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Strader Takes on New Role in Smithtown

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Smithtown Central School District has appointed Paul Strader as assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment, effective Sept. 9. Mr. Strader previously served as the district’s executive director of curriculum since September 2013.

Mr. Strader began his teaching career as a mathematics teacher in the Westhampton Beach School District from 2003 to 2008. In July 2008, he joined the Smithtown Central School District as director of mathematics.

“I am truly honored for the opportunity to continue serving the students, families and staff of Smithtown in this newly defined role,” Mr. Strader said. “I have spent my entire administrative career in the Smithtown Central School District working with an outstanding administrative team and faculty that is dedicated to providing engaging learning experiences for our students through innovative and rich curricula. I look forward to many more years of exciting work ahead.”

Mr. Strader holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics with a concentration in secondary education from St. Joseph’s College. He also has two Master of Arts degrees from Stony Brook University: one in liberal studies with a concentration in educational technology and one in mathematics. He holds an advanced certificate in educational leadership from College of Saint Rose.

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Smithtown Students Survive at Sea

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As part of a recent science lesson, students at Accompsett Middle School participated in a “lost at sea” lesson with their classmates. According to teacher Lou Mincieli, the activity involved being stranded at sea with 15 various items. Students must prioritize what is most important in order from 1 to 15. “After the group comes up with their priorities, I give them the official answers from the U.S. Coast Guard,” he said. “They take the difference between those two numbers and then calculate a score similar to golf; the lower the better. To survive, they need to score 70 or below.”

This lesson helped the students working in pairs or small groups getting used to their classmates and working while socially distancing outdoors.


Three Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

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Three Smithtown students – Wenxiao Men from High School East and Fiona Needham and Christina Unkenholz from High School West – have been named semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Approximately 16,000 semifinalists will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships valued at more than $30 million.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90% of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

More than 1.5 million juniors in 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships