District Honored with Three Model Schools Awards

slide image thumbnail181934
The district was the recipient of three Western Suffolk BOCES Model Schools awards. Out of the 18 component districts in Western Suffolk BOCES, Smithtown received three out of five awards this year.

Congratulations to the following winning submissions: Sheila Cavooris, Michaela Riviello and Deanna Jakubowsky from Great Hollow Middle School (The Roaring Twenties: A Unit Redesigned to Reconnect to a Hybrid World, eighth grade social studies); Michelle Robinson, Tackan Elementary School (Reindeer Games: Connecting Picture Books and STEM, fourth grade library); and Rita Damato and Michelle Manning, Great Hollow Middle School (Ancient Egypt Escape Room, sixth grade social studies). For each of the three awards, Western Suffolk BOCES will provide $1,000 to be used for the school and/or classroom.

Parent University Workshops Offer Solutions, Strategies During Pandemic

Parent University Workshops Offer Solutions, Strategies During Pandemic  thumbnail181582

More than 250 parents, students and staff members participated in Smithtown Central School District’s virtual Parent University on March 8. Parent University is hosted by the district’s Wellness Committee. The evening, themed “Responding to this Moment,” featured more than a dozen workshops for participants in two different sessions.

Workshops were facilitated by both community members, professionals and staff. Mental health counselor Ron Villano addressed how to manage concerns for students during this time such as anxiety, stress, feeling trapped and mental health, and school performance. Dietitian/nutritionist Colleen McDermott talked about different nutrition components to lead a healthy lifestyle, while registered sleep technologist Brendan Duffy spoke about how to protect and improve sleep.

Smithtown’s administrator for guidance and related student services Kevin Colon provided strategies for effective communication between parents and teenagers. Nesaquake Middle School reading teacher Julianne DeSilva spoke about how to encourage reading at home with ideas for how parents can engage with reading with their children and model good reading habits.

Dr. Beth Forhman’s workshop offered evidence-based suggestions to foster family and children’s resiliency during this challenging time. Dr. Marissa Abram also spoke about the impact of mental health during the pandemic and how to create self-care plan. Psychologist and therapist Craig O’Brien addressed biological stress reactions and strategies for managing anxieties.

Celebrating the Love of Language of Great Hollow

Celebrating the Love of Language of Great Hollow thumbnail181568

Throughout the week of March 8, world language learners at Great Hollow Middle School celebrated National Foreign Language Week with various activities. The classes decorated the hallways and doors in the department’s wing. The classes played Kahoot, featuring fun facts and general trivia about their language of study. Students played bingo in their classes and also listened to music from their country of study. The language students wrote letters about themselves and traded with their classmates to practice their reading and writing skills. The students ended the week by creating crafts.

Smithtown Receives Portion of Smart Start Grant

Smithtown Receives Portion of Smart Start Grant 1 thumbnail181382
Smithtown Receives Portion of Smart Start Grant 2 thumbnail181383
Smithtown is one of nine schools districts to be included in the recent Smart Start grant received by Western Suffolk BOCES. The purpose of the Smart Start grant is to develop, implement and share innovative programs that provide professional development and support to increase expertise in computer science, engineering and/or educational technology among teachers in grades K-8.

Smithtown was one of the component districts that expressed interest in participating in the grant. Western Suffolk BOCES was awarded $500,000 a year for each of the next five school years (2021-2022 through 2025-2026). The money allocated to each district will be based on the student population. Smithtown’s portion of the funds will support 115 teachers in computer science professional development. Beginning this summer, the district will be able to open up the training to 23 teachers per year.

Teachers will be involved in four days of professional development during the summer months and two-and-a-half days during the school year. Teachers will be trained in computer science by the company Mouse. “Our goal is to further enhance our computer science offerings here in Smithtown as well as support teachers in the delivery of our Project Lead the Way program,” said Paul Strader, assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment.

This summer, the district will offer the training to interested K-5 STEM specialists, K-8 library media specialists, middle school math teachers and K-5 elementary classroom teachers. They will continue to expand the pool of teachers offered the professional development each school year. Teachers will receive a stipend from grant for their participation. Following the training, the teachers will be delivering at least 15-20 computer science-based lessons.

Middle School Libraries Launch Virtual Makerspace

Middle School Libraries Launch Virtual Makerspace thumbnail181251
The district’s middle school librarians have been working to create a virtual Makerspace for the district’s middle school students during the past few months. Librarians Sheila Tobin Cavooris, Donna DeLuca and Deanna Jakubowsky designed the virtual space to be geared toward middle schoolers, but the activities and links included can be enjoyed at any level and will be updated periodically. These sites will give students a creative outlet with a STEAM component. The three librarians felt that this was a necessary and worthwhile undertaking, since the library’s Makerspaces currently can’t be used.

To link to the Makerspace site, visit: bitly.com/scsdmakerspace