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Mission Statement

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.

Young Artists Get Wise at Martin Avenue

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When art teacher Jill Emmer showed kindergartners a completed drawing of an owl, she knew the task at hand might seem a little overwhelming at first. But 45 minutes later, the young artists from Martin Avenue Elementary School were admiring their own masterpieces.

Through a guided drawing activity, Ms. Emmer made the project quite simple. She took them through the process step by step, first drawing the outline of the owl’s body, and adding eyes, a beak, legs, wings and feathers. By taking it one line at a time, kindergartners could mimic their teacher’s drawing, which helped build their confidence as artists.

After completing the drawings in pencil, they then traced over all of the lines in black crayon. From there, students could let their imaginations run wild and color in their owls however they wanted. Placing texture plates under their drawings, every project was unique with different colors and patterns.

A Show of Support With a Splash of Pink

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To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month and show their unity in the fight against the disease, students and staff throughout the North Bellmore School District wore pink on Oct. 15. Their bright wardrobes made quite an impactful statement in showing their support for all who have battled breast cancer.

The district’s “Pink Out” day was a huge success as pink shirts could be found in every classroom. Students also found other ways to incorporate the color into their outfits including hair scrunchies, pants, shorts, socks and even face masks. Teachers and staff also made donations to the American Cancer Society, filling up jars at each elementary school.

Nutritious and Delicious Is Goal of Food Services Staff

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Lunch time is an important part of the school day, and it is where the cafeteria staff of the North Bellmore School District shines. This year, National School Lunch Week is being celebrated from Oct. 11-15 and the district is recognizing the valuable staff members who ensure that children can enjoy good, nutritious meals.  

The food services staff has five cooks, one at each elementary school, who arrive before the school day even begins. They prepare hundreds of meals that meet guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New York State Education Department’s Office of Child Nutrition. Those regulations dictate everything from calorie and sodium counts to portion sizes and color of vegetables.

Additionally, the staff includes six part-time food service helpers, who assist in food preparation and service.

Food Service Manager Helena McKenna said that in preparing the district’s monthly lunch menu, feedback from the food service staff is very valuable, because they are in schools and interact with the students. They can give insight on what the children most enjoy. Pizza and brunch for lunch are among the more popular days.

“The staff knows the kids and they treat the students here like family,” Ms. McKenna said, noting that there are always several options every day, including a hot lunch, a salad or sandwich and a bagel bag.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many changes to school lunch procedures over the past two years. No longer do students move through the serving line adjacent to the kitchens, but now lunch orders are taken every morning and meals are individually packaged in bags or boxes, depending on the items.

“The staff has had to make a lot of adjustments,” said Jacqueline Rehak, assistant superintendent for business. “The team have been superstars. I commend them and congratulate them on everything they’ve done.”

Ms. Rehak praised the staff for being so flexible and reliable while all these changes have taken place. Many kitchen staff members have been with the district a long time and had to quickly learn procedures that altered the way things have been done for decades.

Lunch and recess assistants are also integral members of the staff, as they assist with many functions that keep the cafeterias running smoothly. The 57 assistants, plus substitutes, deliver lunches to children and ensure that they are socially distanced while eating. Because lunch was eaten in classrooms last year, they also give reminders about cafeteria etiquette, especially kindergartners and first graders who have never eaten in there before.

Ms. McKenna and Ms. Rehak said that because the food is cooked on site, it is always fresh. This is the second year that school lunches have been free, as the district is taking advantage of federal child nutrition funds, and the number of students who buy lunch is very high. This is a testament to the food services staff, they added, who put much care into their work to make sure the food is healthy and, of course, tastes good.  

Students Have Hearts, and Shirts, of Gold

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It’s not every day that yellow shirts are the predominant fashion choice at a school, but on Sept. 30, students in the North Bellmore School District were united in the fight against pediatric cancer by making a statement with their wardrobes.

The district hosted its annual Go Gold Day on the final day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Students and staff incorporated gold, yellow and neon green into their outfits in many different ways. Many children had gold shoelaces and beaded necklaces to show their support for the cause. Others wore shirts with messages like “Be Bold, Go Gold” and “In September, We Wear Gold.”

North Bellmore teachers also made donations to Solving Kids Cancer, which focuses on the development of new treatments for aggressive childhood cancers.

Facilities Staff Keeps Buildings Clean and Safe

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When the five elementary schools in the North Bellmore School District open up each morning, it’s because of the dedication of the approximately 40 members of the Facilities Department. Oct. 2 is National Custodian Day and the district’s staff of cleaners, custodians and maintainers deserve recognition for their splendid upkeep of the buildings and grounds.

Much of their work takes place in plain sight, while a lot is done behind the scenes. Daytime cleaners and custodians handle a wide variety of tasks from cleaning up the cafeteria after lunch to setting up furniture in classrooms, offices and common spaces. They also handle minor building repairs.

To keep schools clean, safe and running smoothly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district hired additional cleaners who work daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their job is to disinfect all high-touch surfaces in the schools such as door handles, handrails, light switches and water bottle-filling stations. They also clean classrooms while students are out to lunch and recess. Facilities Director Richard Russo said the cleaners have set routes and when they reach the end, they go back and start over.

Nighttime custodians do thorough cleanings of the buildings and also disinfect the classrooms using electrostatic sprayers.

The district’s staff of maintainers are responsible for upkeep of the grounds, which totals about 61 acres. They also are also tasked with building repairs and upgrades. The staff of maintainers includes skilled carpenters, electricians and plumbers, who can do small and mid-sized jobs such as repairs and upgrades to the HVAC system and the installation of window air conditioning units. This summer, they built two small offices in the Martin Avenue Elementary School library. Last year, they upgraded outside lighting around the schools.

Having this work done in-house not only saves money, but it also allows the district to complete the work on its own time frame.

“We have intentionally hired into specific areas of expertise, allowing us to perform work with our district personnel, rather than having to contract out jobs,” Superintendent Marie Testa said.

Custodians handle painting projects throughout the schools. They typically paint the hallways every summer, and classrooms are done on a rotating basis. This past summer, they painted every classroom on the second floor of Saw Mill Road Elementary School.

Mr. Russo said the demands on the buildings and grounds staff have only increased during the pandemic because of the stringent cleaning requirements. Expectations often change at the last minute based on updated guidance from state and local health agencies. North Bellmore’s buildings and grounds staff has handled it all with grace.

“They have gone to great lengths and always with a positive attitude,” he said, “knowing they are doing this for the children and the staff. They constantly go above and beyond, and are great at adapting and accommodating all of the requests that come at us.”

“Our custodians, cleaners and maintainers take great pride in ensuring that our buildings and grounds are crown jewels in the community,” Mrs. Testa added. “Their contributions to the district are immeasurable.”