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Board of Education Meeting and Public Budget Hearing, Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater

Board of Education Meeting and Public Budget Hearing, Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater.

Fashion Show Fun!

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Dressed to impress, LVHS seniors modeled the latest in formal wear, sportswear and casual wear to raise funds for their prom. Check out the slideshow to see how they ruled the runway.

 

Model UN Goes to Washington

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A desire to create and pass legislation brought 45 Locust Valley High School students to the Washington Area Model United Nations Conference, hosted by George Washington University from March 21-24.

The attendees, members of the high school’s Model United Nations Club, enjoyed discussing historical and current issues with their peers from around the world. They prepared for months, researching their assigned nations and characters in depth to participate in committees with 1,300 student delegates.  A joint session of the 91st U.S. Congress, a historic Congress of Vienna, a futuristic Arctic Task force in 2025, and the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development were some of the committees they took part in. They learned about diplomacy, debated various topics and compromised on a variety of resolutions. 

To make the most of the trip, the group also explored sites in Washington, D.C., including the United States Institute of Peace, where they learned about the purpose of the organization and how members worked around the world to defuse conflict through diplomacy and negotiation. They also visited the National Museum of American History and the Lincoln Memorial. Some students went to see the White House. 

The trip was chaperoned by club advisers Ashley Gruter and Stephanie Scavelli, along with faculty member Alexandra Cannone and high school principal Patrick DiClemente. They not only enjoyed seeing the success the students were having with this experience, but they also learned alongside them. 

“We were impressed with the professionalism and maturity with which the students presented themselves and represented Locust Valley,” Mr. DiClemente said. “The advisers also did an outstanding job mentoring the group in preparation for the event.

Congratulations to all of the participants and to the Model UN officers for their excellent leadership. The officers are Kat Berritto, Danielle Caso, Seamus Fallon, Sarah Lubow, Joseph McNamara and Mikey Porco. 








Real-World Experience Enhances Classroom Lessons

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The benefits of participating in the middle school Model UN class are almost endless. Students polish their public-speaking skills, develop confidence and leadership abilities, enhance research and writing skills, and learn to negotiate and work as part of a team.

At Locust Valley Middle School, 32 eighth graders are reaping these benefits and more, as Model UN is offered as an enrichment elective. After preparing for months, the students participated in the Global Classrooms International Model United Nations from March 29-30 at the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan. They were among 1,700 students from around the world taking part in the event.

Avery Sessler and Daniel Peterson won best position paper for the Historic Security Council, and Aidan Domin and Aidan Moran won honorable mention in ECOFIN. 

All of the students prepared position papers from the perspective of either China or Burkina Faso on topics such as Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change, Illegal Antiquities Trading and Rights of Migrant Workers. They debated the topics in committees such as IAEA, Security Council, UNESCO and WHO, and then wrote and voted on resolutions in blocs. 

The students attended the closing ceremonies on Saturday in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters. They made friends and exchanged gifts with children from several continents!

Model UN coach Michele Gaglione said the experience was invaluable. “The preparation alone taught the students a tremendous amount,” she said. “Presenting their findings and speaking with their peers from other countries offered insight that they cannot gain from textbooks.”




Foreign Language Honor Societies Welcome Newest Members

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On a stage adorned with the brightly colored flags of France, Italy and Spain, the Locust Valley High School Foreign Language Honor Society inducted its newest members. Nearly 80 students proved that their foreign language skills were worthy of entrance into the elite club.

The ceremony was dripping with cultural touches, including poems read in French, Italian and Spanish, as well as musical performances that represented each language. The officers of the French, Italian and Spanish honor societies led the ceremony, administered the oaths to each group and introduced each speaker.

Amy Watson, K-12 World Language Coordinator, shared that she first fell in love with foreign language as a student at Locust Valley High School. Other speakers included Locust Valley High School Principal Patrick DiClemente, Board of Education President Brian T. Nolan and Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carl Bonuso. Each shared their pride in the inductees for their accomplishments and all agreed that speaking a foreign language opens the door for many opportunities, professionally and socially. 

Congratulations to the inductees on this outstanding achievement! 

Creativity Soars in Odyssey of the Mind Competition

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The Locust Valley High School Odyssey of the Mind team earned second place in the Spontaneous category at the state level of competition on March 24 in Binghamton, New York. The team placed eighth overall in a field of 16 teams.

The long-term performance was a classic called Leonardo’s Workshop. 

Coach Alan Stella said the team’s creativity and witty performance captured praise from the judges and audience alike. 

Congratulations to team members Catherine Almonte, Nicholas Chiu, Nicole Dressler, Jack Manning, Olivia Olynciw, Takara Perkins and Joanna Yu.

LVHS Artists Learn From Alumna

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Locust Valley High School IB art students learned just what their IB art classes can do for them when they visited the exhibit of a Locust Valley High School alumna. 

High school art teachers Donna Chaplin and Linda DeFeo led their students on a trip to Manhattan to see the art exhibit of their former student Julia Ryan, Class of 2013.

Julia told the current IB students that taking IB courses benefited her greatly in college. She explained that the program prepares artists to take their work and themselves seriously. She also said it was helpful that friends she met in college from other countries such as India and Brazil had taken some of the same courses that she took. 

Ms. Chaplin said it is important that students experience art outside of their screens. “Our IB students are going through the process of developing and presenting a body of work,” she explained. “Seeing how Julia sets up her collection for view and listening to how she gets inspired to create her different series of works helps our students make the mental connection with what they are currently trying to achieve in their classes.”
 

Locust Valley Among Best Communities for Music Education

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Locust Valley Central School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  

The designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. This award recognizes that Locust Valley is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The district offers music education starting in kindergarten, with opportunities to join chorus, band and orchestra in intermediate school. At the middle and high school level, there are additional enhancements to the music education program, including jazz band, concert chorale and chamber orchestra. The success of the district’s music programs is highlighted at the many concerts and performances held throughout the year and at various community events at which Locust Valley musicians entertain. 

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

Making Mental Health a Priority

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Learning various methods and practices that instill wellness and mental health was the goal of a recent field trip taken by six high school students. The group attended the Nassau County Youth Wellness Summit in Merrick on March 19. The event, sponsored by the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide and the Long Island Youth Wellness Summit Committee, offered workshops intended to empower teens with preventative measures and coping skills that they could bring back to the school and share with their peers.

Sophomores Emerson Banos-Ronquillo, Julia Czerwonka and Kaitlyn Ward joined juniors Nina Rose Cialone, Anthony Scicutella and Matthew Scicutella at the conference with high school psychologist Kristen Sylvan and individual needs teacher Kristy Kinsley. The students were chosen for their leadership skills and ability to share the information with others in the school community.

One workshop taught participants how to use yoga poses to incorporate more calm into one’s life. Other workshops addressed the importance of self-worth and emphasized that it is OK to talk about suicidal feelings and to reach out for help. Messages throughout the day focused on helping one another and helping oneself.  Recent high school graduates shared advice on transitioning to college and managing various challenges that the students will face. 

Ms. Sylvan said that the summit provided students with an opportunity to hear from experts in the field, collaborate with students from districts across Nassau County to raise awareness and offer resources for mental health issues.   

“We are proud that our students were part of Nassau County’s first Youth Wellness Summit. The students were active participants in the day’s activities and feel empowered to bring these lessons back to their school community,” Ms. Sylvan said. “These student leaders will be able to use the strategies in their own lives and will also be able to advocate for the well-being of their friends, classmates and community.”

Lip Sync Battle

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LVHS students participated in the annual Lip Sync Battle to raise funds for Class of 2019 prom. Check out the photos from this entertaining event.

Student-Athlete College Recruiting Presentation

Student-Athlete College Recruiting Presentation
Tuesday, April 30, 6 p.m.
LVHS Auditorium


Athletes, coaches, parents and anyone navigating the college athletic recruitment process will benefit from a presentation by Mark Leinweaver of "Perfect Playcement" on April 30 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. 

Leinweaver, a Major League Baseball agent and owner of the educational campaign company, “Perfect Playcement” will share valuable information on how to make decisions that will allow a student to continue their athletic career in college. Some topics often covered in his presentations include questions college coaches might ask, questions students and parents should ask college coaches, determining which schools are appropriate for a particular athlete based on various factors, differences between collegiate athletic classifications and more.

Please join us and bring your family, friends and neighbors!

Filmmakers Take Home Nine Statues at Prestigious Festival

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Locust Valley High School filmmakers used specific lighting, camera angles, carefully crafted scriptsand the right actors to create films that would evoke emotions in their audiences. In a variety of genres, the students told stories that made the audience feel connected to their characters or storyline. Their efforts paid with nine awards at the 14th Annual Locust Valley Film Festival held on March 28.

Competing against students from nine schools across Long Island, the films were judged by acclaimed ABC Entertainment Reporter and movie critic Sandy Kenyon. Mr. Kenyon sat quietly during the festival as 66 films were shown, making notes about the acting, the scripts, the lighting and other technical aspects.

Mr. Kenyon, who has judged the high school’s film festival for nine years, does not know from which schools the films originate as he judges. Before the awards are given, he offers his constructive criticism to help the young filmmakers improve.

He often talks about using the students who perform in the school plays as the actors and making sure the lighting is appropriate. This year was no different as he pointed out that actors should not be in front of bright windows. “I could not see the actor’s face,” he said. While the comment may sound critical, the young filmmakers will likely not make that mistake again.

Overall, Kenyon said this year’s festival was one of the best he’s been to at Locust Valley. “I learned more this year,” he said, explaining that the films meant something and he was interested in what they had to say.

Taking the trophy in six out of 12 categories, the Locust Valley students proved that they are perfecting the skills they’ve acquired in their film classes and learning from the advice Kenyon offers each year.

Locust Valley High School film teacher and film festival organizer Roger Boucher said this seemed to be the most competitive year in the history of the festival, with every school winning at least one award. 

“The thing that makes me most proud is the success we achieved at every level,” Boucher said. “It’s great to see students from every course in our program rewarded for their hard work and dedication. We are a very young program and I think our best is yet to come.” He said winners came from the high school’s Media Studies, Filmmaking and IB Film courses.

Participating schools submitted their film entries before the festival for prejudging by professors at Five Towns College. The finalists were included in the festival for judging by Kenyon.

Community members packed the high school mini-theater on March 25 for Monday Night at the Movies, a free screening of the Locust Valley student films in advance of the festival.

Congratulations to Locust Valley’s award winners:

First-Place Awards:

Comedy: “Not Today” by Reed Barcellos, John Madsen, Matthew Pisciotta

Editing: “Intervention” by Madeline Daly, Ava Ireland

Public Service Announcement: “Attack of the Ad” by Trinity Benstock, Maria Bubulinus, Christina Pierno

Best Director

“Brads Town: Age of Amoral” by Anthony Madsen

Second-Place Awards:

Cinematography: “Brads Town: Age of Amoral” by Anthony Madsen

Comedy: “The Felonious Perpetrator” by Alexander Gianoukakis, Brian Graham, Nick Sanchez, Jack Pflaumer

Documentary: “Pulling Through” by Madeline Daly

Sound Design: “Intervention” by Ava Ireland, Madeline Daly

Third-Place Award:

Music Video: “Your Love” by Alexander Gianoukakis, Nick Sanchez Reed Barcellos, Doran McCormack

 


Coming Together to Create Success

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More than 130 people attended the district’s Bilingual Nights, an event that brings the community together and offers support to Spanish-speaking families to make them feel more comfortable being part of their children’s school lives.
 
The two-night event was organized and moderated by teaching assistant Cyndy Ergen, who translates documents into Spanish for the school district and communicates with Spanish-speaking families on behalf of the schools. Held at Bayville Primary School on March 13 and at Locust Valley Intermediate School on March 14, this year’s turnout was far greater than those held in the past four years.
 
“As word gets out about how helpful these programs are, more Spanish-speaking families want to attend,” Ms. Ergen said. She explained that the information offered helps parents understand the support available in the schools for them and for their children. “We explain how to use the website and how to translate the website into Spanish, who to call with various questions and who is in charge of different departments.”
 
Administrators representing areas such as special education, curriculum and health education spoke to the attendees, with Ms. Ergen translating their presentations into Spanish as they spoke.
 
Representatives from the local libraries provided information on their services, and various businesses donated items such as bags, reusable water bottles, toothbrushes and keychains.
 
“These presentations prove that bringing the community together is beneficial for everyone,” Ms. Ergen said. “The families are very thankful that we want to help them become more involved in their children’s education.”

As Henry Ford once said about teamwork, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”

Rocking Socks For Awareness

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Bayville Intermediate School students and staff rocked colorful socks in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. People around the world raised awareness of Down syndrome by wearing colorful socks or three socks to represent the unique traits of those with Down syndrome.

The date of March 21 (3/21) was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome which leads to Down syndrome.

AP/IB Review Sessions

Click the link below for the schedule of AP/IB review sessions. Check back often for updates.

IB/AP Review Session Schedule

All-County Honors for Artists

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The artwork of 12 Locust Valley students earned All-County Honors and was included in the Art Supervisors Association All-County Art Exhibit on March 10 at Farmingdale State College.

Senior Daniel Dessner was selected as a recipient of the Art Supervisors Association Senior Scholarship Award and was presented with his award at a ceremony during the art exhibit. Daniel’s artwork was displayed with a gold seal in the exhibit, designating him as a scholarship recipient. 

The Art Supervisors Association honors students in kindergarten through grade 12 who have demonstrated excellence in a wide variety of two-dimensional visual art forms, including drawing, painting, printmaking, computer graphics and photography. 

Congratulations to the honorees and their art teachers!

The All-County Honorees are:

Genna Cecchini, Grade 9
Christopher Cooney, Grade 7
Isabella Craft, Grade 8
Daniel Dessner, Grade 12 – Scholarship Winner
Matthew Fazio, Grade 6
Emma Ginsberg, Grade 8
Jillian Kanzer, Grade 11
Tighe Mullarkey, Grade 9
Julianna Nabet, Grade 8
Daniella Orlassino, Grade 12
Jackson Palmer, Grade 9
Noelle Valdinoto, Grade 9

VIDEO: Culinary Club Cooks for Families in Need

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STEAM Skills Beat the Trickiness of Leprechauns

Three student build a leprechaun trap.

Leprechauns don’t stand a chance against the STEAM skills of kindergarten students. The young inventors used science, technology, engineering, artand math skills to create leprechaun traps. Hoping the leprechauns would lead them to a pot of gold, the traps used all the things the students thought would attract the mythical creatures in Irish folklore.

Teachers and students read books about leprechauns that taught them that these little bearded men love mischief, shiny objects and rainbows. They used this knowledge to build traps from cardboard boxes that contained glitter, slides and rainbow collages. Some even had beds inside to keep the leprechauns happy once caught.

Ann MacArthur Primary School teacher Candice Pellicane said the kindergarten classes have been learning about problem-solving with academic work and real-world situations. The students have learned to plan out the solution to their problem before designing it.

“This project not only prompted them to use the problem-solving skills they have learned in kindergarten, but also required them to use higher-order thinking,” Ms. Pellicane said. “It is amazing to watch the students really communicate with their peers and for us as educators to be able to see their thinking process.”

Ms. Pellicane said that the students faced challenges when building the traps that they had planned out on paper. This required them to figure out what was wrong with their plan and how to correct the problem.

Bayville Primary School teacher Kelsey Burns had her students build the leprechaun traps using the same method of planning it out on paper first. She said that the project was a wonderful way to incorporate the STEAM curriculum into a hands-on activity. Her class worked in groups of four to create each trap, and as they presented their finished products to the rest of the class, they shared the challenges and the successes they had while doing the actual building.

“My students learned to take a step back and evaluate their plans to see what they could do better,” Ms. Burns said. “In the end, they all felt their traps would catch the leprechauns!”

 

Spotlight on Science

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Ideas were developed, hypotheses stated and experiments conducted in preparation for Locust Valley Intermediate School’s science fair. Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders presented their findings at the annual event sponsored by the Locust Valley Elementary School Parents’ Council.

Young scientists conducted research and experiments to discover, among other things, whether sanitizer or soap eliminates more bacteria from hands, how much salt is needed to make an egg float and which liquids would expand gummy bears the most.

LVI science lab instructor Caroline McBride said the students conduct their experiments and create their poster boards at home using knowledge they have gained from the science curriculum. “The science fair is an excellent way to enhance and reinforce what we are learning in school,” she said.

Each project was judged by high school students in the science research program along with high school science teachers Chris Hoppner and Alan Stella.

Congratulations to all the participants and to the following winners:

Third Grade

First Place: Up, Up and Away, by Gavin Hoban and Asher Zito

Second Place: Best Hockey Shot, by Logan Moran

Third Place: Comparing the Environmental Impact of Different Types of Light Bulbs, by Ava Gross

Fourth Grade

First Place: Where Are the Germs in Your Neighborhood? by Russell Dardzinski and Peter Norby

Second Place: Beware of Your Hands, by Julianna Hach, Izabella Sammut and Izabella Watson 

Third Place: Mind Over Batter, by Ellis Blair and Kate Bodian
 
Fifth Grade


First Place: Density Water Bot Rocket, by Rowan Shenoy

Second Place: OJ Art Blasters, by Juliette D’Addario and Olivia Manning

Third Place: Yummy Growing Gummy Bears, by Emily Gallo, Lily Goodstein and Natalee Weiss







Bringing the Community Together

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Locust Valley and Bayville seniors were treated to a performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone” at Locust Valley High School on March 17. Performed by the Locust Valley Jesters, the musical provided laughter, romanceand impressive singing and dancing.

Organized through the Locust Valley and Bayville senior centers, tickets to the show were provided at no cost. Following the performance, these special guests were treated to an intergenerational dinner in the high school cafeteria, served by members of the student government.

The entertainment wasn’t over when the curtain fell. Following dinner, the cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” sang one last encore in the cafeteria.

“What joy it was to watch different generations breaking bread together and sharing their love for theater, school community, and each other,” said Acting Superintendent Carl Bonuso, Ed.D. 

Five Star Performance by LVHS Jesters!

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The Locust Valley High School Jesters entertained audiences during three stellar performances of  “The Drowsy Chaperone” March 15-17. Set in the Jazz Age, the musical provided the perfect stage to highlight the singing, dancing and acting talents of the Locust Valley High School actors.

The Jesters’ comedic timing resulted in roaring laughter from the audience, and applause for their singing was endless. 

The story opened with a man in a chair putting on his favorite record, the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical. The Jesters then brought the record to life with the man, played by Locust Valley High School senior Alim Merchant, pausing the record to share his commentary on the actors and the plot during various scenes. 

This musical within a comedy brought energy to the Locust Valley High School auditorium, and the Jesters should be proud of the professional performance they presented.

Cultural Celebration Reinforces Curriculum

A girl paints Japanese letters.

Creating flower art, learning to use chopsticks and crafting origami reinforced what third-graders at Bayville Intermediate School learned during a unit on Japanese culture. Celebrating the culture of Japan with traditional Japanese activities was a fun and creative opportunity to reinforce the lessons taught in class.

Activities also included haiku, Sudoku puzzles and making dragon puppets. Parents attended the cultural celebration and assisted their children with the activities. Mock sushi made from crispy cereal and fruit rollups helped children experience eating with chopsticks.

Experiencing actual aspects of Japanese culture was exciting and informative for everyone.

Transported Back to Colonial Times

A boys and girl make candles.

Candle making and yarn weaving were among the activities that fourth-graders at Bayville Intermediate School tried during Colonial Day. The curriculum includes learning about colonial times and, therefore, replicating activities done during that era helps reinforce the lessons learned in class.

Parent volunteers helped the day to run smoothly by leading various activities. They helped children dip wicks into colored wax to make candles and instructed them in how to weave yarn. In another demonstration, volunteers outlined students’ heads using flashlights to replicate the silhouette portraits of the time because cameras had not yet been invented. Other activities included writing in calligraphy and making butter from scratch.

Time to Write ... But First, Yoga

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Standing in warrior pose and practicing bear breath, snake breath, elephant breath or bunny breath, first-graders in Brianna Spitaliere’s class at Ann MacArthur Primary School are learning to self-regulate. Students choose the yoga breath they need depending on whether they need to calm down or energize before beginning their writing workshop.
 
Yoga is practiced in this classroom as a transition between guided reading and writing workshop to help children prepare for their creative session. The mindfulness activity is performed during the Integrated ENL/ELA block with co-teacher Marie Mills.
 
Standing yoga poses such as mountain, triangle and warrior contribute to the development of strength, balance and focus. Students also learn partner poses, which they do with their writing partners. Elevator and back-to-back chair pose offer additional benefits, such as building trust and cooperation.
 
Ms. Mills said that yoga has offered a positive transition to the writing process. “Physical movement fosters learning,” she said. Similarly, “writing partners must work together, provide feedback and cooperate with one another,” she said. 
 
Ms. Spitaliere said that the students have benefited from the workshops in many ways. “Students feeling tired now know some breathing techniques they can use to gain energy, while those feeling like they can’t sit still can use different breaths to calm them down and prepare them to write,” she said.
 
Co-teaching during the ENL/ELA block has allowed the two yoga enthusiasts to work together to bring more enrichment to the children. The idea was gleaned from a workshop the two teachers attended on Superintendent’s Conference Day. Taught by Bayville Primary School librarian Stefanie Lipsey, the session focused on ways to incorporate yoga into writing workshops and recommended various materials that Ms. Spitaliere and Ms. Mills have incorporated into their workshop, including the use of chimes to signal the start of breathing exercises and for behavior management.


Author Offers Writing Inspiration

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Author Joe McGee stood in front of Bayville Elementary School students and asked them to close their eyes and imagine a yellow room with a table and a red tablecloth and a cage with a fuzzy, white bunny.
 
“I just created an image in all of your heads,” Mr. McGee said. “That is the magic of storytelling.” He told the auditorium full of students that storytellers are like magicians. “We take words and create characters, and it’s like magic.”
 
Mr. McGee visited Bayville Primary and Intermediate Schools for Author’s Day, sponsored by the Bayville PTA in coordination with the schools’ librarians Paige Coppola and Stefanie Lipsey.
 
Ms. Lipsey said that having an author visit and talk to the children about writing encourages them to write more. “They see firsthand how writing can be fun, and they learn tricks of the trade that they can use in the classroom,” she said.
 
“My goal is for each of you to use your imagination,” Mr. McGee said. He went on to explain that ideas come from observing, daydreaming, being curious, reading, playing, listening and asking “What if?” He said asking questions and finding the answers helps in writing amazing stories. “Anything you want to do, you can absolutely do it,” he said.
 
After sharing details on how he became a writer, including that he started writing his own stories in fourth grade, Mr. McGee read his book, “Peanut Butter & Aliens.” 

Many thanks to the Bayville PTA for bringing this special guest to Bayville Elementary Schools!

Second-Graders Debate Topical Issue

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Should plastic straws be banned? This was the topic debated in Tanya Becker’s second-grade integrated ENL class at Ann MacArthur Primary School. Using persuasive writing, the students chose one side of this topical issue and made their viewpoint known.
 
Ms. Becker and her co-teacher Suzette Ioannou said the debate took place after the class researched the topic by reading an article on whether or not plastic straws should be banned. The information in the article was discussed in small groups before each child wrote their opinion with supporting information, based on the article and their personal experiences. 

Those students favoring the banning of plastic straws pointed out that the straws can injure animals and are bad for the environment. On the opposing side, students said that straws are needed by people with certain disabilities and that those using the straws should learn to recycle them.
 
Once each student in the class had read their persuasive essay, they answered questions as to whether or not the debate changed their own opinion. Some students said that indeed, a classmate had provided information that changed their opinion.

Ms. Becker and Ms. Ioannou explained that this type of challenging assignment will help prepare students for future academic goals and achievements and that the topic was chosen because it was one that the students could relate to regardless of language acquisition. 
 

Random Acts of Kindness Spark Joy

Three girls pose with the lunch bags they decorated.

Learning to be kind starts young and is reinforced as students grow. At Locust Valley Middle School, health classes recently used teamwork and creativity to help students share ideas on ways they can be kind.

After viewing a video about a boy named Liam in Massachusetts who started a non-profit organization called Liam’s Lunches of Love. Liam delivers food to the homeless in paper bags handcrafted with motivational sayings, and Locust Valley Middle School health classes decided to step in to help him, just as Liam helped others. 

Sixth-graders talked about various acts of kindness, wrote examples of acts of kindness on the white board and then decorated paper bags to send to Liam’s Lunches of Love. Students researched inspirational quotes and, using colorful markers and crayons, wrote those quotes on the bags. Their own decorations surrounded sayings such as “It never gets easier, you just get better” and “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”

Middle school health teacher Laura Vera said that after learning about Liam’s Lunches of Love, she and her fellow health teachers Heather DeGregorio and Roberto Gutierrez agreed that assisting him in his efforts could act as a reminder that we all have the capacity to spread kindness.  

“By decorating the bags with motivational sayings and artwork, and writing gratitude notes to a special person in their lives, students were able to practice a random act of kindness before they even left the classroom," said Ms. Vera.

Interact Makes a Difference

Two students and a teacher pose with collected items.
The high school’s Interact Club took their toy and pajama drive to the next level by personally delivering the collected items to Winthrop Hospital, where they will be distributed to children undergoing various medical treatments.

The club members collected the items for the Matthew Fetzer Foundation which was established in memory of Matthew Fetzer, who lost his life to cancer when he was a student at Bayville Intermediate School. When Matthew was sick, he dreamed of bringing toys to sick children when he got better. His family made sure his dream would come true in his honor, and the school community supports their efforts each year.

Interact Club adviser Erica Reilly said the club’s members work all year to support important causes. “Supporting the Matthew Fetzer Foundation makes the students feel good, knowing they are helping children who are suffering,” Ms. Reilly said. “Putting a smile on the face of a child who may not have much to smile about is extremely gratifying.” 

100 Days of Learning

Four girls are dressed like 100-year-old ladies.

Primary school students can count to 100 by fives, tens and twenties and they proved it during assemblies celebrating the 100th day of school at Ann MacArthur and Bayville Primary Schools.

Students in kindergarten through second grade sang songs that included counting to 100, listened to a story about the 100th day of school and celebrated the number 100. The 100th student to enter the school that day, students who were present for all 100 days of school and those that correctly guessed the number of treats in a jar were all recognized. 

“While the 100th day of school may not be an official holiday, it is an opportunity to reinforce math skills through collaboration with reading, music and movement,” said Locust Valley Elementary Schools Principal Dr. Sophia Gary.

Important Letter from the Acting Superintendent

 

Please see the attached letter from Acting Superintendent Carl Bonuso, Ed.D

 

 

Attachments:

Learning to Love Literacy

Four students pose with their folders

Fifth-graders in Margaret Costello’s class at Locust Valley Intermediate School all have jobs. They are illustrators, discussion directors, summarizers, connectorsand word wizards. These hardworking students don’t just stick with one job, but rather try out each of these jobs on a rotating basis. The roles are part of a literary circle/book club that Mrs. Costello is running in her classroom.

Assigned to groups, the fifth-graders are reading the book “The Great Gilly Hopkins” by Katherine Paterson. Groups of approximately four students each meet to discuss a chapter of the book that either has been read together in class or individually at home. Each student shares with their group the work they did at home for their assigned job.

The illustrator shares a drawing depicting their interpretation of the chapter, while the summarizer will read a description of the same section of the book. Connectors discuss how events in the story relate or connect to their own lives, and word wizards explain the meaning of advanced words that their classmates may not know. Discussion directors make sure the group discussion is flowing appropriately. The jobs are rotated so each student has the opportunity to perform each task at least once.

Anna Cavallo, a student in the class, said this method of working together helps her understand the text. She explained that when her classmates make connections to their own lives she is able to make sense of the story more easily.

Some students said they enjoy that the activity allows students to hear different perspectives of each chapter. Christian Ciccone said studying a book in this manner allows him to communicate his thoughts to his classmates. “We are all equal, sharing ideas, and it inspires me,” he said.

Mrs. Costello walks around the room visiting each group, offering her guidance as needed. She also gathers feedback on how this process is working to ensure the students are learning in the best possible way.

“Helping their peers learn is very powerful,” she said. “If they have ownership over what they learn, they will put more effort in and the learning will be authentic.”

 



Senior Named National Merit Finalist

Adit Dutta poses with administrators
High school senior Adit Dutta has been named a National Merit Scholarship finalist based on his exceptional performance on the Preliminary SAT. The College Board bestows this honor upon less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide each year.

Adit was named a semifinalist in the competition earlier this school year. Advancing to finalist standing is an even greater achievement, as he is among an elite group of only 15,000 finalists out of 1.5 million seniors nationwide that took the PSAT. Adit then went on to perform exceptionally well on the SAT, a requirement for advancing to finalist status. 

An IB Diploma candidate, Adit is also a member of the wrestling team. He plays the piano and has a talent for drawing, which he practices in his IB Art course. Adit is considering majoring in biology and preparing for a possible career in dentistry.

The College Board shares the names of students who earn these distinctions with colleges and universities. As a finalist, Adit is now eligible to receive scholarships of $10,000 toward his college education. These scholarships can come from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, corporate sponsors or the universities the finalists attend. 

Congratulations to Adit on this prestigious accomplishment!
 

Excellence Earns Entrance to National Junior Honor Society

Five students pose in front of glitter board

More than 60 Locust Valley Middle School students proved that they had all the attributes required to join the prestigious National Junior Honor Society and were inducted during a traditional ceremony on Feb. 7.

The society accepts only those students having demonstrated qualities that exhibit scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship. Therefore, sitting on the stage in the middle school auditorium during the ceremony were inductees representing the school as well-rounded, hardworking and community minded. 

Assisted by the National Junior Honor Society advisers Kelley Grassi and Jennifer Tichy, the organization’s current officers led the ceremony, each describing one of the society’s required qualities and lighting the corresponding candle. President Margaret Kuebler lit the candle for scholarship, Vice President Jolie Pye for service, Secretary Catherine Saffi for leadership, Treasurer Megan McDonald for character and Service Officer Susan Meza for citizenship.

Board of Education President Brian Nolan addressed the inductees and their guests. “On behalf of the Board of Education, I congratulate each of you and thank you for being a part of what makes Locust Valley Central School District so successful,” he said. “It is you and your teachers that bring life to our school buildings and create energy in our classrooms, and we are thrilled to celebrate you.”

Principal H. Thomas Hogan said it was impressive that the students managed to be successful in a broad range of subjects over an extended period of time. “Think about that as the central attribute of success,” he said. 

Mr. Hogan led the inductees in reciting the pledge of the National Junior Honor Society and the lighting of their individual candles. 

The ceremony closed with inspiring words from Acting Superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso. “I was truly in awe to hear the kinds of things that these young people are involved in,” he said. Dr. Bonuso explained that in his short time in the district, he has seen middle school students excel in an array of activities, including their recent musical production. 

Congratulations to all of the National Junior Honor Society inductees!








All-State Wrestlers

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Congratulations to varsity wrestlers Gage DeNatale (132 lbs.) and Vinnie Marchand (126 lbs.) on earning All-State Honors at the state wrestling championships! Gage and Vinnie took fourth and sixth place in their respective weight classes, an incredible accomplishment at the state level. Congratulations Falcons! 

Kids of Distinction

Three student honorees with their certificates
Three Locust Valley Central School District students won the Kid of Distinction Award from Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan. They were among only 25 student winners recognized as outstanding in athletics, academics, the arts and community service. The Locust Valley winners were William Edmonds, Seamus Fallon and Grace O’Mahony.

Locust Valley High School senior Seamus Fallon has represented Locust Valley at the highest levels as a student, athlete and community member. Seamus has a 108.29 grade point average, taking a full course load of AP and IB classes. He was captain of the football team and has earned innumerable honors for his athletic and academic prowess in the football community. Seamus also serves as a student representative to the Board of Education. 

“Seamus is truly a kid of distinction in many areas,” said Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Dr. Danielle Turner, who nominated him for the award.

Locust Valley Middle School sixth-grader Grace O’Mahony was nominated by middle school teacher Emily Storck. She described Grace as one of those students that comes around rarely. Grace is a leader in and out of the classroom and participates in acting classes, performs in school shows and is a member of the field hockey team.

“She is one of the hardest-working students,” Ms. Storck said. “Grace goes above and beyond without ever having to be asked.”

Locust Valley Intermediate School fourth-grader William Edmonds was nominated for his dedication to BMX racing. In just a short time, William has had a tremendous amount of success. He ranks second in the nation in his age group and 32nd overall. 

“Racing requires a great deal of practice and mental focus, and William is a dedicated racer who practices and competes most weekends,” said Locust Valley Elementary School Assistant Principal Amy Watson.

All-County Musicians

Music note graphic
Student-musicians across the district are excelling in band, orchestra and chorus. Many students performed in the Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Music Festival. Acceptance into this prestigious program is largely based on NYSSMA scores from the previous year. Students are nominated by their music teachers and are chosen by a selection committee from the festival. Students participate in several long rehearsals led by a guest conductor and have a culminating concert at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.

Congratulations to the following students:


Bayville Elementary School

Evie Bergman, Grade 5, Chorus
Leah Bolitho, Grade 5, Chorus
Delila Cody, Grade 5, Chorus
Lucia Connelly, Grade 5 Chorus
Juliana Darrah, Grade 5, Chorus
Christopher Emmerich, Grade 5, Chorus
Elizabeth Madden, Grade 5, Chorus
Samiyah Michalski, Grade 5, Chorus
Julia Pisciotta, Grade 5, Orchestra
Morgan Smith, Grade 5, Chorus
Adbvaith Sreenivas, Grade 5, Chorus
Elizabeth Watson, Grade 5, Band


Locust Valley Elementary School

Grant Creedon, Grade 5, Orchestra
Emily Gallo, Grade 5, Band
Julia Rappa, Grade 5, Chorus
Rowan Shenoy, Grade 5, Orchestra


Locust Valley Middle School

Ciaran Bowden, Grade 6, Orchestra
Kathryn Constantin, Grade 6, Chorus
John D’Addario, Grade 9, Orchestra
Katherine Gu, Grade 8, Orchestra
Jenna Linden, Grade 7, Chorus
Sofia Maragos, Grade 6, Chorus
Aidan Moran, Grade 8, Band
Kieran Moran, Grade 7, Jazz Band
Owen Pye, Grade 6, Band
William Wysolovski, Grade 7, Orchestra

Locust Valley High School

Ashleigh Capozzi, Grade 11, Treble Choir
Olivia Cody, Grade 9, Chorus
Nils Coffey, Grade 11, Orchestra
Brett Dalis, Grade 9, Chorus
Timothy Peguillan, Grade 11, Mixed Chorus
Ezra Pietrafesa, Grade 10, Band (Division 4)
Sabrina Raichoudhury, Grade 9, Chorus

Wrestlers are County Champs!

Vinnie and Gage
Locust Valley High School wrestlers are on top again! At the Section VIII Division II Wrestling Tournament, juniors Gage DeNatale and Vinnie Marchand each won the county championship at 132 pounds and 126 pounds, respectively.  

Additionally, Locust Valley had a total of 14 wrestlers place on the podium across all weight classes, including juniors Pat Fallon, Vito Rodriguez, Anthony Scicutella and Kyle Shriberg, who were all named county finalists.

“Throughout the season, they remained focused and dedicated to their coaches and to their teammates, and to see so many of them succeed on Saturday was outstanding,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “I could not be more proud of our student-athletes and coaches, and I look forward to watching Gage and Vinnie compete at the state level.” 

Congratulations to all of the wrestlers on these outstanding accomplishments!