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Virtual Exploring at Thomas J. Lahey

Virtual Exploring at Thomas J. Lahey photo

On Dec. 8, Google visited Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School to pilot their new Expeditions Augmented Reality technology with the students. This new technology has the ability to map out classrooms, and then place 3D objects throughout the room. While holding devices attached to selfie sticks, students are able to get up close to examine the details of the objects, such as a whale swimming through the ocean, or moss on a tree in the rainforest. Students can also step back to look at the object in its entirety.

Fourth and fifth-grade students traveled to places like the ocean floor, where they saw sunken ships up close, as well as fish and stingrays that swam around their feet. Students also traveled back in time to the era of Leonardo DiVinci, and saw his inventions, such as a flying machine, up close. Students were excited to test Google’s new technology, and are eager to use it again soon!

Suffolk County’s Best in Character and Sportsmanship

Suffolk County’s Best in Character and Sportsmanship photo
The boys junior varsity soccer team was recognized by Suffolk County Soccer Official’s Association for having the county’s best practices of character and sportsmanship on Dec. 6.

This recognition, given at the Suffolk Zone Awards dinner, speaks volumes about this team.

“They not only play the game well, but do so with class and character,” said John Valente, director of health, physical education and athletics.
These characteristics are held in high esteem by our district, and we congratulate the team for this achievement!

Message from the Superintendent - December 2017

Traversing Remote Islands at Oldfield Middle School

Traversing Remote Islands at Oldfield Middle School photo
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The STEAM and Art Clubs at Oldfield Middle School collaborated to hold an after-school expedition on Dec. 6. The purpose of this expedition was to demonstrate the ability of the robots each team in the STEAM club had built, while the art club decorated the environment the robots were to traverse. Many parents attended to watch the expedition.

At the event, a long table was set up to represent a chain of islands, and each island housed a team’s lighthouse, which was constructed out of Legos. Teams took turns moving their robots from one end of the table to the other using a joystick app on their phones. Using this app, students maneuvered their robot to get to the end of the table, used the robot’s claw to pick up “supplies”, and then return the supplies to their island’s lighthouse.

“Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed the first time,” STEAM Club advisor Drew Lockwood told his students, “trail and error is important—it’s all about the process.”

All students who participated were extremely involved and impressively determined to have their robots complete the task. If the bots glitched, they were taken off the table, and tinkered with until they were set to try again.

In addition to demonstrating their robots, students had to present the remote islands they had researched and chosen to house their structures.

Collecting Cold-Weather Coats at Oldfield Middle School

Collecting Cold-Weather Coats at Oldfield Middle School photo
Recently, the National Junior Honor Society at Oldfield Middle School completed a school-wide coat drive. Students throughout the school were all encouraged to bring in at least one coat. After the drive ended, students met together on Dec. 5 to sort the coats by size and gender, and filled up over 18 black bags. The bags were then delivered to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church in Centerport so the coats could be distributed to those in need this winter season. The students were very proud of what they were able to give back to the community.

2018-2019 Budget Meeting Timeline

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Harborfields High School Shows Gratitude on Veterans Day

Harborfields High School Shows Gratitude on Veterans Day photo
On Nov. 11, seventeen vocalists from Harborfields High School showed their gratitude for those who have served by performing at Greenlawn Memorial Park’s Veterans Day observance. Under the direction of Mrs. Clare Jackson, students opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner”, and then closed the ceremony with a performance of “God Bless America.”

Sophomore Receives Honorable Mention in Essay Contest

Sophomore Receives Honorable Mention in Essay Contest photo
Recently, Harborfields High School sophomore Michael Panariello was selected for an honorable mention award in this year’s Celebration of Suburban Diversity student essay contest. This contest, sponsored by Hofstra University, drew over 400 submissions Island-wide. At the Celebration of Suburban Diversity banquet on Nov. 14, Michael was presented with a $200 check.

The spirit of Thanksgiving at Thomas J. Lahey

The spirit of Thanksgiving at Thomas J. Lahey photo
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Recently, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, students at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School collected food for families in need. HACO conducted a school-wide Thanksgiving drive, and almost everyone donated at least one item.

In addition to this drive, Ms. Marie Fenter’s third-grade class collected more items to put together individual baskets for families in need.

“Monday was World Kindness Day, and when I asked my students what they wanted to do, they said they wanted to give food to the poor,” said Ms. Marie Fenter. “It was very heartwarming.”

Once the baskets were put together, students wrote down reasons they were thankful on orange strips of paper, and created 3D pumpkins out of them.

“I’m thankful that my grandma is coming for Thanksgiving,” said third-grader Isla. “I don’t get to see her a lot, but she’s coming for the holiday, and I’m excited!”

New and newly tenured teachers in the Harborfields family

New and newly tenured teachers in the Harborfields family photo

During the Harborfields Central School District’s most recent Board of Education meeting, a reception was held to officially recognize and welcome all 27 members of the new teaching staff to the Harborfields family. In addition, four newly tenured staff members were recognized and commended for their hard work and dedication to educating students within the district. As a highlight to the evening, the high school chamber orchestra, directed by Alan Walters, performed before the recognitions.

“Once you come to Harborfields, you’ll never want to leave,” said Superintendent Dr. Francesco Ianni, “and I can promise you you’ll learn something new every day that you’re here.”

World-Renowned Drummer Matt Witek Visits Harborfields

World-Renowned Drummer Matt Witek Visits Harborfields photo
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On Nov. 9th the high school jazz band’s rhythm section was treated to a special visit from world-renowned drummer Matt Witek, who had just returned from a European tour and had recently spent ten weeks with a trio headlining at Quincy Jones’ club in Dubai. Witek spent two hours with rhythm section, coaching them and offering tips on music and life.

“Putting our students in contact with real world practitioners is a valuable and eye-opening experience,” noted Jazz Band Director Dan Bilawsky. “There were many important takeaways from the time Matt Witek spent here.”

Harborfields High School Juniors Recognized in Ayn Rand Writing Contest

Harborfields High School Juniors Recognized in Ayn Rand Writing Contest photo

Recently, three juniors from Harborfields High School placed as semifinalists in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute. Students Courtney Forberg, Kelsey Fowle, Carlos Godoy, and Billy Waring were entered into this writing contest after they read and responded to the book Anthem, which is written by the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand.

All four, who each won a small prize, were students in Ms. Jessica La Mantia’s tenth-grade English Honors class when they entered. Ms. LaMantia is very proud of her students, and looks forward to continuing this tradition of submissions to this competition in years to come.

 

Unity Day

Unity Day photo
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Recently, Thomas J Lahey Elementary school partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to bring awareness to the school and Harborfields community about ways to combat bias, bullying and hatred. The staff members are dedicated to working together to design long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate. On October 25th, students, staff and faculty wore orange to exemplify their stand against bullying.

Virtual Visits at TJL

Virtual Visits at TJL photo

Recently, at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School, a current U.S. Army member visited students in Stacy Kalish and Ms. Nicole Logozzo’s class virtually from Italy. Students watched a video-message made for their class, and wrote letters back to the army member. The class also read about Veteran’s Day, wrote poems, and viewed and discussed a video of soldiers returning home to their families. Students connected with and enjoyed these activities and learned the importance of country’s service members.

Honoring Veterans at Oldfield Middle School

Honoring Veterans at Oldfield Middle School photo
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In honor of the upcoming holiday, U.S. military veterans visited eighth-grade social studies classes at Oldfield Middle School.

Donna Boyle, a U.S. Army veteran whose family has been in the service since the early 1900’s, spoke with Jeff Shade’s class. Boyle brought in items for the students to look at, such as medals, photo albums, and actual food rations. Boyle was also the only female veteran visiting, and students had many questions about her service.

Throughout the day, students inquired about different aspects of the military, such as boot camp, the types of weapons used and whether it was hard being away from family.

The veterans shared much about their lives, their experiences in the service, and the honor it was to protect America. All of the classes thanked them for their service. 
 

A day of learning and collaboration for Harborfields

A day of learning and collaboration for Harborfields photo
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In an effort to set aside time for teachers to have a day of learning and collaboration, Harborfields held a Superintendent’s Conference Day on Nov. 7. Throughout the day, teachers and staff members had the opportunity to attend many workshops. The topics included Chromebook collaboration, infusing the growth mindset into the classroom, using new software in the classroom, such as Nearpod and Kahoot, and more. Teachers and administrators, including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni, led these sessions. Teachers even had the opportunity to attend a yoga and mindfulness meditation workshop, during which they learned special techniques to pass onto their students. 

“Specific days where teachers can participate and collaborate on emerging technologies, teaching strategies, and new standards are important,” said Executive Director for Instructional Services Jordan Cox. 
 

Setting theatre free at Harborfields High School

Setting theatre free at Harborfields High School photo
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During the weekend of Nov. 4 and 5, the high school premiered their fall production of Antigone. Initially, when the 2,500-year-old play was selected, it was met by some skepticism of the students—but was followed by appreciation and understanding of how the ancient classics still resonate in modern culture. 

“The entire cast had the unique opportunity to be a part of a show that, despite its ancient origins, was extremely relevant in today's political environment,” said senior Emma Johnston, who played a board member in Antigone and is co-president of Harborfields Theatre Company.

This year the company wanted to “set theatre free” and offered their performance free of charge, reasoning that if the district’s concerts and sports events do not charge admission, the theatre productions should not either. Part of the aim was to also stress that these performances were not put on to make money, but instead to share the love of performance. Students in the show were excited that many friends attended who may not have in past years.  

 “I’m very impressed with the dedication and work ethic of this cast,” said director and English teacher James Incorvaia, “and the enthusiasm for theater shown by the entire student body and the Harborfields community.”

VIDEO: TJL Read In

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A safe Halloween at Harborfields High School

A safe Halloween at Harborfields High School photo

On Oct. 30, Harborfields High School held its annual Safe Halloween event. Participating high school clubs and teams covered the halls with spooky decorations in preparation for hundreds of youngsters and their families to come trick-or-treating throughout the halls.

The high school volunteers put on a wonderful event for the surrounding community, and kids left happily with bags full of candy—a successful night. 

Fostering the love of reading at Thomas J. Lahey

Fostering the love of reading at Thomas J. Lahey photo

Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School held its annual Read-In on Oct. 26.

For this event, parents and loved ones volunteered their afternoon to read to students. Many brought blankets for the children to sit on so they could station themselves throughout the school. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni also attended to read to students. 

“These read-ins are so valuable because they promote a home-to-school connection,” said TJL Principal Sue Kenny, “and it encourages families to read more with their children.”

Clusters of students and family members were spread out in the gymnasium, hallways, and even outside in the courtyard.  Fixated on their favorite stories, students huddled close together to listen to different worlds unfolding within the books.

“I love reading chapter books, especially mysteries,” said James, a TJL fourth-grader. “You never know what’s going to happen next.”

In conjunction with the event, the PTA also held a supply drive for Hurricane Harvey victims. Families attending the read-in donated items such as batteries, bottled water and toiletries.



Pink Day

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On Oct. 25, Oldfield Middle School held their second spirit day of the year—Pink Day, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Students showed their spirit and awareness by dressing up in as much pink as possible!

Students “Pick” Guitar Professor’s Brain at HHS

Students “Pick” Guitar Professor’s Brain at HHS photo
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Recently, Harborfields High School band, orchestra, and guitar students were treated to a special visit from Dr. Kenneth Meyer, a guitar professor from Syracuse University.  Dr. Meyer performed for the students and engaged them in a Q & A session that covered music, college life, and the music program at Syracuse. Dr. Meyer, a Long Island native, completed his undergraduate degree in music performance at SUNY Fredonia, and received his masters and doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music. The music students at Harborfields High School appreciated the opportunity to glean from Dr. Meyer’s wealth of knowledge. 
 

Screening Movies to Raise Money for Hurricane Relief

Screening Movies to Raise Money for Hurricane Relief photo
In an effort to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief, the Oldfield Middle School Student Government in the Harborfields Central School District recently screened an outdoor movie and sold tickets for $6. The chosen film, Jumanji, was shown on a large screen behind the school. Students came out with their families, bringing blankets and chairs to watch the movie and support the cause.
The $1,000 raised will be donated to hurricane relief through Adopt a Classroom, which assists schools impacted by the recent hurricanes. 

Photo Caption: Oldfield Middle School Student Government, with advisors Kristen Presi and Chris Havranek (center), and Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Resources Dr. Rory Manning (right), will present a $1,000 check to Adopt a Classroom, which assists schools impacted by the recent hurricanes. 

Science You CAN Do at Home

Science You CAN Do at Home photo
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On Oct. 20, Washington Drive Primary School welcomed special guest Steve “The Dirtmeister” Tomecek. 

Tomecek, who has written over 45 nonfiction books for teachers and children and hosted a science radio show, is a scientist who specializes in geomorphology and soils. Tomecek visits the district multiple times a year to get kids excited about science, and likes to show students that there is science you can do at home.

“People call me The Dirtmeister, but recently someone asked me if it’s because I eat dirt,” he told a group of second graders, who all looked at him expectantly. “No, I don’t eat dirt! But most of the things I study you can find in the dirt.”

For this lesson, Tomecek focused on magnets. He explained the history, who discovered them, how they work, and how to even create your own. Calling a student up to the front, he showed the second-graders how strong magnets can be by turning one of their classmates into a magnet. He caused a chain of paperclips to suspend from her open palm, and all the students gasped in excitement. 

Tomecek engaged the students in other fun demonstrations, showing them just how exciting science can be. 
 

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