I’m excited to welcome you to the 2018-19 school year. Last year passed by at the speed of light and what a super year it was for Freeport Public Schools. Our students reached new heights as we guided their growth in academics, music, fine arts and athletics. It was another busy summer with numerous programs providing students with support and enrichment classes. We are super proud of the extraordinary events and accomplishments of our Freeport School community. Our schools provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff, where all children can embrace learning, become lifelong learners and become college and career ready upon graduation. This year, our staff and students will make the next giant leap to reach greater heights of achievement together.
Our staff is prepared to continue its superheroic efforts this year on behalf of our students. We have been very successful in making gains for our students in reading and writing proficiency, math skills and problem-solving, and increasing our graduation rate. We continue to bring innovative science experiences to our students district-wide, keeping Freeport at the forefront of science programs and research. We are pleased to share that we are planning for a visit from a Nobel Laureate, Dr. Ranier Weiss, who will be speaking to our students about the significance of gravitational waves. We continue to have meaningful relationships with several colleges, universities, scientific research institutes and museums, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, NASA, Hofstra University, Adelphi University and more. These partnerships provide unique opportunities for our students to experience advanced instruction far beyond the K-12 experience.
We have added to the extensive opportunities for our students to take Advanced Placement classes and to earn college credits while still in high school with a course catalog of 25 AP classes and more than 30 college-credit bearing courses. Our technology initiative is moving to Phase 3 and our Dodd students have already been issued their 1:1 Chromebooks. Atkinson will soon be following. We are pleased to be introducing the Freshman Seminar at Dodd Middle School to better prepare our students for high school. The Pathways of study will continue to provide our students with a clarity of purpose and a roadmap to future career success. Pathways are multiyear program paths of academic and technical study along with exposure to aligned careers. It links student learning to the knowledge and skills needed for future education and careers.
We are very excited our breakfast and lunch program will now be offered at no charge to all students. This is one more way we are addressing the health and wellness of our students on a daily basis. Students can continue to buy a la carte items or additional meals.
It has been a busy summer preparing our facilities for the start of the new school year. In addition to maintenance, numerous capital projects have been accomplished providing upgrades to our buildings, including upgrading science labs at Dodd, replacing the Dodd elevator, working on the four classroom extensions at Atkinson that will replace the portables, air conditioning in some classrooms, casework and flooring in Atkinson, and entry vestibules planned for Archer, Dodd, Giblyn and Freeport High School as part of our ongoing safety and security measures. Many of these projects were supported through the district’s community-approved capital reserve fund at no additional cost to taxpayers.
Freeport Schools prides itself on creating world-class opportunities for our students to excel and become global leaders. We are committed to providing the means for intellectual, emotional, ethical, social and physical growth for cultural and ethnic diversity, which will assist every student in becoming an informed and productive participant in our democratic society. We want all the students in our schools to blossom to their fullest potential. They should leave us as happy, healthy, well educated, caring individuals striving to make the world a better place. We are ready for this school year and making the “next giant leap” for the success of all our students.