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SWR breaks ground on upcoming middle school projects

SWR breaks ground on upcoming middle school projects photo
The District held a walk-through and groundbreaking ceremony at the Middle School to provide the Board of Education and members of the community with an update on the school’s recently completed and upcoming projects.

In 2015, residents approved a capital project bond referendum to create improved instructional space, preserve the integrity of the district’s facilities, promote energy efficiencies and improve athletic fields and resources for the schools and community.

Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole said he is pleased and excited about the changes occurring in the district’s facilities.

“This is an exciting time for the district,” Poole told participants at the ground breaking. “We are grateful to the community for their overwhelming support.”

During the tour, participants were shown recently completed updates to the middle school, which included new exterior doors and windows; filtered water fountains and carbon monoxide detectors; roofing and a new phone system; additional AEDs, and the resurfaced track and reconditioned football field.

The Board of Education and BBS Architecture representatives then dug their shovels in the dirt to commemorate the upcoming kitchen and café addition, site and parking improvements, library reconstruction and new quarters for the main office, guidance department and nurse’s office.

‘The Curious Savage’ on stage at SWR HS

‘The Curious Savage’ on stage at SWR HS photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School students will take the stage to perform the entertaining and extravagant stage production of “The Curious Savage” on Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the High School auditorium.

The comedy, written by John Patrick, highlights a woman who is left $10 million by her husband and wants to put it to good use, in spite of her grownup, self-serving stepchildren’s efforts to thwart her plans. They commit her to an asylum where an assortment of characters and their shared bond are introduced to the audience.

Directed by SWR High School music teacher Dennis Creighton, the play was a Broadway production that premiered in 1950. For tickets at $10 per person, visit: greateventseats.com/SWR

Meet the Class of 2018 Top Two Students!

Meet the Class of 2018 Top Two Students photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School is proud to announce that seniors Christian Wesselborg and Calvin Schmalze have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2018.

Christian has an impressive high school résumé, which includes taking numerous honors and Advanced Placement courses. He is a well-rounded sportsman and has participated in junior varsity and varsity soccer, both winter and spring track, and wrestling. He is also a member of the high school’s robotics team and jazz band. He has received subject awards in AP Biology, AP Statistics, Honors Biology, Honors Geometry and Level 4 French. He was named an AP Scholar with Distinction and Academic All-County for varsity soccer.

Outside of school, he is involved in his church community and has participated in Relay Iowa, an adventure relay run that covers more than 330 miles across the landscape of Iowa. He has attended the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY Old Westbury, has participated and medaled in the Al Kalfus Long Island Math Fair and took a coding course as part of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s educational programs. He was honored with a Rensselaer Medal for excellence in math and science, which recognizes outstanding high school students around the world.

Christian has committed to study at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and would like to pursue biosciences.

Calvin Schmalzle is excited and proud of his honor as salutatorian of the Class of 2018. His list of accomplishments is comprehensive and includes being named a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student, a Suffolk County Mathematics Teachers’ Association Contest first-place winner in Shoreham-Wading River High School and a member of the school’s robotics team. He has taken numerous Advanced Placement, honors and college-level courses, and has received numerous school subject awards.

His sports involvement includes being a member of the volleyball and both winter and spring track team, for which he was named to the All-Academic team for winter track and All-County academic elite for volleyball. He also took part in an internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s High School Research Program.

His community contributions have included church mission trips to repair and rebuild houses for people in need and helping with church fundraisers.

He looks forward to attending Clarkson University to study mechanical engineering.

“Christian and Calvin are both exceptional students who represent the well-rounded education at Shoreham-Wading River High School,” Principal Frank Pugliese said. “Their commitment to school, community and extracurricular activities will certainly drive their future successes.”

Public Notice - Space & Facilities Committee Meeting 5/8/18

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Notice of Time Change - May 15 BOE Meeting

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Successful Tri-M ‘Suites and Treats’ at SWR HS

 Successful Tri-M ‘Suites and Treats’ at SWR HS photo
Leadership skills, decision-making and planning are some of the benefits that members of the High School’s Tri-M Music Honor Society reaped after their largest event of the school year.

The students presented “Suites and Treats” an evening of delicious desserts to go along with their musical selections. The suggested donation for tickets helped to raise funds for the chapter’s goals including the creation of scholarships for graduating seniors in the organization. Dozens of non-perishable food items were also collected that will be donated to the Island Heart Food Pantry in Mount Sinai.

A program of the National Association for Music Education, Shoreham-Wading River’s chapter combines students from the school’s various performing groups – the a capella group, band, jazz band, chorus, orchestra or chamber orchestra, and works to celebrate and promote music education and to give back to the community.

According to Ashley O’Connor, music teacher and chapter advisor, the students have worked diligently all year and built SWR’s chapter from the ground up. She sees the teamwork, dedication and pride of their accomplishments as an extension of their musical achievements.

VIDEO: SWR Circuits

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A celebration of jazz!

A celebration of jazz photo
Freshman Daniel Julian and senior Alexandra Meli performed with the Suffolk County Music Educator's Association All-County Jazz Ensembles recently held at Miller Place High School.

After auditioning along with students from across the county, Daniel was selected to play alto saxophone in the Instrumental Jazz Ensemble. Alexandra was chosen to sing alto with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble under the direction of guest conductor Aubrey Johnson, a New York-based vocalist, composer and educator.

On behalf of the Shoreham-Wading River School District, both students are to be congratulated for their achievements!

Cardboard creations at Miller Avenue School

Cardboard creations at Miller Avenue School photo
An engaging STEM project at Miller Avenue had a springtime theme when students in Kristen Gironda’s second-grade class created leprechaun traps out of cardboard.

Utilizing a Makedo construction kit with cardboard and tools, including safe-saws, screws and screwdrivers, the students explored ideas and hypotheses in an open-ended, hands-on lesson that generated a deeper understanding of STEM concepts.

The students considered the size of a leprechaun and then worked in teams to design traps that would lure a leprechaun inside and keep him secure to be able to find him when they returned to school.

Learning the love of language at Wading River School

Learning the love of language at Wading River School photo
Students in Wading River School have an extra reason to love Wednesday mornings when they start their day in the school’s newly launched World Languages Club. The before-school club, led by English as a New Language teacher Susana Vique-Kearney, provides students an opportunity to explore language and culture through various modalities and activities in a fun-filled environment. Participants become familiar with the target culture and language through visual and performing arts activities, social studies lessons including historical events, authentic games, holiday celebrations and geography exploration, and Language Arts Literacy activities. Third-graders started in their first six-week session throughout February, followed by fourth-graders who are in the midst of their lessons and fifth-graders will start their session in early May.

Check out our new reporting system: reportit.com

This confidential and anonymous tool is a powerful addition to our school community as we continue to increase our communication with our district shareholders. It is now available simply by clicking the link on each building’s homepage or directly at https://desktop.reportit.com/#/home

Briarcliff Update

The Board Of Education would like to thank those residents that participated in the April 10, 2018 Roundtable Discussions on the future of the Briarcliff property. The perspectives and suggestions from participants was valuable and much appreciated. This event was the third public forum on the future of the property. The Board of Education will be reviewing all of the feedback received to date at the three public forums during a public discussion at a future meeting. The Board of Education recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for residents to comment on the future of Briarcliff. Community members are invited to email the Board of Education their comments and perspectives on the future of the building at the following email address: boe@swr.k12.ny.us

Music and motivating messages for middle schoolers

Music and motivating messages for middle schoolers photo
The famous quote by author Hans Christian Andersen “Where words fail, music speaks” served as an inspirational backdrop when the Middle School welcomed musician Jared Campbell for an uplifting and thought-provoking assembly program. As an extension of the district’s character education program, Campbell’s performance was geared toward galvanizing students to think about their words and actions and encourage them to take a positive perspective on life through his combination of story-telling and original songs. “It was an inspiring assembly,” said Assistant Principal Daniel Ackerman, who welcomed students to the motivating event before sixth-grader Emily Murray introduced Campbell. “Mr. Campbell talked about reaching goals and how there are people in your life to help you along that path.”

Application of STEM principles for Wading River students

Application of STEM principles for Wading River students photo
Fifth-grade students had a unique learning experience, pairing the excitement of hockey with the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills during their participation in the National Hockey League’s Future Goals program.

Combining STEM learning with real-world applicability, the students worked to complete 12 learning modules that included data analysis, geometry, life science and physical science with a goal of winning a virtual Stanley Cup. All students who completed the program were given two free tickets to an Islander’s game.

“‎The initiative not only provides students with an opportunity to learn about fitness and sportsmanship, but because it was developed in accordance with state math standards, they are also building on their knowledge of the STEM topics we are learning in class,” said fifth-grade teacher Adrian Gilmore, who coordinated the program with Alena Kluge from EVERFI, an education technology company.

Miller Avenue students develop motor skills and movement patterns

Miller Avenue students develop motor skills and movement patterns photo
Students at Miller Avenue had an opportunity to show off their dance moves and rhythm during a fun and challenging dance exercise program called KerboomKidz.

In addition to the physical benefits of improving coordination and focus, the program works to mentally engage students and help improve cognitive skills, gain confidence and instill the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Innovative Math Modeling Challenge for SWR students

Innovative Math Modeling Challenge for SWR students photo
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Nine Shoreham-Wading River High School students applied their mathematical and analytical expertise and observations about food consumption to examine solutions to reduce food waste in the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge.

The students took part in the 14-hour, internet-based competition along with more than 4,000 high school students across the country.

Divided into two teams – seniors Keyi Chen, Alex Bakos, Christian Wesselborg and Calvin Schmalzle; and juniors Andrew Honold, Julia Petreczky, Leah Roth, Mahdi Rashizada and Kyle West – they used their creativity, mathematics, science, and English skills during the intensive challenge to gather and evaluate data, then build a solution. They were able to use any free and publicly available resources, but could not discuss any aspect of the problem with, or seek help from, anyone other than their teammates.

The goal is to create a mathematical model to determine if a state could feed its food-insecure population using its wasted food, and then build a second model to determine the amount of food waste a household generates based on its traits and habits. Students then used their models to provide insight into which strategies communities should adopt to repurpose the maximum amount of food at the minimum cost.

“It was pretty intense,” said Wesselborg, who, along with his teammates worked to generate innovative ideas for possible solutions.

Their work is in the process of being judged by more than 125 Ph.D.-level applied mathematicians and six finalist teams will be selected to present their solutions to a panel of mathematical experts on April 30.

Revolutionizing relationships at Prodell

Revolutionizing relationships at Prodell photo
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Prodell Student Council members are working to cultivate compassion and positivity with their month-long Kindness Challenge.

The students created two bulletin boards by the school’s main office. The “Take What You Need” one is decorated with different categorized envelopes filled with positive messages of hope, self-confidence, peace, kindness, patience, love, humility, self-control and faith. The “Give What You Can” board offers more than 100 random acts of kindness suggestions and even a place for students to make their own suggestions. The Kindness Challenge is open to all students and staff in the school.

“On days when a student may need just a word of encouragement, we want them to go to the bulletin board,” eighth-grader and Student Council president Joelle Ialacci said. “The concept is to take a word of advice and the goal is to encourage acts of kindness.”

Student Council members are also creating and reciting morning announcements for the project. The Student Council officers of announcements are seventh-grader Kayla Bodenburg and sixth-graders Erin Cahill and Cody Hoey. All student advisories are also participating by writing positive messages on sticky notes that will be placed on every student’s locker in the middle school.

Senior qualifies to take most prestigious math exam

Senior qualifies to take most prestigious math exam photo
High School senior Keyi Chen had the opportunity to test his exceptional mathematics abilities on the American Mathematics Contest 12, where he scored in the top 5 percent of student test takers nationwide.

Keyi is now qualified to take the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, which is the qualifying exam for the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad. This series of exams leads to the International Mathematical Olympiad, the most prestigious and difficult secondary mathematics examination in the world.

The Shoreham-Wading River School District congratulates Keyi on this outstanding achievement and wishes him well on the American Invitational Mathematics Exam.

Student-designed inquiry experiments at SWR High School

Student-designed inquiry experiments at SWR High School photo
Student-designed inquiry experiments at SWR High School photo 2
Students at the High School recently conducted bacterial science experiments throughout the school as part of their Living Environment class.

The ninth- and tenth-graders set about the school and collected samples from the cafeteria, auditorium seats, bathroom sinks, door handles and the library’s computers to test for traces of bacteria.

The class, taught by Alan Gandt, is a New York State Science Learning Standards Storyline structure pilot that actively engages participants in student-designed inquiry exercises.

“This exciting pilot marks one of the biggest shifts to the new standards at the high school,” said Dr. Amy Meyer, the district’s director of STEM, as scientific questions were posed by the individual student groups.

One group of three students used cotton swabs to collect samples from a computer keyboard. Once they put their sample in a petri dish that was lined with the nutritionally rich medium of Luria broth used for the growth of bacteria, they decided on their immediate next test: using hand sanitizer and then touching the keyboard a second time for comparison. Their preliminary inquiry didn’t stop there. Next, they swabbed the mouse with the same two techniques to further compare whether a keyboard or mouse at the same computer station would have more bacteria. The samples were placed in an incubator, where the samples will grow for several days for final results.

Celebrating SWR High School winter sports achievements

Celebrating SWR High School winter sports achievements photo
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The Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education celebrated the achievements of the high school’s winter sports season at its recent meeting.

The girls’ track team members garnered numerous awards, including All-League for Nicole Garcia, Katherine Lee, Francesca Lily, Isadora Petretti and Lexie Smith. All-County accolades went to Nicole Smith along with Lee, Lily and Lexie Smith. Garcia, along with Lily, Petretti and Smith, won the League 4 x 800-meter relay. Smith was also named SWR Most Improved. Lee took many awards in her senior year, including All-Division, All-State, All-Academic and SWR Most Valuable Player. She also won the League 3,000-meter and 1,500-meter, the county 1,000-meter and finished second in New York State in the 1,000-meter.

Boys’ winter track team members Damien Caputo, Rickie Cassazza, Mark Costas, Brendan Madden, Daniel Montenegro, Luke Rey, Matthew Rose, Calvin Schmalze and Adam Zelin were named All-League. Casazza, Ryan Ledda and Montenegro took the All-County title, while All-Academic went to Calvin Schmalze. Aidan Casey received the Heart of the Team award and Zelin was named SWR Most Improved. Casazza place second in New York State in the high jump and was named co-SWR Most Valuable Player along with Ledda and Montenegro.

Boys’ basketball team members Xavier Arline and Brian Drost were named All-League and All-Academic, respectively, and Trey Ekert and T. J. Wachter were honored as co-SWR Most Improved.
On the girls’ basketball team, Mikayla Dwyer, Abby Korzekwinski and Erin Triandafils were recognized as All-League, and Mikayla Dwyer was named All-Academic. Triandafils was also named SWR Most Valuable Player. Michele Corona was named Rookie of the Year and SWR Most Improved award went to Melissa Marchese.

Members of the wrestling team named All-County are Dylan Blanco, Cooper Cummings, Peter Delise, Jake Jablonski, Connor Pearce, John Carl Petretti, Eddie Troyano and Chris Vedder. Petretti was also the Suffolk County champion at 152 lbs., placed fourth in the state tournament and received All-State honors. Pearce was named Suffolk County champion at 113 lbs., and Troyano and Vedder were recognized as SWR Most Valuable Player and Most Improved, respectively.

Sophomore Jason Louser was also recognized for being named All-County, All-State, All-American, 200-meter individual medley county champion and the state champion in the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter breaststroke.

Winter sports teams also scored big in the classroom. Of the 117 total varsity athletes, 58 of them maintained a 90 or above average. Both the girls and boys winter track teams and boys and girls winter basketball teams were named scholar-athlete teams, with team averages of 90 or above.

Each student-athlete received a SWR School District pin from Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole and Board of Education President Robert Rose.

Five from SWR honored with Educational Service Awards

Five from SWR honored with Educational Service Awards photo
The Shoreham-Wading River School District is pleased to celebrate the five members of the school community who were honored at the recent SCOPE Educational Service Awards dinner.

With the theme “Shining Above the Rest,” the recipients were honored in categories that recognized their leadership, fiscal responsibility, dedication and countless hours of service in improving the educational experiences of all Shoreham-Wading River School District students.

The recipients who were honored are Robert Rose, SWR Board of Education president for School Board Service; Alisa McMorris, PTA Council President for Community Service; Joan Jacobs, kindergarten teacher for Teacher Service; Thomas Wagner, audio visual technician for Support Staff Service and Glen Arcuri, assistant superintendent for finance and operations for Administrator Service.

Prodell students shake things up with STEM earthquake lesson

Prodell students shake things up with STEM earthquake lesson photo
Prodell students shake things up with STEM earthquake lesson photo 2
Students at the Middle School learned the concepts of force and engineering design with a recent STEM lesson on earthquakes.

After studying how earthquakes occur because of pressure that builds in the Earth’s crust and is released as energy, the sixth-graders in Jackie Reyling’s science class built towers to test if they could withstand an earthquake.

They worked in groups and used the limited materials of straws, tape and paperclips to build their two-story structures. The goal was to support one small beanbag on the top story and two on the bottom level.

According to Reyling, the students conducted tests and observed what worked, what didn’t and, just as professional structural engineers do, continued to improve their designs for the best results.

Middle School students present at National History Day

Middle School students present at National History Day photo

Six Middle School students had a unique opportunity to participate in National History Day at Hofstra University on March 18. To present at the highly regarded academic program was an exceptional achievement for the students and the school, as it is the inaugural year of the Prodell National History Club.

Natalie Casey, Melanie Cento, Anja Minty, Carly Mulroy, Selene Tan and Aaron Russell conducted extensive research on their selected historical topics with the theme of Conflict and Compromise for presentation at the event.

The students’ project topics included The Salem Witch Trials, Brown v. Board of Education, Galileo Galilei and German Unification. They completed their research utilizing the district's Virtual Reference Collection as well as the Library of Congress, NoodleTools and G-Suite.

“I am so proud of this group of young historians,” club adviser and social studies teacher Danielle Senneca said. “To have worked so hard and present historical research at a prestigious university is a major accomplishment.”

Senneca and the students are already looking forward to next year's competition, with the theme of “Triumph and Tragedy.”

Prodell Middle School string students perform at SCMEA Festival

Prodell Middle School string students perform at SCMEA Festival photo
Five Middle School string musicians were selected to participate in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association Festival recently held at Mount Sinai High School.

After two days of rehearsals, the students, eighth-grader Natalie Acker (bass), seventh-graders Shiqi Cheng (viola) and Sean Dany (violin), and sixth-graders Kathryn Winters and Alex Zhang (violins) performed a concert with other selected students from throughout Suffolk County.

“We are all so proud of the hard work each of these students put in to their music studies,” said music teacher Frederick Volz. “They deserve the honor for all of their efforts and talents.”

The students were selected based on New York State School Music Association scores and Volz’ recommendations.

Career competencies expand for SWR High School DECA students

Career competencies expand for SWR High School DECA students photo
Five Shoreham-Wading River High School students represented the school at the DECA – Distributive Education Club of America – state career competition, recently held in Rochester, New York. They participated and medaled in various business events.

Lindsay Deegan and Grace Schepis each received a medal for placing in the top 10 in the Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan event; Camden Sisler was honored with a medal for the Public Speaking Prepared category; Jacob Vogel received a medal for the Job Interview event and Maeghan Letcher was awarded a medal for participating in the DECA National Honor Society. They were accompanied by SWR High School business teacher Melissa Cosgrove.

DECA’s competitive events help to prepare high school and college leaders and entrepreneurs in all areas of business, including marketing, finance, hospitality and management. The students also acquire key leadership skills and the professional responsibilities of ethics, integrity and high standards.

The little school (and engine) that could

The little school (and engine) that could photo
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Wading River Elementary School students and staff are regularly engaged in proactive community service projects as part of their character education program and this year’s annual Food Train Food Drive to support those in need was once again a resounding success.

Many of the students decorated a shoebox, filled it with nonperishable items and brought it to add to the back of a cardboard locomotive. The donations stretched down a hallway and around the corner, from the school’s “Responsibility Road” to “Respect Avenue.”

“Our Character Counts team recognized that people need food and other items throughout the year, not just the winter holidays,” said reading teacher Kelly Toole, one of the coordinators of the drive. “It’s nice to see the caring community that we live in.”

The boxes were delivered to the local church food pantries at St. Anselm’s, St. John’s and St. Mark’s.

Three WRES students to participate in BNL Science Fair

Three WRES students to participate in BNL Science Fair photo
Experimentation, observations and gathering results were the parameters met at Wading River Elementary School’s recent Science Fair, and three students will represent the school in the upcoming Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Elementary School Science Fair on May 5.

Third-grader Connor Hunt will represent the school with his “Ready, Aim, Fire!” project; fourth-grader Gabriella Gallagher’s project, “Plinko Probability,” and fifth-grader Chloe Jaeger’s work, “Investigating Outside Temperature and Man’s Best Friend,” will be entered into the competition. They will compete against the projects of other K-6 students from throughout Suffolk County.

Student projects included friction, DNA, slime and super fruit, represented in charts, experiments, demonstrations and diagrams. Honorable mention winners were third-graders Louis Cerniglia, Nathan Combs, Richard Cordano, Mia Stallone and Shealyn Varbero; fourth-graders Jocelyn Kavanaugh, Everett McClintock, Katie Provencher and Forrest Teptenhardt; and fifth-graders Connor DiMasi, Katherine Grzymala, Selene Hunt and Cameron Sheedy.

“It’s always rewarding to encourage our young scientists,” said Principal Louis Parrinello, of the students who work all year to discover cause-and-effect relationships and combine them into logical answers.

VIDEO: Whittle Gym

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VIDEO: Teachers College

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Senior Alexandra Meli takes part in NYSSMA’s Joe Sugar Day

Senior Alexandra Meli takes part in NYSSMA’s Joe Sugar Day photo
Congratulations to senior Alexandra Meli who raised her voice at the state capitol building as part of the All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble at the New York State School Music Association’s Joseph Sugar Day in Albany.

Joe Sugar Day is NYSSMA’s yearly visit to state legislators to advocate for music education. It is named in honor of Joe Sugar, a long-time NYSSMA music education advocate who was instrumental in the creation of Music in our Schools Month.

“We are all very proud of her many accomplishments,” music teacher David Minelli said of Alexandra’s participation.

The Scientific Method at work at Miller Avenue School Science Fair

The Scientific Method at work at Miller Avenue School Science Fair photo
A fingerprint mystery; memory, taste, smell and sound tests; and research on density were just a sampling of the vast display of original scientific experiments conducted by K-2 graders as part of the annual science fair.

Seventeen Shoreham-Wading River High School students judged the work of the younger students using an evaluation rubric with criteria that included the originality of a student’s question, hypotheses, procedures, investigations, analysis and conclusion. The winners - kindergartner Nathan Lauckhardt, first-grader Zachary Lister and second-grader Ava Durfee - now qualify for the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair. The honorable mention winners are kindergartner Joshua Parrinello; first-graders Natasha Azamoun, Eve Calvert and Annaliese Joos; and second-graders Lauren Galucci, Brady Kitchen and Jack Laieta.

Prodell teacher awarded literacy grant

Prodell teacher awarded literacy grant photo
Sixth-grade teacher Anne DeSimone has been awarded a professional grant from MESTRACT (Mid East Suffolk Teacher Center) for her project, “Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom.”

The $3,000 grant will be used to support a Collegial Circle where 10 middle school teachers will meet to discuss ways to incorporate novels that include diverse cultural experiences for students. The goal is to facilitate the formation of book groups connected to the theme of diversity and create lesson suggestions to support teachers’ use of the novels.

“Ann is an enthusiastic, inspired teacher who is passionate with regard to teaching literacy and exposing students to culturally expansive literature,” said Principal Kevin Vann.

The great outdoors comes indoors at Whittle Gym

The great outdoors comes indoors at Whittle Gym photo
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Students at Miller Avenue have enjoyed a few weeks of climbing, ziplining, crawling and swinging as the school gymnasium was transformed into Whittle Gym, a longstanding tradition.

Students maneuvered through a colorful forest of stuffed bears, trees, a campfire and more that represented the theme of the great outdoors as they worked to improve their stamina, strength and coordination during the physical education unit. Physical education teachers Josh Bonventre and Katherine Carlson headed the assembly of the brightly colored obstacle course.

“Not only are there countless physical benefits from climbing such as improving muscular strength and endurance,” Carlson said, “our Whittle Gym unit also teaches and reinforces many character education skills including working together, encouraging one another, critical thinking, goal setting and problem solving.

The obstacle course also had another educational component. As part of a social studies unit, Alice Steinbrecher’s second-graders created decorative posterboards on America’s national parks. So as students navigated the climbing wall, wooden planks, ropes and ladders, they were surrounded by Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, among other national treasures.

WRES students raise their voices at SCMEA All-County Festival

Fifth-graders raise their voices at SCMEA All-County Festival photo
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Thirteen students will represent Wading River Elementary School at this year’s Suffolk County Music Educators Association All-County Festival at Central Islip High School on Sunday, March 11 at 1 p.m.

Following three days of rehearsals at Mount Sinai High School, fifth-graders Emma Granshaw, Katherine Grzymala, Samantha Murtha, Megan Ruta and Hannah Scotto will sing in the SCMEA East Division I concert alongside the best student vocalists in Suffolk County in grades 5 and 6. Orchestra students Siena Faragasso, Elizabeth Finter, Kerrin McGuire, Katelyn Schaefer and Cameron Sheedy and Band students Abigail Haverty, Sal Meli and Sophia Stadler will also perform.

These exceptional young musicians were selected based on past performances and teacher recommendation.

Wellness Week Makes Healthy Living Fun at Prodell

Wellness Week Makes Healthy Living Fun at Prodell photo
Encouraging connections among positive choices, healthy habits and learning was in full force during a successful Wellness Week at the Middle School.

Coordinated by the physical education department, the week started with an assembly on bullying and diversity presented by Suffolk County Police Officer Nancy Ward. She was introduced by Student Council members Erin Cahill, Joelle Iallacci and Hailey Lewkovich.

“It is important to respect our individual differences,” said Andrea Monz, social worker and Dignity Act coordinator. “It’s especially important that students be empowered to stand up against bullying and biased language.”

The rest of the week was filled with fun activities in physical education classes, including country line dancing, mindfulness and yoga. PTO members brought in nutritious and healthy food.

"Wellness Week allows students to be exposed to different fitness and health-related activities,” said physical education teacher Allison Demarco. “Staff, parents and community members serve as role models as they teach students different aspects of wellness. We hope the students come away with more knowledge and a stronger desire to be emotionally and physically well.”

The school thanks community members Melissa DelGuidice, April Langella, Michele Loesch and Andrea Patterson; secretary Rosalie Burke and teachers Katie Peters and Melissa Stallone for their involvement in making the program a success.

Debate Team members head to state championships

Debate Team members head to state championships photo
Nine members of the High School Debate Team recently competed at Jericho High School and three of them now qualify to debate at the state level.

Freshmen Paul Losacalzo, Yusra Rashidzada and Jalal Sawas competed at the Novice level and Sawas won three of four debates to qualify him for the state level. Juniors Sarah Acerra, Declan Beran, Andrew Honold, Emma Kirkpatrick, Kathleen Loscalzo and Mahdi Rashidzada competed at the Junior Varsity level. Rashidzada won three of four debates and will also head to the state competition.

According to English teacher and adviser Brenna Gilroy, the tournament was the first Honold has competed in, which made his first-place win in the JV division exceptional. He won all four of the debates he competed in to qualify him for the state level.

Beran and Kirkpatrick, co-captains of the team, founded it last year. Members practice debating, learning effective research, analytical and public speaking skills as well as teamwork and collaboration – all skills transferable to their everyday lives and beyond.

The students will head to the New York State Forensic League Championship tournament to be held at Hofstra University in April.

Sixth-graders share inspiring black history biographies

Sixth-graders share inspiring black history biographies photo
Sixth-graders at Prodell Middle School have been learning about the many African-Americans who have contributed to the advancement of our country. From authors, human rights activists, actors, sports figures, musicians, and the first man to win an Olympic Gold Medal, the students embarked on biography projects to recognize Black History Month.

Set up in the school’s library, the students created posters on their chosen subjects and presented them to their schoolmates, whom they encouraged to ask questions and share written comments.

Student Brighton Ciampo chose Jackie Joyner-Kersee for her report. “I wanted to choose an athlete and I liked her story,” she said. “She is multi-skilled and still works to help others.”

Along with teacher Anne DeSimone, co-teacher, Hilary Breig and teaching assistant Lauren Araujo worked on the project with the students.

“In addition to the academic aspect of the students learning about the many African-Americans who have made great strides in our country, they really embraced the opportunity to share their work with their peers,” said DeSimone.

VIDEO: STEM Skills in Action

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Shoreham-Wading River Central School District
Thursday, April 26, 2018