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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.

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.

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.

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.”  

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