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Roaring Fun at Tackan


Dinosaurs may be extinct but kindergartners’ interest in them is definitely not. Kindergartners at Tackan Elementary School recently spent a day exploring dinosaurs in different centers. As part their exploration of dinosaurs, students did puzzles, built a dinosaur skeleton out of Q-Tips and glue and dug for dinosaurs in a sand pit.

SEL Field Day K-2

HSW Scientists Head to NYS Fair

HSW Scientists Head to NYS Fair photo
Three sophomore student-scientists from High School West – Shannon Alptekin, Sidney Padmanaban and Julia Savino – are among a dozen students from Long Island who were named New York State finalists at the Long Island Science Congress. They will take their project, “The Effect of Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors on the Rate of Peristalsis in Nematostella vectensis” to the New York State Science Competition in Syracuse on June 8. 

SEL - Field Day Gr 3-5

East Student Honored as National Merit Scholar

East Student Honored as National Merit Scholar photo
High School East senior Ian Winkeler has been named a 2019 National Merit Scholar. He is among the 2,500 winners of the 2019 National Merit $2,500 Scholarship. The winners were selected from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists.

Ian is a member of the National, Math, English and Tri-M honor societies. He also plays the alto saxophone in the school’s jazz ensemble. Winkeler is a member of the Quiz Bowl team and plays both volleyball and tennis. Outside of school, he is a certified EMT and a volunteer with the Nissequogue Fire Department. Ian will be attending Stony Brook University in the fall, majoring in biochemistry. 

National Merit winners are judged based on their accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college courses. The judges evaluate grades, difficulty of courses, standardized test scores, contributions and leadership both in school and in the community, an essay and a recommendation from a high school official. 

The merit scholarship program was created in 1955. Students in grades nine through 12 vie for academic recognition and financial support. About 1.6 million students take the qualifying test every year and about 50,000 of the highest scorers have the chance to be considered.

“Ian exemplifies the best and brightest our school has to offer,” said High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons. “He is hard working, diligent and courteous. He is a role model both in the classroom and on the athletic field. He will be a fine asset to Stony Brook University next fall.”

Young Gardeners Flourish at Mt. Pleasant

Young Gardeners Flourish at Mt. Pleasant photo

With six different garden beds to prepare and care for, the student council members at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School don’t mind getting their hands a bit dirty.

Starting in April, the students head outdoors to start preparing their garden, which they hope will be filled with plenty of vegetables by the end of the school year. They start by weeding and raking the beds to get ready for a schoolwide planting day in May. 

The imitative started about four years ago, according to adviser and Mt. Pleasant Elementary teacher Stephen Jackowski. The six garden beds were donated by local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. The student council cares for the beds, planting beans, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, corn and other various vegetables. All of the vegetables are then donated to the local food pantry in June and during the summer months.

While the beds are cared for weekly by the student council, which consists of third, fourth and fifth grade students, the schoolwide planting initiate gives all the students an opportunity to help give back to their local community.

Tourette’s Awareness Month

Tourette’s Awareness Month
Tourette’s Awareness Month
Declaring a proclamation, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone officially recognized May 15 - June 15 as Tourette’s Awareness month in Suffolk County. Pictured with Mr. Bellone is SHSE student Gianna DiLeo.

2019 League Champs

Congratulations to HSE, the 2019 League Champs. Pictured is coach Ken Klee, Mike Miller and all of the seniors on the team.
Congratulations to HSE, the 2019 League Champs. Pictured is coach Ken Klee, Mike Miller and all of the seniors on the team.

Guide Dogs Get Acquainted with Great Hollow Students

Guide Dogs Get Acquainted with Great Hollow Students photo
Tying into their English language arts curriculum, sixth graders at Great Hollow Middle School had a special visit from two furry friends. The students spent the last month learning about how dogs impact the life of humans, reading and writing reaction pieces about the effect of canines on people. 
Representatives from America's VetDogs, a sister organization of the Guide Dog Foundation, located in Smithtown, visited with students to teach them about the role of the canines, how they are trained and how they help those in need.

America’s VetDogs is a nonprofit organization that provides disabled veterans and first responders with service dogs to offer independence, enhanced mobility and companionship. VetDogs assist veterans or first responders with physical disabilities and those with hearing or vision loss. The Guide Dog Foundation provides services for those with vision and/or hearing loss. The Great Hollow students collected toys and food to donate to the organization, which they presented following the assembly.

Showing Off Their Superior Second Language Skills

Showing Off Their Superior Second Language Skills photo
Showing Off Their Superior Second Language Skills photo 2
Showing Off Their Superior Second Language Skills photo 3
Eight students from Accompsett Middle School were recently recognized for their exceptional foreign language skills. The Long Island Language Teachers held an original poetry contest and the seventh grade students in foreign language teacher Maria DiLiberto’s class took home the top prizes. For their original poems in Italian, Thomas Natale placed first, Joseph Lamardo took second and Isabella Dantuono came in third in the contest. In the Spanish poetry contest, Abigail Jung placed first and Madhur Dyal was named the second-place winner. 

In a local essay contest sponsored by the Sons & Daughters of Italy in Smithtown, three Accompsett Middle School students took top honors. The essays, which were written in English, were filled with details about a family member whose roots were in Italy. The three winners were Haley Sasbon (first place), Carlie Tockarshewsky (second place) and Isabella Spilotros (third place). They each received monetary prizes and will be honored at a ceremony on July 11.

Smithtown Students Shine at DECA International

Smithtown Students Shine at DECA International photo
Smithtown Students Shine at DECA International photo 2
Smithtown Students Shine at DECA International photo 3
Twenty students from Smithtown Central School District’s High School East and High School West attended the DECA International Career Conference in Orlando, Florida. More than 22,000 students from across the country competed in the annual event. High School East’s Kyle Buff was named a finalist in the business finance competition. High School West had five top 10 national overall finalists – David Sim, Nick Baiata and Michael Fischetti in the international business plan and Andrew Camilleri and Caitlin Camilleri in the community service project. In addition, High School West’s Anya Ording was awarded the Otis Spunkmeyer Scholarship.  

Tackan Fifth-Grade Shows their Musical Abilities

Tackan Fourth-Grade Shows their Musical Abilities photo

Fifth graders at Tackan Elementary School recently put on a production of “The Big Bad Musical” for their family and friends. Characters included the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, the Three Little Pigs and the shepherd in charge of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. With Sydney Grimm as the commentator on live Court TV, the evil stepmother and the fairy godmother clashed in a trial that will be remembered forever after.


Kindergarten - Mother's Day Tea

SEL -Mother's Day Plant Sale

SEL - Gr 5 & Gr 2 Book Buddies

Global Play at Accompsett Elementary

Global Play at Accompsett Elementary photo

Students at Accompsett Elementary School recently participated in an international playground unit under the direction of physical education teachers Ed Shivokevich and Dave Tor. Fifth grade students ran stations representing a game from another country for students in kindergarten through second grade. Students had an opportunity to be active participants in learning about and playing games from around the world.

Gr 2 - Solar System Show

Gr 5 - Birds of Prey

Students Vie for Top Spot in Mock Stock Competition

Students Vie for Top Spot in Mock Stock Competition photo

Fifth graders in Jeffrey Faragasso’s class at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School are learning about the basics of finance, savings, investing and banking during their yearlong mock stock market competition.

Each September, every student in the class receives a credit of $100,000 to purchase five different stocks and build a portfolio. There’s no buying or selling throughout the year, so Mr. Faragasso urges his students to choose wisely. Every Friday during the school year, they discuss the progress of their stocks, take a look at their earnings and losses and predict what they think may happen to their stocks. The class also discusses news and current events and ties those discussions into why certain stocks may be performing better than others.

Outside of the classroom, there’s a leaderboard featuring the top-performing portfolios and the winner at the end of the school year receives a breakfast. 

District Names Torch Award Winners

District Names Torch Award Winners
The district has named its 2019 Torch Award recipients. The Torch Award is presented to Smithtown teachers who have significantly contributed to the growth and professional development of their teacher colleagues. The Smithtown Teacher Center hosted a reception to honor all Torch Award recipients and nominees. The 2019 Torch Award recipients are, from left, Tracy McAlvin, Christa Braunreuther, Jonathan Ferrante, Christina Cone, Jeanmarie Wilson, James Schiraldi and Barbara DiSalvo.

VIDEO: A Fairy Tale to Remember


Check out the video from Accompsett Elementary’s annual fairy tale ball.

West Baseball Pitches in for Community

West Baseball Pitches in for Community photo
On April 13, the High School West varsity and junior varsity baseball teams participated in the Town of Smithtown’s Global Youth Service Day at Sweetbriar Nature Center. The student-athletes spent the morning refreshing the center’s butterfly house, laying bluestone, spreading mulch and planting flowers. Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities through service. 

Leading by Example

Leading by Example photo

High School East students enrolled in the leadership class visited with classes at Mills Pond Elementary School on April 15 as part of a class project. The high school students worked on designing a program to teach to the elementary classes. The leadership students visited a kindergarten, second grade and two fifth-grade classes, where they worked on activities related to the topic of how to be a leader. The high school students read stories and made crafts during the visit. The goal of their project was to teach the younger students leadership qualities while also having fun.

Green Thumbs Up for Mills Pond Garden Towers

Green Thumbs Up for Mills Pond Garden Towers photo

After hosting a successful fun run fundraiser earlier this year, the Parent-Teacher Association at Mills Pond Elementary School used the funds to purchase three hydroponic tower gardens for the school.

Fifth graders in Mrs. Connors’ class, fourth graders in Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Zbytniewski’s class and third graders in Mrs. Polito’s class participated in a cultural arts program on April 15 where they learned about hydroponic gardening and built a hydroponic tower garden. Classes will be caring for the gardens on a daily basis and the gardens will be shared across the grade levels. According to Principal Ireen Westrack, if the program is successful, the PTA plans to purchase one tower for each grade level. 

Family Wellness Night

Dogwood Elementary School, in collaboration with the Dogwood PTA, held its first Family Wellness Night. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of, and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. During the evening, participants explored self care using movement, nutrition and calming strategies such as art and breathing. In the spirit of Family Connect Night, families rotated together through wellness stations and had the opportunity to visit the hydration station to sample infused waters. The evening focused on being peaceful and present in the moment.

Rotary Awards

On May 2, High School East hosted the Rotary Awards ceremony. Seniors from both High School East and West were honored recipients.

Girls Track Highlights

On May 4, Great Hollow’s girls track team competed at the Elks Invitational Meet against teams throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties. Morgan Lee, Makayla Lee, Casey Kuhner, Anna DiTucci, and Julia Ryba took home medals in multiple running and field events.

Suffolk Zone Winners

Suffolk Zone Winners
Congratulations to Lexi Poulis and Christian Cheri who were recently presented with the Suffolk County Zone Awards. The Suffolk Zone of New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, has established an award program to recognize an outstanding male and female physical education student in each elementary and middle school in Suffolk County.

Junior Achievement Visit

Junior Achievement’s High School Heroes recently visited Mt. Pleasant Elementary School. High school students helped assist teaching classes on May 6 in kindergarten, first and second grade.

Mechanical Bulls Remain Strong at Local Comp

Mechanical Bulls Remain Strong at Local Comp photo
Mechanical Bulls Remain Strong at Local Comp photo 2
The district’s robotics team, the Mechanical Bulls, participated in the FIRST Long Island Regional at Hofstra University from March 28-30. 

Using their team-member-designed scouting software, the team strategized and drove their robot with near perfection for the duration of competition. Competing against 48 local and international teams, Smithtown finished the qualifying rounds in fifth-place overall. The competition included robotics teams from Long Island, New York State, China, Brazil, Norway and Turkey. 

The Mechanical Bulls finished the competition by making it into the quarter final round. Team mentor Brian Costello won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award. This award is presented to one outstanding mentor in the robotics competition who best leads, inspires, teaches and empowers their team using excellent communication skills. The Mechanical Bulls were also awarded the Gracious Professionalism Award. This award celebrates outstanding demonstration of FIRST core values both on and off the playing field.

A Day of Remembrance

A Day of Remembrance photo

High School East and High School West spent April 11 educating its sophomore classes on events of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide. As part of its social studies curriculum, the schools have held a Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Day for the past 18 years.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. During the full-day event, the 10th graders listened to a lecture by Rwandan genocide survivor and former Parliament speaker Joseph Sebarenzi. A second guest lecture included  a testimony from Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. The lectures help students connect on a more personal level and understand the importance of empathy and forgiveness despite these tragedies.

“Werner Reich and Joseph Sebarenzi’s presentations were both very inspirational and gave you a feeling to be a better person and try to keep peace for the future,” said Ashley Lockwood, High School West student. “Also, to try and forgive others to stay healthy and get rid of anger and bitterness.”

During breakout sessions, students worked in smaller groups for different activities. They spent two periods learning the background of what happened in Cambodia and Rwanda through a presentation and film clips and created an awareness poster.


Great Hollow Students Show Off their Language Skills

Great Hollow Students Show Off their Language Skills photo

Seventh and eighth grade foreign language students from Great Hollow Middle School recently competed in the 34th annual poetry competition at SUNY Old Westbury. The events are hosted by the American Association of Teachers of Italian, and Great Hollow world language teachers Josephine Nuccio and Grace Vella accompanied the students.

Great Hollow Middle School students participants included: Natalie Boeri, Nicole Caputo, Connor Catania, Gia Cellucci, Michael Chavez, Francesca Covino, Caileigh Harrigan, Kristin Krause, Juliana Maloney, Jayden Mayer, Jillian Mayer, Luis Pop and Thomas Rorick. In Gara di Canto 2019, which was part of the singing portion of the competition, Gia Cellucci placed third for her rendition of “Sebben Crudele.”

All students received participation certificates for their Italian poetry readings. Students were required to memorize and recite an Italian poem of 12-30 lines before a panel of judges and were evaluated on poise, intonation, pronunciation and interpretation. More than 200 students from 20 districts competed this year. 

Wellness at Work at Accompsett Middle School

Wellness at Work at Accompsett Middle School photo
Students in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club teamed up with members of the National Junior Honor Society at Accompsett Middle School for a joint fundraising effort this March. 

March is National Nutrition month and the National Junior Honor Society members hosted a bake sale each Friday of the month. FCCLA Club members were hard at work in the kitchen, making homemade granola, muffins and parfaits.

The bake sale fundraiser was a perfect showcase of the district’s social-emotional and wellness initiatives, said Principal Paul McNeil. The efforts of both organization’s raised $550, which was donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Kindergartners Lend Mother Goose a Helping Hand

Kindergartners Lend Mother Goose a Helping Hand photo

Kindergarten students at Dogwood Elementary School recently performed the play “An Adventure in Mother Goose Land.” In the play, Mother Hubbard's dog has lost his bone and asks characters from Mother Goose rhymes if they have seen it. The mystery is solved when the mouse in “Hickory Dickory Dock” finds the bone in the clock.

HSW Students Spend a Day in the Life of Legislators

HSW Students Spend a Day in the Life of Legislators photo
On March 12, students in Joan Havranek’s leadership class from High School West attended “Student Day at the Legislature.” They met with a panel of legislators and participated in a mock debate regarding a proposed resolution on school safety. This hands-on experience allowed students to experience what it is like when local government officials work to pass legislation that affects the residents of Suffolk County. From left, High School West leadership students Chris Scotto DiMaso, Marianne Lopez and Jacob Nacht.

Spring into Poetry

Spring into Poetry 1
Spring into Poetry 2
Mrs. Kohilakis's class celebrated the start of spring by writing a beautiful poem about what “spring is” to them.

New York State Science & Engineering Fair Winners

HSW science research students participated in the New York State Science and Engineering Fair, where more than 300 students presented their research to academic judges. Congratulations to the following award-winning students: Elizabeth Yaboni and Lara Cain, first place in animal science; Matthew Schuchman, second place, animal science; and James Rogers, third place, animal science.

Distracted Driving Simulator Educates West students

Distracted Driving Simulator Educates West students photo

To teach their fellow students about the dangers of making poor decisions while driving, the SADD Club of High School West hosted the International Save a Life Tour in the school’s auditorium on April 10. All High School West juniors participated in the program which began with an assembly highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving.

Throughout the day, juniors were invited down in smaller groups to experience driving in simulated situations of being distracted either by texting or using alcohol. Students also took a pre and post survey on their knowledge of being impaired while driving. After their experience driving in the simulators, SADD students encouraged their peers to sign a pledge card to remind them of what they experienced.  

All of the High School West juniors signed the pledge, which will hang in the school as a reminder to all students to make good choices while driving.

Suffolk Zone PE award winners

Suffolk Zone PE award winners
Congratulations to Lexi Poulis and Christian our Suffolk Zone PE award winners.

Getting Greener at Tackan

Getting Greener at Tackan photo

First-grade students at Tackan Elementary School learned that green is more than just a color during a “Go Green” program. It also means taking special steps to protect the environment. Students learned how to reduce the number of things they use so there is less to throw away; reuse bottles, containers and shopping bags whenever possible; and recycle cans, bottles and paper. The first-graders made a newspaper planter and put a sunflower seed in the soil for their garden at home.

Theater Comes to Life at Smithtown Elementary

Theater Comes to Life at Smithtown Elementary photo

In March, Smithtown Elementary School’s stage was transformed into the African savannah as the fifth-grade students put on a production of Disney’s “The Lion King Kids.” During the last five months, the students worked alongside music teacher Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Yoon to learn all the aspects of theater from acting exercises to dancing and singing. Several of the musical numbers were sung in different languages including Zulu and Swahili.

HSE Writer Named Scholastic Winner

HSE Writer Named Scholastic Winner photo
High School East junior Alexis Yang has been awarded a silver key in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her flash fiction, “Bubble Gum.” Alexis, a 2018 national gold medal winner in the Scholastic competition, is the co-editor of Solstice, High School East’s literary magazine, a member of the National English Honor Society and Habitat for Humanity. Last summer, Alexis attended the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is pictured with High School East librarian and Solstice adviser Jean Marie Kliphuis and High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons. 

Mrs. Watz’s class is learning all about astronomy.

Gr 1 - Ladybug Performance

Smithtown Students Inspired by Survivor’s Story

Smithtown Students Inspired by Survivor’s Story photo
High School West recently welcomed Holocaust survivor Ruth Minsky Sender to speak to the Holocaust and genocide classes of High School East and High School West. Ms. Sender is the author of “The Cage, To Life,” “The Holocaust Lady” and “While There’s Life.” 

She shared her experiences of a tragic time in history and how she wrote poetry while in the camp. The poems depicted scenes of anguish, but also inspired others to continue their will to live. Her testimony helps educate the new generation of the atrocities of the past and inspires them to live a life free of hate. 

Glowing Genes at Great Hollow

Glowing Genes at Great Hollow photo

Eighth-grade scientists at Great Hollow Middle School recently participated in a hands-on experiment when representatives from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory visited the school on March 29. The students genetically engineered bacteria with the green fluorescent protein gene for bioluminescence normally found in the Pacific jellyfish, Aequoria victoria. Students learned about and utilized some of the same techniques that are employed by pharmaceutical companies to produce human insulin. The students successfully created genetically modified bacteria and were able to see them glow.

Celebrating Earth Day

Mt. Pleasant Students Learn to Sharpen their Social Skills

Mt. Pleasant Students Learn to Sharpen their Social Skills photo

Author Brooks Gibbs, a social skills educator, visited Mt. Pleasant Elementary School to speak to students about emotional resilience. He shared different ways students can manage their emotions, such as laughing in a tough situation. Mr. Gibbs offered tips on how to make friends, following the Golden Rule and confronting bullying.

Sweetheart Luau, Father Daughter Dance

World Language Poster Winners

World Language Poster Winners photo
World Language Poster Winners photo 2
Great Hollow Middle School recently announced the three winners of its World Language Poster Contest for March 2019. Congratulations to Juliana DePasquale, Jessica Sucharski and Michael Struzinski.

Splashes of Color Spread Joy at Mt. Pleasant

Splashes of Color Spread Joy at Mt. Pleasant photo

First-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School joined together for a community service project with Splashes of Hope on March 27. Splashes of Hope is an organization whose mission is transforming clinical to colorful. Their artists paint murals that get installed in pediatric hospitals, veterans affairs homes, and even in bedrooms for children with terminal illnesses.

One of the programs done by Splashes of Hope is the Friend on the Mend, which delivers goodie bags to hospitals. The Mt. Pleasant first-graders teamed up to decorate and stuff the bags with coloring books, activities, crayons and a puppet of their choice. They each colorfully decorated their individual bag.  

These are hand delivered to children in the hospital for various reasons to help brighten a child’s day. Splashes of Hope mascots Vincent Van Monkey and Alice the Elephant also made a special guest appearance.

Diving Into Lessons on Marine Ecosystems

Diving Into Lessons on Marine Ecosystems photo

Fourth-graders at Smithtown Elementary School got up close and personal with some marine life during an ecosystem program on March 28. Alexandra Stevens, marine educator, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, visited the school to teach the students about different ecosystems and give them a chance to interact with the animals.

Ms. Stevens spoke to the students about the differences between living and non-living things that exist in an ecosystem. She also taught the students about the different roles of those living in the ecosystem, such as consumers, producers and decomposers. The fourth-graders learned about different types of marine ecosystems.

Focusing on the ecosystems of Long Island – coastal, salt marsh and sandy beach – students learned about some of the different animals that live in the various ecosystems. With a small bucket of salt water at each station, the students then observed and touched periwinkle snails, hermit crabs, blue and ribbed muscles and a starfish. 

Loving Literacy in All Languages

Loving Literacy in All Languages photo
Michelle Robinson, librarian at Tackan Elementary School, has been awarded a grant from the Suffolk School Library Media Association. The grant, which is up to $500, will be used to purchase books for the multi-language collection for the school’s library. There are currently 13 different languages spoken by students at Tackan Elementary School. The books for the ENL learners will feature current titles to pique their interest in reading. 

St. James Brings History to Life

St. James Brings History to Life photo

Fifth-graders at St. James Elementary School brought history to life during their wax museum on March 20. Each fifth-grader studied a person in history and transformed into that person for the day. Wax figures stood frozen until a visitor pressed their button. When they came alive, the wax figures spoke about important facts about themselves and their notable accomplishments.

Breaking a Sweat at Mills Pond

Breaking a Sweat at Mills Pond photo

More than 40 students from Mills Pond Elementary School came out to support their fellow classmates and those affected by juvenile type 1 diabetes during a fundraiser held in the school’s gymnasium on March 20.

Organized by the school’s Cares Club, which consists of third-graders, the boot camp fundraising event invited fourth- and fifth-grade participants. Rotating through different stations, along with teachers, club advisers and parent volunteers, the students participated in a fun cardio workout featuring lunges, push-ups, planks, dashes, squats and sit-ups. The event raised $715 for the cause. 

Smithtown Elementary Guests Enjoy Donuts and Conversation

Smithtown Elementary Guests Enjoy Donuts and Conversation

Third-graders at Smithtown Elementary School had the opportunity to spend time with the special male figures in their life during the rise and shine donuts with dads breakfast on March 21. Prior to the start of school, students gathered in the cafeteria for donuts and conversations with their invited guests. Each student had a list of questions to ask their guest in effort to get to know them better by learning some personal or little-known facts.

Great Hollow’s Young Engineers Get Competitive

The Young Engineers Club of the Great Hollow Middle School technology department attended the 2019 MAGLEV Competition on March 20 at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Magnetic levitation vehicles are used in transportation around the world. The students competed with several schools from the area. This was the first time the Young Engineers Club designed, built and competed in a MAGLEV Competition  The team’s next competition is at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York, in June.

Young Engineers Get Hands-On with Design

Students in Sean Tomasello’s Project Lead the Way introduction to engineering design class at High School West are designing cams using Autodesk Inventor to provide a specified motion. After the design phase is complete, the students create a physical model using a full spectrum laser cutter and test their design to compare the results against the desired outcome. The students were creating this cam for a prototype automata. By the end of the school year, the students will be creating a full-sized automata using the different tools in the lab, such as the laser cutter, 3D printer and hand and power tools. 

Science Students Delve into Cell Study


High School West students in Sara Albanese’s Project Lead the Way Principles of Biomedical Science worked with samples from the HeLa cell line to create a chromosome spread. HeLa cells are the oldest and most commonly used human cell line, isolated in 1951. Cells were dropped onto a slide to release the chromosomes, or genetic material, and then stained so the cells and chromosomes would be visible under a microscope.


Tackan Scientists Explore Plankton

Tackan Scientists Explore Plankton photo

Using their microscopes and Chromebooks, fourth-grade students at Tackan Elementary School transformed into scientists for the day during a recent hands-on activity. After learning about the food chain, what consumers eat, and why plants are producers, the students observed plankton eating food under the microscopes. They learned plankton get their energy directly from the sun using photosynthesis, just like plants.

East Leaders on the RISE

East Leaders on the RISE photo
High School East’s Interact Club hosted the RISE leadership conference for students from High School East and West, Kings Park, Commack and Connetquot school districts on March 20. Interact is a community service club that works with Rotary International. Students attended workshops on empathy and how to pitch yourself and participated in team building activities with senior leaders from Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. There were also opportunities to share ideas on community service projects and fundraisers.

A Taste of Literacy at Tackan

A Taste of Literacy at Tackan

Fifth-graders at Tackan Elementary School took a bite out of literacy during a book tasting in their library on March 12.

The library was transformed into a café for the students to enjoy their meals. After being seated at their respective tables, the fifth-graders got started on their appetizer, a book that had been preselected for them to taste. After reading either  the back cover, inside jacket or just a random page of the book, the students recorded the title, genre and author and decided if it was a book they would like to read. They moved on to the dinner and dessert choices and sampled different books during the respective courses. 

The fifth-graders also gave book “shout-outs,” sharing titles they believed the whole class would enjoy. As a culminating project, the students will create Animoto video book trailers to show the fourth-graders to pique their interest when they experience their book tasting next year. 

Helping Hands

Helping Hands
Helping Hands 2
Helping Hands 3
On April 6, the members of Habitat for Humanity HSE volunteered at the Smithtown Food Pantry/St. Thomas Church. The members sorted and stored donations of food and household necessities for the Smithtown community.

Researchers Headed to Finals

Researchers Headed to Finals photo
Members of the High School East Research Program participated in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair on March 14. Seven of the eight High School East students placed and two projects – Anthony D’Amore (left) and Matthew Mullahy – won first place in their categories, earning them a trip to the International Fair in Arizona in May. The first-place winners are pictured here with Maria Zeitlin, High School East’s science research coordinator. 

Mile-Long Walk Raises Awareness, Funds for Sudan


On March 13, students at Nesaquake Middle School participated in a walk to raise awareness about the water crisis in South Sudan.

Seventh-graders recently read the novel “A Long Walk to Water.” The main character Nya is one of the many girls in South Sudan who walk from morning to night gathering water from ponds and lakes to bring back to their families. Most times, the water is muddy and filled with contaminants. 

During their lunch period, the students “walked a mile in Nya’s shoes” to raise awareness about the water crisis in South Sudan, raising more than $700. The book inspired students to help raise money for Water for South Sudan, which builds wells in villages so the girls can go to school instead of walking for water every day and helps eliminate diseases from drinking contaminated water as well. 

HSW Student Honored in Local Essay Contest

High School West student Rociel Raymundo recently received honorable mention in the Daughters of the American Revolution Anna Smith Strong Chapter essay contest. She was presented with a certificate and a monetary award. Rociel was nominated by her teachers as a student who demonstrates the qualities of a good citizen. She submitted her transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal essay and a written response to an essay contest. Rociel is pictured with Daughters of the American Revolution representative Leslie O’Brien. 

Smithtown Brunch Helps Female Students ‘Power Up’

Smithtown Brunch Helps Female Students ‘Power Up’ photo
The 17th annual Female Power Brunch was hosted by the Smithtown Central School District, in conjunction with the Smithtown Industry Advisory Board’s Career Center and Smithtown Central School District’s Career and Technical Education Department, in the library of Smithtown High School West on March 15.

Approximately 70 business-minded female students from both high schools were in attendance to listen to the two dozen female guest speakers of the day. Prior to the start of the guest speaker sessions, the students had a meet and greet with members of the Career Tracks Committee, mentors and guest speakers.

During three different sessions, the students learned about the speakers and mentors, their career path and interests. Speakers shared their messages after the networking brunch, where guests and students came together to talk about their college and career goals. Guest speakers touched on a wide range of topics and included a variety of career paths including a CEO, college president, advertising manager, digital media manager, risk consultant and business owners. 

Spring Buddies

Mrs. Hausch’s and Mrs. O’Connor’s kindergarten class is hatching into spring with their buddies.

East Artists Featured in Local Exhibit

Two student-artists from High School East, under the direction of art teacher Dianne Shanian, had their artwork selected for inclusion in the Colors of Long Island 2019 Student Art Exhibit. This exhibit showcased the artwork from a variety of Long Island schools, grades K through 12. Junior Isabel Agostinelli worked on a textural portrait that built all the colors and tones out of individual photos to compose the whole portrait. Sophomore Alexandra Lanzon created a painting that centered on the theme of the Industrial Revolution. This exhibit is on display until April 8 at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

Smithtown Students Sample College Offerings

Smithtown Students Sample College Offerings photo

To give its students a sampling of the many options available for their post-secondary education, High School East held a daytime mini college fair on March 13. More than 50 colleges and universities both locally and throughout the U.S. had representatives available to field questions from the high schoolers. Students asked about academic programs, campus life, admissions, financial aid and tuition information during their time with the college representatives.

Working with Wires

Student-artists in Kristen Dean’s class at Great Hollow Middle School recently completed wire sculptures depicting some of their favorite action poses. Some students showed off their athletic poses, while others chose to create action figures and superheroes. 

Sister/Brother Team Raise More Than $30K to Fight Cancer

High School East junior Amanda Davidson raised $25,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and was named one the Students of the Year. She placed in the top five of teams from Long Island. Her brother Andrew Davidson, a fifth-grader at St. James Elementary School, raised more than $5,000 and was the youngest to receive an award. Amanda also received a community and development scholarship from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

Smithtown Recognized as PLTW Distinguished Schools

Smithtown Recognized as PLTW Distinguished Schools photo
The district’s elementary and middle schools have been selected as Project Lead the Way Distinguished Schools for 2018-2019 school year.

For a second consecutive year, all seven of the district’s elementary schools have been designated as Distinguished Launch Schools based on their PLTW Launch implementation and participation in the 2017-2018 school year. Smithtown’s elementary schools represent seven of the 11 schools identified in New York State, and seven of the 216 Launch schools being recognized nationally.  

All three of the district’s middle schools have been designated as Distinguished Gateway Schools based on their Gateway implementation and participation in the 2017-2018 school year. Smithtown represents the only three schools in New York State, and three of the 148 Gateway schools being recognized nationally.  

“This recognition is certainly representative of all of the hard work that has gone into our successful implementation on the part of the many staff and faculty members involved,” said Paul Strader, executive director of curriculum. 

A Rainbow of an Experiment

A Rainbow of an Experiment photo
A Rainbow of an Experiment photo 2
A Rainbow of an Experiment photo 3
A Rainbow of an Experiment photo 4
Seventh-graders in Mrs. D’Angelo’s science class at Great Hollow Middle School recently completed a lab experiment to determine the solubility of M&Ms. Students hypothesized about what would happen to the different colors of the M&Ms when placed in water. They predicted how soluble the various colors would be and recorded their findings after they were soaked in the water.

Great Hollow Scientists Cause Chemical Reaction


Students in Ms. Dicpinigaitis’ science class at Great Hollow Middle School recently completed a lesson on matter. Students hypothesized about whether or not the air in the classroom is considered matter. After weighing a small sample of water on a beam scale, the students added an Alka-Seltzer tablet to the water to determine if matter can be created or destroyed during a chemical reaction. The students re-weighed the water after the tablet dissolved and recorded their results.

Tackan Travels Back to the Mesozoic Era

Tackan Travels Back to the Mesozoic Era photo

The “Dinoman,” along with his dinosaur fossils and artifacts – visited with second-graders at Tackan Elementary School on March 12. Paleontologist Bob Lisaius captured the attention of the budding scientists with his hands-on show and tell classroom sessions.

The second-grade classes started the day with an assembly where learned about fossils, dinosaur species, why they became extinct and Lisaius’ work in the field of paleontology.

Back in the classrooms and with a toolbox full of treasures, Lisaius visited each of the individual second-grade classes for an informative hands-on session featuring relics of the past. Students touched different artifacts – some dating back millions of years – including dinosaur horns, claws, teeth and fossilized rocks.

The Fate of Goldilocks

The Fate of Goldilocks

Goldilocks was put on trial for the crimes of trespassing, criminal mischief and petty larceny on March 5 by the fifth-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School. More than a dozen storybook characters were called to testify in the trial to explain the break-in at the home of the Three Little Bears.

This program introduces fifth-graders to the basic elements of the legal system, constitutional rights and the inner workings of the courts. Fourth-graders served as the members of the jury.

Goldilocks was charged with entering the Three Little Bears’ house, eating their porridge, breaking a chair, rummaging through Mama Bear’s clothes and stealing $100.

Characters such as Chicken Little, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Blind Mice and the Wise Owl – as well as Goldilocks’ parents and cousin Dreadlocks – were all called to the stand. After hearing all the testimonies, the jury deliberated on its ruling and sentencing for Goldilocks.

Mechanical Bulls Take Judge’s Award at Regionals

Mechanical Bulls Take Judge’s Award at Regionals photo
Mechanical Bulls Take Judge’s Award at Regionals photo 2
The district’s robotics team, the Mechanical Bulls, competed at the Central New York Regional in Utica, from March 14-16. The team advanced to the quarter finals in the competition and won the judge's award for their global online scouting system. The system allows for teams to compile data, in real time, to develop a comprehensive strategy during the competition for each unique match. The Mechanical Bulls will compete next at the Long Island Regional on March 29 and 30. 

Gr 3 - Rise and Shine

VIDEO: An Inside Look at the MS FCCLA Club

 An Inside Look at the MS FCCLA Club

Students Head to DECA International

Students Head to DECA International photo
Students Head to DECA International photo 2
Students Head to DECA International photo 3
Ninety students from the two high schools participated in the New York DECA State Competition in Rochester, New York, in early March. Smithtown students received 84 medals and trophies. Twenty Smithtown students qualified to attend the International Career Conference in Orlando, Florida, where they will compete against the top winners from across the globe.  

More than 3,000 from across New York State competed in this year’s events. The competitions included business topics such as marketing, finance, public relations, accounting and entrepreneurship. Students competed in either tests and role plays or written manuals and presentations.

In addition to students placing in various competitions, Smithtown’s DECA team was awarded chapter recognition for the following areas: High School East – community service, global entrepreneurship and promotional campaign; High School West – community service and promotional campaign.

Field Trip to Planetarium

First graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary recently took a field trip to the Vanderbilt Planetarium for an educational adventure. Students shared what they learned and how much they enjoyed their trip.

Gr 5 - The Lion King Jr Performance

Kindergarten & Grade 1 - Singing Bus Driver