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Learning Through Magic at JQA

Learning Through Magic at JQA

Las Vegas illusionist Christian Augustin brought his new interactive show “The Magic of Learning” to JQA on March 5, linking to the school’s STEAM themes. Incorporating math and physics as well as interesting stories from history, Augustine presented such magical effects as “The Impossible Puzzle,” “Intelligent Electricity” and “The Power of Nine” to entertain and educate students from pre-K through second grade.



Memory Project Video

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Please take a moment and watch this powerful video showcasing Deer Park High School art students' participation in the Memory Project to benefit Rohingya children.

Aiding in Acceptance With Frost’s Award-Winning BandAid Project

Aiding in Acceptance with Frost’s Award-Winning BandAid Project

Robert Frost held its fourth annual BandAid Project on March 15. Developed by Frost speech-language pathologist Stephanie O’Connell to coincide with April as National Autism Awareness Month, the daylong event – which won the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission’s Inter-Faith Anti-Bias Task Force Award last year – works to increase acceptance of people with autism and developmental disabilities rather than just awareness and provides students with a firsthand experience of the daily struggles of people with disabilities.

Participating students wear a Band-aid across their mouth for the entire day, and must use pen and paper, gestures and even body language to communicate with their teachers and peers while taking part in all required activities of the school day. At BandAid’s conclusion, the students gather to play a game or complete an activity reflecting on the difficulties they had without the ability to communicate like others.

"Doing the BandAid Project for three straight years was a really good experience, and I looked forward to it every year,” said eighth-grader David Perez. “It’s basically the same as every other day, but once you put the Band-aid on, everything changes for you. When I tried to speak, I felt totally different. I really wanted to rip it off and speak as much as I want, but I knew I couldn’t, because I dedicated myself to finishing the project. It gave me a new point of view on what people with disabilities have to deal with in daily life.”

“This year, at some point during the day, I wanted to cry,” said eighth-grader Karly Haskins, another previous BandAid participant. “It was really hard. I wanted to talk to so many of my friends and tell them what was on my mind. It was definitely a struggle.”

“I was impressed with our students’ ability to reflect on this activity,” said O’Connell.  “I asked them to give me one word that described how it felt to be speechless for the day. Students reported the following feelings: trapped, stuck, sad, embarrassed, annoyed, frustrated, mad, and furious. I acknowledged their feelings and then challenged them to think about what it must be like to feel that way all the time, as it is for someone with a disability. They got it!”





Kelly Benson Named New Principal of JFK

Kelly Benson Named New Principal of JFK

Kelly Benson has been named the new principal of JFK, replacing Susan Bonner, who will retire at the end of this school year.

For the past three years, Benson has served as an associate principal at JFK. She previously worked as an elementary school teacher in the Sachem School District and as a New York City police officer. The Wading River resident earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Iona College, her master’s degree in elementary education from Dowling College, and her post-master’s advanced certificate in educational leadership from Stony Brook University.

“I am very excited to accept the position of JFK principal,” said Benson. “Over the past three years as associate principal, I have built many meaningful relationships with the students, faculty, parents and the Deer Park community. I look forward to continuing to build these relationships in my new capacity. Together we will empower students to develop the skills they need to be able to thrive in society. We will work together to help every child reach their fullest potential and become global citizens. I am committed to provide a safe environment for all students to thrive and grow.”


Determined Depre Climbs to the Top for MS

Determined High Schooler Depre Climbs to the Top for MS
Determined High Schooler Depre Climbs to the Top for MS 2
Determined High Schooler Depre Climbs to the Top for MS 3

In an effort to make a difference for the fight against multiple sclerosis, Deer Park High School student Robert Depre ascended the Empire State Building on March 3 as part of the "MS Climb to the Top NYC” initiative. The 15-year-old, together with his sisters Jennifer and Stephanie, who joined him for the 28-minute climb, raised $1,365 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“I participated because I wanted to help people suffering from MS,” said Depre. “It was an awesome experience and I’d definitely participate again next year.”


Deer Park DECA Brings Home Four State Trophies

 Deer Park DECA Brings Home Four State Trophies
 Deer Park DECA Brings Home Four State Trophies 2
 Deer Park DECA Brings Home Four State Trophies 3
A group of 28 business students from the high school’s DECA club recently competed at DECA’s New York State Career Development Conference in Rochester, with two pairs of Deer Park students earning trophies.    

Jasleen Kaur and Amar Qasir came in second place in the Financial Services team event, while Eiman Nawaz and Yasmeen Syedda-Hensley won fifth place in Travel & Tourism. These four trophy winners qualified to compete against more than 18,000 high school students from across the country and around the world at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida at the end of April.

Additional Deer Park standouts in the business battle against more than 2,000 high school students from across the state included top 10 scorers Isabella Coon and Logan Eisenberg for Financial Services, James Hope for Food Marketing, Saima Hoque for Principles of Finance, Omar Rahim for Human Resources, Alyssa Robb for Restaurant & Food Service Management, Tasfia Shaikh for Retail Merchandising, Chaim Shames for Business Finance, Keryn Shames for Financial Consulting, and Esteysy Yanes-Amaya for Personal Financial Literacy.

“Congratulations to all of the students on a job well done,” said DECA adviser Gregory Menig.

Additionally, Qasir was inducted into the New York DECA Honor Society for his outstanding grades and business studies.

A Night to Honor Deer Park’s Winter Athletes

A Night to Honor Deer Park’s Winter Athletes

The high school recognized outstanding athletic efforts by varsity teams on winter sports awards night, held on Feb. 28 at the high school’s auditorium. Members of the bowling, boys basketball, girls basketball, boys winter track, girls winter track, swimming and diving, and wrestling teams were honored with certificates and plaques, including Most Valuable Player awards, Coaches Awards, Spirit Awards and Scholar-Athlete awards.

“I want to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication that our coaches and athletes show regularly,” said Athletic Director Dominick Fontana. “For the coaches, it’s getting through a whole season and making it the best possible experience for our athletes, and for our athletes, it’s putting everything else aside to make athletics a high priority in their lives. I would also like to thank the Booster Club’s fundraising efforts.”

Frost Focuses on Music for Black History Month

Frost Focuses on Music for Black History Month

For this year’s Black History Month celebration at Robert Frost, which encompassed February and extended into early March, teachers Lynne Connors and Sara Watkin-Fox focused for the first time on the crucial role of music in the African-American experience.

“What makes our Black History month celebration so unique is the fact that it is a hands-on experience for the students,” said Watkin-Fox. “Each year, we focus on a different theme and the students partner with us to create a celebration that extends throughout the school. Whether it is setting up a historical display case with Mrs. Connors or researching the various musicians, styles and incredible contributions of African-Americans to the world of music with me or working with both of us to raise awareness throughout the school, this is a student-centered project that brings our entire school community together.”

Connors and Watkin-Fox came up with a list of musical genres to cover along with a timeline to cover the topics. Connors then ordered the topics in a calendar, and Watkin-Fox’s classes researched which musicians and songs to use. Each week during Black History Month, student-selected musical choices that span both history and musical styles were played on the school’s PA system, resulting in students dancing and singing in the halls.

Students also utilized Frost’s newly acquired Chromebooks to increase their understanding of the subject, conducting technology and sharpening research skills to listen to and learn about African-Americans' significant contribution to music throughout history.

“The lesson traced the evolution of the African-American contribution to the world of music, starting with African drumming and moving on to a writing prompt on blues, studying how it originated in the time of slavery on the Mississippi Delta,” said Watkin-Fox. “We used technology for the jazz station – an independent study on Louis Armstrong and the history of jazz in this country. Our last station involved creating promotional posters for the Motown recording studio, the first that did not discriminate against African-American musicians. Our students learned about the good as well as the bad, about the racism that many of the musicians had to deal with and the difficulties in getting their music recorded.

“Frost is proud to have showcased several extremely influential African-American musicians including Louis Armstrong, Berry Gordy and Chuck Berry,” said Bradley Murphy, Deer Park’s curriculum associate for fine and performing arts. “Through experiences like this, our students are able to experience the masterpieces these amazing musicians produced many years ago.”

“I learned about different types of music like jazz and the blues,” said seventh-grader Angeline Burnett. “I feel like we should give credit to the African-Americans because they built our structure of music.”

“It was good because we learned about black history and how African-Americans made music throughout the years and through many hardships,” said seventh-grader Jayden Philippe.

Based on student research, Connors created a showcase in Frost’s main lobby, displaying the people’s movement from Africa through slavery and migration patterns, and their music progressing from blues through jazz and into rock, hip hop and rap, as well as different cities in the U.S. where these music genres were birthed. The showcase also featured a poem by student Alexa Cornelia.

“I came up with the poem because I didn’t know black history before, so I made a poem from my heart,” said Cornelia. “People don’t get respected. I made the poem to tell them that they do matter, and not to let anyone change who they are.”

Finally, Connors visited English as a new language classes to discuss her own personal narrative and instill pride.

“As a survivor of segregated schools on Long Island, I can relate to the ENL students’ feelings of being an outsider looking in,” she said. “I started with my family, to show that African-Americans could be prosperous. This is their heritage, and for some it’s their introduction to something they don’t know about.”

Red Cross Club Thanks Local Firefighters

Red Cross Club Thanks Local Firefighters
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Honoring local volunteer heroes, members of the high school's Red Cross Club recently made and delivered 102 thank-you cards to for members of the Deer Park Fire Department.


A Last Sweet Mad Hatter’s Tea at May Moore

A Last Sweet Mad Hatter’s Tea at May Moore
A lovely Valentine’s Day tradition came to an end at May Moore as retiring teacher Cheryl Bica and her class held her last Mad Hatter’s Tea. Every year, Bica creates a hat for each student using old newspapers and sends it home for the children and their families to creatively decorate. On Feb. 14, the hat-bedecked students perform love songs and personal Valentine greetings, followed by a feast of sweets and drinks.

JQA Families Entertained by Seuss Storyteller for READ

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JQA Families Entertained by Seuss Storyteller for READ 2
JQA Families Entertained by Seuss Storyteller for READ 3
During the annual recent Read, Enjoy and Discover program at JQA, storyteller LuAnn Adams entertained students and families with “Tales from Dr. Seuss.”

Legislator Berland Brings Love of READing to JQA

Legislator Berland Brings Llove of READing to JQA
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Legislator Berland Brings Llove of READing to JQA 3

As part of the school’s 16th annual Read Enjoy and Discover program, JQA was recently visited by Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland, who read two of her favorites, Faith McNulty’s “Arty the Smarty” and Tamara Kitt’s “The Boy Who Fooled the Giant,” to the excited students.

READ is a collaborative effort among parents, students and staff to build a reading partnership between home and school and to help foster the love of reading at home. READ programs encourage parents to read with their children every day over a two-week period during the month of February. The JQA students read more than 11,000 books, meeting the school’s goal of 10,000.


High School Clubs Promote Positivity on P.S. I Love You Day

High School Clubs Promote Positivity on P.S. I Love You Day

In a joint effort for P.S. I Love You Day between two high school groups, the Student Council Club, led by counselors Rachel Glaubach and Jessica Negron, and the Community Service Club, led by Christine DiProperzio, decorated the showcase in the main lobby, displaying posters and pictures made by students. P.S. I Love You Day, held on Feb. 8, promotes positive messages of love, acceptance and community and to take a stand against bullying. Club members also put individual quotes on classroom doors, all student lockers and all staff members' office doors, and also wrote some quotes on bathroom mirrors so that as students looked at themselves, they would be reminded how wonderful each of them truly are.

Sophomores Meet the Challenge of AP Capstone

Sophomores Meet the Challenge of AP Capstone

The 2018-2019 school year featured the debut of a rigorous, challenging new program for the high school’s students. A total of 31 sophomores are enrolled in AP Seminar, taught by ENL/ELA teacher Joe Buscarino. The course is part of the College Board’s vaunted AP Capstone program, which serves as excellent project-based learning, helping students prepare for a college environment where they will be working not just by themselves, but with a group or team trying to solve a problem.

“As a district, we are always looking to expose our students to opportunities to get college ready,” said Jeanne Kozlowsky, district administrator for secondary curriculum and instruction. “When AP Capstone became available, we came together as an administrative team to look at it and thought it would be a wonderful option for our high school students. We are developing a college-level course for high schoolers that will prepare them in research and methods of identifying proper sources and arguing based on different economic, political or cultural interpretive lenses.”

“It’s really a great chance for those students who want to challenge themselves, to surpass what they think their limits might be and push the envelope a bit,” said Michelle Kwon, the district’s curriculum associate for ELA, reading and library. “It’s also important that as a district, we support the fact that on college applications, AP Capstone is now a check-off box, so we wanted to give our students the ability to list it.”

Deer Park made the decision to offer Seminar to 10th graders on the honors track, through the English department, as the first section of the AP Capstone program. In the fall of 2019, the school will offer the second Capstone segment, AP Research, to juniors and seniors through the science department.

“I’m glad we decided to offer Seminar to sophomores, because it enables them to use those research skills throughout all content areas and gives them time in high school to practice those skills before college,” Kwon said.

Buscarino’s Seminar curriculum analyzes and interprets nonfiction and fiction sources; utilizing T.S. Eliot's "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture", the class explores different cultural views of the individual, the group or class, and then the larger society as a whole. The literature corresponds to this organization and reviews different interpretive lenses to expound and elicit knowledge from the students. In order to develop the course,

Buscarino and Kwon attended a mandatory seminar in Maryland last summer, undergoing extensive training for five days.

“They really gave us the tools to create this course, which isn’t typically set in stone – the teacher develops what they need as far as curriculum goes,” Buscarino said. “They gave us 75 or 76 different skills that need to be taught during the course, and however you get to those skills is up to you.”

“It’s not a traditional classroom setting with a teacher up at the board,” Kozlowsky explained. “The students decide what issues that they are passionate about and really want to learn more about. Every time you pass by Mr. Buscarino’s classroom, you see his students working collaboratively, and assessing some challenging topics and real-world issues.”

“The students are very proud that they’re in the class,” Kwon said. “They always say that their brain hurts when they come out of class, but in a good way. It’s an environment that’s supportive but challenging at the same time. There’s a formula to the course, but because of student choice, there’s also a lot of flexibility. In this class, the skills are a priority, so how the students want to use and apply and manipulate those skills is based on student interest. It’s an interesting challenge even for the teacher, because there are moments when they can only give so much support, and it’s up to the students to support and critique each other.” 

Buscarino has proven up to the challenge, and continues to hone his vision for the course by collaborating and sharing ideas with a network of other Capstone teachers from around Long Island, as well as with teachers and administrators from all over the country and world.

One major difference between AP Seminar and typical AP courses is that Seminar does not feature just one final exam. Parts of the exam are completed throughout the school year, including a group assignment and presentation, an individual research and essay, and an individual presentation with oral defense. The final portion is just a percentage, affirming the course’s representation of the idea of process and multiple ways of assessing students.

“It’s challenging in that you really have to get the students prepared much earlier than in a traditional AP class, but it really is more than just taking a test,” Kwon said. “It is a truer test of mastery of skill.”

“If I had to rename this course, I’d call it Research 101, just because it’s really taking a look at finding your own sources and then developing or synthesizing ideas based on those sources,” Buscarino said. “It’s critical thinking.”




Message from Board Trustee Keith Rooney

Message from Board Trustee Keith Rooney

I wanted to drop a note and thank you all for your support. After volunteering and serving on the Board of Education as vice president and trustee for the last 12 years, I will not be seeking reelection in May 2019. Serving Deer Park has been an honor and something I will always cherish. As a member of Deer Park High School’s graduating Class of 1985, I always took pride serving this great community. I have been a resident of Deer Park for all of my life, and my wife and I have raised our three children in Deer Park’s schools. My current role at National Grid requires me to travel almost weekly, making this role harder to sustain. I’ve been on a lot of teams during my life and couldn’t be prouder to have worked with Deer Park’s school board, superintendent, staff, administration and dedicated employees. Together we have developed a great future for all our students. Serving on the special education and energy committees has also been one of my most rewarding life experiences. I’m excited about the future of this district and will always be proud of all we accomplished together. Thank you all for your friendship, support and dedication to our great employees and students! Falcon for life!

Keith Rooney
Board of Education Trustee

Frost’s Fourth P.S. I Love You Day Shows Students That They Matter

Frost’s Fourth P.S. I Love You Day Shows Students That They Matter

Purple shirts were sighted everywhere on Feb. 8 as P.S. I Love You Day was celebrated at Robert Frost for the fourth year in a row. The shirts served as reminders to stand against bullying and prevent suicide.

P.S. I Love You Day was started in 2010 by West Islip teenager Brooke DiPalma, following the tragic suicides of her father and a senior at her school. The event, held each year on the second Friday of February, promotes positive messages of love, acceptance and community, symbolized by the color purple.

Guided by teachers Dani Iadevaia and Denise Tassey, the school’s student council posted notes with inspirational messages on every student's locker, made candygrams, and wrapped purple ribbon around the trees in front of the school.

“We participate in P.S. I Love You Day because the world we live in right now focuses so much on the negative things that happen around us,” said Tassey. “Unfortunately, our students know about suicide and have lost someone they love to it. We have students who think their lives don’t matter when they do matter. Every single one of us on this earth matters, and our student council wanted to make sure of that. We also challenged students every day that week to do something nice for someone, whether it was a smile at someone they didn’t know, to sit with someone they don’t know, or just help out someone who looks like they could use help. So many people were wearing purple that day, and it was just so amazing to see that we can make a difference and help people – even if it’s just a few – know that they are loved.”

High School Holds Lifesaving Blood Drive

High School Holds Lifesaving Blood Drive

Donating their time and their blood to help those in need, altruistic Deer Park High School students visited the school gym on Feb. 14 to participate in the annual blood drive.

“I’m here to save a life,” said junior Hannah Harrilal. “It’s for a good cause.”







Learning to Keep Smiles Healthy at JFK

Learning to Keep Smiles Healthy at JFK

Third-graders in Heather Buksa’s and Jennifer Zylberberg’s classes at JFK recently learned about the importance of taking care of their teeth. A dental hygienist from West Islip’s Vitagliano Orthodontics visited the school, giving the students a chance to ask questions and practice caring for their teeth with hands-on activities. The students were also excited to receive “bunny ears” supplies to help achieve healthy smiles.



High School Holds First Math and Science Honor Societies Induction

High School Holds First Math and Science Honor Societies Induction
The high school celebrated a new tradition on Feb. 4 with the school’s first National Math and Science Honor Societies induction ceremony, held in the school’s auditorium. To qualify for acceptance into either honor society, students needed to have an overall grade point average of 85 or higher, and a content-specific GPA in either math or science of 90 or higher.

A total of 29 exceptional juniors and seniors were the first to be welcomed to the National Math Honor Society, which was formed in 1957: Aliseena Aiwazali, Nova Alim, Huda Ameen, Audrey Barke, Ayden Caldea, Haley Celona, Saiansh Chaddha, Angela D’Antonio, Sabrina Felipe, Dana Laissle, Lindsey Lam, Julianna Lasorsa, Regan Mays, Zubaer Mohiudden, Joshua Murphy, Joseph Ogden, Amanda Poggioli, Michael Quinones, Omar Rahim, Alyssa Robb, Matthew Rosati, Nimra Salim, Khabiba Shahid, Tasfia Shaikh, Jessica Siford, Madison Steddick, Alisha Suhail, Gavin Thomas and Purnava Zakaria.

Joining the National Science Honor Society, formed in 2000, were 33 juniors and seniors: Aiwazali, Alim, Dana Ali, Ameen, Barke, Deirdre Burke, Caldea, Betul Camlica, Chaddha, Azim Chowdhury, Jillian Cornelia, D’Antonio, Felipe, Ahmed Iqbal, Lam, Lasorsa, Mays, Mohiudden, Murphy, Ogden, Poggioli, Quinones, Rahim, Joshua Rivera, Rosati, Salim, Shahid, Shaikh, Siford, Steddick, Suhail, Thomas and Zakaria.

Following a performance of the national anthem by the school’s women’s choir, speakers at the event included Curriculum Associate for Science and Technology Alison Branca, Curriculum Associate for Mathematics and Business Christine Gill, Principal Charles Cobb, and advisers Sara DiCandia and Dylan Duprez.   

“There aren’t many times in your life when you’ll do something that you are the first at,” Cobb told the students. “Tonight is definitely one of those nights, being that you are the inaugural class for the Math and Science Honor Societies. This is an accomplishment that you can take with you as you go beyond Deer Park High School into a college program or career field.”

“All of these students have challenged themselves with the most rigorous schedules and upheld the greatest honor inside and outside of the classroom,” said Gill. “We are thrilled to officially be adding Deer Park students to these prestigious honor societies.”

“On behalf of myself and Mrs. Gill, let us be the first of many to congratulate you on this accomplishment,” said Branca. “We also would like to extend our congratulations to the parents and families of these remarkable young people. Your unconditional love, guidance, support and encouragement throughout the years is a big reason why your sons and daughters are here tonight.”





High School Actors Display Comedic Talent in ‘Noises Off’

High School Actors Display Comedic Talent in ‘Noises Off’

High school theater students displayed their comedic talents and acting depth in their recent performance of the 1982 Michael Frayn play “Noises Off,” directed by Kristen Wallace with set direction from Alex Mesimeris. The hilarious production concerns a group of actors preparing for their touring performance of a farce comedy called “Nothing On!”

Most of the student actors played two roles: – the actor and the character the actor is playing in the play-within-a-play. The cast featured Jennifer Wern as Ms. Dotty Otley and Mrs. Clackett, Oliver Curry as Lloyd Dallas and Director of ‘Nothing On!’, Louis Bianco as Mr. Garry Lejeune and Roger Tramplemain, Madi Steddick as Ms. Brooke Ashton and Vicki, Makenzie Caldone as Poppy and Assistant Stage Manager, Evan Hytner as Mr. Frederick Fellowes and Philip Brent, Allie Costanza as Ms. Belinda Blair and Flavia Brent, Ciara Boltz and Isabella Serrano as Tammy Allgood and Stage Manager, and Alex Kellarakos as Mr. Selsdon Mowbray and Burglar. Francesca Bala, Karen Cochran and Samantha Petrizzo served as student directors.

“Because it is an extremely difficult undertaking for all who are involved, ‘Noises Off’ is rarely performed on a high school stage,” said Wallace. “I am extremely impressed with our students. The show pushed all of our artists to stretch their creative boundaries. In this ‘play within-a-play, about a play,’ the actors needed to study, develop and create two characters, two personalities, and for some, two accents or voices. In addition, they needed to incorporate a great deal of physical comedy. As always, it was an extremely humbling experience to work with such amazingly talented actors, artists, directors and crew members who work tirelessly for our performing arts department.”

Sophomore Boxer Jahi Tucker Ranked First in the Nation

Sophomore Boxer Jahi Tucker Ranked First in the Nation
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High school sophomore Jahi Tucker recently was ranked first in the nation in boxing in the 138-pound weight class after winning the 2018 USA National Boxing Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tucker, who trains at the Brentwood Recreation Center, has been boxing since age 7. A member of the Junior National Team, he will attend camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in March and will compete overseas for Team USA.

“We are very excited for him and wish him the best,” said his global history teacher, Laurie Osbern.



Valentine Zipline Delivery at JFK

Valentine Zipline Delivery at JFK

While working on STEM activities prior to Valentine’s Day, fourth-graders at JFK used the engineering process to plan, design and build ziplines out of different materials to “deliver” Valentines.






Frost Eighth-Grade Orchestra Attends Lincoln Center Rehearsal

Frost Eighth-Grade Orchestra Attends Lincoln Center Rehearsal
The Robert Frost eighth-grade orchestra enjoyed a day out at Lincoln Center on Feb. 8, observing a professional ensemble rehearse for an upcoming performance. The students listened attentively to a piano with string quintet work on a Mozart piano concerto. At the conclusion of the rehearsal, students questioned the professional musicians about practicing and technique, then toured Lincoln Center’s plaza.

Chinese New Year Celebration Marches On at May Moore

Chinese New Year Celebration Marches On at May Moore

Students at May Moore continued a beloved annual tradition by marching loudly through the halls to celebrate Chinese New Year. The Feb. 5 parade was punctuated by percussion and enlivened by colorful paper dragons. The festivities concluded with a luncheon of Chinese food.

 



JFK Kicks Off Black History Month with Cultural Assembly

JFK Kicks Off Black History Month with Cultural Assembly

Black History Month came to JFK with an array of educational activities designed to spark awareness. The school kicked off the monthlong celebration with an interactive music and dance assembly from the multicultural Phyllis Rose Dance Company, exploring the roots of African and African-American culture.

“JFK is doing some great things to celebrate Black History Month,” said Associate Principal Kelly Benson. “Our students are learning about different African Americans who have impacted our history, and we are spreading Dr. Martin Luther King’s message by spreading kindness around the building, with students are being recognized for small acts of kindness that they do throughout the day.”




Hoops Star Edmead Scores 1,000th Career Point

Hoops Star Edmead Scores 1,000th Career Point

On Jan. 25, high school basketball player Malik Edmead hit a three-pointer from the top of the key in an 87-48 victory over West Islip to score his 1,000th career point. At the next ball, the voice of the Falcons, Alex Mesimeris, announced the milestone, leading to a standing ovation from the crowd for Edmead and his teammates.

Edmead, an 11th-grader, is a three-year varsity player, won league championships in 2017 and 2018, and advanced to the county finals in 2018. He was an All-League, All-Conference, All-County, All-Long Island Second Team and All-State Sixth Team selection in his sophomore year. He already has two full Division 1 scholarship offers in only his junior year.

On that same night as Edmead’s accomplishment, the boys basketball team – in conjunction with a raffle run by the school’s cheerleaders – held its 14th annual Ryan Bryan Night, raising more than $600 to benefit the scholarships of beloved alumni Ryan Horodnicki and Bryan Manigault.


May Moore’s Math and Science Carnival Spurs Thinking Skills

May Moore’s Math and Science Carnival Spurs Thinking Skills

May Moore and the school’s Parent Faculty Club hosted the school’s annual Math and Science Carnival on Jan. 28. For this year’s event, students visited five different stations: Radical Reactions, I-Math, Marshmallow Geometry, Bouncing Buoyancy and Patterns. The festivities concluded on Feb. 1 with a fun assembly program by scientist Hector Von Vector.

“Our students engaged in applying higher order thinking skills throughout the Carnival,” said Principal Alicia Konecny. “They utilized skills such as estimating, making predictions and recording their findings. They also received prizes for completing each station. Many thanks to our wonderful math lab teachers and the many parent volunteers who made this academic opportunity a reality.”





Character Building at JQA Ends With Fun Glow Run

Character Building at JQA Ends With Fun Glow Run

During a two-week Mindspark Mystery Lab program, JQA students experienced a themed program combining STEAM skills – involving science, technology, engineering, arts and math – with character building, culminating in a Boosterthon Glow Run on Jan. 18. Donations raised during this event will fund an upgrade for JQA’s playground via the school’s Parent Faculty Club.

“The students had a great time learning all about these character traits and participating in the glow run,” said Associate Principal Heather Levine.

AP Art Students Get Inspired at Advanced Visions

AP Art Students Get Inspired at Advanced Visions

High school seniors and AP art students Samantha Coccaro and James Valencia were recently selected for LIU Post’s prestigious exhibit “Advanced Visions 15: High School Artists of Excellence.” Their artwork was displayed in early January at the Student Art League gallery in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library at Post, culminating in a Jan. 9 awards ceremony and reception.

“Overall, the gallery was a great experience,” said Coccaro. “It was nice to walk around and see all of this amazing artwork and to be surrounded by such amazing artists. I had the pleasure of speaking with a few people about the work and received helpful suggestions for some things I should try.”

“I loved going to the LIU art show because I got to see all the different art,” said Valencia. “Some of the pieces really inspired me to try new things with my art in the future. I was also glad that a few professors critiqued my art piece and helped me figure out what I can improve on.”

“This was a wonderful opportunity for these young artists to display their work beyond a school setting,” said Derek Mainhart, their AP art teacher. “I'm so proud of Samantha and James, both for their artistic accomplishments and their initiative in getting their wonderful artwork before an audience.”

Chromebooks Rolled Out at Frost and JFK

Chromebooks Rolled Out at Frost and JFK

A Deer Park initiative recently provided fifth-graders at JFK and sixth- and seventh-graders at Frost with Chromebooks – for use both in school and out – following the completion of a major technology infrastructure upgrade achieved as part of the state’s Smart School project. On Jan. 18, the Chromebooks were rolled out at Frost, following a rollout earlier that week at JFK.

“We couldn’t be more excited for the students in grades five, six and seven,” said Christopher Kauter, the district’s instructional technology administrator.  “We are looking forward to the blended learning instruction that the teachers will be performing.”

On the heels of the tech upgrade, the district had also embarked on a comprehensive shift to the blended learning model, in which the most valuable learning strategies are first identified, and then instructional technology devices and resources are used as tools to make the strategies more efficient and increase the learning experience for students. This blended environment will promote improved performance and rigorous academic standards.

The assessment of these learning strategies is based on work by researcher and educator John Hattie, who took numerous surveys and research from hundreds of school districts around the world and quantified a value-added number for each strategy. Among the most successful strategies the district is focusing on – many which Deer Park teachers have been using for years – are self-assessment, reciprocal teaching, concept mapping, problem-solving teaching, vocabulary strategies, direct instruction, interactive video, spaced vs. mass practice, peer tutoring, questioning and worked examples. Tech software and programs on hand include Castle Learning, CodeMonkey, EDpuzzle, Explain Everything, G Suite, Pear Deck, Poll Everywhere, Soundtrap and WeVideo.

“Blended learning is not just digital learning or traditional learning, but a blend of the two,” Kauter said. “What we want to do is take these learning strategies that the research shows are successful and work in a traditional classroom environment and merge them together with the Chromebooks and instructional software we have.”   

Winter Crafts Created at JFK’s ENL Culture Night

Winter Crafts Created at JFK’s ENL Culture Night

JFK had its largest turnout ever for 2019’s ENL Culture Night. Following a "Winter Wonderland” theme, students in attendance made winter-themed crafts with their families, created “snow” out of baking soda and shaving cream, and posed in a larger-than-life snow globe photo booth. The students also debuted their winter-themed video at the event; with the help of their ENL teachers, the children filmed themselves answering questions about winter in their native countries.

Deer Park School District