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Committed to Excellence

Fourth-Grade Forensic Foray for Islip’s EXCEL

Fourth-Grade Forensic Foray for Islip’s EXCEL
During a recent scientific foray into forensics, fourth-grade detectives in Islip’s EXCEL program worked to determine the “culprit” with blood typing skills.

Commack Road Begins Response to Intervention

Commack Road Begins Response to Intervention

At Commack Road, the teaching and learning community has developed a new Response to Intervention Committee to help determine if students are responding to classroom instruction and progressing as expected.

Currently the RTI Committee is represented by 15 faculty members from Commack Road and the district, including at least one teacher per grade level, a reading teacher, an English as a new language teacher, the building psychologist, a social worker, representatives from pupil personnel services and the office of curriculum and instruction, and the building principal.

Commack Road’s RTI Committee has met biweekly since September to discuss, problem solve, and develop plans for classroom and tiered intervention of student instruction.  The process began with the administration of a universal screening diagnostic, iReady, and surveying of all staff using the RTI Readiness Survey. Since that time, faculty members have dedicated their time to data analysis, using data to inform student learning and using staff feedback and input in creation and selection of professional development opportunities. 

Inspired by the work, research and publications of Jim Wright, the team attended Wright’s series of workshops at Eastern Suffolk BOCES this year. 

“Jim Wright says that RTI is about teamwork and collaboration,” said fourth-grade teacher and Commack Road parent Cathy Nieves. “I am incredibly proud of the work and efforts that team members are putting in and appreciative that they are giving of their own time to a worthwhile cause.”

Moving through the winter months, the faculty will facilitate workshops to their peers on Interventions for Administering and Utilizing Fountas and Pinnell to Inform Classroom Instruction, Interventions for Math, Interventions for Reading and Writing, and Motivating Students.

“The development of a multitiered student support system that we are undertaking will be a three-to-five-year project that will build on the already great things happening at CRES while improving the teaching and learning of all students of all abilities,” said Principal James Cameron.

Islip’s Girl Powered Robotics Team Succeeds in Second Year

Islip’s Girl Powered Robotics Team Succeeds in Second Year

Now in its second year and officially affiliated with the district, the Islip Girl Powered Robotics team has tasted success, earning several awards while participating in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology program, known as FIRST.

The team, from grades 10 through 12, consists of Olivia Berger, Molly Breakstone, Grace Constantino, Shweta Karmaker, Udithi Kothapalli, Darienne Rogers and Sofia Rubinson.

Teams in The Tech Challenge tasks robotics teams with designing, building, programming and operating robots in an alliance format. At the Long Island FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier held on Jan. 8 at Lynbrook High School, the GPR team earned the Control, Inspire and Think Awards. The Inspire Award, an overall award, is given to teams who are ambassadors for FIRST programs, are positive and inclusive, and have a high quality and thorough engineering notebook. Following up this performance, the GPR team won first place Alliance Captain and the Think Award at the Center Moriches qualifier on Jan. 14, earning them a spot in the Long Island Championship on Feb. 11. 

Erika Dannenfelser, Islip’s robotics adviser, said, “The Islip Girl Powered Robotics team, in just its second year, has demonstrated the FIRST Challenge values of hard work, innovation and sharing ideas.”


Please see the attached letter from Superintendent Susan Schnebel in response to the recent events in Florida.


Budget Workshop and Board of Education Meeting, 2/27/18

The next meeting of the Islip Board of Education will be at the Islip Middle School on Tuesday, February 27th. The meeting will begin with an Executive Session at 6:45 p.m. It is anticipated that the public portion of the meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. Please join the Board of Education and the Central Administration team in the auditorium at that time for the first Budget Workshop for the 2018-19 school year, as important background information on building a budget will be provided. The regular business portion of the agenda will immediately follow in the Library.

2018-2019 District Calendar Approved

At their meeting on Tuesday, February 13th, the Islip Board of Education approved the District Calendar for the 2018-2019 school year (linked below). This calendar was built using information provided by the New York State Education Department regarding proposed changes to state attendance regulations. These changes are reflected in this calendar in the form of a later end date to the school year. The New York State Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on these changes at their April meeting. Should these regulations be revised or not approved, the Board will amend the District calendar accordingly. Thank you for your understanding.


Two Islip Principals Present at SAANYS Conference

Two Islip Principals Present at SAANYS Conference

Two Islip educators – Commack Road Principal James Cameron and Islip Middle School Principal Tim Martin – were recently selected to present a workshop, “All In? The Impact of Mandates and Optouts on our Teaching and Learning Communities,” at the State Administrator Association of New York State’s annual conference, held at the Otesaga Conference Center in Cooperstown, New York.

“It was a great opportunity to share and collaborate with colleagues from across New York State,” said Martin

The SAANYS workshop attendees journeyed through the middle school’s mission to develop, maintain and improve the school’s climate and culture through the faculty and staff.  Cameron and Martin shared their experiences, research and implementation of an authentic and uniquely developed climate and culture survey that has been the driving force behind Islip’s professional growth as a community. 

“It is our hope that we empowered school leaders to develop surveys to assess and respond to the unique needs of their districts and buildings,” said Cameron.

Flu Guide for Parents

Please see the important information linked below from the Suffolk County Commissioner of Health.


Kindergartners Dress as Centenarians for Wing’s 100th Day

Kindergartners Dress as Centenarians for Wing’s 100th Day
Kindergartners at Wing dressed up as centenarians as part of Wing’s celebration of the 100th day of school. Continuing the numerical theme, visiting parents helped the children count 10 different items in groups of 10, totaling 100. The students then graphed the items and with helpers, counted by ones and tens to 100. They also received awards noting that they were 100 days smarter.

Sherwood Virtual Field Trip Connects Cultures and Canoes

Sherwood Virtual Field Trip Connects Cultures and Canoes 1
Sherwood Virtual Field Trip Connects Cultures and Canoes 2
Sherwood Virtual Field Trip Connects Cultures and Canoes 3

Fifth-graders at Sherwood took part in a virtual field trip to the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario on Feb. 2. Held via Skype, the interaction was facilitated by technology integration specialist Timothy Brush. The students could see and hear museum curators displaying and discussing historical artifacts, which correlated with their social studies curriculum on Canada including Canadian geography, landforms and waterways; the First Peoples of the Americas; complex societies’ development of resources and trade; and European exploration and its effects.

“The skits they did were funny,” said student AJ Sodaro. “It gave us an idea of how the First Peoples and Europeans interacted.”

“I really liked all the artifacts they showed us,” said Dylan Ruland.

“The way they showed how their canoes were made was really cool,” said Reese Breslin. “We couldn’t believe how much stuff they could carry in them.”

“ it was very interactive and engaging,” said Devan Lange. “It was amazing how these people could make things so advanced so long ago.”

“Any time we can engage students in learning about cultures around the world without leaving the classroom, it is a win-win,” said Principal Chad Walerstein. “Technology is allowing our students to become citizens of the world, and I am happy we have the opportunity to provide the students of Islip with these amazing experiences.”

EXCEL Students Enjoy Hands-On Interaction with Robotics

EXCEL Students Enjoy Hands-On Interaction with Robotics

Middle school students in the district’s EXCEL program for the academically gifted had an opportunity for an exceptional interaction with robotics during a recent visit from Steven Hanania, part of EXCEL’s ongoing “Inventing Self” guest series. Hanania’s many unusual inventions – from remote-controlled carts and bio-electric circuits to robots that drew and measured students’ heights – sparked creativity in the young scientists while correlating with their studies in the STEAM fields of science, technology, art and math.

Hanania’s fascination with electronics began in childhood, continuing through science, art, and shop classes in high school. He studied electronics engineering at the New York Institute of Technology, and was hired after graduation as an electrical engineer designing air traffic control systems instruments and electronics. He later joined his father in a car parts venture, and started his own business fixing electronics and installing customized music systems in cars. In his spare time, he made puppets and robots from car parts, and eventually began presenting science and robotics shows for schools.

“Mr. Hanania demonstrated superb ability to engage students in the world of STEAM, with a unique hands-on approach that allowed my students time to explore and interact with this stimulating experience,” said EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson.

IMPORTANT - PTA Scholarships Deadline

All Islip High School Seniors are eligible to apply for multiple scholarships awarded by Islip School District's building PTAs. Please see the document attached below for more information and the application form. All completed applications and essays must be submitted by Monday, March 12th.

For more scholarship opportunities, visit the Guidance e-board, which can be found by clicking the "Guidance Services" link in the sidebar of the High School page.

Good luck!

Find Out What's 'High-Ding in Plain Sight'

Find Out What's 'High-Ding in Plain Sight' 1
Find Out What's 'High-Ding in Plain Sight' 2

The district’s IDEA Coalition Task Force is offering a free, adults-only program at Islip Middle School on March 8, presented by nationally acclaimed prevention expert and police sergeant Timothy Shoemaker. The program, “High-Ding in Plain Sight,” begins at 7p.m. and will provide expert instruction and motivational elements to enlighten, inspire, and empower families in the community.

Shoemaker’s presentation will include more than 100 contemporary, hands-on displays highlighting drug placebos, modern paraphernalia, concealment devices and drug-test countermeasures. Shoemaker will also address the growing use of synthetics and edible drugs, as well as e-cigarettes and vape pens. A question-and-answer period will allow attendees to learn more about specific concerns.

While admission is free, advance registration is recommended to avoid disappointment. Visit the EventBrite registration site to register you and your guests.


Commack Road Students Take Thought-Provoking Indian ‘Journey’

Commack Road Students Take Thought-Provoking Indian ‘Journey’

Fourth-graders at Commack Road participated in an interactive in-school social studies field trip on Jan. 8 called “Journeys into American Indian Territory.” Guest instructors for the day included anthropologist Robert Vetter and Cheyenne Elk Clan member Richie Cornacchio.

The immersive event began with an assembly that introduced the students to stereotypes and truths about Native Americans, both from the past and in the present. The students recognized the importance of educating present-day Indians about their language and religion, in order to keep their culture a prominent part of their lives.

The students participated in four different activities throughout the day. In one, Vetter led a workshop that described the government that was developed by local Indian groups. The students participated by creating rules and identifying characteristics of strong leaders.

The school’s STEAM room was transformed into a museum where the students observed artifacts used in daily Indian life – including jewelry, clothing and tools – which were explained and demonstrated. The students were also able to walk through a miniature longhouse that was constructed by the presenters.

The other two activities were created by the school’s fourth-grade teachers. During “Story Time,” the students listened to Indian legends and discussed how they could relate to their current lives, while in the “Game Room,” students participated in an activity described in the book “The Sign of the Beaver,” using modern-day materials but brainstorming about what items may have been used 400 years ago.

The day ended with a sing-along in the auditorium, with students and teachers listening to a song created by Cornacchio as well as singing an inspirational Indian song.

“The ‘Journeys’ program was an interesting and exciting opportunity for us to learn more about Indian life,” said Principal James Cameron.

HS Information for Current Eighth-Graders

Islip High School Principal Michael Mosca presented information on the transition from eighth to ninth grade at the Islip Middle School PTA meeting on Jan. 29. A copy of Mr. Mosca's presentation, which contains a wealth of information for parents and students, is linked below.


Middle Schoolers Get ‘Busy’ with Book Donations

Middle Schoolers Get ‘Busy’ with Book Donations

In an effort to spread goodwill, the student government at the middle school recently created “Busy Books” for young patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

Eager to show their support, the students donated unused coloring books and crayons to the cause and managed to compile hundreds of the Busy Books, which were delivered to the hospital by student government co-advisers Kaitlin Rooney and Christine Sheridan, Principal Tim Martin and Assistant Principal Bryan Miltenberg. Additional books were donated to Amara’s Butterflies Foundation, an organization that partners with Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

“We hope these books brightened a child’s stay in the hospital by keeping him or her engaged with something fun to do,” said Rooney.

“I was so pleased with our students’ level of enthusiasm and investment in this cause,” said Sheridan. “They truly wanted to make a difference and support the children.”

Harris Named Grammy Music Educator Award Quarterfinalist

Harris Named Grammy Music Educator Award Quarterfinalist

High School music teacher Dr. Rich Harris Jr., who serves as the school’s choral, theater and music theory director, was recently selected as a quarterfinalist for the prestigious Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum.

The annual Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators, from kindergarten through college, who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

After intensive review of more than 2,300 nationwide initial applications, Dr. Harris was notified that he was selected as one of the remaining 197 music teachers named as quarterfinalists, hailing from 187 cities across 45 states plus Washington, DC. Harris was also named as a 2019 Legacy Applicant, giving him the right to bypass the 2019 online application, proceeding directly to the video submission phase of the process. He will be then be adjudicated alongside traditional quarterfinalists, and again be eligible to win the Grammy Educator Award.

“I’m honored, humbled and thankful for the journey on which music continues to take me,” said Harris.

High School VE Teams Finish First at Farmingdale Trade Show

High School VE Teams Finish First at Farmingdale Trade Show

Students in the high school’s Virtual Enterprise program recently participated in the annual Long Island trade show and business plan competition at Farmingdale College alongside other schools from across Nassau and Suffolk.

Both of Islip’s VE teams – Fresh Direct and Prestige Worldwide – walked away with wins. Fresh Direct earned first place in the Company Branding, Sales Material and Salesmanship categories, and second place in Company Website and Commercial; Prestige Worldwide took first place in the Booth Design and Company Newsletter categories, and second place in Sales Material.

Additionally, Fresh Direct was named to the top 10 out of 92 Long Island firms for the business plan competition and will move on to the semifinals on Feb. 28, sponsored and hosted by American Portfolios Financial Services in Holbrook. The four top teams will earn the opportunity to represent the Long Island region in the National Business Plan Competition – part of the Youth Business Summit – on April 16-18.h.


Educational Egyptian Interlude Via Skype for Middle Schoolers

Educational Egyptian Interlude Via Skype for Middle Schoolers

Sixth-graders at the middle school recently “traveled” to Egypt via Skype as part of their study of ancient civilizations, communicating with an Egyptian educator about topics like the Nile River, Egyptian monuments, and habitat and wildlife in Egypt and asking her questions about life in Egypt, past and present. The activity was coordinated by technology specialist Tim Brush.

“Advances in technology now afford us opportunities for exciting authentic learning experiences that truly bring history to life, such as this,” said Assistant Principal Bryan Miltenberg.


Capolongo and Multer Win Suffolk Zone Awards

Capolongo and Multer Win Suffolk Zone Awards 1
Capolongo and Multer Win Suffolk Zone Awards 2
Capolongo and Multer Win Suffolk Zone Awards 3

High school seniors Vincent Capolongo and Kayla Multer were named winners at the 2017-2018 Suffolk Zone Awards dinner, held on Dec. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge.

The Suffolk Zone awards are presented annually by the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance to the top male and female physical education students in each Suffolk County high school’s graduating class.

Capolongo, who serves as captain of the soccer, winter track and spring track teams, is an All-Conference soccer winner and participates in Athletes Helping Athletes. He plans to attend Stony Brook University and major in mechanical engineering

Multer, Islip’s soccer team captain, basketball team member and is an All-County soccer recipient and participates in Mathletes. She plans to attend New York Institute of Technology and major in biology.

“Kayla and Vincent serve as true physical fitness role models and examples for success,” said Athletic Director John Sparacio.

Important Message from Superintendent Schnebel

Please read the letter linked below for HS and eighth-grade parents regarding Regents Exam grades.


Sophomores Seek Careers at Workshop

Sophomores Seek Careers at Workshop

The high school’s School to Careers Partnership recently hosted a Sophomore Career Exploration Workshop event for the sophomore class, following last winter’s similar event for freshmen.

The workshop was attended by approximately 40 professionals from the community from a variety of professions and career fields, including welding, glass design, general contracting, project management, medicine, dentistry, nursing, radiology, physical therapy, lab technology, plumbing, electrical work, law, finance and community relations. Groups of eight students were paired with a presenter for eight-minute breakout sessions, conversing about the professional’s job, skills and education.

Lighting the Loop in Memory of Commack Road Principal

Lighting the Loop in Memory of Commack Road Principal 1
Lighting the Loop in Memory of Commack Road Principal 2
Lighting the Loop in Memory of Commack Road Principal 3

The Islip Chamber of Commerce recently honored the late Jeannette Feminella, beloved former principal of Commack Road, by recognizing her achievements through their annual Light the Night event in December.

With support from the district, Commack Road teacher Debra Scheel organized a team of Islip employees who had worked with Feminella over the years. The group worked to display candles throughout the school’s bus loop; as Scheel said, “Our plan was to fill the bus loop with ‘light’ in Jeannette’s memory.”  

Basketball Team Honors Anil John at Annual Classic

Basketball Team Honors Anil John at Annual Classic
Anil John

The high school’s varsity basketball team recently honored a respected former senior captain, welcoming a huge crowd to the second annual Anil John Tip-Off Classic.

John, a three-year varsity basketball player and member of Islip’s Class of 2015, lost his life in a tragic accident on Oct. 6, 2015. After John’s death, his uniform number 22 was retired forever in the basketball program, and the team collaborated with the Islip Booster Club to rename their annual tournament. A memorial scholarship in John’s name was also established, funded with tournament T-shirt sales.

“From the students to coaches, teams, teachers, administrators, food services staff, custodians and community members, just about everyone comes together to remember Anil,” said Athletic Director John Sparacio. “He inspired and touched the hearts of everyone who met him. He had a great passion for Islip athletics and basketball and is forever our teammate and friend.”

Sherwood Students Excel at Winter Concert


Sherwood showcased its students’ musical progress with a well-received Dec. 21 winter concert. The show featured the school’s fourth- and fifth-grade chorus and level I and II orchestras, all directed by Holly Markee; and Sherwood’s level I and II concert bands, directed by Elaine Perrillo.

“It is always great to see the students excel in music,” said Principal Chad Walerstein. “Their dedication and hard work really showed during the performances. I am very proud of all of them.”

High School Inducts Five Legends to Hall of Fame

High School Inducts Five Legends to Hall of Fame

The Islip High School Hall of Fame’s first group of honorees - Fred Biangardi, Dr. Jeffrey A. Goldstein, Michael Patrovich, John Veryzer and Tom Veryzer – were inducted on Dec. 7 in a special gala presentation in the school auditorium. The Hall of Fame initiative’s goal is to continue to provide students with a sense of school and community pride while recognizing distinguished members of the school community who have made notable contributions to society.

Biangardi coached the varsity baseball team for 37 years, earning a 531-256 record and induction in the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. He won New York State Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1983, Daily News Suffolk County Coach of the Year in 1970, and League Coach of the Year 11 times. He also taught physical education at Islip for 35 years; introduced Islip’s football program and coached the varsity football team for 12 years; was a founder of the Islip Booster Club; and had the varsity baseball field named after him. Prior to his career in Islip, the Bay Shore native was All-County captain of Bay Shore High School’s baseball, basketball and football teams; a World War II veteran in the Marine Corps; a college football player at Elon College; and a minor league baseball player for the Yankees, Pirates and St. Louis Browns.

Goldstein, a member of Islip’s Class of 1981, is a renowned orthopedic surgeon. He attended medical school at State University of New York Medical Center at Brooklyn, graduating summa cum laude. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and his fellowship at Johns Hopkins University Medical Institute. He serves as a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at New York University School fo Medicine, director of the NYU Langone Hospital for Joint Diseases Spine Fellowship and incoming president of the International Society for Advancement of Spine Surgery. He has won numerous awards including America’s Top Doctors, Patient’s Choice Award and the America’s Most Compassionate Doctor Award.

Patrovich, a member of Islip’s Class of 2001, was a National High School Coaches Association champion wrestler, earning three county titles, three All-State honors and the Dellacave Award as best Suffolk student-athlete, as well as the New York State championship in his senior year. As a two-time NCAA All-American at Hofstra University, he posted a 106-30 record. He was one of only five wrestlers to win 100 matches in Section XI during high school as well as 100 matches in a Division I college. He also won three Colonial Athletic Association individual championships, 2006 CAA Wrestler of the Year and CAA Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2007, and was named to the CAA Silver Anniversary Team in 2009. Patrovich is currently an assistant wrestling coach at Hofstra and head coach of the Barn Brothers/631 Elite Wrestling Club for children.

John Veryzer’s career as coach of Islip’s basketball team lasted for 21 years, during which he earned a 199-19 record, nine league championships and five county championships. He also served as the district’s athletic director for several years. A 1939 graduate of Sayville High School, Veryzer played basketball for LaSalle Military Academy and Manhattan College before serving in the Navy during World War II. He served as president of the Suffolk County Basketball Association and was involved in several organizations for basketball officials.

Tom Veryzer, John’s son, was a member of Islip’s Class of 1971 and a Major League Baseball player for 12 years. During high school, he earned the Carl Yastrzemski Award for best baseball player in Suffolk County, won All-League honors in soccer and played basketball. He was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1971, going 11th overall, and was called up to the majors in 1973. Playing shortstop for the Tigers, he was named to the Topps Rookie All-Star team in 1975 before stints with the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. He retired in 1985 after 996 pro games, finishing with a lifetime batting average of .241. He later worked for the Town of Islip.
Patrovich and his family were in attendance at the event, along with the Biangardi, Goldstein and Veryzer families. At the conclusion, the families, guests and school administrators walked down the hallway for the unveiling of the Hall of Fame Wall.

“We congratulate our 2017 inductees and their families for this tremendous honor, as they exemplify everything we stand for here at Islip High School and the Islip School District,” said Principal Michael Mosca. “The inaugural induction class strived for excellence in their time here, and we as a school community are honored that we get to celebrate their accomplishments. They made the decision to do great things with the opportunities they were given, despite any obstacles that may have stood in their way, and they demonstrated the character, work ethic and positive attitude that we hope to see in all of our students. This Hall of Fame will stand as a source of pride for our students, our school and this great community. It is our goal that the students who walk past it each and every day will be inspired to someday have their picture displayed and their legacy remembered.”


Students Shape Spinners in Tech Classroom

Students Shape Spinners in Tech Classroom

Industrious Islip High School students in technology teacher Jesse Eilbeck’s wood products design classes recently created wind spinner helixes, a popular backyard decoration. During the project, the sophomores, juniors and seniors learned several important technology processes, including paper templates in the designing of the helix shapes, drilling and cutting wood and metal, and sanding the final products.