Letter To The Editor: Red Letter Day In Westbury School District


When current school district superintendent Dr. Tahira Dupree Chase made her inaugural address to the board of education in the fall of 2021, I asked if there were any transferable initiatives that were successful in other school districts that she would like to introduce here. I was impressed with the fact that she mentioned the Spelling Bee, since it provides the opportunity to extend literacy beyond language development, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) because of its global significance, and allows scholars to enter into many universities at sophomore status.

The Spelling Bee initiative was launched in March 2022, to much fun and fanfare, and attracted high profile luminaries including community activists/educators, politicians, law enforcement personnel, serving in various capacities as judges, timekeepers etc. Yours truly had the pleasure of serving as one of the judges. This year’s presentation followed the same pattern and certainly did not disappoint.

I themed Wednesday, May 17, 2023 a Red-Letter Day in Westbury School District because the first public briefing on the IB program took place in the library of the high school, and when certified, Westbury will become one of only 12 districts on Long Island that offer this diploma program.

I have witnessed major initiatives embarked upon by the district including the $28 million Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) in 2003, and the $2.9 million Expanding Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) program in 2007; both were bond issues and were approved and well received by the community, but this for me is perhaps the most monumental because of its global significance, and will literally put our school district on the map so to speak. Kudos to everyone involved in its planning and execution, and I joyfully await the next chapter.

— Chester McGibbon, Westbury

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