Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen administrators and educators focus on providing strong core academic programs with consistent updates to the local curriculum. This includes an exemplary, inclusion-focused special education program, as well as a high-quality prekindergarten program. In our Innovation Labs, all students participate in a STEAM-based education that emphasizes hands-on learning and real-world applications. To develop students’ creativity and social skills, high level music and fine arts instruction is provided. Outside of the classroom, after-school clubs and summer programs enrich our students’ academic experience. Through partnerships with local libraries and businesses, students are encouraged to lead literate lives and make use of the abundant resources available to them. For example, our partnership with Crossroads Farms enhances students’ problem-solving and reasoning skills through the practice of growing and preparing food. A robust professional development plan supports our teachers with instructional initiatives. This includes job-embedded instructional coaching in all core subject areas and technology integration.
Mental Health and Well-Being
Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen demonstrates our dedication to the well-being of our staff and students through programming, staffing, and professional development. Our district wellness team is comprised of five psychologists, four social workers, four school nurses, and one guidance counselor. This team works with social groups based on student interest and need in order to enhance the character education lessons which are embedded into our regular curriculum. Character traits are highlighted each month through shared books, classroom lessons, and building-wide activities, and themed days of celebration foster kindness and a sense of community. Our district guidance counselor supports our sixth graders as they prepare to transition to middle school with push-in lessons on career readiness and character building, teaching students to “be an upstander” and make healthy choices. To sustain a positive school climate, the RULER program teaches students to identify and modulate their emotions, while Responsive Classroom builds community and calm through morning meetings and quiet time. Professional development for staff focuses on creating a community of belonging and practicing mindfulness to prioritize well-being.
Each building boasts an Innovation Lab with a district-developed curriculum that blends literature, multimedia content, and hands-on learning exploration for week-long projects. The Innovation Lab curriculum features explorations in the natural world as well as building challenges. Our labs offer Lego Robotics projects for students in grades two through six, to bring the objects they build to life with movement while developing an understanding of block coding, if-then reasoning, and loops. Beebots and unplugged coding activities introduce our youngest learners to computational thinking. There are also many supplemental activities for single-day visits to the lab, like Snap Circuits and Magformers. Each and every student at Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen is provided with an iPad or Chromebook for online learning, and each year, second graders are assigned a Chromebook to use for their academic career at VS13. The district subscribes to online resources which complement our local curriculum, all organized under ClassLink, a password storage platform and launchpad for all apps.
21st Century Facilities
In recent years, there have been numerous improvements made to District facilities. With our redesign project, classrooms have been transformed into bright welcoming environments, with flexible furniture perfect for reconfiguring to work collaboratively. Over the last four years, all classroom and special-area classroom SMARTBoards have been replaced. Current plans to begin replacing SMARTBoards in small group spaces, such as Reading and Math AIS rooms, are included in our proposed budget.
Two major improvements in recent years – security and internet infrastructure – were funded with money from the NYS Education Department under the Smart Schools Bond Act and E-Rate program, at a minimal cost to taxpayers. Our previous budget included funding for additional security enhancements, including playground fencing and eight new sets of exterior doors, to be installed in April. Within the last year, the Willow Road School and Wheeler Avenue School libraries were renovated, new fencing was installed at the Willow Road School and new play equipment was installed at the Howell Road School. In addition, the funding from the District’s capital reserve fund approved by the community allowed for two new music classrooms and a central location for administrative offices added to the James A. Dever School. The new music rooms house a choral and band room, while containing state-of-the-art equipment for all students to expand their abilities in learning, conducting, and playing music of all genres and cultures.