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Three Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students

Locust Valley High School congratulates seniors Dean Creedon, Alim Merchant and Joanna Yu who were named National Merit Commended students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They are recognized for achieving exceptional scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) as juniors. From among the 1.6 million students across the nation taking the exam, approximately 34,000 were named commended students. 

This elite accomplishment will be a highlight for their resumes and college applications. Congratulations to Dean, Alim and Joanna on this achievement!

Building Towers Builds Skills

Building a tower with classmates is an activity that first-graders in Kim Derenthal’s class enjoy so much that they hardly notice that the Ann MacArthur Primary School teacher is providing instruction that conforms to the curriculum.

Working on problem-solving activities during mathematics instruction, the students worked collaboratively to determine the best way to create a tower by stacking empty cups. The group took turns counting and placing the cups one on top of another. If the tower fell, the students needed to start over, recounting and rebuilding. 

Ms. Derenthal said the class “practiced important skills, including counting, arranging, and organizing, while having fun in the process and reinforcing to always have a growth mindset!”

Empowering Students with Flexible Seating


Second-graders in Dani Schatz’ class at Bayville Primary School are often given choices as to where they would like to sit during a lesson. What makes these choices unique is that they can choose the type of seat, not just the location of that seat. Students can be found sitting on scoop rockers and yoga balls or working at standing desks and on stools while Ms. Schatz walks around the room leading various lessons.

The concept of flexible seating is one that Ms. Schatz researched prior to instituting, with the goal of providing the right work environment for each student. “Every student’s ideal work environment isn’t necessarily sitting at a desk,” she said. “Research shows that when you give students a choice in their physical environment they feel more responsible and empowered, which leads them to completing their work more efficiently.”

Her classroom contains various types of seats, some on the floor, others with writing tables attached. Students are given the opportunity to choose their preferred seating before certain lessons begin. Ms. Schatz said she notices that using the flexible seating options has become a large motivator for students. 

“When they choose the seat that makes them most comfortable, they become more attentive.”  She added that giving them such choices shows students that she trusts them, which gives them a sense of pride and confidence.

Anthony Davidson, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, said flexible seating channels children’s natural need for movement, allowing for the fact that for some children, the opportunity to fidget and move actually increases focus and attention. 

“When educators like Ms. Schatz recognize that sitting still is not an option for many young people and offer flexible seating, students are empowered, their performance increases and negative behaviors decrease,” he said.

The Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building

The Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building.


Recognizing Excellence Among the Faculty

Five faculty members have demonstrated that they are among the best in their fields and contributing to the success of the district’s students at a level that is consistent with Locust Valley’s high standards. These distinguished teachers were granted tenure and recognized at a reception hosted by the Board of Education on Oct. 10.

The challenges that these five professionals overcame became when they decided to apply to teach in the district. They first had to be chosen for an interview and then had to make an impression that landed them the job. Having secured a spot as a member of the district’s esteemed faculty, these individuals then had to prove that they did indeed deserve to serve as role models, mentors and teachers to the community’s children.

Being granted tenure is proof that they excelled during the past three years, helping their students to reach educational milestones and to achieve at high levels. They have instilled confidence in these children and gained the respect of their peers and administrators.

For their dedication and excellence, the following faculty members were honored: Brittany Fassari, Bayville Primary School Special Education Teacher; Marie Fonzo, Bayville Elementary School Teacher; Devon Gallagher, Ann MacArthur Primary School Librarian; Doreen Kobus, Middle School/High School Home and Careers Teacher; and Wendy Mendoza, High School Mathematics Teacher.

Board of Education President Brian T. Nolan and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund welcomed the honorees and their guests, praising and thanking them for being exceptional educators. Administrators from each building spoke about the newly tenured teachers with pride.

“We are grateful to have such outstanding individuals on our faculty,” said Dr. Hunderfund. “It is my honor and privilege to recognize each of them for the exceptional impact that each has had on our children and our district.”

Congratulations to all of the tenure recipients!

Board of Education Honors Academic Excellence

Locust Valley High School congratulates the accomplishments of current and past students who have distinguished themselves as International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Scholars, some with honors and distinctions.

Presented with certificates at the Oct. 10 Board of Education meeting, the AP scholars were recognized for their dedication to academics. The achievement is an elite designation for resumes and college applications.

AP scholars have earned a score of three or higher on at least three AP exams. AP Scholars with Honors have earned at least a 3.25 on all of their AP exams and AP Scholars with Distinction have earned a score of three or higher on a minimum of four AP exams.

Students earning the Locust Valley IB Scholar designation have achieved a four or better on no fewer than three IB exams. The alumni were recognized based on exams scores that were released during the summer and therefore could not attend the meeting as many are at colleges and universities outside of the area.

Congratulations to the following Locust Valley High School students and graduates from the Class of 2018:

Advanced Placement Scholars

Student AP Designation Grade
Zophie M. Lemaitre AP Scholar 10
Alexandra L. Amendolara AP Scholar 11
Sophie A. Barteau AP Scholar 11
Christopher E. Bartell AP Scholar 11
Lisa A. Cheung AP Scholar 11
Nina R. Cialone AP Scholar 11
Nils R. Coffey AP Scholar 11
Avery E. Denatale AP Scholar 11
Gage X. Denatale AP Scholar 11
Michael C. DiSpirito AP Scholar 11
Patrick J. Fallon AP Scholar 11
Julia G. Forte AP Scholar 11
Benjamin T. Levin AP Scholar 11
Emma R. Livotti AP Scholar 11
Jordan A. Mastrodomenico AP Scholar 11
Nitha J. Paulus AP Scholar 11
Michelle M. Perrin AP Scholar 11
Noah S. Pietrafesa AP Scholar 11
Ferah L. Shaikh AP Scholar 11
Katherine H. Simon AP Scholar 11
Francis B. Shaikh AP Scholar 11
Eriks J. Zamurs AP Scholar 11
Victoria A. Chisari AP Scholar w/ Honors 11
Michelle A. Hsu AP Scholar w/ Distinction 11
Katherine G. Berritto AP Scholar 12
Dean Creedon AP Scholar 12
Matthew J. Doyle AP Scholar 12
Christopher J. Dunne Jr. AP Scholar 12
Howard T. Hogan AP Scholar 12
Victoria M. Mangelli AP Scholar 12
Doran B. McCormack AP Scholar 12
Joseph M. McNamara AP Scholar 12
Nicolas L. Reimer AP Scholar 12
Caroline M. Rice AP Scholar 12
Vincent S. Valli AP Scholar 12
Olivia H. Van Velsor AP Scholar 12
William R. VonToussaint AP Scholar 12
Brooke F. Cody AP Scholar w/ Honors 12
Marlene J. Goldstein AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Alim S. Merchant AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Olivia G. Olynciw AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Kyra A. Schmeizer AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Joanna Yu AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12

Advanced Placement Scholars - Graduates

Student AP Designation
Danya W. Karch AP Scholar
Kendall E. Morfis AP Scholar
Jessica E. Penny AP Scholar
Margaret S. Ryan AP Scholar
Spencer M. Weingord AP Scholar
Nicholas E. Chisari AP Scholar w/ Honors
Jake Lachman AP Scholar w/ Honors
Jack Ward AP Scholar w/ Honors
Elisabeth Baumann AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Charlotte A. Creedon AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Brooke P. DiSpirito AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Lucas Ferrante AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Hannah R. Fitzgerald AP Scholar w/ Distinction
William A. Fitzgerald AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Andrew P. Weiss AP Scholar w/ Distinction

IB Scholars – Graduates

Katherine Avazis Carly Knopf
Kelly Barker Jake Lachman
Elisabeth Baumann Evangelia Linardos
Alexandra Bebry Sarah Loher
Bridget Bianco Arianna Lombardi
Isabella Byrne Caroline Martocci
Jarred Byron Maya Mehta
Julia Cervoni Elizabeth Meringolo
Nicholas Chisari Alec Miranda
Craig Conn Emily Moran
Charlotte Creedon Kendall Morfis
Edgar Cruz Julia Orski
Leonardo D'Auria-Gupta Hannah Paulus
Gabrielle Dammers Ella Paz
Danielle DeStefanis Jessica Penny
Brooke Di Spirito Emily Petersen
Thomas Eletto Ravi Prasad
Lucas Ferrante Olivia Proko
Rebecca Finke Margaret Ryan
Hannah FitzGerald Ava Schieferstein
William FitzGerald Shannon Simak
Natalia Gonzalez William Trampel
Olivia Guma Jack Ward
Sophia Haynes Spencer Weingord
William Holowchak Andrew Weiss
Larissa Izaguirre Tyler Williams
Danya Karch Danielle Zambuto
Kyle Kavrazonis Jason Zhou
Maxwell Keller

Outstanding String Musicians

Musicians pose with instruments
For their outstanding performances at the New York State School Music Association last spring, two high school musicians have earned one of the highest accolades of acceptance to the NYSSMA All-State Winter Conference to be held in Rochester on Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Double bassist Nils Coffey and violinist Nicholas Siconolfi will take the stage with the All-State String Orchestra at the festival. The high school juniors are both members of the school’s orchestra and chamber orchestra and participate in ensembles outside of school. 

Music subject matter coordinator Marc Yavoski said the music department faculty is extremely proud of Nils and Nicholas for being accepted into this highly competitive festival. 

“Nils and Nicholas are diligent and talented young musicians who are very deserving of the opportunity to represent Locust Valley High School at the NYSSMA All-State Festival. This will be a musical experience that they will cherish always,” he said.

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Bayville Primary School

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Bayville Primary School.

Digging Deep for a Cure

Varsity and junior varsity volleyball players became bakers, salesmen and philanthropists in support of the ninth annual Dig Pink fundraiser. The event, held on Oct. 1 to commemorate the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, raised nearly $800 for breast cancer research in just one day. 

Trading in their usual volleyball uniforms for pink T-shirts that read “Volley for a Cure” next to the iconic pink breast cancer awareness ribbon, the girls sold baked goods to students and staff after school. From pink cupcakes to pastries tied up with pink ribbon, the event not only raised funds, but increased awareness as well. 

Both teams played their annual nonleague games against Glen Cove High School following the bake sale. The Glen Cove teams also wore special pink uniforms.

Varsity coach Bobbee Brancaccio said the event is important to the volleyball teams. “The girls work hard to make this event a success, as they want to make a difference and see a decrease in the number of people diagnosed with cancer.”

Dig Pink is a national breast cancer rally organized by the Side-Out Foundation, which encourages middle school and high school volleyball teams to hold events supporting the cause each October.

Cheering for a Cause

The varsity cheerleaders have become the cheering section for an important cause that has hit them personally. The team worked together to raise awareness for childhood cancer during September, in support of their teammate Gianna LoRusso and her sister Sabrina who lost their 12-year-old sister, Olivia, to leukemia in 2017. 

For the entire month of September, which is designated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the team wore black socks with large gold ribbons, the color that represents childhood cancer. Additionally, the girls placed gold ribbons throughout town to raise awareness. The socks came from the Olivia Hope Foundation, an organization started by the LoRusso family to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for childhood cancers.

Gianna, a junior at Locust Valley High School, said that it means a lot to her that her team recognized the importance of spreading awareness. “This is happening and it’s a big deal,” she said of childhood cancers. “It was Olivia’s hope that other children wouldn’t have to suffer, and we are going to help make her wish come true.” Gianna said that raising awareness is important because people don’t realize how many children are diagnosed with cancer. 

Gianna attended the high school’s grade-level assemblies at the start of the school year to discuss this topic and share with her peers ways in which they could help. 

Varsity cheerleading coach Carole Hellyer said she was proud of the team for taking on such an important cause and for recognizing that one of their teammates needed support. 

Grade 6 Pot Luck Dinner, Oct. 23


The Grade 6 Pot Luck Dinner is on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria. All sixth-grade families are invited and encouraged to attend. See the attached flyer and order form for details.



Dancing the Night Away


The high school’s first homecoming dance was a success, with 175 students dancing to the music of a DJ and getting in the spirit for a weekend of fun. The senior class organized the event as a fundraiser for the senior prom. The Class of 2019 student government members thought that having a dance would help keep the enthusiasm going for the homecoming parade and game the following day. They were right!

Homecoming Victory!


The Locust Valley Falcons gave fans something to cheer about as they clinched a homecoming win with a field goal during overtime. Cheerleaders and fans stormed the field to celebrate the 19-18 win over the Malverne Mules.

It was a perfect ending to a full day of celebrating Locust Valley. The day started off with extraordinary spirit as residents and business owners lined the streets to cheer on the high school students as they paraded through town with their Disney-themed floats. Following the official parade, elementary students dressed in Disney costumes paraded on the high school track, escorted by cheerleaders and cheered on by onlookers. 

In addition to making a float for the parade, each grade had a booth to raise money for their class. Students were selling Falcon gear, popcorn, raffles and one class had a photo booth with Falcon-themed props. Athletic Council not only manned the concession stand where fans could get snacks and drinks, they also coordinated the homecoming events, including the pep rally and Spirit Week, which helped enthusiasm grow leading up to the big day. Each day of Spirit Week focused on celebrating the Falcons. The fun included dress-up days at every school, from Disney day and tourist day to wearing green from head to toe. Each high school class decorated a hallway in the school and competed for most spirited and then for best float in the parade. The freshmen took first place in both categories. 

During halftime, seniors Ava Famiglietti and Brock Sandillo were announced as homecoming queen and king, respectively. Princess and prince went to juniors Carlyn Liebold and Matt Barnaby. Exciting performances by the cheerleaders and kickline teams kept the energy high in preparation for the second half of the football game. Throughout the game, the high school pep band provided a musical backdrop.

Homecoming 2018 was not only a victory for the Falcons, but for the entire community, which came together to celebrate. 

Spirit Soars at High School Pep Rally


Falcons Unite Through Play

Three photos depict students playing at FalconFest.

A volleyball flew across a net, a kickball soared to the outfield and runners dashed across the field in relay races during Locust Valley Middle School’s first-ever Falcon Fest. The field day, initiated and sponsored by Falcon Pride Athletic Booster Club, allowed sixth-graders to bond with their teammates, some of whom they had not met before entering middle school.

Falcon Pride Board members John Johnson, Rick Pisciotta and Gary Terrell, along with club member Joe Gallo, arrived at the school’s upper field early on Sept. 14 to set up. They offered support and encouragement to participants who were smiling, cheering and having a great time in their team colors of red, blue, yellow and green.

Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, said she was thrilled to be part of Falcon Fest. “The success of Falcon Fest 2018 was a direct reflection of just how special the Locust Valley community is. In addition to support from faculty, administrators and grounds crew, Falcon Pride took the lead and went above and beyond to ensure that our sixth-graders were all smiles to start the year with their new classmates.”

John Johnson said the objective of Falcon Fest was to build unity within the sixth-grade class as the students begin their middle school/high school years together. “This was also a great way for the parents, teachers and athletic coaches to meet one another and form bonds that will benefit the students as we all work together to support them.”

Middle School Assistant Principal Michael LoGerfo said that Falcon Fest was a huge success. “The students had a great time and felt connected. This was a wonderful teambuilding activity to bring them together and provide a foundation for success throughout the year.”

Falcon Pride has provided support to the Locust Valley schools in a number of ways over the years, including through donations of big-ticket athletic items that the school district would otherwise not be able to purchase. The organization’s generous donations include, but are not limited to, the Wall of Fame, the concession stand, scoreboards, tennis courts, golf cart, wrestling mat, dugouts and signage.


Senior Named National Merit Semifinalist

Locust Valley High School congratulates senior Adit Dutta for being named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Adit is recognized for achieving an exceptional score on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) as a junior when he took the exam along with 1.6 million students across the nation. Of those high school students, only approximately 16,000 were named semifinalists. 

Adit will now compete for a spot as a finalist by providing proof of his high academic achievements throughout high school and by earning a score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) that is consistent with his performance on the PSAT. In February 2019, the National Merit Corporation will name the finalists who will go on to compete for the actual scholarships.

An IB Diploma candidate, Adit is also a member of the wrestling team and the AIDS Awareness Club. 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. 

Congratulations to Adit on this elite accomplishment!

Welcoming New Teachers

New teachers pose for a photo during orientation
The district welcomed new teachers at an orientation held prior to the start of school. The newest members of our Locust Valley school community were given a tour of the schools and plenty of information to help them succeed during the 2018-2019 school year and beyond.

Representatives from the human resources department, business office and technology department met with the teachers in the administration building. Superintendent Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund welcomed the group as well. The new employees then went to their individual schools to meet with their principals.  

The teachers were well prepared for the first day of school and started off successfully. Please welcome the following faculty members when you see them:

Melaina Badalian, high school mathematics; Patrick Barry, high school social studies leave replacement; Allison Basdavanos, elementary speech; Charles Bull, middle school music leave replacement; Abigail Casale, high school English; Louis DeRose, high school science leave replacement; Dr. Melissa Furino, Ann MacArthur Primary School psychologist; Roberto Gutierrez, high school physical education; Deniz Gumusdere, Locust Valley Intermediate School ESL; Thomas Russo, Bayville Primary School special education; Valerie Russo, middle school special education leave replacement; Victoria Shishkoff, Bayville Primary School; and Allison Sidor, Locust Valley Elementary School. 

Welcoming Students to a Brand New School Year!

Students walk to the school bus
Dressed in their best and ready for new challenges, students began a new school year in the Locust Valley Central School District on Sept. 5. Teachers were ready with schedules and lesson plans that will help their students reach goals that go beyond their imaginations.
At Ann MacArthur Primary School and Bayville Primary School, kindergarten students were welcomed with open arms by teachers and teaching assistants who helped them find their way to their classrooms and adjust to their new surroundings. Returning students were greeted with smiles and comments on how much many of them had grown in just a few months. The district’s new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Anthony Davidson, helped to welcome everyone.
At the high school, students began the year with their new Principal, Patrick DiClemente, who spent some time getting to know them. Dr. Danielle Turner, the new Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, also took time to meet some of the students and welcome them back to school, along with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund, who greeted middle school and high school students as they arrived in the morning.
The 2018-19 school year promises to be successful, fun and challenging. Parents and community members are encouraged to be part of the school community by attending various events, which can be found on the district calendar.

Preparing for a Successful School Year

Students learn to use their new lockers

Students and staff were gracing the hallways of LVCSD schools as preparations were made to open the doors on a new year on Sept. 5.

During the last week of August, orientations were held for incoming sixth- and ninth-graders at their respective schools. Middle school orientation included eighth-graders giving tours to the newest students, teaching them how to use their lockers and offering advice on a variety of topics important to middle school survival. The students were also welcomed by the administrators and shown where all of their classrooms are, based on their individual schedules.

At the high school, freshmen were introduced to Naviance, an important program they will use throughout high school to keep track of items they will need for college applications as seniors. They also received a welcome from administrators and met the new high school principal, Patrick DiClemente. Upperclassmen guided tours of the high school and shared a pizza lunch with their newest classmates before saying goodbye.

On Sept. 4, the entire staff was welcomed back for Superintendent’s Conference Day. Teachers, teaching assistants and nurses from across the district gathered at the middle school/high school for faculty meetings, department meetings, professional development and Challenge Day. Challenge Day is an interactive program that helps to break down walls of separation and isolation and replace them with compassion. The program’s intention is to inspire people to live, study and work in an environment of acceptance, love and respect.

District administrators, counselors and psychologists brought the Challenge Day workshop to the staff to help them bond and to have tools to use to share the benefits of the program with their students. 

The district is off to a good start for the 2018-19 school year!

2018-2019 Calendar & Directory

Click on the attachment for the full 2018-2019 Calendar & Directory.