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Middle School Educator a Standout in Social Studies

Middle School Educator a Standout in Social Studies photo
Middle School Educator a Standout in Social Studies photo 2
Michele Rudden, an eighth-grade teacher at Edmund W. Miles Middle School, was selected as the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Middle School Social Studies Teacher Award by the Long Island Council for the Social Studies. 

Ms. Rudden has taught in Amityville since 2002. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in education from Molloy College. 

“I’ve always loved history,” Ms. Rudden said. “You don’t have an understanding of the way things are today if you don’t look at the past.”

Ms. Rudden said that she always puts her students first and gives them opportunities to express their opinions through active classroom discussions. She incorporates different teaching strategies into her lessons, particularly with technology. For a lesson on the Civil Rights movement, she had her students make Flipgrid videos on Chromebooks about an event from that era. She said she also uses music and movies to bring historical events to life. 

The award is presented to a teacher who demonstrates knowledge of social studies content and current social studies issues, and is an effective and inspiring teacher with the ability to convey the importance and vitality of social studies for the students. Ms. Rudden was nominated by social studies Chairman Paul Duguay. 

“Ms. Rudden has been an amazing asset to the Amityville Union Free School District for more than 15 years,” he said. “She is someone that strives to create meaningful and exciting lessons for her students each and every day. With the many changes in social studies recently, she is someone the entire social studies department looks to for guidance, which is why I cannot think of a more deserving person for this award.”

Added Ms. Rudden, “I feel that this award could have been given to any of my colleagues in this department. I’m incredibly honored and it’s nice to have your work recognized.”

She was honored at the LICSS annual awards ceremony on May 31 in Hauppauge and had been invited to submit a proposal to present at the annual conference in October. 

Middle School Fosters Kindness and Respect

Middle School Fosters Kindness and Respect photo
Students and staff at Edmund W. Miles Middle School are striving to create a culture of kindness and respect. Those efforts are paying off as the school recently received the No Place for Hate designation by the Anti-Defamation League. 

The national initiative is a school climate improvement framework to combat bias, bullying and hatred. The goals are to build inclusive and safe communities in which all students can thrive, empower students, staff and families to take a stand against bullying and hatred, and send a clear unified message that all students have a place to belong.

A team of students and staff, led by guidance counselor Keri Kearney and social worker Beatriz Offitto spearheaded several initiatives this year that helped achieve the designation. The school created a kindness rock garden in the fall, and everyone in the school was invited to paint a rock with an inspirational message. A Black History Month student celebration in February emphasized the appreciation of diversity through song, dance, poetry and artwork. 

Recently, students created trees of respect in the cafeteria. They wrote messages on paper leaves about ways they can show respect and foster kindness within the school such as “Smile to make someone’s day,” “Congratulate people on their achievements” and “Say thank you!”

The school participates in Olweus Bully Prevention, a research-based program that is designed to improve peer relations and make schools safer. It includes schoolwide rules and consequences, classroom level meetings to build community, individual interventions for students who bully or are bullied along with parental involvement, and community efforts to increase support of anti-bullying messages and strategies. All students also signed a Resolution of Respect.

Six students are members of the No Place for Hate committee including seventh-graders Nataly Carbajal and Samantha Molino, eighth-graders Kayla Marrero and Gianely McCatty and ninth-graders Vanessa Garcia and Amber Palmer. They were chosen for their exemplary character and embodying the values of a No Place for Hate school. They will attend the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate Recognition Ceremony on May 25 at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan.

Science Fair Showcases Middle School’s Inquiring Minds

Inquiring Minds Pic
After months of exploration and inquiry, students at Edmund W. Miles Middle School presented their findings at the annual science fair.

The students showcased their work for their classmates, teachers and families during the evening event. Projects explored a variety of different scientific concepts including electricity, density, magnetics and nature. Students explored which type of gum keeps its flavor longer, if adding salt to water can make an egg float and the impact of sunlight on growing grass.

Each seventh-grade student completed a project by conducting an experiment using the scientific method. They were allowed to work independently or with a partner. Science department Chairwoman Natasha Lim said she was proud on how hard the students worked as they explored challenging topics and conducted rigorous investigations.  

The goal of the project, Ms. Lim said, is to get students excited about science and find a topic they are passionate about. She added that the science fair is their opportunity to be the experts.

Students in the science research program, under the direction of teacher Alexis Charles, also presented their work. Throughout the year, they have been studying the causes and impacts of climate change, and also taking care of animals including beta fish, guppies and leopard geckos.

A group of ninth-grade science research students, who have been studying a rare type of cancer known as polycythemia vera since last year, also presented on their latest findings. The students also competed at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, Molloy College’s Kathy Belton Science Fair, and the STEM Diversity Summit at Farmingdale State College, which included a first-place finish. 

Students also showcased their work from the middle school’s new STEAM classes, which focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. Teacher Mark Marchino said students have been participating in many hands-on activities throughout the year. They built cars to protect eggs from breaking, bridges out of straws that could hold a certain amount of weight, water filters using rocks, sand, cotton balls and coffee filters, and backyard design drawings.

Adjacent to the science fair was the first Miles Pride Showcase. Sixth-graders from Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School were invited to learn about the athletic and extracurricular opportunities that will be available upon entering middle school in the fall.
  

Middle School Honor Society Welcomes New Members

Middle School Honor Society Welcomes New Members photo

In recognition of their academic achievements and good character, 17 students were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society at Edmund W. Miles Middle School.

The inductees were joined by their families and their fellow seventh-graders during an afternoon ceremony on April 16. Principal Ed Plaia told the new members that the National Junior Honor Society is not a club but rather a prestigious national organization that has specific and demanding criteria for admittance. He reminded them to “keep up the good work.”

Honor society co-presidents Mikhail Ankudovych and Samantha Molina lit the golden candle of knowledge, which was then used to light blue candles representing the five core values of the organization: character, citizenship, leadership, scholarship and service. Amityville’s chapter participates in several community service activities each year including volunteering at family learning nights at the elementary schools and raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The new members are Wilnory Bouzy, Nicholas Brown, Luna Caicedo, Ashley Campos, Nataly Carbajal, Denisse Diaz Marte, Dimarion Donaldson, Martha Gonzalez, Jacob Griffin, Daniella Henriquez, Jose Hernandez, Irene Pineda, Ryan Rose, Micoh Sterling, Adrianna Velasquez Bautista, Florian Victor and Makayla Warrick. As they walked across the stage to receive their certificates, they were congratulated by Mr. Plaia, Assistant Principal Kristy Pagliari, Dean of Student Earl Mitchell and adviser Carlee Wallenstein-Brunson.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly remarked to the inductees, “Your accomplishments are a tremendous source of pride for your parents, your teachers and all of us in the Amityville community.”

 
Wednesday, June 20, 2018