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Continuing to Enhance STEAM Education

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For the 2019-20 school year, the district is enhancing its emphasis on STEAM education with additional classes and activities.

The district has added two new STEAM classes at each of its three schools beginning this fall. Technology teachers and library media specialists at Birch, Chatterton and Levy Lakeside schools will teach these programs, rotating between each school’s STEAM lab, technology room and library on a project/lesson basis.

“These new student experiences were designed to encourage students to become increasingly independent as they create digital products that engage them in critical thinking, collaboration and authentic, real-world problem-solving,” said Merrick UFSD Director of Student Services Dr. Salvatore Dossena. Digital books, storyboards and videos are among some of the projects that students will create.
Grade K-2 students at all schools will engage in additional project-based technology learning in robotics, engineering, digital storytelling and multimodal literacy. Much of this will entail students using both iPads and Windows-based applications to program robots to perform more intricate tasks. Students will program a Code & Go Robot Mouse, Ozobots, and Dash and Dot robots based on their grade level/task.
Grade 3-6 students will further develop their skills in robotics and advance their coding skills, moving from drag and drop coding to Python. These grades will also learn how to design mobile apps. Fifth and sixth graders will also learn to code drones. While learning becomes more complex in the higher grade levels, students are engaged in meaningful problem-solving and coding activities very early on.

Additionally, all students will engage in digital citizenship lessons throughout the school year, at a developmentally appropriate level, to teach them how to have a positive impact on their digital footprint.

“While learning becomes more complex in the higher grade levels, students are engaged in significant problem-solving and coding activities early on,” Dossena added. “Every student is learning how to effectively and responsibly use technology in order to achieve or create something meaningful.”

Chatterton Moves Up

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Congratulations to this year’s sixth grade class at Chatterton School. Best of luck in middle school!

Birch Moves Up

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Congratulations to this year’s sixth grade class at Birch School. Best of luck in middle school!

Prints of a Bright Future

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As kindergarteners, current Levy Lakeside School sixth graders left their mark on Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dominick Palma’s office when he was first appointed as Superintendent seven years ago. At the time, they arrived at his office and with the help of their kindergarten teachers, teaching assistants and art teacher Alexandra Muzek, and placed their little handprints on his office walls. These students recently returned to place their sixth grade handprints on the wall.

Dr. Palma said the kindergarten handprints have served as a constant reminder to remain focused on benefiting the children of Merrick.  “The addition of their sixth grade handprints will serve to remind me of the growth that children make during their years with us,” said Dr. Palma. “As our district motto says, their time here marks the beginning of many bright futures.”

A Red Carpet Affair

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During the months of April and May, kindergarten students at Birch School learned how to write opinions about their favorite books, characters and authors. The results of their efforts were revealed at the annual Kvintessandro Awards, hosted by teachers Denise Kvint and Traci D’Alessandro.

The event, held on June 13, combined the spirit of the Caldecott Medal (held every year to recognize the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children) with the style and fanfare of the Oscars. Students were joined by their families and school administrators, who gathered in the school’s mini-gym to walk the red carpet, stop for pictures on the step and ultimately unseal envelopes to announce the winning books. Each kindergartener received a golden trophy for all of their hard work!