District Response to Closure Petition

In an effort to continue promoting transparency within the community, the Half Hollow Hills Chapter of NFAS is hosting a copy of the district’s response to the previously posted petition (which asked the State to override the Board’s decision to close Forest Park).

NFAS has not been involved with the planning of the petition or the district’s response. NFAS does not intend to take any sort of official position regarding either the petition or the response.

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School Closure Petition to the Board of Education and NYS

To encourage transparency, the Half Hollow Hills Chapter of NFAS is hosting a copy of a community petition. This document petitions New York State to reverse the Board of Education’s decision to close Forest Park Elementary School.

NFAS has not been involved with the planning of this petition, and NFAS does not intend to take any sort of official position. An archive of all the documents can be downloaded here. The individual documents follow.

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Budget Survey Results

After the Board of Education and Administration declined to allow student input on its budget survey, NFAS at Half Hollow Hills created a revised version to allow students to respond, while also introducing some needed modifications. This survey was completed by 136 individuals, including 46 students, 75 parents, and various other relevant persons.

The Survey concluded on Friday, the 25th of January, and the results were calculated. NFAS @ HHH intends to analyze this data, and considers it a partial consensus of the community. A copy of this data has been sent to the school district, and we have asked them to consider the included responses with as much weight as the responses on the district survey.

Please consider viewing the results, and feel free to let us know what you think, either through comments, or our Contact Us page.

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who took the time and effort to participate in our poll.

The National Federation of American Students at Half Hollow Hills.


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Budget Survey: BOE Follow-Up

On Sunday, January 13th, Mr. Ptucha (President of the Board of Education) exchanged E-Mails with the Board of NFAS @ HHH. One of the replies follows:

Our intention was to open up the survey to all voting age residents of HHH including students. I gather you would like non voting age students a voice [sic]. What I would suggest is if you can gather all that input through your organization and submit it personally yourself [sic], since you would qualify. I do not think it is fair or appropriate to change the survey guidelines mid way – on this idea or any other.

And our response:
Mr. Ptucha,

Thank you for your prompt response to my previous message.

Despite not being in agreement, we respect your position and will
attempt to proceed with surveying the entire district population by
other means.

We still believe students should have been included in this survey at
its inception, as the choices outlined don't just affect taxes, but also
affect the quality of education the students will receive. NFAS hopes
that in the future, district opinion-gathering procedures will include
student input, to ensure the fair and adequate consideration of student
opinions, as students are both the board's and the administration's most
important constituency.

Thank you.

Subsequently, The National Federation of American Students at Half Hollow Hills has initiated its own similar, but enhanced survey, addressing this issue, along with other concerns presented by the community. It can be found here.

We appreciate your input, and look forward to analyzing the results.

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District Response to Open Letter

This morning at 11:36 AM, NFAS received its first response to the open letter published yesterday, concerning student involvement in the community budget survey. It was from Ms. Rosanne Marini, district clerk:

This is to advise you that the Board of Education is in receipt of your email.  We are working to answer any and all questions on our website by the close of business on Friday, January 11, 2013.
Thank you.

Rosanne Marini

Then, at 4:10 PM, NFAS received its second response, this time from the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Facilities, Ms. Anne Marie Caliendo. It read as follows:

Good evening Mr. Henner,

Thank you for your interest in completing the survey.  I appreciate your passion about having your voice heard and making a difference.  And, while we are seeking survey input from the voting age tax-paying members of every household, there is a way for your voice to be heard and opinions to be considered.  Please utilize this email address: to submit your ideas and I will ensure that your input is brought to the table along with everyone else’s.

Thank you.

Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Facilities

NFAS @ HHH is not satisfied with this response.

Ms. Caliendo appears to believe this is an isolated issue, affecting our Interim President, Jacob Henner, personally, and recommends that he sends her an e-mail with his ideas. Meanwhile, she states

we are seeking survey input from the voting age tax-paying members

which clearly misses the point of yesterday’s letter, and is not entirely true.  Keep in mind, the survey also has options for graduates, civic leaders, business leaders, and employees, not all of whom are voting-aged, tax-paying members.

NFAS @ HHH is deeply troubled by the administration’s lack of concern for the opinion of the student. While the purely monetary aspects of the budget affect the tax payer (by means of the property-tax levy) more than the children in the district, the result of budget deliberations directly affects the students, in a way that is more directly observable to them, than a tax increase is to the taxpayers. As such, NFAS believes that those students should be able to voice their opinions on the matter accordingly, in the same manner as other community members, by utilizing the same survey. If the district’s primary objective is to provide for the best interests of the students, the district should more readily consider the students’ opinions, too, without needing to be asked.

Until the survey in question also includes an explicit option for students to respond, we consider the survey to be partially invalid and misrepresentative, as it doesn’t establish consensus from the entire community, especially the portion that the district claims to, and has the greatest duty to serve. We ask the administration and the Board of Education reconsider their position promptly, and furthermore we ask that the results of the survey are delayed until such revisions are made and are publicly announced.

Thank you.

The National Federation of American Students, Half Hollow Hills Chapter.
Serving the best interests of Half Hollow Hills students since 2010.

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Open Letter: Community Budget Survey

To whom it may concern,

My name is Jacob Henner, and I serve as the interim president of the
National Federation of American Students (NFAS) chapter, here in the
Half Hollow Hills School District. NFAS represents the collective best
interest of students, and additional information about our organization
can be found at

Recently, NFAS @ HHH was made aware of the community budget survey,
found at , and while we do appreciate the use of
such tool to gain consensus, we are dismayed by the lack of an explicit
option for a student currently attending the district.

As such, we kindly request that an additional option is clearly and
explicitly added to the initial page of the survey, as soon as
reasonably possible.

Without a student option, the Half Hollow Hills School District is
unreasonably ignoring and diverting possible input from students; the
constituents whom the school district has the greatest responsibility to
serve. We believe that this is unjust and inappropriate, and we hope
that corrective action is taken promptly to remedy this issue.

Jacob Henner

Jacob Henner
President, The National Federation of American Students.
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District Budget Discussion

Concerned about the recent budget developments? District parents have initiated a Facebook Group to discuss ideas; feel free contribute your opinions as concerned students of the district.

Want to do more? File a complaint with the National Federation of American Students, who can advocate on your behalf.

Questions? Let us know, send us an e-mail,

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Adam Shinbrot’s Platform (Not an endorsement)

Hello HSE, my name is Adam Shinbrot and I’d like to announce my candidacy for Vice-Chairman of Student Government. Right now, I am completing my term as the Sophomore Class President. Over the past year I’ve done a lot for Hills East. I was on the team that led the initiative to install the new Mac Lab in the library. I’ve been working closely with our administrators to make our bathrooms cleaner. I have also organized two charity projects for Student Government to help our community at large. This includes a fundraiser I created to help ill young people at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital on Long Island. I have enjoyed an active role in planning events such as Homecoming, Safe Halloween, Rock for Refugees, Spring Music Fest, Powder Puff, and many more. To learn more about Student Government on the whole, I have been present at all meeting for Seniors to plan events such as prom and upper class functions. In addition to all that I even voted TWICE to decrease the power of the Class President and provide more rights and power to individual students like YOU!

So here is WHY you should vote for me to be your next Vice Chairman of Student Government…

1. I have the highest attendance rating of any current Sophomore or Junior in Student Government (98%). This is because I care about representing you and I love doing it.

2. The Sophomore class is in better fiscal shape than when I took office. I have led significantly more fundraisers this year than we did last year and all of them have been successful. I even ran more successful fundraisers than the current Junior class. This shows I know how to budget and turn profits for Student Government while still contributing to the community through charity projects. These are extremely important skills which I have proven I have over the past year. The Vice-Chairman of Student Government needs to have these skills to successfully represent you!

3. I understand how to administrate Student Government beyond my own class. I have attended EVERY senior meeting to discuss prom and other events planned and run by upper-classmen. No Junior has even attended as many of these meetings as I have attended. The position of Vice-Chairman goes beyond running class events. It requires the ability to plan events on a large scale. I am the ONLY non-senior officer in Student Government who has hands-on experience with planning events for the whole of Student Government.

4. I have working relationships with our administration which will allow me to better advocate for you. This past year, I have met with various members of the Hills East Administrative team and we have successfully worked together in the past and I know we can continue to do so in the future. My connections to our building and district administration will allow me to serve as the link between you and our administrative team for the purpose of voicing your concerns.

These qualifications will allow me to carry out the true duties of the Vice-Chairman of Student Government. I hope you will allow me to continue to provide Hills East Students with the highest level of service and conduct to make next year our best school year yet! Please vote me, Adam Shinbrot, for Vice-Chairman of Student Government!

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Amanda Zigomalas’ Platform (Not an endorsement)

Hello High School East, 
Student Government elections are coming up and I am running to be your Executive Board Chairperson. 

Over the past four years I have dedicated myself to representing you as Secretary of the Class of 2013. My experiences as
Secretary have allowed me to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be Chairperson.  I know how to successfully organize and run events like Homecoming, Rock for Refugees, Music Fest and more.  

I am a serious and dedicated candidate. Student Government is not
just my main priority, it’s my only priority.  I am always at meetings doing my best to represent you.  My attendance record is nearly perfect,
containing no unexcused absences. My dedication combined with my responsible and conscientious character are three traits that will aid me in serving as your Chairperson. 

As an elected officer I strive to represent you, the Hills East Student Body.
I am a zealous student advocate who is always ready and willing to listen to all of your concerns and questions. Moreover, if elected, I will make sure that
Student Government not only listens to your concerns, but also acts to
address them.  One issue that I have heard many complaints about is the unacceptably grotesque state of the bathrooms at Hills East.  As Student Government Chairperson, I promise to work with administration to improve the conditions of our bathrooms. I also promise to listen to each and every one of your concerns regarding your experience here at Hills East 

Elections are drawing nearer. That means you need to start considering a candidate that will be effective at fulfilling the responsibilities of Chairperson, and a candidate who will listen to you, and make sure that each and every one of your concerns are taken seriously.

That candidate is me. Vote Amanda Zigomalas for Student Government Chairperson! 

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An Open Letter to the School District Regarding AP Exams

AP Exams – Click to download and view letter.

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