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Alan Schwartz Named 2017 Educator of Excellence

Photo of Alan Schwartz

The New York State English Council has selected Alan C. Schwartz as a 2017 Educator of Excellence. Mr. Schwartz is the music department head at South Middle School in the Great Neck Public Schools.

"This award is especially meaningful to me because it is usually given to English teachers," explains Mr. Schwartz, who was recognized for his instructional approach that links music performance with English Language Arts. He was nominated by Gabriel Carras, English department head at South Middle School; Daniel Weinstein, English teacher at South High School; and Isabella Malfi, a 2017 graduate of South High.

Mr. Schwartz has taught band, orchestra, and general music classes at South Middle over the past 23 years. He is a 1989 graduate of South High School in the Great Neck Public Schools and an advocate for public education.

Educator of Excellence awards are presented annually by the New York State English Council to recognize excellence in teaching. Educators are nominated by their school and then selected by the Council. Mr. Schwartz accepted the award during a presentation at the New York State English Council's annual conference in Albany on October 27, 2017.

John F. Kennedy Students Celebrate Reading Week

Photo of Ms. McGrade's 4th Grade Class with Ms. Stracquadario, Teaching Assistant, and Ms. Gerstenblatt, Library Media Speialist

Elementary students at the John F. Kennedy School in Great Neck celebrated the building's annual Reading Week with this year's theme, "Recipes for Reading." A variety of activities were scheduled throughout the week to develop the students' love of reading, including author visits and a "recipe swap," where students shared the "ingredients" - such as plot and characters - of their favorite books. On Thursday, November 16, all JFK students and staff donned their custom aprons to commemorate Reading Week. Here, Ms. McGrade's third-grade class is pictured with (standing, left) Ms. Stracquadanio, teaching assistant, and Ms. Gerstenblatt, library media specialist. (Photo by Jeff Barlowe)

North Middle School Students Volunteer at Ronald McDonald House

Photo of Ms. Neckin's Exploring Home and Careers Elective volunteering at Ronald McDonald House of Long Island in New Hyde Park

North Middle students from Ms. Neckin's eighth-grade Exploring Home and Careers elective volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island in New Hyde Park on Friday, November 17. Students used the kitchen facilities to bake snacks for the families and children staying at the Ronald McDonald House. This initiative at North Middle develops caring, future leaders by teaching students the importance of volunteerism.

Winter Concert I at South High

South High School's Winter Concert I will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m., in the school auditorium, 341 Lakeville Road. The concerts are free and the entire community is warmly invited to attend. Instrumental groups performing will include Jazz Band, String Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble. Vocal groups will include A Cappella Singers, Broadway Singers, Chamber Singers, Jazz Choir, and South Sisters. The Jazz Band will open the concert with popular selections such as "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "We Are Family," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "You Can't Stop The Beat" from Hairspray, and seasonal favorites "Baby It's Cold Outside" and "Winter Wonderland." Five vocal ensembles will perform next: Chamber Singers with "Across the Vast Eternal Sky"; A Cappella Singers with "Home"; Jazz Choir with "Sing Sing Sing/Take Five"; South Sisters with "Valerie"; and Broadway Singers performing a choral selection from West Side Story and "All That Jazz" from Chicago.

The String Orchestra will perform four pieces: "River Flows In You" by Yiruma, "Carol of the Bells," "Calypso Jam" by Dean Marshall, and "Symphonie Espagnole" by …douard Lalo. The Symphony Orchestra will follow, with "Variations on a Theme by Haydn" by Johannes Brahms. The Wind Ensemble will close out the evening with "Pageant Of Light" by David Shaffer, "'Tis A Gift" by Anne McGinty, "Variations On A Korean Folk Song" by John Barnes Chance, and "The Olympics: A Centennial Celebration" as arranged by John Moss.

This concert will be under the direction of Mr. Michael Schwartz, performing arts department head/instrumental teacher; Mr. Mark Boschen, wind ensemble/instrumental teacher; and Dr. Janine Robinson, vocal music teacher. For further information regarding the concert, please contact Mr. Schwartz at (516) 441-4851 or at

Improv at South High

Photo of South High's Improv Troupe

Theatre South's Improv Troupe will perform on Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., at South High School, 341 Lakeville Rd. During the performance, students improvise and create characters and scenes based on ideas from the audience. The public is encouraged to attend Improv, always a popular event, to enjoy a spontaneous production by a talented cast. For tickets, please contact Thomas Marr, drama teacher/director, Theatre South, at (516) 441-4873. Improv Troupe: (front row, from left) Daniella Brancato and Brian Volk, troupe captains; (second row) Sophie Williams, Maggie Roach, Ashley Yu, and Alixandra Sholomon; (third row) Eli Goodwin and Elie Weitzman; (top) Alexander Cowen and Julian Malater. (Photo by Bill Cancellare)