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Middle Schoolers Have Healthy Fun at IDEA’s 100 Minutes of Motion

Middle Schoolers Have Healthy Fun at IDEA’s 100 Minutes of Motion

Islip’s IDEA Task Force Coalition celebrated the 100th day of school on Feb. 13 by sponsoring 100 Minutes of Motion in the middle school gymnasium. More than 100 students participated in the event, which focused on healthy choices and activities. Fifth- and sixth-graders joined forces to compete in a night of fun, playing games such as moon ball, knock out and rock paper scissors.

“It was a wonderful turnout for the first year and I’m really looking forward to watching this activity evolve for our students,” said physical education teacher Patricia Whitehouse, who cited members of the high school’s Athletes Helping Athletes and the middle school’s National Junior Honor Society as crucial in making the night a success.

“Providing positive choices for kids is a key ingredient for a healthy life style and friendly community,” said Middle School Principal Timothy Martin. “The IDEA Task Force is committed to keeping the Islip community free of negative influences and seeks opportunities for all kids to get involved.”

Board of Education Meeting and Budget Workshop, 2/26/19

The next Board of Education meeting and first Budget Workshop for the 2019-2020 school budget will be held on Tuesday, February 26th at Islip Middle School. The meeting will open with an Executive Session at 6:30 p.m. The Budget Workshop, which will feature information on enrollment trends and projected class sizes, is expected to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium. The remainder of the Board's public meeting will immediately follow in the library. We hope you are able to join us!

Local Legislators Honor High School Achievers

Local Legislators Honor High School Achievers

Suffolk County Legislators Steve Flotteron and Tom Cilmi recently visited Islip High School to recognize students for their athletic, academic and musical achievements. The honorees, all presented with certificates, included the county champion girls varsity tennis team, Suffolk Zone Awards winners, AP Scholars, National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Students, and All-State and All-County musicians.

“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate all the work here at the high school, and how proud I am to represent the Islip School District, the place where all of you get to do the great things you are doing,” Cilmi told the students. “Academics are really the basis for what most of you will take into your future to make successful careers. Sports and music are great, they are a part of our lives as a people and certainly serve to enhance academic performance in many ways. So, all of it needs to be recognized when you excel.”

A Perfect 300 for Pair of Boys Bowlers

A Perfect 300 for Pair of Boys Bowlers
A Perfect 300 for Pair of Boys Bowlers 2
A Perfect 300 for Pair of Boys Bowlers 3

Varsity bowlers Joseph Kornahrens and James Rindos both recently scored perfect 300 games and were honored with commemorative bowling pins. Kornahrens scored his perfect game on Jan. 15 against Copiague, a highlight of a 33-0 victory, while Rindos’ achievement came on Jan. 22 in in game 3 of a 752 series, during a 30-3 shutout win over Central Islip.

The boys team, coached by Jason Orlick, won the Suffolk County small school bowling championship on Jan. 29 at LI Bowl in Patchogue. Kornahrens had a four-game series of 885 with a high game of 238, Robbie Grasso had a high game of 242, Matt Steves had a high game of 240, Nate Moran had a high game of 223 and Ray Boyce added a high game of 217 to help secure the championship. The Bucs finished the season with the second highest team average in the county, earning them a spot in the county tournament.

EXCEL Students Get Creative for Valentine’s Challenge

EXCEL Students Get Creative for Valentine’s Challenge
EXCEL Students Get Creative for Valentine’s Challenge 2

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, students in Islip’s EXCEL program for the gifted took on a fresh challenge, putting their minds to the task of creating Valentine-themed board games. The results ranged from physically engaging games that required students to use the power of their breath to aim a ping pong ball through a tube made out of paper to hit a target, to building games where students had to create a bridge using index cards, to homemade dice that were created using foam and clay.

“My students’ board games integrated content knowledge from what students have learned in EXCEL and also were critiqued with a rubric which assessed creativity and craftsmanship, having clear objective and directions, intellectual content and creative integration of the Valentine’s Day theme,” said EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson.

Five Student-Athletes Sign to Play at College

Five Student-Athletes Sign to Play at College

Five seniors at the high school – Julianna Eastwood, Hailey Franco, Michael Karachannas, Nicholas Ouwerkerk and Marcus Peterkin– signed national letters of intent to continue their athletic careers in college this fall. The students were joined by their proud families and Islip administration for a celebration in the school’s library on Feb. 8.

Eastwood will play soccer for Farmingdale State College, Franco will play soccer for Adelphi University, Karachannas will play football for Stony Brook University, Ouwerkerk will play soccer for Southern Vermont College and Peterkin will play soccer for the University of Connecticut.

“Knowing that our athletes can take those experiences from high school and move them on to the college level, to me is priceless,” said Islip Athletic Director John Sparacio. “That’s the reward for us here at Islip.”

‘Grease’ Is the Word at Islip High School

 ‘Grease’ Is the Word at Islip High School

It was a rockin’ trip back to the summer of 1958 as Islip High School’s theater students presented a vivid production of “Grease,” the classic 1971 musical by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs, famously adapted as a film in 1978.

Audiences enjoyed the performances of an array of talented student actors during shows on Feb.  7, 8, 9 and 11. The cast included Tyler Cirulnick and Allie Morrissey as Sandy, Toni Castronova and Noelle Richard as Rizzo, Samantha Salerno and Katy Zurbaran as Marty, Taylor Austin and Rachel Nettuno as Frenchy, Grace Colwell and Marisa Esposito as Jan, Ashley Danz and Rachel Finz as Patty Simcox, Hallie Schreiner as Miss Lynch, Desiree Paga and Lotus Schuller as Cha-Cha, Brandon Larson as Danny, Nick D’Auria as Kenicke, Zac Center as Sonny, Joe Leo as Roger, Richie Castronova as Doody, Ryan DelGenio as Eugene, Matthew Mahr as Vince Fontaine, Manny Argueta as Johnny Casino, and Bella Green and Frank Neri as Teen Angel. Dr. Rich Harris, Jr. served as director, producer and music director, with Kirsten DiGillio supplying the exciting choreography.

“The students were amazing,” said Assistant Superintendent Christopher Smalley. “Many thanks to all the Islip staff and volunteers who came together to bring the show to life.”

Be sure to visit and bookmark the following sites for future news on Islip musicals:
Islip Musicals Website
Islip Musicals on Facebook
Islip Musicals on Instagram

HS Firms Win Seven Medals at Virtual Trade Show

HS Firms Win Seven Medals at Virtual Trade Show

Two teams of high school students in the Virtual Enterprise International program won seven medals at the VEI’s annual Long Island Business Plan Competition and Regional Trade Show, held on Jan. 9 at LIU Post. The Islip teams – Worldwide Entertainment Corporation and Entertainment Express – were competing against more than 90 other high school virtual firms to present the best business plans.

Worldwide Entertainment supplies party themes and food packages to customers, while Entertainment Express offers mobile theme parties while traveling on a personalized bus. The firms’ top executives presented their business plans to a panel of independent judges, earning gold medals in the employee handbook, salesmanship, sales materials and video commercial categories and silver medals in the employee policies and impact marketing categories.

“Our students and staff did an amazing job,” said Assistant Principal Curt Juengerkes.

Islip’s VEI students will next participate in five live competitions in April along with the VEI Youth Business Summit, to be held April 15-17 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

Middle Schoolers Gain Voice Via Social Media

Middle Schoolers Gain Voice Via Social Media

A “student social media takeover” has brought excitement and new levels of leadership to the middle school. Beginning late last year, students applied to run the school’s social media accounts for the day in order to showcase student voices and better display the student experience for the school community.

Every two weeks, a different student was selected, taking and posting four to six photos each. The students sent the photos and accompanying captions to administrators for posting to Instagram, which is set up to automatically repost to the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“It was different from a regular day of school because we got to take pictures, although it was hard to choose the photos and write the captions,” said sixth-grader Patrick O’Shea.

Not only did the students involved enjoy the experience, the reaction from classmates and teachers was enthusiastic.

“They were all super excited and asking me to put them in a picture,” said seventh-grader Gabriella Dirosse. “They all wanted to participate, which I thought was really cool, that we all could be a part of it together. The students had their voice, the teachers had their voice, and we all had different opinions.” 

“For us, it really connects to everything we are trying to do with giving our students a voice and helping them become leaders,” said Assistant Principal Bryan Miltenberg. “If you look at the news, it always seems to be negative in terms of kids and social media, and we wanted to flip that narrative and show that social media can be used for positive. We wanted our community to see what coming to school here is like through the eyes of the students.”

Wing Students Learn That Safety Comes First

Wing Students Learn That Safety Comes First
Wing Students Learn That Safety Comes First 2

Suffolk Transportation Service representatives recently visited Wing Eto provide students with a review of school bus safety tips.

“Students’ safety always comes first, especially when they are riding on a bus,” said Principal Michael Giacchetto. “It’s always important to follow the rules and take proper safety precautions to allow all of our children to be safe.”

High School’s Science Olympiad Team Advances to State Competition

High School’s Science Olympiad Team Advances to State Competition

The high school's Science Olympiad team took sixth place at the Eastern Long Island Regional competition on Jan. 26, qualifying them for the New York State Science Olympiad championships, which will take place March 15-16 at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. The students started their preparation in September, studying and building after school and on the weekends in order to achieve this accomplishment. The Islip team medaled in 10 of the 23 national events run during the competition.

Islip’s medalists were:

  • Boomilever: third place; Mackenzie Howell and Victoria Pearsall
    Disease Detectives: fourth place; Maddie Germano and Matthew Southard
    Experimental Design: second place; Molly Breakstone, Maddie Germano and Mackenzie Howell
    Forensics: third place; Victoria Pearsall and Matthew Southard
    Geologic Mapping: fourth place; Daniel Canales and Greg Warnokowski
    Herpetology: fourth place; Allie Morrissey and Sofia Rubinson
    Mission Possible: fourth place; Mackenzie Howell and Darienne Rogers
    Mousetrap Vehicle: seventh place; Mackenzie Howell and Victoria Pearsall
    Water Quality: sixth place; Justin Magri and Meg Rumplick
    Write It, Do It: second place; Molly Breakstone and Sofia Rubinson

Congratulations to the team on their success!

Middle Schoolers Win First Prize at Future City Competition

Middle Schoolers Take First Prize at Future City Competition
Middle Schoolers Take First Prize at Future City Competition 2
Middle Schoolers Take First Prize at Future City Competition 3

Four middle school students from the district’s EXCEL program for the academically gifted – Abby Alfano, Erica DeLapi, Emily Lewis and Jaci Narducci – won first place in the 27th annual Future City Competition in New York City on Jan. 19, beating out 43 other regional teams.

“Our team has been working hard since last June to prepare for this five-part competition, and their hard work paid off,” said EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson.

DiscoverE’s national, project-based engineering program Future City enables students in grades 6-8 to imagine, research, design and build cities of the future using “SimCity” software. Future City’s 2018-2019 theme of “Powering Our Future!” tasks student participants to design innovative power grids for their future cities that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster.

The Islip foursome came home from Manhattan with trophies, medals and prizes including iPads and Amazon gift cards. They will move on to the next phase of the competition, spending February break representing New York at the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C., competing against teams from across the nation as well as the globe.  

High Schoolers Complete IPOs with Hands-On Risky Business Game

High Schoolers Complete IPOs with Hands-On Risky Business Game

Highschool business ownership and marketing students recently received first-hand experience in building a business from the ground up. Teams of students competed against each other using the business game Risky Business, which tasks players to be the first to build a company and complete an initial public offering, with success depending on decisions, timing and competition with opponents.

Using the game as a learning tool, students had to meet certain criteria to complete their business plan; hire marketing, product development, finance and sales executives; develop a product line with patents; and secure additional funding. Meanwhile, their competitors used mergers and patent protections to hold them back. Each step of the business plan that was completed allowed the students to move to the next step, until they had all the components to make an IPO.

“The students were really engaged in this activity,” said business teacher Renee Clock. “This hands-on experience helped the students connect what they have been learning about in the classroom through a realistic approach. They enjoy learning in a nontraditional environment.”

Vote to Help Commack Road Win a Grant!

Commack Road has an opportunity to win the Project Fit America grant, and needs your votes.

Please see the attached flier for information and voting instructions; you can vote either by visiting the site link or scanning the QR code with your phone camera. You can vote every day from Feb. 2-28.



A Night of Pizza, Principals and Police Brings Internet Safety to Islip

 A Night of Pizza, Principals and Police Brings Internet Safety to Islip

Commack Road and Sherwood elementary schools partnered with the Suffolk County Police Department on Jan. 17 for the second annual PTA-sponsored “Being Police SMART: A Pizza Party with the Principals and Police” event, held at the middle school. Sherwood Principal Chad Walerstein and Commack Road Acting Principal Lynn Burke were joined by Suffolk County Police Department Community Relations Bureau Officer Sabrina Pitch and 3rd Precinct Community Liaison Officer Eiffel Ramirez to discuss electronics usage and internet and gaming safety.

After enjoying a family pizza party in the dining room, students and their parents moved into the school auditorium for the presentation portion of the evening. District attendees included Islip’s superintendent, Dr. Ellen Semel, and the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Dr. Christopher Smalley, as well as Board of Education Vice President Tom Leggio.

“Basically, online etiquette is our 21st century character education,” said Walerstein in his welcoming introduction. “In the past, we might have taught students about different character traits to represent themselves. Now they have to do those things online. One of the things that we teach students at Sherwood is the THINK acronym. We tell them, before you click, before you say or do something online, think about it. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Whenever we have students come down to the office dealing with social media issues, we point to the THINK sign in my office.”

Officer Pitch, a familiar face as a countywide school presenter for the past several years, provided helpful tips and proactive strategies to keep students safe. She urged the assembled parents to keep communicating with their children regarding internet usage and devices, and discussed the challenge of keeping up with current social media apps and websites frequented by students.

“Every day there’s thousands of new apps out there,” Pitch said. “As soon as you learn about something, they’re on to the next thing.”

She also warned that children shouldn’t play “detective” with potentially dangerous adults on the internet.

“They think it’s this game where they’re going to get the bad guy,” she said. “Kids are in your home with the door closed, you’re in the other room, and they have their pajamas on. They think that they are safe, but they’re not. Strangers are just as dangerous online.”

Pitch emphasized that any negative or inappropriate words or images that a student says or posts online, even privately, can be disseminated indefinitely and cause significant harm.

“If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online,” Pitch told the students, leaving them with words of wisdom to guide them in future online endeavors.

Concluding the evening, the Commack and Sherwood PTAs raffled off a pair of Amazon Kindle Fires to two lucky students.

High School’s Student of the Month Celebration Returns

High School’s Student of the Month Celebration Returns

Resurrecting a popular ceremony for the first time in a decade, the high school held its Student of the Month Celebration on Jan. 15 in the school’s cafeteria, with Principal Michael Mosca and Assistant Principal Curtis Juengerkes honoring 45 terrific students who had been recognized for their achievements during the months of September, October, November and December by the school’s careers, English, ELL, fine and performing arts, guidance, mathematics, physical education and health, science, social studies, technology and world language departments. Also honored were four staff members.

“It’s a very special event,” said Juengerkes, who spearheaded the celebration’s return. “We get to recognize students in different disciplines, because you don’t have to be a valedictorian or an All-County athlete or musician to merit recognition. Islip is a special community to be a part of, and we have some very talented students and staff. This gives us the opportunity to recognize and appreciate some of the things that make Islip whole, that give it the character it has as well as the integrity and wisdom we thrive on.”

Observing Plants in Winter at Sherwood

Observing Plants in Winter at Sherwood
After reading about how scientists study habitats, Amy Contant’s second-grade students at Sherwood recently observed plants in their winter state as part of a science unit on plant and animal relationships. Sherwood fifth-graders marked off sections in an area on the school grounds for the sample study site, while the second-graders broke into groups to observe. They then drew and labeled anything that they observed in their site, including grass, leaves, moss, worms and small holes.   

High School Students Share Warmth Via Coat Drive

High School Students Share Warmth Via Coat Drive
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High School Students Share Warmth Via Coat Drive 3

The Islip High School Junior Chamber of Commerce Club recently collected gently worn and new winter coats to help the Town of Islip Youth Bureau provide coats to those in need.

Coats were collected by the Youth Bureau, the Junior Chamber and other local organizations and dropped off throughout the month of December. Students in Renee Clock’s work experience class assisted Youth Bureau Director Tim Mare in sorting and packaging the coats., which were then donated to outreach centers in Suffolk and Nassau counties, a local homeless shelter and others in the community.  

“We have been experiencing freezing temperatures, and those who need coats appreciate the generosity of our community,” said Mare.

Islip Town Councilman Jim O’Connor stopped in to donate coats and thanked the work experience students for their positive contributions to the community.

“It is great to be a part of any type of initiative that contributes to the wellbeing of our community, and participating – while teaching my students work skills and empathy – makes it that much more rewarding,” said Clock.   

Social Studies Students Attend Hofstra Political Discussion

Social Studies Students Attend Hofstra Political Discussion
High school social studies students recently attended a Hofstra University breakfast and keynote discussion with Senior Presidential Fellows Howard Dean and Ed Rollins. Dean, a former Vermont governor, Democratic presidential candidate and Democratic National Committee chairman, and Rollins, a former White House deputy chief of staff and current senior political analyst for Fox News, discussed the potential impact of the 2018 midterm elections on the 2020 presidential race, as well as taking questions from the audience.

Empathy Through Bologna at Commack Road and Wing

Empathy Through Bologna at Wing
Empathy Through Bologna at Commack Road  2

Just prior to the winter break, students at Commack Road and Wing, aided by parent volunteers, decided to forgo winter crafts and concentrate on making and donating bologna sandwiches for people in need.

At Commack Road, class moms came up with the idea, and students and their families donated bread and bologna, then formed an assembly line to make more than 120 sandwiches and donate them to a nearby homeless shelter.

“The students learned empathy and loved helping a community in need,” said teacher Nicole Chirco. “The students will never forget this.”

Wing’s students, first-graders in Justin Lollo’s classroom, surpassed their initial goal of 100 and made 138 sandwiches destined for the Mercy Inn in Wyandanch. The students also decorated holiday-themed bags to put the sandwiches in. 

“This is just another sign of how Wing works together for positive youth development by giving back to the community,” said Principal Michael Giacchetto. “Engaging young children in community service helps students grow empathy and allows them to see where they fit in a society that cares for one another.”

Senior Tyler Nakken Demonstrates Woodworking Skills

Senior Tyler Nakken Demonstrates Woodworking Skills

High school senior Tyler Nakken, an independent study student working for the second consecutive year with technology teacher Jesse Eilbeck, recently completed several outstanding woodworking projects, including a segmented bowl made from black walnut and poplar wood that he buffed to a high shine using food-safe finish, and a traditional tea candle stand with a red oak base and tiers constructed from sapele mahogany and black walnut.

“Tyler is a focused youth in my shop classes, always striving to produce quality work,” said Eilbeck.

Nakken plans to join the military after graduation this June.

Commack Road’s Class Café Showcases Literacy

 Commack Road’s Class Café Showcases Literacy

To celebrate a focus on narrative writing, the young authors in Christine LeMaire’s fourth-grade at Commack Road opened “LeMaire’s Literacy Café,” with students rotating throughout the “café” to read and comment on the writing of their classmates.

“Sharing our small moments in time while celebrating our accomplishments helps build our class community,” said LeMaire.

Middle School Welcomes Record Number of New Students

Middle School Welcomes Record Number of New Students

This year, the middle school had a record-setting number of new student entrants – more than 50. At the same time, the school’s focus this year has been on enhancing student culture by improving both empathy and acceptance as well as student voices and leadership. In order to better welcome and acclimate the newcomers, the school planned a recent Welcome to Islip Breakfast featuring games, food and conversation, chaperoned by current student leaders.

The morning began in the gym with team building exercises, capped off with a poignant rendition of “Cross the Line,” in which students and staff were asked to step up if they met various criteria such as hailing from a different state or country or speaking a different language.

“It served as a powerful visual reminder that while we call come from different walks of life, we are all in this together and here for one another,” said Assistant Principal Bryan Miltenberg.

From there, students entered the dining room for a breakfast of bagels and juice. Each table had a student leader facilitator who had prepared questions and discussion topics. The students got to know one another, with many arriving as strangers but leaving as friends.

“I am proud to say that our student body has welcomed our newest residents with open arms,” said Principal Tim Martin. “It was a tremendous and eye-opening experience for all involved.”

“At Islip Middle School, we strive to build a culture of openness, inclusivity and acceptance,” said Miltenberg. “We treasure our growing diversity and the opportunities it brings to connect and find common ground with those who are different from us.”

High School Choir Gets in the Swing of the Holidays

High School Choir Gets in the Swing of the Holidays
High School Choir Gets in the Swing of the Holidays 2

Just before the break, the high school’s Swing choir traveled around the other district schools to serenade the younger students with favorite festive holiday songs.

“I love that Swing comes to get our kids in the holiday mood with caroling each year, and it’s so wonderful to see so many former students,” said Commack Road music teacher Michael Baur. 

Creative Choreography at Commack Road

Creative choreography at Commack Road
Eight exceptional fifth-graders at Commack Road created their own choreography for the holiday tune “Blitzen’s Boogie” and performed the dance in front of their peers at the school’s annual holiday sing-along on Dec. 21.