Letter from Dr. Ianni regarding Cold War Veterans Tax Exemption


Shattering Stereotypes

Shattering Stereotypes

As part of Anti-Violence Week, Oldfield Middle School students discussed stereotyping with the help of members from the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County on Feb. 14. Speakers Tracy Garrison-Feinberg and Paula Jasser led three grade level assemblies which enabled students to think about others and examine acceptance throughout history.

Garrison-Feinberg spoke about the results of stereotyping and asked for volunteers to give their own example of a stereotype that society holds today. The assembly also focused on the meaning of certain symbols and how history can play a large part in what they represent.

The presentations were just one component of Anti-Violence week for the school. Classes also participated throughout the week in activities that focused on respecting, accepting and showing kindness towards others. Students were given the tools that they need to make the right choices.

“We look to promote a culture of acceptance,” said Assistant Principal Joseph Castoro. “We want students to know that our school is a safe place.”

Letter from the Superintendent - February 2017


Board of Education Meeting Update - February 15, 2017


Letter from the Superintendent - New Technology Plan


Initial 2017-2018 Budget Presentation


Update on Teaching and Learning at Harborfields


New Community Events and Activities


A Look Back at History

A Look Back at History

To expand on their history curriculum, fourth-grade students at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School received a hands on lesson about Native American Indian culture on Feb. 8. With the help of Journeys Into American Indian Territory, an organization that has visited the school annually for about 20 years, students took part in a workshop that enabled them to walk through a model long house and interact with different artifacts.

Presenters Maddi Cheers and Marianne Chasen answered questions and showed students how to grind corn and play a handmade Indian drum. Classes also learned the roles that Native American men and women played and had the opportunity to try on their fashion for their classmates.

Superintendents Message - February

Students Give Back in a Soup-er Way

Students Give Back in a Soup-er Way
Washington Drive Primary School students recently held their third annual Soup-er Bowl Food Drive and collected a total of 331 cans to be donated to Harborfields Alliance for Community Outreach (HACO) and the school’s food pantry!

Students donated cans towards their favorite team in this year’s Superbowl. The Atlanta Falcons won the “Soup-er Bowl” with 194 cans, while the New England Patriots followed with 137 cans.

The fundraiser was run by the Acts of Kindness committee, an organization comprised of teachers who hold fundraisers throughout the school year. Committee co-chairs Alyson Elish and Jennifer Pennisi, as well as staff volunteers Michelle Kasin, Maria Semertzides and Millie Rivera worked together to make the drive a success.

Students Awarded at PTA Reflections Ceremony

Students Awarded at PTA Reflections Ceremony

A number of Washington Drive Primary School students took part in the 2016-17 PTA Reflections Award Ceremony on Feb. 2. The National PTA Reflections Program allows students of all grade levels and abilities to explore and become involved in the arts. This year’s theme, “What Is Your Story?” had many entries from students at the school. Each student was judged on artistic merit and creativity, mastery of the medium and interpretation of the theme. Congratulations to all of the winners for their fantastic entries!

Harborfields Read in Day

Harborfields-Read in Day

Fifth-Graders Serve Up Support

The Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School Physical Education department recently hosted their sixth annual fifth-grade Charity Volleyball Tournament to raise money for two families in the community. With over 190 fifth-grade participants, the school raised close to $6,500.

All proceeds from the event went to the Renz and Schmidt Families. The Renz family recently lost their beloved father and husband, while the Schmidt family is currently caring for their daughter, a Harborfields High School student battling cancer.

Students paid a registration fee to play in the tournament and a concession stand was run in the cafeteria to help raise money. A raffle drawing also took place which allowed the entire school to contribute to the cause. Tickets were sold either individually or in bundles of 10, 20 or 40 tickets and prizes included Sport Equipment packages, I-Tunes gift cards, Game Stop gift cards and free weeks at the Harborfields Alumni and Community Educational Foundation (HACEF), Booster Club and Mecurio summer camps. The big items from the evening were a GoPro Camera and Beats by Dre Headphones.  

“We would like to thank TJL PTA president Kimberly Arias and the PTA for all of their help and support leading up to the tournament and the day of the tournament,” said physical education teacher Michele Turchiano. “We would also like to thank the TJL faculty and staff for their donations and Assistant Principal Mary Williams and Principal Marguerite Greene for allowing us to continue to run our tournament year in and year out.”

“We truly appreciate the entire TJL family for coming together to help us make this year’s tournament a memorable one,” she added.

Stacey Renz visited the school at the end of January to meet some of the students who participated in the tournament and thanked them personally for a job well done.  

Washington Drive Kicks Off PARP

Washington Drive Kicks Off PARP

Washington Drive Primary School recently kicked off their PARP program with a Peter Pan themed PTA PARP play titled, “Books Are a Treasure.” PARP is a national, PTA sponsored program that encourages a love of reading in students and helps parents and caregivers become more active reading partners with their children on a daily basis. Students gathered in the Washington Drive Cafetorium to watch staff members and parent PTA members perform the exciting show.

Harborfields Among Top 30 Best Districts in New York

In the 2017 New York State Niche.com Ranking, the district ranked #28 in the Best School Districts in New York. With an overall A+ Niche Grade, Harborfields listed among the top 30 districts and also ranked #21 in Niche’s 2017 Districts with Best Teachers in New York!

Niche.com provides rankings and reviews on the quality of education a school district provides for students. Among dozens of key statistics and opinions, the overall ranking is determined by a cumulative numerical grade in the following criteria: academics, health and safety, student culture and diversity, survey responses, teachers, resources and facilities, extracurricular activities and sports and fitness.

A high ranking indicates that the district contains great schools with exceptional teachers, sufficient resources, and a diverse set of high-achieving students who rate their experiences very highly.

Surfing into PARP

Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students kicked off their PARP (Pick A Reading Partner) week on Jan. 20 with a tropical assembly. The school’s PARP theme titled “Ride the Reading Wave,” allowed students to take part in daily trivia challenges, raffles, prizes, themed days and reading contests throughout the week of Jan. 23-27.

This school-wide reading goal was to receive back 99% of the reading pledges created to encourage students to read and have families pledge to read over 100,000 minutes during the week of PARP.

Students had the option to choose a reading level as a goal for the week. These levels ranged from Mini Wave Reader, a pledge to read a minimum of 20 minutes a day; Maverick Wave Reader, a pledge to read a minimum of 30 minutes a day; and Monster Wave Reader, a pledge to read a minimum of 40 minutes a day.

During the kickoff assembly, PTA members and faculty members dressed in colorful beach attire and sang their own version of “Surfin’ USA,” titled “Ride the Reading Wave.” Students learned about what exciting things were to expect during the full week of PARP with the help of Assistant Principal Mary Williams.

“Our goal for PARP is we want you to read,” she said. “Whether you’re reading with a buddy, parent, grandma, neighbor or someone that you just want to pair up with.”

Classes received a basket of books from the PTA at the conclusion of the assembly to get a jump start into PARP where each student took home a book of their own.

Students Excel in WordMasters Challenge

Students Excel in WordMasters Challenge
Two teams representing Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School recently competed and scored top spots in the WordMasters Challenge, a national vocabulary competition for students in grades 3-8.

Approximately 150,000 students compete annually in the WordMasters Challenge. The competition encourages students to become familiar with new sets of words and challenges them to use those words to compete in analogies.

Harborfields third-grade team scored an impressive 184 points out of a possible 200 in the first of three meets this year, placing sixth in the nation from among 279 teams. In addition, the fourth-grade team also placed sixth in the nation with a score of 166 points. The national median score was 116 in fourth-grade and 148 in third.

Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the WordMasters Challenge, third-grader Rhys Walter achieved an individual perfect score of 20 on the challenge. Only 25 out of 5,000 third-graders who participated in the test achieved this accomplishment. Fourth-grader Leah Vapnyar also earned a 20. Vapnyar was 1 of 12 students out of over 6,000 fourth-graders who took the test to earn a perfect score.

Other students who achieved outstanding results in the meet included third-graders Jackson Dunham, Abigail Durham, Jack Durham, Anderson Howe, Jack MacInnes, Norene Miraglia, Talia Steinberg, Julian Tchinnis and Ava Vandor and fourth-graders Fiona Calderon, Molly Diskin, Alexis Ebanks, Amelia Freiberger, Eliza Michalopoulos, Lila Porzio, Hartley Semmes, Delilah Shapiro, Aidan Smith, McKena Sung and Samantha Urmaza.

A number of fifth-graders competed at the individual level. Those who achieved impressive results included Allison Blosser, Clarissa Bues, McKenzie Coleman, Liza McPherson, Brendan O’Connor and Andre Tavitan.

The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge by Lahey Enrichment Academic Program (LEAD) teachers Patricia Bacchi, Donna Robson and Christine Mayr.

District Welcomes New Superintendent

District Welcomes New Superintendent
District Welcomes New Superintendent 2
During the district’s Board of Education meeting on Jan. 18, former Deputy Superintendent Dr. Francesco Ianni was officially sworn in as Superintendent of Schools. Surrounded by the Board and community members, Dr. Ianni thanked everyone in attendance for their support.

“It is my main objective to work in partnership with the Board to guide the district to the next level of excellence,” he said. “I think we have what we need to succeed. The best community, the best teachers, the best clerical staff, the best custodians, nurses, food workers, administrators and, most importantly, the best student body that anyone could dream of.”

Varsity Wrestling Team Recognizes Alumni

Varsity Wrestling Team Recognizes Alumni
The Harborfields High School Varsity Wrestling team recently held its first “HF Wrestling Alumni Night,” during a match against Deer Park. Organized and coordinated in the spring of 2016 by Hall of Fame Inductee and former successful HF wrestler Jim Abbott (Class of 1977), along with varsity assistant coach Matt Bilello, the evening far exceeded expectations.

The packed Harborfields gym was filled with former wrestlers and coaches who reminisced of old days and the memories made with each other. Each of the alumni wrestlers were recognized during an intermission in the match and called down from the stands to a rocking applause from the home crowd.  Alumni from all around attended the event, traveling from as far as Colorado. They spanned the years of 1969 to 2016. Many of the former wrestlers currently live in the community, having proudly returned to their alma mater.  

The wrestling match itself proved to be a nail biter. Deer Park had jumped out to a heavy lead early on in the match but the Tornadoes ultimately defeated Deer Park 42-35.  It was a special evening all around for the current team to honor and pay homage to the wrestlers preceding them who had laid the foundation of success, discipline and commitment to the sport of wrestling. The alumni joined the team in the cafeteria following the match for goodies prepared by the parents of the wrestlers.

“Congratulations to the wrestling team and the many HF Wrestling Alumni for coming out to cheer on the team and rekindle old stories of their days as a Harborfields wrestler,” said Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Mr. John Valente.

Alumni in Attendance:
Coach John Szokoli- Head Coach 1970-1995
Pete Barros- Class of 69’
Gary Gardner-Class of 77’
Jim Abbott-Class of 77’
Chet Knapp- Class of 77’
Charles Fiorentino- Class of 77’
Bob Mazur- Class of 77’
Gary Abbott- Class of 78’
Joe Franza- Class of 79’
Douglas O’Connor- Class of 79’
Michael Meehan- Class of 80’
Glenn O’Connor- Class of 82’
Matt Gribbin- Class of 96’
Tom Boccard- Class of 99’
Corey Gribbin- Class of 99’
Kevin Gribbin- Class of 00’
Ben Deem- Class of 13’
Thomas Boyd- Class of 13’
Alex Reilly- Class of 15’
Tommy Lange- Class of 15’
Nick Malico- Class of 15’
Hunter Cuthbertson- Class of 16’
James Tully- Class of 16’

Letter from the Superintendent - 2017-2018 Adopted School Calendar


DECA Students Thrive at Regional Competition

DECA Students Thrive at Regional Competition
DECA Students Thrive at Regional Competition 2
Members of the Harborfields High School DECA club competed at the Regional DECA Competition at Suffolk Community College on Jan. 4. The school had a record number of winners this year; 19 regional finalists including two second place winners and two honorable mentions.

Over 3,000 students from across Suffolk County participated in various category competitions during the event. Those selected as regional finalists will continue to compete at the New York DECA State Career Conference from Mar. 8 - 10 in Rochester, NY.

Harborfields High School students Angela Barberis and Caroline Sheehan were named second place winners in their category. Barberis for Hotel and Lodging Management and Sheehan for Principles of Business Management and Administration.

“Congratulations to all of our DECA Regional Finalists,” said DECA advisor Alison Matthews. “I am so proud of their hard work and I know they will be successful at the state competition in March.”

Regional Finalists
Ryan Ackerman    Principles of Finance
Derek Branch        Business Finance
Annika Browne    Principles of Hospitality & Tourism
Rebecca Cohen    Restaurant & Food Service Management
Christiana de Borja    Sports & Entertainment Marketing
Matthew Grover    Principles of Marketing
Brett Hebert        Public Speaking - Prepared (4-6 minutes)
Katherine Kennedy    Principles of Hospitality & Tourism
Wade Leskody        Principles of Business Management & Administration
Shamus Nordin    Automotive Services Marketing
Katherine Paradise    Principles of Finance
Samantha Scileppi    Job Interview - Men's Warehouse
Edward Serwan    Principles of Business Management & Administration
Andrew Stefanac    Buying & Merchandising Team
James    Treanor    Buying & Merchandising Team
Patrick Wilson        Principles of Marketing    
Samuel Puccio        Business Finance

Honorable Mention:
Christina Kohl        Public Speaking - Prepared (4-6 minutes)
Daniel Polay        Sports & Entertainment Marketing

Spelling Success

Spelling Success
Spelling Success 2
Fourth and fifth grade students at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School showcased their spelling abilities at the school’s third annual spelling bee competition on Jan. 6. Fourth-grader Justin Lowenhar was crowned the winner and will move on to participate in the Long Island Regional Scripps Spelling Bee at Hofstra University in February, with the hopes of making it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Ten fourth-graders and ten fifth-graders competed in the school competition after being named classroom winners. The students gathered on the stage in the school cafeteria as their classmates and teachers cheered them on. One by one the students approached the podium for a new word. The difficulty of the words increased as the rounds continued.

The final two students were Lowenhar and fifth-grader Aidan Saunders. Lowenhar was crowned the winner by spelling his final word, “tenaciously” correct.

“It feels great,” he said. “I’ve watched the National Spelling Bee on TV since I was four or five years old. I’ve been dreaming about this.”

Congratulations to all of the students that participated in this exciting event!

Music Students Hit a High Note

Music Students Hit a High Note
The district is pleased to announce that 43 students from Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School, Oldfield Middle School and Harborfields High School have been selected to take part in prestigious Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association (SCMEA) All-County honor groups.

The students will be meeting for several rehearsals that culminate in the SCMEA All-County concerts in early March.

“Congratulations to all of these accomplished student-musicians,” said music department coordinator Dan Bilawsky. “These high number of students are a testament to the hard work they put in and are a reflection on the quality of the music education taking place in our schools. Bravo to our students and teachers alike!”     

Congratulations to the following students:

Harborfields High School   
Samantha Becker – Soprano
Everett Borman – Violin
Eric Cadalzo – Trumpet
Aimee Cameron – Soprano
Carlos Godoy – Tuba
Hope Lusby – Violin
Madison Maiella – Soprano
Jackson McGill – Tenor
Erin McLaughlin – Alto
Jennifer Mittelman – Alto
Nicholas Paul – Snare Drum
Gabriel Slamowitz – Snare Drum

Oldfield Middle School  
Danielle Barber – French Horn
Breckyn Beechey – Cello
Victoria Bell – Trumpet
Robert Blosser – Trumpet
Athena Braverman – Flute
William de Groot – Double Bass
Alexandra Ebanks – Cello
Ty Ellenbogen – Alto Sax
Caitlin Fealy – Flute
Delia Ferrigno – Alto
Hannah Frankenberg – Children's Voice
Anna Gosselin – Alto
Alyssa Kaplan – Alto
Anna Katz – Alto
Elizabeth Kelly – Children's Voice
Riley Maguire – Alto
Julia McDonagh – Children's Voice
Angeline Miraglia – Cello
Daniel Panettieri – Tuba
Hannah Proce – Snare Drum
Ethan Rosenthal – Trumpet
Gavin Sanders – Double Bass
Kyra Saunders – Double Bass
Aliyah Steinberg – Children's Voice
Dylan Topolovec – Trombone
Thomas Walden – Baritone
Owen Walter – Violin
Rachel Wieser – Alto
Jeffrey Wisoky – Trumpet

Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School
Aidan Doctor – Viola
Aidan Saunders – Double Bass

Student-Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

Student-Athletes Sign Letters of Intent
Ten Harborfields High School students signed their national letters of intent on Dec. 20 to play their sport on the collegiate level. In attendance were parents, family members, teachers, coaches, central office and building level administration.

“You represent less than 1 percent of all high school seniors throughout the Nation who are given the opportunity to place on the collegiate level,” said John Valente, director of athletics. “The fact that these educational and military institutions chose you over thousands of other student athletes is a testament to your commitment, dedication, passion and love for the sport that you will compete in.”

Valente reminded the student-athletes to thank those who have supported them throughout their athletic career so far.

“Thank your support team over the years including your family, teachers, coaches, administration and most of all, your teammates who challenged and pushed you to excel in order to make you a better athlete,” he said.

Principal Timothy Russo also congratulated the student-athletes.

“You are the leaders and role models in the school,” he added.

Head girls’ lacrosse coach Keri McGinty offered advice.

“Be sure to have fun and enjoy the experience as a college athlete,” she said. “Never forget the proud memories of wearing the green and white of our Harborfields family.”

Student-Athletes and Corresponding Colleges

Kailey Broderick – Adelphi University, Lacrosse
Elizabeth Larkin – College of Holy Cross, Track and Field
Ben Schwartz – Molloy College, Lacrosse
Grace Zagaja – United State Naval Academy, Lacrosse
Rachel Kuenzler – California State University East Bay, Swimming
Brett Hebert – Cornell University, Diving
Mikayla Bergin – West Point Military Academy, Lacrosse
Grace Steinthal – Manhattan College, Lacrosse
Katie Hammer – Assumption College, Soccer
Joe Kelly – Amherst College, Football

Kindergarten Class Conducts STEM Activity

STEM Activity

Kindergarten students at Washington Drive Primary School in Mrs. Sacks and Mrs. Ortiz’s class recently experimented with what would happen if a “gingerbread baby” fell into a river (a bin filled with water). The students followed the Scientific Method forming a hypothesis, making observations and recording the results. The class came up with many different adjectives as to what would happen and completed a STEM activity to try and make sure the “gingerbread baby” would not fall into the river again, while using marshmallows and toothpicks. The students worked together to come up with a way to create a bridge for the “gingerbread baby”. They problem solved and had various discussions on how to construct their bridge. They then tested their ideas and shared their bridge with the class.

Writing in a Winter Wonderland

Writing in a Winter Wonderland

Denise Sullivan’s second-graders at Washington Drive Primary School shared their original written works with family members during the school’s Winter Wonderland Literacy Celebration on Dec. 22.

Dressed in formal attire, the students kicked off the celebration with a performance of winter musical numbers, including “Let It Snow,” “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland,” accompanied by bell chimes.   

Afterward, they shared the compositions that they had diligently worked on over the past six weeks during an in-class writer’s workshop. Each student presented a persuasive, a narrative and a poetry piece to his or her family member.    

The celebration concluded with snacks and refreshments for all in attendance.

Welcome Message to the Community


Students Embrace Different Cultures

Students Embrace Different Cultures

In an effort to educate students about the diverse backgrounds of their classroom community, Nicholas Coppola’s first-grade class at Washington Drive Primary School recently participated in multicultural celebrations as part of their winter holiday unit.

Family members were invited into the classroom to speak to students about their own culture. Mrs. Hashmi educated the students on the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, also known as Eid. She shared that her celebrations include gatherings to view the new moon, decorating homes inside and out, family visits, eating special sweet foods, neighborhood fairs, visits to amusement parks, wearing new clothes and giving and receiving gifts. Four students in the class celebrate the holiday and were able to share their own family traditions as well.  

In addition to Eid al-Fitr, the class also learned about Christmas, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Las Posadas. Two family members, Mr. Noah and Mrs. Cassidy, visited the classroom to share their traditions and a brief background about the Hanukkah holiday. The students ate latkes and looked at different menorahs. They also learned how to play dreidel.

“It was a fun-filled learning experience for all,” said Coppola.

Much like Coppola’s class, all of Washington Drive Primary School’s first-grade classes celebrated cultures and holidays from around the world. Students worked on a special project where they created a window with pictures of their own holidays and traditions. The projects were displayed in the first-grade hallway.

Students Give Back to Animals in Need

Students Give Back to Animals in Need
The Harborfields High School Pet Awareness Club (HFPAC) recently held its third annual “Howliday” Fundraiser. Students collected food and pet supplies and donated them to different shelters and programs on Long Island. The students also held bake sales and sold bracelets to make a monetary donation to Little Shelter and Grateful Paw Cat Shelter.

Students Celebrate Gingerbread House Day

Gingerbread House
Gingerbread House 2
Gingerbread House 3
Gingerbread House 4
Kindergarteners in Mrs. Moccaldi and Ms. Semertzides’ class at Washington Drive Primary School invited families into the classroom for Gingerbread House Day on Dec. 15. Each child invited a special guest to come in to help create their very own gingerbread house. Leading up to this fun-filled day, the students were read several different versions of The Gingerbread Man and compared and contrasted the stories. They graphed their favorite gingerbread stories, which part of a gingerbread cookie they bit off, and even made Gingerbread Play Dough. Everyone had a wonderful time!

TJL Students Donate Toys for the Holidays

TJL Students Donate Toys
Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School banded together to support the Tri Community and Youth Agency (Tri CYA) and the Family Service League this holiday season by donating toys to local families in need. Tri CYA’s Regional Director Debbie Rimler, spoke to classes from all grade levels on Dec. 14 as they brought their toys in to be collected.

The Tri CYA is a private, not-for-profit community based agency that provides a variety of programs and services for community members in Huntington, South Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor. They work with individuals from ages five to 21. The Harborfields Central School District has worked with the organization for the past 20 years, helping around the holidays.

Classes placed their donations on the stage and Assistant Principal Mary Williams introduced Rimler to the students. Williams praised the classes for their generosity.

“This is amazing,” she said. “You should all be so proud of yourselves.”

Rimler spoke to the students about what the organization does and where the donated toys would be going. The students helped contribute towards the organization’s goal of 6,000 toys for this holiday season.

“I want to thank you for thinking of the children who are in this local community,” said Rimler. “For taking the time to pick something up to give to these children this holiday season. It really helps us.”

The students also learned about community service and were encouraged to ask questions at the end of the assembly. Many wanted to know how they could get more involved.

Seniors Receive Suffolk Zone Distinction

Seniors Receive Suffolk Zone Distinction
The district is pleased to announce that Harborfields High School seniors Mason Mee and Kailey Broderick were presented with the 2016 Suffolk Zone Physical Education Award on Dec. 7. The Suffolk Zone is the local chapter of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

The annual Suffolk Zone award is Suffolk County’s highest award in Physical Education. Students must possess an “A” average in physical education achievement, be scholastically sound, exhibit leadership skills and qualities in a physical education setting and demonstrate overall leadership in school-wide activities. Most importantly, students nominated for this honor must be outstanding role models within the community and to their peers.

“The students were nominated by their high school physical education teachers for showcasing exemplary leadership, character and enthusiasm in the high school physical education program,” said Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics John Valente.

In attendance for the special recognition ceremony were the parents of the seniors, Valente and high school physical education teachers Suzanne Legge and Stefan Serie.

Students Embrace Creativity

Students Embrace Creativity1

Oldfield Middle School students gathered in the school library on Dec. 7 for the opening of the library’s new Makerspace and second annual STEAM Expo. Families and administrators were invited to attend the special event where students showed off their problem solving skills and creative abilities.

Thanks to the hard work of Assistant Principal Joseph Castoro, librarian Judy Boshnack and the rest of the school’s library staff, the Makerspace was recently incorporated into the school’s library as a new addition for the student body to enjoy. During the event, students were able to get a first look at the space and experiment with the new chalkboard wall, Lego wall and other tinkering items.    

“It is a space that recognizes that kids are creative by nature,” said Castoro. “This location gives them the opportunity to showcase it,”

While students tried out the Makerspace, the STEAM club displayed their work. Under the direction of STEAM club advisor Drew Lockwood, the students presented projects about creating and living on a self-sufficient island.

“Mr. Lockwood has been at the forefront of the STEAM education from the very beginning,” said Principal Joanne Giordano. “His excitement, enthusiasm and knowledge has been a gift to all of us.”

Students displayed their own solar lighthouses and wind electricity generators assembled by Legos. They also demonstrated their knowledge of coding and robotics with team built robots, operated by a smartphone.

In addition, the school’s art club joined in the big event by creating wooden puzzles and a large winter mural with markers and pencils. Those in attendance also participated in a “Da Vinci Bridge” challenge, which focused on problem solving and had the opportunity to play with a keyboard made of bananas to show what technology can do.

Recognizing Excellent Character


In continuation with the school’s character education program, Washington Drive Primary School students took part in their monthly Character Counts assembly on Dec. 8.

Facilitated by Assistant Principal Tara Falasco, kindergarten through second-grade students participated in grade level assemblies and learned the importance of showing excellent character. Falasco also recognized a number of students who were nominated by their teachers for showcasing one or more of the character traits that the school looks for: honesty, acceptance, respect, bravery, optimism, responsibility, fairness, integrity, empathy, leadership, dependability and service. 18 kindergarteners, 16 first-graders and 18 second-graders were presented with a letter congratulating them on a job well done.

During the assembly, the students heard a reading of Laurie Keller’s book, “Do Unto Otters.” After the reading, Falasco initiated a discussion about proper behavior and respect for others. She stressed being kind to peers and asked classes how they can help each other.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated,” she said. “Say thank you, be polite and be courteous to each other.”  

Classes also learned bus safety and discussed who to go to in an emergency situation. Students listened as Falasco reinforced appropriate bus behavior.


Student Makes Her Mark Through Community Service

The district is pleased to announce that eighth-grade student Lauren Pisano from Oldfield Middle School has recently been selected as the school’s annual Prudential Spirit of Community Award winner. The Prudential Spirit of Community Award program is the largest youth recognition program based primarily on community service. It honors middle and high school students for outstanding service at the local, state and national level.

To apply, Pisano completed an application process and submitted a 750-word essay detailing her volunteer work. The school reviewed her application and selected her as an honoree to continue on for state-level judging. Pisano will find out in February if she qualifies to be a finalist, as only one middle school and high school student from New York can be deemed a state honoree. Those students who continue on, have the chance to receive cash rewards, a trip to Washington D.C. for national recognition events and a $5,000 grant from the Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.

Pisano decided to apply to the program after hearing about it from a friend. As an active member of her church, she has dedicated over 500 hours of her time to helping others. Pisano volunteers at the church food pantry on a daily basis, which helps feed 75 families and recently took part in coordinating the church’s holiday giving tree, providing items to less fortunate families during the holiday season. She also participates in Project Hope, making sandwiches to feed the homeless every month and is involved in Respite, a club that works with those with special needs.

“I really enjoy giving back,” said Pisano. “I get excited when I get to help others and I always look to do more.”

In addition to volunteering, Pisano is highly involved in the school community. She is an active member of the soccer and track team and is a chorus and orchestra student. Pisano is also a member of the Student Recognition Club, which spotlights students that are doing the right thing and are excellent examples of the school’s character trait of the month.

“We could not have chosen a more deserving student,” said guidance counselor Jennifer McCaffrey. “We are very excited for her.”