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Commencement Live Webcast

live commencement slide
Click for information about the live webcast of the 2018 Commencement Ceremony.

Outstanding Sportsmanship

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Congratulations to all Elwood student-athletes and coaches who were recognized by Section XI for Outstanding Sportsmanship for the Spring 2018 season!

Recognized teams:
JV Baseball
EMS baseball
JV Lacrosse
Varsity Softball
Varsity Tennis
JV Tennis
EMS Track
Varsity Boys' Track

LISFA Award Recipient

LISFA Award Recipient photo
Each year, the Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA) awards scholarship money to deserving students across the island who participated in that year's festival. This year, eighth grade Elwood Middle School student Blake Goehring has been chosen as the LISFA Studio Award recipient. Blake will receive $500 to further her study of the double bass.

“Blake has worked hard to become a wonderful musician and overall student,” said music teacher Diana Gotzen-Berg, “and she very deserving of this honor!”

VIDEO: World Oceans Day at Harley

World Oceans Day at Harley photo

Best Featured Actor and Pit Orchestra in Huntington

Best Featured Actor and Pit Orchestra in Huntington photo
Best Featured Actor and Pit Orchestra in Huntington photo 2
On June 4th students from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School attended the Hunting-Tony Awards ceremony after being nominated in multiple categories for their past Musical Production, “The Little Mermaid”. This award ceremony recognizes plays and musicals produced by high schools in the Town of Huntington.

JGHS was nominated for several categories for school musical production: Best Stage Crew for a Musical; Best Costumes in a Musical; Best Technical Production in a Musical; Best Orchestra Pit; Best Ensemble in a Musical; and Best Dance Performances. There were solo nominations given to Lexie Spelman, who was nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Musical and Best Female Vocalist; Felipe Gonzalez, who was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical; and Terrance Sheldon, who was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Musical and Best Male Vocalist.

Winning awards went to the school’s orchestra for Best Orchestra Pit, and Felipe Gonzalez, who was named Best Featured Actor!

National Spanish Exam Recognition

National Spanish Exam Recognition photo
A number of students from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2018 National Spanish Examinations. This year, over 150,000 students took the exam nationwide. Of the school’s 130 students who took the exam, five students earned gold, which places them in the top 95th percentile of the nation.

An additional 13 students earned silver, placing them in the 85-94th percentile, twelve earned bronze within the 75-84th percentile, and 44 earned honorable mentions, above 50th percentile.

Freshmen Kailee Andersen, Rithika Narayan, and Daniel Rourke earned gold in the non-native speaker category. Native speakers Lizbeth Almendarez and Maria Atuesta were also gold winners. These winners were honored at an award ceremony on June 7 among other winners from the Long Island chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).

The National Spanish Examinations are administered each year at John Glenn in grades 9 through 12, and are sponsored by the AATSP. Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Elwood Educators Celebrated

Elwood Educators Celebrated photo

As the 2017-18 school year is wrapping up, the district held a special reception for all those who were awarded tenure, as well as this year’s retirees and 25-year employees, at the Board of Education Meeting on June 7.

Administrators, faculty members, and loved ones filled the middle school auditorium for the commendations of these special members of the Elwood community.

“Each and every person being celebrated tonight has been such an integral part of making the Elwood community what it is,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert, as he opened the meeting.

Teachers receiving tenure were recognized first, each by the principal of their corresponding school. These teachers included Lori Fornaro, Adrienne Nasser, and Carolyn Pollina.

Retiring staff and faculty members were commended for dedicating their lives to educating students, and for never losing sight of each child individually. Those recognized were Lauren Buchholz, Laura Fisher, Jane Geng, Sharon Gosman, Laura Irace, Kristine Kalinowski, Timothy Kenyon, Sandra Krueger, Sean McGinty, Patricia Pascarella, Martha Simpson, Nancy Schwier, and Donna Verton.

Trophies for those employees with 25 years of service were presented to educators Wendy Blair-Braxton, Stephen Gengenbach, Therese Lopipero, Michelle Ottley, and Christina Tellekamp. Both the administration and the Board of Education commended each person for their dedication and hard work throughout the years.

In addition, Emma Koster was recognized for excellence in her role as the 2017-18 Student Liaison to the Board of Education. Both Dr. Bossert and Board of Education President Julia Fried praised her for the thoroughness of her monthly reports, and expressed confidence in the greatness she will accomplish in college and beyond.

Personnel Announcement, Tom Colletti

Attachments:

Creating an Easier Transition

Creating an Easier Transition photo

On June 7, rising high school juniors and seniors visited EMS to meet their “Freshman Buddies.” At the end of each middle schooler’s career, they’re assigned a volunteer upper-classmen “buddy” from the high school who serves as their role model, guide, and friend to help the transition to high school be as smooth as possible. Throughout the year, buddies check in with their freshmen and address different themes at meetings, such as time management and getting involved.

High school principal Carisa Burzynski introduced herself to the eighth graders and assured them that transition to John Glenn would be made easier with their buddies as a resource.

“Each leader is of the best students John Glenn has to offer,” said Mrs. Burzynski. “They were selected because of their character and leadership skills, and they will do their very best to help you navigate through this this new season!”

Once each eighth-grader found their assigned group and buddies, students formed circles outside. Groups played ice-breaking games, inquired about different aspects of high school, exchanged contact information, and more.

Many of the middle schoolers asked the upperclassmen if they had been nervous going into high school, but the buddies encouraged them positively.

“It’s not as hard as you’d think,” said Shannon, an upperclassmen volunteer. “You’ll get used to the change really quickly.”

NYSSMA Major Organization Assesment Festival

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Congratulations to the Elwood-John H. Glenn Symphonic Band, under the direction of Ms. Vickie Henson, for achieving the highest rating possible at this year's NYSSMA Majors: Gold with Distinction!

On June 6, the Symphonic Band was evaluated by a panel of judges at the the NYSSMA Major Organization Assessment Festival. After each performance, the panel of judges composed constructive comments, and scored each ensemble in specific areas of performance criteria. Groups were rated with a Certificate of Participation, Bronze, Silver, Gold, & Gold with Distinction. Ratings were awarded based upon the judges' assessments of how well the ensemble has demonstrated its proficiency at the level presented. The NYSSMA Major Organization assessment represents the "advanced placement” level of music performance. After John Glenn’s performance for the judges, they were awarded Gold with Distinction.

“This is a particularly impressive honor for the band, and speaks to their attention to detail, commitment and hard work”, said Ms. Henson.

Important Letter to Parents re: Fifth Grade Field Trip

Attachments:

End of the Year Live-Streaming Events

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We are pleased to announce that the following end of the year events will be live-streamed and also available for future viewing from the district website.

Boyd Fifth Grade Moving Up Ceremony - Tuesday 6/19, 6PM
Middle School Eighth Grade Moving Up/Awards Ceremony - Wednesday 6/20, 6PM
Elwood John H. Glenn High School Commencement - Friday 6/22, 5:30PM

History Brought to Life at James H. Boyd

History Brought to Life at James H. Boyd photo

Historic figures of the past and present came to life at James H. Boyd’s Living History Wax Museum on May 31. After completing an in-depth research project on the figure of their choice, third-grade students from Mrs. Held and Ms. Noon’s classes dressed in character, ready to display their newfound knowledge. Categories of people included artists, entertainers, royalty, and more.

Family, staff, and administrators milled around the statuesque students, activating them by inserting change into a box and pressing a button. All monies donated will be going to charities supported by the different people represented at wax museum.

In addition to the in-person presentation, the event’s pamphlet included QR codes for more information on each person. Upon scanning that code, the viewer was brought to a video the student had created on their chosen figure.

“I learned a lot of little interesting details,” said Kaylee, a student in Mrs. Held’s Class, who was dressed up as Leonardo Di Vinci. “It took Di Vinci twelve years just to finish the eyes of the Mona Lisa!”

EMS Orchestra Receives Superior Rating

EMS Orchestra Receives Superior Rating photo
EMS Orchestra Receives Superior Rating photo 2
The Elwood Middle School Orchestra attended the Long Island Music Festival at L.I.U Post on Friday May 18th. At the festival, students performed two pieces for a panel of judges. After the performance, judges conducted a brief clinic with the orchestra, and then awarded a rating and trophy. The orchestra performed beautifully and earned a "Superior" rating, the highest rating given. Afterwards, the orchestra spent the remainder of the day at Adventureland for some well-deserved fun to celebrate their accomplishment!

Students Selected for First NYS All-County A Capella Ensemble

Students Selected for First NYS All-County A Capella Ensemble photo
Earlier this year, SCMEA launched the All-County A Cappella Ensemble, a pilot program for the organization. Students throughout Suffolk County auditioned for a panel of judges to be selected for the first All-County A Cappella ensemble in New York State.

Of the 22 students selected for this premiere ensemble, two were Elwood-John H. Glenn High School juniors: Makenzy Chaikin, an alto, and Meghan Rivardo, a soprano.

After intensive rehearsals, the ensemble put on an incredible performance at Connetquot High School on May 26th. In addition, high school a cappella groups from all over Suffolk County also performed, including Elwood-John H. Glenn’s own Acappelwood.

Outstanding Elwood Seniors Recognized

 Outstanding Elwood Seniors Recognized photo

Outstanding Elwood-John H. Glenn High School seniors were honored at the high school’s fifty-sixth annual awards presentation, witnessed by family members, faculty, administrators, and Board members, on May 23. The evening consisted of administrators and faculty recognizing students in the Class of 2018 for success throughout high school in the areas of academics, service and leadership.

Principal Carisa Burzynski opened the ceremony with a warm welcome to all those in attendance, and congratulated the students on their achievements.

“Tonight is a proud moment for some of John Glenn’s most remarkable students,” said Mrs. Burzynski. “You’re here because you’ve gone above and beyond during your years in high school, and probably since kindergarten—and you should be proud of all the hard work and dedication you’ve put towards your future success.”

Students were recognized for state-level achievements—President’s Award for Excellence, National Merit Scholarship Commendation, and NYS Scholarships for Excellence—as well as awarded with gold and silver medals from the PTSA by subject area, and a multitude of other honors and awards.

Athletic Careers Continued

Athletic Careers Continued photo

At the end of May, eleven Elwood-John H. Glenn seniors committed to play the sport of their choice at the collegiate level in the fall. A special recognition ceremony was held in honor of the students’ hard work and dedication throughout their athletic careers. Coaches, family members and administrators were present to support and commend these outstanding student-athletes.

“Through hours of hard work and dedication, in both in the classroom and in athletics, you’ve secured a bright future for yourselves,” said Athletic Director David Shanahan, “and the Elwood School District is proud of each and every one of you.”

The recognized students are as follows:
Nick Blanton, SUNY Cortland, wrestling; Victoria Cacioppo, SUNY Geneseo, lacrosse; Alice Chiodo, University of South Carolina, track; Steven DeVerteuil, University of Mary Washington, soccer; Ryan Hallahan, SUNY Oneonta, wrestling; Jon Green, Marist College, track; Emily Goetz, Molloy College, soccer; Kyle Linsalata, St. Joseph’s College, lacrosse; Connor Rossi, Sacred Heart University, wrestling; Jalynn Sharp, University of Delaware, track; Christian Varlack, Ithaca College, football.

Two Elwood students win ASSET Scholarship Awards

Member district students of the Association of Suffolk Supervisors for Educational Technologies (ASSET) competed for 13 scholarship awards of $2000 each, two of which were won by our Elwood seniors. Congratulations to Peter Giovi and Daniel Corazzata! Click below to see their scholarship video submissions
Peter Giovi
Daniel Corazzata

Maker Faire 2018

maker faire image

Enrichment and Exploration

Enrichment and Exploration photo

Students at Harley Avenue Primary School have been exploring different enrichment programs through the school’s launch of the 2nd GEAR program. At the beginning of April, students selected four of their top-choices from a long list of activities to participate in every Tuesday afternoon through the end of May, and were assigned to one for the duration of the program. Enrichment activities included “So You Think You Can Dance,” American Sign Language, Movie Magic, Fitness Fanatics, and many more.

“The main idea of this program is to focus on providing a time where students can express themselves and their interests,” said Harley Principal Elissa Milan. “We’re constantly exploring new ways to continue educating the whole child.”

The end of the six-week program will culminate with a 2nd GEAR Fair, where students will be able to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Students are enjoying learning more in depth about areas that interest them.

“I like 2nd GEAR,” said second grader Angelina. “We have fun and learn a lot of cool things, like how muscles can grow when you exercise them, and they make you stronger!”

The Book Whisperer Visits Elwood

The Book Whisperer Visits Elwood photo
The Book Whisperer Visits Elwood photo 2
On May 9, author and staff development leader Donalyn Miller visited educators within the district. Mrs. Miller, also known as the “Book Whisperer,” is passionate about the importance of “free-choice reading,” and travels all over the country sharing guidance and resources with educators to help foster the love of reading in children.

During her presentation, Mrs. Miller traveled through different genres such as short non-fiction, young adult and graphic novels, recommending new books from each wheelhouse. She emphasized the importance of teaching stories that promote inclusivity, and exposing students to stories from diverse people groups that they may not have heard otherwise — stories about important historical figures like Harriet Tubman, Harvey Milk and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mrs. Miller recommended different approaches to teaching these books in the classroom, helping students to develop their own reading identities. One such approach was an unconventional way of study — focusing on the text itself, then the historical context, and finally, the illustrations; each as a separate entity.

“As lovers of literature, we know the books we read can truly change and shape us,” Mrs. Miller said, “and we should do everything in our power to help our students recognize that same truth for themselves.”

Scholar-Athletes Honored by Town of Huntington

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The district is proud to congratulate John H. Glenn High School seniors, Emma Koster and Patrick Giambruno, for earning the Scholar-Athlete Award in recognition of their exceptional academic and athletics success presented by the Town of Huntington. This award is issued to the top male and female student athletes who have achieved high academic averages in their class. The twenty high school seniors honored by the Huntington Town Board represent the ten high schools in the Town.

Emma will be attending the University of Notre Dame next year to study Psychology, and Patrick will be attending the United States Naval Academy to study Aerospace Engineering. Once again, we are proud of their hard work and dedication and wish them much continued success.

Every Effort Makes a Difference

Every Effort Makes a Difference photo
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The high school World Language Honor Society spent their Saturday morning giving back to the community and cleaning up the Huntington Beach Community Association (HBCA) on April 28. Junior and senior members, along with advisor Nicole Gendjoian, spent three hours collecting trash and cleaning the beach. In addition, they helped distribute mulch on the landscaped portions of the grounds. The HBCA is the largest privately-owned beach on the North Shore of the island, and serves the members of the community in many ways—and keeping it clean is important.

“These students are always so happy to help, and truly enjoy seeing the difference their efforts make in the community,” said Ms. Gendjoian.

Exemplary Teacher Recognized by New York State

Exemplary Teacher Recognized by New York State photo

Elizabeth Held, a third-grade teacher at James H. Boyd Intermediate School, was awarded a New York State Excellence in Teaching Award at a surprise assembly on May 10. Mrs. Held was one of 60 teachers granted this award throughout New York State.

Third-grade classes were called to the auditorium under the guise of an educational assembly. Visitor Dr. Guillermo Linares, the Acting President of New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, attended on behalf of Governor Cuomo to present the award to Mrs. Held. When her name was announced, the entire third-grade class, and teachers and administration in attendance, went wild. In addition to an engraved plaque, Mrs. Held also received a $5,000 check.

To be chosen for this award, teachers must exemplify passion for education, mission, expertise, and possess outstanding teaching skills—making learning exciting, and leveling the playing field for all students to succeed.

“First-rate education begins and ends with first-rate teaching,” said Dr. Linares. “The goal of this award is to put a spotlight on the very best teachers to make them examples for their colleagues to follow.”

“I wouldn’t be here without all of you, because you’re the reason I do what I do,” Mrs. Held told her students from the podium. “Your love of learning pushes me to want to learn more and do more… and I hope that one day when you pick a career, you pick something that you love as much as I love teaching you all.”

L.I. Geese Control

Starting on Wed., May 16th Long Island Geese Control will begin patrolling our schools grounds in order to address the school district's geese problem.

Long Island Geese Control has been hired to humanely control the Canada goose problem that has plagued Elwood Schools. This company has been in business for 20 years and currently services some 30 districts across the Island, as well as many gated communities, state parks, municipalities and office buildings.

Their trained dogs will simply chase off any geese that are on the fields during their patrols. They will patrol multiple times per week, including weekends. Their staff are highly trained, as well as their team of over 12 border collies. The dogs are all well-tempered and focused on their jobs,
however they will not run the dogs at all when children are at recess. They will chase geese on a leash if students are practicing sports after school, and will use the dogs off-leash only in situations where no people are present on the fields. That is their company policy with respect to all school districts.

The reason for keeping the geese off of the fields is simple. The droppings left by Canada geese pose a health concern, and our goal is to have far less of them on our fields. No geese will be harmed at any time utilizing this service. Geese are harmlessly chased away. This type of service remains the only humane, effective way to keep the large numbers of Canada geese that we have become accustomed to, off of our fields.

If you happen to notice uniformed personnel accompanied by border collies they are at work to help the school district resolve its geese problem. Thank you.

Creative Contest Promotes Inclusivity

Creative Contest Promotes Inclusivity photo
The Elwood-John H. Glenn High School Student Council recently held an anti-bullying t-shirt designing contest, and during the district’s May 3 Board of Education Meeting, the winner from each school was recognized. Winning students included Emily Gerbe from Harley Avenue Primary School, Dawud Malhi from James H. Boyd Intermediate School, Chloe Keil from Elwood Middle School, and Peter Stavros from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School.

Designs includes phrases such as “Make Bullying Extinct” and “Be a Knight, Do What’s Right!” With an overwhelming amount of submissions, students’ creations conveyed the heartbeat of the school district, portraying inclusivity, kindness and acceptance.

Guest Reader at Boyd

Guest Reader at Boyd photo
Guest Reader at Boyd photo 2
Superintendent Dr. Bossert visited Ms. Viola’s class at James H. Boyd on April 30 to read the “The Sweetest Fig” by Chris Van Allsburg. Students enjoyed having this special guest read them a book, and were engaged throughout the fantastical story.

Pennies for Patients

Pennies for Patients photo
Elwood Middle School recently wrapped up their Pennies for Patients fundraiser, raising nearly $300 worth of pennies! Community service club students made this fundraiser possible, placing collection boxes in each of the school’s “home-base” classrooms, hanging up informational flyers, and collecting and delivering the pennies. The funds were donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to aid local patients, as well as to the organization’s cancer research fund.

Student Health Examination Update Notification and Form

Attachments:

SCMEA All-County Percussion Ensemble

SCMEA All-County Percussion Ensemble
Congratulations to senior band students Dean McCoy, Jason Mueller and Sean Wilkinson for being selected to the SCMEA All-County Percussion Ensemble. Students from all over Suffolk County audition and the top 10 are selected as part of the ensemble. In addition to preparing NYSSMA solos, Dean, Jason and Sean are members of the John Glenn symphonic band, honors wind ensemble, percussion ensemble and marching band. This is Jason and Sean's second year earning a spot in the ensemble. The students rehearsed with 7 other students from around Suffolk County the past two weeks which culminated with a concert at The Staller Center for the Arts on April 20th.

Enchanted Challenges at James H. Boyd

Enchanted Challenges at James H. Boyd photo

Third grade students at James H. Boyd united their love of fairy tales with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during the last week of April.

The Fairy Tale Ball, organized by Boyd teacher Liz Held, had three different “enchanted” challenges for students to complete using teamwork and problem-solving skills. The third-grade class at Boyd recently wrapped up a unit on fairy tales, so each challenge revolved around a story they had studied.

At the first station, students built a house for the Three Little Pigs out of toothpicks. The house had to be at least six centimeters high, hold a 20-gram weight, and withstand the blowing of the big bad wolf, which was a small desk fan with ears.

A group of students’ house just barely withstood the blowing of the fan, and one third-grade girl encouraged her team-mates, saying “Let’s try again—we can do better than that!”

At the second station, students had to build a raft for the three Billy Goats Gruff out of straws and pipe cleaners that could hold the miniature goats and 10 grams for at least 10 seconds.

The third station challenged students to create a pulley system that could carry a 25 gram Rapunzel safely down from her Pringle can-tower, using no more than 3 meters of string.

Students worked together to successfully complete each task. Having to start over didn’t discourage them, and Mrs. Held noted that this event continued to enforce the skills and resilience they’re being taught in the classroom.

“They’re getting more and more used to by going back and trying things again, even if they fail,” Mrs. Held said. “If they can’t accomplish it during school hours they often take things home and keep trying until they succeed, which is an incredible thing.”

In addition to the STEM stations, students wore crowns they had made, and took photos in front of a green-screen castle with their classmates. A magical time was had by all!

County and State-wide Awards of Merit

County and State-wide Awards of Merit photo
Three Elwood students were recognized by the Suffolk Region PTA at the Reflections Awards Showcase on April 20. Elwood Middle School (EMS) student Shayna Purow was recognized with a New York State level Award of Merit in photography, and Elwood-John H. Glenn High School student Layla Leunig and EMS student Nicollette Carluccio were recognized as Suffolk Region Award of Merit winners in visual arts.

Congratulations!

JGHS World Language Honor Society Induction

JGHS World Language Honor Society Induction photo
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38 John H. Glenn juniors were inducted into the World Language Honor Society on April 10. The ceremony, organized by advisors Nicole Gendjoian and Nicole Correia, was student centered and led by senior officers. After the induction a group of ASL students—Casey Feuerzeig, Katie Latawiec, Kyle Hoolahan, and Laura Taylor—interpreted a song for those in attendance. In addition, student Matthew Tallo played the Piano March, individual poetic performances by members Emily Amir, Ivan Andrade, Emily Hovanec, and Hannah Lochan. The artistic program cover was designed by Annie Song.

Team Thrives Through Mock Trial

Team Thrives Through Mock Trial photo
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Team Thrives Through Mock Trial photo 3
The JGHS Mock Trial team made it to the final Suffolk County round, for the second year in a row, at the end of March. After a heated competition, the team placed third in the county. Previously to this final round, the school’s team had made the final 16 competitors county-wide.

The New York State Mock Trial is an educational program that gives students the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge about civil and criminal law, courtroom procedures, and to improve proficiency in basic life skills like listening, speaking, and reasoning.

“The students on this team work and thrive together, learning how very capable they are of doing anything they put their minds to,” said club advisor Megan Gieser, “and I’m excited to see them continue to grow these important life-skills through mock trial.”

In addition, the team participated in the island-wide “Law Day” at Northport High School on April 19, and advanced to the semi-finals.