Bellmore students are all smiles on the first day of school


Students bounded off school buses and into the building at Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center School in the first year of the Bellmore district’s full-day pre-kindergarten program, and energy filled the halls of the North Bellmore district’s five elementary schools, on the first day of school last week.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Famularo and Principal Patricia Castine were the first of many smiling faces greeting students on Sept. 5 at Reinhard.

The pre-K program’s young rising stars were given special treatment as they entered through colored doors in the rear of the building.

“The Bellmore pre‐kindergarten is a great addition to our highly regarded Early Childhood Center,” said Dr. Famularo. “This year promises to be filled with fun and exciting educational experiences that will provide an important foundation for learning. Emphasis will be on the development of cognitive, literacy, social‐emotional, and fine and gross motor skills.”

Nearly 2,100 students walked through the doors for the first day of school in the rest of the district, including approximately 300 kindergartners. With a thirst for knowledge, they quickly sorted their new school supplies and were ready to learn.

Sixth-graders in Matthew Puerta’s class at John Dinkelmeyer Elementary School talked about the field trips they will be going on this year including to Project Adventure, Caumsett State Park and their future middle school and high school. They also said they are looking forward to participating in more challenging STEAM activities such as building rockets, and serving as role models for the younger students.

Downstairs, art teacher Jill Skelly welcomed students to the new art studio. While the space is the same, the philosophy will be different this year with more student-driven projects. Children will learn art skills and techniques while experiencing the use of different materials in five centers — drawing, painting, collage, fiber art and inventor’s workshop.

“They will come up with their own ideas about what they want to make,” Ms. Skelly said, saying that the new structure is about teaching children to become problem solvers.

Superintendent Marie Testa said the administration, board of education, teachers and support staff are marking the new year in the spirit of “shoshin” — an attitude of openness and eagerness.

At Saw Mill Road Elementary School, first-grade teacher Melissa McCabe was ready to embrace that belief. She greeted her new students and reminded them to “tackle each day with a smile.”

“I like that there’s a fresh start for everyone,” she said. “This year, I want my students to learn and have fun, to build confidence and independence, and to learn to love themselves no matter what.”