Board meeting includes honoring of students


A wide range of topics were discussed at the Locust Valley Central School District’s Nov. 16 meeting of the Board of Education, including arts and athletic awards, the retirement of the middle school principal and a review of student performance and development from the 2021 to 2022 school year. 

Numerous students who had achieved significant artistic and athletic accomplishments in the fall term were honored by the district, presented with a wide range of awards. Many forms of recognitions also came from the county and state level, an indicator that Locust Valley students continue to compete at the top level in every field, not just athletics. 

AnnMarie Buonaspina, coordinator of instructional technology and the fine and applied arts, highlighted several students whose artwork had been selected and displayed by a range of competitions. Four had their art selected by the 2022 Nassau County High School Student Jury Art Competition and Exhibition, while another two were honored by the Nassau branch of Cornell Cooperative by having their work placed in their 2023 Long Island Gardening Calendar and Guide.

One more student also had their art featured in a New York Times Book, “Coming of Age in 2022.”

As the students were called up, their art was displayed on the projector. Buonaspina commended the students.

“This evening it is my pleasure to introduce some of our students who have had their art recognized in remarkable ways,” Buonaspina said. “All of these extraordinary artistic feats would not have been possible without the vision and mentorship of our Locust Valley art teachers.”

Several students were honored during the evening for their athletic accomplishments as well. Danielle Turner, director of health, physical education and athletics, highlighted their successes, and called out the individual students who had done particularly well this season.

Three students who played soccer were recognized as Newsday’s Pre-Season Top 100 players, while several more were finalists for Heisman High School Awards, with two winning the prestigious award.

“We had another incredible fall season here in Locust Valley, and almost all of our teams made post-season play,” Turner said. “It’s been an amazing season, and we’re just so proud of our student-athletes.”

The Board of Education then went into executive session to discuss the retirement of Principal Thomas H. Hogan of Locust Valley Middle School. While the Board did not discuss the reasons for Hogan’s retirement, they expressed their gratitude to him for his decades of work molding young minds.

There was also a presentation by the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction on the academic performance of the district’s students in the previous school year. She discussed how certain grades have seemingly been more affected by the coronavirus pandemic than others, reflected in changes in test scores from previous years.

Although Locust Valley students across the board seem to have scored worse due to the pandemic, compared to the rest of the county and the state, they continue to score higher than many of their peers. Sampino also explained how data such as this would be used to better understand the impact of the pandemic on the students’ studies, and how to mitigate it going forward.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Sampino said. “It’s really important for us to understand what the students are getting wrong, where are the gaps.”