|| IN THE NEWS JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017
||BRENTWOOD STUDENT INTERVIEWED IN NEWSDAY
The following article appeared in Newsday this past December 2016. Students from various schools on Long Island were asked to comment on the most disruptive problem in their schools. The following is the response of one of the students who attends Brentwood High School:
Diego Montez, 19
Junior, Brentwood High School
The most disruptive problem Brentwood High School students face is violence. It is what disrupts students' willingness for progress, making students want to give up instead of move forward and succeed. It is what is changing our future society because it is students in schools who are being affected the most. Articles like the one in The New York Times headlined "They Keep finding Bodies: Gang Violence in Long Island Town Fuels Immigration Debate" make my classmates and me wonder whether we should stay in our school or change to another district for safety reasons. We also wonder if there is someone who would have the courage to fight it. Stopping the violence and influence of gangs in our community is an important issue that my class mates and I would love to see solved. However, some people may see the problem, but [because] they do not have the capabilities to fix it, it only hurts our morale. Hopefully, this issue does not grow bigger and stronger, leading to disruption in our future society. Therefore, we hope in 2017 our new president will be able to solve this problem.
Ann Schnal, who taught at Southwest Elementary School, passed away. The wake will be from 2:00 - 4:00pm on Monday at Chapeys Funeral Home in East Islip. Tuesday there will be a mass at 9:45am at St. Mary's in East Islip followed by processional to the crematory. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Elephant and Bees Project, Elephant Without Borders and the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee can be made.
Mike Zimmerman's mother, Yvette, long time Ross clerical, passed away on Wednesday, Jan 11. There will be a graveside service today at New Montefiore Cemetery but no time was given.
Mike Bannon, long time science teacher at the High School, passed away on Dec. 25.
We are sad to share that Jim Nanos' mother, Patricia Nanos, passed away. Jim is a retired science teacher who retired in 2007 from North Middle School.
The wake will be on Thurs. 2/23/17 at O'Shea Funeral Home
2515 North Jerusalem Road
East Meadow, NY 11554
2-5 & 7-9 pm
Mass on Fri. 2/24/18 will be at 10am. at St. Raphael RC Church
600 New Bridge Rd. East Meadow. Burial will follow at Calverton National Cemetery , Calverton NY
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim an his family.
Gail Kirkham, a member of ROBS, passed away on Sunday. Jan 1. Gail was a trustee on both the School Board and Library Board.
Condolences may be sent to her family c/o her mother. Mrs. Lillian Jackson
150 Lemon Street
Central Islip, NY 11722
May she rest in peace.
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|WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW
||Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in January and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for January
|January 2017 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in January
|All About January
January in History
|Jan & Feb
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RC 21 Website: http://rc21.ny.aft.org
|ROBS HISTORY PROJECT - John M. Sherin
|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.
THIS MONTH'S FEATURED HISTORY PROJECT
Math, Spanish, Bilingual
Kathy retired from the Brentwood District in 2005. Williams is her maiden name. Her married name is Ging given her by Timothy Patrick, Kathy’s husband. For much of her early life the people with whom she surrounded herself have known her by “Willy”, a nickname to which she admits still responding.
At the time of the interview she was still living in Huntington Station, the Hamlet where she grew up. Born September 14, 1950 in Huntington Hospital where her father was also born in 1920 she lives with her daughter and husband a short distance away. Her paternal grandfather hailed from Pennsylvania and on his side of the family claimed Welsh heritage. Her mother was born in Bayside. Both of her mother’s parents came from Poland. Her mom moved to Huntington when she was 2 years old and went through the South Huntington School’s where she met and married Kathy’s father. They had 3 children including Kathy’s two brothers, one younger and one older than she. She was married at 40 years and had her daughter a year later. Her only child was 17 years old at the time of our interview.
Timothy Patrick is project oriented and according to Kathy is handy at home. He has a creative and artistic bent and is passionate in the pursuit of several interests, like working in stained glass and attending theatrical productions. Kathy is and has always been a lover of dance which she pursued throughout her life until entering the Peace Corps. She picked it up again when she came back to the States after completing her two year commitment in Peru where she taught teacher’s in-service math and science methods courses to elementary school teachers. It had been the State University College in Brockport that prepared her for what she described as “the most exciting thing she has done in her life” with the possible exception of giving birth to her daughter.
Her earliest memory growing up in Huntington Station took place in Kindergarten. She was 5 years old when she was given the role of Goldilocks in a school play. She remembers the birth of her youngest brother and his being carried home from the hospital and laid on top of her mother and father’s bed.
After babysitting and through her mother’s influence, she got her first ‘paying’ job as a Student Aid in the Personnel Office of South Huntington Schools; a job she held all the way through school in the summers and during vacations until she graduated.
From third through eighth grade she attended St Hugh of Lincoln in Huntington Station. She attended Queen of the Rosary Academy in Amityville run by the Dominican Sisters. After graduation she attended State University of Brockport where she attained a BA in Math and a Minor in Education and History in 1971. After that she earned her Master’s from CW Post in Bilingual Education in 1977 and followed up with lots of in-service work.
Returning from Peru in September of 1973, she began teaching in Brentwood for 31 ½ years in September of 1974. “I loved teaching from the first day I started to the last day I taught.” Her worst day in the classroom occurred in the last year she was teaching when a fight broke out between two girls during 7th period. They were rolling around on the floor to her utter disbelief. “I taught math, I taught Spanish, I taught math in Spanish. My job in Brentwood kept changing and I loved it all.” First interview was with head of the Bilingual Department at that time, Niki Ninn. Steve Howland and Ruth Rosenthal followed up with her at East Junior High. It was Mid Year and the district was on split session, she was assigned 7th 8th and 9th grade, therefore she covered both sessions. She had what used to be called, bankers hours from 9 to 3pm. They were starting a new program and she had few if any materials. In that way her introduction reminded her of the experience she had survived in Peru and she was open and ready to accept any and all the help she received from Steve Howland and his staff at East. She found it to be a great place to work. Everyone was very welcoming, so when NYS made Spanish mandatory for all 9th graders sometime in the early 80’s she was assigned several Spanish classes in addition to her math classes. During her final three years at East she taught all Spanish classes. When the district opened the Freshman Center she left East and was assigned classes there with John Galaris as the Principal. It was at the Freshman Center she ended her career after approximately fifteen years. Her experience teaching in the inner city at Brockport definitely helped prepare her for her Brentwood years as also did her work with the Peace Corps in Peru where she arrived with minimal experience and no materials. Her OJT made her a better, more effective teacher as the years passed although she said she believed her abilities improved considerably having had benefit of both Brentwood and the Peace Corps.
Her purpose was to give kids a feeling of success and accomplishment from whatever place they were at when they began and that would include both subject matter and life skills.
She was active early on in her career with the BTA acting as Building Delegate and Chief Delegate for a number of years when she was at East. Among others she worked with Jack Zuckerman and Les Black. Being a happy place it was easy to be a Delegate at East because of the supportive administration where most problems could be solved at the building level. It was less the case at the High School for example where it was seen more “us against them”. Kathy was never afraid to teach however her classroom management skills changed over the years as her experience taught her how different kids required a different classroom structure to become successful.
She spoke of the incident that took place on May 14, 1983 when a former student held an entire class of students and their Social Studies Teacher Peggy Del Bene, hostage from approximately 7th period until 11 pm in the evening when the drama finally came to an end. Mark Neizewitz came to her door to direct the evacuation of her class from the building. She described events of the day and how she felt after Steve Howland had been grazed by a bullet and swat teams belonging to the Suffolk County Police Department defused the tragedy without an additional loss of life.
She didn’t miss getting up at 5:30 every morning or driving to school in the snow. Still continues to do mentoring for one or two days a week working with Brentwood kids. Cass Howard and Steve Rochester are also mentoring although that district program is at risk of ending as the number of first year teachers has diminished greatly. She would like to have seen the bilingual education program explained better to the wider community so as to better serve students in the program in order that they become successful as they continued their secondary educations. She would have liked to reorganize the entire program before leaving Brentwood, but as she said, that was not to be.
As a result of her mentoring she sees the need for a different kind teacher orientation prior to the first year of teaching. A great deal of the knowledge assumed to be present in the beginning teacher is just not there. She sees a great deal of confusion and many opportunities lost among new teachers with whom she has interacted. Given the increasing pressures of information technology and the need for 21st century classroom management strategies with which they lack familiarity, a ten month ongoing Orientation for teachers would not seem to be out of the question. Her advice to new teachers is always – Think first about the kids. Brentwood teachers are “Extremely hard working”. Brentwood students are “interesting and challenging”. Kathy is currently enjoying everything she is doing. She submitted her retirement papers in 2005.
You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Laub, Dr. Herb
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
View May 8, 2015 History Project Celebration Photo Album
View History Project Slide Show on YouTube
|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.