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Park Avenue Educators to Present at Technology Summit

Park Avenue Educators to Present at Technology Summit photo
Park Avenue Educators to Present at Technology Summit photo 2
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Fifth grade teacher Amy Stein and librarian Tim Quinn, from Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School in the Amityville Union Free School District, have been chosen to present at the Long Island Technology and Education Summit in October for their work with the Skin in the Game program.

The summit is co-sponsored by Eastern Suffolk BOCES, Western Suffolk BOCES and Nassau BOCES. Ms. Stein and Mr. Quinn will highlight they work they have done to incorporate technology into an educational board game project. 

The Skin in the Game initiative was launched in the district during the 2018-19 school year. As a culminating project, fifth graders in Ms. Stein’s class worked in teams to create board games that reflected a unit of study from either science or social studies. Among the topics that children chose were biomes, body systems, human rights, natural disasters and the solar system.

Each group had to create a board game that resembled the style of existing popular board games. Every student in the group had a roll including the story teller, the rule maker, the question maker and the designer. With support from Mr. Quinn, children created their game pieces on iPads, which then came to fruition using the 3D printer in the library. The group that created a game about biomes made pieces to look like different animals. Students also used a Selphy photo printer to add visual elements to their games.

Other digital elements were incorporated into the project. Students who made the solar system game — called Space Catastrophes — included spots that could be scanned by an iPad revealing a video of students explaining the rules or facts about the different planets. Other games had QR codes that could be scanned to get a question. 

“Each game had some component that made it unique,” Ms. Stein said.

Student Cheryl Mejia said the key to make a successful board game was teamwork.

“You’ve got to work together to make a project,” she said. “You have to support each other and help each other out.”

After creating, students played each other’s games to give constructive feedback, such as the ease or difficulty of the rules. Ms. Stein and Mr. Quinn will bring the games with them to the technology summit to share with educators from across Long Island.  


Ninth Graders Promoted to High School

Ninth Graders Promoted to High School photo

A winning attitude and self-discipline are the keys to success, Edmund W. Miles Middle School Acting Principal Earl Mitchell told ninth graders as they prepare to embark on their journey to Amityville Memorial High School.

The middle school hosted its ninth grade awards ceremony on June 25, celebrating the high school Class of 2022. Mr. Mitchell encouraged each student to read at least two good books over the summer to keep their minds sharp. When they return in September, they should enter their new school with a positive mindset.

“Don’t let any excuse hinder your success,” he said.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly said that just weeks prior, the ninth graders saw members of this year’s graduating class traverse through the middle school halls for the annual senior walk. In three years, it will be their turn, and by that time they will be well prepared for the challenges of college, careers and the world.

Dr. Kelly noted that it is an exciting time in the district for the ninth graders. A major renovation and expansion project is under way at the high school, and once completed in about a year those students will get to enjoy new classrooms, state-of-the-art science labs, an indoor athletic complex and upgraded library media center.  

Administrators and teachers presented students with several awards. They recognized the ninth graders with the top grade in each subject as well as those who have sustained high grades during their middle school years. 

The Amityville Teachers Association Award of Excellence went to Mikhail Ankudovych and Andielynn Llamas while New York State Comptroller Award was presented to Brandon Dennis. Brandon and Samanta Molina also earned the Attorney General’s Triple C award for courage, character and commitment. Scott Pineda was recognized for his perfect attendance.

Warrior of the Year honors went to Kayla Marrero and Bryan Vanegas. Mr. Mitchell introduced a new award this year, Warrior the Year faculty members, which was presented to Erica Azzara and Kerry Kearney.

A Special Class Moves on From Park Avenue

A Special Class Moves on From Park Avenue photo

Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School Principal Robyn Santiago looked out from the stage at the 213 sixth graders sitting in front of her and smiled. She and the students shared a common bond, one that she will remember for the rest of her life.

“This class of sixth graders is very special to me,” she said, “as both they and I entered Park Avenue together three years ago.”

She became principal when they became fourth graders, moving up from Northwest Elementary School. Now, she is sending them off to seventh grade at Edmund W. Miles Middle School, which happened to be the setting for their moving up ceremony on June 25.

“I can’t wait to watch your future success,” Ms. Santiago told the students, boasting about their achievements in academics, art and music, while also highlighting their great character. “Stay kind,” she added.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly told students that they had been well cared for over the last three years by Park Avenue teachers and staff who were dedicated to their success. Now, the staff at the middle school awaits them and will be ready to help the students follow their dreams. Dr. Kelly said new opportunities lie ahead such as learning a new language, receiving a Chromebook to use both in school and at home, joining clubs and conducting science research.  

“There is something here for everyone,” she said.

The sixth graders heard from National Junior Honor Society President Daniella Henriquez, who recalled making the same transition two years earlier and how quickly she felt comfortable in her new school. 

“Coming to the middle school is a new beginning and fresh start,” she said.

The Park Avenue chorus, led by Megan Ashe, performed “A Million Dreams” with sixth grade soloists Tiffany Asbell, Sydney Carter, Karina Escobar Rivera and Madelyne Martinez. Certificates were presented to students earning the Presidents’ Award for Academic Achievement and Educational Excellence. Ms. Santiago and Assistant Principal Melissa Wiederhold also recognized John Arango, who earned the New York State Comptroller Achievement Award, and Alessandra Pons who received the Suffolk County Executive Certificate of Achievement. 


Northeast Kindergartners are Moving on and Dreaming Big

Northeast Kindergartners are Moving on and Dreaming Big photo

“A Million Dreams” was the theme of this year’s kindergarten moving-up program at Northeast Elementary School on June 21. Kindergartners performed songs at morning and afternoon ceremonies for their families.

Principal Dr. Pauline Collins said that all songs were about dreams and aspirations including “Big Dreams,” “Get Fired Up,” “The Climb,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and more. Students worked with their kindergarten teachers as well as music teacher Nicole Altamura to learn the lyrics and choreography.

Children performed on a stage flanked by rainbow balloon displays. Posters throughout the gymnasium had inspiration messages like “Everything starts with a dream” and “Keep calm and dream big.” 

Before each ceremony began, guests enjoyed a photo slideshow set to music featuring class photos and pictures of activities throughout the year. Dr. Collins had high praise for the students, who worked hard this year and completed the first step on their journey to becoming Amityville Memorial High School’s Class of 2031. 

“They are ready for first grade,” she said. “They’re reading and they’re writing. We are so proud of them.”

Northwest Third Graders Reach a Milestone Moment

Northwest Third Graders Reach a Milestone Moment photo

Hard work and perseverance are the keys to success, speakers told third graders at Northwest Elementary School’s moving up ceremony on June 24. The students, who comprise Amityville Memorial High School’s Class of 2028, celebrated their achievements over the past three years as they grew as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, artists, musicians and thinkers.

Principal Kathleen Hyland said that this group of students holds a special place in heart as they entered Northwest as first graders the same year she came to the school. She explained that it is has been a pleasure watching them grow through so many “wonderful educational experiences.”

Ms. Hyland reminded students that mistakes are part of the learning process and should never deter them from trying to achieve their goals.

“You can accomplish anything if you’re willing to work for it,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly not only emphasized the value of hard work, but also spoke about the importance of good character. She reminded students to always be courteous, kind, respectful and responsible.

While the summer vacation is well deserved after a prosperous school year, Dr. Kelly encouraged students to keep their minds sharp by going to the local library and checking out books. 

The ceremony included musical selections by the students including “Count on Me” and “Roar,” led by music teacher Roxanne Tannenbaum. Dr. Kelly and Ms. Hyland both recognized Ms. Tannenbaum, who is retiring, for her years of dedication to the students. 

Class by class, the 219 third graders were called up to the stage to receive their moving up certificates, where they exchanged handshakes, high-fives and hugs with Ms. Hyland, Assistant Principal Sonia Rodrigo and their teachers.

Northwest Memories Video

Amityville’s Class of 2019 Shines Bright

Amityville’s Class of 2019 Shines Bright photo

As Amityville Memorial High School graduates made their way along the track, cheers erupted from the crowd. Proud family members, who filled the bleachers, enthusiastically welcomed the Class of 2019 to the football field where commencement exercises were held on June 27.

Acting Principal Edward Plaia announced that it was the first time graduation had been in the evening. It also marked the return of the ceremony to the outdoors after two years of inclement weather. This year the sun shined bright as speakers talked about the bright futures ahead for the graduates. 

“We are all extraordinarily proud of you,” said Mr. Plaia, who was their principal at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. “We are here to celebrate your achievements and your accomplishments over all your years of schooling.”

Mr. Plaia cited their “Warrior work ethic” which led them to success and will help them through the bigger challenges ahead. He noted that the graduates have been accepted into some of the top colleges on the planet.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly told the graduates to thank all those who have helped them reach this level of achievement. As they move on, she asked graduates to cherish the memories, friendships and experiences from their time in Amityville and use it as a source of comfort.

Dr. Kelly discussed the Apollo 11 moon landing, and how it was the culmination of many years of hard work from people from all different backgrounds. She said the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, would never have imagined doing that when he graduated college, yet a little more than a decade later he made history.

“As I look out at you this evening,” Dr. Kelly told the graduates, “I am very optimistic, because I see the future, and I am confident that the world will be assured of many more giant leaps for mankind because you will lead the way.”

Valedictorian Raiphy Jerez, who will major in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that most people can’t point to one big moment that has led to the their success. Instead, it is a series of little decisions that creates each person’s path.

Salutatorian Aleyna Kokoglu spoke about how she moved to Amityville from Turkey when she was 9, spoke little English, and learned to communicate through art. Nine years later, she is preparing to attend Stony Brook University with ambitions of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. 

The end of high school, she explained, isn’t the end of a journey but just another step along the way.

“It marks the beginning of a much more exciting chapter for all of us,” she said. “This is where our lives truly begin.”

Senior class adviser Margot Howard said her first introduction to the Class of 2019 was when they were in seventh grade, and she was a student teacher. Meeting them assured her that education was her right path, and soon after she began teaching in Amityville. She encouraged the graduates to seek a meaningful purpose in life.

“Go out into the world and do well,” she said, “but more importantly, go out into the world and do good.”

Senior class President Britney Colas reflected on the years the graduates spent together. Although they will head in different directions, she hopes Warrior pride will remain in the hearts forever and the friendships will remain intact.

“As I stand here today and look upon my fellow graduates, I see potential, potential for greatness,” she said, adding, “This is not a goodbye, this is simply a see you later.”

Under an arch of red and gray balloons, graduates received their diplomas from Mr. Plaia and were congratulated on stage by Dr. Kelly and board of education members.

Park Avenue Posters Promote Water Conservation

Park Avenue Posters Promote Water Conservation photo
A pair of sixth graders from Park Avenue Memorial Elementary Schoolwere recognized for their creative efforts to encourage water conservation.

Kaytlin Valerio was a third place winner in the 2019 Water Conservation Poster Contest hosted by the Long Island chapter of the New York Water Environment Association. Christasha McNeil earned honorable mention. Each student received a certificate and an Amazon gift card.

Students completed their submissions after learning about the water cycle. The lesson included guest speakers from NYWEA. The poster contest is designed to encourage students to learn about their roles in the watersheds in which they live, and how to conserve and protect water resources for future generations. 

High School Social Studies Teacher Earns Regional Honor

High School Social Studies Teacher Earns Regional Honor photo
Amityville Memorial High School social studies teacher Margot Howard was recognized by the Long Island Council for the Social Studies with the Robert P. Flinn Award. It is presented to a non-tenured social studies teacher on Long Island who has demonstrated strong knowledge of social studies content and current issues, is effective and inspiring, and has the ability to convey the importance and vitality of social studies to students. 

Ms. Howard has taught at the high school for four years, including global history and Advanced Placement human geography. Joining her at the awards ceremony were Assistant Principal Brian Suckle and Social Studies Chairwoman Dawn Mizrachi.

Nature Knowledge Hatches at Northwest

Nature Knowledge Hatches at Northwest
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“Peep peep peep” could be heard throughout the second grade hallway for about a week in June after baby chicks arrived in several classrooms at Northwest Elementary School. It was part of an annual hands-on science lesson about animal life cycles. 

The eggs and incubators were supplied by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Suffolk County Farm. During the 21-day incubation period, students made predictions about how many eggs would hatch and also candled the eggs by holding up a special light to see the development taking place in side.

After the chicks were born — some during the school day to the delight of students — they were moved to large plastic bins lined with bedding. Children took care of the young animals by ensuring that there was always a supply of food and water. They even learned how to delicately hold the chicks, and also gave them names. 

Second grade teacher Annette Fox said that literacy activities were included in the project as students practiced their sequence structure in writing about the life cycles and used descriptive language from their observations. 

APTC 2019-2020 School Supply Order Forms


Amityville Staff Recognized for Service

Amityville Staff Recognized for Service photo

The Amityville Union Free School District Board of Education honored approximately 60 staff members for their dedicated service on June 12. Two dozen of the honorees are retiring from the district, while others were recognized for milestone anniversaries.

Retirees included teachers Dr. Nicola Beckles, Barbara Bielecka-O’Doherty, Ricki Budnick, Robin Golub, Reynolds Hawkins, Dr. Judy Ann Hurst, Donna Jones, James Napoli, Peggy O’Connor, Jo Anne Rubin, Laurie Scott, Carol Seehof, Diane Smith, Karen Starkey, Roxanne Tannenbaum and Charles Zuar, teacher assistant Theresa O’Connor, custodians Keith Ambrosino, William Carmen and Ruth Corporan, nurse Carol Bosch, cook Alice Samuel and food service worker Caroline Rund.

The board additionally recognized staff members who have reached 20, 25 and 30 years of employment in Amityville. Reaching 20 years were Margaret Brooks, Jacqueline Brown-Fields, Steve Butler, Robert Claps, Michelle Dale, Nancy Davi-Ortiz, Anther Gail Davis, Marc Engler, Annette Fox, Shannon Griffin, David Joyner, Frank McKelvie, Terron Newsome, Brenda Norman, Donna Pescitelli, Elbert Platt, Joseph Puglisi, Howard Reiner, Laurette Roddin, Kathleen Rousseau, Christopher Sarlo, Carl Spatola, Marie Thomas, Jennifer Trotman and Nakia Wolfe-Williams.

At 25 years were Deborah Cammaroto, Angela Harris, Greta Joyner, Debra O’Rourke, Jean Reese, Juliane Roman and Linda Stallworth. At 30 years of service were Andrew Gwathney, Dr. Judy Ann Hurst, Alfreta Lidge, Bernard Ricks and Frederick Shepherd.

Colleagues shared kind words and told stories about the honorees.


Amityville’s Orchestra Groups are Golden

Amityville’s Orchestra Groups are Golden photo
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A trio of orchestra ensembles from the district received gold ratings at the New York State School Music Association’s Major Organization Assessment Festival.

Earning the top honors were the Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School sixth grade orchestra under the direction of Christine Klimek, the Edmund W. Miles Middle School orchestra conducted by Bianca Ferrante and the Amityville Memorial High School orchestra led by Ms. Ferrante.

According to NYSSMA assessment guidelines, a gold rating is awarded to ensembles that have demonstrated an “outstanding level of technical and artistic skill in each of the evaluated categories.” Those areas included tone, intonation, balance, technique, accuracy/execution, rhythm and interpretation. Each ensemble performed three pieces for the judges. 

Park Avenue Music Students are on Their Game

Park Avenue Music Students are on Their Game

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Game was created by students at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School, inspired by a book read in their music class, “The Really Awful Musicians.”

The activity supported the district’s Skin in the Game initiative and included a technology component as students used the school’s 3D printer to make the game pieces. Students made board games based upon the book, which is about the royal musicians during the Medieval time period.

Music teacher Megan Ashe said that creation of the games served as a culminating activity for the year, as it had to feature different musical concepts students learned such as rhythms, note values and the EGBDF and FACE note staffs. Each game had to be designed following the format of other popular board or card games, and represent all of the characters from the books and the instruments they used.

Fifth graders from Amy Stein’s class were selected to create moveable game pieces using the MakerBot 3D printer, located in the library. Students used the Tinkercad program to design the pieces. Ms. Ashe explained that every five game pieces took about 45 minutes to print.  

Student Cesia Guevara said it was exciting that she and her classmates were among the first in the school to use the 3D printer. As someone who avidly plays board games at home, she explained that it was also a great experience to learn about the work that goes into creating a game. Marvin Barnes added that it was fun to work together as a group, to help build their teamwork skills.


Doing Things With Dad at Northeast

Doing Things With Dad at Northeast

Northeast Elementary School hosted its annual pre-K Father’s Day picnic on June 7. Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other family members were invited to participate in some hands-on activities.

Together, the children and their guests built birdhouses, played hopscotch and hula hoops, blew bubbles and enjoyed a picnic lunch. 


Memories Revisited for Amityville Seniors

Memories Revisited for Amityville Seniors photo

Shortly before 10:30 a.m. on June 6, yellow school buses pulled up in the driveway of Northwest Elementary School, but it wasn’t young children who stepped off. Instead, it was the 241 members of Amityville Memorial High School’s senior class.

The soon-to-be graduates visited all of their former schools during the senior walk, an annual tradition to celebrate the impending milestone. Led by Assistant Principal Brian Suckle and Dean of Students John Cardone, the Class of 2019 walked through the first, second and third grade hallways in order, as the elementary students lined the halls to cheer them on. Many made signs congratulating the seniors who were clad in their red caps and gowns. Pomp and Circumstance played over the speakers. 

The scene was repeated as the seniors moved on to Northeast Elementary School — where they began their educational careers in pre-K or kindergarten — then to Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School and Edmund W. Miles Middle School. Seniors exchanged hugs with former teachers, who beamed with pride in seeing past students all grown up, having achieved so much and ready to accomplish so much more.

Northeast kindergarten teacher Dyan Aversa said this year’s senior class included students she had during her first year teaching kindergarten in Amityville. Pre-K teacher Lisa Carey pulled her son, James Carey, out of the line of graduates to give him a big hug in front of a poster she hung up filled with pictures from his childhood.

Amityville Music Groups Earn Silver Ratings

Amityville Music Groups Earn Silver Ratings photo
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Five music ensembles from the district received silver ratings at the Major Organization Assessment Festival this year hosted by the New York State School Music Association.

The groups receiving the designation were the Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School chorus led by Megan Ashe, the Edmund W. Miles Middle School band led by Michael Bonasera, the middle school chorus and the Amityville Memorial High School chorus, both directed by Debra Koraus, and the high school band, conducted by Jolene Maccarone.

According to NYSSMA assessment guidelines, a silver rating is awarded to ensembles that demonstrate “an excellent level of technical and artistic skill in each of the evaluated categories for all three selections.” Those categories include tone, intonation, balance, technique, accuracy and execution, rhythm and interpretation.

Two Park Avenue ensembles also received “superior” ratings at the Long Island Music Festival, the chorus, directed by Ms. Ashe, and the orchestra, conducted by Christine Klimek.

“I extend my congratulations to all of the participating music students and their teachers for a job well done,” said Dr. Frances Fernandez, director of fine arts.

Accomplishments Shine Among Senior Class

Accomplishments Shine Among Senior Class

The district honored seniors who have earned scholarships during an awards ceremony on May 23. Amityville Memorial High School’s annual Senior Awards Night celebrated achievements in academics, athletics, the arts and community involvement.

Following opening remarks and performance of the National Anthem, honorees and audience members viewed a video that spotlighted the top 25 members of the Class of 2019. 

The presentation of awards brought applause to the students who are recipients of scholarships, and pride among their family members. Each student accepted their awards and received congratulations from members of the administration and board of education. Many of the local scholarship sponsors were in attendance and personally acknowledged the students. 

Warriors Taking Their Talents to the Next Level

Warriors Taking Their Talents to the Next Level

After representing the Warriors for several years, a dozen athletes from Amityville Memorial High School are prepared to compete at the next level. The students, who have made commitments to play for college teams locally and in other states, were recognized at the annual Senior Athlete College Celebration Day on May 30 in the school library.

Joined by administrators, board of education trustees, coaches, teammates and family members, the athletes proudly adorned the attire of their new schools. Each student was invited to say a few words about his or her future plans and thank influential people. 

The recognized athletes were:
Nina Babington, St. John’s University, track and field
Joel Barrett, University of Bridgeport, track and field
Victoria Erwat, Binghamton University, volleyball
Rolman Guardado, Hofstra University, soccer
Shiyah Hamlet, SUNY Sullivan, basketball
Indya Hunter, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, track and field
Alton Kimbrough Jr., Bowie State University, track and field
D’andre King, Alfred State College, football
Patrick Meyerrose, St. Joseph’s College, soccer
Jada Miley, Morgan State University, dance
Carlos Ponce, Molloy College, soccer
Kalani Soloman-Shand, Nassau Community College, cross country

The ceremony was simulcast live on the Amityville Broadcast Network. As each senior came to the podium, student commentators said a few words about his or her athletic accomplishments in Amityville. 

“This is an exciting day to recognize the hard work and commitment of all of our athletes,” said Evan Farkas, the director of athletics, physical education and health. He thanked them for their contributions to their teams and also acknowledged all of the supporters of Amityville’s athletic programs. 

History Prompts a Digital Debate in Amityville

History Prompts a Digital Debate in Amityville photo
Diving deep into their study of the American Revolution, fourth graders at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School made videos to share their thoughts about the war that led to the independence of the United States.

After learning about patriots and loyalists, the young historians had a digital debate using Flipgrid. Each student had to decide if he or she would have supported independence of the 13 colonies or would have defended staying with Great Britain. They had to cite historical evidence to back up their arguments in the 90-second videos.

The videos were shared on teacher Leighann Ruggiero’s class page, and students had to create response videos to two of their classmates, giving reasons why they either agreed or disagreed. Students said they enjoyed the opportunity to use technology to share their opinions and have respectful debate with their peers.  

Junior Tapped for Selective Summer Science Program

Junior Tapped for Selective Summer Science Program photo
Amityville Memorial High School junior Z’Dhanne Williams was accepted to the prestigious High School Summer Research Program at Brookhaven National Laboratory. 

Z’Dhanne has been a member of the district’s Elite research group since ninth grade, working with her team on a treatment for polycythemia vera, a form of blood cancer. They have presented their research at several regional science exhibitions including the Kathy Belton Science Fair at Molloy College and the STEM Diversity Summit at Farmingdale State College. They earned first-place finishes at the Diversity Summit in 2017 and 2018.

This is Z’Dhanne’s second acceptance into a prestigious science program. As a freshman, she was selected for BNL’s STEM-Prep Summer Institute. Beginning in July she will participate in the highly competitive High School Research Program. During this six-week educational offering, Z’Dhanne and other selected students will collaborate with BNL’s scientific staff on projects that supports its mission.

“Z’Dhanne’s continued involvement in research and competitions have made her a candidate for acceptance into BNL’s rigorous summer research program,” science teacher Alexis Charles said. 

Ms. Charles will be working with Z'Dhanne, who will be a co-author for the scientific paper that will be published on the polycythemia vera by SUNY Farmingdale professor Andrew Michaelson and his research team. 

High School Students Take Research to the Next Level

High School Students Take Research to the Next Level photo
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Aspiring scientists at Amityville Memorial High School spent several months exploring the work of noted researchers in preparation for conducting their own science studies next year. 

The school hosted its first Science Research Symposium on May 16, with three students sharing their projects. They are enrolled in science research, a new course this year offered in partnership with SUNY Albany. Teacher Jennifer Galasso said that it is a three-year program in which students can earn up to 12 college credits.

The presenters were sophomore Colleen Compitello and juniors Ameila Tisk and Z’Dhanne Williams. The audience included teachers, administrators, board of education trustees and family members. 

For the first year of the program, students developed their research and presentation skills by selecting a topic and finding scientists who studied that topic extensively. Each student read professional journal articles to thoroughly analyze existing research. This helped them understand the process that scientists go through to gather information.

Next year, Amelia, Colleen and Z’Dhanne will begin their own original research projects. Each will develop a research question and find a mentor scientist to guide them through the process. They will collect their own data in the hopes of making meaningful contributions to the scientific community.

“This year was to build the foundation,” Ms. Galasso said. “The students were really proud of the work that they did, and they are excited about continuing it.”

Ms. Galasso said that one of the benefits of the class is that students can pick topics of interest to them. Colleen, who is involved in Amityville’s music program, chose as her topic, “Music Therapy and Autism.” Amelia’s presentation was on “The Effect of Antidepressants on Bipolar Disorder.”

 Z’Dhanne said that while her topic, “Resensitizing Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria,” may sound complex, she enjoyed the chance to present it in a way that made the information relatable to everyone.  

“I loved being able to connect with my audience,” she said. “The fact that I was able to pick my own topic, something I’m passionate about, has given me the opportunity to shine.”

After the three students presented, they stood with their presentation posters to answer any questions from guests. The symposium also featured a guest speaker from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Watson School of Biological Science, Lyndsey Aguirre, who discussed her research on genetic regulatory circuits in plants.

Spark! Challenge Creates Interest in Medical Professions

Spark! Challenge Creates Interest in Medical Professions
A team of students from Amityville Memorial High School earned a monetary prize in Northwell Health’s 2019 Spark! Challenge. For the third consecutive year, students were invited by Northwell to explore careers in the STEM and medical fields. 

Amityville students were given a unique opportunity to preview clinical and non-clinical career paths in the hospital through practical and engaging encounters with professionals in the field. One group visited the department of radiation medicine in which they learned about radiation treatments. The second group of students explored a variety of career scenarios and simulations in infection control, material management, environment services, finance, accounting and project management.

In April, students had to present their findings to a panel of top executives from Northwell Health. At the competition, they were asked to create a marketing plan highlighting one of the careers they had seen at the health facility, and present their knowledge about that specialization. The event was held at the Crest Hollow Country Club where 50 schools competed for prizes.

Amityville’s team earned a $2,000 prize as a first-place winner in the presentation category. It consisted of seniors Alyssa Graham, Ariel Graham, Alyena Kokoglu, Rachelle Louis Jean and Nathan Odige and junior Jazmin Ruiz Marcelo, along with senior Raiphy Jerez as the graphic designer. 

In addition to learning more about medical careers, the students were able to cultivate essential skills, such as teamwork and communication. This event played a pivotal role assisting students with career direction. 

Chromebooks Transform Teaching and Learning at Middle School

Chromebooks Transform Teaching and Learning at Middle School

Across every subject area, Chromebooks are serving as valuable learning tools at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. Every student in seventh, eighth and ninth grade received a device in February for use both in school and at home.

Teachers say that one of the biggest benefits is having the technology readily available, so students can easily access information and participate in interactive learning experiences. Through Google Classroom, teachers can share course assignments, reading passages, worksheets and more. 

Eighth and ninth grade math teacher David Takseraas posts multiple choice questions and can see student responses right away. This allows him to know how well they are understanding a concept. He also posts daily videos reviewing the homework, which students can watch on their own so more class time can be devoted to teaching new material.

“This is what they’re going to be doing in college,” Mr. Takseraas said of technology-centric learning. “We’re preparing them for their future educations and future careers.”

Seventh and eighth grade English teacher Justin Uliano had his students use Chromebooks extensively during a recent poetry unit. Using various online resources, they located and read different types of poems to inspire their own writing. Students then created poetry anthologies filled with original works. 

“It’s really opened up options for them as to what information they can find,” Mr. Uliano said. “It gives them a lot more independence and a lot more choice.”

Mr. Uliano added that having students use Google Docs for writing assignments makes it easier to edit and revise their pieces. There is also a comment feature which allows him to give feedback to his students throughout the writing process. Additionally, he has students use a program called Plot Factory to plan out the different elements of their stories for better structure and organization.

Social studies teacher Frank O’Brien said the Chromebooks allow students to easily access the historical documents he regularly shares. He also likes that the devices provide opportunities for easy collaboration on group projects.

To bring excitement into his lessons, Mr. O’Brien also uses interactive games for review during each topic. With Kahoot, students independently answer questions on the Chromebooks, and the class results are displayed on the SmartBoard, with rankings based on both correct answers and speed. Quizlet creates a competitive review session in a team format. 

Science teachers Ann Poulin, Christine Quigley and Jennifer Sanchez have found numerous ways to support the curriculum with Chromebooks. Students can take part in virtual labs, which gets them familiar with equipment and terminology before conducting hands-on experiments. They like to use Nearpod, an interactive learning platform featuring slideshows, videos and quizzes. Teachers say they particularly like the interactive games because they get every student involved. 

“When you don’t have technology, you can only pick on two or three kids who raise their hands,” Ms. Sanchez said. 

Teachers noted that because today’s learners are very proficient in technology, there is almost no learning curve when a new program is introduced. Students are quick to grasp the features of the different learning tools, maximizing instructional time.  

Poetry is in the Spotlight at Northwest

Poetry is in the Spotlight at Northwest photo

Poetry is in season at Northwest Elementary School. Throughout April, which is National Poetry Month, second graders wrote their own poems before sharing their original works in early May.

As a Mother’s Day treat, students in Nancy Davi-Ortiz’s class welcomed in parents for a poetry reading on May 9. Children wrote poems about their mothers, which they shared aloud when their special guests arrived. 

The Adams Family Poetry Café returned on May 10. The annual event in Franca Adams’ classroom highlights the hard work of her young poets as well as the confidence they have gained as writers throughout the school year. Students wrote dozens of poems and each selected his or her favorite piece to share. Parents were encouraged to snap, instead of clap, after each reader just like at a real poetry slam. 

Ms. Adams sent their pieces off to the Student Treasures Publishing Company to be turned into a book, which will be used in her classroom as a mentor text. Her future students will be able to use the book to see examples of good poetry.

“The students have grown so much as writers,” she said. “They’ve done an amazing job and now they actually are published authors.” 

Tea Time Celebrates Moms at Northeast

Tea Time Celebrates Moms at Northeast photo

Brightly colored tablecloths and floral centerpieces helped transform the cafeteria into a café at Northeast Elementary School on May 10. Pre-K students welcomed mothers, grandmothers, aunts, siblings and even a few fathers for the annual Mother’s Day.

Teacher Yvette Carman said that the tea is a long-standing tradition at the school as a way to show appreciation for the parents who do so much to support their children’s educations.

During the morning and afternoon programs, each of the four classes sang a special song for their mothers before a group performance of “Skidamarink.” Children then joined their special guests at the tables for snacks, iced tea and juice. They made gifts including cards, picture frames and artwork. 

School Libraries Becomes Spaces to Create

School Libraries Becomes Spaces to Create
School Libraries Becomes Spaces to Create 2
School Libraries Becomes Spaces to Create 3
School Libraries Becomes Spaces to Create 4
School Libraries Becomes Spaces to Create 5
Libraries are being reimagined in the district with the adoption of the Makerspace movement to provide students with new opportunities for hands-on discovery.

Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School library Timothy Quinn has introduced a variety of high-tech and low-tech resources that stimulate creativity and support the development of problem-solving abilities. Fiddlestix is a 104-piece building kit of wooden sticks and circular connectors. Little Bits allow students to explore circuitry by putting different elements together to produce light and sound.

Mr. Quinn said that one popular resource is Makey Makey, in which students connect wires between a computer and ordinary objects to make music. They played the piano from scallions and the bongo drums using bananas. 

Makerspace at Park Avenue is based on the UTEC model — using, tinkering, experimenting and creating. Mr. Quinn said his STREAM team, a group of fifth and sixth grade students, used the resources first to help him identify ways to best incorporate them into the library curriculum.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “The Makerspace program is only going to get better because the possibilities are endless. We’re trying to build this space to so students can create something from nothing.”

Northeast Elementary School librarian Tina Smith recently debuted the Makerspace program for kindergartners. She has dedicated a corner of the library to the initiative and filled it with different building materials.

Ms. Smith’s approach to Makerspace is to have students participate in literacy-based, team-building challenges. Recently, kindergartners used recycled materials to build boats that could float in a tub of water. Before constructing, they explored scientific concepts including buoyancy and gravity. 

The idea came from a page that features a beach scene in the Debbie Clement book, “Red, White and Blue.” Although the book features illustrations representing locations all over America, Ms. Smith that page stood out to her because of Amityville’s proximity to the water. 

At Northeast, the Makerspace philosophy is “try and try again,” and Ms. Smith said that mistakes are just a normal part of the learning process. While she has facilitated the first few projects, students will have more independence in completing the challenges once they become familiar with the Makerspace expectations and materials.  

“I would like students to experience their learning, to ask questions, to try,” she said. “I want to encourage them to think, play and create and come up with a lot of different solutions to solve problems.”
Tuesday, July 16, 2019