Back to School

High hopes for new school year in Valley Stream


For one day, there were few concerns about test scores, teacher ratings or school finances. On the first day of school, it was all about seeing friends again, showing off those new backpacks and sneakers, and unpacking a whole lot of school supplies.

The 2013-14 school year kicked off on Sept. 4 for more than 9,000 children in Valley Stream’s 14 public schools. The first day was quickly followed by a four-day weekend.

At Shaw Avenue School, Amy Pernick greeted students for the first time as the principal of the school. District 30 Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling introduced himself to some of the kindergarten students and their parents.

After seeing their children off, Marcia Mangal, Keisha Channer-Charles and Kishshana Teele talked for a few minutes on the blacktop behind Shaw Avenue about the new school year. They found one thing in common — all of their children are especially excited about science. “The kids really love the science program here,” Channer-Charles said.

Mangal, who has daughters in third and fifth grade, said they were up by 6 a.m., ready to get back and find out who would be in their classes. Sending them back to school was bittersweet. “They were with me all summer,” she said. “We did a lot of things. I’m going to miss them.”

Channer-Charles said her youngest daughter, who is in first grade, was looking forward to meeting her teacher. Her oldest daughter, a third grader, was excited to buy a binder for the first time and picked one out with sparkles.

Brooklyn Avenue School students lined up with their classmates outside, as Principal Dr. Scott Comis welcomed the returning kids and newcomers. Comis said he enjoys the first school day, especially seeing students eager to learn and happy to see their friends and teachers. When students are rushing to get to school, Comis said, “there’s something very positive to say about the community.”

Sixth-graders C.J. Umana, Victoria Serino, Nora Victor and Jessica Sierzega, all 11, said they were excited to begin their final year at Brooklyn Avenue. While they were each eager to learn new things in various subjects this year, Sierzega said that there are some nerves as she prepares for high school next year.

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