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Board of Education Meeting Public Notice - March 26, 2019


Weekly Sports Update - March 18-22, 2019


Girls Softball Team Wins Home Opener

With Bella Andres on the mound, striking out five players and allowing only five hits in a complete game, the Connetquot High School girls softball team came away with a convincing 10-4 win against Central Islip on March 18.

Andres earned the complete game win with the help of Isabella Lindsay’s powerful bat, hitting 3-4 with two RBIs. Julianna Levanti was strong at the plate as well, going 2-4 with four stolen bases and two runs scored.  

“The team has been working hard in the preseason, the players support one another, and they are looking forward to another successful season,” coach Michelle Goodwin said.    
The team looks forward to building on their first winning effort throughout the remainder of the season!

Varsity Boys Tennis Team Improves to 2-0

On March 19, the Connetquot High School varsity boys tennis team matched up against Sayville High School at home and earned a 6-1 win, improving the team record to 2-0 in Suffolk League II.

“We are a very young team with three players still in middle school,” coach Ryan Cavanagh said. “Our No. 1 singles player is senior Alan Sabovic, a returning All-Suffolk County selection, and named by Long Island Newsday as a ‘Player to Watch’ this season. We are also led by a junior, Captain Sebastian Govea, along with a senior, Captain Will Kennedy.  We hope to compete for a league title this year, but will have to play to our potential to get past Bay Shore High School.”
With a long season ahead of them, the T-Birds are off to a strong start!

Boys Lacrosse Team Drops Home Opener

Despite their best efforts, the Connetquot High School boys lacrosse team fell to the visiting team from Islip High School on March 18 by a final score of 10-7. The T-Birds played an aggressive defense early on, which resulted in the team’s ending the first half tied at 6-6. However, Islip came on strong in the second half and took the lead in the third quarter, winning their first game of the season.  
Tyler Cordes scored five goals for the T-Birds and added an assist, while Michael Carrere scored twice against Islip. Additionally, Tyler McCarthy earned an assist, and Michael Monahan is credited with five saves in the team’s first game of the season.

Girls Spring Track Team Defeats County Champion Bay Shore HS

Connetquot High School girls spring track coach James Crowley III and his staff were impressed by the team’s outstanding effort against current Suffolk County champion Bay Shore High School during their meet on March 21, where the T-Birds won the head-to-head competition by an impressive score of 86-64.

While the March 21 win was a total team effort, coach Crowley singled out the following team members for their exceptional performances. Emily Medina won the 100-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles and was a member of the meet-clinching, victorious 4 x 100-meter relay; Ali Hardie won the 100-meter dash and the pole vault and led off the clinching 4 x 100-meter relay; Bryanna Holguin won two events, the high jump and the 200-meter dash, while placing second in the triple jump and long jump; Janelle Foston won the triple jump and anchored the winning 4 x 100-meter relay; and Serena Roopnarine won the 1,500-meter racewalk.

Congratulations to the coaches and members of the girls spring track team on their outstanding result against Bay Shore, and best wishes for continued success this season!

Ice Hockey Team Ends Season in Championship Game

The Connetquot and Sayville High Schools’ combined junior varsity ice hockey team finished the regular season with an impressive 16-4 record, earning the opportunity to play in the Suffolk County High School Ice Hockey championship game at the Rinx on March 20. 

The team advanced to the finals by defeating Ward Melville High School 1-0 in the quarterfinals and St. Anthony’s High School 6-3 in the semifinals. However, despite a determined defense, aggressive offense and a sold-out arena, the locals fell short by a final score of 5-1. Smithtown High School came into the championship game with an overall record of 19-1, backed up that record by scoring twice in the first period and keeping the T-Birds scoreless until late in the game.  
The coaching staff was impressed with the team’s progress, intensity and determination to succeed. 
John Bozinos provided the only score for the home team, with Vinny Marchese and Kenny Correa assisting. Team captains Christian Marinelli and Liam Doyle were a driving force for the T-Birds, but the Smithtown Bulls came to play as well.  

The Connetquot/Sayville coaches, Justin Bruno, Glenn Rothburg and Rich Villani, were proud of their boys despite the outcome of the championship game.  

Being that only two teams make it to the championship round of the county tournament, coming back from last year’s 4-16 finish to play in this year’s championship game says a great deal about the character of the players on this year’s team. 

“We are very proud of these boys,” coach Bruno said. “I love this team, and we’ll be back next season.”

Basketball Magic

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Earlier this month, an All-Star Team consisting of district staff members, administrators and talented student-athletes joined forces to play basketball against the world-famous Harlem Wizards. Coached by Sycamore Avenue Elementary School Principal Stuart Pollak, Assistant Principal Brian Wrinkle and Connetquot High School Principal Kenneth J. Costa, the T-Birds dribbled, shot and highly enjoyed themselves as they challenged the traveling group of professional athletes/comedians.

A loud and supportive crowd consisting of more than 800 attendees filled the Connetquot High School gym for this special event. Sponsored by the Sycamore Avenue Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association, the proceeds of this fun night will go to provide students with funding needed for additional equipment and programs. 

The Harlem Wizards are celebrating their 57th year of entertaining, and from the reaction of this Connetquot crowd, it’s easy to see why fans look forward to watching these talented athletes in action.

The Wizards were led by talented athletes with appropriate nicknames such as “Big J,” “The Rocketman,” “The Artist” and “LaFiesta.” Individually, these showmen excelled as student-athletes both at the collegiate level and internationally. Together, as Harlem Wizards, they combine their feats of athleticism with comedy routines that keep the students laughing, as the players go into the crowd to bring students and families alike onto the court to join in the fun.

Mr. Pollak extended his thanks to the supportive members of the faculty that took part in the game, along with all of the wonderful fans for their support, and gave a special thanks to the dedicated members of the school’s PTA and President Amy Dowdell.  

Beauty and the Beast

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The Connetquot High School Musical Theatre Club presented a stunning adaption of “Beauty and the Beast” for three consecutive evenings this March before packed audiences. Inspired by the popular fairy tale, the play chronicles the adventures of the beautiful bookworm Belle, as she slowly begins to fall in love with the cursed Beast who roams his dark and mysterious castle. The production was brought to life with assistance from the following individuals – Ryan Cavanagh (choreography), Peter Coffin (sound advisor), Patrick Downes (technical operator), Brad Drinkwater (producer), Gregory Johnson (pit director), Vincent Malafronte (director), along with musical accompaniment from the Connetquot High School Pit Orchestra.

Exploring Outer Space

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In coordination with the year’s theme of the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon, students of all grade levels at John Pearl Elementary School were recently paid a visit from Cradle of Aviation educator Tim Sarro for an informative presentation on space exploration.

Throughout the course of the assembly, Mr. Sarro spoke to the attentive students about the many aspects of outer space, including how rockets operate, the daily routines of astronauts and scientific facts about the sun and the solar systems’ planets. According to Mr. Sarro, water, food, oxygen, fuel/power and shelter are absolutely essential to an astronaut in order to complete their mission while in space, bearing striking similarities to our survival needs here on Earth. 

Additionally, two student volunteers were asked to mimic the spacesuits that astronauts wear as they geared up with two layers of thick gloves and attempted to tie their shoelaces, both to success.


2019-2020 Approved Calendar Now Available


Excellence in Education

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The district would like to congratulate Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School social studies teacher Carmela Gustafson for earning her doctorate in education from the Columbia University Teachers College.

Due to her rigorous years of study, Dr. Gustafson was awarded her doctorate on Feb. 13 after defending her dissertation, “It’s Like a Puzzle in a Million Pieces, the Productive Possibilities of Conflict in a Teacher Inquiry Group.”

According to Dr. Gustafson, pursuing a doctorate has been a dream of hers since before she started teaching. While her parents never had the opportunity to finish high school, she believes it was as a result of their struggles that they instilled in her a strong sense of the importance of education.  

“My decision to pursue a doctorate specifically in education was simple - to me, there are few professions as important as teaching,” said Dr. Gustafson. “Continuing to grow as an educator helps me to offer the best of myself to students. Above all, I strive to be a role model who shares at least a bit of my love of learning with my students, who themselves teach me something new every day.”

Dr. Gustafson has been teaching social studies in OBMS for the past 12 years, along with a seasoned total of 21 years within the district. 

ENL Family Fun Night

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The district recently hosted their biannual English as a New Language Family Night at Slocum Elementary School on March 5, inviting ENL students and families throughout the district for a night full of fun, dancing, cultural appreciation and a bit of magic.

Members of the Connetquot High School Civic Club were on hand to volunteer throughout the course of the night, as they joined the younger students in arts and crafts, dancing and friendly conversation, along with the setup of the evening’s activities.

After a welcoming address from Director of ENL/World Languages Denise Hannaoui, Connetquot Public Library librarian Christine Moltzen spoke to the attending families about all of the wonderful programs that the library has to offer, including the multitude of free ENL classes. Additionally, Mike Maione, aka “The Silly Magician,” provided some fun and educational entertainment to the students, along with their family members who joined them later in the presentation.

The attendees were also able to enjoy a number of delicious foods throughout the course of the evening, consisting of elements of different cultures.

Appreciating Literacy

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Sixth-grade students from Ronkonkoma Middle School recently crafted letters to authors explaining how their work inspired them and what they learned about life as a result of reading the authors’ books in coordination with the 2018-19 Letters about Literature National Writing Contest. 

The students’ letter writing was supported by lessons about audience, reading and theme. Due to their heartfelt and thankful letters, author Maribeth Boelts, the author of “Those Shoes,” emailed Mr. Black and wrote individual, personal responses to students. Additionally, Marla Frazee, the author of “Roller Coaster,” sent handwritten letters to the students as well, thanking them for taking the time to appreciate her work. 

The students were incredibly excited to receive these letters, and look forward to continuing to write throughout the remainder of the school year. 

Dining on Good Books

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Duffield Elementary School’s library was recently transformed into Café Duffield for the annual “Book Tasting” event, as Karen Pitka’s fourth-grade students were invited to “taste” a number of popular genres, including science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Throughout the library, each table offered a three-minute “taste,” or sampling, of a book of the student's choice. After reading their selected work, the students logged a brief menu summary including what they thought of the cover and if the student would recommend this particular piece of literature to others. 

Students then discussed their selection with the rest of the “customers” at their genre table, which included a number of district staff members and administrators. 

Treasure Hunters

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Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from Cherokee Street Elementary School recently got in touch with their inner “Indiana Jones” by participating in “The History Mystery” Library Adventure, right from the comfort of the school’s library.

With assistance from library media specialist Kathy Lopergalo and PTA Cultural Arts Representative Stephanie Clarelli, the students worked as a team with the ultimate goal in mind of finding the missing “historical artifact” hidden within the room. 

During their time spent in the library, the treasure hunters discovered concealed clues, solved riddles and followed trails shrouded in mystery. Additionally, the students built upon their observational and research skills, as they worked as a team to solve the multitude of riddles presented before them in the form of decoder cards, code charts and clue cards.

Painting the Colors of Long Island

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Six student-artists throughout the district recently displayed their incredible artwork in the Colors of Long Island art exhibit held at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook on the weekend of March 1.

This year’s annual student art exhibit included hundreds of works of art by 263 student-artists from 127 schools across Long Island. In order to be considered the exhibition, teachers were asked to submit up to two pieces from their students, including both individual works and/or group projects.
The district congratulates students Riley Brennan and John Whelan (Idle Hour Elementary School); Jaden McKay and Natalya Esposito-Biondi (John Pearl Elementary School); and Lauren Bizzaro and Melissa Tribley (Connetquot High School). 

District art teachers Krystal Zaglool and Sheilah Higgins are both incredibly proud of their students’ hard work and efforts toward being accepted to take part in this year’s exhibition. 

The collection of work is open for public viewing in the Long Island Museum’s Visitors Center through April 7. 

The Benefits of Place-Based Learning


Fourth-and fifth-grade students from Cherokee Street Elementary School were recently visited by student teachers from Adelphi University in an effort to engage in and reinforce place-based education lessons.

“The heart of place-based education is to extend students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom setting, expanding into the schoolyard and surrounding community,” said fourth-grade teacher Sandra Fantauzzi.

Students who have participated in these place-based lessons have worked closely with Mrs. Fantauzzi to plant and care for a native-plant garden, monitor the migration patterns of the school courtyard’s monarch butterfly population, and report the migration patterns and behaviors of bird populations through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeedWatch citizen-science project. 

Mrs. Fantauzzi, along with the Adelphi University student-teachers, are currently preparing to present the benefits of a place-based education at an upcoming education conference, “Northern Lights: Illuminating Norwegian Culture, Environment and School Connections” in Tromso, Norway. During this time, they will be visiting schools in Norway to see how the place-based education philosophy is being applied at the elementary and secondary levels. Mrs. Fantauzzi plans to share her experience in Norway when she returns from her adventure. 


Dr. Seuss Day

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Staff and students from Duffield Elementary School recently welcomed Connetquot High School students to celebrate the life and works of Dr. Seuss as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America program.

Ninety-five high school students, along with their English teachers Carolyn Paul and Megan Faeger, visited with Duffield students to read from Dr. Seuss’ books. Additionally, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lynda G. Adams, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dean Mittleman and Board of Education President Milynn Augulis were on hand to enjoy the day’s activities. 

“Our students planned and prepared for almost two weeks for this visit,” said Mrs. Paul.  “We used a PowerPoint presentation of past visits to Duffield to get them excited for this special day. We then broke the classes into smaller groups who visited the individual classes depending upon the grade level. The students prepared lesson plans, and created writing and art projects developing thoughtful questions about the books they would read to their new friends. They also incorporated the theme of “7 Healthy Habits” that are used at Duffield all year long.”

One group of high school students created a “Cat in the Hat” photo booth, while another brought along helium balloons to display their friends’ writing for the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” for the fifth-graders.

“The experience has proven, year after year, to be extremely rewarding,” said Mrs. Paul. “Students have often written their college essays about their Duffield experiences, and some have even altered their future plans and decided to enter the field of education as a result of this experience.”

Duffield Elementary School Principal Lisa Farrell thanked the students, their teachers and guests for visiting and having so much fun with the students of Duffield Elementary. 

Displaying Circus Skills

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On March 1, the famous O-Town Circus Troupe presented its spectacular traveling big top show with assistance from the fifth-grade students at Edith L. Slocum Elementary School.

Principal John Delio welcomed circus coaches Erin and Ray, who worked with all of the talented students during the course of the week. During their “training,” the circus stars learned the skills necessary to entertain the attendees, including clown work, juggling plate spinners, stilt walking and the diabolo stick. 

The students enthusiastically participated in the program during the week, and were eager to display their new-found talents during an evening showcase for parents and friends. 

Raymond Carta Sworn in as Fifth Member of Board of Education

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As a result of a special appointment process, Raymond Carta has been sworn in as the fifth member of the Connetquot Central School District's Board of Education. His term will commence immediately and run through the night of the district's budget vote and trustee election on May 21, 2019.

Districtwide Accomplishments

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The district recognized a number of staff and student accomplishments during a recent Board of Education meeting.

To begin the evening’s recognitions, the Board of Education was presented with a number of beautiful ceramic pieces of art courtesy of Connetquot High School students enrolled in Vincent Osmers ceramics class.

A number of Connetquot High School student-musicians were congratulated for being invited to participate in this year’s New York State School Music Association’s All-State and All-National music festivals based on their musical talents and academic successes. The students were introduced and personally thanked by interim Director of Fine Arts & Music George Rockwin for their accomplishments.

Connetquot High School varsity boys swimming and diving team coach Alex Scichilone was presented with a token of appreciation for receiving the 2018 Ed & Alice Kropp Outstanding Coach in Suffolk County/Coach of the Year award due to his outstanding coaching tactics and abilities to motivate his team.

Connetquot High School Class of 2019 valedictorian Dylan Macejko was recognized by the Board of Education for being named a News 12 Scholar Athlete as sponsored by the Bethpage Federal Credit Union based on his outstanding academic scores and unwavering commitment to swimming. As a News 12 Scholar Athlete, Dylan was featured on a personal News 12 segment, and has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

The district hosted its annual Community Wellness Day this past January which promoted mindfulness practices and healthy lifestyle choices. Due to the vast efforts put forward by Director of Pupil Personnel Services Gail Santo and the Community Wellness Day Committee, the event proved to be highly successful. Both Ms. Santo and the Community Wellness Day Committee were presented with tokens of appreciation by the Board of Education for their efforts in making the day such a success.

International Successes

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Student-representatives of Connetquot High School’s Model United Nations Club recently participated in the National High School Model United Nation’s International Conference held in Manhattan, joining more than 1,400 students from across the globe in the prestigious event. 

The multi-day field trip consisted of debates, discussions and culminated with an awards ceremony held at UN headquarters. Out of the 1,400 attending students, only 12 were asked to speak at the General Assembly Hall to represent their ideas and solutions, including Connetquot High School students Brendan Falabella and Tyler Zere. 

According to Model UN Club adviser Jennifer Bay, both students did a fabulous job speaking in front of not only all of the delegates, but diplomats, ambassadors, advisers and conference staff as well. Brendan was then awarded first place in his committee and Tyler was awarded second place in his, with each committee consisting of 170-200 students each. 

“All of the students who attended did an amazing job and I couldn't be prouder of them,” said Ms. Bay. “Their hard work and dedication leave me speechless; they are the leaders of tomorrow, and trust me when I say that our future is in good hands.”

Analyzing American History and Literature

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As a means of connecting literature, historical events and music, students from Ronkonkoma Middle School were treated to a highly engaging in-school assembly, which culminated with a musical performance courtesy of a number of Ronkonkoma Middle School staff members and student-musicians.

Students first spent time in the classroom studying John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece, “The Grapes of Wrath,” zeroing in on the book’s protagonist Tom Joad. Applying their knowledge of the novel, the students discussed why his family was forced to migrate West on Route 66 toward hopes of a new life in California. 

Curated by both history teacher Kenneth Lehman and interim Principal Joseph Licato, the students gathered in the school’s auditorium for a presentation which demonstrated how technology is rapidly changing, and the job market is being affected due to this shift. They circled back to their classroom lessons which focused on how Americans living in the 1930s were forced out of work due to mechanized mass production. The students were able to make the modern connection to how companies such as Uber are putting taxi drivers out of work due to the application’s ease of accessibility and comparatively low rates. 

As an additional connection to the afternoon’s central theme, a number of staff members and student-musicians joined forces to bring Bruce Springsteen’s hit song “The Ghost of Tom Joad” to life. The supergroup consisted of staff members Mr. Licato (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Dr. Frank Saladino (lead guitar), Mike Murphy (bass), Stacy Stollberger (trumpet, percussion), Elizabeth Pieket (saxophone), Nicole White (piano), Adam Reinkraut (classical guitar), along with student-musicians Katlyn Smith (violin) and Joe Saracino (drums). 

Click here to watch a video from the event.

John Pearl students strengthen their love for literacy

John Pearl students strengthen their love for literacy photo

In recognition of Parents as Reading Partners Month, students of all grade levels at John Pearl Elementary School were treated to a schoolwide assembly led by musician/historian Patricia Shih for her “Big Ideas About Literacy” presentation.

With assistance from her husband and musical accompaniment Mr. Steve, Mrs. Shih introduced the students to a number of catchy and informative songs which celebrated literacy and the importance of books. During one of her songs, Mrs. Shih asked a number of student volunteers to present popular children’s books such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Cinderella” and “Winnie The Pooh” when they were called upon. 

Mrs. Shih also touched upon foreign and world languages during the assembly as well, as she asked student volunteers to speak a phrase in a foreign language, which was then incorporated into a fun song for all to enjoy. 

Awesome Athletes

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On Feb. 27, four Connetquot High School student-athletes representing the district’s varsity soccer program signed letters of commitment to continue their athletic careers at some of the nation’s premier colleges and universities this fall.

Girls varsity soccer coach Ryan Cavanagh was joined by parents, students and district administrators within Connetquot High School Principal Kenneth Costa’s conference room for the signing ceremony. Coach Cavanagh introduced each of his graduating seniors, and talked about their contributions to the soccer program both on and off the playing field. Both Connetquot Central School District Director of Health, Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation Mark Dellecave and Mr. Costa congratulated the student-athletes for their choice of colleges, along with their commitment to Connetquot sports and the community.  

Celina Schenk will attend SUNY Farmingdale. According to coach Cavanagh, “Celina was an outside midfielder and two-year varsity standout. She was named team captain and started every game during her senior campaign. Additionally, Celina was constantly relied upon to win the ball and send it in with her powerful cross.”

Jordan Whooley will attend Pace University. “As an outside defender and three-year varsity letter-winner, her speed, determination and leadership were key factors in the team’s success,” said coach Cavanagh. “Jordan was consistently assigned to cover the opponent’s best winger, forcing the other team to change its strategy against the T-Birds.” Jordan was also named as an All-Division athlete during her senior year. 

Jordan Wischusen accepted her scholarship to attend the University of New Haven. “Jordan earned three varsity letters, started every game for two seasons and also served as team captain,” said Cavanagh. “After an injury-plagued junior season, Jordan returned as a senior and dominated the center of the field all season long. She plays with selfless dedication, winning nearly every ball, and putting her teammates in scoring position.” Additionally, Jordan was selected to pay in the Suffolk vs. Nassau Exceptional Seniors Soccer Night this year.  

Kristina Sommer committed to attend SUNY Farmingdale in the fall. A talented center/outside midfielder, Kristina earned three varsity letters. According to coach Cavanagh, “Kristina was so talented with the ball at her feet that she was a constant threat to set her teammates up for goals. Her skill-set as a midfielder allowed us to play her outside as well as the middle of the field.”  

The district congratulates and thanks each of these talented students-athletes for their commitment to their families and the Connetquot community.


Career and Technical Education Month

The district provides a robust Career and Technical Education program that allows students to explore a variety of career options including business, family and consumer science and technology. To celebrate CTE month, several achievements have been made by the students throughout the multitude of classes which align with Career and Technical Education. The district recently joined schools across the country celebrate the value of CTE and the accomplishments that go hand-in-hand with CTE programs, as this aspect of education assists students in preparing for high-wage, high-demand careers. 

Strengthening Digital Learning

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The district recently hosted a Google Applied Digital Skills workshop for Connetquot High School staff members and other invited guests. During the workshop, the attendees were led by Kiker Learning Representative Chris McCaffrey in an effort to incorporate Google Suite and other Google-related applications into the K-12 Curriculum. Joining the Connetquot High School for this professional development workshop were representatives from Cold Spring Harbor, East Northport, West Babylon, Westhampton Beach, Sayville and Elwood school districts.

Winter Newsletter Now Available


An Accomplished Scholar Athlete

An Accomplished Scholar Athlete
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The district is thrilled to announce that Connetquot High School Senior Dylan Macejko was recently selected as a News 12 Scholar Athlete as sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union based on his outstanding academic scores and unwavering commitment to swimming.  

Joined by a number of district administrators, coaches and his mother in Connetquot High School, Dylan was visited by News 12 Sports Director and news anchor Kevin Maher along with Bethpage Federal Credit Union Business Development Manager Chris Croken in an effort to personally congratulate him on his stunning accomplishment. As a News 12 Scholar Athlete, Dylan was featured on a personal News 12 segment, and has been awarded a $1,000 Scholarship courtesy of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union. 

In addition to being a highly decorated swimmer, Dylan will also serve as the valedictorian for the Connetquot High School graduating Class of 2019. He plans on giving his full efforts during the 50m Freestyle race at the NYSPHSAA Boys Swimming & Diving Championships being held at the Nassau County Aquatic Center on Saturday, March 2. 

Dylan plans to further his post-high school education at Binghamton University this fall to study computer science and continue his successful swimming career. 

He is joined by 29 other scholar-athletes from Long Island in being selected for this prestigious honor. In order to be considered for the scholarship, students must meet a number of criteria including a minimum GPA of 3.5, showing examples of leadership to service and others, and SAT scores of 1200 or higher. 

#MyConnetquot #ConnetquotLEADS

A Centennial Celebration


Staff and students from Bosti Elementary School recently celebrated the 100th day of the school year by taking part in a variety of creative activities in relation to the number 100.

To begin the day’s festivities, kindergarten students from both Colleen Malone’s and Jordon Volper’s classes took part in a colorful parade throughout the halls of the school, as the upperclassmen lined the parade route to watch the young students walk by wearing their 100th day-themed shirts, dresses and hats.

After parading around the school, students went back to their classrooms and worked on a number of fun activities surrounding the number 100. Besides being a fun day for all, educators credit the 100th day theme with improving math skills and sharpening students’ observation skills. The students are also aware that there are about 80 days left of classroom instruction, and are looking forward to summer vacation as it begins to approach.

Thanking Those Who Served

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In an effort to show respect toward the nation’s veterans, third-grade students from John Pearl Elementary School were recently visited by two active military servicemen along with Suffolk County Legislator William Lindsay III in support of his Valentines for Veterans initiative in which they created tokens of appreciation for the visiting veterans. 

Meeting in the school’s atrium, the students were elated to interact with U.S. Marines Sgt. Davis and Sgt. Ferraro. The students were given the opportunity to ask informative questions of the special guests, inquiring as to why they joined the military in the first place, and their favorite part about serving the country. 

The veterans informed the students that they’ve completed tours overseas in countries such as Afghanistan, Kuwait and Korea, and are currently pursuing their bachelor’s degrees from St. Joseph’s College located in Patchogue. 

Prior to the conclusion of the event, Legislator Lindsay thanked the veterans for their service, along with thanking the students of John Pearl Elementary School for participating in his annual Valentines for Veterans event. 

VIDEO: Dignity for All Students Awareness Week


A Love of Foreign Languages

Connetquot High School alumnus Vinny Acerenza was recently welcomed back to his alma mater to share his love of languages, and the benefits of speaking multiple languages with a number of the school’s foreign languages classes.

Vinny shared a photo presentation with the students of Will Bedell's, Eileen McGinnis' and Ashley Lefevre's classes, illustrating the value of being able to speak multiple languages, along with the professional opportunities made available to those who can speak a language other than English.

Additionally, he discussed the opportunities his foreign language skills have provided him, including the chance to start his own tourism business in Europe. At the conclusion of his presentation, the attending students were eager to ask questions about his current life, including how he met his Austrian girlfriend. 

When returning home to visit family and friends, Vinny works with his friends at a local Starbucks, and has even been invited to work at a newly opened Starbucks coffeehouse in Italy when he returns to Europe. He is currently furthering his educational journey by being enrolled in foreign languages courses at St. John's University. 


Heart-Healthy Students


In an effort to optimize their physical health and keep a close eye on their fitness levels, students at Ronkonkoma Middle School are currently utilizing heart monitors in their physical education classes.

Using the HeartZones system technology, the students strap a rubber band which resembles a wrist watch to their arm, as it accurately reads their active heart rate while they engage in cardiovascular activities. With assistance from physical education teacher Justin Hertz, a part of the school’s gymnasium was transformed into multiple stations where the students could test out the new technology, including a calisthenics course, a station for planking and a section devoted to jump rope. 

As the students continue to work out and engage in their activities, they are able to reference a giant screen displayed in front of the gymnasium so that they are easily able to keep track of their heart rate and pace themselves at a more appropriate speed. 

The Connetquot Central School District would like to thank the Ronkonkoma Middle School PTA, school administrators, computer teacher Jackie Houston and network and systems technician John Mocko for their assistance with bringing the monitors to life at the school.

“The students have really been into it and are learning a lot about how to manage their heart rates during a workout,” said Mr. Hertz. 

Model UN Conference


Earlier this month, the Connetquot High School Model United Nations Club welcomed students and advisers to the 2019 Model UN Regional Conference, inviting 15 schools from Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens to take part in the annual forum.

During the conference, participants simulated the structure and function of the United Nations organization, as each student-delegate was assigned to represent a foreign nation, placed on a committee to discuss important current world topics and concerns, and asked to make recommendations. The delegates do their best to emulate the role of the United Nations Organization to solve problems that are meant to both protect and improve the lives of citizens around the world. 

The conference began at 8 a.m., and was filled with a multitude of educational activities throughout the day as it ended with closing ceremonies at 9 p.m. 

“This year’s conference was our biggest and best yet, as we had over 300 people in attendance,” said Model UN Club adviser Jennifer Bay.  

Mrs. Bay would like to thank the students, chaperones, Connetquot Central School District administrators, custodial and secretarial staff for their assistance in making this year’s “ConnetMUNC” event such a success.  Additionally, a special thanks goes out to Connetquot’s Hannah Mayer and Noah Thielke, who served as secretary-general, and chief of staff respectively.

Global School Play Day

Global School Play Day photo

Students from Duffield Elementary School recently joined thousands of other students in the worldwide phenomenon known as “Global School Play Day,” replacing traditional classroom instruction for a day filled with imagination and team-building activities.

Throughout the course of the day, students of all grade levels practiced how to play amongst one another in a social setting, trading in their SMART boards and worksheets for a number of fun-filled activities dispersed throughout the building’s classrooms. 

As each classroom was transformed into a designated space for imaginative learning, the students took part in arts and crafts, board games, puzzles and strengthened their engineering skills with building blocks. Additionally, the students were able to practice how to show mutual respect, safely solve problems and enhance their listening skills amongst their classmates.  

“Global School Play Day serves as a structured, safe day encouraging unstructured play which yields a purpose,” said Helen B. Duffield Elementary School Principal Lisa Farrell. 

According to their official website, since Global School Play Day’s inception in February 2015, the initiative has grown to include more than 535,690 students from 72 nations in the fun-filled and educational day.

Congratulations to the Connetquot Varsity Cheerleading Team for placing 2nd at Nationals!

Cheerleading 1

Click here to see the performance!

Valentines for Grandfriends

Valentines for Grandfriends photo

Earlier this month, several residents of the Arbors Assisted Living facility at Bohemia traveled to Bosti Elementary School to work with students in preparing colorful Valentines to be sent to local veterans as a means of thanking them for their service to our country. “Today, our students gathered together with our Grandfriends to make Valentine’s for military veterans,” said teacher Emily Sciame.  “The Grandfriends highly enjoyed the opportunity to engage with our students, while assisting them in decorating these special Valentine Day greetings.”

A Trip to the Circus

A Trip to the Circus photo

Students, teachers, friends and family were recently welcomed to John Pearl Elementary School’s ‘O-Town Circus’ assembly, as the fifth-grade students were able showcase the “circus skills” recently acquired in their physical education classes.

Throughout the course of the week, students learned the skills necessary to work as clowns, jugglers, plate spinners, stilt walkers and the Diabolo stick. The circus program is designed to motivate students to participate more fully in physical education and cultural arts activities. 

The district would like to thank the O-Town Circus coaches, the school’s fifth-grade teachers, Parent-Teacher Association and John Pearl Elementary School Physical Education Teacher Nick Sturtz for their support and cooperation throughout. 

Under the Sea

Under the Sea photo

The Ronkonkoma Middle School drama club recently put on an incredible nautical-themed performance of “The Little Mermaid Jr.,” for three consecutive evenings beginning on Feb. 7. Adapted from the popular Disney classic, the play tells the tale of mermaid Ariel who dreams of visiting the surface world, bringing her trusty friend Flounder along for her many adventures. The production was brought to life with assistance from co-directors Michael and Carmela Newman, along with music director Dr. Frank Saladino.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year

Celebrating the Chinese New Year photo

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, students enrolled in Dina Pinelli’s fourth-grade class at Slocum Elementary School were recently visited by student Joyce Zhang’s mother, Sunny, for lessons on traditional Chinese customs and culture.

To begin the day’s lesson, the students were taught how to properly say “Happy New Year” in the Chinese language, and were presented with treat bags for their successes in correctly pronouncing the phrase. As a craft-based activity, the students were taught by both Mrs. Zhang and Joyce how to properly make Chinese lanterns, carefully following their precise instructions along the way. 

Prior to the conclusion of the event, the students were given tasty treats such as rice crackers and Haw-flavored sweets, based off the popular Hawthorn plant of Chinese origin.

Hitting All the Right Notes

Hitting All the Right Notes photo
As a result of their exceptional musical talents, 14 Ronkonkoma Middle School student-musicians recently participated in the Long Island String All-County Music Festival held at Hauppauge High School on the weekend of Jan. 25, signifying that each student is amongst the most outstanding in all of Suffolk County. 

These students were selected for the prestigious performance group based upon their past performances at NYSSMA festivals and teacher recommendations.  

The district congratulates student-musicians Gianna D’Agostino, Edward Fieseler, Kamryn Goncalves, Thalia Guidice, Jacob Halecky, Lily Jonas, Jason Le, Cian Llerena, Jason Materazo, Justin Materazo, Benjamin Morris, Molly Murphy, Katlyn Smith and Jenna Zhang.

A Theme Park of Their Own

A Theme Park of Their Own photo
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A Theme Park of Their Own photo 3
With assistance from representatives of the Long Island Explorium, fifth-grade students from Idle Hour Elementary School recently took their engineering capabilities to new heights as they crafted their own “rollercoasters.” During the activity, the young engineers were supplied a limited number of materials to work with in order to safely guide their “vessels” from the beginning of the track to the safety of the finish line. The students employed their critical thinking skills throughout, as they worked together to ensure that the most optimal pathways were taken in order to guarantee their vessels’ safety. 

VIDEO: Celebrating Chinese Culture


Strengthening Business Skills

Strengthening Business Skills photo
A number of Distributive Education Club of America members from Connetquot High School recently competed against 26 regional high schools and more than 1,000 students in the Suffolk County DECA Regional Competition held at Suffolk County Community College. 
The district congratulates the following students for finding successes in their respective categories during the competition: Anthony Balogoa and Alex Szczpanski (Sports and Entertainment Decision Making), Emma Bunnicci (Hospitality Services Management), Tim Lyon and Jack Sullivan (Sports and Entertainment Decision Making), Adam Moussa (Financial Consulting), Sarah Rahim (Hospitality Services Management) and Tyler Woerter (Professional Selling).

The purpose of DECA is to teach real-world business skills to students in an effort to build their skill sets, such as public speaking, presentation and networking.

A Comfortable Learning Environment

 A Comfortable Learning Environment photo
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Due to a generous grant put forward by the Connetquot Foundation for the Advancement of Children, third-grade students at Idle Hour Elementary School have been afforded the opportunity to enhance their learning in the classroom with assistance from “Flexible Seating.” 

The students are offered the option of selecting a rubberized stool or a Therapist’s Choice stability balance disk, in an effort to continue their studies in a more relaxed and focused manner. According to third-grade teacher Stephanie Zelinski, the students’ education is enhanced because the stools and wobbles allow for free movement, allowing them to complete assignments with more focus and less frustrations or negative behaviors.

The district would like to thank third-grade teachers Kathleen Bankoff and Stephanie Zelinski for proposing the “Flexible Seating” idea to CFAC, thus bringing the initiative into the classroom setting.

CHS Alum Returns to Share Valuable Advice

Connetquot High School alum Jason Goodis recently attended the Curriculum Fair held at his alma mater earlier this month as a means of sharing business-oriented insight with the ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade attendees.

Jason, a business major in the midst of his last year of college at the University of Tampa, took it upon himself to contact one of his former business teachers and ask if he could come to the Curriculum Fair to share his post-high school experiences with the students. During his visit, he also spoke with each class and shared what he learned from the multitude of business classes offered at Connetquot High School.

VIDEO: Excellence in Engineering


A “Visit” to Australia

Australia photo

Third-graders from Idle Hour Elementary School recently “took a trip” to Australia without having to leave the comfort of their classrooms.

With assistance from presenter and native Australian Chris Pitkin, the students were offered a glimpse into multiple aspects of Australia, including culture, geography, wildlife and art. Mr. Pitkin first showed the students a slideshow featuring various forms of wildlife, and tested their knowledge of a handful of animals native to the continent. The third-graders were excited to learn that creatures such as kangaroos, emus and dingoes are abundant in Australia, and told Mr. Pitkin that they’d be happy to take a trip there in the future to visit them.

Mr. Pitkin then introduced the students to the didgeridoo, a wind instrument created by the Indigenous peoples of Australia more than a thousand years ago. They were highly impressed by the unique sound the instrument made, and encouraged Mr. Pitkin to create more sounds as he fascinated them with the history of the instrument. 

Prior to the conclusion of the event, the students engaged in a fun activity with assistance from art teacher Krystal Zaglool in which they made their own “art” boomerang using the aboriginal technique of dot painting and symbols to tell a story.

Maintaining the Tower Garden

Maintaining the Tower Garden photo

Students enrolled in Siobhan Guido’s classes at Connetquot High School are learning to grow various crops using an indoor vegetable tower garden within the classroom setting.

Tower gardens allow individuals to grow vegetables indoors all year round, and due to their vertical stature take up a limited amount of space. Once assembled, seeds germinate with the help of the device’s special built-in lighting and automatic timer and the aquaponic system regulates the appropriate water level in the unit. The students received an introduction to the device and project during a recent visit from Lety Algeri, a holistic health coach from the BOCES School Seeds program.

“This project is fantastic on so many levels,” said Mrs. Guido. “With the garden in our classroom, we will be able to explore many different scientific aspects including science principles, STEAM, nutrition, gardening, as well as environmental issues. We are pleased with the effort and enthusiasm our students demonstrated in building their own indoor vegetable garden.”

RMS Students Row, Row, Row Their Boats

RMS Students Row, Row, Row Their Boats photo

Ronkonkoma Middle School eighth-grade students enrolled in Anthony Carbonaro’s, Alma Campanelli’s, Matthew Montilleone’s and Jaclyn Salerno’s math, science and technology courses tested their creativity and engineering skills during a recent regatta boat race on Jan. 25 held at Connetquot High School.

As part of a lesson on buoyancy, the young engineers spent weeks using scientific calculations to design and construct boats out of cardboard and duct tape in hopes of successfully crossing the high school pool. Although some students chose to commandeer their boats in an individual fashion, they all worked in teams when creating their boats in the classroom setting.

Despite the fact that not every boat was able to stay afloat during the race, the students enjoyed cheering one another to see which boat would make it across. According to Mr. Carbonaro, the top three competitors were able to successfully make their boats across the pool in a highly impressive time of less than 20 seconds. 

The Great Kindness Challenge

The Great Kindness Challenge photo
As part of “The Great Kindness Challenge,” staff and students from John Pearl Elementary School recently collected a number of items for the Ronald McDonald House in an effort to assist those families in need. Due to their benevolent contributions, the school was to fill a number of boxes to the brim with items such as bathroom essentials, kitchen utensils and general household items. 

Becoming One With Nature

Becoming One With Nature photo
To gain a real-world understanding of various forms of wildlife, third-grade students from Idle Hour Elementary School recently attended field trips to both Sunken Meadow and Caleb Smith state parks. After their visits, the students applied their newfound knowledge to create beautiful pieces of artwork portraying birds, along with in-depth reports about various types of owls.

Superior Sewing

Superior Sewing photo

With assistance from instructor Judith Jones, seventh-grade students enrolled in family and consumer sciences classes at Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School recently completed their sewing unit. Using their creative talents, the students designed patchwork pillows and sewed their own “emoji” pillows based on the popular digital icons.

“They students designed, measured and planned out the projects from start to finish; they were all very proud of their work,” Mrs. Jones said.

Enhancing Education

Enhancing Education photo
During the Jan. 22 Board of Education meeting, a number of faculty and staff members were recognized for their altruistic contributions toward enhancing the education of students. 

For the 2018-19 school year, a number of new initiatives and classroom enhancements were approved by the Connetquot Foundation for the Advancement of Children. Many individuals were also recognized by the Board of Education for their thoughtful ideas. 

The district would like to thank and congratulate the following individuals for their contributions – Kathleen Bankoff, Laura Barry, Raymond Carta, Nicole Coogan, Beth Edson, Lorraine Liguori, Colleen Malone, Megan McAlpine, Lara McNally, Kim Patterson, Elizabeth Piekut, Joanne Pisani, Ashley Rivera, Lorei Rodrigues, Emily Sciame, Andrea Tipton-Rudolph, Graceann Vavalle and Stephanie Zelinski. 

Since 2005, CFAC has helped students in need, offering free tutoring, supporting community events, and providing more than $175,000 in school, community and teacher financial grants. The grants help to purchase equipment and supplies, support special student assemblies and finance training that directly benefits the students of the Connetquot community.

Making Wishes Come True

Making Wishes Come True

The Connetquot High School community recently gathered in the school’s large group instruction room to show their full support for 11th-grade student Diana Santillan-Gress, who had her wish fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation during a recent “Sendoff Party.”

Prior to the big reveal that Diana’s wish had been granted, student-members of Connetquot High School’s Concert Choir were on hand to display their dazzling musical talents and show Diana that she always has a friend in music.  

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the high school community’s fundraising efforts, a check valued at more than $6,000 was presented to Make-A-Wish Community Relations Coordinator Alexis Alpert. Connetquot High School graduate Marina Duszak, along with her mother Patty Duszak, brother Joe Duszak and the school’s Interact Club, were instrumental in raising funds for Make-A-Wish as they’ve held an ornament drive for the past few years in celebration of the holiday season.

Diana was joined by her family members, student-members of the Connetquot High School Interact Club, the Duszak Family, and fellow Connetquot High School students when she learned Make-A-Wish granted her wish and would meet WWE Superstar Charlotte Flair at the WWE Live Holiday Tour at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 27, 2018. All in attendance were thrilled to see Diana’s wish fulfilled, and rounds of applause thundered throughout the room in support of her.

The district would like to thank Susan Schiappa and members of the Interact Club, the Duszak family, the staff members, administrators and students who attended the event, along with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for their efforts in making this dream a reality for Diana.

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