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HS Patriot Club Provides Cookies and Dodgeballs for Deployed Alumni

The high school’s Patriot Club recently packed and mailed eight care packages to three former Deer Park students and current U.S. servicemembers: Justin Gallo and George Tirado in Afghanistan, and Jonathan Trautwig in Iraq. 

The packages included five cases of Girl Scout cookies sold by Frost student Kaitlyn Incandela, who asked her customers to donate for the Patriot Club on behalf of the former students who are currently deployed overseas. According to Patriot Club adviser Laurie Osbern, at the request of Tirado, the club also used some of its monetary donations to purchase dodgeballs for morale-building recreation time for the soldiers.

A Day to Explore and Showcase Languages

For World Language Exploration Day at May Moore, seniors from the high school studying Spanish, Italian and French visited kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade classrooms to teach language lessons to the younger students. The annual project, held this year on March 29, is planned to coincide with March as World Languages and Cultural Awareness Month.

“The high school seniors get the opportunity to create engaging lessons for the primary kids, allowing them to think critically about how languages are both learned and taught,” said teacher Ashley Rosenberg. “Equally as important, the elementary kids gain an awareness of languages other than English. The program ties in nicely with our district’s ENL program, as ENL students at the elementary level are able to showcase their language skills. The entire process creates an environment of cultural exploration, acceptance, appreciation and tolerance.”

Fox and Jenkins Sign Letters of Intent


In a celebratory ceremony at the school’s library, attended by family and teammates, seniors Tori Fox and Darien Jenkins signed national letters of intent on April 19.

Fox, a softball player, will attend the New York Institute of Technology, where she plans to major in health science. A member of the varsity for five years, she serves as team captain and has earned three All-League and two All-Division honors. A veteran of three Class AA playoff runs, she has guided Deer Park’s 10-1 softball team to its current first-place standing and recently reached the prestigious 100-hit mark.

Jenkins, who plays basketball, will attend LIU Post this fall, majoring in business. During his Deer Park hoops tenure, he won two League IV championships, and was named All-County twice, All-Conference three times and All-League three times. For the 2016-2017 season, he was voted MVP by his teammates and finished his career with 942 points.

Frost NJHS Inducts 67 New Members


At an April 3 ceremony, the middle school’s National Junior Honor Society inducted 24 new eighth-grade members and 43 new seventh-grade members. Each of the eighth-grade members received the medals that they will wear at their June moving up ceremony. The school’s annual ceremony also honored the organization’s current members for their outstanding work during the 2016-2017 school year.

The new eighth-grade NJHS inductees were Hillary Adugyamfi, Amanda Brown, George Byrd, Ash Carter, Ryan Cole, Logan Eisenberg, Kristina Gambino, Kevin Garcia, Ethan Hossain, Ishika Joshi, Edward Lippert, Nicholas Maniscalco, Paul Meyers, Matthew Myrick, Miriam Oke, Tamilore Oshikanlu, Gabriella Picciocchi, Taylor Quinones, Salar Saeed, Kelly Schwarz, Catarina Silva, Joanna Sroka, Giavanna Vangeli and Kevin Yalcinkaya.

The new seventh-grade NJHS inductees were Anthony Aguilar, Austyn Alletto, Sofia Arrascue, Julia Bakar, Grace Boylan, Megan Bush, Cristina Cairo, Madison Cadena, Sarah Catanzano, Miracle Cruz, Daniel D’Amato, Andrew Dolinsky, Damian Ellner, Giovanna Giffone, Nicholas Glancy, Madison Gulinello, Michael Hofstetter, Saima Hoque, Jacquelyn Izzo, Kyle Jefferson, Harpreet Kaur, Madison Kenning, Kylie Kuhn, Jeremy Malaga, Mia Malcoln, Tovia Manning, Michael Milankovic, Christine Nguyen, Deborah Oke, Megan Oswald, Isabella Pissanos, Sydney Pottinger, Logan Rhodes, Christina Russell, Yama Said, Christina Schiaffo, Kaylee Shindel, Nicholas Stamatakis, Francis Theroux, Julianna Vene, Max Rothar Wenzel, Michelle Xuan and Pritheva Zakaria.

DPHS Plans Military Wall of Honor

The high school's Patriot Club is planning a "Wall of Honor" in the lobby of the high school, dedicated to alumni who have served in the military. The wall will display the name, branch of service and years of each individual who has served. The background will be a mural, designed by students from the high school as part of a design contest run in conjunction with the art department.

Veterans, current service members or family members should fill out the following Google Form online and provide either proof of graduation or military service.

Registration Dates for District Election


Tofu Team Takes Junior Iron Chef by Storm

The high School’s “Team Falcons” quartet of Jenna Fisk, Tamara Robinson, Neurlie Surin and Trinity Wade took Whole Foods in Lake Grove by storm as they chopped, sauteed and cooked their morning away for a chance at the top spot at the fifth annual Junior Iron Chef competition. The purpose of the competition is to help students make connections to healthy eating.

Suffolk County Cornell Cooperative Extension hosted the one-day event where middle and high school students showed off their cooking skills in groups of three to five. A total of 24 teams from schools and other organizations were given one hour to cook a vegetarian or vegan-based dish that they could incorporate in their school cafeteria menu. Each team was given several weeks to plan and prepare a dish using five main ingredients, two of which had to be United States Department of Agriculture commodity foods like beans, grains, fruits and vegetables, which make up part of school cafeteria menus. The recipes could not be desserts, nor could they include meat, fish or nuts.

Deer Park’s original recipe for Pan Asian Tofu Medley, created by Fisk, consisted of marinated pan-seared tofu with a red potato hash and asparagus, garnished with “special sauce.” The students practiced after school and with Deer Park’s food and nutrition class to perfect their recipe.

“The contest was actually tough because I was nervous,” said Surin. “It was my very first time going and I was worried if I’d make a mistake or not.”

“I do hope to do it again, although it was a bit intimidating,” added Fisk.

“It was very exciting and fun to do,” said Trinity Wade. “I really enjoyed competing against other schools and people from all over Long Island. It was very crowded, but as a team we all tried to work it out and we succeeded.”

According to FACS teacher Patricia Skjoldahl, 2017 was Deer Park’s test year, and the Team Falcons plan to return to Junior Iron Chef next year and win.

Deer Park Dozen Exhibited by SCALA


For the fifth consecutive year, JFK participated in the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association Children’s Show, selecting works by a dozen top art students in grades 3-5 for display at the annual children’s art exhibition, held in cooperation with the Babylon Citizens Council of the Arts. The artwork was chosen by JFK teachers Joanne Bibow-Buck and Laurie Schwartz.

Chosen by JFK teachers Joanne Bibow-Buck and Laurie Schwartz, the pieces by Alexa Cachia, Jordyn Hasemann, Mohammed Hoque, Taemi Kim, Sophia Lopez, Mina Marchetti, Wade Metayer, Gabriella Morace, Kaylee Nguyen, Grace Oliveri, Victoria Pulisic and Atilla Zafer Tuzun were exhibited at Babylon’s Old Town Hall for a month through March 12, when SCALA held a closing reception, which the student-artists and their families attended.

May Moore Celebrates Uniqueness with Autism Puzzle


Students at May Moore learned the importance of acceptance and empathy during Autism Awareness Month, with teachers Alannah Boccard and Susan Mirman leading the school in joining literacy and social action.

Each class read a student-centered book about “being different and unique.” Classes then created puzzle pieces to go along with the text they read. With the help of art teacher Michelle Sarco, each puzzle piece was combined to create a large art installation that was put on display in front of the May Moore library and media center.

“Our students learned that diversity is what makes us unique,” said Principal Alicia Konecny. “Just like Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, whose herd reassured Elmer that they love him because of his differences, not in spite of them. The children also celebrated by painting themselves in multicolored paint in recognition of Elmer’s unique appearance and personality. This is an important life lesson we try to teach everyday in our words and actions, not just during Autism Awareness Month.”

Knicks Honor Frost Student Jefferson with DeBusschere Award

Kyle Jefferson, a student at the middle school, was recently recognized by the New York Knicks basketball team as one of two recipients of the 2017 Dave DeBusschere Award. The award honors students who excel in the classroom, the basketball court and the community, and who exemplify the character of late Knicks basketball legend Dave DeBusschere.

On March 29, Jefferson and his parents attended a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, where DeBusschere’s sons presented him with the award at center court. He will also be given the opportunity to attend a Jr. Knicks basketball clinic with Robert Frost’s team.

Jefferson, a true scholar-athlete, plays on both the Frost and Saints Cyril and Methodius Church basketball teams as well as two football leagues and a lacrosse team, all while maintaining an A average in school. A member of Frost’s National Junior Honor Society, he was recognized as the school’s Student of the Month for February. He serves as a volunteer for numerous community organizations and events, including Kids Adopt a Shelter, Ascension Lutheran Church, the Islip Public Library, the Deer Park Community Association’s annual fall festival and the Wyandanch Plaza Association’s National Chocolate Day festival.

May Moore Second-Grade Artists Selected for Colors Exhibit

Gianna Montes and Blake Muller, both second-graders at May Moore, were selected to represent Deer Park and have their work displayed in the 19th annual Colors of Long Island student art exhibit.  

Colors of Long Island, sponsored by Astoria Bank, gives K-12 students the opportunity to show their artistic talents in a museum setting. May Moore was one of 179 schools participating in this year’s exhibition.

Accompanied by teachers Briana Nussbaum and Michelle Sarco, both students and their families attended the reception for the exhibit, which runs through April 16 at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

“We are very proud of our students,” said Nussbaum. “It was great to see them so excited to be in a special art show.”

HS Students Provide JFK a Lesson in Nutrition

High School child development students visited JFK on March 21 as part of National Nutrition Month. The high schoolers delivered a lesson on making healthy choices for the younger JFK students.

“It is  rewarding to see our high school students interact and teach the lessons they have learned about healthy eating and making good choices to the youngsters in our district,” said Heather Stewart, Deer Park’s curriculum associate for social study and family and consumer science. “The real-world application of learning provided a rich experience for all our students.”

April is Alcohol Awareness Month


VIDEO: Teddy Bear Clinic at JQA


Five Seniors Inducted into DECA Honor Society

Five high school seniors – Ryan Byrne, Stephen Lew, Michael Mieses, Malique Papailler and Badar Zama – were recently inducted into New York DECA’s Honor Society. Requirements for admission included outstanding leadership and service, more than three years of membership in the club, an 85 or above overall average and 90 or above business average, and having competed at the state level.

HS Earth Science Students Model Weathering Effects

High school students in the earth science inclusion classes of Michelle Astromovich and Dylan Duprez recently investigated and modeled physical weathering effects on substrates.

“In the real world, that substrate would be rocks, and those effects would be wind and water, but in the classroom, it's sugar cubes for substrate, pipettes of water for rain and beakers for pressure,” explained David Knuffke, Deer Park’s curriculum associate for science and technology. “This is a cool example of how we can model real-world processes that happen on time-scales that are just too long for us to see.”

May Moore's Mad Hatter's Tea

May Moore kindergarters decorated fancy hats for a Mad Hatter’s Tea celebration on Valentine‘s Day. Each student read the reasons why they love their special chosen person, and they performed such songs as “Love” by Nat King Cole, “All You Really Need” by Raffi and “That’s Amore!” by Dean Martin.

Storyteller Entertains JQA on Pajama Night


JQA recently held its annual Pajama Night, part of the school’s Read Enjoy and Discover program. The event – whose theme was “Get in the Game – Read!” – featured a performance by storyteller and puppeteer LuAnn Adams, who entertained students and their families with excerpts from her collection “Tales of Great Games and Mighty Feats.”

High School Artist Andres Colon Chosen for "Long Island’s Best"


High school student-artist Andres Colon was selected for the 21st annual “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” gallery show. His was one of only 84 artworks chosen by the Heckscher for this year’s competition.

Long Island’s Best, a comprehensive arts-in-education program which integrates Huntington’s Heckscher Museum and Nassau and Suffolk high school art classrooms, serves to encourage student-artists to find inspiration in works on display at the museum, using the experience to create their own original works of art. This process ends with a juried exhibition, the only one on Long Island providing high school students a chance to have their artwork displayed in an art museum. The show will be on view from March 11 through April 9.

Colon attended the Long Island’s Best opening reception and awards ceremony at the museum on March 18, accompanied by his family and art teacher Derek Mainhart.

“When I was first introduced to Long Island’s Best by my AP art studio teacher, Mr. Mainhart, I was beyond ecstatic and ready to jump into my work,” said Colon. “Getting accepted into the Heckscher was a tremendous honor. In my photo, ‘Conquer,’ I was able to expand my art and make it into a piece worthy of a museum. The opening ceremony was more than overwhelming, in a good way. My family was beyond proud of me, as I was with myself.”

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing my student’s talent and hard work recognized,” said Mainhart. “I couldn’t be prouder of Andy. Long Island’s Best is an inspiring event every year, and Deer Park has been represented four years in a row. I look forward to next year.”

JQA Students Solve Math Problems to Help Children’s Hospital


For the sixth consecutive year, math-mastering students at  John Quincy Adams participated in the school’s Math-A-Thon program to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year, JQA raised more than $8,478 by finishing Math-A-Thon Funbooks.

“Solving the math problems required to complete the Funbooks helps our students to better learn and understand math, and it is for such a great cause,” said math lab specialist Marianna Grieco, who coordinates the annual event. “Over the past five years, we have raised more than $41,320 in total for St. Jude.”

Made with Marshmallows


High school students in Melissa Green’s unified science class recently accepted the “Marshmallow Challenge.” The goal of the challenge was for students to work together to construct the tallest free-standing structure in the class, using only spaghetti, marshmallows and tape.

“It’s a fun team-building exercise that also involves some of the engineering practices that New York State is moving us to in science instruction in a creative way, such as solving problems and iteration,” said David Knuffke, Deer Park’s curriculum associate for science and technology.

JQA Students’ Paw-fect Day at Willow Pet Hotel


Teachers Vincent Amodio and Jaclyn Stein recently took their K-2 students at John Quincy Adams on an educational field trip to the local Willow Pet Hotel.

The students toured the facility and interacted with one of the dogs, Cooper. They learned about the history of the Pet Hotel as well as how to care for pets and how to react when approached by an animal.

“The kids loved seeing all the dogs and learning about them,” said Amodio.

After their visit to the Willow Pet Hotel, the students enjoyed a lunch at McDonald’s, where they practiced manners, restaurant behavior and oral communication skills.

May Moore ENL Students Celebrate Love at Family Fun Night


Students in the English as a New Language program at May Moore recently celebrated love and unity at the school’s Family Fun Night, performing songs like “All You Need Is Love”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and the “The Polar Bear Stomp” for their families using props. They also collaborated on crafts and shared heart-shaped cookies.

“There was a great turnout of ENL students and their families, and overall the night was a great success,” said ENL teacher Danielle Finocchiaro.

View the video here.

High School Welcomes New Associate Principal


Victor LoMonaco has been hired as an associate principal at the high school, replacing Brian Norton, who was recently named the district administrator of secondary special education.

LoMonaco began his educational career at Deer Park in 2003, serving as a social studies teacher in the district for 14 years. The Nesconset resident earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Stony Brook University, his master’s degree in education from Dowling College and his administration certification from the College of Saint Rose.

“I look forward to working with a strong administration team and continue to establish a school culture based around academic achievement and the social and emotional development of all students,” said LoMonaco.

P.S. Promotes Unity at Deer Park Schools


Last month’s snowstorm forced purple-clad students at the high school and Robert Frost to move their annual observance of P.S. I Love You Day from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14, but the spirit of unity and positivity was undimmed.

The nonprofit organization 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. Held annually on the second Friday of February, the day promotes positive messages of love, acceptance and community, symbolized by the color purple.

“We decorated each student’s locker and staff member’s door or desk with messages of positivity and inclusiveness,” said Community Service Club adviser Christine DiProperzio, who organized the event along with Student Council adviser Kristen Salemi. “It is our hope that the students will know how much they matter to us.”

May Moore Students iGame Their Way to Fitness

At the annual May Moore iGames, students rotated through various active video game stations, each featuring a 100-inch screen, projector, video game system and an active video game. This unique physical fitness program is led by a certified iGame4 instructor and follows the school’s physical education class schedule for the week. The event closed with a schoolwide Family Fitness Night which included parent participation.

Three Soccer Stars Sign Letters of Intent


High school seniors Kristen DeBiase, Carli Fonseca and Taylor Maucere, all integral members of the school’s 2016 League IV champion soccer team, signed National Letters of Intent on March 6.

DeBiase, who played center-midfielder during her Falcons career, will play forward at Wingate University in North Carolina. She has earned All-State, All-County, League Player of the Year and All-Long Island second team honors with Deer Park, and also played for the Brentwood Rush club team.

“The coach made me feel welcome, and I loved the weather there,” said DeBiase of her choice of Wingate, where she plans to major in psychology.

Fonseca, who plays defense, signed with Molloy College in Rockville Centre, where she will major in education. She played for the EMSC Hotspurs club team and Western New York State travel team in addition to the Falcons.

“My mom went there, and it’s close to home,” she said of picking Molloy.

Maucere, a forward, will attend West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia. She earned All-Conference honors with the Falcons, and played for the national and state champion Albertson Fury club team.

“I fell in love with the campus, and it felt like home,” said Maucere of her selection of Wesleyan.

Deer Park Hires Two Special Ed Administrators


The district recently announced two new administrative positions in special education. Brian Norton was named district administrator of secondary special education, while David Renahan was named district administrator of elementary special education.

“The special education position was split in order to better serve the students, their parents and the teachers as well,” said James Cummings, the district’s assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services. “Having experts on both the elementary and secondary level will make our program more efficient and more effective.”

Norton had most recently served as an associate principal at Deer Park High School beginning in 2014, after five years as an associate principal in the South Country School District. He began his educational career in 1998 as a special education teacher in the Northport-East Northport School District. A Stony Brook resident and graduate of Stony Brook University, he earned a master’s degree in special education from Dowling College and a certificate of advanced studies in educational leadership from the College of Saint Rose.

“I look forward to serving the students and families of the Deer Park community in this new capacity,” said Norton.

Renahan previously worked for 12 years in the Riverhead Central School District, most recently as that district’s assistant director of special education. He was a special education teacher in Riverhead for eight years, after teaching third grade in the Connetquot Central School District. A resident of Centereach, he earned his bachelor’s degree in child study at St. Joseph’s College in 2004, his master’s degree in literacy from Long Island University in 2006, and an advanced graduate certificate in educational leadership from Stony Brook University in 2013.

Frost Orchestra Students Get ‘Up Close’ at Lincoln Center

The eighth-grade orchestra at Robert Frost went on its annual field trip to Lincoln Center on Feb. 8, where the students enjoyed a music program called Music Up Close. They were able to watch a professional chamber group rehearse for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Trio No. 1 in D minor for piano, violin and cello; ask questions of the performers; and tour the buildings that make up the Lincoln Center campus.  

Caring with Candy at JFK’s ‘Lolli-tine' Fundraiser


The student government at JFK held a creative candy fundraiser on Feb. 13 and 14, selling gift lollipops outside the school’s cafeteria during lunch periods. The students then delivered the “lolli-tines” in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day.

According to adviser Patricia Katz, the money raised will be used to support school improvements and community charities chosen by student government representatives.

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May Moore Second-Graders Surf the Web for Washington


In honor of Presidents’ Day, second-graders in Dana Grafstein’s class at May Moore surfed the Web to complete a graphic organizer about President George Washington. The students have been using a class set of Chromebooks and headphones to extend their learning out of the classroom. After logging on to their Google accounts, the students used what they had learned about George Washington on Brainpop Junior to complete a graphic organizer. They also had an opportunity to test their knowledge with an online quiz and even play a game.  

Dynamic Developments in ENL Program


Deer Park’s educators have met the challenges brought by the state’s recent move to an integrated co-teaching model of ENL instruction. More proficient learners are integrated into the mainstream classroom to be delivered language instruction with the support of two teachers, instead of one, while  students who are newcomers still receive language services in the small group learning setting that best fits their needs.

Ashley Lovett, the first-grade ENL teacher at May Moore, said, “The change has been really helpful for a lot of the kids who are ‘expanding’. They’re right on the precipice of exiting the program, so instead of me pulling them out and taking them out of learning content and literacy in their classroom, I push in and give them that little bit of support that they need, which ends up benefiting them greatly. Conversely, the students who are at the ‘entering/emerging’ level, who need a little more support, will see me in their classroom, and then they’ll also come to me for a quieter environment and more explicit language instruction.”

“Our ENL teachers are able to adjust, pre-teach, or revisit and reinforce the concepts that are being taught to the entire class to help every student learn to their fullest potential,” said JQA Principal Christopher Molinelli.

Robert Frost ELA/ENL teacher Michelle Champlin said, “The most influential consequence that came from this shift was the way it changed my thinking. These students are not just my students – they are all of our students, and the responsibility to deliver language instruction is a team effort. Regardless of the seemingly ever-changing acronyms for my profession, one common theme has remained: We must be advocates for those who have not ‘found’ their voice yet in the English language.”

The state’s mandate to integrate content with the ENL program has continued to be rolled out in various positive ways.

“A primary focus of my class is vocabulary, which is needed in order to obtain the proper math skills,” said Frost math/ENL teacher Kevin Dluginski. “Not only is this vocabulary used in math class, but it can be transferred to any subject area and into their daily lives.  My students are using the same material that the mainstream students are learning, just at a slower pace, with more visuals and hands-on materials to ensure the most success.”

Lovett noted last year’s Peace Pole project, a unit on peace and tolerance, and this past fall’s ENL field trip to Planting Fields Arboretum, which incorporated study of vocabulary, adjectives, grammar, speaking and listening.

“It’s shifting from let me just help you speak English, to let me help you speak English while also teaching you content at the same time, and promoting this global awareness for the kids,” Lovett said.

According to JFK ENL teacher Kimberly Essig, another main goals for the district’s ENL programs this year is to enhance parent involvement. Along with the ENL parent liaison committee and the Thursday night Parent Academy, a primary tool to achieve this is the new Propio phone service, which the district has made available to teachers, counselors and administration at every school. Staff can call a special number for the services of a live translator in approximately 80 different languages.

“Propio has been fantastic in removing language barriers when calling parents,” said Essig. “We are creating a community and making the parents feel welcome to come, instead of intimidated.”

Ferrara Named a Bright Light in Technology


High school technology teacher Jeremy Ferrara was recently honored with the Bright Light Award by Suffolk ASSET. Ferrara, who is in his second year in Deer Park, currently teaches robotics, metals and a World of Technology course. He is working to incorporate programming and modern engineering approaches into his curriculum, and is also in the process of rebuilding the district’s robotics program.  Students in his classes are expected to design solutions to solve problems.

“It is a pleasure to see someone so passionate about educating students on the practical uses of technology,” said Christopher Kauter, the district’s administrator of instructional technology. “Jeremy is focused on making an impact on the technology program in Deer Park.”

“We’re lucky to have a teacher like Jeremy in our technology department,” said David Knuffke, Deer Park’s curriculum associate for science and technology. “I’m excited about what he is doing for our students, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

Deer Park School District