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.”

May Moore Students Predict a Long Winter


Prior to Groundhog Day, curious students at May Moore wondered if there would be six more weeks of winter or an early spring. They made their predictions and compared them to the findings of four famous groundhogs.

On Feb. 2, both Punxsutawney Phil and Holtsville Hal saw their shadows, signifying a long winter. Contrary to these findings, Malverne Mel and Staten Island Chuck predicted an early spring.

“Our students agreed with a long winter, which translates to more sledding,” said Principal Alicia Konecny.

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.”

A ‘Soup-er’ Contest at JFK Aids Food Bank

JFK students participated in a  “Soup-er Bowl” charitable initiative, bringing in cans of soup and depositing them in one of two boxes in the school lobby representing their team pick, either the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots. The box holding the most soup cans on the last school day before the Feb. 5 NFL Super Bowl would be declared the winner.

“The Atlanta Falcons won our contest by a landslide, although that did not play out in the actual Super Bowl,” joked Patricia Katz, JFK’s student government adviser.

The collected soup cans were donated to the St. Cyril’s Food Bank in Deer Park.

HS Actors Go ‘Barefoot’ for Winter Play


Student-actors at the high school found an exciting challenge in this year’s winter play, Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park,” which was presented on Jan. 20 and 21.

Senior Anthony Henkel and junior Tori DiTomasso starred as mismatched newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter. The production also featured senior Alejandro Villa-Vasquez as Mr. Velasco, junior Alexandra Lane as Mrs. Ethel Banks, junior Michael Colombo as Harry Pepper the Telephone Repairman and junior Nolan Maggio as Mr. Munshin the Delivery Man.

“I am so proud of all of the actors,” said director Kristen Wallace. “The characters were very rich and tough to develop, and the scenes incorporated a great deal of physical and emotional intensity. It was very rewarding to encourage the students to work outside of their comfort zones, find a balance of drama and comedy, and see how well they accomplished it in the end.”

Simon’s 1963 play, the 10th longest running non-musical play in Broadway history, was nominated for three 1964 Tony Awards, winning Best Director. It was adapted for a popular 1967 film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, and an ABC television series in 1970.

Seniors Become Smart ALEKS in Math


Through an innovative partnership with Suffolk County Community College, the high school has taken the next step in ensuring students’ success in their first year of college with the implementation of the ALEKS program in the Intro to College Mathematics course.

Deer Park is one of only 11 districts on Long Island that are piloting McGraw-Hill Education’s ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces), a computer-driven mathematics tool specially designed with the help of SCCC to cover all the material expected of an incoming student. The program serves to reinforce basic skills, reteach material students have struggled with and cover material they may not have been taught in previous classes. Motivated students even have the ability to go beyond the core material, which includes a curriculum of 781 topics, and delve into first-year college lessons as a means to push themselves ahead of their eventual peers. Students are not limited to working on ALEKS within the classroom; it can be accessed from any device capable of using a web browser.

“The ALEKS program is a unique chance for students to reach new mathematical heights that they might not ever thought possible,” said teacher Frank Miata. “There is no limit to the amount of material they can learn in this class. If a student’s goal is to strengthen their math skills to better themselves, raise their math score on the SAT or prepare for college, this course will ensure their success.”

One of the program’s best features is that it allows students to work at their own pace, fostering a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

“It actually makes you pay attention,” said student Robert Boykin. “You have to do it on your own.”

“With ALEKS in the classroom, it is as if every student has their own personal tutor,” said Miata. “Our goal is to better every student and allow them to reach their full potential.”


Shed-ucation with the HS Home Improvement Course


At the high school, the 20 students participating in the brand-new home improvement program recently built a fully functional shed from scratch, learning all of the necessary construction techniques under the direction of teacher John Abeltin. While becoming familiarized with tools and materials, the students are mastering valuable skills such as basic wiring, including outlets and switches; painting plumbing; framing; designing with a hypotenuse; and cutting rafters.

They did a fabulous job, and are totally engaged in learning the basics of construction,” said Abeltin, who has 30 years of experience as a contractor under his belt. He taught middle school with Deer Park for a quarter-century, but moved up to the high school specifically to imbue the home improvement course with his deep knowledge of construction.

“This home improvement course is a great addition to our technology offerings in Deer Park,” said David Knuffke, the district’s curriculum associate for science and technology. “The kinds of hands-on, practical skills that the students learned when building the shed will help prepare them for life beyond the walls of our high school. Courses like this also help align our technology program with the types of engineering practices that New York State is moving towards with its recent adoption of new science learning standards, which put an emphasis on practical problem solving and designed engineering solutions. We’re fortunate to have Mr. Abeltin on staff to develop the course. He’s a master carpenter, and the students respect his knowledge and enjoy the opportunity to work with him. I’m excited to see where the program goes from here.”

JFK’s ‘Little Doctors’ Collect 43 Pints at Blood Drive

John F. Kennedy Intermediate School recently held a blood drive in coordination with Long Island Blood Services, collecting a total of 43 pints. Students who gathered names for at least 10 possible donors were invited to assist during the drive as LIBS “Little Doctors.” All fifth-graders at the school also attended an assembly that explained the circulatory system and the importance of donating blood.

2017 Winter Newsletter Now Available





Winter Runners Earn All-League Honors


The high school’s varsity boys winter track team successfully competed in the League III championship meet on Jan. 22.

Two seniors were named league champions: captain Chris Cox won the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4:41, beating the second-place finisher by 10 seconds after leading the entire way. Fellow senior Nick Fenton won the 1,000-meter race with a time of 2:40.

Said coach Thomas Brouillard, “This was the first time that a runner from Deer Park’s boys winter team has won an individual event at the league championship since 2008, when Mike Sena did so, and we had two do it!”

The school’s 4x800-meter relay team consisting of senior captains Chris Cox and Ryan Brown, senior Nick Fenton, and sophomore Ryan Brooks were named runners-up, earning All-League honors.

DECA Earns 29 Regional Trophies


A total of 94 of the high school's students participated in DECA’s Suffolk County Regional Competition on Jan. 4, competing against more than 1,400 students from 27 Suffolk County high schools. Deer Park boasted 29 trophy winners at the event, held at Suffolk County Community College, with another eight students earning honorable mention.

Nick Gallo and Andrew Siford earned first place in the Financial Services Team event, and Kayla Griffin earned first in Marketing Communications.

Chloe Rosenberg earned second place in Apparel & Accessories Marketing.

Third-place winners were Michael Mieses in Automotive Services Marketing, Stephen Lew and Vincent Verdile in Buying & Merchandising Team, William Buckley in Retail Merchandising, and Malique Papailler in Sports & Entertainment Marketing.

Other trophy winners included Ryan Byrne and Shamikh Rana in Accounting Applications; Valdy Flueriot in Automotive Services Marketing; David Batkiewicz in Business Finance; Amed Iqbal and Omar Rahim in Business Law & Ethics Team; Glenn Hope, Joewin James and Sean Stellin in Business Services Marketing; Kailey Tenn in Human Resources Management; Melanie Miranda and Badar Zaman in Marketing Communications; Nimra Salim and Aarvin Varghese in Principles of Business Management; Sean Sanchez and Dayanna Zuluaga in Principles of Finance; Jessica Siford in Principles of Hospitality; Nicole Bilello and Justin Finn in Principles of Marketing; and Ryan Verdile in Sports & Entertainment Marketing.

Honorable mentions went to Amar Qasir in Business Finance, Jamie Borah and Khabiba Shahid in Financial Services Team, Khaja Ibrahim and Catherine Taipe in Human Resources Management, Tyler Tesoriero in Principles of Hospitality, Alisha Suhail in Quick Serve Restaurant Management, and Vincent Aparicio in Restaurant & Food Service Management.

Their strong showing in these events provided Deer Park’s DECA winners with the opportunity to travel to Rochester in early March to compete in the State Career Conference against the state’s best business students. State winners will earn spots at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California at the end of April.

“Congratulations to all of our participating students,” said business teacher and DECA adviser Gregory Menig. “They worked hard for their achievement and I look forward to seeing them compete at the state level.”

Frost Students Gain Respect for Reptiles


Erik “The Reptile Guy” Callender recently visited Robert Frost, introducing students to important conservation concepts and teaching respect for wildlife through opportunities to interact with real reptiles such as snakes and alligators.

We’re always looking for opportunities to bring our science students into contact with nature,” said David Knuffke, Deer Park’s curriculum associate for science. “Presentations like Erik’s bring experiences to our district that students will remember for years to come, and help to foster a meaningful connection between them and the natural world they are a part of.”

Kicking Off Another Math-A-Thon Effort at JQA


Students at John Quincy Adams are participating in the Math-A-Thon fundraising effort for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the sixth year in a row. The initiative kicked off with a Jan. 4 presentation in the school cafeteria by math lab specialist Marianna Grieco, who organizes the drive each year. Over the past five years, her students have improved their math skills while raising more than $32,000 for St. Jude’s work to eradicate childhood cancer. Last year, they raised almost $9,000, earning JQA a spot in the top 100 fundraising schools in the country.

“We hope to match that amount this year,” said Grieco. “The Math-A-Thon helps us raise awareness and donations for this worthy cause.”

JFK Teacher Chipkin Selected to Work on State Assessments


JFK teacher Lauren Chipkin applied to be a passage reviewer for the upcoming state assessments and was selected to work with both the New York State Education Department and Questar, the creator of this year’s tests. She is also applying to be an item writer for the assessments.

Chipkin’s educational excellence was previously recognized by the state in 2012, when she was highlighted for her expertise in teaching literacy. The state sent a video crew to the school to work with several teachers to create videos that were used on the EngageNY website as exemplary models of teaching practices.

“Lauren is considered to be a leader among her peers in literacy and teaching methods, techniques and strategies,” said JFK Principal Susan Bonner of Chipkin, who has taught third grade and reading at JFK for 16 years. 

National Honor Society Inducts 55 New Members


The high school held its 55th annual National Honor Society induction ceremony on Dec. 12, welcoming 52 new members. The evening began with the pledge of allegiance, led by Class of 2017 valedictorian Omaier Mohiuddin. The new inductees took the membership pledge , administered by NHS President Michael Charumaneeroj, and all members participated in the traditional candle lighting ceremony.

Speakers included several other NHS members, Principal Charles Cobb, NHS adviser Seth Margolin and Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer. Schaffer and legislators Thomas F. Barraga and Lou D’Amaro all bestowed proclamation certificates for the honorees. The school’s chamber orchestra, directed by Kathy Attard, provided accompanying music.

JFK Students Give Back with Holiday Care Packages


Students in the JFK classrooms of teachers Heather Ciurleo, John Colford, Jenny Dixon, Joseph Verdicchio and Jennifer Zylberberg spent time last month creating care packages for those in need during the holidays.

The students decorated bags, which were filled with scarves, gloves, hats, toothbrushes, toothpaste, chips and hand sanitizer. They also wrote notes to include in the packages. The bags were later donated to Community Presbyterian Church in Deer Park.

“We wanted the children to realize how important it was to also give back to the community during the holidays,” said Ciurleo.

High School Flutist Zhang Named All-Eastern


The high school’s acclaimed flutist Megan Zhang has been accepted into the All-Eastern Honors Band. Zhang was chosen by the National Association for Music Education to perform at NAfME’s 2017 Eastern Division Conference, to be held April 5-8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Zhang, who studies under the guidance of Deer Park band teacher Jerry Cannarozzo, was also recently named an All-County and All-State musician.

“Megan’s dedication to her craft is admirable and inspiring to those that spend time with this phenomenal student-musician,” said Bradley Murphy, Deer Park’s districtwide curriculum associate for fine and performing arts.  “This is a tremendous honor.”

Frost Chamber Musicians Bring Cheer to Local Seniors

A group of giving musicians from Robert Frost, including the school’s chamber choir and a chamber ensemble group from the eighth-grade orchestra, paid a special visit on Dec. 22 to two local nursing homes – Our Lady of Consolation in West Islip and Sunrise of Dix Hills – to bring holiday cheer with song. The ensemble was led by directors Youngsun Koh-Lee and Maria Wingert.

An Inspirational Pair of Candidates at DPHS


High school freshman Alyssa Robb and sophomore Maya Kovic were among only 14 students selected as candidates for the first-ever Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Student of the Year program on Long Island.  Both Kovic and Robb are dedicated, diligent students and currently enrolled in numerous Advanced Placement courses.

Hailing from both public and private schools across Long Island, the candidates were chosen by the LLS Leadership Committee for their support of the Society’s mission to raise funds for blood cancer research and cures through leadership, passion and involvement in the community. The candidate who raises the most money at the end of the six weeks will be named Student of the Year and receive a $2,500 scholarship. In addition, three students will be selected to receive a Citizenship Scholarship Award of $500 each based on their commitment to community, leadership and the LLS mission. The campaign will kick off on Feb. 9 and will culminate with a March 23 awards ceremony at the Fox Hollow in Woodbury, when the winners will be announced.

“It is absolutely wonderful to see two young ladies that are so motivated and driven to volunteer their time to this great cause,” said school counselor Margaret C. Pereira. “They are truly an inspiration.”

“These students embody the idea that anyone can make a difference with hard work and dedication,” said Sara Lipsky, the executive director of the LLS’s Long Island Chapter. “They are helping to make an impact on the lives of cancer patients, not someday, but today.”

Frost Student Kaur Wins $1,500 Hispanic Heritage Essay Contest


Robert Frost student Jasleen Kaur was awarded a $1,500 cash scholarship for winning the grand prize in the Altice Connects Hispanic Heritage Month essay contest. Kaur wrote about Argentinian soccer player Sergio Aguero. More than 1,000 essays were submitted for the contest, which was sponsored by Altice USA, the parent company of Optimum.

Altice presented Kaur with a check at a Dec. 12 ceremony at Robert Frost, attended by Assemblyman Andrew P. Raia, who also presented her with a citation.

“Jasleen is a leader in and outside of the classroom,” said Spanish teacher Meredith Telese. “From the moment that I presented this opportunity to her, I knew that her essay would be nothing short of fantastic. She always strives to achieve her goals, and this award is truly representative of the driven and motivated student and person that she is. Her essay on Sergio Aguero focused on his compassion and dedication to helping others. Jasleen also embodies such characteristics, and I am so very proud of her accomplishment.”

Caring with Cookies at Robert Frost


Seventh graders at Robert Frost participated in a community service project during the month of December, baking dozens of cookies for donation to the Mercy Inn Outreach Center in Wyandanch.

“Service learning experiences like this teach teens to look beyond themselves and understand the positive role they can play in their local community,” said family and consumer science teacher Paula Behrens, who guided the baking project with fellow teacher Cindy Adriaenessens.

Deer Park School District