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More Than A Dozen Long Island School Districts Are Developing Specific Classes To Teach About 9/11

MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- School districts across the Tri-State Area are making plans this week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and extend the history lesson all year.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, that's especially the case on Long Island.

Ally Short wasn't born when her NYPD father rushed to ground zero.

The Newfield High School student will be singing the national anthem at the Selden firehouse to honor her dad and other first responders.

"I feel it even though I wasn't there because of how close my dad was to it," Short said.

READ MORERetired Flight Attendant Walking From Boston To New York To Honor 20th Anniversary Of 9/11

At Brentwood High School, social studies teacher Diana Razza is preparing her classes in a new way.

"The first few years it was still so very raw, we didn't really talk about it. The school would hold a moment of silence," Razza said.

Now, she will show a documentary on the twin towers about the inseparable Vigiano brothers of Long Island -- NYPD and FDNY heroes who died within hours of each other.

"I think it's important that the kids do see this because it's just so far removed for them," Razza said.

"I know I wasn't alive and don't have any memories of 9/11, but I know all the people and families who sacrificed their lives," 16-year-old Kristina Gray said.

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Nearly 500 Long Islanders were killed that day 20 years ago, and now more than a dozen school districts here are developing specific 9/11 classes.

"When I realized this was the 20th anniversary this year and that we had students who would be looking at it from a purely historic point of view and maybe hearing about it for the first time, I realized this was the perfect introduction to the heroism that he showed," said Jason Mach, Malverne School District humanities supervisor.

In Malverne, students and staff will wear red bandanas paying tribute to Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old equities trader who lost his life in the south tower stairwell while rescuing people.

"We weren't really alive and we don't really know, so I feel we should be educated on 9/11 because it was such a big moment in history," 16-year-old Khaliya Shaw said.

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The 9/11 date this year appears three times in the state's K-12 social studies curriculum, covering events of the day, the aftermath, the war on terror, and global security.

"We want to have our children remember what it is to give of yourself, what about heroism, about courage because in a way we are going up those stairs as we begin the school year," Malverne School District Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis said.

As another school year begins, the goal on Long Island is to show and share with students, the districts' memories of that day, the human impact, and how our world was forever changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

The 9/11 classes begin this week on Long Island in English, history and social studies. The classes are targeted to grade level.

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