Schools: New Special Education Director; Honors for Music

South Huntington school teachers and staff drove around the district to greet students and their families

 

Eileen Kelly-Gorman has been appointed as the Elwood Union Free School District’s new executive director of special education and pupil personnel services, effective July 1.

 Kelly-Gorman is excited to get back to her roots. She began her Elwood career at John H. Glenn High School in 2003 as a special education teacher and for the past seven years, has served as director of math, science and technology.

“Special Education is really where my career started and it’s always been something that is very close to my heart,” she said. “It’s always been my passion and I’m very excited to collaborate with my colleagues and push the program forward.”

 Over the next three months, Mrs. Kelly-Gorman will work alongside her predecessor, Dianne Wilkinson, to ensure a smooth transition in leadership. Congratulations to Mrs. Wilkinson who is preparing to celebrate her retirement at the end of the school year.

   Music Honors for Harborfields

              Harborfields Central School district  has been designated as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM Foundation.

For the past 21 years, the designation has been awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify, Harborfields administrators answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support. The responses were then reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

              “Harborfields has a long tradition of supporting and promoting music education,” Dan Bilawsky, the district’s K-12 music department coordinator, said. “This is a true honor that speaks to the commitment of our entire community in regard to fostering and encouraging a well-rounded education for all.” 

Students who partake in music education often benefit from improved memory as well as cognitive, reading, speech, listening and social skills. Additional social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

              “When we think of the skills we want students to acquire before they enter the world, we think of the ability to problem-solve creatively, work well with others, work hard to achieve success, and appreciate the beauty in the world around them,” Oldfield Middle School choral and general music teacher, Jessica Lowenhar said. “This is what music education teaches every day.”

              Harborfields Central School district  has been designated as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM Foundation.

For the past 21 years, the designation has been awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify, Harborfields administrators answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support. The responses were then reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

              “Harborfields has a long tradition of supporting and promoting music education,” Dan Bilawsky, the district’s K-12 music department coordinator, said. “This is a true honor that speaks to the commitment of our entire community in regard to fostering and encouraging a well-rounded education for all.” 

Students who partake in music education often benefit from improved memory as well as cognitive, reading, speech, listening and social skills. Additional social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

              “When we think of the skills we want students to acquire before they enter the world, we think of the ability to problem-solve creatively, work well with others, work hard to achieve success, and appreciate the beauty in the world around them,” Oldfield Middle School choral and general music teacher, Jessica Lowenhar said. “This is what music education teaches every day.”

Coping Strategies in the Epidemic

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School guidance professionals – Carolyn Pollina, Lisa Sallie, Christiana Dobra and Janine Ferrante – hosted the first of what is expected to be several virtual presentations to discuss coping strategies and mindfulness activities during the Covid-19 epidemic.

              In the first presentation, they tackled such topics as time management, diet and exercise, virtual socialization and, for high school seniors, college decisions.

              To successfully manage time at home. Dobra recommended abiding by a schedule with designated time slots for work, homeschooling and relaxation. She reminded parents to set an alarm, shower and get dressed

              To help ease daily anxieties, Sallie advised students, teachers and parents to limit their intake of COVID-19 related news to an hour per day. Additionally, she recommended that parents confide in a friend or relative and suggested that students reach out to their school social workers or psychologist to help manage daily stressors.

              While gyms are closed, Ferrante reminded individuals that it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. She pointed to outdoor activities like bike riding and walking, and noted that many gyms are even offering online exercise classes. 

              For students, mandated school closures have postponed and canceled many important milestone events. For high school seniors that have not had an opportunity to visit college campuses, Ms. Pollina explained that many colleges and universities are now offering virtual campus tours. She also reminded students that school counselors are still available to help narrow down their college choices or navigate financial aid.

              To conclude their presentation, the counselors hosted a Q & A, during which they tackled topics such as regents, Advanced Placement and SAT exams. The team is planning to host more presentations in the near future and are encouraging students to submit questions to their emails.

              “We want to navigate through this with you,” Pollina said. “Know that we miss you all and we look forward to seeing you soon.”

 

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