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Committed to Excellence

Commack Road Elementary
Summer Reading 2020


Islip Again Named One of Best Communities for Music Education

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Islip has been named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation for the seventh consecutive year, recognizing the strength and depth of the school district’s music program.

“This honor is the result of hard work on the part of our music students and staff in conjunction with tremendous support from parents, school board members, administrators and the community at large,” said Brian Kroll, Islip’s director of fine and performing arts.

“What an accomplishment,” Superintendent Ellen Semel said. “It is a milestone to make the list, but to keep this going for seven years is outstanding.”

Second-Grade “Seniors” Celebrate 100th Day at Commack Road

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Second graders in Trish Specht’s class at Commack Road happily celebrated the 100th day of school by participating in various themed activities throughout the day. Some even dressed for the occasion as if they were 100 years old.

“These ‘seniors’ never looked so cute,” Specht said.

Commack Road Third Graders Collaborate on “Mosaic of Dreams”

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After a lesson examining Christine King Farris’s book “My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” and Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream Speech,” third graders in Brian Smith’s class at Islip’s Commack Road Elementary School wondered where dreams like this come from.

“The book was perfect for helping to answer their powerful questions,” Smith said. “For some, dreams like this seem an impossible fantasy, while to others, it’s just a matter of time. My students would come to understand that good dreams, important dreams and the ones that have the power to help and heal can only come from one place, a special place: the heart.”

Following the MLK lessons, English as a New Language teacher Katrina Martinez proposed a question to Smith’s class: “What dreams are in your hearts that could make the world a better place?” To help answer it, the third graders turned for inspiration to the students of Pershing Accelerated School in Missouri, the authors and illustrators of the book “We Dream of a World… From there, the Commack Road students developed their dreams for a better world, which they published on individual “tiles,” illustrated with a personal touch and later joined together to form a “Mosaic of Dreams.”

“This project was truly a collaboration of inspired dreamers,” Smith said. “Ms. Martinez challenged the students to not only dream big as individuals, but to understand that their strength comes from their bond, developed out of a mutual respect for each other’s differences, personalities, interests, colors and voices. My students puzzled patiently through the mosaic’s construction by practicing Dr. King’s message, that the power of our words – spoken with patience, kindness and respect – are what makes dreams come true for everyone, and at the conclusion of the project, they enjoyed sharing their enthusiasm for their work. One student said it best: ‘‘We’re a family in this class, Mr. Smith. Even if we aren’t related to each other, we’re still connected to each other like one.’”



Kindness Week Brings Unity at Commack Road and Sherwood

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At Commack Road and Sherwood elementary schools, Kindness Week brought students and staff together to enhance social-emotional learning and school unity.

At Sherwood, students dressed for each day of the week, wearing Islip gear to show pride, yellow to spread kindness, tie-dye to show peace and love, and purple to promote acceptance on P.S. I Love You Day. To celebrate kindness to animals, students brought in photos of their pets and shared them on the school’s main bulletin board. Sherwood students also engaged in various kindness-oriented activities in classrooms and the library. For example, third graders in Ingrid Mileski’s class began Kindness Week with each student celebrating “Why I Love Myself.” Her students also participated in a “Compli-mat” activity in which the class shared compliments about one another and wrote why each classmate was appreciated.

“The Kindness Week building activities made everyone feel appreciated,” Mileski said.

At Commack Road, an entire Kindness Month in January culminated in a Kindness Spirit Week.

Commack Road’s Spirit Week activities began with a Monday in pajamas, and also included a friendship bulletin board with heart-shaped words and a “Kind & Seek” challenge encouraging students to seek acts of kindness. Teachers Jill Bohnaker, Cheryl Brown, Sara Comiskey and Shannon Dignam created a Great Kindness Challenge poster contest and bulletin board. Snowballs on the board recognized acts of kindness that students caught their classmates doing over the prior month. The week ended with students and staff wearing purple for P.S. I Love You Day and its “Together We Will Rise” theme, led by the fourth-grade class of teachers Meghan Flynn and Christine LeMaire.

“We completed acts of kindness throughout the month of January as a schoolwide kindness initiative,” Commack Road Principal James Cameron said. “It was wonderful to watch the students come together to spread kindness and define success at CRES.”

“Even though the week ended, our class continues to encourage everyone to show kindness and compassion always,” LeMaire said.

As a result of these many kindness activities, Islip was recognized as a Kindness Certified School District by Great Kindness Challenge organizers Kids for Peace.



Commack Road’s Young Engineers Design Wind Turbines

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Fourth graders in Dawn Ambroselli’s class at Commack Road recently designed wind turbines as part of energy conversion experiments for their science unit on electric systems. Working as mock system engineers, the students looked for a way to solve the blackout problems of a made-up town called Ergstown.



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