*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
IMPORTANT DATES   IN THE NEWS                                                                        MARCH 2017
March 3
General Membership Meeting

Events Calendar

Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates

POSTED 3/1/17
     Just a reminder that our first meeting of the new year will be held on Friday, March 3 at 10AM in the Brentwood Library.
      It is that time of year again when we will be collecting donations for our Scholarship Fund. You can bring a check to the meeting or you may send your donations to: Nick Siciliano, 39 Jeremy Circle, Nesconset, NY 11767. Make your check out to ROBS and write scholarship on the memo line.  Any donation in any amount will be greatly appreciated.
     Members are also reminded to bring nonperishable food items to each ROBS general meeting to be donated to Island Harvest. Many students from the Brentwood Schools receive food packets from Island Harvest. ROBS also supports the community action group Pronto, that is in need of dry and canned goods, paper products and toiletries.

POSTED 3/14/17

     Andy Caruso, a retired reading consultant from the Brentwood School District, has published a new book entitled To Learn. He previously authored multiple books and articles on soccer coaching. His current book deals with learning principles and becoming a better leader. This serves as a resource guide for teachers, managers and those who inspire others. It provides tools for encouraging learning by students. Below is a sample of the first 4 pages of his book.

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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.

NYSUT Website

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

Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in March and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for March
March 2017 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in March
All About March
March 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. W
e 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.


Cheryl Castano
Math Teacher
     Cheryl Barbara Blum Castano taught in Brentwood for thirty two years She wouldn’t have traded one minute of her time there for any other career anywhere. “It was the best career anyone could ever have asked for” she said.. She retired in 2005. Her maternal grandfather lived to be well in his nineties. Cheryl remembered visiting him at his home in Brooklyn when she was in college. He kept pigeons on the roof. She remembers playing with them. He and his wife who both lived into their nineties survived to ninety two. Both were born in the United States. Her paternal grandfather arrived at Ellis Island during World War I. When asked what his name was he said Dropatch. A family story has it that because someone couldn’t spell it, his name was changed to Blum. That’s how she got her maiden name. He was an unforgettable character who early on had been a bootlegger.
      Her grandmother Hattie Booth was a good person. They were city people and didn’t drive to her new home in the country in North Belmore. Her father owned a Carvel business. The boxes of Good and Plenty that they brought on every visit were so much appreciated by her and her brother. Her grandfather said he was born in Austria. His youngest sister said she was born in Poland. They were probably both correct. Her great grandmothers father had been a NYC policeman. She had pictures of him wearing a big tall round hat such as those we saw in the old silent movies.      
     Cheryl was born in Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. They were living in the East New York section of Brooklyn on Bradford Street at the time. Her parents met when her father came back from the service in WW2 and moved in with his father who lived directly across the street from Cheryl’s family. Born in 1949, she was the first born in her family and a member of the baby boomer generation. Thirty or forty years later when she was having a conversation over dinner with Barbara LaPatina she learned Barbara was born on the same street at about the same time. Their parents could even have known one another. 
    Her earliest memory was of her father driving his own cab in New York City. He and his brother owned a medallion. Today few people do because they’re so very expensive. She remembers sitting in the Checker Cab which had jump seats. The cars were so big there was room to add a couple of jump seats making room for a total of five or six people if needed.      She has lived in the house in North Belmore for almost 18 years Her parents purchased the house “in the country” for $17,990 in 1957 when she was 7 years old. It was a great place to grow up. Eventually she moved into her own apartment with her husband when she was twenty three.
      Her son Steven Michael was 27 and her daughter Melinda Hope (Mindy) was 24 at the time of her interview. Michael went on to become a successful Network Engineer in Washington and is well situated in his career. Melinda was completing certification to become a math teacher when we spoke. She was also active and proficient in drama and stage production and competitive dance. She had already completed her Master’s Degree.
   Mr. Greenblatt was a teacher in Mephem High School whose passion and example as a role model changed the direction of Cheryl’s life. He was her coach. She regrets never having had the opportunity to tell him so. Once upon a time she worked in the cafeteria at Oswego. It was her first paying job. She got fired once from a waitressing luncheonette summer job she just couldn’t handle. Social Studies was a least favorite subject. Math appealed to her. She led us on a tour of every school she had ever attended. We talked about her favorite seasons and favorite foods from her life then and now.      She graduated from college in 1971 and sent resumes to many districts. She approached Bill Kiriluk, Principal of North Jr High in 1973 and was hired as a Geometry and Algebra teacher. Charlotte De Champs made a bold move of giving her ( as a woman), a Computer Class where she shared that assignment with Mike Campanelli. There she taught all different levels of Algebra at North Jr. for 30 of her 32 years. When she was asked to move to West Junior High she did so happily and she loved it.
   Her purpose in the beginning was teaching curriculum. As the years went by she realized her true purpose was teaching not subject matter but children. She became a cheer leading coach and spoke with us about her respect for Bill Lane a Social Studies Teacher and his passionate love of poetry. He once wrote a poem he dedicated to Cheryl which she treasures to this day. Reggie Poquette was a character she recalled. She told us a story about his calling her husband and then hanging up when Cheryl answered. He wanted to ask him to be a Brentwood High School substitute shop teacher but when Cheryl answered the phone he became so flustered he immediately hung up the phone. He was unaware they were cohabitating. He kidded her about it for years thereafter.
     She was personally involved with her students. She loved them and when at once everyone seemed to be retiring, she became aware that she had become a senior member of her department and that eventually her career would come to an end. That did happen one day in June 2005 when she submitted her papers.
    She is enjoying her new life with the freedom it brings to do as she will without waiting for ‘the bell’. She misses her time as Student Council Advisor. She shepherded a talent show and helped write a new Constitution for Student Council – one word at a time with Principal, Tom O’Brian. She changed Homecoming. From 1999-2000 school spirit was at its greatest. She and those students could not wait to wake up in the morning and get to school. She spoke about memories of Stanley Yankowski, High School Principal as a supportive professional with unbiased commitment. Her beginning salary in Elmont Memorial high school was $ 8,600 per year before taxes.     The arthritis in her knees wore her down and forced retirement upon her. Changes in district management policy and the lack of cohesiveness frustrated her. She was known as a favorite teacher from 1999 – 2000 but by the time of her interview she was looking for a new identity. She was no longer needed as the mother she had once been in the same old way.

Cheryl Castano
     What are three changes she’d like to see take place in public education? First and foremost was her wish that students and teachers alike learn to have and show respect for one another. Schools might thereby become the role models needed by the country as a whole. Cheryl spoke of Peter Galindes, former Math Department Chair, who was a living example of such intelligence and respect. Secondly, she would have us re-examine the curriculum for needed changes. Instead of our current focus on academics she pointed out that kids don’t know how to think anymore. Simple arithmetic leads to reason. Young people are used to getting instant answers. They Google information and Go Ask Jeeves instead of doing research themselves. She would emphasize writing and Learning How to Learn, How to Choose, How to Think, How to Relate. Teachers she said, “are not the enemy. We sincerely want to help” She spoke of the need for building trust between students and teachers.
   Administrators, she believed ‘shouldn’t have access to test results’. ‘Teachers should be judged on what they do everyday not on what kids do’. Her advice to new teachers was simple, honest and straightforward- “Be human.” She wanted to be remembered as a risk taker who was not afraid to be vulnerable and was willing to get beat up for doing what was right. She is grateful for her career in Brentwood. It changed her. She is no longer the person she was when she began. The diversity and family experiences in this community have elevated and educated her as much as she has been able to teach the young people for whom she was responsible. She loved every minute of her 32 years during which she was dedicated to the people of the community of Brentwood. She would have preferred to be nowhere else and expresses only gratitude for her Brentwood Teaching Career.

You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Balinski, Wally
Baumann, Phyllis
Brooks, Ronda
Carey, Dick
Carpenter, Beverly
Cerullo, Peter
Corkery, Florence
Corkery, Kate
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
Fornwald, Calvin
Hannan, Edward
Helman, Harriet
Hodges, Shirley
Kazandjian, Elmon
Kirschner, Marge
Koehler, Florence
Lane, William
Lange, Joan
Laub, Dr. Herb
LeBron, Bernard
Martz, David
Mascaro, Barbara
McNicholas, Barbara
Monsen, Pattie
Moss, Ken
Mundy, Rick
Murray, Alma
Nanos, Jim
O'Conner, Thomas
Pace, Ron
Pepine, Harriet
Purcell, Joseph
Rosenthal, Ivy
Rosenthal, Ruth
Salerno, Hank
Scharf, Karen
Sekac, Evelyn
Sheele, Raymond
Silverman, Anita
Sopp, Lorraine
Spencer, Franklin
Stuhler, Patricia
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Vannoy, Evelyn
Veech, Chris
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
Wharton, Mercedes
Williams-Ging, Kathleen
Wolfe, Jeffrey
Zuckerman, Dorothy
Zuckerman, Jack   

View May 8, 2015 History Project Celebration Photo Album

View History Project Slide Show on YouTube

March 21
General Membership Meeting

RC 21 Website: http://rc21.ny.aft.org

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 Website

              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 3/11/17

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
     I am sorry to inform you that Joe Padilla, BHS psychologist, has passed away. I received the email below from Christine Visconti; Chris said that she was told he was being waked at Grant's in Brentwood on Sunday. I will send out more information once I receive it. If anyone has additional details, please send them to me.
Thank you.
Judi Hearst Weissman