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High School Students Share the Gift of Music

High School Students Share the Gift of Music photo
High School Students Share the Gift of Music photo 2
Members of the High School Tri-M Music Honor Society visited the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook and the Little Flower School in Wading River to spread cheer and perform music for the residents and students.

The student-musicians had the opportunity to interact with the residents at the Veterans Home and learn about their lives and service. At the Little Flower School, all the students collaborated and learned how to perform a song on handbells.

A program of the National Association for Music Education, which focuses on creating future leaders in music education and music advocacy, Tri-M is the only national honor society for student musicians in secondary schools.

According to Ashley O’Connor, music teacher and chapter advisor, SWR chapter’s goal is to inspire and recognize musical achievement in the school music department.

A step back in time for Miller Avenue School students

A step back in time for Miller Avenue School students photo
Miller Avenue School second-grade students had a remarkable educational experience when they visited the historic one-room schoolhouse at The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

As part of their social studies curriculum, they learned what a typical school day was like for a child in the 1880s by solving math problems on slate boards, learning about Spencerian script, the standard writing style of the period and playing 19th century games. To add to the day, some of them brought their lunch in a paper bag, a basket, a tin pail, or wrapped in a piece of cloth.

Students were encouraged to dress as if they lived in the time period – girls with long dresses, aprons, bonnets, shawls and boots, and boys who wore straw hats, suspenders and pulled their socks up over their pants to give the appearance of breeches.

“We had a wonderful field trip,” said teacher Kristen Gironda, who encouraged students to share their experiences with their families and note the differences between the modern Miller Avenue School and the vintage one-room schoolhouse.

A Love of Literature in SWR Schools

A Love of Literature in SWR Schools photo
A Love of Literature in SWR Schools photo 2
Promoting a love of literature throughout the Shoreham-Wading River School District is a daily occurrence. Extending that interest beyond the standard school day is something that happens in all schools and especially at Albert Prodell Middle School and SWR High School.

Ann-Marie Kalin and Kristine Hanson, librarians at the respective schools, have shaped reading opportunities for students to help them embrace a lifelong love of literature.

According to Kalin, providing authentic book discussions in small settings, learning the art of conversation, and guiding students in discussing the plot, characters and summary of books helps to encourage even the most reluctant readers. Two programs that she oversees are BIG Read, a schoolwide initiative that started five years ago with R.J. Palacio’s “Wonder,” and Booktalk, with a history that dates back to the 1980s in the district and re-emerged at Prodell in 2011 under her leadership.

An enriching literacy experience that provides a variety of book titles that students can select from, Booktalk emulates adultlike books clubs, with adults taking part as leaders over a two-week period. Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole and Director of Humanities Ethan Wivietsky have both led the program.

In the high school’s book club, students peruse titles, brainstorm ideas and use an online survey form to vote on the books they want to read. Their first book for discussion was E. Lockhart’s “We Were Liars,” a clever and addictive read that quickly became a favorite among the group.

Asked what inspired her to join the high school’s book club this year, sophomore Emily Mulcahy said that friends who were in it last year encouraged her to join.

“It really helped me to get back into reading for enjoyment on a regular basis,” she said.

Unique science lessons for Miller Avenue students

Unique science lessons for Miller Avenue students photo
Unique science lessons for Miller Avenue students photo 2
Excitement was in the air at Shoreham-Wading River’s Miller Avenue School when kindergarten students took part in a program that showcased the state of the atmosphere and the effects of weather, using a unique approach to teach them scientific concepts.

Professor Soda Pop, a teacher from Mad Science, an educational program that works to spark students’ curiosity, led the students in conducting hands-on experiments to understand how and why weather occurs.

In one example, students acted as meteorologists in Argentina, Australia and Russia and learned how the climate in those regions plays a part in predicting the weather. They also learned about thermochromic paper and how its color changes when it reaches a particular temperature, along with experiencing other measurement tools used by weather forecasters.

The workshop was presented in conjunction with the grade-level study of weather and aimed to reinforce the students’ understanding of the content and concepts taught in class.

Exploring Energy Transfer at Wading River School

Exploring Energy Transfer at Wading River School photo
Exploring Energy Transfer at Wading River School photo 2
Science, technology, engineering and math skills were in full force during a STEM activity for fourth-graders at Wading River School as part of the district’s Mystery Science program, an innovative approach to learning that is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

The students built a bumper roller coaster with hills to examine how height affects the energy produced by a roller coaster and explored what occurs when the second hill of a coaster is higher than the first. They released a marble at different points on the track to get both a target marble and the starting marble in a cup at the end of the track.

The experiment helped the students to build a deeper understanding of energy and the energy transfer that happens when two objects collide. Their hands-on activity brought into focus engineering concepts and how testing their hypotheses form their results.

Compassion and empathy from Shoreham-Wading River Schools

Compassion and empathy from Shoreham-Wading River Schools photo
Compassion and empathy from Shoreham-Wading River Schools photo 2
Students and staff members in the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District work throughout the school year on many charitable projects and their efforts swelled this holiday season.

At both Miller Avenue and Wading River schools, students and staff took part in the Salvation Army’s traditional Angel Tree, a program designed to enable community members to provide clothing and toys to specific children in need. Second-grade teacher Alice Steinbrecher and fifth-grade teacher Adrian Gilmore coordinated the program at each school and distributed approximately 100 angel tags per building.

Prodell Middle School Student Council and National Junior Honor Society members, under the leadership of advisers Maria Lovasco and Kim Avelin and social worker Andrea Monz, teamed up with students and staff from Shoreham-Wading River High School to spread cheer to local families with their Holiday Giving Tree, which was filled with ornaments anonymously listing a child’s wishes for the holidays.

“Compassion and empathy are lifelong skills,” said Gilmore. “When children learn at a young age to give to those in their greater community, they acquire those skills.” Added Monz, “We have an amazing Shoreham-Wading River community and staff who really go above and beyond in making sure these families have a wonderful holiday.”

SWR Pond Restoration


Success for Shoreham-Wading River High School Debate Team’s first tournament

Success for Shoreham-Wading River High School Debate Team’s first tournament photo
The High School Debate Team experienced a successful day during their first competition recently held at Syosset High School.

Seven students – Sarah Acerra, Declan Beran, Emma Kirkpatrick, Patrick Lane, Katie Loscalzo, Mahdi Rashidzada and Jalal Sawas – attended and each debated four times throughout the tournament. Acerra, Beran, Loscalzo and Rashidzada each won one of the Junior Varsity rounds they competed in and Acerra scored 29/30 points in her very first round.

The students participated in the Lincoln Douglas Debate, a debate of values in which each side attempts to prove that they can provide a better value than the other side. Their topic was whether wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

Beran and Kirkpatrick, co-captains of the team, founded it last year and worked with SWR High School English teacher and adviser Brenna Gilroy to get other students interested. They meet weekly to practice debating, learning effective research, analytical and public speaking skills as well as teamwork and collaboration – all skills transferable to the students’ everyday lives and beyond.

“It was a memorable experience for everyone,” said Gilroy. “The team is now looking forward to honing their skills for January's tournament at Schreiber High School.”

Shoreham-Wading River scholar-athletes commended by Board of Education

Shoreham-Wading River scholar-athletes commended by Board of Education photo
Wildcat pride was on full display as the Shoreham-Wading Central School District Board of Education celebrated the High School’s fall varsity sports teams for their exceptional work on the field and in the classroom at a recent meeting.

The Board celebrated the school’s scholar-athlete teams, an honor the 170 varsity students earned by 75 percent of them maintaining an average GPA of 90 percent or above during the season. In addition, ten teams were celebrated for their post season play, including the girls soccer team who earned the Suffolk County Class A Undefeated Champion title to numerous All State, All League, All County, All Conference and All Division honors. Five teams also received Section XI Sportsmanship Awards.

Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole commended the student-athletes for their outstanding abilities and stated that he looked forward to both the winter and spring sports seasons. Each student was also presented with a SWR School District commemorative pin.

Wading River School students learn that science is fun with educational lessons from ‘Mr. Fish’

Fish photo
A special Arts-in-Education science-themed presentation at Wading River School helped to excite and inspire students to embrace essential scientific concepts.

“Mr. Fish” (John Lepiarz) created visual images for the young audience members to get them to think about cause and effect, aerodynamics, variation, diversity, structure and function. His awe-inspiring magic tricks using props such as bubbles and balloons and skills learned as a professional circus performer were both educational and entertaining.

According to Principal Louis Parrinello, his return visit served as a catalyst to encourage and motivate students to work on their projects for the Feb. 28 schoolwide science fair.

SWR seniors named Suffolk Zone Award winners

SWR seniors named Suffolk Zone Award winners photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School seniors Katherine Lee and Matthew Moran were each honored with the Suffolk Zone Senior Physical Education Award by the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The organization honors one senior male and one senior female from each district in Suffolk County.

Lee, a standout runner for SWR and Moran who just finished a successful season with the boys soccer team, were chosen by their physical education teachers for their outstanding character, leadership skills in schoolwide as well as physical education and health class activities, scholastic achievements and being role models for their peers.

According to Mark Passamonte, the district’s Director of Health, Physical Education, Athletics and Nurses, both students are actively engaged in providing support for the success of others and each demonstrates a positive attitude toward instructional activities in their physical education classes.

Student-musicians share a few holiday favorites

Student-musicians share a few holiday favorites photo
Student-musicians share a few holiday favorites photo 2
Shoreham-Wading River High School music performing groups recently hit musical high notes as they performed at the annual Holiday Tea and Antiques Appraisal hosted by the Wading River Historical Society.

The event, held at the Wading River Congregational Church, featured the high school’s select string quartet, the Orpheus Ensemble and the school’s a cappella group, Vocal Express.

In addition to the highlighted performers, the social event welcomed volunteer members of the high school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society who helped to organize and run the festivities.

Out-of-this world experience for Wading River School students

Out-of-this world experience for Wading River School students photo
Out-of-this world experience for Wading River School students photo 2
As a component of Wading River School’s science curriculum, students had a unique learning experience to journey through the universe when a digital planetarium was set up in their school.

Powered by a tablet controlled by Cradle of Aviation Museum educators Kerri Kiker and Cathie Bianco, the portable, inflatable dome-theater was visited by fourth- and fifth-grade students to learn about the night sky.

The immersive educational environment enabled the students to venture into the outer reaches of the universe and learn the names of stars and constellations, the motions of the sky and all of the wonders of space.

Wading River School student takes leadership role as ‘Principal for the Day’

Wading River School student takes leadership role as ‘Principal for the Day’ photo
Wading River School student takes leadership role as ‘Principal for the Day’ photo 2
Wading River School student takes leadership role as ‘Principal for the Day’ photo 3
While her classmates were readying for their day of learning at Wading River School, Samantha Murtha had other work on her agenda.

The fifth-grade student took on the leadership role of the school in her position as Principal for the Day on Dec. 1. Principal Louis Parrinello served as her assistant, providing opportunities to make the experience an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at his everyday responsibilities.

Samantha, who won the honor in a raffle drawing, was engaged in many activities during her tenure. She provided input on an upcoming elementary mathematics textbook adoption, toured the building with the security team, met with various stakeholders including Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole, the chef and staff of the school’s cafeteria, faculty, staff, students and parents.

Samantha also made decisions, such as granting her class extra recess time and helping others resolve differences. She was celebrated among her peers, receiving support throughout the building and a round of applause by the entire fifth grade when she visited chorus rehearsals.

“Throughout the experience, Samantha learned that each of us is a leader and with that power to lead comes great joy and responsibility,” said Parrinello. “Having leaders like her gives me great hope for the future.”

VIDEO: Getting Concert Ready!


BOE honors heroic efforts of Shoreham-Wading River High School student

BOE honors heroic efforts of Shoreham-Wading River High School student photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School senior Jillian Dinowitz was honored by the Board of Education for her heroism, dedication and courage when she and a friend helped rescue a young man during a life-threatening boating accident.

Dinowitz’s act of bravery was also recognized with a proclamation from the Suffolk County Legislature for her quick response in administering first aid to the victim, who was hit by a boat’s propeller, severely damaging his arm.

Introduced by SWR High School Principal Frank Pugliese, Dinowitz was applauded by the Board for her selfless efforts. An Advanced Placement Scholar, a member of the varsity tennis team and a local sailing instructor, she can now add hero to her résumé for her lifesaving actions this past summer.

Systematic STEM skills for Shoreham-Wading River elementary school students

Systematic STEM skills for Shoreham-Wading River elementary school students photo
Systematic STEM skills for Shoreham-Wading River elementary school students photo 2
In an effort to enhance students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, teachers at Miller Avenue and Wading River schools are working collaboratively to develop engaging science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities during STEM planning workshops.

The professional development days are led by Dr. Amy Meyer, the district’s STEM director, who plans and facilitates the meetings to give teachers the opportunity to discuss and strategize the elementary math and science curriculum, plan grade-level STEM challenges and map out the new science units aligned to the New York State Science Learning Standards.

During a recent workshop at Miller Avenue School, the teachers worked in groups of four to complete a challenge that they will eventually introduce to their students. Each team received a stack of plastic cups and rubber bands and were instructed to make a pyramid without touching the cups. The challenge was a simple and fun concept for the educators as they worked together to solve their problem. The idea is to build in students an understanding of how to tackle challenges methodically, modify ideas that may not work and help reinforce teamwork to make connections among engineering, science and math.

VIDEO: Lunch is Served!


Reading and Writing Workshops at Miller Avenue School

Reading and Writing Workshops at Miller Avenue School photo
As part of the District’s implementation of the Teachers College Reading and Writing program, educators have been engaging in information workshops and professional development opportunities aimed at designing a robust elementary reading and writing program.

Working with staff developer Nancy Brennan, Miller Avenue Elementary School teachers recently discussed how to assess students for their level of reading complexity and then work to adapt instruction, teaching plans and methods to best meet the needs of each student.

According to principal Christine Carlson, Brennan’s visits and workshops are scheduled in cycles of three weeks so that she can work to plan and implement specific units to help students read with fluency, accuracy and comprehension. During each workshop teachers visit a “lab site” to observe and practice the structures and methods modeled by the staff developer with the students and ask questions to strengthen their classroom procedures.

Brennan will work with the teachers and Miller Avenue’s literacy coach Erin Wills throughout the year to support the entire literacy curriculum.

Shoreham-Wading River High School share their musical talents at SCMEA concert

Shoreham-Wading River High School share their musical talents at SCMEA concert photo
Nine students from Shoreham-Wading River High School recently participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Festival held at Hauppauge High School. Brett Callagy, Jack Flatley, Julianna Kohlus, Kerry Mannix, Sophia Mastrangelo, Alexandra Meli, Ryan Nowak, Justin Stuart and Christopher Wygonik attended and participated in band, orchestra and chorus.

“These students represent the finest musicians in Suffolk County and were excellent representatives of our school district and program,” said Shoreham-Wading River High School Music Coordinator David Minelli.

Chromebooks foster independence at Prodell Middle School

Chromebooks foster independence at Prodell Middle School photo
As part of the district’s 1:1 technology initiative, sixth-graders at Prodell Middle School are utilizing state of the art Chromebooks to enhance their educational learning experience.

A recent lesson with middle school librarian Ann Marie Kalin taught them the use of Padlet, a web-based tool that allows them to share documents, ideas, photographs or other visuals to a collaborative online board and Glogster, which combines images, graphics, audio, video and text in a digital canvas. They shared book reviews with both tools.

Students in Nicole Pletka’s class used the Virtual Reference Center to collect data on various landforms, including the Grand Canyon, Indian Ocean and Panama Canal, and then utilized Padlet to present facts learned, including images and video clips. Their work was then posted to the Google Classroom to share with and learn from classmates.

All sixth-graders are also practicing their skills using NoodleTools, a bibliography and note-taking tool through the Virtual Reference Center, to generate bibliographies of all the books they read this year.

The district’s ongoing technology initiative helps students obtain the skills needed in the ever-changing digital era. Using Chromebooks helps them gain a sense of independence in their schoolwork.

“It is easy to work with,” said student Nick Worthington. “I like that I can bring it home and still be able to have my work with me,” he noted as one of the benefits the product offers as students are able to have constant access to school assignments both in school and at home.

Focusing on bus safety at Miller Avenue School

Focusing on bus safety at Miller Avenue School photo
Focusing on bus safety at Miller Avenue School photo 2
Miller Avenue School students were reminded of key bus safety tips and lessons during an interactive bus program recently provided at the school.

The program, called “Safety Sally,” taught the students bus stop behavior, boarding and exiting a school bus properly and demonstrations in seatbelt use and proper seating while on the bus. They also learned about danger zones, universal crossing signals and emergency bus drills before finishing their visit with an evacuation assisted by BOCES transportation specialist Amanda Klvana. Each student was also presented with reinforcement materials to share with their families and friends.

Getting in gear with SWR High School Robotics Club

Getting in gear with SWR High School Robotics Club photo
A new academic adventure is taking place at Shoreham-Wading River High School as 16 students in grades 9-12 are learning to apply a myriad of STEM-based skills through their participation in the school’s newly founded Robotics Team.

During the club’s initial meeting this November, team members helped to unbox, organize and assess their competitive Vex robotic gear in preparation for their first robotic building competition.

In the coming weeks, key STEM concepts will be put to the test as the students explore the fundamentals of robotics and the engineering design process, as well as practice teamwork, leadership and communication skills. With the help of their coach and SWR technology teacher Nick Vertucci, the team members will design and build their robots to compete in a game-based engineering challenge and are using GitHub, a development platform that allows them to host and review code.

Rave reviews for Shoreham-Wading River High School’s ‘Kiss Me Kate’

Rave reviews for Shoreham-Wading River High School’s ‘Kiss Me Kate’ photo

Shoreham-Wading River High School’s production of “Kiss Me Kate,” was a resounding success based on the remarkable talents of all involved.

The fall musical, an adaptation of Shakespeare's “Taming of the Shrew,” engaged many students who took part in all aspects of its final stage performance – actors, pit orchestra, stage construction crew and those running the front of the house. The months of planning and rehearsing under the leadership of director Dennis Creighton helped to create another audience favorite for the Shoreham-Wading River School community.

Augmented Reality at Wading River School


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Shoreham-Wading River Central School District
Thursday, January 18, 2018