H-ton Math & Science Chair Outlines Agenda

Huntington students stand behind a Lamborghini built with composite materials last winter.

October 14, 2016

Clifford Swezey has a full agenda for the new school year. The veteran educator is the Huntington School District’s chairman of mathematics and science for grades 7-12 and he’s always thinking about how to improve the instructional experience for students.

“In both math and science our goal this year is to increase the rates of student-centered instruction so that students will be involved in higher-order thinking in the classroom,” Dr. Swezey said. “We want students to be engaged actively and cognitively and to use their skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation when working with new and challenging information.”

Dr. Swezey has held his Huntington post since August 2015. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology at SUNY New Paltz in 1984 and a Master of Arts in Education in mathematics at St. John’s University in 1995. He earned a Doctor of Education in educational leadership at St. John’s in 2004.

“In mathematics, the teachers are focusing on data-driven instruction; analyzing data from a variety of sources to tailor instruction for individuals and groups of students,” said Dr. Swezey about this year’s focus. “Through data analysis, teachers will be designing instruction around particular curriculum areas in order to maximize student growth and achievement.”

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Clifford Swezey is Huntington's
chairman of math and science, 7-12.

Dr. Swezey previously served as a math teacher and dean at Van Wyck Junior High School (JHS 217Q) in Briarwood from 1985-1998; as an assistant math chair and math and social studies teacher at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside from 1998-2000; as an assistant principal at Louis Pasteur Middle School (MS 67Q) in Little Neck from 2000-2006; as supervisor of secondary math and computer science in the Harrison Central School District from 2006-2011; as director of math, K-12 in the Farmingdale School District in 2011/12 and as director of math and computer science, K-12 in the Uniondale School District from 2013 until his appointment in Huntington.

“In science, teachers are also using data to drive instruction and to hone-in on areas of weakness students demonstrated in prior years,” said Dr. Swezey about the current school year in Huntington “A hands-on approach is the cornerstone of quality instruction in science and teachers are developing lessons to engage students in learning more and more through discovery rather than lecture.”

It is an exciting time to be working at J. Taylor Finley Middle School and Huntington High School. “Teachers in both departments are learning more about differentiated instruction and we are concentrating on improving student ‘buy-in’ by taking advantage of their interests, readiness levels and learning preferences to maximize students’ motivation and attention in class,” Dr. Swezey said. “We want our kids to enjoy being in school and coming to class to learn.”

There are always challenges to address and this year is no different. “Another important area teachers are addressing is the influx of ENL (English as a new language) students into our district,” Dr. Swezey said. “We are investigating and learning more strategies for helping ENL students succeed in the classroom and this is a major focus of our professional development.”

Contact Dr. Swezey at [email protected] for more information about Huntington’s 7-12 math or science programs.

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Last year's Huntington Envirothon team with teacher Gina Carone (right).
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Science Chair Clifford Sweezy with St. John's Women in Science Society Award recipients last June.
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