Students throughout the Smithtown Central School District wore gold laces on Friday to support Solving Kids’ Cancer. And at Accompsett Elementary School, the students also arrived with sandwich bags filled with coins (and a few bills, too) to support the charity.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This year marks the fifth annual Lace Up for Kids Awareness Campaign.
“Our take was, ‘Changing’ kids’ lives,” said Accompsett Elementary principal Timothy Hellmuth, explaining the white bucket that greeted students upon their arrival, where they generously placed the coins.
Hellmuth took the gold color associated with the campaign to an extreme. He wore bright gold shoes on Friday.
By the time arrival had been completed, the bucket was filled with coins and bills, which will go toward helping in the fight against pediatric cancer.
Students at Mt. Pleasant who successfully participated in the elementary school’s summer reading program received a reward on Wednesday.
The students were invited to the elementary school’s courtyard for a special art project in which they used a funnel to place sand of assorted bright colors into a key chain.
The students also received a certificate signed by principal Joseph Ierano to recognize their reading commitment.
Students filled out a calendar each day during the summer to chart their reading progress, with selections chosen by the family. Parents of younger children read to their Mt. Pleasant students.
Math extra help is available on a walk-in basis every period of the day at both High School East and High School West.
Each high school has a math learning center — East in room 313, West in room G307.
“Students can literally walk in and say, ‘I didn’t know how to do my homework last night. Can you help me?’” said Angelica Babino, the district’s math director.
Typically, students drop in during their study hall or lunch period.
Many who take advantage of the learning centers’ availability end up appreciating the experience and decide to visit daily or every other day — and often the day before a test.
There are two math TAs at High School West, Mark Cimino and Richard Bassin. And one math TA, Carrie Kropp, and two tutors, Liz Manning-Hart and Abigayle Gersbeck, at High School East.
All of the staff at the learning centers are math certified, so the designations mostly relate to how many hours per week each works.
In addition to the voluntary attendees, some students are assigned to a learning center because they have been identified as needing academic support. That assignment sometimes stems from a parent or guardian contacting the student’s guidance counselor to request the extra help.
The middle schools also have extra math instruction for students who are assigned. And a math TA was hired at the middle-school level to combat COVID learning loss. That TA regularly is in classrooms for all math subjects.
“Sometimes, between the counselor and the parent, they know that the student is not going to take that step and walk in there,” Babino said. “We can actually place it on their schedule. Maybe they have lunch seventh period. On their schedule, they also have ‘AIS’ (Academic Intervention Services) seventh period on ‘B’ days, so they’re required to go up there.”
This academic year, Babino’s team has ramped up its direct involvement in Algebra I and Algebra II classes to identify students who could benefit from additional learning support.
Because there has not been a state assessment test in two years as a result of COVID-19, students may not as frequently be identified through traditional means as needing support from the learning centers.
“The Algebra I students, being that they’re coming from middle school, they may or may not be identified. So they may not be scheduled for the extended algebra course that offers them that extra support,” Babino said. “As a result, the AIS providers are pushing into the regular, single-period algebra class that doesn't have that extra support built in.
“And Algebra II is the third math course. So these students in Algebra II didn’t take the algebra regents in ninth grade because it was canceled. And they didn’t take the geometry regents last year because it was canceled. So now, here they are, their third year of math — they have their Regents credits under their belt, but they have never taken one. And now they’re going to have to take the hardest Regents exam. Because of that, we have that additional support there in the classrooms.”
Singer/songwriter Jared Campbell made his latest visit to Mt. Pleasant Elementary School on Tuesday morning to deliver his entertaining and messages about self-esteem and treating others with respect.
Students in Marcie Krause’s first-grade class at Smithtown Elementary received fresh air while working on their alphabet skills on Friday morning.
A new outdoor learning space in the Smithtown Elementary courtyard is providing students and faculty throughout the school with an open-air classroom on a rotating basis.
The outdoor learning space is particularly valuable given the current circumstances, because it provides an extended mask break while learning continues. But the open-air classroom, complete with a chalkboard, picnic tables, umbrellas and assorted outdoor chairs, will continue to be utilized even once the pandemic is fully in the rearview mirror.
The PTA contributed the umbrellas, while the district purchased the tables. And the custodial staff helped set up the area.
Krause’s class took advantage on Friday. She mouthed a sound, and the first graders said aloud what letter matched. Each student then wrote the letter in the air a few times, before also writing it on an individual whiteboard with a marker.
“We’ve always considered the possibility of creating an outdoor learning space,” principal Janine Lavery said. “But, of course, with the onset of COVID and the challenges that it brought to us, we’ve been bringing the children out regularly. Last year, we moved forward with plans to purchase picnic tables so that teachers and staff could eat outside, but also — outside of lunch hours — it could be used as an outdoor classroom.”