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Prodell students utilize technology to share kindness

Prodell students utilize technology to share kindness photo
Prodell students utilize technology to share kindness photo 2
Prodell students utilize technology to share kindness photo 3
Prodell students utilize technology to share kindness photo 4
As sixth-grade students continue to navigate, learn and connect through 21st century education, teacher Lisa McEvoy at Prodell Middle School came up with a unique way for them to weave a Valentine message and words of kindness with an academic focus.

She instructed each student in her class to use a Google Classroom form and anonymously write some positive traits about a classmate, their kind actions and other encouraging words. She then compiled all their comments into an individual Valentine for each of them and handed them out on Valentine’s Day.

“The students really rose to the occasion and wrote some very thoughtful, kind and funny notes for one another,” she said.
McEvoy also used the lesson as opportunity to reiterate the school’s philosophy in which students and adults promote and exemplify respect, growth and awareness of self and others.

“Whenever they be may be having a rough day, I want them to use these unique notes as special reminders of how important each one of them is to others.”

Captivating curiosity at Wading River School Science Fair

Captivating curiosity at Wading River School Science Fair photo
To help inspire the next generation of scientists, Wading River School is hosting a Science Fair on Wed., February 28. The action-packed, scientifically engaging evening is an opportunity to promote curiosity, discovery and spark an interest in exploration in the 3-5 grade students.

“Scientific discovery becomes more and more essential as we compete on a global scale and grapple with the challenges facing us and future generations,” said Principal Louis Parrinello. “The Science Fair offers our students a chance to explore innovative ideas while learning how to make scientific advances on their own or with the help of a family member or friend.”

Students can enter one of three categories – Discovery, Curator and Expedition, which is for those who would like to be considered for eligibility in Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Science Fair, where they will conduct research on a topic of interest using the Scientific Method.
Due to the popularity of the Fair, the school is hosting visits as follows:

Grade 3: 5 – 5:45 p.m.
Grade 4: 6:15 – 7 p.m.
Grade 5: 7:30 – 8:15 p.m.

All students at the school will have the opportunity to visit the exhibits on March 1.

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Buena suerte! Eighth-graders travel to Madrid

Buena suerte! Eighth-graders travel to Madrid photo
Eighteen Middle School students will put the lessons they are learning in the classroom to use during a two-week exchange program in Madrid, Spain.

The unique, cultural opportunity for the eighth-grade student ambassadors, who left last Friday, will offer some real-world experiences when they are fully immersed in using their Spanish speaking abilities, by far the most significant part of developing their language skills.

The program, celebrating its 35th year, was the brainchild of foreign language teacher Barbara Gaias, who retired from Prodell in 2014.

During their cultural adventure, students will stay with host families and visit museums, parks, plazas and other well-known landmarks in Spain’s capital city. Four SWR parent chaperones are also on the trip, including the exchange program coordinator Marc Dinowitz, whose daughter Katie is among the students excited to take part in the experience.

In April, students from Madrid will arrive in Shoreham-Wading River, where they will be introduced to the close-knit community and other parts of Long Island and New York City.

Two SWR wrestlers crowned Division II Champions

Wrestling 1
Two SWR High School varsity wrestling team members were crowned Division II Champions at the 79th annual Dr. L. Robert Fallot Section XI Championships recently held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

Senior John Carl Petretti won the title in the 152 lb. weight class and freshman Connor Pearce took home the title in the 113 lb. weight class. Both wrestlers will now represent the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District and Suffolk County in the state tournament, slated for Feb. 23-24 in Albany.

“We are all proud to witness the strength and determination of these talented athletes and look forward to a successful state competition for them,” said Mark Passamonte, the district’s director of health, physical education, athletics and nurses.

Petretti has a 153-24 career record at Shoreham-Wading River and Pearce has a 47-10 record. Pearce also took the tournament’s award for the most pins in the least amount of time with four pins in 10:23.

Inquiry-based learning for second-graders at BNL

Inquiry-based learning for second-graders at BNL photo

Second-grade students took part in a stimulating STEM field trip to Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The interactive exhibits and hands-on opportunities in BNL’s Science Learning Center helped the students connect to cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics, an extension of their classroom learning.

Focused on the physical sciences, the inquiry-based learning environment included exhibits on sound waves, engineering concepts and an air cannon where students learned that air has mass and takes up space, among other opportunities for them to investigate and explore.

“The students were excited by the opportunity to understand some of the STEM concepts they are learning in the classroom,” said teacher Alice Steinbrecher. “They were able to use their inquiry and investigative skills to comprehend the hands-on exhibits.”

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Kindness grows at Wading River School

Kindness grows at Wading River School photo
Students and staff at Wading River School are helping kindness grow in their community through the creation of a beautiful Kindness Tree.

Spearheaded by third-grader Madeline Rizzi along with other Girl Scouts, a tree trunk and branches were created on the cement walls of the cafeteria and are encouraging classmates, teachers and others to fill out the colorful leaves with kind messages for all to appreciate.

“A random act of kindness can take many forms including helping someone else, speaking kind words to another, or inviting someone new into your group of friends,” said Principal Lou Parrinello, as he recognized and thanked all those who joined in on this exemplary effort.

Key leadership skills gained for DECA students

Key leadership skills gained for DECA students photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School was well-represented at the DECA Regional Career competition with 19 students participating in various business events and nine of them bringing home awards for the school.

Held at Suffolk County Community College, the competition works to prepare high school and college leaders and entrepreneurs in all areas of business, including marketing, finance, hospitality and management. The top winners are now qualified to compete at the New York State DECA Career Conference competition in March.

Among the students earning top recognition were first-place winners Rikki Alessi, John Betcher, Joseph Cracovia, Maegen Letscher, Emma Loscalzo, Camdon Sisler and Jake Vogel, who placed in the categories of Principles of Hospitality and Tourism, Business Services Management, Accounting Applications, Principles of Business Management and Administration, Hotel and Lodging Management, Public Speaking-Prepared and Job Interview, respectively.

Honorable Mention awards were presented to Phil DeLuca for Principles of Business Management and Administration and Patrick Lane for Business Finance.

The District extends its congratulations to all the DECA participants and wishes the best of luck to those advancing to the state level.

A balance of coaching styles leads to legislative recognition

A balance of coaching styles leads to legislative recognition photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School cross-country coaches Paul Koretzki and Bob Syzmanski were honored by Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker for each being named a Coach of the Year by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

Anker presented the duo with proclamations for their hard work and dedication to the student-athletes of our High School, citing their undeniable leadership and position as exceptional role models for their students, the community and other coaches throughout Suffolk County.

Koretzki, coach of the girls cross-country team, joined the District in 1980 and Syzmanski boys cross-country team coach, followed in 1981. Together, they have a combined 72 years of experience and a combined 100 seasons of coaching cross-country, and winter and spring track. Throughout the years, they have continuously worked together to balance their strengths and coaching styles to produce positive results.

Second-graders share stories of their lives

Second-graders share stories of their lives photo
Students in Kristen Gironda’s second-grade class at Miller Avenue Elementary School are studying nonfiction in reading and writing and learning about how different text features assist them in understanding how a story is organized.

“One of the text features that we learned about was using a timeline to depict a chronological history of something,” said Gironda. “The students shared the timelines they created of their own lives, starting with the year they were born and then adding an important event or milestone for each year of their life.”

The components of a timeline including a heading, sidebars, photos, captions and diagrams, were incorporated into their personal stories to assist their classmates through the predictable placement of information, to help them learn more about each other.

The students are applying their new skills to assist them in the nonfiction topics and historical events they are reading about including the March on Washington and the Montgomery Bus boycott and how they related to the lives of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

Bridging the gap between education and industry with SWR’s School-to-Community program

Bridging the gap between education and industry with SWR’s School-to-Community program photo
Bridging the gap between education and industry with SWR’s School-to-Community program photo 2
District educators, administrators, high school students and community business representatives met on Jan. 17 in the third in a series of outreach meetings created to help students connect to real-world opportunities and careers and to make education a lifelong learning experience.

The School-to-Community Program allows participants to brainstorm programs and events that will help bridge the gap between education and industry. Together they are working to develop and implement pilot programs for SWR high school students.

Gathered in the high school library, groups were divided by tables and topics focused on guest speakers, internships/jobs, mentoring/shadowing/world of work tours, real-world projects, the Spring Career Fair on March 28 and the STEM Symposium scheduled for May 15. Students had a central role in taking notes, providing input and announcing the table’s recommendations.

Business facilitators helped to ensure that all topic perspectives were addressed and that the goal of developing a realistic pilot program was met. They were Linda Kelban, CGAA Inc./GWN Securities; Kristen D’Andrea, Town of Brookhaven Highway Department; Paul Cataldo, Paul Cataldo, Architecture and Planning; John Searing, ASRC Federal; Mary Diane Riotto, Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe; and Henry Bramwell, Brookhaven Business Advisory Council.

Businesses that were represented were Aflac, Brookhaven National Laboratory, CLIMB, Little Leaders, LI Speakers Bureau and the LI Science Center.

“Bridges can be built when we all work together for a common goal,” said Lisa M. Strahs-Lorenc, director of CEO Works, a school-business partnership program of career and employment options, who facilitates the meetings. “That’s what we are accomplishing for students of all learning levels and for all industries across Long Island.”

The next meeting of the School-to-Community Program is scheduled for May 23, and it will be a celebration of the spring programs and events.

A musical experience for Prodell students

A musical experience for Prodell students photo
Four students from Albert G. Prodell Middle School will represent the district’s exceptional music program as participants at the Long Island String Festival Association’s intermediate concert to be held at Northport-East Northport High School from Jan. 26-28.

Sixth-grader Alex Zhang will perform on violin under the direction of conductor Steve Fayette, who retired from Shoreham-Wading River’s music faculty in 2015. Seventh-graders Shiqi Cheng (viola) and Ben Panasci (double bass) and eighth-grader Natalie Acker (double bass) will work with Kenneth Jernigan, a world-traveled music educator and skilled leader who has guest conducted numerous music festivals on all levels throughout the Northeast and Florida. The students were selected to perform based on their New York State School Music Association scores and teacher recommendations.

Middle School music teacher Frederick Volz is excited for the students’ participation, which is an outstanding accomplishment that allows them to experience working with other highly talented young string musicians and continue their musical development.

Sweet sounds of music for SWR HS students

Sweet sounds of music for SWR HS students photo
Shoreham-Wading River High School was well represented at the Long Island String Festival, when ten students participated in the Association’s annual concert recently held at West Islip High School.

The students – freshmen Kyra Faragasso, Mika Misawa, Eleanor Panasci, Brooke Roff and Kaylee Thomsen; sophomores Alexander Kravchenko, Margaret Panasci and Stephanie Searing; and juniors Brett Callagy and Christopher Wygonik – were selected to perform based on their New York State School Music Association scores and teacher recommendations.

The ninth- and tenth-graders worked under the direction of Jonathan Handman, noted teacher and cellist, and the 11th graders worked with Sandra Dackow, professional conductor and college professor, both notable for their work with LISFA.

“These students were selected as among the best string players in Suffolk County,” said Shoreham-Wading River High School Music Coordinator David Minelli. “We all congratulate them for this prestigious accomplishment.”

Strategies and tactics for SWR High School chess players

Strategies and tactics for SWR High School chess players photo
Strategies and tactics for SWR High School chess players photo 2
Strategies and tactics for SWR High School chess players photo 3
Strategies and tactics for SWR High School chess players photo 4
The fundamental aspects of chess were in full force for the SWR High School students who took part in the ongoing library chess tournament.

Started last year by librarian Kristine Hanson, the activity became more popular this year with new high quality, regulation sets being used by the 29 students who signed up for the tournament.

“We started this as a way to give students an opportunity to meet different opponents and test their skills,” said Hanson. “There have been times when we have had seven simultaneous games in progress.”

Acquiring skills from strategic thinking, problem-solving, improved concentration, memorization and self-motivation, the students were eager to spend their free periods competing with one another.

Semifinalists were junior Jacob Rassner and freshman Adam Gawreluk. In the final game, Keyi Chen prevailed over fellow senior Conor McAuliffe and received a 3-D printed chess king with SWR engraved on the bottom.

High School teachers receive LILAC grant

High School teachers receive LILAC grant photo
Two English teachers from the High School have been selected to receive a grant from the Long Island Language Arts Council.

Alana Philcox and Edward Storck, both members of the organization, wrote a proposal to support their efforts as co-advisors of the school district’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Their project’s aim is to cultivate empathy and promote the need for social harmony in a culturally diverse world. Members of the GSA will have an opportunity to discuss real-world issues and to better understand what it means to be a part of a global community that respects and celebrates each other’s unique qualities.

“As English teachers, we understand the critical role that literature can have in starting a dialogue,” said Philcox. “By integrating bibliotherapeutic strategies into instruction and selecting texts with authentic depictions, we can expose our members to diverse experiences to foster acceptance and understanding for diverse individuals.”

LILAC offers the annual $500 grant program to support efforts of their members’ to provide superior literacy instruction and opportunities to all students.

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.”

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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.

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Shoreham-Wading River Central School District
Sunday, February 18, 2018