Fire Destroys Playground at Woodhull Intermediate School


A fire destroyed the playground at Woodhull Intermediate School on Memorial Day.

A fire destroyed the playground at Woodhull Intermediate School on Memorial Day.

The Huntington Fire Department responded to a fire that destroyed the playground behind the Woodhull Intermediate School on Woodhull Road, on Monday, May 26, 2014, at about 7 p.m. Two Huntington Fire engines responded and firefighters quickly had the blaze extinguished. There were no injuries reported and there was no damage to the school building. Units were under the command of Huntington Fire Chief Robert Berry, supported by Assistant Chiefs Jesse Cukro, Robert Conroy and Brian Keane. Suffolk Police were also dispatched to the scene.


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School Budget and Proposition Passes; Full-Day Kindergarten Restored

Jen Hebert and Adam Spector are re-elected to Board of Education.

Jen Hebert and Adam Spector are re-elected to new three-year term on Huntington’s SD 3 Board of Education. 

Huntington School District residents went to the polls on Tuesday and overwhelmingly approved the proposed budget and capital reserve fund proposition and re-elected Jennifer Hebert and Adam Spector as trustees during 15 hours of voting in the Huntington High School lobby

The $117,614,370 spending plan for the 2014/15 school year passed, 1,552 – 358. A proposition seeking release of $2.65 million in Building Improvement Fund monies for various renovation and repair projects also coasted to passage, 1,547 – 322. The capital reserve proposition will have no impact on the tax rate because the funds already exist in a voter approved account.

Incumbent trustees Jennifer Hebert and Adam Spector ran unopposed for re-election to new three year terms that will commence on July 1 and run through June 30, 2017.

Slightly more than 1,900 residents cast ballots in the election, substantially below last year’s turnout of 2455 and the turnout in 2012 when 3,018 residents voted. There are more than 22,657 residents registered to vote in the district.

“I am thrilled for the Huntington school district community,” said Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky about the voting results. “This budget will allow us to restore full day kindergarten, as well as maintain or enhance many district programs, K-12. We are also excited to commit the capital reserve funding to technological infrastructure and high school parking lot upgrades that are so sorely needed.  A tremendous ‘thank you’ to all involved!”

The budget approved by voters carries an estimated tax rate increase of 2.31 percent. The average home in the district assessed at $3,622 is projected to see a tax increase of $183.64 before STAR program savings are factored in. However, with the district’s total assessed property values running much higher than budgeted, school officials are hopeful the actual tax rate will be set much lower than estimated when trustees take final action in the early fall.

The vote brought to an end a budget process that saw the district work to limit the spending increase while at the same time returning kindergarten to a full-day program after three years of half-day status. Spending will rise 2.53 percent from the current year, due mainly to increases associated with the hiring of eight additional kindergarten teachers along with higher costs for bus transportation, health insurance and the state retirement system.

The state’s continuing fiscal difficulties have resulted in a net state aid reduction of more than $10 million in the Huntington School District over the past five years. The loss of such a significant amount of aid, coupled with the state’s property tax cap, has forced district officials to reduce expenditures wherever possible.

Re-elected to a second term on the Huntington School Board, Mrs. Hebert has an extensive background in education as a parent volunteer and teacher. She grew up on Long Island and graduated from The Wheatley School in the East Williston School District in 1986.

Mrs. Hebert attended Tufts University in Boston, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 and a Master’s degree in 1991. Prior to returning to Long Island, she worked as a public school kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts for several years. Since settling here she has been teaching pre-school at St. John’s Nursery School in Cold Spring Harbor, as well as devoting countless volunteer hours to the Huntington School District as a PTA president and treasurer.

Mrs. Hebert and her husband Jamie have lived in Huntington for 17 years. Together they have three boys attending district schools. She has served on various district committees through the years, including the Long Range Planning Committee.

Widely known as a creative thinker who enjoys learning about all aspects of the district and its educational program, Mrs. Herbert believes in listening to all sides of every issue. She is particularly passionate about public school education and believes the learning experience offered to Huntington students should be the finest in the nation.

Mr. Spector was also re-elected to a second three-year term. He has been serving as vice-president of the Huntington School Board. A district resident for more than two decades, he lives with his wife, Meredith and their children Jackson and Jamie, who attend our public schools.

Mr. Spector spent many years in the field of corporate technology management in New York’s financial district where he worked for some of the world’s largest banks. He helped develop and manage two separate technology consultant firms, including one focused on serving families and small businesses in the Huntington area. Most recently, he has focused his energy on his family, school district and community.

After growing up in Old Bethpage, Mr. Spector attended Binghamton University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Binghamton’s School of Management.
An active participant in the school district, Mr. Spector serves on the district’s audit committee and has a lengthy resume of PTA executive leadership. He has coached youth soccer and regularly attends and volunteers at community and school events.

Mr. Spector has been particularly interested in helping the district provide cost-effective educational programs to students while continuing to offer a diverse set of programs allowing for an enriching school experience.

Source: Public Information Office

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Huntington Sensational in Media Arts Show


 It’s been a powerhouse for many years, but the Huntington High School photography program appears to be reaching new heights. Six student-photographers won 20 Best in Show Awards at the Long Island Media Arts Show at Five Towns College in Dix Hills.

“As always the Huntington High School students shined,” said teacher Pamela Piffard, who heads the photography program. “We won such an impressive number of Best in Show Awards that I was speechless. I am so happy my students were recognized for all of their hard work and were able to hear such great feedback from the professionals on hand.”

Six Huntington student-photographers participated in the show, which typically draws elite artists from across the region. The Huntington contingent included seniors Zachary Burden, Jane Donovan, Ismael Valentyne Martinez and Sarah Mosden and juniors Kaitlin Dayton and Grace Dreusike.

“At the Long Island Media Arts Show I learned that feedback is very important for a photographer or for anyone in an art career,” said Ms. Donovan, who won an astounding eight Best in Show Awards. “The things that the judges say about your art can help further your career, because it makes you grow as an artist and helps you consider other points of view.”

Mr. Burden has long been one of Huntington’s top young photographers and it came as no surprise that he captured five Best in Show Awards. “My favorite part of the Long Island Media Arts Show was meeting other artists, whose work I have been a fan of and seeing people who I have met in past years at the show,” the teenager said.

Ms. Mosden won three Best in Show Awards at this year’s event in recognition of her stunning work. Ms. Dayton collected two Best in Show Awards and Ms. Dreusike garnered one Best in Show Award.

 “I learned that no matter what age a person is, they can shoot amazing photographs if they do the best they can and put effort into their work,” said Mr. Valentyne Martinez, who won a Best in Show Award. “The show made me realize why I like photography. It is a way for me to express myself and show my emotions. It was an experience that I will never forget.”

Ms. Piffard brought many of her photography students to the show to browse through the work for motivation and to generate ideas. Junior Ariella Danziger said her favorite aspect of the exhibit “was seeing the different artwork from around Long Island and learning how other people are inspired.”

Mr. Valentyne Martinez said he especially enjoyed being able to see the work of so many talented young photographers. “It was an amazing privilege being selected to participate and show my work,” the senior said. “Seeing everyone’s faces brought joy to me because photography is important to all of us.”

here was something for everyone at this year’s show. “My favorite part of the show was the videos,” junior Isabelle Harman said. “They were fun to watch and really interesting.”

For more information about Huntington’s photography program contact Ms. Piffard

Source: Public Information Office

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Modern Version of Oz Opens this Weekend at Cold Spring Harbor High School

Please click to enlarge photo.

Please click to enlarge photo.

This version of “OZ” is a modern twist on the classic tale; at once both funny and heartfelt. This beautiful play, performed by the Cold Spring Harbor High Drama Club, opens this weekend. Performances are on Friday, November 22 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, November 23 at 7pm; and Sunday, November 24, at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, 82 Turkey Lane, Cold Spring Harbor.

Tickets are $10 at the door–  $5 tickets for children sixth grade and under who come dressed in costume as their favorite character from The Wizard of Oz. 
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No STEM Funding for Huntington School District

IMG_2377The Huntington School District #3 will not be among recipients for a large federal grant for STEM Education. It had sought close $11.6 million over a three-year period. According to Superintendent James Polansky, this does not compromise the STEM program, which began this past September at the re-opened Jack Abrams School. The program will be moving forward without the funding.

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, announced the award of $89.8 million in Magnet School Assistance Program grants 27 school districts in 12 states.

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