had teenagers showing up at night outside the high school with air rifles, positioning themselves outside either end of the longest building, and alternately peppering the windows with shots, in an effort to cause the dogs to race back and forth from one end of the building to the other to investigate, causing them to become exhausted.
     Who can tell how this most recent "drug-sniffing dogs in our schools" experiment will result? We do know, though, how the watchdog solution ended many years ago in Brentwood. Not well. Perhaps we expect too much from man's best friend and too little from man, himself.

                             * * *

This article is from the Writers' Group collection.


No General Membership Meetings in Jan or Feb

February 5, 2013
Executive Board Meeting

March 21, 2013
Lower East Side Experience

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

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.


Shirley Hodges

English Teacher
      Shirley taught English in Ross and Sonderling High Schools from 1962 to 1980 when she retired from the Brentwood School District. She was interviewed on April 16, 1999. Shirley Marie Hodges of Oakdale passed away at the age of 92 in Louisville, CO on May 13, 2012. She died after a prolonged illness and was survived by three sons, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.     

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

Barbara Mascaro
Beverly Carpenter
Edward Hannan
Eleanor Baker Bazata
Evelyn Sekac
Florence Koehler
Franklin Spencer
Ivy Rosenthal
Jack Zuckerman
Joan Lange
Joseph Purcell
Karen Scharf
Ken Moss
Lorraine Sopp
Lynn Desoto
Marcy Fiore
Mike Fasullo
Patricia Stuhler
Pattie Monsen
Rich Curio
Richard Mundy
Ron Pace
Ruth Baker Bernhardt
Shirley Walker Lloyd
Wally Balinski


    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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