Homestead Curriculum

Homestead School PTA Curriculum Committee News

Curriculum Reps
Trudy Ottomanelli:
Andreana Mirabella:

2014-2015 Curriculum meeting minutes

Homestead Curriculum Meeting Minutes 11/17/2014 at 11am

Homestead Attendees: Dr. Suzanne Viscovich, Principal, Mrs. Lori Palladino, Kindergarten

PTA Attendees: Jessica Dowd-Wilde, Curriculum, Trudy Ottomanelli


  1. Math Agenda Items:
    • Can you describe what the Math specialist, Cathy Metrick, does in the primary schools when she pushes into the classes?
    • Does Cathy Metrick ever pull kids out of the classes or does she always push in?
    • Are there any plans for Mrs. Metrick to attend a PTA meeting to help parents understand common core math?

      Math Discussion:

  2. Technology Agenda Items:
    • Will the ipads be used for any instructional math concepts or are they primarily used for practice (what was demonstrated at the last PTA meeting)?
    • Have the ipods been rolled out to the kindergartners?
    • Do the 3 primary schools work together to decide what applications go on the ipads?
    • What specific applications are on the ipads and ipods?How often are they updated?
    • Have all the teachers websites been updated- i.e. – specials, helpful links, etc.?

      Technology Discussion:

    • Yes, we will begin to use the 25 ipads and charging station for instruction. There is a technology summit scheduled for Dec 1 with Dr. Melikian to brainstorm ideas on how to properly and most effectively use the ipads in the classroom.
    • We have a few itouches that will be re-used in the classes.Each kindergarten class will get 1 or 2 for re-enforcement (letter sounds, for example)
    • All the primary schools use the same apps and are in constant dialogue for consistency
    • A list of the apps being used was distributed at the last PTA meeting and will be posted to the PTA website.
    • The teachers’ websites are intentionally generic.We need to keep the level of information (specific dates, times, location and child-specific info) to a minimum for security purposes.The websites are updated in September and will have general info (specials calendar, parties, field trip month, etc)


  3. Social Studies Agenda Item:
    • What are the specific curriculum changes related to social studies?

      Social Studies Discussion:

    • We are piloting Putnam BOCES and have mapped out the curriculum for the year.This means we have new literature, vocabulary and more resources to incorporate into our existing curriculum.The curriculum is more aligned with the whole grade level.


  4. Playtime Agenda Item:
    • Do the students have free choice time?

      Playtime Discussion:

  5. Wrap-Up Agenda Item:
    • What is working?Not working?Changes coming down the pipeline?

      Wrap-Up Discussion:

    • We are excited to have a consultant/trainer who has worked with us in the past on ELA, help us with our social studies curriculum.
  • In kindergarten, Ms. Metrick pushes into the classroom and divides the class into pairs or small groups for a group lesson once a week, for about 40 minutes.
  • In first grade, she pulls out a few kids who may need support.They go into the mathroom and work with math manipulatives (dice, other hands on acitivities)
  • Separately, Ms. Metrick meets with the teachers once a week to help plan for lessons; there is constant contact; the teachers use Ms. Metrick for support
  • There are no plans for Ms. Metrick to come to a PTA meetings because there doesn’t seem to be a need.Parents are kept informed by the teachers directly and there hasn’t been any concerns raised.


  • In kindergarten, there is free choice time before lunch.
  • In first grade, free choice is incorporated into the day.For example, during the centers or the literacy block, the children may have a choice within the activitities

Homestead Meeting minutes 9/23/14 from 11:30am - 12pm

Homestead Attendees: Dr. Suzanne Viscovich, Principal, Mrs. Lori Palladino, Kindergarten, Mrs. Stephanie Cardinale, First Grade

PTA Attendees: Jessica Dowd-Wilde, Curriculum, Trudy Ottomanelli, Curriculum, Corrin Culhane, PTA Director


  1. ELA:
    • Non-Fiction Book Suggestions:  Parents wanted a list of non-fiction reading books to read over the summer.  Did we distribute the list?If not, should we for the school year?

      Discussion: Yes, parents were referred to and as resources for age and grade level appropriate non-fiction book lists.

  2. Differentiation:
    • Math seems to be a particular issue.How much are we differentiating?If a child is finding the work too easy, are we increasing the workload or difficulty?
    • Can technology help with this?Can ipads be used with kids who need more challenges?

      Discussion: Teachers and staff formally and informally conduct assessments and modify the process, product and content to each child, accordingly. 

  3. Homework:
    • Is there a standard?Parents raised concerns of homework being too much/too little.

      Discussion: Yes, there is a district wide practice of 10 minutes per grade level (10 minutes for Kindergarten, 20 minutes for First Grade)

  1. Math
    • Video tutorials for Math been added to the Homestead website.When and how will this be communicated to the parents? What else can we do to help parents understand Common Core Math?Especially new parents (August orientation?).

      Discussion: This will be addressed at the next PTA meeting on Tuesday, 10/7.  There will be an announcement to notify parents of the videos and where they can be found.

  2. Technology
    • What is status of ipods and ipads being rolled out to Kindergarten?See Differentiation question above.
    • Can we tape the PTA meetings for parents who are unable to attend?

      Discussion: The ipad apps and videos will be addressed at the PTA meeting in October.  We want to encourage attendance at the PTA meetings and will continue to distribute minutes to keep those who cannot attend informed.

  3. Library
    • Has the non-fiction selection been increased this year? What topics are covered in the non-fiction selection? See ELA question above.

      Discussion: Yes, selection at the school’s library is continually reviewed and increased

  4. Social Studies
    • What is the curriculum for kindergarten and 1st grade? Is there a period each day devoted to social studies or is it incorporated into other subject areas?One teacher has a science/social studies section of the day, how does this work and how do other teachers do it?

      Discussion: Social studies is incorporated into the daily lesson plan.  For example, in Kindergarten, children will discuss topics such as “all about me” and explore the 5 senses

  5. Class Size
    • What is the number of kindergarten/First grade classes?How many children are in each class?What is the layout?

Discussion: There are 5 kindergarten classes that have 19-20 children per class.  There are 4 first grade classes that have 23-24 children per class.

2013-2014 School year

Date: November 12, 2013

Attendants: Dr. Viscovich, Ms. Cardinale, Danielle Ardito, Kim Pupke and Dana Salerno

Follow Up from PTA Meeting/Parent Requests:
●  Chess Club:  One of the PTA committees is Chess Club, a program used at other Garden City primaries where students are taught the fundamentals of chess during Literacy at Lunch.  A number of parents have volunteered to assist with chess club and a committee leader is still being sought.  

● Some parents have asked for suggestions for non-fiction reading material due to the increased focus on non-fiction work in the common core.  Parents were provided with a list of reading level appropriate fiction and nonfiction books at the parent teacher conference.  A listing of book resources can also be found at and 

 ●  Some parents have asked if homework assignments for the entire week could be distributed on Monday.  However, teachers may modify the homework assignments based on what the students learn in class that day. Homework will continue to be given on a daily basis.

●  Some parents have asked for suggestions on how to practice sight words at home.  Parents are urged to contact their child’s teacher.   Teachers have different tools they can provide or suggest, including bingo games, flash cards and computer apps.

Technology Update


  • Homestead’s website is updated throughout the year to include teacher information and photographs of school events.  Homestead currently has 10 ipads that are used during the learning centers to teach ELA and math.   Homestead’s classrooms are equipped with ENO boards and all are fully functioning.  


Differentiated Instruction


  •  How is differentiated instruction being implemented with the common core? If a child has complete understanding of a subject, how are they being challenged?
  1. A pamphlet explaining how Garden City teachers utilize differentiated instruction is provided at the beginning of the school year and is available on the school’s website.  Teachers are able to differentiate content, process and product to ensure that instruction is responsive to each child’s needs.  For example, during guided reading/center time, students are provided with different material based upon the student’s level and book baggies are provided to each student that are tailored to their reading level.


K-2 Testing  

There are no plans to implement statewide testing for students in grades K-2.  

Class size

Currently, Kindergarten classes average 18 students per class and 1st grade averages 23 students per class.

Homestead Curriculum Meeting Summary  


September 30, 2013 Meeting at Homestead 

In attendance:  Dr. Suzanne Viscovich, Principal; Mrs. Stephanie Cardinale & Mrs. Lori Palladino, Teacher Representatives;  Danielle Ardito, Homestead PTA Director;  Kim Pupke & Dana Salerno, PTA Curriculum Representatives



  1. Common Core Update:

    The teachers will continue to work with consultants in both ELA and Math.  These consultants are trained to assist teachers with the Common Core Curriculum.   As in previous years, the teachers will attend workshops throughout the year. The first workshop will take place in October.  

    Parents are still being encouraged to visit for more details on the Core Curriculum.  This website is a great resource for parents. 

  2. New Mathematics Textbooks

Go Math! textbooks are being used as part of the Math Curriculum.  The teachers will use these textbooks in conjunction with the Math Curriculum that was started last year to meet to ensure the students are meeting the goals of the Mathematics Core Curriculum.  Parents can expect to see both teacher created worksheets and Go Math! worksheets, as part of both classroom work and homework.  This allows for deepened understanding of the material and further ensures the success of all students. 

  1. Technology Updates

    Teachers continue to use eno/smart boards in the classrooms.  Students use iPads and/or iPods to reiterate lessons that have been taught in the classroom.  This allows for technology use while also developing a better understanding of the lesson.  Depending upon scheduling, this is done weekly. 

  2. Chess Committee

    Dr. Viscovich is happy to accommodate Chess Club activities; however, there currently is insufficient interest.  Any parent who is interested in the chess club is encouraged to contact the Homestead PTA representative. 

  3. Other Business  

Dr. Viscovich is serving on the Social Studies Committee.  This committee is district wide and will be working this year to further evaluate the Social Studies Curriculum. 

The Curriculum Committee has decided to redistribute the computer apps and websites list at the upcoming Homestead PTA Meeting.  This list was distributed last year, but will be a good resource for any new parents.  Also, a parents guide from will also be available at the PTA meeting.