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Top of the Class of 2018

Locust Valley High School is proud to announce that Nicholas Chisari and Rebecca Finke have been named Class of 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. 

Nicholas is an AP Scholar with Honor and an IB Diploma candidate, taking a total of 22 IB and AP courses. He has earned a grade point average of 107.87 while taking these rigorous courses. 

An overall high achiever, Nicholas’ strength is in science and math. He completed all the Regents requirements in those subjects before starting high school, while earning a perfect score on the Algebra II Regents. Wanting to challenge himself further, he paved the way for new courses that were not previously offered at the high school. He is one of only three students to take Multivariable Calculus.

Nicholas is a member of the National Honor Society and Science Research program. He has a great mind for inquiry-based research and has participated in several science research competitions. He is also a scholar-athlete on the bowling and tennis teams and an accomplished sailor as a member of Team USA, sailing all over the United States and abroad.

Rebecca Finke is also an AP Scholar with Honor and an IB Diploma candidate and has completed 14 AP and IB courses, with a grade point average of 107.75. She has achieved mastery in mathematics and science and will earn an Advanced Regents Diploma with honors.

Rebecca is a true leader in the school community. She has been a member of Student Government since freshman year, and every year of high school she has held a position as an officer. She is president of the Book Club and was elected the most valuable delegate in Model UN Club.

A well-rounded young woman, Rebecca is also a leader on the fields as a three-sport athlete, serving as captain of the varsity volleyball and basketball teams. Rebecca was one of only a few student-athletes to join the varsity lacrosse team as a sophomore and played on the varsity volleyball team all four years of high school.

Congratulations to Nicholas and Rebecca on these outstanding achievements.

Learning the Native American Way of Life


Fourth-graders at Bayville Intermediate School were recently treated to a fun-filled day that focused on the New York Native American way of life. There were many hands-on activities for the students that included game playing, pottery making and Native American dancing and singing. The fourth-grade curriculum includes a unit on the Eastern Woodland (New York) Native Americans.

Students had the opportunity to walk through a longhouse, touch beaver and deer skins, dress like the Native Eastern Woodland Indians and hold weapons that this tribe used to hunt and fish.  

To start the experience, two members of the Comanche tribe showed the fourth-graders an abundance of Native American artifacts and discussed the Iroquois culture and its history. “It was also a great lesson on how our own United States government was established since the United States Constitution is based on the Iroquois Great Law of Peace,” explained fourth-grade teacher Maureen Pedersen. “It was a wonderful day for the children, experiencing the Eastern Woodlands culture firsthand and having fun while learning.”

Mindfulness Matters

While students were enjoying the day off on Election Day, the LVCSD faculty came together for specialized training to help them improve professionally and personally, which in turn helps the students. Administrators, teachers, teaching assistants and clerical staff attended a seminar at the high school led by mindfulness teacher Cory Muscara.

The program focused on reducing stress, gaining focus, dealing with difficult people and learning to perceive things in a positive light, rather than a negative one. Mindfulness is a practice that calms the body and mind through breathing and movement. It can help teachers react better to difficult classroom situations, and practicing it with students can possibly create positive classroom atmospheres where previously there was more tension.

Attendees were led through several short meditations, taught how to clear their minds and how to eliminate stressors. Many employees took the opportunity to ask Muscara questions at the end of the session, learning how to use mindfulness in more specific education situations.

Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund, Superintendent of Schools, said she hopes the staff will practice the techniques they learned. “The goal was to give them tools to manage their daily stress and improve their overall classroom atmosphere, and the overall response from the staff was very positive.”

Yearbook Ads and Photo Make-Ups

Ads for the high school yearbook are due on Feb. 15, 2018. Ads can be completed at Please direct all questions to Ms. Brandveen at

Underclassman Portrait Make-Ups will be on Dec. 1, 2017 in the Mini-Theater. 

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater.

Exploding with Knowledge


Fourth-graders at Bayville Intermediate School used their knowledge of science to create replicas of volcanoes, making each one erupt with red flowing lava.

Teaching Assistant Lisa Mellillo guided the students on how to create just the right eruption. Baking soda, food coloring, dish soap and vinegar were combined to mimic the flow of lava. The volcanoes were first created with flour, salt and water, painted and then filled with the magic formula to make them erupt.

Ms. Mellillo said that having the students create the volcanoes reinforces the lessons they’ve learned and because they’re having fun, they are more likely to remember the scientific facts. “The students were engaged in the lesson, making it easy for them to absorb the information,” she said.

New Intramural Sport is Springboard for Future Opportunities

Locust Valley students are diving into a new sport with the introduction of the district’s first intramural swim program. Twice each week middle school and high school student-athletes learn competitive swim strokes from Coach Rachel McShane.

Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle are the focus of the early morning training sessions, which begin at the Glen Cove YMCA at 5:45 a.m. Parents drop their children off, and swimmers are transported to school by bus at 7:10 a.m. to start their school day.

Coach McShane also focuses on interval training, technique, racing starts, flip turns and relays. “This has led to healthy competition among the athletes,” she said. “The program has been very successful for swimmers looking to improve their skills.”

Joseph Pennacchio, interim Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, said the program has many advantages. “For some, this provides an opportunity to experience a new athletic activity,” he explained. “This can also increase skills, and knowledge and strengthen abilities that can lead to employment opportunities as a lifeguard.”

The first 10-week season began on Sept. 26 and due to its success, a second season will begin on March 20, 2018. More information about the spring season will be available in 2018.

Honoring Veterans

Second-graders at Ann MacArthur Primary School honored veterans for their service to our country with a beautiful Celebration of Gratitude held at Locust Valley Intermediate School on Nov. 9. Dressed in red, white and blue, the children sang patriotic songs and recognized special veterans from near and far.
Students with family members that are veterans recognized those special men and women with a red poppy and introduced them to the audience. A few veterans were recognized, but could not attend.
Ann MacArthur Primary School teachers worked diligently to make sure the children were prepared for this special tribute to our veterans. The children worked just as hard and it showed through their perfect performances.
The following veterans were honored during the Celebration of Gratitude:
Richard Bathie, United States Army (father of Assistant Principal Amy Watson); Collin Fried, United States Army (cousin of Charlotte Lewicki); George Gregory, United States Army (grandfather of Christopher Velsor); Greg Hach, United States Air Force (father of Savannah Hach); Donald Hansen, United States Navy (grandfather of Josie Hansen); Joseph Lombardi, United States Air Force (great uncle of Keira McHugh); John Marcantonio, United States Army (grandfather of Mia Marcantonio); Thomas McKeon, United States Army and Nicole McKeon, United States Army (parents of Kimberly McKeon); Robert Seldomridge, United States Marine Corps (grandfather of Aidan Habermehl); Harry Stein, United States Air Force (grandfather of Blake Bertnsson); Trevor Tebaldi, United States Army and Navy (uncle of Naomi Smith); Chris Valentine, United States Army (uncle of Thomas Simon).

High School Book Drive

The High School Book Club is sponsoring a book drive from Nov. 20-Dec. 1. Gently used or new books for babies through adult readers and new magazines (dated 2017) may be dropped off at the high school library or main entrance.

In conjunction with The Book Fairies, a non-profit dedicated to bringing books to those in need, the books and magazines will be distributed to schools and organizations in need.

See attached flyer for details.


Falcons Head to Conference IV Semifinals

team photo

The Varsity Football team defeated the Clarke Rams 14-0 in a Saturday afternoon showdown, advancing the Falcons to the Nassau County Conference IV Semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Hofstra University.  

Matt Dellaquila and Ramell Phillips each had a touchdown for the Falcons. Thomas O'Brien, Matt Dellaquila and Ramell Phillips each had seven tackles and O'Brien added a sack in the victory. Phillips led the Falcons with 139 yards rushing and Justin Manzi added two PATs in the victory. 

Come cheer the Falcons on to victory at Hofstra. To avoid the lines at the game, tickets can be purchased in advance electronically by visiting GOFAN.CO or downloading the free GOFAN app. Go to App store on your phone and download the App Go Fan. Once downloaded, on the screen “Get Tickets Now” put in NYSPHSAA – Section VIII.

Go Falcons!

Pumpkins Used For More Than Pie at AMP

Counting pumpkin seeds
Measuring a pumpkin
Measuring a pumpkin
Measuring a pumpkin
Counting pumpkin seeds
Counting pumpkin seeds
Counting pumpkin seeds
Counting pumpkin seeds
Counting pumpkin seeds
Counting pumpkin seeds
Most people think pumpkins are for carving, painting or making pies, but teachers at Ann MacArthur Primary School think pumpkins are perfect for Halloween math lessons.

Students in each of the school’s second-grade classes were split into groups and given pumpkins of varying sizes. Using the skills they learned in recent math lessons, they worked together to measure the fruit’s circumference, height and weight. They also predicted how many seeds they would find inside each pumpkin.

Scooping the seeds out, their math skills came in handy as they counted by tens and hundreds to determine if their predictions were correct.

Second-grade teacher Amanda McCarthy said her students enjoyed the Halloween themed lesson. “The students are always so excited about Halloween. This pumpkin math lesson gave the children the opportunity to participate in a hands-on activity that incorporates their love of Halloween and the skills they learned in our math unit.”

LVHS Senior Earns Wendy’s Heisman Award

Kendall Morfis
Senior Kendall Morfis has been named a school-level Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winner. This distinction is based upon her success in academics and athletics and her participation in community service.

Kendall is an IB Diploma candidate, a member of National Honor Society and Foreign Language Honor Society, will earn an Advanced Regents Diploma with Honors and Mastery in Math. She is a scholar-athlete in volleyball and lacrosse, playing on the varsity lacrosse team since tenth grade. 

Kendall has an entrepreneurial spirit, which has guided her to opening a successful online bathing suit shop. She set-up the website, picked which suits she was going to sell, marketed them in a unique way and fulfilled the orders. Kendall made a profit, but more importantly, she gained valuable business experience.

The Wendy’s High School Heisman Award recognizes high school seniors who demonstrate exemplary dedication to learning, leading and performing. Eligible students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, play at least one sport and display leadership qualities through participation in school and community activities. 

Bilingual Nights Offer Assistance to Families

The room decorated for bilingual night
In an effort to include more families for whom English is not their first language, two bilingual events were recently held at Bayville Primary School and Locust Valley Intermediate School to provide information about the schools.

Over the course of two nights, 75 parents were given tips and tools in their native Spanish language that included how to navigate the district website, explanations of events in the district calendar and the various resources the schools offer for children with disabilities.

English as a New Language Teaching Assistant Cynthia Ergen served as the host and translator for the events. She was joined by Dr. Patricia Griffin, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Alissa Barosin, ENL liaison for the Special Education Parent Teacher Association, Paola Diaz from the Locust Valley Public Library and Ashley Birbal from the Bayville Public Library. Ms. Diaz and Ms. Birbal spoke of the free programs offered by the libraries that are open to all residents.

Information about the ENL program was described in detail along with encouragement for families to participate in events and to have their children join school district sports and clubs.

“For families that did not study in the United States or that don’t speak the language, all of these issues can be stressful,” Mrs. Ergen said. She added that outreach to families that speak languages other than English is important and has been making parents feel more comfortable participating in their children’s educations. “The families left these events with smiles on their faces.”

Dental Health Day

Students and Principal pose with the dentist
Second-graders at Ann MacArthur Primary School may not mind visiting the dentist after learning the benefits that come from taking care of your teeth. An entertaining and animated presentation by Dr. Laura C. Sotomayor reinforced the importance of brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods and visiting the dentist for regular checkups. 

Dr. Sotomayor started her presentation by sharing a photo of herself when she was a student at Ann MacArthur Primary School. The children were amazed and immediately drawn to what this friendly doctor had to say. An orthodontist in Locust Valley, Dr. Sotomayor explained that she first learned to be a dentist before specializing in orthodontics. Her presentation included a plaque “monster” that could be kept away by brushing twice daily for two minutes and learning to floss. 

When students asked questions about their teeth falling out, she assured them this was normal and healthy. She added that if a baby tooth had a cavity, they would get a second chance with the adult tooth that replaced it. Dr. Sotomayer provided dental gift bags for all the children.

Locust Valley Elementary School Principal Dr. Sophia Gary said that the curriculum includes lessons on hygiene, and having Dr. Sotomayor visit to reinforce these classroom lessons helps keep the students engaged. “The students will remember the important tips she provided for keeping their teeth healthy,” she said.

Halloween Costumes Teach Lessons

Bayville Intermediate Staff
Halloween at Bayville Intermediate School was more intellectual than it was spooky. Teachers and teaching assistants dressed in costumes that served as clues to a school-wide geography contest. 

Each staff member represented a different state and provided clues so students could guess which state it was. The adults paraded onto the stage in the school’s auditorium to present their clues one at a time. The students wrote down their guesses and teachers revealed the answers following the assembly.

Principal Scott McElhiney wore a giant foam finger that said #1 and told the students he was the first state (Delaware). There was a Statue of Liberty (New York), Steamboat (Mississippi), a Hershey’s kiss (Pennsylvania) and a red chicken (Rhode Island) among the costume clues. Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without a witch (Massachusetts). 

“The teachers and the students had a lot of fun with this creative geography lesson,” said Mr. McElhiney. “We know that on Halloween children this age group is not focused on their lessons. The teachers came up with a successful way to incorporate learning into the day while letting the students enjoy Halloween at the same time.”

Showing Love for Locust Valley at Homecoming

Football game

The theme was “I Love New York,” but fans at Locust Valley High School’s Homecoming on Oct. 28 showed that their true love was for Locust Valley. The fields and stands were filled with green as students,parents and faculty cheered the Falcons on, with the pep band, cheerleaders and kickline leading the way. 

Enthusiasm was high throughout the district leading up to Homecoming, with Spirit Week taking place at the middle school, high school and intermediate schools and culminating with pep rallies at the middle school and high school. 

Prior to the varsity football game, the Homecoming parade traveled through Bayville and Locust Valley showing off floats made by each grade, depicting scenes from New York and Locust Valley football. In addition to making floats, students raised money for each class by selling Falcon shirts, water bottles, snacks and more. 

The Athletic Council manned the concession stand, offering burgers, quesadillas, coffee and other goodies. Athletic Council is responsible for organizing and running the high school pep rally and various homecoming events.

Halftime performances from the cheerleaders and kickline team kept spectators entertained and spirits high for the second half of the game. Seniors Julia Sparacino and Jay Johnson were crowned Homecoming Queen and King, while Juniors Ava Ireland and Seamus Fallon were crowned Princess and Prince. The award for most spirit went to the senior class, with a $200 prize. The seniors and sophomores tied for best float and also won $200 each. The prize money will help offset the cost of their proms. 

The Falcons put up a good fight against the Clarke Rams, falling short by only one point with a final score of 27-26. The team had a great season and will advance to the Nassau County football playoffs against the Clarke Rams on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. at the Al Staab Athletic Field in Centre Island. Come cheer them on and keep that Falcon spirit going!

Teaching Tolerance

Marion Blumenthal Lazan
Marion Blumenthal Lazan poses with students
A nonfiction book read by middle school students was brought to life when the author visited the school on October 25 to tell her life story in person. Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan shared the shocking details of her life in a concentration camp and life after the Holocaust. Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator David Ethe stated that her book and visit complemented the social studies curriculum, which as required by New York State, includes lessons focusing on the Holocaust and other human rights violations.
In her book, “Four Perfect Pebbles,” Lazan describes how along with her parents and brother, she survived abusive conditions in Westerbork, a death camp in Holland. The German-born Jewish girl, just nine years old, often had one piece of bread for an entire week and weighed only 35 pounds. Sharing a straw-filled mattress with her mother, they could not bathe often, had lice, infections and only one thin blanket during brutally cold winters. When they were allowed to shower, stripping their clothes in front of the guards, they did so in fear, not certain if the showers would spout water or deadly gases. Lazan’s father and brother were together in another part of the camp where men were held and forced to do hard labor.
She credits her survival and her positive view of life on her mother’s determination to live. After being liberated from the camp, Lazan came to the United States with her mother and brother. Her father had died only a few weeks after being liberated. Her mother lived to be 104-years-old, enjoying a full life with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Lazan not only shared what it was like to live in a concentration camp but explained why it is important to treat others well, to accept differences in each other and to avoid making negative comments on social media. She and her husband have traveled to Germany to help educate children there about the atrocities that took place in their country. “We must share the story so that it never happens again,” Lazan explained.

Sixth-grade teacher Evelyn Mason said Lazan’s message was impactful. “This may be the most important message they will ever learn - to be respectful; to be the best person you can be; to treat others as you would yourself and to stand up against bullies.” She added, “If we all follow those simple rules, the rest will fall into place.” 

Sixth-grade teacher Michele Gaglione explained that the sixth grade studies the topic of the Holocaust each year, culminating in a visit to The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. This experience was even more impactful. “I know I will hold her message with me every day of my life and I hope the students will do the same.”

Honoring Excellence Among the Faculty

Tenure Recipients pose with their certificates

To receive tenure in the Locust Valley Central School District, faculty members must prove that their educational practices are making a difference for students, that they can collaborate with their colleagues and that they are dedicated to growing and learning. They must be among the best in their field to serve the children of the community.

Seven LVCSD faculty members were honored by the Board of Education on Oct. 19 for achieving this milestone: Erica Caiati Reilly, Ashley Cannone Gruter, Melissa Caravello, Lisa Czerniecki, Kevin Gabrysiak, Rachel McShane and Stephanie Scavelli. 

High School Principal Dr. Kieran J. McGuire and Middle School Principal H. Thomas Hogan presented the tenure recipients and described the ways in which they are impacting affecting the student population. They all share a gift for connecting with students and offer support to the administration, other faculty members and parents. 

The Board of Education congratulates the tenure recipients and looks forward to recognizing their successes for many years to come.

How to Receive LVCSD Text Messages

Some parents have indicated that they have not received text messages from the district, despite the fact that they receive voice calls from the district on their cell phones.

If you provided the school district with your mobile phone number and receive district voice messages, but have not received text (SMS) messages, then it is likely that you have not provided  "consent " that is required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. 

To provide the required consent, please follow these directions:

1.On your cell phone, in the space you would typically enter the phone number to which you want to send a text message, please enter the numbers 67587.

2.In the space where you would typically write the message that you want to text, please enter the word YES.

In the event that you would like to add your cell phone number to our district list so that you can receive phone calls and texts, or you need to edit your contact information, please call the main office of your child’s school.

For questions other than contact information changes, please email Pam Kaplan at

Thank you! 


LVCSD Welcomes Interim Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics

Joseph Pennacchio
Joseph Pennacchio has been appointed as the Interim Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics for the Locust Valley Central School District. He replaces Mark Dantuono who held the position for the past nine years.

Mr. Pennacchio worked in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District from 1979-2016, when he retired from his position as District Director of Athletics. He previously served that district as an Assistant Principal, Administrative Assistant, and Physical Education and Health Teacher. In addition, he has coached Varsity Wrestling, Junior Varsity Wrestling and Junior Varsity Baseball.

In his role in the Locust Valley Schools, Mr. Pennacchio will use his vast experience to help the student-athletes and the staff to succeed, both on and off the field. “I look forward to serving the Locust Valley community and getting to know the students, staff and parents,” he said. “I am excited to be part of the community.”

Learning Through Teamwork


Click "more" to watch the video. 

Perfect Score Leads to NYSSMA Selection

Hannah FitzGerald
Senior bassist Hannah FitzGerald has been selected for the second time to the NYSSMA All-State Festival. This is one of the highest honors a student-musician can achieve, as acceptance is highly competitive. Hannah’s selection was based upon her perfect score in a Level 6 NYSSMA solo. 

“Hannah is passionate about music and the bass. She always conducts herself like a professional musician and knows the importance that music has played in her education. The music department is very proud of Hannah,” said music subject matter coordinator Marc Yavoski.

The Flu: A Guide for Parents

Please see the attached information on the flu to help protect children this season.


Teamwork Gets the Job Done for LVMS Scientists



Click here to view a middle school science video.