Kindergartners at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School showered the special ladies in their lives with gifts, poetry and songs during a Mother’s Day tea held in the respective classrooms. After greeting their invited guests with hugs and flowers, the students shared the books they wrote about their mothers. Afterward, the students had snacks and spent quality time with their guests.
Dinosaurs may be extinct but kindergartners’ interest in them is definitely not. Kindergartners at Tackan Elementary School recently spent a day exploring dinosaurs in different centers. As part their exploration of dinosaurs, students did puzzles, built a dinosaur skeleton out of Q-Tips and glue and dug for dinosaurs in a sand pit.
With six different garden beds to prepare and care for, the student council members at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School don’t mind getting their hands a bit dirty.
Starting in April, the students head outdoors to start preparing their garden, which they hope will be filled with plenty of vegetables by the end of the school year. They start by weeding and raking the beds to get ready for a schoolwide planting day in May.
The imitative started about four years ago, according to adviser and Mt. Pleasant Elementary teacher Stephen Jackowski. The six garden beds were donated by local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. The student council cares for the beds, planting beans, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, corn and other various vegetables. All of the vegetables are then donated to the local food pantry in June and during the summer months.
While the beds are cared for weekly by the student council, which consists of third, fourth and fifth grade students, the schoolwide planting initiate gives all the students an opportunity to help give back to their local community.
Fifth graders at Tackan Elementary School recently put on a production of “The Big Bad Musical” for their family and friends. Characters included the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, the Three Little Pigs and the shepherd in charge of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. With Sydney Grimm as the commentator on live Court TV, the evil stepmother and the fairy godmother clashed in a trial that will be remembered forever after.
Students at Accompsett Elementary School recently participated in an international playground unit under the direction of physical education teachers Ed Shivokevich and Dave Tor. Fifth grade students ran stations representing a game from another country for students in kindergarten through second grade. Students had an opportunity to be active participants in learning about and playing games from around the world.
Fifth graders in Jeffrey Faragasso’s class at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School are learning about the basics of finance, savings, investing and banking during their yearlong mock stock market competition.
Each September, every student in the class receives a credit of $100,000 to purchase five different stocks and build a portfolio. There’s no buying or selling throughout the year, so Mr. Faragasso urges his students to choose wisely. Every Friday during the school year, they discuss the progress of their stocks, take a look at their earnings and losses and predict what they think may happen to their stocks. The class also discusses news and current events and ties those discussions into why certain stocks may be performing better than others.
Outside of the classroom, there’s a leaderboard featuring the top-performing portfolios and the winner at the end of the school year receives a breakfast.
Check out the video from Accompsett Elementary’s annual fairy tale ball.
High School East students enrolled in the leadership class visited with classes at Mills Pond Elementary School on April 15 as part of a class project. The high school students worked on designing a program to teach to the elementary classes. The leadership students visited a kindergarten, second grade and two fifth-grade classes, where they worked on activities related to the topic of how to be a leader. The high school students read stories and made crafts during the visit. The goal of their project was to teach the younger students leadership qualities while also having fun.
After hosting a successful fun run fundraiser earlier this year, the Parent-Teacher Association at Mills Pond Elementary School used the funds to purchase three hydroponic tower gardens for the school.
Fifth graders in Mrs. Connors’ class, fourth graders in Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Zbytniewski’s class and third graders in Mrs. Polito’s class participated in a cultural arts program on April 15 where they learned about hydroponic gardening and built a hydroponic tower garden. Classes will be caring for the gardens on a daily basis and the gardens will be shared across the grade levels. According to Principal Ireen Westrack, if the program is successful, the PTA plans to purchase one tower for each grade level.
Dogwood Elementary School, in collaboration with the Dogwood PTA, held
its first Family Wellness Night. Wellness is an active process of
becoming aware of, and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling
life. During the evening, participants explored self care using
movement, nutrition and calming strategies such as art and breathing. In
the spirit of Family Connect Night, families rotated together through
wellness stations and had the opportunity to visit the hydration station
to sample infused waters. The evening focused on being peaceful and
present in the moment.
Junior Achievement’s High School Heroes recently visited Mt. Pleasant
Elementary School. High school students helped assist teaching classes
on May 6 in kindergarten, first and second grade.
High School East and High School West spent April 11 educating its sophomore classes on events of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide. As part of its social studies curriculum, the schools have held a Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Day for the past 18 years.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. During the full-day event, the 10th graders listened to a lecture by Rwandan genocide survivor and former Parliament speaker Joseph Sebarenzi. A second guest lecture included a testimony from Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. The lectures help students connect on a more personal level and understand the importance of empathy and forgiveness despite these tragedies.
“Werner Reich and Joseph Sebarenzi’s presentations were both very inspirational and gave you a feeling to be a better person and try to keep peace for the future,” said Ashley Lockwood, High School West student. “Also, to try and forgive others to stay healthy and get rid of anger and bitterness.”
During breakout sessions, students worked in smaller groups for different activities. They spent two periods learning the background of what happened in Cambodia and Rwanda through a presentation and film clips and created an awareness poster.
Seventh and eighth grade foreign language students from Great Hollow Middle School recently competed in the 34th annual poetry competition at SUNY Old Westbury. The events are hosted by the American Association of Teachers of Italian, and Great Hollow world language teachers Josephine Nuccio and Grace Vella accompanied the students.
Great Hollow Middle School students participants included: Natalie Boeri, Nicole Caputo, Connor Catania, Gia Cellucci, Michael Chavez, Francesca Covino, Caileigh Harrigan, Kristin Krause, Juliana Maloney, Jayden Mayer, Jillian Mayer, Luis Pop and Thomas Rorick. In Gara di Canto 2019, which was part of the singing portion of the competition, Gia Cellucci placed third for her rendition of “Sebben Crudele.”
All students received participation certificates for their Italian poetry readings. Students were required to memorize and recite an Italian poem of 12-30 lines before a panel of judges and were evaluated on poise, intonation, pronunciation and interpretation. More than 200 students from 20 districts competed this year.
Kindergarten students at Dogwood Elementary School recently performed the play “An Adventure in Mother Goose Land.” In the play, Mother Hubbard's dog has lost his bone and asks characters from Mother Goose rhymes if they have seen it. The mystery is solved when the mouse in “Hickory Dickory Dock” finds the bone in the clock.
To teach their fellow students about the dangers of making poor decisions while driving, the SADD Club of High School West hosted the International Save a Life Tour in the school’s auditorium on April 10. All High School West juniors participated in the program which began with an assembly highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving.
Throughout the day, juniors were invited down in smaller groups to experience driving in simulated situations of being distracted either by texting or using alcohol. Students also took a pre and post survey on their knowledge of being impaired while driving. After their experience driving in the simulators, SADD students encouraged their peers to sign a pledge card to remind them of what they experienced.
All of the High School West juniors signed the pledge, which will hang in the school as a reminder to all students to make good choices while driving.
First-grade students at Tackan Elementary School learned that green is more than just a color during a “Go Green” program. It also means taking special steps to protect the environment. Students learned how to reduce the number of things they use so there is less to throw away; reuse bottles, containers and shopping bags whenever possible; and recycle cans, bottles and paper. The first-graders made a newspaper planter and put a sunflower seed in the soil for their garden at home.
In March, Smithtown Elementary School’s stage was transformed into the African savannah as the fifth-grade students put on a production of Disney’s “The Lion King Kids.” During the last five months, the students worked alongside music teacher Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Yoon to learn all the aspects of theater from acting exercises to dancing and singing. Several of the musical numbers were sung in different languages including Zulu and Swahili.
Eighth-grade scientists at Great Hollow Middle School recently participated in a hands-on experiment when representatives from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory visited the school on March 29. The students genetically engineered bacteria with the green fluorescent protein gene for bioluminescence normally found in the Pacific jellyfish, Aequoria victoria. Students learned about and utilized some of the same techniques that are employed by pharmaceutical companies to produce human insulin. The students successfully created genetically modified bacteria and were able to see them glow.
Author Brooks Gibbs, a social skills educator, visited Mt. Pleasant Elementary School to speak to students about emotional resilience. He shared different ways students can manage their emotions, such as laughing in a tough situation. Mr. Gibbs offered tips on how to make friends, following the Golden Rule and confronting bullying.
First-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School joined together for a community service project with Splashes of Hope on March 27. Splashes of Hope is an organization whose mission is transforming clinical to colorful. Their artists paint murals that get installed in pediatric hospitals, veterans affairs homes, and even in bedrooms for children with terminal illnesses.
One of the programs done by Splashes of Hope is the Friend on the Mend, which delivers goodie bags to hospitals. The Mt. Pleasant first-graders teamed up to decorate and stuff the bags with coloring books, activities, crayons and a puppet of their choice. They each colorfully decorated their individual bag.
These are hand delivered to children in the hospital for various reasons to help brighten a child’s day. Splashes of Hope mascots Vincent Van Monkey and Alice the Elephant also made a special guest appearance.
Fourth-graders at Smithtown Elementary School got up close and personal with some marine life during an ecosystem program on March 28. Alexandra Stevens, marine educator, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, visited the school to teach the students about different ecosystems and give them a chance to interact with the animals.
Ms. Stevens spoke to the students about the differences between living and non-living things that exist in an ecosystem. She also taught the students about the different roles of those living in the ecosystem, such as consumers, producers and decomposers. The fourth-graders learned about different types of marine ecosystems.
Focusing on the ecosystems of Long Island – coastal, salt marsh and sandy beach – students learned about some of the different animals that live in the various ecosystems. With a small bucket of salt water at each station, the students then observed and touched periwinkle snails, hermit crabs, blue and ribbed muscles and a starfish.
Fifth-graders at St. James Elementary School brought history to life during their wax museum on March 20. Each fifth-grader studied a person in history and transformed into that person for the day. Wax figures stood frozen until a visitor pressed their button. When they came alive, the wax figures spoke about important facts about themselves and their notable accomplishments.
More than 40 students from Mills Pond Elementary School came out to support their fellow classmates and those affected by juvenile type 1 diabetes during a fundraiser held in the school’s gymnasium on March 20.
Organized by the school’s Cares Club, which consists of third-graders, the boot camp fundraising event invited fourth- and fifth-grade participants. Rotating through different stations, along with teachers, club advisers and parent volunteers, the students participated in a fun cardio workout featuring lunges, push-ups, planks, dashes, squats and sit-ups. The event raised $715 for the cause.
Third-graders at Smithtown Elementary School had the opportunity to spend time with the special male figures in their life during the rise and shine donuts with dads breakfast on March 21. Prior to the start of school, students gathered in the cafeteria for donuts and conversations with their invited guests. Each student had a list of questions to ask their guest in effort to get to know them better by learning some personal or little-known facts.
High School West students in Sara Albanese’s Project Lead the Way Principles of Biomedical Science worked with samples from the HeLa cell line to create a chromosome spread. HeLa cells are the oldest and most commonly used human cell line, isolated in 1951. Cells were dropped onto a slide to release the chromosomes, or genetic material, and then stained so the cells and chromosomes would be visible under a microscope.
Using their microscopes and Chromebooks, fourth-grade students at Tackan Elementary School transformed into scientists for the day during a recent hands-on activity. After learning about the food chain, what consumers eat, and why plants are producers, the students observed plankton eating food under the microscopes. They learned plankton get their energy directly from the sun using photosynthesis, just like plants.
Fifth-graders at Tackan Elementary School took a bite out of literacy during a book tasting in their library on March 12.
The library was transformed into a café for the students to enjoy their meals. After being seated at their respective tables, the fifth-graders got started on their appetizer, a book that had been preselected for them to taste. After reading either the back cover, inside jacket or just a random page of the book, the students recorded the title, genre and author and decided if it was a book they would like to read. They moved on to the dinner and dessert choices and sampled different books during the respective courses.
The fifth-graders also gave book “shout-outs,” sharing titles they believed the whole class would enjoy. As a culminating project, the students will create Animoto video book trailers to show the fourth-graders to pique their interest when they experience their book tasting next year.
On March 13, students at Nesaquake Middle School participated in a walk to raise awareness about the water crisis in South Sudan.
Seventh-graders recently read the novel “A Long Walk to Water.” The main character Nya is one of the many girls in South Sudan who walk from morning to night gathering water from ponds and lakes to bring back to their families. Most times, the water is muddy and filled with contaminants.
During their lunch period, the students “walked a mile in Nya’s shoes” to raise awareness about the water crisis in South Sudan, raising more than $700. The book inspired students to help raise money for Water for South Sudan, which builds wells in villages so the girls can go to school instead of walking for water every day and helps eliminate diseases from drinking contaminated water as well.
Mrs. Hausch’s and Mrs. O’Connor’s kindergarten class is hatching into spring with their buddies.
To give its students a sampling of the many options available for their post-secondary education, High School East held a daytime mini college fair on March 13. More than 50 colleges and universities both locally and throughout the U.S. had representatives available to field questions from the high schoolers. Students asked about academic programs, campus life, admissions, financial aid and tuition information during their time with the college representatives.
Students in Ms. Dicpinigaitis’ science class at Great Hollow Middle School recently completed a lesson on matter. Students hypothesized about whether or not the air in the classroom is considered matter. After weighing a small sample of water on a beam scale, the students added an Alka-Seltzer tablet to the water to determine if matter can be created or destroyed during a chemical reaction. The students re-weighed the water after the tablet dissolved and recorded their results.
The “Dinoman,” along with his dinosaur fossils and artifacts – visited with second-graders at Tackan Elementary School on March 12. Paleontologist Bob Lisaius captured the attention of the budding scientists with his hands-on show and tell classroom sessions.
The second-grade classes started the day with an assembly where learned about fossils, dinosaur species, why they became extinct and Lisaius’ work in the field of paleontology.
Back in the classrooms and with a toolbox full of treasures, Lisaius visited each of the individual second-grade classes for an informative hands-on session featuring relics of the past. Students touched different artifacts – some dating back millions of years – including dinosaur horns, claws, teeth and fossilized rocks.
Goldilocks was put on trial for the crimes of trespassing, criminal mischief and petty larceny on March 5 by the fifth-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School. More than a dozen storybook characters were called to testify in the trial to explain the break-in at the home of the Three Little Bears.
This program introduces fifth-graders to the basic elements of the legal system, constitutional rights and the inner workings of the courts. Fourth-graders served as the members of the jury.
Goldilocks was charged with entering the Three Little Bears’ house, eating their porridge, breaking a chair, rummaging through Mama Bear’s clothes and stealing $100.
Characters such as Chicken Little, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Blind Mice and the Wise Owl – as well as Goldilocks’ parents and cousin Dreadlocks – were all called to the stand. After hearing all the testimonies, the jury deliberated on its ruling and sentencing for Goldilocks.