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Our mission is to inspire all students to be confident, passionate learners with the courage and skills to lead their lives with integrity, while contributing to our global community with creativity and compassion.

North Bellmore Teams Dominate in Stock Market Game

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The North Bellmore School District boasted the top three teams from Long Island in the 2021 Stock Market Game, sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation. Students participated from September through April in the simulation in which they invest fictitious money in real stocks.

Fifth and sixth graders in the ALPHA gifted and talented program, as well as sixth graders from Martin Avenue Elementary School, competed in this year’s game. North Bellmore had 16 of the 158 teams, including the first-, second- and third-place finishers. Teams were ranked based on their percentage of return above or below the growth of the S&P 500. Each team started out with $100,000.

Gayle Angert, sixth grade teacher at Martin Avenue and the district’s ALPHA teacher, said North Bellmore students have been participating in the Stock Market Game for the past seven years as an introduction to financial management. Since this year’s ALPHA program is held virtually after school, students from those teams met via videoconference.

The first-place team, from the ALPHA program, consisted of fifth graders Lily Boehm, Sofia Galarza, Emma Jaskowiak and Dahlia Petroro from Saw Mill Road Elementary School and Scarlett Wilson from Park Avenue Elementary School. They finished with a total of $176,455 and a 55% rate of return above the S&P 500 growth.

Ms. Angert noted how close the top two teams were, with only $800 separating them. The second-place team, also from the ALPHA program, consisted of sixth graders Kamil Chaudhary and Brian Niedfeld from John G. Dinkelmeyer Elementary School and Elias Katz and Erik O’Sullivan from Martin Avenue. Their rate of return above the S&P 500 was also close behind, at 54%.

Third place went to a team of sixth graders from Martin Avenue – Ryan Ascher, Elias Katz, Matteo LaSpina and Nicholas Pascalli. They finished with $153,404 and a 29% rate of return above the S&P 500.

Among the 2,022 teams from all of New York State who competed, the three teams ranked 17th , 18th and 27th, respectively.

“Our savvy traders swept the top three sports out of more than 150 middle school teams,” Ms. Angert said. “Every team had different strategies. We are so proud of all of the participants.”

From the first-place team, Lily, Sofia, Emma, Dahlia and Scarlett said the experience was a lot of fun and they learned about the importance of teamwork. They had to come together to make important decisions including what stocks to buy, how much to buy and how to spend their money wisely. The group chats were often spent analyzing information to see how their investments were going.

Many of the teams made their money from Game Stop. Erik noted that his team bought 1,000 shares at $11, and they would have actually made even more if they sold their stock later, which could have put them over the top. One of the rules of the Stock Market Game is that teams could invest no more than one-third of their money in a single stock, so they had to diversify.

“Every day we would check to see how the stocks were doing,” Erik said. “It was exciting.”

The young investors learned how to identify market trends and how current events affect the financial world. They also explored careers in the financial industry and how the stock market can work for them as adults for investment opportunities.

“It was a really good learning experience,” Matteo said. “It helped me with teamwork because you had to communicate with your team to decide what is a good stock and what is not a good stock.”

Exploration at the Center of Learning for Kindergartners

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Center time is a staple of the daily routine in kindergarten classes at Park Avenue Elementary School, supporting play-based learning. This year, teachers Anne Griffin and Melissa Reime have modified the hands-on activities for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, to minimize sharing of resources.

Ms. Reime explained that prior to the pandemic, each table would get a “morning tub” with items that students could share with their friends. This year, each child gets his or her own individual bag filled with hands-on play activities that are developmentally appropriate for kindergarten students.

“It allows students to play and work on their creativity and imagination as well as their physical, cognitive and emotional strength,” Ms. Reime said. “It also allows students to explore, create and communicate with their peers.”

The teachers have a wide variety of materials to give students, allowing them to change up the activities and create new learning experiences for children. Among the resources are blocks, buttons, colorful pom poms, Legos, linking cubes, magnetic letters and numbers, pipe cleaners, puppets and small puzzles.

Stringing beads and putting pattern blocks together allows children to work on their fine motor skills, and they form letters and numbers with Play-Doh. Literacy development takes place through independent reading and short writing prompts.

Ms. Griffin said that the purpose of center activities is for children to work independently on a variety of academic and development skills. They participate in a few different centers every day, each lasting 10 to 15 minutes.


Newbridge Students Learn to Love the Earth

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Students grabbed clipboards and pencils and headed outside on April 23 for an Earth Day scavenger hunt around Newbridge Road Elementary School.

Fourth graders in Dawn Teti and Caitlin Pugliese’s class learned about ecosystems and renewable and non-renewable resources in science in advance of their scavenger hunt. Students had to find certain objects that corresponded to these topics.

For ecosystems, they were on the lookout for pollinating creatures, such as bees and butterflies, and also searched for blooming flowers. They also easily found renewable resources, like the sun and the wind, and noticed machines that use fossil fuels for energy. Fourth graders did their best to find as many of the 12 items on their scavenger hunt lists.

Second graders in Jennifer Campbell’s class had discussions about the different acts they could take to help save the planet, such as recycling. They also discussed the resources that plants need for survival. On their scavenger hunt, each student picked up a blade of grass, a leaf and a rock. Back in the classroom, they then measured these objects.

Kerri Maxwell’s second graders made bird feeders from pipe cleaners and Cheerios, which they hung outside of the school. They also planted Shasta daisies in small pots filled with soil, which they will keep in school for a few weeks to provide with sunlight and water. With the right amount of love and care, Ms. Maxwell said the flowers should bloom just in time for the children to bring home for Mother’s Day.


Reusing and Reimaging at Dinkelmeyer

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Reducing trash and reusing materials was an Earth Day lesson for first grade students at John G. Dinkelmeyer Elementary School, whose projects with recycled materials showed imagination and ingenuity.

Students in Ellen Tournour’s class brought in recycled materials from home, such as aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, empty coffee pods, egg and milk cartons, plastic cups and more, then turned those objects into something new. Robots were a popular creation, but children also made animals and invented new toys and games.

As part of the project, students had to think like engineers. Before building, everyone came up with a design plan and drew a sketch. Ms. Tournour noted that the Earth Day STEAM projects took a few weeks to complete, and students looked forward to working on their creations after lunch every day.


A Cause for Paws at Saw Mill

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A pet supply drive at Saw Mill Road Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District had a personal connection for many students, whose family pets were rescued from animal shelters. That’s why it was no surprise when two big boxes were filled with donations during the two-week collection drive hosted by the student council.

Students were asked to donated items for Last Hope Animal Rescue in Wantagh including brushes, cat and dog toys, paper towels and pet shampoo. Student council members, under the direction of adviser Melissa Mignoli, made posters to hang throughout the school to raise awareness about the drive, which ended on March 26.

Fifth grader Sofia Thabet remembers going with her family to the shelter to get their dog, so she wants to bring happiness to animals there who are waiting to be adopted. James Jaskowiak’s family brought home a Labrador mix from a shelter about five years ago and recently adopted a poodle mix.

“Even though they’re in a shelter and don’t have a family yet,” James said. “We want to make them feel loved.”