West Islip Public Schools
West Islip News

Saving Lives with Math at Bayview

Students from Bayview recently participated in the St. Jude Math-A-Thon, raising $1,914 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“This is an annual occurrence at Bayview, where through the years, we have raised over $10,000 for the children and their families that are affected by various childhood cancers,” said teacher Justin DeMaio. “The students had an opportunity to complete math problems with the intention of saving someone’s life, and that speaks volumes. Not only do the children practice math skills, but they help someone at the same time.”

Bellew School Community Celebrates Flag Day

The Bellew school community gathered under the flagpole to celebrate Flag Day on June 14, sharing music, patriotic student speeches and expressions of gratitude for the freedoms enjoyed by American citizens.

In attendance were Superintendent Bernadette Burns, Board of Education President Steve Gellar and representatives from the West Islip American Legion, as well as a special guest speaker, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Francis “Stash” Pelkowski.

According to Principal Rhonda Pratt, the school’s annual Flag Day ceremony serves as the culmination of a month-long schoolwide study of the June character trait of patriotism. “Developing citizenship and responsibility in our children is a process that begins by honoring our flag and those that have defended it,” said Pratt.

HS Trio Earn Chemistry Awards

High school students Melodi Dogany, Angelo Spiratos and Abigail Weintz were named the recipients of American Chemical Society awards for outstanding achievement in high school chemistry.

All three students have 99 averages in AP chemistry.

Manetuck Students Explore Future Career Ideas

For Career Day, students at Manetuck first discussed career ideas with their families, then walked in to school dressed up for the occupations they thought they might like to pursue when they grow up.

“Whether they chose to portray a musician, police officer, small business owner, veterinarian, teacher, or some other pursuit, this was a fun way for our students to stimulate thought and discussion about the future and share dreams with friends,” said Principal Dawn Morrison.

Bayview Presents Dynamic ‘Dalmatians’

After less than a month of preparation, fourth- and fifth-grade student actors at Bayview presented exciting performances of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” for both their classmates as well as family and friends.

“The talent that was exposed by doing this show, from both grade levels, gives high hopes to future dramatic productions in West Islip,” said teacher Justin DeMaio. “Job well done!

Carter Named Top Male Athlete in County

High School senior and champion diver Patrick Carter won the 2017 Butch Dellecave Award, honoring him as the top male student-athlete in Suffolk County. Carter was presented with the award, which recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and the community, at a June 11 ceremony at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook. He was the first West Islip athlete to receive this award.

Carter earned his second consecutive diving state title this year. During his high school career, he won five county championships and broke several diving records. He will attend the U.S. Naval Academy this fall.
“When you reflect back on the outstanding student-athletes West Islip has had over the years, you begin to realize what an incredible recognition this honor holds,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan. “West Islip is proud of Patrick and wishes him continued success as he moves on to the Naval Academy. I’d also like to give special recognition to his coaches, Bob Kollar and Karyn Storan, and to his teachers who have had a profound positive impact on his development.”

Butterflies Freed at Oquenock after Life Cycle Observation

After the class learned about the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly as part of a science lab, and watched all the insect’s stages from egg to adult, third-graders in Michelle Bonkov and Frank Sblendorio's class at Oquenock released the butterflies into the wild.

Socrates Visits Beach Street

Socrates made a visit to an eighth-grade English class at Beach Street during its first Socratic Seminar of the year.

After the class closely read Atticus Finch’s closing argument from the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the students created their own open-ended questions to help them explore its deeper meaning. Many questions dealt with specific aspects of the text, the writer’s craft and how the ideas in the text impact the students’ world.

“Once the students became comfortable with the format, the discussion quickly changed to a conversation where they became more interested in where the questions led them, and less focused on what the answers were,” said Principal Andrew O’Farrell. “They did a remarkable job. Socrates himself would be impressed.”

West Islip’s Fantastic 44 College-Bound Seniors

A total of 44 outstanding senior student-athletes from the high school have committed to play Division I, II and III college athletics.

The students are: Alyssa Adams (softball, Saint Peter’s University), Gage Adler (swimming/equestrian, SUNY Oneonta), Antonio Alicea (football, Western New England University), Hanna Battaglini (track, SUNY Oswego), Joseph Bitetto (lacrosse, Drexel University), Amanda Bockstruck (volleyball, Western Connecticut State University), Tara Bovich (lacrosse, SUNY New Paltz), Patrick Carter (diving, United States Naval Academy), Emily Cavanaugh (bowling, LIU Post), Drew Cestaro (lacrosse, SUNY Binghamton), Nicole Cotton (lacrosse, Mercy College), Jennifer Cox (tennis, Brevard College), Brodie Culkin (lacrosse, SUNY Farmingdale), Shannon Culkin (swimming, SUNY Old Westbury), Samantha D’Antonio (field hockey, Limestone College), Kevin DiCapua (football, Wagner College), Joseph Diggle (lacrosse, Florida Tech University), Connor Downey (soccer, Keene College), Brendan Engel (lacrosse, Quinnipiac University), Ryan Forcino (lacrosse, SUNY Cortland), Kristin Hazelton (tennis, Union College), Jordan Ilchert (lacrosse, SUNY Oneonta), Julia Impagliazzo (soccer, Florida Institute of Technology), Samantha Jenks (track, SUNY Oswego), Sierra Koehler (swimming/track and field, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Katelyn Kohler (soccer, Ithaca College), Andrew Lauriguet (track and field, Suffolk Community College), Patrick Mulcahy (lacrosse, Pace University), Jake Nicolosi (lacrosse, Manhattan College), Krista O’Connor (cross-country/track, East Stroudsburg University), Kyle O’Neill (baseball, Felician University), Joseph Palmieri (baseball, Utica College), Nicos Prokopiou (swimming, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Vincent Raccuglia (lacrosse, Florida Tech University), Gianna Raimondi (softball, Hunter College), Melanie Regan (softball, Smith College), Jake Richter (lacrosse, Mount St. Mary’s University), Jake Russo (basketball, New York Institute of Technology), Victoria Scuderi (lacrosse, SUNY Brockport), Fiona Stockdale (soccer, SUNY Brockport), Melissa Tonn (lacrosse, SUNY Cortland), Greg Tsouprakos (baseball, Pace University), Joe Valentino (baseball, LIU Post) and Melissa Winberry (soccer, SUNY Maritime College).

“Congratulations to our seniors who have committed to play college athletics,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan. “The West Islip community is proud to have them represent us as they move on to higher education.”

West Islip Musicians Hit It Out of the ‘Parks’

West Islip student-musicians from Beach Street and Udall earned three first-place trophies while participating for the seventh consecutive year in the Music in the Parks competition. A total of 120 West Islip students attended the event, held on May 13 at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Beach Street’s seventh- and eighth-grade band, directed by Steven Smith, took first place in the Division 1A Middle School Concert Band competition.

Udall’s orchestra and Beach Street’s seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra, both directed by Lynnette Fawess, won first place for the Division 1A Middle School String Orchestra and Division 2A Middle School String Orchestra competitions, respectively.

Music in the Parks is an interstate music festival and competition attended each spring by thousands of student musicians from across North America. The day started with performances at Northeast Middle School and concluded with an award ceremony held at Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom Amusement Park. The trip provided the opportunity for each performing ensemble to be rated by a panel of adjudicators who are experts in their areas. Each adjudicator provided a set of constructive comments in addition to the groups’ ratings.

“This event was a real musical and educational experience for all of the students who participated,” said Fawess. “We are all extremely proud of their hard work.”

West Islip’s Language Learners Celebrate Diversity

The district’s English as a New Language Department recently celebrated national, cultural and language diversities in the district, with high school and middle school ENL students visiting elementary ENL students at Oquenock.
English language learners first introduced themselves in their native languages and taught other students how to say good morning in their native language. The secondary students then teamed up with the younger students for a National Park in My Native Country project, working in groups on computers and iPads to create books about their national park in the Book Creator App.
“The day was filled with remarkable learning experiences, enjoyment and memories,” said ENL teacher Monica Krawczyk. “We were very fortunate to travel around the world in one day.”

Meet West Islip’s 2017 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

The high school’s Class of 2017 valedictorian and salutatorian are Madeleine Gaffney and Jack Duffy, respectively.

Gaffney is a member of the school’s National Honor Society, Foreign Language Honor Society, English Honor Society and Principal’s List, and was named Student of the Month for science. She competes on the varsity kickline team and plays piccolo in West Islip’s wind ensemble. This fall, she will attend Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, pursuing a five-year physician’s assistant program. “I intend to enter the medical field and hope to be successful in saving lives and making a difference,” she said.

Duffy is a member of the National Honor Society, Foreign Language Honor Society, English Honor Society, and was named Student of the Month for both math and science. He performs with the school’s mixed chorus and is a member of the varsity winter and spring track teams. Duffy will attend the State University of New York at Binghamton, majoring in engineering.

Arduino Roadster Project Lets High Schoolers Use Tech to Solve Problems

High school students in Ron Weber’s electricity/electronics class worked to address a wide array of challenges in programming an Arduino microcontroller to drive an electric Lego roadster, which familiarized the students with electronics theory, code programming, problem solving and troubleshooting.

Working on the Arduino roadster project required the students to be able to construct their vehicle from Legos, wire an Arduino microcontroller with an H-Bridge integrated circuit to control the rotation of the electric motors, and create the programming code that directs the Arduino’s control of the roadster.

Each step of the process had its own set of problems that needed to be solved. When building the roadster with Legos, considerations like gear ratios, weight distribution and length of the roadster were critical design constraints. The students also had to determine the revolutions per minute of the electric motors and the positioning of the custom circuitry, and follow schematic diagrams to precisely fabricate the electrical circuits necessary to control and propel the roadster.

Learning to program the Arduino – a very small special purpose computer with electronic input/output channels built into it – was the heart of the project. The Arduino has the ability to receive information from the input channels and to control motors and other peripherals connected to the output channels. When complete, the dragster is able to sense and react to the world around it. The Arduino’s Integrated Development Environment made it easy to write code and upload it to the board. The students had to systematically create and structure the code into function modules that address individual actions of the roadster.

“The Arduino roadster provided our students with a real-life engineering experience,” said Brian Taylor, the district’s director of science and engineering technology. “The students drew upon many different technical understandings to accomplish one specific goal – making the roadster move.”

“This type of activity has far-reaching implications on the experience of our students,” said Weber. “Learning to use technology to solve problems is paramount to every student’s educational experience.”

Bayview’s MST Fair Enhances Students’ Scientific Inquiry

Serving as a showcase for students to display their interest in the world of STEM and enhance scientific inquiry, Bayview held an MST Fair on April 27. The fair included daytime presentations, so that students could see what their classmates created, and an evening event for family members.

Some projects were collaborative classroom activities. Fourth-graders built lighthouses that incorporated electrical circuits, third-graders created spool mobiles explaining how systems and simple machines work, and first-graders made faux “fossils” as examples of prehistoric life.

“There were so many exciting projects presented by our students,” said Teaching Assistant Carla LaBombard. “Bayview prides itself on our STEM-based learning as we look to the future of our young scientists and engineers.”

Anne-Marie Dunn Honored as a Teacher of Excellence

High school teacher Anne-Marie Dunn was honored at the second annual Teacher of Excellence Awards ceremony, hosted by State Sen. Phil Boyle at the Bay Shore Fire Department on May 4.

“We celebrated the achievements of 16 outstanding educators and school professionals who have dedicated their lives to teaching and helping their students learn, thrive, and reach their fullest potential,” said Boyle. “Our school communities are so very fortunate to have such passionate educators.”

“Mrs. Dunn brings a joyful passion for teaching and learning to every student with whom she has contact,” said Superintendent Bernadette M. Burns. “She is a credit to the district and to the profession, and I am honored that she has chosen West Islip in which to do her life work.”

Udall Students Help Grant Two Special Wishes

The Udall student council, along with eighth-grader Jenna Ostrove, helped the school join the Make-A- Wish Foundation’s “Ones for Wishes” campaign. Udall raised more than $1,000 for the cause over a two-week period, earning the third highest total out of all the participating schools in Suffolk County. Kathleen Ryan and Melanie Vecchione’s homeroom class raised more than $300 alone.
The campaign’s proceeds will grant wishes for two children on Long Island. Thomas, a 4-year-old from West Islip who is currently battling leukemia, will have his wish granted this summer when he visits Disney with his parents, sister and grandmother. Natalie, a 14-year-old from East Northport who was diagnosed with an esophagus tumor, will also have her wish granted this summer when she and her parents visit Hawaii. Ryan and Vecchione’s class had the opportunity to meet both Thomas and Natalie, along with their families.

Hs Boys’ Tennis Team Qualifies 10 in Section XI Championship

The high school boys' varsity tennis team qualified 10 players in the Section XI tennis championship: Griffin Costello, Mike Felice, Will Fix, Andrew Fogel, Jack Johnson, Zachary Keogh, Sean Moran, Marty Racanelli, Richie Racanelli and Evan Raible.

“Congratulations to the team on another impressive season,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

West Islip Students with HEARTT Honor Three Veterans

This year, members of the West Islip Students with HEARTT community group continued their Wall of Heroes project at the high school by honoring three veterans: retiring teacher Thomas Compitello and community members Bill Burkard and Jim Storan. The display, which began in April and continued through part of May, contained flags from 9/11, medals, awards and uniforms.

According to HEARTT founder Virginia Scudder, the display coincided with founding HEARTT members Brooke Verdillo and Glenn Greeley heading to basic camp and deployment, respectively.

“We are so proud of them and their service,” said Scudder. “And to all the men and women who serve our country, we are proud of you too.”

The Snack Pack: Oquenock Student Drive Benefits Essential Pantry

In a project inspiring collaboration, creativity, leadership and planning, students in the Oquenock classrooms of Michelle Bonkov, Susan Cosentino and Frank Sblendorio collected water, juices and snacks for the Essential Pantry in West Islip, then created special “snack packs” to package the donations from the drive.

“Our students demonstrated generosity, compassion and kindness for their peers throughout this project-based learning experience,” said Principal Jack Maniscalco.

A Poster Planet Depicts Environmental Awareness at Manetuck

In recognition of environmental awareness for Earth Day last month, Deborah Chizik’s class at Manetuck used their handprints to make a poster of the planet, surrounded by sentence strips describing how each student thought they could help the Earth. The children also prepared individual posters reflecting the theme “My Promise to the Earth.”

Career Possibilities Explored at Bellew

On its second annual Career Day, Bellew gave students in grades K-5 the opportunity to explore many different job possibilities through in-class presentations and hands-on learning experiences in the library.

Parents and local community members – including professionals such as doctors, police officers, FBI agents, nurses, business owners and pro sports players – volunteered their time to share their knowledge and expertise with the students.

“Without a doubt, our second Career Day was a huge success,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.

ASL Students Talk with Alumna Via Skype

As part of learning about deaf students being placed in mainstream settings, high school students in Maria Kaminsky’s American Sign Language classes recently enjoyed a Q&A session via Skype with Chelsea Behrens, a West Islip alumna who works as a sign language interpreter.

Behrens, a member of West Islip’s Class of 2012, graduated last year from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She currently works as an elementary school sign language interpreter at BOCES Monroe 1 in Rochester.

The students asked Behrens about why she wanted to become an interpreter, what her work day is like, what type of technology her students use, how they interact with their hearing peers, and if they get involved in school activities.

Fun for Fifth-Graders at Bayview’s Annual Sports Night

Fifth-graders at Bayview recently participated in the school’s second annual Sports Night, organized by Bayview’s physical education staff and hosted at Beach Street Middle School.

Four teams - DeMaio Dominators, Florea’s Friends, Gagliardi Gladiators and Kennedy Krushers – competed to win the the prized Sports Night trophy, also known as the Mullins Cup. The five frenetic events included a balloon pop-squat, a basketball shoot-out, tug of war, and a new event this year, an ice skating/inchworm race. The teams also competed in a partner-pulling event using Squairs, Bayview’s new fitness equipment obtained via a PAWS grant.

The night was not all about winning the trophy, but emphasized teamwork and a good time. Bayview Principal John Mullins started and ended the event with a statement that reinforced the evening’s goal, saying, “Tonight is about doing your best and sportsmanship, but the most important part is having fun.”
While all the students did indeed have fun, one team “dominated” the events, and the Mullins Cup was awarded to Justin DeMaio’s class, who narrowly defeated the reigning champs, Kimberly Kennedy’s class.

A Wow in West Islip for Udall’s “Beauty and the Beast” Actors

Determined young actors at Udall met every day for three months, preparing for the school’s presentation of the Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” Some of the seventh- and eighth-graders were even chosen to teach dance choreography for the show to the rest of the cast, which also included sixth-grade students.

“This was no simple task,” said teacher Justin DeMaio, who directed along with Shane O’Neill. “Students must give a lot of time and energy into a production such as this, but the students at Udall rose to the occasion, as they do every year, and wowed the audiences.”

West Islip and North Babylon Baseball Teams Join in Tribute to Tuozzolo

In honor of NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, who was killed in the line of duty last November, the West Islip and North Babylon varsity baseball teams and their respective communities joined together on April 24 to play a tribute baseball game at Bethpage Ballpark.

Both teams wore custom jerseys adorned with Sgt. Tuozzolo’s badge number, and community support was strong, with more than 1,000 people in attendance. Throwing out the first pitch was the late sergeant’s wife, Lisa Tuozzolo, a North Babylon alumna and the assistant principal at West Islip High School, joined by her two young sons, Austin and Joseph. Also in attendance was Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo, who was wounded in the incident, but whose life was saved due to Sgt. Tuozzolo’s heroic actions.

Money raised from the memorial game will help fund a scholarship in Sgt. Tuozzolo’s name in both communities.

Holocaust Survivor Teaches Tolerance at High School

West Islip High School social studies teacher Noreen Matthews recently arranged an assembly program for students with Holocaust survivor Werner Reich, who presented the historical aspect of the Holocaust and then compared his struggles to today’s issues of bullying and the misuse of social media, among other challenges.

Reich has been sharing his message with West Islip’s students for the last 12 years.

High School Researchers Win at LISEF

High school student Nicos Prokopiou received a Grand Award Honorable Mention in the environmental engineering category at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair on March 23. After presenting his research to LISEF scientists in February, he had been selected as a semifinalist and cleared to compete by the LISEF Scientific Review Committee. His paper was titled “The Development of Copper Filtration Systems to Decrease the Viability of Aqueous E. coli.”

At the junior varsity edition of LISEF, three West Islip research students placed. Samantha Jenks won second place and Sean Cafferty earned third in the behavioral science category, while Devin Miller came in third place in plant science.

Manetuck Second-Graders Determine Designs for “Drop”

Manetuck second-graders recently participated in an egg drop challenge, designing and creating “structures” that would be capable of protecting an egg when dropped from the gymnasium roof by a teacher.

For this STEM extension activity, a list of suggested supplies was provided, and students planned and constructed their structures independently, relying on their knowledge of properties to determine materials that would be best suited for their designs. They made predictions about whether each design would be successful and why, and then analyzed the outcomes.

After the egg drop, students opened their structures to see if their design had protected the egg from cracking during the fall. The different designs were compared and analyzed to determine their effectiveness, and the students were asked to consider how this activity applies to the real world, which is full of things that are designed to lessen or eliminate injury.

Touching History on Beach Street Trip to Historic Philly

Seventh-graders at Beach Street touched history on a field trip to Philadelphia on April 6.

During their walking tour, the students visited the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center.

Robotics Team Takes Control at Hofstra Tournament

The high school’s FIRST Robotics Team 871 participated in the School Business Partnership of Long Island’s Regional Robotics Tournament at Hofstra University on April 1, winning the prestigious 2017 Innovation in Control award for its advanced robotic mechanism control system enabling automatic pick-up and deposit of game pieces.
The award, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, celebrates an innovative control system or application of control components – electrical, mechanical or software – to provide unique machine functions. The system must be innovative, practical and able to be described by the students.

Manetuck’s Magnificent Seven Prove Tops in Hoops

Manetuck students recently participated in Islip Town's 31st annual Sharpshooter Basketball Contest, with Adriana Balint, Matthew Greenwald, Victoria Lackington, Jake Lella, Christine Lombardi, J’Ovanni Maldonado and Chris Rentz emerging as the school’s top hoops shooters. The students used the skills they have learned in Manetuck’s physical education classes to compete against students from other schools in the district.

Sponsored since 1993 by the Islip Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs along with the Islip Elks, the Sharpshooter “Just Say No to Drugs” competition provides an alternative to drug and alcohol abuse and an opportunity for fourth- and fifth-grade students to improve their basketball skills as they attempt to score as many baskets as possible in one minute.
Balint, Lella, Lombardi and Rentz went on to represent Manetuck at the final, townwide round of the 2017 competition, with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen in attendance.

Elementary Scientists Investigate STEM Topics for Fairs

Science was in the air during March at Manetuck and Bellew, with both schools holding successful science fairs.
More than 130 students in grades K-5 participated in Manetuck’s fair, providing them with the opportunity to explore various STEM topics and share what they discovered with their classmates. While family and friends enjoyed the fair that evening, students visited during the school day with their classes, armed with clipboards that contained an exit ticket activity that they were required to fill out as they browsed the various projects, which included topics such as solar power, plant nutrition, bone mobility, electric circuits, color mixing, snakes, dinosaurs, homopolar motors, lava lamps, static electricity and water-powered renewable energy. At Bellew, more than 150 students participated and shared their findings after investigating topics like the solar system, electricity, simple machines, buoyancy and the amount of sugar in a daily diet.
“It was wonderful to see such student enthusiasm about the STEM field,” said Bellew Principal Rhonda Pratt.

West Islip Inducts 35 into Business and Marketing Honor Society

The high school’s business education department recently inducted 35 exemplary students into the Business and Marketing Honor Society.
Acceptance into the Business and Marketing Honor Society, which is a national organization, requires letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches or employers; hours of community or volunteer service; and outstanding grades in business classes. Many of the graduating seniors who were inducted will go on to pursue degrees in marketing, accounting and law after earning college credits through the department’s college courses.
During the ceremony, Adriana Lent, president of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America, and Elena Cama, president of West Islip DECA, spoke words of encouragement and congratulations to their fellow students. They also talked about the importance of career and college readiness through business education courses and participation in clubs such as DECA, FBLA, the Sports Entertainment Marketing Club and Mock Trial. Cama and Lent both plan to major in business while attending college this fall.

Exploring Volcanoes and Rainforests at Oquenock

Kindergartners in Judith Schwartz’s class at Oquenock visited “the rainforest” during the school’s science fair. Each grade at the school participated by making a different insect or animal for the event.

Meanwhile, David Haas’ fifth-grade class watched a “volcano” erupt after a student made it for the science fair. The student who created the volcano for the science fair used a soda can and painted clay to make it, then added baking soda and vinegar to initiate a chemical reaction that resembled lava.

Strong West Islip Music Program Reflected in SCMEA Selections

Recognizing his talent and hard work, high school junior Jake Dieli was selected to perform with the 2017 Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association’s All-County Jazz Ensemble.

Other outstanding West Islip student-musicians chosen for SCMEA’s All-County Band, All-County Orchestra and All-County Chorus included Bayview fifth-graders Isabella Basini, Vivian G., Emily Hamm, Brian Hose, Amy McCann and Katherine Pokorney; Bellew fifth-graders William Borello, Nicholas Locurto, Ryan Northorn, Devon Prieto and Sophia Stehlik; Manetuck fifth-graders Mackenzie DeCarlo, Isabella Grimaldi, Daniel Pipitone and Aaron Tomasello; Oquenock fifth-graders Marissa Beyhl, Amanda Lundquist and Abigail Trent; Beach Street students Avery Alessi, Sophia Bahm, Nate Butler, Matthew Cammarano, Lily Colonna, Emma Fallon, Alex Lee, Sophia Lopez, Lauren McCann, Gabriel Millet, Andrew Palmer, Sophia Pellegrino, Hayley Santiago, Erin Thaxter, Kyle Tran, Karina Vartanian and Emma Zatkowski; Udall students Ruth Boucher, Drake Castonguay, Eve Castonguay, Lianna Crisci, Amanda Ditaranto, Michael Edgley, Daniel Himbele, Antonia LaFemina, Elizabeth Lundquist, Alexandra Mahany, Grace Mineo, Andrew Rao, Luke Schuffenhauer, Alexandra Scourtos and Dorian Scourtos; and high school students Patrick Bolin, Mary Ellen Boucher, Ty Carpinello, Adriane Casey, Nicole D’Asaro, Madison Esposito, Marc Frazier, Robert Hoyler, Joseph Imburgia, Derek Kim, Lauren Leonardi, Matthew Oldaker, Delaney O’Shea, David Mahany, Roman Millet, Kathryn Paidoussis. Tristan Tran, Evan Trommer, Anthony Venezia and CJ Zito.

Oquenock Geography Club Members Show Their Knowledge at Bee

The Geography Club at Oquenock, consisting of 21 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, participated in their annual Geography Bee on March 13, guided by club adviser David Haas. The questions this year focused on U.S. geography.

“Congratulations to all of the students for their hard work,” said Principal Jack Maniscalco.

Dent-ucation at Bellew

Kindergartners at Bellew were recently visited by a dental hygienist from Adelberg Montalvan Pediatric Dental in West Islip. The students watched a brief educational cartoon video on the importance of taking care of their teeth, and had an interactive discussion using fun props and dental tools.

 The hygienist showed the students how to brush and floss properly, and discussed healthy eating and drinking as a means of taking care of their bodies and teeth. At the activity’s close, the children were excited to each receive a goody bag with useful information as well as a new toothbrush.

Two West Islip Artists Chosen for NYSATA Exhibition

Artworks by freshman Lily Gilmore and sophomore Krista Wolfe, two talented students from Kristen Caulfield’s studio art classes at the high school, were chosen for display at the New York State Art Teachers Association’s 27th annual Legislative Student Art Exhibition.

The Legislative Student Art Exhibition is the flagship event for Youth Art Month and NYSATA’s largest public display of student artwork in a government building. Each spring, it provides an exciting opportunity for students and their families to connect with their legislators.

The K-12 gallery showing, cosponsored by New York State United Teachers, ran from March 27-29 at the Legislative Well in Albany’s Capitol Building.

Oquenock Fourth-Graders Explore Character and Kindness with Flags

Oquenock fourth-graders used the message of positivity and acceptance behind P.S. I Love You Day to create special character flags. Each student wrote a brief message – ranging from “thank you for always helping me with my math” to “thanks for playing with me at recess when no one else would” – on a heart for the members of their class. These messages were then glued to strips to create a wonderful keepsake for each child.

“We hope that the students will realize their own self worth through the kind words of others,” said teacher Kelly Parson. “This activity really got the students thinking about others, and the happiness they all showed when their own character flag was complete was priceless.”

Manetuck’s Second-Grade Scientists Make Their Own Oobleck

After reading the 1949 Dr. Seuss classic “Bartholomew and the Oobleck,” second-grade scientists in Cynthia LaPrarie’s class at Manetuck identified states of matter by creating their own Oobleck.

Character Creativity at Bayview Biography Day

Fourth-graders in Nikki Caputi’s class at Bayview dressed in character for Biography Day, bringing historical figures like Christopher Columbus, Milton Hershey, Helen Keller, Pablo Picasso and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to life in a “wax museum.” The students performed short skits and answered questions about their chosen figures.

“This student-friendly format of Biography Day allowed my class to creatively and dramatically tell about their important person of history,” said Caputi.

Middle School Orchestras Take It on Tour

For the 11th consecutive year, the middle school orchestras went on tour at the district’s four elementary schools. Udall’s seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra traveled to both Manetuck and Oquenock on Feb. 16, while Beach Street’s seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra visited Bayview and Bellew on March 8. Both buildings’ orchestras conducted an information demonstration and informal concert for the younger students.

During the tour performances, the middle schoolers played a combination of music from their winter and spring concerts in addition to demonstrations of individual instruments, which included music from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and the “Harry Potter” films as well as popular tunes such as “Closer” by The Chainsmokers, “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes and “Drag Me Down” by One Direction.

“This event allows for the elementary students to learn about the instruments in the string orchestra and what the different instruments sound like,” said Lynnette Fawess, the orchestra director for Beach Street and Udall. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for the middle school students to visit and perform for their former teachers. The students are always proud of their musical growth and love having the opportunity to share that with the elementary teachers.”  

Manetuck Rides Wave of Reading Achievement

In keeping with this year’s Pick a Reading Partner program theme of “Ride the Reading Wave,” Manetuck students collectively read more than 110,000 minutes outside of school throughout the three weeks of PARP.

As a result of their reading achievement, Principal Dawn Morrison agreed to participate in an ice bucket challenge at the end of the PARP closing assembly.

In addition to taking part in activities that encouraged reading both in school and at home, the students also wrote a book titled “The Adventures of Gnarley Dude,” with each class writing and illustrating one page of the book.

The book was read to the students at the closing assembly, then placed in Manetuck’s library media center.


West Islip Runners Succeed at States

High school student-athletes Hanna Battaglini, Klaire Klemens and Sierra Koehler competed in the NYSPHSAA indoor track state championships.

Battaglini finished 14th in the state in the 55-meter hurdles, with a time of 8.89.

Klemens likewise finished 14th in the 1,500-meter race, with a time of 4:53.19. Koehler ran on the intersectional distance relay team that broke a county record with a time of 10:22.00 and took first place in the state.

A Playful Pie for PARP at Bellew

Clever bookworms at Bellew recently came up with a messy challenge for Principal Rhonda Pratt to complete. If they met their reading goals in this year’s Pick a Reading Partner program, Pratt would agree to play the “Pie in the Face Game” in the school's cafeteria. The students read more than 81,000 minutes; one remarkable fourth-grade class alone read 9,567 minutes.

“They met their goals, and I had a sweet treat,” said Pratt. “My special thanks to our PTA for helping to organize daily fun-filled reading activities and for their donation of superhero books for the library.”

Manetuck Finds the Path to Character Paw-fection

On a monthly basis, students at Manetuck are given a chance to show their sterling character and be rewarded. In the school’s character education program, the Path to Paw-Fect Character, one student from each classroom is honored with that month’s character education award. Each award winner receives a certificate, a paw print pin and a medal. As a group, the winners are honored at a school-wide assembly, and their names are displayed in the school’s main hallway.

January’s character education trait was anti-bullying, with students working hard throughout the month to treat others with respect, while the character trait for February was friendship.

Mock Interviews Provide Valuable Experience for HS Business Students

Students in Diana Saadat’s career and financial management classes at the high school got a taste of the real world when they concluded their recent career unit, utilizing their resources and skills to participate in mock interviews.

After researching their prospective career and creating a resume, each student sent in a cover letter that granted them an interview. They were then asked to fill out an application and were able to sit down and experience all the questions and pressures that come with a real interview.

Carter Wins Second State Diving Title; Prokopiou Finishes 13th in Swim Event

High school senior Patrick Carter successfully defended his state diving championship on March 4, earning his second consecutive NYSPHSAA title with a score of 580.05 at the Nassau Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park.
It was the final magnificent event in Carter’s storied high school career, which also includes five county championships and several broken records. He will attend the U.S. Naval Academy this fall.

Also competing at the 2017 NYSPHSAA swimming and diving championships was swimmer Nicos Prokopiou, who placed 13th overall in the 100-meter backstroke and was recognized with the New York State Sportsmanship Award. Prokopiou had earlier won four medals in the Suffolk County league swimming championships, including a first-place finish in the 200 individual medley.

Eight Prove Great for Colors of Long Island Show

  Work by eight superb young West Islip artists was chosen for display at the 19th annual Colors of Long Island student art exhibit.

The K-12 gallery showing, sponsored by Astoria Bank, runs at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook from Feb. 24 through April 16.

Selected were Bayview fourth-grader Megan Harte and fifth-grader Angelo Cristadoro; Bellew first-grader Madelynn Rush and fifth-grader Alexa Reale; Oquenock fifth-graders Shea Ronayne and Salwa Rukiyah; and high school freshmen Lily Gilmore and Olivia Hargraves.

At Oquenock, Portraits Painted for Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, fifth-graders in teacher Jill Culver’s class at Oquenock recently painted full-face acrylic portraits of their black history heroes.

The students prepared by researching many role models, chose someone they admired and then located a photograph of the person. During several lessons, the young artists learned to accurately shape and place facial features, and use different techniques to style the subjects’ hair. At the end of the four-week project the fifth-graders explained why they admire the person they selected and painted.

“It's always exciting when the students can relate to a person from history or feel empathy or compassion for someone, and are eager to learn more about them,” said Culver. “It is also a great opportunity to learn how to paint a portrait in acrylics.”

Air Force Master Sergeant Pays Memorable Visit to Manetuck

Christine Chocko’s fourth-grade class at Manetuck was recently paid a special visit by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Haughey, the great-uncle of one of Chocko’s students. The students learned about the brave men and women that serve in America’s armed forces, and Haughey read them the Jill Biden story “Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.”

West Islip Divers and Swimmers Earn Medals; Carter Captures Fifth Consecutive County Diving Title

High school senior Patrick Carter captured his fifth consecutive county diving championship while setting the Section XI 11-dive scoring record with a score of 625.35. His victory at the Feb. 16 event, held at Hauppauge High School, made him the first Suffolk diver to win five county titles. As a junior last year, he earned his first state title and fourth county title. He will defend his state championship title on March 4 at the NYSPHSAA championship held at the Nassau Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park.

Earlier, Carter and fellow diver Adriane Casey had put on an impressive display of skill and athleticism at the Suffolk County league diving championships, also at Hauppauge. Casey finished in fourth place and Carter won the league championship for the fifth year in a row.

West Islip swimmer Nicos Prokopiou broke four school swimming records this past season and won four medals in the Suffolk County league swimming championships at Hauppauge, including a first-place medal in the 200 individual medley. Prokopiou also qualified for the state championships in the 200-meter IM and 100-meter backstroke.

Inimitable Indoor Track Athletes Win at Qualifiers

High school girls indoor track team members Hanna Battaglini, Klaire Klemens and Sierra Koehler qualified for the 2017 New York State Indoor Track championship. Battaglini qualified in the 55-meter hurdles, while Klemens and Koehler qualified in the 1,500-meter run. The athletes’ qualifying times earned them All-County honors, and they look forward to competing in the state championships.

Meanwhile, the school’s boys 4x800 relay team – Desmond Benton, Greg Bove, Peter DeMicco and Andrew Lauriguet – took second place in the indoor state qualifier meet, running a season-best time of 8:19. Lauriguet will represent West Islip at the state meet in March after running the fastest high hurdle time in Suffolk County. He also broke a 43-year-old school record by running the 55-meter hurdles in 7.70 seconds. He finished in 16th place at the Eastern States Indoor Championships on Feb. 28, held at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.

Manetuck Students Create Cards for Vets

Manetuck students from kindergarten through fifth grade created heartfelt cards for service members as part of the Valentines for Veterans program initiated by former Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, now Oyster Bay town supervisor.

While making the cards, the students and their teachers discussed the importance of showing gratitude and admiration for America’s vets throughout the year for their service to the country.

Bayview Gets in the Lego Spirit for PARP

Bayview celebrated this year’s Pick a Reading Partner program for two Lego-laden weeks in February. The annual PTA-sponsored program, which seeks to build better readers, featured Lego-related decorations and installations, staff members dressed in costume as characters from the 2014 animated film “The Lego Movie,” and even a Lego version of Principal John E. Mullins Jr.

“During PARP, parents and teachers truly come together to get the students excited about reading at home with their families,” said teacher Justin DeMaio, who served as PARP co-chair. “We planned many exciting things, leading up to our Lego PARP Pajama Block Party. Of course, the most important part of these two weeks was that ‘reading is awesome.’”

Bellew Fifth-Graders Display Worldly Knowledge at Geography Bee

Julia Kennedy, a Bellew fifth-grader, was named the school’s National Geography Bee champion on Jan. 27. Fellow fifth-graders Anthony Scarmozzino and Max Lipschitz finished in second and third place, respectively. A total of 20 Bellew students from the Geography Explorers Club participated in the Bee.

“Great job to all of our student participants who went above and beyond in their quest to learn more about the wonderful world in which we live,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.

Kennedy will advance to the next level of competition by taking a qualifying test to determine state competitors. If she qualifies, she earns a seat at the New York State competition in Albany. The final competition is held in May in Washington, D.C., where students compete for college scholarships.

Manetuck Sponsors ‘Soup-er Bowl’ Donation Drive

In an effort to “can hunger,” the Community Service Club at Manetuck sponsored a “Soup-er Bowl” drive during the week of the big football game.

Students were encouraged to bring in cans of soup and place them in a bin representing the team that they predicted would win the Super Bowl. The cans were later donated to a local food pantry.

Eight Wrestlers Qualify for County Championships

The high school’s varsity wrestling team concluded another very successful season, qualifying eight wrestlers for the Suffolk County wrestling championships.

Earning titles as League IV champions were Jason Lella and Bradley Wilson. Other Lions winning at the league championships and moving on to the county competition were second-place finishers Ryan Beyerbach and Billy Nicholsen, third-place finishers Brodie Culkin and Matt Moynihan, and fourth-place finishers Brian Calhoun and Drew Paccione.

High School Sends 35 to Compete at DECA Competition

A total of 35 students from the high school’s Marketing Club participated in DECA’s Suffolk County Regional Competition on Jan. 4, accompanied by chapter adviser Diana Saadat and chaperone Shawn Wallace. The competition, held at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, involved more than 1,800 students from high schools throughout Suffolk County.

DECA members learn and develop important values such as civic consciousness, social intelligence, leadership skills and vocational understanding. Membership in DECA also helps the students to meet the rigorous New York State learning standards, both in content and performance.

Second-place trophies were awarded to Krista Ciccarelli and Briana Ferguson in the Financial Services Team category, and third-place trophies went to Adriana Lent in Apparel & Accessories Marketing and Natalie Cosentino in Marketing Communications.

Other trophy winners for West Islip included James Loeffler in Accounting Applications; Andrew Ierardi in Automotive Services Marketing; Marissa Gustavson and Megan Kerrigan in Hospitality Services Team; Qi Di Zheng in Marketing Communications; Katelyn Kohler and Melissa Tonn in Marketing Management Team; Michael Alini and Anthony Siconolfi in Principles of Finance; Julianna Budriss in Sports and Entertainment Marketing; and Patricia Douglas and Jessica Moellendorf in Travel and Tourism Team.

Students who were awarded honorable mention in their events were Genna Johnson and Melissa Winberry in Food Marketing; Kathryn Ryan in Principles of Business Management & Administration; and Anthony Ippolito in Visual Advertising.

Other West Islip students participating were Elena Cama, Lauren Di Stefano, Heather Dreyer, Hannah Ferrugiari, Megan Flannery, Robert Huben, Alexa Innes, Thomas Landhauser, Angelina Lombardi, Emily Michaluk, Devin Miller, Lauren Monteverde, Stephanie Neglia, Jacqueline Perettine and Matt Russo.

Trophy winners will advance to the 56th annual DECA New York State Career Conference, to be held March 7-10 at the Riverside Convention Center in Rochester. More than 4,000 DECA members from high schools throughout the state will gather to compete in events, enhance their business skills, meet new friends and enjoy the camaraderie of the conference.

West Islip Sends 13 to SCMEA Day of Horn

In recognition of their skill and dedication, 13 West Islip student-musicians were recently selected to perform at the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s 12th annual Day of Horn, held at Northport High School. The students attended clinics and rehearsals, and performed with over 200 students in a massed ensemble.

The chosen students were Bayview fifth-graders Daniel Albrecht and Cameron Barton; Bellew fourth-grader April Allegretto and fifth-graders Erick Burciaga and Kevin Pilewski; Beach Street seventh-graders Marina Lankford and Hunter Seda, and eighth-graders Machlin Fellman and Sophia Randazzo; and Udall sixth-grader Andrew Rao, seventh-graders Drake Castonguay and Kristina Veiga, and eighth-grader James Gadaleta. 

Quake-free Construction at Beach Street 

Sixth-graders in Andrea Miller’s science class at Beach Street recently completed a performance task for their earthquake unit, creating model buildings designed to be more earthquake resistant.

Using information from both books and videos, they were introduced to types of seismic waves and what damage and movements these waves are capable of. They were then broken into groups and given time to create names for their construction companies and determine the responsibilities of each child in their group. Preliminary blueprints were brought in by each student, and eventually one common design was selected and drawn by a student “architect.” Student “foremen” decided on materials and went to a mock store with their lists. Meanwhile, presenters began the process of writing presentations to the “town” regarding their building’s basic design and what materials were being used.

After initial construction, the students tested their buildings, most of which did not survive well. Students then went home and watched a video on resistant construction techniques such as isolation bases and flexible materials, and each model building was modified and revised several times in an attempt to make the perfect earthquake-resistant building. The results – including building strategies that were used and which materials worked the best – were recorded and included in their town presentations.  

Mero Motivates Udall Students to Achieve Their Dreams

meroMotivational speaker Marc Mero, a former pro wrestler and the author of “How to Be the Happiest Person on the Planet,” recently presented his “Champion of Choices” program to the students of Udall. During his talk, Mero discussed how he reached the pinnacle of sports entertainment success as WWE wrestling champion, then lost it all, and in the process, discovered what is most important in life.

“Marc now has a greater appreciation for his relationships with people and empowers others to make a difference in their personal life, school and community,” said Udall Principal Daniel Marquardt. “He encouraged our students to keep dreaming and set goals to achieve their dreams.”
Mero Mero

Testing STEM Snow Sticks at Oquenock

Oquenock snow sticks

As part of a STEM Lab unit on weather, third-grade classes at Oquenock learned how to measure rainfall, snowfall and temperature.

Taking advantage of measurable snowfall, each student made their own “snow stick” which they were able to test.

West Islip Students Display Huge HEARTT

The West Islip Students with HEARTT community group, joined by parents, siblings and community members, hit the streets of New York City on Dec. 4 to hand out meals to the homeless.

The nine students in the group made more than 285 sandwiches for the effort, and bagged the lunches to include water, snacks and treats.

“We walked over 14,000 steps,” said English teacher and HEARTT founder Virginia Scudder. “We witnessed gratitude and tears, and were greeted with love and thanks by so many. It made a huge impact.”

Excellent Ensembles Present Winter Concerts

West Islip’s elementary, middle and high school music students spent several months working hard in rehearsals in order to prepare for their recent winter concerts. In stirring performances by band, chorus and orchestra musicians from each of the district’s seven schools, parents and community members were treated to a wide variety of selections that included holiday favorites, jazz, pop, Broadway and patriotic tunes, and contemporary music.

“Congratulations to all these outstanding student musicians and ensembles,” said Director of Art and Music Education Eric Albinder.

Horan Named Section XI Athletic Director of the Year

Tim Horan, the district’s director of health, physical education, athletics, recreation, and family and consumer science, was recently recognized as the Suffolk County’s Section XI Athletic Director of the Year.

Oquenock Students Raise $1,092 for Theissen Children’s Foundation

Students at West Islip’s Oquenock Elementary School spent the holiday season raising $1,092 for the John Theissen Children’s Foundation.

The school’s fifth-graders organized the fundraiser by selling scented pencils during lunch. They also sold snowflakes that they personalized with students’ names and then used to decorate the hallways.

Theissen paid a visit to Oquenock and explained to the students that the money they had raised for the charity would be used to buy holiday gifts for sick children across Long Island.

Beach Street Designers Get Creative in Makerspace Club

Makerspace Club participants at Beach Street took on two new projects recently, trying to create the tallest tower that would hold the most weight, and utilizing old donated toys to design new toys. Marie DeMarco, the school library media specialist, and sixth-grade teacher Andrea Miller, were on hand to provide assistance when needed. The finished design projects were both displayed in the Beach Street library.

In the architectural challenge, the only materials permitted were newspapers, tape and skewers. The newspapers were rolled tightly for stability. “It was a stiff competition, but everyone created amazing structures,” said Principal Andrew O’Farrell.

For the toy effort, each student used his or her imagination to make a toy idea become reality. After sketching the design, the students selected, took apart, rearranged and attached multiple toy parts, using various tools such as hammers, pliers, screwdrivers and safety goggles.

“With this fun ‘invent to learn’ experience, our students used real-life skills to invent, manufacture and name their toys,” said O’Farrell.

Oquenock Art Club Chills Out With Ice Cream Creations

Creative fifth graders at Oquenock recently constructed ice cream cones out of recycled materials, clay and styrofoam. The project was the work of the Oquenock Art Club, an after-school group that meets once a week for four months.

The students created the ice cream cone sculptures out of recycled yarn, cardboard, styrofoam balls and Model Magic clay. They painted the sculptures with acrylic paint, choosing between three mixed colors to create the “flavor” of their choice.

“The students were delighted with their creations,” said teacher Jill Culver. “They are excited each week to work on their projects and can’t wait to show their families their awesome art.”

West Islip’s Suffolk Zone Winners Achieve in Academics and Athletics

High school seniors Emily Beier and Drew Cestaro were recognized as 2016-2017 winners by the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at the organization’s annual awards dinner, held at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge on Dec. 7. The awards are given to students who best exemplify exceptional physical performance, character, and citizenship.

Beier serves as captain of the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, earning All-State and All-County honors, respectively. An active member of the West Islip student senate and ACE peer mediator, she has volunteered for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s and will play lacrosse for Loyola University this fall.

Cestaro is a member of the varsity football and lacrosse teams, serving as captain of the former and earning football All-County honors. He volunteered for the annual Sounds of Silence 5K Run last spring. In the fall, he will attend Binghamton University, where he will play lacrosse.

“Both Emily and Drew pride themselves on striving for academic and athletic excellence, and are true leaders in physical education,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

Orchestrating a Special Concert at Udall Road Middle School

Orchestra students at Udall showcased their growing skills at a pair of Dec. 15 concerts, delighting both fellow students during the daytime performance, and their parents in the evening. Led by Orchestra Director Lynnette Fawess, the young musicians were broken down into two ensembles, one from the sixth grade, and the other consisting of students from the seventh and eighth grades.

“Our students’ wonderful performance is a testament to their dedication to the Udall performance music program,” said Dr. Daniel Marquardt, the school’s principal. “Congratulations to Mrs. Fawess on another amazing concert.”

Bellew’s Mitten Tree Demonstrates Spirit of Giving

Bellew students collected warm winter wear during the holiday season. New hats, gloves, scarves and cozy socks were used to decorate a holiday tree in the school’s main lobby. The donations were later given to the community outreach office at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch.

“Without a doubt, our Mitten Tree was beautiful, and the spirit of giving and kindness shines bright within our school community,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.

Bayview’s Bounty of Baskets Helps Local Families

Fourth graders in the Bayview classroom of Ted McManus displayed the true spirit of the holiday season by helping others in need, collecting food donations and gift cards to make holiday baskets for several families in the West Islip community.

“My thanks to all who donated – especially the class moms and dads – to help make this year’s celebration a huge success,” said McManus.

Bellew Singers Visit West Islip Community Center

More than 90 chorus students from Bellew visited the West Islip Community Center last month to share holiday songs and spread goodwill and cheer. Their heartfelt performance was warmly received by the residents, who also received cards and crafts from the student. The event was organized by music teacher Laura Hill-Primiano.
“Without a doubt, our outstanding Bellew singers were shining during this memorable field trip,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.

Bayview Third Graders Show Care with Coats

Third graders in Maria Lucie’s classroom at Bayview showed caring spirit with a December coat drive to benefit the CSJ Learning Connection in Brentwood.

More than 100 coats were collected, separated and delivered.

“We would like to thank the Bayview families, faculty and staff for their overwhelming generosity,” said Lucie.

West Islip Wrestlers Donate to Tuozzolo Fund

The high school’s wrestling team and coaches attended a Dec. 2 wrestling clinic for local high school wrestlers, held at LIU Post prior to a match against New York University.

Attendees made donations to the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association to assist NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo’s family, and the West Islip team proudly donated $500.

Beach Street Student Council Displays Generosity

The student council at Beach Street collected more than 400 toys for the Toys for Tots program during December, guided by advisers Jesse Fawess and Lynnette Fawess.

“Everyone at Beach Street is very proud of the council,” said Principal Andrew O’Farrell. “It was wonderful to see the generosity of all of our students and staff, bringing joy and happiness to those who are less fortunate during the holiday season.”

West Islip Artists Chosen for Diversity Calendar

Artwork by high school students Matthew Borino, Ella Coyle, Kyle Keskin, Mark Lu and Leanne Schneider was selected for publication in the Long Island Advocacy Center’s 2017 calendar, titled “Celebrating Diversity: A Year of Artwork Created by Long Island Students.”

West Islip Recognized as a Top Heart Partner

The district’s physical education staff and community were recently recognized for their outstanding commitment to lifetime fitness and wellness, through their implementation of programs that educate students, staff members, parents and community members on the importance of physical activity, volunteerism and making healthy decisions.

At the annual Suffolk Zone conference, held at Sachem North High School on Nov. 8, the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the American Heart Association honored the West Islip physical education staff with the Heart Partner award. NYSAHPERD and the AHA also recognized Manetuck physical education teachers George Botsch, Ed Pieron and Beth Sherwood for coordinating the top Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart event in Suffolk County, which raised $15,626.

“Our school district is proud to have such committed, dedicated physical education teachers that continually emphasize the importance of lifetime fitness and wellness,” said Tim Horan, the district’s director of health, physical education, athletics, recreation, and family and consumer science. “Together, with the tremendous help of the community, we can dramatically improve the health and quality of our students lives.”


Good Deeds Done Again by Bayview Students

This holiday season, Justin DeMaio’s class at Bayview participated in Operation Christmas Child for the third year in a row.

The students decorated shoeboxes with wrapping paper, filled them with school supplies and gifts, and shipped them off to other countries for children who lack basic necessities.

“Operation Christmas Child is just another way our class is doing good deeds to make this world a better place,” said DeMaio.

Carol Consolation Courtesy of Bayview Fourth-Graders

Decked out in Santa hats and holiday attire, Bayview fourth graders walked over to Our Lady of Consolation Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center on Dec. 14, singing carols along the way.

Once the students arrived, the nursing home residents were treated to carols and each was given a handmade wreath to decorate his or her room.

“Our students were delighted to see the joy they brought to the residents by the simple acting of visiting and singing a few songs,” said teacher Ann Staak.

Bellew Trio Play at PEAK

Three talented music students at Bellew – Damiana Beige, Sienna Pollock and Luke Heller – were selected to participate in the annual Parents, Educators and Kids festival, hosted on Nov. 29 by the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association.

The PEAK festival is a one-day workshop in which students receive a unique musical learning experience through singing, dancing and playing instruments in three different music class sessions. The day concluded with a performance, allowing the students to display their learning experiences.

“Congratulations to our Bellew kids, they made us proud,” said Director of Art and Music Education Eric Albinder.

Beach Street Science Studies Simulate Plate Tectonics with Crackers and Frosting

To conclude their study of tectonic plates, James Wood’s sixth-grade science class at Beach Street sought to further understand the dynamics of this movement by using graham crackers and frosting.

The crackers stood in for the tectonic plates, floating on the frosting, which served as the earth’s mantle. The students then simulated three types of plate movement.

“My students enjoyed creating mountains with a demonstration of a convergent boundary, and were rewarded with knowledge and a sweet snack,” said Wood.

School of Rock-ets for Oquenock Fourth-Graders

As an introduction to STEM concepts, fourth-graders in the MST lab at Oquenock were asked to design rockets that would be propelled by air blown through a straw, and were given two attempts to make their rockets fly as far as possible.

After the first trial, the students were encouraged to go back and make changes to their rockets, using measuring skills to record the distances their rockets traveled.

Tops in Participation at SCMEA Day of Tuba

West Islip had the largest representation of any district in Suffolk County at the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s 36th annual Day of Tuba and Euphonium, held on Oct. 28 at Smithtown High School East.

More than a dozen students from Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock, Bellew, Beach Street, Udall and the high school participated in the event, which featured rehearsals, clinics and an evening performance.

Udall’s Young Leaders Gain Knowledge at Peer Conference

Students at Udall – including members of the Student Council’s executive board and the school’s Leadership Club – attended a peer leadership conference at Sayville Middle School on Oct. 25, participating in several workshops and meeting many inspirational and influential individuals throughout the day.
“Our students walked away with valuable knowledge and are eager to share what they’ve learned with their peers at Udall,” said Pamela Diorio, Student Council co-adviser along with Kristine Hagens.

Jessica Schwartz and Tricia Mileti, the co-advisers of the Leadership Club, were both impressed and proud at how enthusiastically Udall’s young leaders embraced this chance to examine new ideas.

The keynote speaker for the conference was motivational speaker and former NFL player Willie Green, a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns and runner up for Rookie of the Year. In his address, Green reinforced his message that champions don’t give up, they get up.
“Leadership is the ability to help people achieve things they don't think are possible,” said Principal Daniel Marquardt. “Acceptance, positive mental attitude and adversity were just some of the valuable themes articulated throughout the conference.”

A Stellar, Soulful ‘Aladdin’ Sells Out at Beach Street

A cast of more than 40 stellar student-actors at Beach Street performed the musical “Aladdin Jr.” on Nov. 17 and 18, selling out both shows and delighting audiences. The show was co-directed by Justin DeMaio and Camille Persico, with costumes by Maura Maynard. More than 20 students also participated as part of the stage crew.

“The students gave their hearts and souls to each performance and all of their hard work paid off with two outstanding shows,” said Principal Andrew O’Farrell. “We are all very proud of them, and very pleased that they enjoyed being part of this experience.”

Getting FIT for Fashion Education

Students in Laura Heller’s fashion marketing class at the high school recently gained firsthand knowledge about the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City via a visit from FIT admissions counselor Noreen O’Hare.

O’Hare spoke about FIT and the opportunities students can currently take advantage of while in high school or after high school. She discussed current art and business programs available to high school students on weekends, and the college application requirements students would need to meet if they were interested in pursuing careers in fashion merchandising, fashion marketing, fashion design, fine arts or graphic design.
“Ms. O’Hare noted that students who attend FIT graduate with the confidence and skills necessary to go into the work environment immediately following graduation,” said Kathleen Sapanski, the district’s math and business education director.

Pure Emoji-nation at Oquenock

Staff at Oquenock showed how they were feeling by participating in a schoolwide emoji-themed activity. Each staff member chose an emoji and created a T-shirt to represent their emotion.

“Our students and parents loved this creative trending theme,” said teacher Kelly Parson.

Four Art Achievers Chosen for NYSSBA

Exemplary artwork by four West Islip elementary students was recently selected for display at the annual New York State School Boards Association Conference. The exhibit, held in Buffalo, New York, is intended to highlight achievement in visual art across the state. The chosen works showcase a high level of student ability in a wide range of mediums, techniques and genres.

Honored were fourth-grader Nicola D’Angelico of Bayview Elementary School, fifth-graders Cassidy Scheben and Julia Gregory of Oquenock Elementary School, and fifth-grader Emily Dean of Paul J. Bellew Elementary School.

Manetuck Fifth-Graders Explore Carlls River Ecosystem

Fifth-grade classes Manetuck experienced and learned firsthand about a local ecosystem while attending a special field trip, “A Day in the Life of Carlls River,” on Oct. 14. Students and their teachers participated in seining, species identification and taking biological inventories of the Carlls River in Babylon.

“It is always awesome to see our students out doing hands-on science, especially science that is important to their own local ecosystem,” said Brian Taylor, the director of science and engineering technology.

High School Trio Sworn in As KIC Junior Commissioners

High school students Gregory Bove, Thomas Landhauser and Erin Schweers were sworn in as Keep Islip Clean junior commissioners during an Oct. 18 ceremony at Islip Town Hall.

Junior commissioners, hailing from the 18 hamlets across Islip Town, play an active role in volunteering their time and effort to beautify Islip, making it a clean, safer and more enjoyable place to live, work and visit.

Udall Students Participate in Mock Election

Students and staff at Udall recently participated in the National Student Mock Election, the nation’s largest student educational mock presidential election program. It provided a web-based voting platform for students to register their choices for U.S. president and 2nd district local elections.

Anne Bean, Udall’s library media specialist, organized the mock election. Social studies classes prepared for the vote by discussing the candidates’ position statements and reading and viewing election materials, while the math department created a lesson for students to examine statistical voter results. In keeping with Udall’s interdisciplinary theme, computer classes used Microsoft Excel to input data into a spreadsheet and graphically illustrate election results by creating bar charts and graphs. Voting began on Oct. 28 and continued through Nov. 3, with Leadership Club members on hand throughout the vote to assist at the library media center, which served as the polling place.

“Our students were eager to vote and register their choice,” said Principal Daniel Marquardt. “This was a great lesson in developing an understanding of the election process and encouraging civic responsibility.”

Bayview Kids Say Hello, Jell-O

Bayview students Isabella Basini, Maceo Blumberg, Kaelynn Sirizotti and Seamus Smith recently taste-tested Jell-O products from Kraft Foods while serving as Kidsday reporters for “Newsday.”

The students, accompanied by teacher Justin DeMaio, traveled to Manhattan for the tasting, which included various flavors of gelatin and pudding for Jell-O’s new Simply Good line featuring all-natural ingredients.

Lady Lions Host Gymnastics Championships

The high school’s Lady Lions gymnastics team concluded an outstanding season by jumping, flipping and vaulting into the Suffolk County Team Championships on Nov. 8. The event, hosted at West Islip, brought the top six teams in Suffolk County together to compete for the team championship.

“The girls demonstrated tremendous athleticism, balance, coordination and skill throughout the season and were flawless on their floor and beam routines during the championship,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan. “West Islip is quite proud of the gymnasts and their coaches.”

A Helping Hand on Halloween at Bellew

Creativity, imagination and teamwork were the ingredients needed to fulfill Bellew’s Halloween tradition. Once again, the school held its annual decorated pumpkin display in the main lobby, with more than 140 families working together to design and decorate more than 70 Halloween pumpkins.
Students donated handfuls of change in brown paper bags to vote for their favorite pumpkins, and the donated funds will be used to purchase gift cards for local families in need, providing a helping hand during the holiday season.
The event was organized by Principal Rhonda Pratt, Bellew staff and members of the Character Education Committee.

Five from HS Chosen for All-State Music Honors

Five talented students from the high school were named All-State musicians by the New York State School Music Association and chosen to perform at the prestigious NYSSMA Winter Conference, held in December at the Eastman Theater in Rochester.

Joseph DelliGatti was selected for the All-State Symphonic Band, Lisa Esposito and Joseph Gusmano for the All-State Mixed Chorus, and Matthew Molaro and Molly Perrone were chosen as alternates.

The students, who earned their All-State status based on their performances at last year’s NYSSMA Solo Festival, will prepare for the concerts with Band Director James Krais and Chorus Director Melissa Senatore.

Colorful Costumes a Halloween Highlight at Bellew Parade

Colorfully costumed students at Bellew enjoyed a Halloween parade on Oct. 31, part of an annual tradition in which parents and family members were invited to attend to support the students as they strolled around the school bus circles.

Bayview Students Go Trick or Treating for UNICEF

Justin DeMaio’s class at Bayview recently participated in the annual Trick or Treat for UNICEF drive to help raise funds for children across the globe.

As DeMaio’s students went door to door for candy this Halloween, they asked for change to support UNICEF’s many charitable endeavors around the world, from providing vaccinations for kids to clean and safe water.

“This is just one of the ways my class is choosing to help those around them and the world,” said DeMaio.

Getting Monstrously Creative at Oquenock

In a creepy creative exercise at Oquenock that was perfect for Halloween week, Michelle Bonkov and Frank Sblendorio’s third-graders buddied up with Sue Cosentino’s fifth-graders for some monstrous fun with descriptive writing.

Each student drew a monster and wrote a detailed description of it. Then a third-grader and a fifth-grader partnered up. One student read their description, while the other recreated the creature based only on the description. Students then switched roles. At the conclusion of the activity, the original drawings were compared to the recreations to see how accurately the writers described their monsters.

“The more specific the details, the more alike the comparisons were,” said Principal Jack Maniscalco. “This was great fun.”

Researching Native Cultures at Udall

The first social studies research project of the school year for Udall seventh-graders focused on Native American culture in the Americas, with students tasked with conducting in-depth research on a single item from a Native American tribe of their choice.

Anne Bean, the school’s library media specialist, guided the students in the research process, helping them ensure that their papers were presented in MLA format, including citation pages. Once their research was complete, the students created replicas of their selected items to enlighten the class about what they learned. No two students were permitted to create the same project, so the presentations were diverse, including topics like dog sleds of the Inuit, totems from
the Kwakiutls, an Iroquois longhouse, cliff dwellings of the Hopi and various Native American foods.

“This project gave the students a chance to get to support one another in class, learn about culture and be proud of what they accomplished by teaching their peers,” said Udall Principal Daniel Marquardt.

Undefeated Lions Get Ready for Football Playoffs

The high school’s varsity football team just completed an undefeated regular season, finishing as 2016 Division II champions. West Islip’s confident Lions will host Smithtown East’s Bulls on Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the first round of the playoffs.

“Congratulations to coach Steve Mileti, his staff and the entire 2016 varsity football team on a great regular season,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

“Good luck in the playoffs!”

Varsity Boys Golfers Win League Championship

The high school’s varsity boys golf team were crowned as Section XI League II champions on Oct. 18, capping their unbeaten season with their first league championship since 2007.

Senior Joe Tammaro, shooting a 75, earned the best score of the championship, held at Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville, while Will Fix finished in the top three with a score of 79.

Pumpkin Predictions at Oquenock

Second-graders at Oquenock recently worked on a pumpkin project in the school’s MST Lab, learning measuring, weighing and counting.

The students made predictions on how many seeds were inside their pumpkins, and were surprised to learn that some held as many as 300 seeds.

A Dozen Named All-County Musicians

A dozen superlative student-musicians from the high school were chosen to perform in the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education’s All-County Festival on Nov. 19 at Northport High School. The juniors and seniors were selected from the best young musicians in Suffolk County, based upon their New York State School Music Association Solo Festival evaluations.

Grace Bolin, Joseph DelliGatti, Adriana Garcia, Joseph Hudson and Matthew Molaro will perform in the All-County Band; Lisa Esposito, Joseph Gusmano, Shaelyn Krucher, Molly Perrone, Shannon Sullivan and Sean Swenson will perform in the All-County Chorus; and Ryan O’Shea will perform in the All-County Orchestra.

Anti-Bullying Musical Comes to Beach Street

Students at Beach Street viewed a special performance of “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project” on Oct. 6. The original musical, by Theatre Three Productions, focused on themes of anti-bullying and harassment.

The story of “Class Dismissed” focused on bullying in classrooms, hallways and schoolyards, with a strong emphasis on rising incidents of bullying via the Internet.

The play presented a range of scenarios and provided active solutions to the various issues. At the end of Theatre Three’s performance, Beach Street students participated in a question-and-answer session with the performers.

It’s a Wrap at Bellew Fall Fest

In a fun-filled autumn activity, Paul J. Bellew Elementary held a fall festival on the afternoon of Oct. 15.

Students played carnival games, had their faces painted, picked pumpkins and danced with a DJ. Principal Rhonda Pratt even mummy-wrapped a student.

Volunteers for the PTA-sponsored event included former Bellew students who now attend the district’s high school and middle schools.

Perfect Season for Varsity Boys Golfers 

For the high school’s varsity boys golfers, the fall season was a perfect one, as the dedicated and skilled young athletes finished with an unbeaten 10-0 record.

The team now looks ahead to the Section XI League Championship Tournament, where they will compete on Oct. 18 at Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville.

“The district is very proud of this team and wishes them much success in the postseason,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

Lions Roar at Annual Homecoming Game and Parade

Dark skies and drizzle did not dampen the spirit of the West Islip community during the district’s annual homecoming weekend.

Prior to the varsity football game, members of each class paraded with decade-themed banners down Higbie Lane to the high school field, following convertibles carrying homecoming king Michael D’Agostino and queen Shannon Sullivan, as well as runners-up Robert Halloran and Kate Kohler. The band, kickline team and cheerleaders also led the march as members of the community gathered on the street in a show of support.

To kick off the game, the marching band led the community in the national anthem. Although the student-musicians were unable to perform during the halftime show due to the rain, the kickline team and cheerleaders took center stage with their talented performances. In addition, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter was on hand to present West Islip Touchdown Committee President Bob Cestaro, who is retiring from the booster club, a citation for his years of service.

The Lions flexed their muscles and came away with a 28-6 victory against Bellport High School, making the afternoon a homecoming to remember.

Bellew’s Stehlik Repeats as Composition Prize Winner

The precocious compositional skills of Sophia Stehlik have been recognized for the second year in a row. Stehlik’s original musical composition “Avalanche” will be featured at the New York State School Music Association’s 21st annual Electronic Music Composition Showcase in Rochester this December.

The fifth-grader, a student at Paul J. Bellew, was the youngest student to ever receive this honor in last year’s competition.

The program, sponsored by NYSSMA, showcases works by student composers of all ages, with winning entries performed at the organization’s annual winter conference.

Vocal Motion Demonstrates the Power of Pink (Flags)

Students from the high school’s Vocal Motion group, led by choral director Melissa Senatore, performed a stirring rendition of Donna Summer’s “The Power of One” at the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition’s Pink Flags of October ceremony on Sept. 25.

Hundreds of flags are displayed on the front lawn of Good Samaritan Hospital during the annual event to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Our group of talented juniors and seniors captivated the emotional audience with an uplifting performance,” said Eric Albinder, the district’s director of art and music education. “It was a beautiful day that showed love and devotion to those that have been affected by breast cancer.”

Bayview Class Creates Goodie Bags for Local Heroes

Honoring the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy, Justin DeMaio’s class at Bayview participated this year in Operation Goodie Bag for the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge.

Students decorated paper bags, filled them with candy, and wrote either a note of gratitude or a poem about heroes, which were placed inside as well. The completed goodie bags were then delivered to local police precincts, the New York Police Department, and military servicemen who are currently enlisted or have served in the past.

“Our class wanted to recognize everyday heroes who are willing to sacrifice their time to save and protect others in honor of the fallen heroes from September 11th,” said DeMaio.

Seven Elected to Udall’s Student Government

Fresh with the excitement of a new school year, Udall Road held its annual student council elections in September. Students from each grade level had the opportunity to run for student government office. Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders made signs and campaigned throughout the week for the offices of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and historian. Sixth-grade students new to the building had the opportunity to run for the office of superdelegate.

“Our students and staff had the chance to hear from all candidates running for these offices at our Meet the Candidate assembly, where these student leaders spoke about their ideas to make Udall a great place to come and learn every day,” said Principal Daniel Marquart.

Newly elected as members of the Udall Road Middle School Student Council Executive Board were President Kieran Farrell, Vice President Matthew Stueber, secretary Anthony Riviezzo, treasurer Alexa Camillery, historian Erin Doyle, and sixth-grade superdelegates Salvatore Calderone and Rachel Crumlich.

Crayfish Question Answered at Bellew

Answering a creative crustacean question, third-graders at Paul J. Bellew were immersed in a science unit of study on crayfish, observing the physical and behavioral adaptations used by these freshwater animals to survive.

In this lesson, guided by teacher Paul Pekurney, students were directed to determine to answer the question of what and how crayfish eat.

Through hands-on investigations, they were able to conclude that crayfish will eat a wide variety of foods.

HEARTT Group Recognized for Support of Ride for Life

Members of the West Islip Students with HEARTT community group were invited to attend a Ducks baseball game this past summer to represent the high school for the Ride for Life organization. Students in HEARTT, guided by teacher Virginia Scudder, have been annually walking and participating in educating and informing the public about Ride for Life’s work to raise funds and awareness for the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS.
The group’s fundraising and community education work, as well as its commitment to Ride for Life, will continue this fall with a special assembly to honor the 20th anniversary of the founding of Ride for Life by Chris Pendergast.

IB Bio Students Use PASCO to Get in EcoZone

High school students in the International Baccalaureate Biology HL 12 class recently debuted cutting-edge technology, breaking into lab groups to use PASCO’s EcoZone systems, PASCO probeware and iPads. Each group created three ecozones: a terrestrial zone, an aquatic zone and a decomposition zone.

In the past, the IB biology students had created these ecozones using two-liter bottles, and they were limited to making observations about what was occurring biologically in each zone. Using PASCO EcoZone, the students attached pH, temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide and relative humidity probes that send live data to their laptops and iPads, data which can then be manipulated mathematically to provide the students with numerical data about what is occurring biologically in each zone.

“This experiment is only the beginning,” said Brian Taylor, the district’s director of science and engineering technology. “We are bringing trainers from PASCO to train all high school and middle school science teachers on how to use this new technology in all our science classes.”

New Playground Proves Popular with Manetuck Students

Students at Manetuck were thrilled to use their new playground for the first time on Sept. 15, including various equipment and the basketball court. The playground was funded through the bond that the West Islip community approved last November, and was installed over the summer.

Playground safety was addressed with all of the school’s students, who range from kindergarten through fifth grade, before they were permitted to utilize the new equipment.

"Having a new, state-of-the-art playground at Manetuck provides an engaging recess period for students that permits an action-packed break from the hard work taking place in our classrooms throughout the school day,” said Principal Dawn Morrison. “As students saw the playground for the first time, the words they used to describe it included amazing, fantastic and unbelievable. They are enjoying every inch of it."

Robotics Team Works to Clean Beach with Sen. Boyle

The high school’s robotics team participated in New York State Sen. Phil Boyle’s annual Beach Cleanup on Sept. 17. This was the fourth year that Sen. Boyle has hosted the event as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, a global effort that includes participation by more than 100 countries.

The team met at Robert Moses State Park, where they spent two hours removing plastic, cigarettes and other trash from the beach.

“The West Islip robotics team recognizes the importance and beauty of our local beaches, and was proud to participate in Sen. Boyle’s cleanup and to be part of the International Coastal Cleanup,” said team leader Greg Baranec. “Our beaches are such a cherished part of Long Island living and ocean trash is a serious problem that affects ocean life and local economies.”

The robotics team will next participate in the West Islip Country Fair, to be held on Sept. 25 on the grounds of the West Islip Public Library. In addition to helping the fair committee set up and clean up for the event, the team will host their own exhibition, which will include a robot that will be available for people to operate.

Fulton Named New Beach Street Assistant Principal

Beach Street Middle School has a new assistant principal. Reanna Fulton, a former teacher at the school, will begin her duties on Oct. 11.

Fulton most recently served as the CSE administrator for grades 6-12 in the Rocky Point School District, a position she took in January 2016. She had previously worked as a special education teacher at both Beach Street and West Islip High School since 2008, and as an in-school-suspension teacher at the high school from 2007-2008.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in history at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey in 2005; a master’s degree in adolescent education at Dowling College in 2006; a master’s degree in history at the University of Nebraska in Kearney in 2014; and an advanced graduate certificate in educational leadership from Stony Brook University in 2015.

Fulton also served as an information systems technician in the U.S. Navy from 1998-2003 and in the Naval Reserves from 2006-2009. Her several school coaching positions included stints as the soccer coach at Our Lady of Wisdom in Port Jefferson, and as the cheerleading coach at West Islip High School and Stony Brook University.

“I am very excited to return to Beach Street and look forward to supporting the academic excellence and traditions of West Islip,” said Fulton, a Setauket resident.

Back to Learning on West Islip’s First Day

Students at the district’s seven schools returned to classes on Sept. 6, ready to learn new things and make new friends. From the high school, to Beach Street and Udall Road middle schools, to Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock and Paul J. Bellew elementary schools, classrooms were buzzing as the first day of the school year began.

“I was delighted to welcome our students back to school for what I trust will be an exciting school year filled with meaningful learning opportunities and experiences,” said Superintendent Bernadette M. Burns.

“It was a very smooth day, and the students seemed very happy to be back,” said Dr. Anthony Bridgeman, the high school’s principal.

Sharpening Skills at Summer Investigations

The district’s younger students kept their minds and skills sharp over the summer at Summer Investigations, a four-week program for kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders, with the children attending four days a week for two hours. It is designed to reinforce and support reading math and writing skills.

Math work included counting, word problems, place value and addition, while in the reading curriculum, the students learned about fairy tales, fables, fantasy and fiction books.

“They enjoyed sharing their favorite books and talking about the characters and their favorite parts,” said Rhonda Pratt, the principal of Paul J. Bellew Elementary, who serves as summer coordinator for the program. “It was wonderful to see the students’ interest in reading and listening to stories.”

During library time, the students logged on to laptops and reinforced sight words with a bingo game, and a representative from the West Islip Public Library visited to share a Japanese folktale, “The Boy from the Dragon Palace,” and help the students decorate paper swords.
Summer Investigations Summer Investigations