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Board Approves Change to GNPS Optional Zone

At the January 11, 2018 meeting of the Great Neck Board of Education, the board unanimously approved a change to the district’s optional attendance zone.
The optional zone in Great Neck Public Schools refers to residences which are zoned for E.M. Baker School and South High School or Saddle Rock School and South High School. Please visit for an illustrative map of this area.
The optional attendance zone was implemented by the Board of Education for the 2008-2009 school year to combat overcrowding and to balance student enrollment among the secondary schools. This practice allowed students from E.M. Baker and Saddle Rock elementary schools, which are normally zoned for South High School, to exercise the option to attend North Middle or North High School instead. This successful solution resulted in near-identical enrollment numbers on both North and South campuses through the 2017-2018 school year.
To maintain the balance of student enrollment moving forward, the Board of Education adopted a revision to the optional attendance zone on Jan. 11 that allows only students entering sixth-grade and residing within the optional attendance zone to attend North Middle School instead of South Middle School. Any other request for a school assignment that differs from a student’s designated attendance zone will only be considered through the variance process. This variance approach has addressed such requests for many years.
“The optional attendance zone has alleviated overcrowding and equalized enrollment in our secondary schools,” states Board of Education president Barbara Berkowitz, who added that the Board monitors school enrollment data through monthly reports. “The optional attendance zone continues to be in the best interest of our students.”
Dr. Stephen Lando, assistant superintendent for secondary education, presented an optional attendance zone analysis to the Board of Education at their meeting on Dec. 6. This presentation, which is currently available on the district website at, provided past enrollment data from the optional zone and enrollment projections moving forward. The presentation demonstrated great accuracy in regard to past projections, and Dr. Lando is confident in the projections over the next five years.
“The optional attendance zone has been an ideal solution without adding expenses or disrupting service, while maximizing district resources,” explains Dr. Lando. Based on enrollment projections, this revision to the optional attendance zone will ensure the effectiveness of this program moving forward.


As You Like It at South High

Photo of As You Like It Performers

Theatre South will present As You Like It on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Feb. 7, 8, 9, and 10, each evening at 7:30 p.m. All performances will take place in the South High School auditorium, 341 Lakeville Rd.
This swift, 100-minute cutting of William Shakespeare’s cross-dressing, pastoral comedy features a company of nearly 30 students, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz of Wicked, Pippin, and Godspell fame.
Risers are set up on the stage for an intimate theatrical experience and seating is general admission (first come, first serve). Tickets for all performances are available for purchase online at 
For additional information, please contact Tommy Marr, South High drama teacher/Theatre South director, at (516) 441-4873, or at


E. M. Baker School Welcomes Interim Assistant Principal

Photo of Baker Interim AP Don Sternberg

The Great Neck Public Schools welcomes Don Sternberg, Ed.D., as an interim assistant principal at Elizabeth M. Baker School. Dr. Sternberg will fill this temporary role while the school’s assistant principal, Dr. Heather Sweet-Lazos, is on child care leave.
Dr. Sternberg is a retired school administrator with a wealth of experience in public education. He is most known for his 32 years as principal of Wantagh Elementary School, during which time he was recognized as the New York State Elementary Principal of the Year and a National Distinguished Principal by the United States Education Department. Dr. Sternberg retired from the Wantagh School District in 2013, and later served as principal of the Ivy League School in Smithtown for three years.
Dr. Sternberg says he “jumped” at the opportunity to work in Great Neck, which he says has “an outstanding reputation for vibrant and fulfilling schools.” His first day at E.M. Baker School was Jan. 8, and he received a warm welcome from staff and students.
Dr. Sternberg is an adjunct professor for Educational Administration at Stony Brook University and a faculty member for the online doctoral program at Northcentral University. He has authored two books on administrative practices, as well as more than a dozen articles in professional publications at the state and national levels.


North High Students Present at LI Psychology Fair

Photo of North High LI Psychology Fair students

Eight Great Neck North High School students were invited to participate in the Long Island Psychology Fair at Roslyn High School on Jan. 11. The students presented their science research projects to a panel of psychology professionals, and two of the projects won awards in the biopsychology division.
North High junior Aaron Geula won the Best in Category award in the biopsychology division for his presentation titled, “Using fNIRS to Determine the Effect of Distractions on Cross-Brain Coherence.” His research studied brain waves to determine how distractions, such as cell phone rings, affected non-verbal interactions between two people.
Honorable Mention in the same division was awarded to a team of North High juniors, Sage Sherry and Emma Young, for their project titled, “Neuro Linguistic Eye Movement Tests Corresponding With Evoking A Remembered Or Constructed Image.” Their research compared subjects’ eye movements when a familiar image is described and when an unfamiliar image is described.
Additional participants from North High included senior Amy Shteyman for her project, “The Language of Facial Expressions: A Neuroimaging Study on how a Smile is Generated and Perceived by Another Person”; the team of sophomores Anne Goldsmith and Netta Mualem for their project, “Determining the Accuracy of Identifying the Mental State of Faces with a Nature Background”; and the team of sophomores Kayla Chan and Madeline Yang for their project, “Think Twice: Cognitive Modulation of Physiological Reactions Comparing Two Systems of the Brain”.
The Long Island Psychology Fair is open to any individual or team of students who completed a research project in psychology. Interested students must submit project descriptions for consideration, which are blind-reviewed by a panel. Only 42 applicants from across Long Island were invited to participate in the competition on Jan. 11.
Presentations were grouped based on area of study: educational psychology, cognitive psychology, interdisciplinary psychology, biopsychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. Students presented a 10-minute PowerPoint to a panel of psychology professionals, followed by a five-minute question and answer period. Two prizes were awarded for each category: Best in Category and Honorable Mention.
Long Island Psychology Fair participants from North High conducted their research as part of the school’s science research program. The North High science research teachers/advisors are Christopher Bambino, Christina Keys, Maya Lerner, Alan Schorn and Jessica Schust, department chair.


South High Ensembles to Perform in Young Musicians Concert at Tilles Center

Photo of South High music ensemble students

Three chamber music ensembles from the Great Neck South High School chamber music program have been selected as winners of the Long Island regional high school chamber music competition, part of the 2018 Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Musicians Program. These students have been invited to perform in the 2nd Annual Long Island Regional Young Musicians Concert on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 11:00 a.m. at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post.
The three chamber ensembles are: Susan Fendt (soprano), Eli Goldberger (clarinet), and Soyoung Park (piano) performing Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, “The Shepherd on the Rock”, D. 965; Samuel Levine (flute I), Christiana Claus (flute II) and Benjamin T. Rossen (piano) performing Doppler’s Andante et Rondo, Op. 25 for Two Flutes and Piano; and Andersen Gu (alto saxophone) and Benjamin T. Rossen (piano) performing Benjamin’s original composition, Rossen – A Conversation with Piano and Alto Saxophone. This composition is a national finalist in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Composition Competition; it has won both the New York State and the Eastern Division levels of the competition.
The Young Musicians Program is a competition for advanced high school musicians offered by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. High school student chamber music ensembles are invited to submit applications with audio or video recordings through their school music department to be considered for participation. Only eight ensembles from Long Island were selected to perform in this year’s concert.
The Long Island regional competition was introduced by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center last year. Ensembles from the Long Island Regional Concert are eligible for an invitation to the Young Musicians Concert at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Last year, the only ensemble from Long Island selected to move onto the Alice Tully Hall performance came from Great Neck South High School.
The South High chamber music program is coordinated by Michael Schwartz, performing arts department chair/instrumental teacher, and Dr. Janine Robinson, vocal teacher. The performing arts department thanks Dr. David Manuel, English department chair, for his assistance teaching the German diction for the Schubert – Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, “The Shepherd on the Rock”, D. 965.