At the start of each school year, the Island Park Public Schools recognize three staff members who have gone above and beyond in creating a positive educational experience for all students. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosmarie Bovino continued this time-honored tradition at the Sept. 17 Board of Education meeting, where she presented the most recent honorees with Superintendent’s Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) Awards for their exemplary service, leadership and dedication.
SOAR Awards are bestowed annually upon one instructional staff member from Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School and another from Lincoln Orens Middle School, as well as one support staff member who plays a significant role in the district’s day-to-day operations. Kathleen Silva and Shannon Reda were selected from Hegarty and Lincoln Orens, respectively, and Cindy Pastore was recognized for her work as a secretary at Hegarty. Dr. Bovino shared remarks about these individuals and provided them with commemorative plaques.
Teachers Ms. Silva and Ms. Reda were awarded for their creativity and innovativeness; their abilities to effectively hold high expectations for students, support students beyond the classroom and celebrate students’ success; and their demonstration of collegial and cooperative work, participation in professional development, involvement in building/district activities, communication with parents and the community and support of programs beyond the school. Ms. Pastore was distinguished based on the pride she takes in doing her job as well as her ability to successfully initiate efficient ways to work, complete assignments independently, collaborate with others, complete all tasks effectively and improve her own skills.
A member of the district since 1988, Ms. Silva came to Island Park as a teaching assistant and was appointed a teacher at Hegarty three years later. She has always been committed to ensuring that all children have equal access to learning and explored the concept of integrated co-taught classes early on. She quickly became a resident expert on the topic and led related presentations at a New York State Education Department conference as well as several districtwide meetings and events.
“As a classroom teacher, Kathy is caring and accepting, organized and focused, creative and enthusiastic, confident, calm, dedicated and positive,” Dr. Bovino said.
She noted that Ms. Silva puts in extra time whenever it means she is helping her students and is among a select group of faculty members in the district chosen by a graduating class of West Hempstead High School seniors as the teacher who most positively influenced their lives in and out of the classroom. She has additionally participated on numerous afterschool committees, served as grade leader for many years, mentored new teachers, volunteered on teacher hiring committees and attended numerous professional development programs.
Ms. Reda joined the district in 2009 in her role as an ESL teacher, working with a diverse population of students. She helps students improve their ELL skills while they assimilate socially and provides lessons that are filled with rigor, while integrating a variety of strategies, games and technological tools that capture students’ attention, stimulate their curiosity and build confidence in their abilities.
“She is sensitive and kind, warm and nurturing, helpful and eager to be of assistance, always” Dr. Bovino said.
Ms. Reda became an instructional leader districtwide and on broader scope through the Long Island Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network and the Title III Consortium. She is an active contributor to the Celebration of Learning, where she presented last year. She additionally assists with the district’s filing of immigrant education and Title III documentation applications that enable the district to receive federal funding and has organized annual ESL open houses, participated on district hiring committees and has served as Homework Club adviser.
Ms. Pastore began her Island Park career as a stenographer at Hegarty in 2008. She took initiative for various details, managing student and teacher schedules, substitute assignments, appointments and communications with parents and many other day-to-day operations. She has contributed to children in many ways, from her coordination of annual events such as kindergarten orientation, Prime Time, Career Day and PARP to major celebrations like the new playground dedication in 2016. She organizes student records, manages the complex Universal Pre-K enrollment process, has filled in as district clerk, participated on a site-based management committee at Hegarty and served as a chaperone for the Teen Center program. Ms. Pastore has also held roles as president and co-president of the Island Park Educational Secretaries Association.
“In the midst of a very busy main office that is typically spilling over with children, parents and teachers, Ms. Pastore’s calm demeanor and warm personality are appreciated by all,” Dr. Bovino said.
The 2018-19 SOAR Award recipients were congratulated with applause from members of the Board of Education, administration and community, along with many of their own colleagues and families.