Smithtown Schools Surprises SCOPE Honorees

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Honoring the hard work and dedication of Smithtown teachers, staff and community members, Smithtown Central School District’s interim Superintendent of Schools Russell Stewart decided to surprise this year’s honorees of the 2020 SCOPE School District awards during a visit to announce their award on Jan. 31. 

This year’s honorees were surprised with flowers and a brief description of why they were chosen during the visit. SCOPE will formally recognize each of the honorees during the annual dinner celebration on March 23. 

The district congratulates the following 2020 SCOPE award winners: Christine Fitzgerald of the Smithtown Children’s Foundation; Jane Groneman, secretary at St. James Elementary School; Dr. Allyn Leeds, principal at Tackan Elementary School; Michael Saidens, vice president of the Smithtown Board of Education; and Karen Van Dover, sixth grade teacher at Nesaquake Middle School.

Escape Room Challenge Teaches Social-Emotional Skills

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As part of the district’s ongoing social emotional learning initiatives, seventh grade students in Marissa LoSardo’s class at Nesaquake Middle School participated in an SEL-based escape room challenge on Jan. 16. 

The escape room challenge was run by Beth Bolger, a physical education teacher at the Sayville School District. Ms. Bolger, who has won has New York State Teacher of the Year twice, developed a two-hour SEL escape room challenge that she condensed into a class period for the Nesaquake students. 

The seven different stations set up around the gym were designed to teach students different coping skills, positive reinforcement and a way to deal with their emotions. In the “All Tangled Up” station, students were woven together and had to work cooperatively to get untangled.  “Shades of Emotion” taught students how to knock out negative thoughts and reinforced filling their brains with positivity.

The goals were to teach the students collaboration, to help them recognize and understand the different types of emotions they experience and how they manifest in their behaviors and moods, and to give them strategies to cope and handle those emotions.  

Nesaquake Club Sews for Joeys

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In an effort to help the animals affected by the brushfires in Australia, the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club at Nesaquake Middle School, along with the other FCCLA clubs in the district, sewed joey pouches for the injured and displaced baby kangaroos. The pouches will help rescue the baby kangaroos and nurse them back to health. Students sewed the cotton pouches, which will be shipped and donated through Mood Designer Fabrics.