School News

Technology tops Valley Stream high school needs


While there were many potential projects discussed on the Valley Stream Central High School District’s annual facilities tour last Saturday morning, none of them command the extensive funding that the Board of Education has seen in years past.

There are no district-wide window replacements or major construction projects for the board to consider, but there is still plenty of work to be done. The building principals led the tour at their respective schools, along with Wayne Loper, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. Board and community members got a look at what may be on tap in the coming year and saw some recently completed projects along the way.

Each of the district’s four schools is in need of a new computer lab in order to have a sufficient number of computers for students to use, as more and more state assessments are being administered online. There is an estimated cost of $150,000 per computer lab, which would be of varying sizes at the four schools. All of the principals said that the labs are necessary.

At North High School, Principal Cliff Odell said he would like to put a new computer lab in the school’s library. North currently has three computer labs, but they are in constant use for classroom instruction and test taking, making a fourth lab necessary, Odell said.

Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich said that school libraries have changed because the way students gather information has changed. They aren’t as likely to do their research using a reference book as they are to use the Internet, which means that the role of the school library isn’t the same as it was in years past.

South High School Principal Maureen Henry and Memorial Junior High Principal Anthony Mignella both proposed converting second-floor classrooms into computer labs, and Dr. Joseph Pompilio, Central High School’s principal, said that the best place for a new lab would be a room in the school’s library.

Mignella also took the board outside to discuss plans to reconfigure Memorial’s main parking lot. The changes to the lot would make it safer when parents drop off and pick up their children, Mignella explained, because cars would be able to go only one way after entering the lot from Hendrickson Avenue.

The lot renovation has an estimated price of $300,000, and would be financed using the district’s capital reserve fund, as would the additional computer labs and a district-wide replacement of classroom television monitors. The TVs in many classrooms are no longer compatible with much of the new technology now used for instruction.

Administrators at both North and South asked the board to consider adding an LCD projector in the schools’ cafeterias, which double as auditoriums. Odell also proposed replacing North’s football goal posts. The current goal posts can double as soccer goals, which encourage people without permits to use the field and tear it up.

Pompilio showed the board members a section of the teachers’ parking lot that floods during heavy rainstorms, and proposed upgrading the drainage system and making some minor blacktop repairs.

The tour concluded at Memorial, where the board also got a look at the school’s gymnasium. Since Memorial does not have a traditional auditorium, assemblies are held in the gym. Its large windows, and the sunlight they allow in, make it difficult to show videos or other visual presentations. Mignella proposed adding shades to the windows to block the sunlight during assemblies.

The board will continue to discuss the various project proposals over the coming months before the public ultimately decides on them in the school budget vote, scheduled for May 21.