Jefferson Primary School is pulling out all the stops as it seeks to forge unbreakable bonds with the parents of every youngster studying in the building this year.
Parents have been turning out in droves for a long list of events over the first three months of the 2017/18 school year, but Jefferson Principal Valerie Capitulo-Saide is just getting started.
A recent set of evening parent workshops this fall drew about 100 parents and students as Ms. Capitulo-Saide sought to use the initiative to “kick-off a year of learning and growing together as a community,” she said.
Jefferson Principal Valerie Capitulo-Saide
with one of the school's students.
Parents were able to choose from a list of 13 different workshops on topics ranging from Coffee and Conversation with the Principal and Supporting Readers in the Digital Age to Understanding the Journey’s English Language Arts Program and many other possibilities.
“Many of our workshops offered Spanish translation thanks to the Jefferson faculty and staff,” Ms. Capitulo-Saide said. “Our talented teachers and generous parent volunteers were the presenters.”
Parents selected three workshops of their choice during the evening event. Students who had accompanied their parents to the program were entertained by Huntington High School students who volunteered to play board games with the youngsters. Some of the Jefferson students chose to watch a movie and relax.
“At the end of the event, we provided an opportunity for families to provide feedback via a survey so that we can make improvements to our future family events,” Ms. Capitulo-Saide said.
Jefferson’s Principal Since August 2012
Principal of Jefferson School since August 1, 2012, Ms. Capitulo-Saide came to Huntington after serving three years as principal of PS 101Q-The School of the Gardens in Forest Hills, Queens. She earlier worked for two years as that school’s assistant principal.
Ms. Capitulo-Saide earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative studies-dance at Hofstra University. She pursued graduate level studies at LIU-C.W. Post College, obtaining a Master of Science in elementary education and a certificate in educational administration-school building leader.
Prior to embarking on an administrative career, Ms. Capitulo-Saide worked in Community School District 26 in Bayside for two years as a dance teacher in a “literacy through the arts” program for students ranging from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade. She then taught grades three, five and six in elementary classrooms at PS 173Q and PS 213 in Bayside from 2001 to 2005.
Ms. Capitulo-Saide was a math coach and academic intervention services team leader at PS 101Q in Community School District 28 in Forest Hills from 2005 to 2007. She has engaged in a wide variety of professional training and development activities, including the Principal's Institute, NYC leadership mentoring program, advanced leadership mentor program for assistant principals, City College of New York Mathematics Institute mentoring program, Marilyn Burns Math Solutions Institute, Columbia University-Teachers College summer institutes in reading and writing and various experiences with the Educational Leadership Institute.
Jefferson’s Long History
Sensing the need to add still another elementary school to meet the needs of a growing community, the Huntington School District purchased an eight acre tract of land on Oakwood Road and in 1961/62 erected what would later be named Jefferson Elementary School.
The building opened in September 1962. Over the years, Jefferson’s parents have been extremely supportive of the school and its programs and that same tradition is evident today.
Jefferson is a single story structure that is set back from Oakwood Road. A long driveway leads to the building with athletic fields and a large playground visible to cars passing by.
When Jefferson was built, most of the nearby land was used for farming purposes. Today, many of those large areas have been set aside for land perseveration and are forever free of development, although they are no longer used for agricultural endeavors.
Jefferson, named after the third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, opened early in the 1962-63 school year. It includes an attractive courtyard area that is used for both educational initiatives and simple enjoyment. Two large wings are connected by a shorter span. There are two playground areas and a fully functional library-media center.
The school features a large cafeteria overlooking the school entrance and a gym complete with a stage, allowing it to double as an auditorium for assembly programs and large group gatherings. There is no useable basement.
An attractive stone exterior wall on the east side of the building is a hallmark of the school’s front entrance walkway. A flagpole sits in the midst of a bus circle island. Parking lies adjacent to the bus circle and vehicle spaces line the driveway leading to the building and alongside the playing fields.
Jefferson currently houses 353 students in kindergarten through fourth grades. An energetic group of teachers and related staff engage children in creative lessons and activities each day. The interior and exterior of the building are very well maintained.
Jefferson School’s Principals
- J. Allen Matthews: 1962 – June 1967
- Frank Marlowe: July 1967 – October 1967
- Phil Nardone: November 1967 – June 1980
- Jack Abrams: July 1980 – June 1986
- Joan Skelly: July 1986 – June 1995
- Anthony Barresi: July 1995 – June 2006
- Margaret H. Evers: July 2006 – June 2012
- Valerie Capitulo-Saide: August 2012 - present