Over the course of the past 13 years, students and staff at Cherokee Street Elementary School have raised close to $150,000 for the American Heart Association through the efforts of the Jump Rope for Heart initiative.
“Cherokee students have been very excited, and our community has done so much to support the work of the American Heart Association,” said Cherokee Street Elementary School Physical Education Teacher Joseph Nelson. “The students have fully embraced the concept of helping others and saving lives.”
As part of the 2018 Jump Rope for Heart program, students jumped rope and climbed the rock wall as they took part in a variety of fun and athletic activities while family and friends pledged their financial support for the AHA. The school raised more than $20,000 this year.
The district congratulates Cherokee Street Elementary School kindergarten student Annabella Wohlrab for being recognized as the top fundraiser for this year's Jump Rope for Heart program.
Connetquot High School English Teacher Ross Castaldo and his ninth-grade students recently traveled to Bosti Elementary School to visit their fourth-grade pen-pals.
“The students have written back and forth with Michelle Eskin’s class since the beginning of the school year, and today they had the opportunity to meet one another,” said Mr. Castaldo.
While there, the students read books about likes and dislikes, created a Venn diagram comparing their similarities, and wrote an informational piece on a topic the pen-pals had in common. In May, the elementary students will be visit Connetquot High School to meet with their pen-pals again.
Bosti Elementary School recently welcomed Little Flower Yoga instructor Margot Harris to the school for a series of classes geared toward promoting relaxation and healthy lifestyle choices.
Students learned to incorporate activities from five key elements — connect, breathe, move, focus and relax. Through the use of these elements, and within a framework of respect for all students, compassionate communication and joyful exploration, students are encouraged to better connect with themselves and their inner experience.
This Mindfulness & Yoga program was made available through a financial grant provided by the Connetquot Foundation for the Advancement of Children.
In celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Duffield Elementary School recently welcomed 108 Connetquot High School students as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America program.
The high schoolers visited each classroom, entertaining students ranging in grade level from kindergarten to fifth by reading them Dr. Seuss’ popular works, such as “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Duffield’s faculty and staff members joined in the day’s fun activities by dressing up for this very special birthday celebration. Principal Lisa Farrell was very pleased with the day’s festivities and remarked that when high school students began celebrating with Duffield students several years ago, there were only 30 that took part. With each passing year, more and more high School students look forward to celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday with their new Duffield friends.
The NEA launched the Read Across America program in 1998 to promote the importance of reading to school children.
Fifth-grade students from Duffield, Cherokee Street and Slocum Elementary Schools recently traveled to Ronkonkoma Middle School to get a glimpse of the multiple musical initiatives they will be able to take part in come next school year.
During the program, the students were introduced to the school’s music department faculty and staff and heard several performances from the RMS Jazz Band and Show Choir, to name a few.
Before being dismissed, the students were shown a highly informative PowerPoint presentation highlighting all of the wonderful opportunities they will be able to look forward to within the RMS music program. These included performing at concerts and the Bohemia Memorial Day parade, as well as membership to the Tri-M Music Honor Society. The students were particularly excited to learn that if they pursue music into the high school setting, they will be invited to travel to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida alongside the entire music department to showcase their musical skills and build camaraderie with their classmates.
The world famous ‘Cirque du Jour’ travelling circus troupe recently introduced the fifth-grade students of Slocum Elementary School to some of the special circus skills necessary to entertain their fans, classmates, friends and parents during culminating performances at the end of the week.
Throughout the course of their workshop sessions, Slocum’s talented fifth-graders worked as escape artists, jugglers, plate spinners and stilt walkers. During the performances, the high-energy music motivated the performers and audience members alike as the students dazzled the crowd with their newly acquired skills.
The Cirque du Jour program is designed to motivate students to participate more fully in physical education and cultural arts activities.
John Pearl Elementary School recently welcomed U.S. Marine Corps Private first-class Shaun Muller to the school as he visited with the first-grade students and celebrated the birthday of his younger sisters.
His twin sisters, Emily Muller and Payton Muller, enrolled in Kim Okula’s and Sarah Mannino’s classes, were excited to spend time with their older brother on their special day. The first-graders took the time to sing “Happy Birthday” to the sisters as well.
Pfc. Muller was introduced by John Pearl Elementary School Principal Susan White before speaking about his experiences in boot camp, as well as his next posting. Both the students and teachers alike were impressed to hear that he could be stationed in Virginia, or even within the Hawaiian Islands.
After reading from the book “The Impossible Patriotism Project,” the students applauded the session and thanked Pfc. Muller for visiting.
“All of the students were proud to meet Shaun,” said Ms. White. “He is a real American hero.”
Following the reading presentation, Pfc. Muller was serenaded by the students to a rendition of “This Land is Your Land.”
As a means of spreading kindness throughout the district, staff and students of the district recently participated in DASA/Dignity Week.
The initiative, which was coordinated by Director of Pupil Personnel Services Gail Santo and the district’s youth and family service coordinators, included a number of engaging and interactive activities designated to promote acceptance, kindness and unity for all.
Cherokee Street Elementary School recently welcomed Girl Scout Cadet Troop 1241, who are current Ronkonkoma Middle School students and Cherokee Street alumnae, for a very special presentation. Joined by Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, the girls donated two “buddy benches” to the school for the school’s playground and performed innovative skits to demonstrate the value of the new benches. Additionally, the school’s Youth and Family Services Coordinator Nicole Coogan recently hosted yoga and mindfulness sessions during DASA week in order to create a stress-free environment for the students to enjoy. During their sessions, the students cleared their minds as they were introduced to poses such as “tree,” “mountain” and “downward dog.”
John Pearl Elementary School’s fifth-grade peer mediators and volunteers developed an idea for showing dignity in the community by including their “Grandfriends” at the Arbors Assisted Living Facility of Bohemia. The students created a “Post-It Positivity Board,” filled with inspirational messages for residents in an effort to spread kindness on a daily basis. The students also created a personal poster for “Grandfriends” to remind them how special they are to the John Pearl community.
Multitalented singer-songwriter Jared Campbell visited Bosti Elementary School during DASA week to spread his important message of reinforcing positive character building messages. Mr. Campbell had the students singing along to his catchy songs such as “Change the World,” which told the tales of perseverance and successes from important individuals such as Rosa Parks and Michael Jordan. Additionally, Mr. Campbell wrote a song specifically geared toward the “Leader In Me” initiative, and had the entire school engaged toward the powerful message it contained.
Ronkonkoma Middle School staff members rewarded students throughout the school with “hearts for dignity” after witnessing them acting kindly toward their peers. Throughout the course of the day, the recognized students’ names were taped to the wall of the guidance office for all to see. Additionally, a “Positive Affirmation Wall” was featured outside the school cafeteria, and students were invited to share uplifting messages.
Idle Hour Elementary School kicked off DASA week with a schoolwide assembly. The students were joined by their friends from the Arbors Assisted Living Facility of Bohemia as they took part in singalongs, a PowerPoint presentation featuring photos of the students with their “Grandfriends” and an introduction to the Kindness Rock Project with the reading of the book "Ishi.” Additionally, the fifth-grade girls were recently visited by Counseling and Psychological Services representative Vickie Moskowitz for a brainstorming session about the importance of maintaining healthy friendships, entitled “Friendship Matters.”
Staff and students at Duffield Elementary School created a large poster filled with music notes representing each Duffield family in coordination with their theme of “Music Connects Us All.” The poster visually demonstrated how each individual is like a single note, but when strung together a musical masterpiece is created.
Additionally, elementary schools throughout the district were recently visited by Serge, Amanda and DJ Danny of ‘KerboomKidz,’ as they provided a fun and energetic dance program especially designed for students in grades K - 12. Faculty and staff joined the students as they danced their way through the exciting dance routines, gleefully moving to the rhythm of the music and exercises while DJ Danny pumped up the music for all involved.
Important dental hygiene practices and tips were shared with students grades pre-K through second at Bosti Elementary School when dental hygienists Theresa and Belinda from the East Islip Dental Care group recently visited the school.
The visitors spoke with the students about how important it is to take care of their teeth, the proper methods of brushing and flossing as well as the importance of eating healthy. Along the way, volunteers were called from the audience to help answer questions about how to go about making the best dental care choices.
East Islip Dental Care also provided little gift bags that included toothbrushes and toothpaste for the students in an effort to assist them in maintaining their healthy smiles.
Students at Bosti Elementary School continue to build upon their literacy skills in the classroom setting, as they explore new and innovative ways to further develop a lifelong love for reading and writing.
In Melissa Lewis’s first grade class, students are currently taking part in a collaborative reading activity, in which they team up with a partner to read and discuss non-fiction stories. Using a method of “shopping” for books with their red bags, the students are able to experience new and exciting stories once they finish exploring their most current selection.
Students in Jessica King’s class recently incorporated the scientific method into a literary lesson, as they followed careful instructions to build a structure which would successfully guide their toy car from point A to point B. In order to write like a scientist and successfully transport their miniature vehicle, the students asked questions about how the world works, formulated a hypothesis, and recorded the results of their tests via trial and error methodology.
As a result of their hard work on and off the athletic field, four Connetquot High School student-athletes were selected to continue their athletic journeys this fall at some of the nation’s top colleges and sealed that commitment during a recent signing ceremony at the school.
Mark Dellecave, Connetquot Central School District director of health, physical education, athletics and recreation, introduced each of the four students and talked about their accomplishments both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. He also took the time to remind the recognized student-athletes that their parents are in so many ways the motivating force that have helped them achieve success.
The district congratulates Trevor Cahill (Buffalo University/football), Dayna Marshall (Wingate University/soccer), Dylan McDermott (Franklin Pierce University/football and basketball) and Taylor Stepanek (Stonehill College/football and basketball).
“On behalf of our district, I extend my deepest congratulations to these students and thank them for their unwavering energy and commitment to our community,” Dellecave said. “They will be missed, but we are confident in their success as they move on to the next level.”
In celebration of completing their Pick a Reading Partner program, all students at Slocum Elementary School were recently treated to a special visit from multitalented entertainer Jester Jim.
During his visit, Jester Jim showcased his stunning juggling skills for the students, along with his catchy songwriting abilities. With his handy “loop pedal” by his side, he had the students call out literary characters from their readings, and turned the subject matter into multilayered songs.
Connetquot High School’s Future Teachers of America Club, along with adviser Lynn Parks, recently hosted the district’s first FTA Study Night in an effort to tutor younger students within the district. Throughout the course of the night, students in grades kindergarten through eight brought in their homework and worksheets from their classrooms and received assistance from the upperclassmen.
The Ronkonkoma Middle School drama club recently put on a dazzling performance of “Once On This Island Jr.,” for three consecutive evenings beginning on Feb. 8. Adapted from the popular Broadway show, the play tells the tale of a peasant girl on a tropical island who uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes. The production was brought to life with assistance from Director Jared Glazer, Music Director Dr. Frank Saladino and Choreographer/Assistant Director Taneisha Corbin.
The Connetquot High School Model United Nations Club recently hosted 14 schools from across Long Island and Queens to take part in the 2018 Model United Nations Regional Conference.
Throughout the course of the day, participants simulated the structure and function of the United Nations. Each student-delegate was assigned to represent a sovereign nation, placed on a committee to discuss important current world topics and concerns, and asked to make recommendations. In a mock setting, the student-delegates tackled current world issues, created world peace, and solved problems that are meant to protect and improve the lives of individuals around the world.
“This was one of the largest Model U.N. conferences to date,” said Connetquot High School Model United Nations Club adviser Jennifer Bay. “We had almost 300 people attended, which included delegates, conference staff, chaperones, volunteers and school advisers.”
Fourth-grade students from Bosti Elementary School recently worked on a fun and interactive research project with assistance from Annamarie Tongue, the school’s library media specialist.
In the library, Liz Whitson’s fourth-graders worked on an author study project alongside Mrs. Tongue to research one popular children’s author, including the likes of Mo Willems, Jan Brett, Cynthia Rylant, Steven Kellogg, Kevin Henkes and Tomie dePaola. As part of the project, the students visited the authors’ websites, read their books and made posters about their chosen individual over a period of several weeks of research in the library.
As a culminating activity, each fourth-grader read a book by their chosen author to a second-grade student in Dana Keyes’ class. Afterward, the new “reading friends” shared interesting facts they discovered about their author.
The Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School auditorium was transformed into a real-life fairytale world as the drama club members performed scenes from “Shrek The Musical Jr.,” which premiered for the community on Feb. 2. The students rehearsed for months under the direction of band director David Bentley-Garfinkel, perfecting their lines and choreography in order to provide a memorable performance for the attendees.
The sixth-grade class was recently visited by Holocaust survivor, author and lecturer Marion Blumenthal Lazan.
The district recently hosted its first Coding Night, inviting district students grades 3-12 along with their family members to explore the ever-expanding field of computer coding. This event was hosted by Code Long Island, a Long Island-based organization with a mission to bring coding education to every student on Long Island. For anyone interested in attending the second night of coding fun, the event will take place again on Feb. 6, from 6-8 p.m., in the Connetquot High School library. Currently registration is closed and a waitlist is going.
Ronkonkoma Middle School eighth-grade students enrolled in Anthony Carbonaro and Alma Campanelli’s math, science and technology courses tested their creativity and engineering skills during a recent regatta boat race on Jan. 25 at Connetquot High School.
As part of a lesson on buoyancy, the young engineers spent weeks using scientific calculations to design and construct boats out of cardboard and duct tape in hopes of crossing the high school pool. Although some students chose to commandeer their boats in an individual fashion, they all worked in teams when creating their boats in class.
Despite the fact that not every boat was able to stay afloat during the race, the students enjoyed cheering one another to see which boat would make it across.
Duffield Elementary School’s library was recently transformed into Café Duffield for the first “Book Tasting” event held on Jan. 26, as Karen Pitka’s fourth-graders were invited to “taste” six genres, including science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy and mystery.
Each table offered a three-minute “taste,” or sampling, of a book of the student's choice. After reading their selected work, the students logged a brief menu summary including what the author did to hook the reader and if the student would recommend this particular piece of literature to others. Students then discussed their selection with the rest of the “customers” at their genre table. Before returning to their classroom, the readers picked up a bookmark, making note of their top three favorite choices throughout selection of books.
Fifth-grade students in Colleen Malone’s and Joanna Zalewski’s classes at Bosti Elementary School recently welcomed Jeremy Dale, an impressive and inspirational young man, to talk to the students and staff members about the best-selling novel, “Wonder,” and his own life living with a craniofacial deformity.
“Wonder,” which was recently adapted into a movie, tells the story of a boy with a severe facial deformity, who faces challenges as he begins to attend regular school as a fifth-grader.
“Like the main character in the book, Jeremy was born with facial differences,” said Mrs. Malone. “He and his mom shared his experiences about his many surgeries along with other details about his life. The students were particularly excited to hear that Jeremy had been invited to be on the set during the filming of ‘Wonder,’ and that he had the opportunity to meet many of the actors at the premier screening in Los Angeles.”
Before concluding his visit, Jeremy also spent time answering students’ questions about his life, the book “Wonder,” and his thoughts on the movie. At the end of the visit, Jeremy presented the students with Wonder-themed bookmarks. The students came away from this experience impressed by Jeremy’s resilience, enthusiasm and positive attitude.
Eighth-graders enrolled in Erica Piacentini’s English Language Arts Skills class at Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School engaged in the structuring of a proper literary analysis essay, based on their reading of the classic novel “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton. The students first wrote their own thesis statements based on the reading, and then shared their ideas with the class in a peer editing and revision activity.
Following a similar approach to writing, students from Jennifer Ripp and Shannon Valenti’s fourth-grade class at Cherokee Street Elementary School recently spent time creating their own personal and persuasive essays. After discussing the proper format of an essay utilizing the “Boxes and Bullets” method, the students were able to formulate their own thesis statements, along with the evidence required to support their information in a concise manner.
Colorfully dressed zombies joined parents, students, teachers and staff members at Connetquot High School on Jan. 20 for the fifth annual 5K Zombie Walk, in benefit of the Connetquot Foundation for the Advancement of Children.
More than 100 attendees were ready to walk the halls of Connetquot High school 10 times to complete the 5k goal, as they did their best to evade the zombies and keep three flags attached to their belts along the way. As they walked the halls, the goal was to avoid zombies who would try to remove the participants’ flags one at a time. When all three flags were “surrendered,” the participants would be declared a zombie for 2018.
The CFAC provides financial grants to teachers and district schools to purchase equipment and supplies, and supports special assemblies and training that directly benefit the students of the district. The foundation has awarded well over $140,000 in support of school district efforts to enhance the educational opportunities for Connetquot’s children.