High School East’s Drama Club presented three successful performances of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 in the High School East auditorium. There was also a special matinee for senior citizens in the community on Nov. 29. The script was adapted from the famous movie screenplay, written and directed by Frank Capra. The play was directed by Kim Sundberg and co-produced by Matthew Hennings and Jean Marie Kliphuis.
Parents, watch this recorded webinar to learn more about using RazKids at home!
Dressed in their feathered hats, the kindergarten classes at Tackan Elementary School celebrated Thanksgiving with a holiday feast on Nov. 21. The students decorated placements and enjoyed spending time together sharing snacks with their classmates.
First-graders in Katharine Smerechniak’s class recently explored different types of punctuation with ELA coach Mrs. Cronin.
Second-graders in Barbara Haining’s class at Mills Pond Elementary School traveled back in time to celebrate Thanksgiving like communities from long ago on Nov. 21.
The students have been learning about communities from different centuries and comparing them to communities today. Via pictures and discussions, the students have been comparing schools, the cost of living, changes in transportation, and rural and urban communities.
To celebrate Thanksgiving, the second-graders started their day by making their own pancakes. Using the skills learned in their recent math-measuring unit, they mixed the ingredients to make pancakes. Next, they made their own butter to top their pancakes using heavy cream.
After feasting on their homemade breakfast, the students each created their own slate board to practice spelling their words of the week using chalk like the children would have done hundreds of years ago. Toys from long ago were also very different and the students made a ball and cup toy.
Fifth-graders at Tackan Elementary School put Goldilocks on trial for her criminal acts in a court case with more than a dozen witnesses on Nov. 9.
Goldilocks was accused of trespassing at the Three Bears’ home, eating Papa Bear’s porridge and leftover chicken, stealing money (petty larceny), trying on Mama Bear’s dresses and breaking Baby Bear’s rocking chair (criminal mischief). Goldilocks went on trial against the plaintiffs, the Three Bears.
As Goldilocks’ lawyers and the prosecution went toe to toe trying to prove their respective clients’ cases, other fairy tale characters were called to testify as witnesses including the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, the Gingerbread Man, the Three Blind Mice, Chicken Little and more.
After hearing all the facts in the case, the jury of fourth-graders handed down a verdict and sentencing for Goldilocks.
Each year, the School of Business in the Career & Technical Education Department, in cooperation with the Smithtown Industry Advisory Board, sponsors a Business Olympics competition.
This year’s theme was “Charity for a Cause,” which challenged the teams to choose a charity and plan a fundraising event to raise awareness and money for the charity. Students had to create a promotional and marketing campaign for their business as well as a PSA for their event and charity. Fifty-five teams of more than 230 students from HSE and HSW competed in the 23rd annual event on Nov. 8.
Smithtown Industry Advisory Board members, district administrators and employees, local companies and organizations participated in the event and judged the students on their overall presentation. All student teams were required to have a Google Slide Presentation, a commercial for their charity, promotional materials and a marketing plan for their charity event.
First place was awarded to the “Fitness is our Business – Driving out Diabetes” team of Mason Lambrix, Sunitha Palat, Madison Plourde and Kayla Rickles. In second place was “We Mean Business - Winter Gala” consisting of Michael Caccavale, Michael Fischetti, James Rogers, Matthew Tockarshewsky and Calvin Wong. Third-place winners were Jenna Curcio, Anya Ording and Rachel Watson of “Team Red, White and Blue. ”
The National Circus Project came to Accompsett Elementary School during the week of Nov. 13 to work with the fourth-grade students.
Sponsored by the school’s PTA, the National Circus Project held weeklong workshops with the students to teach them the skills to perform in the circus. The program teaches patience, teamwork, confidence, self-discipline and good practice habits all while having fun. On Nov. 17, Accompsett’s fourth-graders were ready to showcase their skills for their families and invited guests.
Acrobats, stilt walkers, plate spinners, jugglers and more showed off their balancing skills with a variety of objects. Clowns kept the audience entertained throughout the circus, while other students showcased their talent using the diabolo and devil sticks.
On Oct. 28, students from Great Hollow Middle School and Dogwood Elementary School joined forces to help fight hunger. Members of the schools’ Peanut Butter Gang community service clubs visited Hospitality Too soup kitchen in Brentwood. They made peanut butter sandwiches that will be distributed at various locations on Long Island and in New York City, and also helped serve a hot lunch to soup kitchen guests. In addition, students distributed Halloween costumes collected at drives in both buildings.
Project Lead the Way uses a hands-on approach to learning that actively
engages students. Check out some of the lessons completed so far this
year in our elementary and middle schools. Also check out our Fall Digest featuring more PLTW information.
After learning about Election Day, first-graders at Mills Pond Elementary School learned about the electoral process during a forest election on Nov. 6.
Three candidates - Bartholomew Bear, Betsy Beaver and Fitzgerald Fox – were all vying for the position to be the head of the forest. The students listened to each candidate’s platform and learned why they would be the best one to run the forest. The first-graders then cast their vote for their favorite candidate.
Tackan Elementary School came together to support its Parent-Teacher Association while having fun and staying healthy.
On Nov. 2, the school hosted a Boosterthon Fun Run to raise money for the school’s PTA while also keeping its students active. Prior to the run, students garnered pledges and sponsors from family members and friends for each lap they ran. In total, Tackan raised more than $18,000 to benefit its PTA. Pledges came from 25 different states and five different countries.
Dressed in their Tackan Fun Run T-shirts, the students marched out class by class with their banners and were introduced as they ran through the inflatable tunnel. The track was set up in the front of the school, and students completed between 30-35 laps as teachers marked off each lap on the lap of their shirts. To make it even more fun, students had different activities to do during the laps such as skipping, dancing and walking.
First-graders in Kathy Smerechniak’s class at Mt. Pleasant recently explored light via a Project Lead the Way activity.
The district and its Parent-Teacher Associations, in partnership with the Smithtown Youth Bureau, Horizons Counseling and Education, Suffolk County Police Department and the Counter Drug Task Force, presented a Parent/Student University focusing on current drugs trends on Nov. 1 in the High School West auditorium.
Community members, parents and students came out to listen to the presentation on topics such as the dangers of alcohol abuse and vaping, social host laws, and what’s happening in the local community by Suffolk County Police Officer George Lynagh, Town of Smithtown youth services coordinator Kelly DeVito, Horizon Counseling and Education Center assistant director Patrice Levy and National Guard Counterdrug Task Force senior airman Gabriel Manzueta.
Keynote speaker Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of Family and Children’s Association, spoke to attendees about prevention, recovery and support resources. Before and after the presentation, community resources were available from local agents such as Project Presence, Inc., Families Anonymous, Tobacco Coalition of Long Island, LICADD, St. Patrick Youth, WellLife Network and YMCA Family Services.
“It is an honor to work in a school district with such an invested community of parents, faculty and students,” said Siobhán Cassidy, Project Presence, Inc.’s director of professional development and practice.
Throughout the evening, social-emotional workshops were conducted to offer parents tools to better connect. Parents learned about Smithtown Central School District’s social-emotional learning initiative and how they can partner with the schools at home. A parent/child yoga workshop gave participants the opportunity to increase body awareness and strengthen the parent/child connection. A mindfulness workshop taught parents how to be more present in their relationships with their child. The eating for energy workshop focused on how to reduce cravings, detoxify and find the top food categories for increasing energy.
Fourth-graders at Tackan Elementary spent Oct. 27 working on different pumpkin day activities.
Using their scientific and mathematic knowledge, students worked in groups to record how many lines were on each pumpkin. Students measured the height and circumference of their pumpkin. To get the weight of their pumpkins, they had to use math skills, first stepping on the scale alone and then with their pumpkins. They recorded the volume of the pumpkin by submerging it in a bucket of water.
The fourth-graders then carved their pumpkins, counting the number of seeds in groups of 10. After totaling the hundreds of seeds inside, they were tasked with finding the mass of the seeds by placing them on a balance scale.
Fifth-graders from Mills Pond Elementary School paid a Halloween visit to the St. James Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Residents handed out candy as the fifth-graders trick-or-treated through the hallways.
The PTA sponsored BOOSTERTHON culminated with a FUNRUN on November2, 2017. Students were sponsored to complete the run.The theme of the program was called Castle Quest and connected to character education. The big event was a huge success and Mr. Lambertwas ceremoniously SLIMED at the end of the day!
Great Hollow Middle School held its sixth annual Coaches vs. Cancer event on Oct. 13. The schools came together to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Thanks to donations from students, teachers, staff and parents, the event raised nearly $3,000.
With more than 240 student-athletes participating in a fall sport, and 278 student spectators, Great Hollow’s football, field hockey and boys soccer teams all competed while the cheerleading and kickline squads performed at halftime. Parents and students came out in full force to support the cause, while the members of the girls soccer and girls tennis teams walked around asking for donations. During the day, students wore yellow in honor of childhood cancer, and many of the students stayed after school to watch a game and support the cause.
The spirit of Halloween was evident throughout the district, as the schools celebrated with a variety of activities including parades, pick your own pumpkins, classroom activities, pumpkin centers and even trick or treating at a local nursing home.
Dogwood Elementary School participated in the Big Apple Crunch on Oct. 19. Throughout the day, students learned different apple facts, graphed their favorite color apples, and learned about the healthy benefits of the apples. As a school, Dogwood Elementary crunched on 292 red apples, 74 green apples, seven yellow apples and 28 multicolored apples, for a total of 401 apples.
The Big Apple Crunch was created in 2012 by nonprofit GrowNYC in partnership with the New York Office of Food Policy to celebrate Food Day in New York City. Since then, the Big Apple Crunch has grown into a statewide event where participants take a bite out of a New York apple to raise awareness about the importance of supporting local New York farmers, creating better access to fresh fruits and vegetables and making it more affordable to eat fresh, local food.
First-graders in Kathy Smerechniak’s class at Mt. Pleasant Elementary explored sound via a Project Lead The Way lesson.
Sixth-graders at Accompsett Middle School had a lesson in making their school a safer and healthier place thanks to a presentation by Billy Flash of the Sandy Hook Promise Program.
“Say Something” is a youth violence prevention program that teaches students how to protect themselves, their classmates and their community. During the presentation, which was sponsored by the school’s PTA Cultural Arts, students learned how to look for warning signs, signals and threats. They were taught to act immediately and take any threats seriously. Lastly, students learned they should say something to a trusted adult.
The overall goal is to teach students how they can do their part to reduce violence, threats and tragic consequences. At the end of the presentation, students were asked to take a pledge to say something when they see something.
High School East science research students, under the direction of Smithtown East science research coordinator Maria Zeitlin, participated in a hands-on collaborative ecosystem-monitoring project at Short Beach on Oct. 6.
The “Day in the Life of the Nissequogue River” project is designed to celebrate the river and estuary ecosystems and educate participants on the uniqueness of Long Island’s NY State-designated Wild and Scenic rivers. More than a dozen different school districts participated in the annual study sponsored by the Central Pine Barrens Commission, Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Suffolk County Water Authority.
On a single day, environmental education partners and students all along the river simultaneously collected scientific information, analyzed it and shared it to portray the status of the river and estuary ecosystem.
According to Ms. Zeitlin, Short Beach was selected for its particular relevance to East students as citizen science is inspired when students look into their own backyards. “Students use hands-on field techniques to perform scientific data collection to assess the health of this part of the Nissequogue River,” she said. “They sample fish populations using seine nets, perform chemical analysis of water samples including phosphate, nitrate and oxygen levels. They inventory site descriptions by drawing pictures and using photography. Students examine the physical attributes of the site with data collection relating to wind speed and direction, current flow, as well as sedimentation and turbidity of the water.” Upon return to school, all data is uploaded to a central website for comparison and analysis.
Third-graders at Accompsett Elementary School recently learned about making simple machines in a Project Lead the Way lesson, a hands-on STEM-based program.
The third-graders worked in groups of three where one student navigated with the iPad, one student organized the pieces and another assembled the product. The students used the apps to guide them to building and creating their own inclined planes. They also created a “load” to test their inclined planes. The students ended the activity by sharing their creations, explaining their build process and demonstrating how to use the inclined plane.
A group of High School East students visited with students in Missy Taylor’s fourth-grade class at Mills Pond Elementary School on Oct. 12 as part of a new mentoring program recently launched in conjunction with the Rotary Club.
Via the Spreading Inspiration Through Education program, spearheaded by High School East student Meleni Sarantos, the high schoolers visit with the younger students on a weekly basis and work on different project-based learning activities together. The High School East students also offer extra help to those younger students who maybe in need of tutoring.
In recognition of National Fire Prevention Month, kindergarten students from Smithtown Elementary School took a field trip to their local firehouse on Oct. 10.
Wearing their honorary fire helmets, the kindergartners learned about fire safety practices, what to do in the event of an emergency and how to stay safe and prevent fires. The students toured the station, met firefighters dressed in their gear and climbed aboard a fire truck and ambulance.
Fifth-graders at Mills Pond recently participated in a book tasting in
the school’s library. Students read book jacket summaries of different
books and wrote down on their “menus” the books that they would like to
More than 300 seventh-grade students from Great Hollow Middle School participated in a walking field trip on Oct. 3. Organized by science teachers Denise Cicione and Kristen Dicpinigaitis, the students trekked from their school to Charles P. Toner Park in Nesconset.
Throughout the day, students learned interdisciplinary concepts while integrating nature in their own community. Great Hollow teachers and librarian Sheila Cavooris created six different interactive stations. The stations included concepts such as mindfulness, social emotional learning, a nature hike throughout the nature trail, geocaching, poetry and senses in nature, calculating the outdoors, and an escape room using reference books and skills needed to research in the library.
Mills Pond Elementary School recognized Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday by engaging and promoting a week full of peaceful activities from Oct. 2 organized by the school’s Shanti Fund committee.
To start the week, each classroom took a pledge of nonviolence. During morning announcements, fourth-grade students read a peace quote and also displayed quotes on the easel in the lobby. On Oct. 2, all students were asked to bring in a special small rock to decorate with a peaceful message to be placed in the school’s rock garden.
Each class crafted a colored lantern, labeled with different words about what peace means to them on Oct. 3. Lanterns were displayed in each of the classes throughout the building. Activities on Oct. 4 included reading, analyzing and commenting on thoughts of peace leaders from around the world.
On Oct. 5, Mills Pond students dressed in blue and white and participated in an outdoor peace walk together. There was also a run for peace during respective physical education classes. To close out the week, students dressed in Mills Pond spirit wear or peace symbols/words to show their school unity in standing together for peace.