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Pajamas, Slippers and Toy Drive

The high school's Interact Club is collecting pajamas, slippers and toys for the Matthew Fetzer Foundation. Donations can be placed in the box outside the high school main office. See attached flyer for details.

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On Your Mark, Get Set ... Calculate!

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It was a race to the finish, with four teams of competitors vying for points. But this competition wasn’t taking place on a field or a court and there were no balls, bats or racquets. Instead, the playing field was a whiteboard and players were armed with markers and calculators. It was a race to solve three-by-three systems of equations.

High school math teacher Angela Manzo set up the math races for the first few days back to school after the winter recess, to help get students energized to learn after the break. Ms. Manzo’s Algebra 2 classes solved a problem with three mathematical equations as teams, working collaboratively to determine each step of the solution. Standing at the whiteboard, team members took turns calculating portions of the problem and handing off the next step to their teammates. Each team had a different problem to solve and points were awarded based on finishing times. The team with the most points after the period was over was the winner.

“Sometimes students feel isolated at their desks solving mathematical equations,” Ms. Manzo said. “This gave them the opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other and understand that math does not need to be a solitary experience.”

The three-by-three equations are important for those thinking about careers in coding or video design, among others. According to Ms. Manzo, these problems help to calculate width, length, height and depth for three-dimensional designs, including the programming of 3D printers and the latest video games.

Geography Bee Champion Has Worldly Knowledge

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Sixth-grader John Hartnett earned the title of Middle School Geography Bee champion on Jan. 4 by answering more geography questions correctly than his opponents in the schoolwide bee. He had close competition from his peers, including eighth-grader Alisha Uduevbo, who was named runner-up.
 
Among many questions, contestants were asked to name the most populous country in Scandinavia (Sweden), which lake Saginaw Bay in Michigan is an inlet of (Lake Huron) and in which country Darien National Park is located (Panama).
 
Answering questions based on topics covered in the middle school social studies curriculum, the students earned their spots in the schoolwide competition by first winning at the classroom level.
 
As part of the National Geographic GeoBee, John will now take an online qualifying test for the state level of the competition.
 

Alumni Offer Tips For College Success

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For most high school seniors, excitement and nerves clash as they think about not only where to attend college, but what that college experience will feel like. To alleviate those anxious feelings, the Locust Valley High School Guidance Department organized the school’s annual Alumni Day on Jan. 3, which allowed students to hear firsthand from their peers what college life is really like and the best ways to prepare for success.

A group of 34 recent LVHS graduates served as panel members and shared personal stories about their biggest challenges and the strategies that best helped them overcome these difficulties. Those that challenged themselves in high school with International Baccalaureate courses said they were well prepared for the enormous amount of writing required at the collegiate level.   

The seniors asked excellent questions. “How do you make friends with so many students on campus?” some asked. The most popular answer was to join clubs. Alumni, representing 28 colleges, recommended joining as many clubs as possible and then sticking with the ones that felt most comfortable for them. They explained this would help them make friends and provide many social opportunities.

The seniors also wanted to know how to maintain top grades in a more challenging environment. They were told to take full advantage of professors’ office hours, to share with their professors their personal goals and to obtain feedback on the best way to succeed in each class.

Other topics included choosing roommates, how often to visit home and how to manage homesickness. Some of the alumni stressed the importance of establishing strong time management skills, while others recommended sitting in the first few rows of a large lecture to help the class feel smaller.

Following the informal discussions, which took place in small groups, the alumni participated in a college fair for sophomores and juniors. The underclassmen had the opportunity to visit individual alumni and ask questions about their specific schools, which helps them as they decide to which schools they should apply.

Locust Valley High School Assistant Principal Michelle Villa said both portions of Alumni Day served an important purpose. “It is extremely beneficial for seniors to have an opportunity to ask questions and learn about college life from those they can relate to,” she said. “The information they receive can help them make final decisions about which colleges to attend and can ensure that they will be more prepared for college life.” 

Ms. Villa added that the underclassmen are well served by hearing about colleges from younger people, as they may find it more difficult to relate to college admissions representatives.

MS Cheerleaders Spread Cheer

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Middle school cheerleaders like to cheer on and off the field, and their holiday spirit brightened the season for residents of local rehabilitation centers on Dec. 20. The team, along with its coach Doreen Kobus, traveled to the Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and the Marquis Rehabilitation & Nursing Center to sing holiday songs and perform uplifting cheers. They also brought gifts handmade by the sixth-grade Home and Careers students.

Ms. Kobus said the cheerleaders were thrilled to share the holiday spirit with the patients at the rehabilitation centers. “They wanted to bring joy to those who may not be home for the holidays,” she said.

Giving Back for the Holidays

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Thinking of others comes naturally to the sixth-grade class, and this holiday season they thought of a local charity that would benefit from their help. The class donated toys and gift cards to the Matthew Fetzer Toy Drive, which distributes the items to children who have to spend the holidays in the hospital. The Matthew Fetzer Foundation 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.

Sixth-grade teachers Evelyn Mason and Ann Monsees took their students caroling around Bayville to spread holiday cheer through the neighborhood and collected $200 for the Matthew Fetzer Toy Drive. They presented the donation and several bags of toys to Anne Fetzer on Dec. 18. 

The donations were distributed to children in local hospitals for them to enjoy.

The entire district hopes all those children who couldn’t spend the holidays at home with their families had a happy holiday season.

Opening the Door to Holiday Spirit

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Middle School classrooms open the doorway to holiday spirit!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

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Winter may not have officially started, but you would never have known, as Bayville Primary School was turned into a winter wonderland on Dec. 13. With a Christmas tree, a mailbox for letters to Santa, hot chocolate, cookies and holiday crafts, the school’s all-purpose room was transformed into a scene from a holiday postcard.

Students in kindergarten, first and second grade returned to school after dinner in their pajamas, some with their favorite stuffed animals, and listened to Assistant Principal Dorothy McManus read “The Polar Express.” Following story time, the children colored holiday photos, wrote letters to Santa and enjoyed their snacks and time with each other.

Ms. McManus said the annual Winter Wonderland, sponsored by the Bayville PTA, is an opportunity for the children to enjoy the holiday spirit with their friends. 

“Creating a feeling of community surrounding the holidays promotes a sense of belonging, which benefits the students at home and in school,” she said.

Each year, through Winter Wonderland, the Bayville PTA supports a local charity. This year, Matthew’s Toy Drive of the Matthew Fetzer Foundation was the recipient of the generous donations made by the Bayville Primary School family.



The Buzz on the Spelling Bee

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Spelling the word “astonishment” correctly earned sixth-grader Inshal Abid the title of middle school spelling bee champion. Fellow sixth-grader Sofia Maragos spelled her way into the position of runner-up. The girls beat out their older peers as 30 students in grades six, seven and eight competed in the annual schoolwide spelling bee. 

The competition was intense as participants continued to spell words correctly from round to round, preventing them from being eliminated. As the words increased in difficulty throughout the rounds, fewer participants remained.  Students qualified for the schoolwide spelling bee by winning the spelling bees in their individual classrooms. Inshal will now go on to Hofstra University for the next level of the spelling bee competition.

Celebrating Writing!

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Getting a new dog, picking pumpkins and going to the beach are just some of the topics that young authors at Locust Valley Elementary School wrote about and shared with their families during writing celebrations in several classes. While these topics can be broad, students are learning to write about moments in time, honing in on specific details of larger events.

Maura Hauck’s third-grade class at Locust Valley Intermediate School shared their writing with their families and described to the visitors the process they used to create their personal narratives. Some of these writing skills included starting new paragraphs when something new happens, using quotation marks and showing how their characters feel. They also used editing strategies such as looking for words in the dictionary and writing a word three times to see if it looked correct.

Ms. Hauck said her students’ true narratives required learning many skills and understanding that editing and revising written work is necessary. 

“It is important that writers share their work, since writing is meant to communicate and share with the world,” she said.  She invited the author’s families to a writing celebration in which guests not only heard several students read their stories, but also provided written feedback for each story. “Feedback is crucial to writers,” Ms. Hauck explained.

At Ann MacArthur Primary School, the entire first grade held author celebrations in their individual classrooms. These authors learned to stretch out a small moment in time by sharing thoughts and feelings and to think about how to use the five senses. They focused on writing a creative beginning to draw readers in and an interesting ending to pull the story together. Authors welcomed each of the guests to hear their stories, and visitors were encouraged to get autographs from each of the authors. Sharing their stories with others and giving their autographs helped students feel that their writing is important.

First-grade teacher Karen Kriesberg agreed with Ms. Hauck that having an audience is an important part of the students’ growth as writers. “The author celebration does just that – celebrates our young writers becoming published authors,” Ms. Kriesberg said. “They have the opportunity to share their writing as professional writers do, for an audience. When the children see themselves as writers, it motivates them to learn even more about writing.”

First-grade teachers Kim Derenthal, Kim Herlich and Brianna Spitaliere each held the same author celebration in their classrooms as part of the writing curriculum.

These writing projects and subsequent celebrations were in line with the Teachers College Writing Project curriculum, which the district adopted this year. Elementary school teachers received professional development from Teachers College and are all using the program to enhance student writing.




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Spreading Holiday Cheer

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Holiday cheer is for spreading and that’s why students from Bayville Elementary School are ensuring that those who may not have much to cheer about feel the holiday spirit. Carolyn Morales’ second-grade class at Bayville Primary School joined forces with Maureen Pederson’s fourth-grade class at Bayville Intermediate School to create handmade cards for patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. With the help of pianist and orchestra teacher Christine Hujber, the group also sang holiday carols and created a video of the songs.

“It was heartwarming to see the students truly get into the real meaning of the holidays,” Mrs. Pederson said.  

Mrs. Morales agreed and added that the efforts of all the children will make a difference for those less fortunate this holiday season. “Both classes worked together quite well to create beautiful cards and a video that will touch the hearts of many young children,” she said. 

Seniors Receive Outstanding Physical Education Award

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Two high school seniors received the Nassau Zone Outstanding Physical Education Award. Bryan Fox and Lindsay Merenda earned this honor by exhibiting exceptional achievement in physical education and achieving a high level of fitness, both during and outside of school. In addition, recipients must demonstrate that they are leaders and serve as a positive influence on their peers and they must value living a healthy lifestyle and lifelong learning.
 
Their dedication to physical education is evident not only in the effort they put into their physical education classes but in their extracurricular athletics as well. Bryan is a member of the varsity basketball and soccer teams. Lyndsay is a member of the varsity winter track, field hockey and lacrosse teams. She will join the lacrosse team at the State University of New York at Geneseo in the fall of 2019.
 
The students were nominated for this award by the high school physical education staff. “The physical education teachers made an excellent choice in nominating Bryan and Lindsay for this award,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “Both of these student-athletes are dedicated to physical education and exhibit true leadership qualities.”

Coins for Canines

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Locust Valley Elementary School students are raising funds to help support the police department K-9 unit. Through Coins for K-9s, the Locust Valley Intermediate School Student Council is collecting spare change for this cause. In support of their efforts, Nassau and Suffolk County police officers brought their K-9 partners to the school to demonstrate their police skills. 

Suffolk County police officer Brendan Gayer not only explained to students how the German Shepherds are trained for police work, but dubbed them junior K-9 handlers and taught them a command. He explained that the dogs work hard and won’t take their toys until they are told it’s playtime. He had all the children shout in their happiest, most playful tones, the word for playtime, which is “free.” The children enjoyed learning this training technique and seeing the dogs grab their toys on their command.  

Officer Gayer, who is one of the K-9 trainers and handles a German Shepherd named Rascal, introduced his fellow officers and their dogs, who demonstrated how they sit, lay down, jump and run through tunnels. For the final demonstration, one of the four-legged police officers came out to sniff for a particular scent. His trainer placed a certain collar on him, alerting him to his task, and he walked on the stage, nose to the ground. He quickly found the scent and the audience broke into applause. 

Student Council advisers Jane Benstock and Shari Zindman organized the presentation so students understand what the donations would go towards. “The students learned the importance of supporting the K-9 unit and had the opportunity to see what goes into training the dogs,” Mrs. Benstock said.

Thanks to Officer Gayer and his team for their time and dedication to keeping everyone safe. From Suffolk County, the K-9 handlers included Sergeant Kevin Krause and his K-9, Wolf, and police officer Ryan Neems and his K-9, Gunnar, and from Nassau County, Sergeant Rob Cohen with Moose and police officers Tom Kananowicz with Bernie, Chris Karman with Chief and Mike Leone with Turo.
  

Varsity Teams Earn Scholar-Athlete Honors

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The Board of Education at its Dec. 6 meeting recognized the academic accomplishments of the high school’s varsity athletic teams. For the fall season, every varsity team earned scholar-athlete status, which means that at least 75 percent of the team members earned a 90-grade-point-average or better.
 
Success on the field and in the classroom requires dedication and hard work, which the varsity players are not afraid of, many of them taking challenging Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.
 
“We are all extremely proud of our scholar-athlete teams,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “This is an accomplishment that proves they are not only dedicated to their sports, but to their academic success as well and that’s a win-win combination.”

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in MS/HS Mini-Theater

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in MS/HS Mini-Theater.

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Balancing Fun and Learning

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When the circus comes to town, Locust Valley Elementary School students join in the fun! Thanks to the Locust Valley Parents’ Council, students enhanced physical and mental skills such as balancing, spinning objects, coordination and teamwork.

Fourth-graders perfected their skills during a weeklong circus workshop that culminated with a performance for their families. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade also had the opportunity to learn some circus tricks during their physical education classes. 

The program is run by the National Circus Project, an arts-in-education program, physical education program and cultural program all rolled into one. You can see some of the fun in the video below.

 

Community of Writers

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The middle school/high school hallways are often filled with student artwork, and recently those same walls highlighted a different form of art – the written word. The English Department used the National Day on Writing as an opportunity to celebrate writing by students and staff members. The high school English corridor and a hallway in the middle school are covered with creative writing samples and responses to the prompt, “Why I Write.”

The National Day of Writing is an initiative of the National Council of Teachers of English and, according to the organization’s website, is built on the premise that writing is critical to literacy, but in need of greater attention and celebration. They say that writing is thought of in terms of pencil-and-paper assignments, but that writing is present in all parts of life. 

“It’s part of how you work, how you learn, how you remember and how you communicate. It gives voice to who you are and enables you to give voice to the things that matter to you,” according to the organization.

Students were given the opportunity in their English classes and in the library to share and celebrate “Why I Write” by developing a response and including it on a “Twitter” template crafted by middle school English teacher Emily Storck. If they preferred, personal writing samples could be shared rather than the response to the prompt. Students shared the digital or hard copy with their teachers, and all of the writing was posted in celebration. 

English curriculum coordinator Lisa Czerniecki said the initiative was a success. “I am impressed by the responses students gave, and I am inspired by their creativity. It has been great to share and to continue to build a community of writers.”
 

January Regents Review Schedule

See attached document for Regents review schedule.

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Embracing Cultural Diversity

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Locust Valley families grabbed their passports and traveled the world without the hassle of packing suitcases or experiencing jetlag. The Ann MacArthur Primary School and Locust Valley Intermediate School community just had to get themselves to AMP, where an International Food Festival awaited their arrival.

The all-purpose room was filled with delicious smells emanating from culinary delights popular in Albania, Chile, El Salvador, Pakistan, Poland, Romania and many more countries, as guests brought dishes that represented their own cultures. The room décor included placements designed by the students, which represented maps of various countries and colorful pennants hung throughout the space. 

Food and décor were not the only things that created the international feel. Performances by students provided insight into the lifestyle and culture of some of the represented countries. Guests were treated to Irish and Greek dancing and a violin solo. Each child received a passport in which they could document the countries they visited by tasting those foods. A photo backdrop was provided for vacation selfies and games representing various regions were played by children and parents alike. Aboriginal dot painting provided fun and exposure to an activity that children in another culture enjoy.

The International Food Festival was hosted and organized by the Locust Valley Parents’ Council. The annual event provides an opportunity for families to share their own cultures with the community. 

Locust Valley Elementary School Principal Dr. Sophia Gary said the Parents’ Council goes above and beyond to make the evening special. “Everyone truly enjoyed the festival, and our students saw firsthand that the traits that make us unique also make us special,” she said. 




Book Club Offers More than Reading

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Every Friday, a group of students at Locust Valley Intermediate School voluntarily bring their lunch to ENL teacher Kristi Van Vleet’s classroom to read, talk and, of course, eat. The book talk program not only includes reading a book together throughout the year, but these voracious readers have the opportunity to communicate with the author through videos they create asking her questions and videos she sends back with the answers. 

There are 10 fifth-graders and three staff members participating in the program, which was organized through #KidsNeedMentors, a free program that matches authors with educators in a literary partnership that lasts throughout the school year. Ms. Van Vleet was paired with author Jodi Kendall and the group is reading her book, “The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City.” 

Each week, the students bring their lunches and share snacks while the book is read aloud, offering their thoughts on questions that Ms. Van Vleet poses to them regarding the book’s themes. Sometimes, the group takes turns reading aloud, and no matter who is reading, the conversations that spark from the story’s content is impactful. 

The book club is a safe place and the participants feel comfortable talking about things that they can relate to in the book,” Ms. Van Vleet said.  “They often speak about their personal experiences and can easily relate to Josie, the main character in the book.”

Having access to the author has been a valuable experience, as their interactions with her validate for the students that their thoughts and opinions matter. They can ask any questions about the book and Ms. Kendall has been very generous in answering them all.  

Reading teacher Diana Oromaner and ENL teaching assistant Cyndy Ergen have become honorary members of the book club, reading along, commenting and bringing snacks. 

Assistant Principal Amy Watson said the book talk is a wonderful academic opportunity for the students. “They are learning so much and sacrificing their free time to do so,” she said. “Ms. Van Vleet is providing a unique opportunity and likely instilling a love of reading in her students.”

Green & White Spirit!

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Dressed in green and white, high school students took to the courts for some friendly competition during the Green & White Night, an event that fosters school spirit. You can see some of the fun in the slideshow.

Giving Thanks

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Giving thanks was the theme at the district’s elementary schools on Nov. 20 when students and staff were celebrating Thanksgiving with their school families. From songs and costumes to turkey and stuffing, the spirit of giving was in the air. You can see a sampling of the festivities in the slideshow.
 

Learning From Leading

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Learning from each other and sharing ideas was beneficial to attendees of the IB Student Roundtable, hosted by the high school’s IB Leadership Group.  The roundtable included IB students from Locust Valley, Hauppauge High School and The Portledge School.

The Locust Valley student organization arranged the event and many of the details, including suggesting guest speaker, Cory Muscara, a mindfulness and positive psychology specialist. Following his presentation on mindfulness and stress relief, IB Leadership Group members facilitated breakout groups, which allowed participants to gain insight into the IB programs at each other’s schools, form connections with one another and share strategies and tips for getting the most out of the program.

Senior Kyra Schmeizer said she found the event to be successful and helpful. "It was very interesting learning about different meditation and mindfulness exercises, and has inspired me to go on a short silent meditation retreat,” she said. She added that she enjoyed the breakout sessions where she learned how the other school´s complete their CAS hours.

Other Locust Valley participants said that in their breakout sessions they reflected on their experiences with the extended essay, a requirement for all IB Diploma candidates. One Locust Valley High School junior said practicing the five-finger meditation shared by Muscara before a recent test, helped her remain calm and earn 100 percent on the exam.

IB Coordinator Angela Manzo and IB Leadership Group advisor Barbara Mierlak said the roundtable event was the students’ idea and they did much of the planning and moderated the event themselves. “They were true leaders in every sense of the word,” said Ms. Mierlak. “They embodied the principles of the IB program and we are very proud of them.”

 

VIDEO: Vowel Bats

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Locust Valley Jesters Entertain in 'Check Please’

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The Locust Valley High School Jesters welcomed visitors into Guillermo’s Gourmet Café to witness the antics of several disastrous blind dates in the drama “Check Please.” As audience members sat at tables in the café, they observed two single people repeatedly disappointed by the strangers that showed up for their dates. A kleptomaniac, a child, a woman with an imaginary friend, a grandmother and a mime were among the unwelcome dinner partners.

Two performances on Nov. 17 and 18 immersed the audience in the action, including cast members serving coffee and pastries during intermission. The entire waitstaff of Guillermo’s Gourmet Café even came out to sing “Happy Birthday” to an unsuspecting diner. The café owner walked around during intermission to ask patrons if they were enjoying their desserts. 

The Locust Valley High School auditorium stage, which was transformed into the café, was filled with laughter throughout the performances as the cast members played their roles with emotion and creativity.

“Check Please” was produced by Marc Yavoski with costumes by Lisa Conti, stagecraft by Joan Passero and Nicole Stiegelbauer Montenegro and stage direction by Allison Hungate Wood.

The cast included Emily Barosin, Emma Berens, Maria Bubulinis, Aspen Collings, Sydney Collings, Brett Dalis, Sebastian Diaz Gomez, Valentina Friedrich, Ashlee Joly, Ava Lamb, Emma Livoti, Alim Merchant, Christian Ordonez, Lydia Paulus, Nitha Paulus and Timothy Peguillan.