Kelly Newman
of Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Stephen Lando
Assistant Superintendent
Elementary Instruction
Curriculum and Instruction Links:
Selection Announcement
Assistant Superintendent
Secondary Instruction

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction provides oversight and coordination of the PreK-12 educational program in the Great Neck Public Schools. The Office's major functions include:

  • Curriculum
  • Grants
  • Professional Development
  • Selection Committees
  • Staffing

The Common Core Standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce. This state-led effort was coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Forty-five states (including New York State), the District of Columbia, and four territories have adpoted the Common Core Standards. To learn more about the Common Core Standards and how they impact instruction and learning in the Great Neck Public Schools, we have provided the information below:

Elementary Level
Common Core Standards
(For more information, click the links below)
Secondary Level
UPTC Presentation 2-4-13
Common Core State Standards Initiative

Coming Soon...

The Standards

Curriculum Initiatives
(For more information, click the links below)
Elementary Level

Elementary instruction--
The elementary curriculum is continually reviewed and updated to ensure alignment with the New York State Next Generation Learning Standards, and with Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education policies and philosophy. In prekindergarten through fifth grade, small class size is maintained to meet the needs of our diverse population of some 2,500 elementary students in four elementary schools and one pre-K/kindergarten center.

English Language Arts -- Key features of the New York State Next Generation Standards in English Language Arts include:

Reading-- Anchor Standards:
• Key Ideas and Details, e.g., Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
• Craft and Structure, e.g., Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
• Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, e.g., Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Writing-- Anchor Standards:
• Text Types and Purposes, e.g., Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
• Research to Build and Present Knowledge, e.g., Conduct research based on focused questions to demonstrate understanding of the subject under investigation.

Speaking and Listening:
• Comprehension and Collaboration, e.g., Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners; express ideas clearly and persuasively, and build on those of others.
• Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas, e.g., Present information, findings, and supporting evidence so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning. Ensure that the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

• Conventions of Academic English/Language for Learning, e.g., Demonstrate command of the conventions of academic English grammar and usage when writing or speaking
• Knowledge of Language, e.g., Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
• Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, e.g., Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.

Mathematics -- The Standards for each grade level and course begin with eight Standards for Mathematical Practice:
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
4. Model with mathematics.
5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
6. Attend to precision.
7. Look for and make use of structure.
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. The first of these are process standards of problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and connections. The second are strands of mathematical proficiency: adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, conceptual understanding (comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations and relations), procedural fluency (skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately), and productive disposition (habitual inclination to see mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, coupled with a belief in diligence and one’s own efficacy). Problem solving is at the center of all math learning and concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract progression through real world, hands-on experiences. In grades K-5, the Math in Focus program is utilized.

Social Studies -- The New York State Social Studies instructional framework at the elementary level includes geography, history, map studies, economics, civics, citizenship, and government. It begins in the primary grades with themes that concentrate on the family, school, and community, and expands in the intermediate grades to include Long Island, New York State, the United States, Canada, and Latin America, all of which are explored culturally, politically, geographically, and historically.

Special Area Programs -- New York State certified teacher specialists work with students and classroom teachers to enhance the elementary program in science, literacy, enrichment education, computer, art, music, physical education, technology, STEM, and library/media.
--Science Teachers, one in each school, work directly with students in a laboratory setting to provide scheduled “hands-on” science experiences, focusing on the development of inquiry and problem-solving skills. The classroom teachers reinforce and expand knowledge of this content area in their ongoing programs.
--Literacy & Math Specialists help to coordinate each school’s core and intervention programs in reading and math. These specialists work directly with selected students, classroom teachers, and administrators to help ensure each child’s progress in literacy and math.
--SEEK (Supportive Educational Exploration and Knowledge) Teachers work with third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children who qualify for enrichment. Special projects, advanced studies, and independent research activities meet the needs and interests of these children. SEEK teachers also serve as staff developers, providing resources to teachers in grades K–5 to benefit all students.
--Technology Staff Developers, one in each school, implement a sequential curriculum in computer skills and technology applications for students and provide staff development for K-5 teachers. Each elementary school is equipped with a Computer Instructional Center which houses 25 networked computers and software programs that enhance the reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies programs.
--Art, Music, and Physical Education Teachers support the elementary program and expand the children’s horizons for lifelong learning. They work with all classes, beginning in prekindergarten. A spiraling curriculum in each of these areas addresses skills, creative expression, and aesthetic appreciation.
--Library/Media Specialists, one in each school, teach elementary children to become effective users of information. They encourage the cultivation of literature appreciation, and support and enrich the educational program. Children are taught research skills and learn to access reliable information from a variety of print and Internet resources such as subscription databases, reference CDs, and multimedia encyclopedias. The library/media specialists meet with classroom teachers to plan mutually supportive activities and projects.

Intervention Programs -- A team of specialists provides intervention services for children with special needs, both individually and in small groups. There is close articulation between the specialists who provide academic intervention and the classroom teachers. --Speech Teachers work with small groups of identified children to develop their oral communication skills.
--Hourly Reading & Math Specialists work with small groups of children in grades K-5 to reinforce the development of their reading and math skills. This instruction supplements the reading and math programs provided in the classroom.
--Reading Specialists meet with small groups of children in grades K-5 to reinforce the development of their reading and writing skills. This instruction supplements the reading program instruction provided in the classroom.
--Reading Recovery Teachers meet with individual, at-risk first-graders, five times a week, for approximately 20 weeks, to provide intensive early intervention. Children are taught strategies for decoding and comprehension, as well as techniques for becoming independent readers.
--ENL (English as a New Language) Teachers work with English language learners (ELLs) to develop their language skills. These teachers also serve as consultants to the classroom teachers.

Enrichment Courses -- Classroom and special-area teachers offer enrichment courses before school for children who elect additional studies and challenges. Courses may include: computer, drama, foreign language, language development, cultural study, literature, math and science investigation, and STEM-related instruction.

Intramurals -- Intramural programs are sometimes offered before school at each elementary school. Physical education teachers offer students a program of organized, developmentally appropriate physical activity and play.

Paraprofessionals -- Teaching Assistants (instructional paraprofessionals) assist certified teachers in the library, computer, and various instructional programs. Non-instructional Paraprofessionals provide supervision and ensure the welfare and safety of children before school and during their lunch and recess periods.

EUniversal Pre-K & Parent-child Programs -- A Universal Prekindergarten Program for four-year-olds is available. There is also a limited-enrollment Parent-Child Home Program for eligible children, 16-months to three-years-old.m

Math in Focus
Social and Emotional Learning
Responsive Classroom
(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)
GNPS STEAM Activities Summary
Technology Integration
1:1 iPad Initiative
Secondary Level

Secondary instruction--
Two middle schools, grades 6-8; two traditional and an alternative high school and program--conform to New York State requirements and expectations for students in grades 6-12, and reflects the values and expectations shared by the community. The major focus of the educational program is to provide services and programs that prepare students for higher education.

English Language Arts --

-- Middle school reinforces and enhances reading comprehension, through the study of non-fictional and fictional short stories, poetry, and novels; writing, through the development of personal narratives, expository essays, and poetry; and speaking, through oral presentations and small-group work. Instruction addresses test-taking strategies, vocabulary development, grammar, usage, mechanics, and revision. In grades 6, 7, and 8, students must demonstrate proficiency on the New York State English Language Arts Assessment.
--High school provides increasingly advanced instruction and experiences. Students refine their writing strategies, perform literary research, explore various genres of literature, and prepare for the rigorous expectations of college English programs. Students are required to pass an English Language Arts Regents in order to graduate from high school. Most students complete that requirement by the end of grade 11. Students in eleventh- and twelfth-grade may take college-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses or college-preparatory English electives.

Mathematics --

--Middle school focuses on skills in mathematical operations, computation, and pre-algebra and algebra skills. Students must demonstrate proficiency on the New York State Mathematics Assessment at the end of grades 6, 7, and 8. Accelerated students may take Regents-level Algebra, with up to one high school credit granted in eighth grade.
--High school students complete a Regents sequence that includes Algebra I and II, and Geometry. In some cases, the courses are supported with an additional lab component. Many students continue their study of mathematics in pre-calculus, statistics, AP college-level courses in calculus, computers, statistics, math research, and in post-calculus topics.

Social Studies --

--Middle school students study non-western cultures and are introduced to American history and society. They analyze documents (original texts, maps, charts, political cartoons, and secondary texts) and write document-based and thematic essays. Comprehension, writing, and critical-thinking skills are developed. They complete research projects and create individual and reports and presentations.
--The high school social studies program follows the state curriculum and prepares students for two Regents examinations. At the completion of tenth grade, students are tested on their knowledge of the history, politics, geography, and culture of non-western and European cultures from ancient to current times. Some tenth-graders opt for AP European History or AP World History in lieu of the Regents curriculum, while still taking the Regents exam. Eleventh-grade students either take American History or AP American History. Both groups take the US History Regents. Twelfth-grade students may take college-preparatory social studies electives or AP courses in politics/government, economics, and psychology. Texts are regularly supplemented with primary sources, and fiction and non-fiction books.

Science --

--Middle school provides laboratory study, readings, and instruction in earth, life, chemical, and physical sciences. All 8th-grade students prepare for and take the Regents-level Earth Science laboratory course.
--High school offerings include a variety of Regents-level courses that combine lecture with laboratory experience. Students generally choose to take two or three such courses in biology/living environment, chemistry, and/or physics. In addition, students may select from among AP college-level courses in biology, chemistry, environmental studies, and physics. Other elective course offerings may include non-Regents chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and marine science.

Foreign Language --

--Middle school students typically begin formal foreign-language instruction in sixth grade. Offerings include: French, Hebrew, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. Coursework emphasizes conversation, grammar, writing, and reading in preparation for a regional proficiency examination. Those who defer their foreign language experience may begin Spanish in grade 8. The instructional program increases in intensity each year.
--High school foreign-language study includes a Regents-equivalent examination. Students are expected to develop independence in reading, writing, and speaking. In addition to French, Hebrew, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish, students may study American Sign Language. AP courses are available in several languages.

Instructional Technology --

The Instructional Technology program at the secondary level encompasses required and elective technology-based courses and instructional technology tools integrated throughout the curriculum. Secure, state-of-the-art wired and wireless networks facilitate communication, collaboration, and access to shared resources and Web sites for all students and staff. Computer labs and laptops are available in every school for computer-based instruction. Classrooms are equipped with projectors and SMART Boards or with interactive flat-panel displays for teacher and student demonstrations, multimedia presentations, and Internet-based lessons. A 1:1 iPad Initiative provides all students and teachers with devices to enhance and support instruction and learning during and beyond the school day. Students may receive in-depth instruction and practical experiences by taking courses or joining clubs focused on coding, Web design, multimedia, digital photography, digital video editing, desktop publishing, accounting, e-commerce, marketing, investments, CAD (Computer-Aided Design), electronics, robotics, and PC repair. All schools are staffed with technology specialists who train teachers in the use of technology and applications to ensure that the staff stay abreast of the latest innovations and utilize best practices for technology integration.

Other Subject Areas --

Other subject areas include art, business, family and consumer sciences, health, music/drama, physical education, and technology. State and school district mandates require students to fulfill requirements among these areas.
--Middle school students must fulfill requirements in art, music, home and careers, health, physical education, technology, and computers.
--High school students are required by the district to select from among courses in business, computers, music, drama, art, and technology. New York State requires a health component. In many cases, students continue in these disciplines to satisfy sequence and/or graduation requirements.

Library/Media --

Library/Media Centers are the academic heart of a school system--the place where students "learn how to learn" and to gather and organize information through electronic instructional media. Library/media specialists help teachers develop research assignments and assist students in independent research, information gathering and presentation.

Academic Support --

Academic support is provided by teachers in reading/study skills, writing, math, and ENL (English as a New Language). The increasingly rigorous demands of secondary instruction suggest that some students need additional support to achieve success in classes and to pass the assessments needed to earn Regents diplomas. Teacher referrals and test scores are used to identify students who need support services. At each grade level, progress is reviewed and students are recommended for appropriate services. Each school has an instructional support team to help students develop time-management skills and cultivate independent study habits. Teachers work with small groups of students, providing individualized instruction to supplement their academic classes. ENL provides instruction for limited English-proficient students in listening, speaking, writing, and reading English. Secondary schools has ENL teachers who work in stand-along and collaborative classrooms.

Co-curricular Activities --

Co-curricular activities are a major part of the secondary program and include clubs, trips, and after-school functions. They are a critical adjunct to the academic program, and offer opportunities for students to develop interests and talents, to meet students from other districts, to engage in competition, and to perform community service. The schools offer some 125 teams, 150 activities, and 60 clubs in such areas as athletics, performing arts, student publications, community projects, and science research and competitions.

Student Support Services --

Adolescents need guidance and support in planning schedules, preparing for college admission, and dealing with social, emotional, and academic concerns. To provide long- and short-term assistance, each secondary school has a pupil personnel team comprising guidance counselors, a nurse, a psychologist, and a social worker.