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Suffolk Share Check-In at EMS

Suffolk Share Check-In at EMS
On April 17, County Executive Steve Bellone and Chief Sustainability Officer Frances Reid visited Elwood Middle School to check in on the Suffolk Share recycling program. The district was nominated to pilot this program last year and has been working dutifully to contribute positively to the environment.

The Community Service Club, which executes and oversees the school’s recycling efforts as well as tracking collections, took Mr. Bellone and Ms. Reid through a day in their recycling routine. They exhibited their collection and weighing of items, and displayed their log of items collected.

Additionally, students shared other aspects of the Community Service Club with their visitors, such as annual fundraisers that are hosted in order to give back to the surrounding community.

Mr. Bellone and Ms. Reid thanked the students for enthusiastic efforts and shared inspiring recycling facts with them to encourage them to continue.

“With your support, we are creating lifelong stewards of the environment,” said Mr. Bellone, “as well as community ambassadors!”

Taking a Stand with Silence

Taking a Stand with Silence photo

Middle and high schoolers throughout the school district took a stand for students across the country who feel they cannot speak freely about their orientation, those who have been bullied, and those who have been permanently silenced by suicide, by participating in the Day of Silence on April 12. This day was organized nationwide in collaboration with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

EMS has been participating in the event for the past few years and had over 80 students sign up to participate this year. Each student who signed up was given dry-erase boards in order to communicate when necessary throughout the day. For students who were unable to be silent for the day, rainbow pins and stickers were made available to show their support.

Throughout the day, students through walked the halls with encouraging messages, such as “speak up for what’s right” and “equality rocks”, written on their white boards. The day not only served to bring awareness, but also as an effort to continue building a welcoming and accepting climate free of hurtful slurs and bullying.

“Students don’t use certain words because they know innately that they’re wrong, so why should they feel comfortable using others that are just as hurtful?” asked guidance counselor and event spearhead Todd Schwartz. “Another facet of today’s mission is to educate our students to not repeat history by hurting their peers.”

The John H. Glenn High School community observed the day, officially, for the first time. The Elwood Knight, redesigned with a rainbow plume donning his helmet and the word “silence” engraved into his sword, was printed on t-shirts and worn by many members of the faculty and staff. Those staying silent for the day were able to silently deliver instruction to their students, as well as students being able to respond to lessons without speaking by way of Google Classroom.

Additionally, inspirational speaker Jared Foxx visited John H. Glenn to break the silence and speak openly about the oppression that the LGBQT+ community faces, and how we can show kindness and support to one another.

“We want to continue creating an affirming and safe environment for all students,” said Principal Carisa Burzynski. “And days like today are a big step in that direction.”

View a video from EMS on the Day of Silence below.




Spring Break Letter


Superintendent Elected to Executive Committee of NYSCOSS


In addition to serving as president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert has been elected to serve on the executive committee of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. According to its website, NYSCOSS is a “professional and advocacy organization with over a century of service to school superintendents in New York State.” The Council advocates on a state and national level for public education, as well as provides its members with numerous professional development opportunities.

“It will be an honor to have a place on this extraordinary team,” said Dr. Bossert. “The support of our colleagues is greatly appreciated. I’m looking forward working on behalf of all students across New York State.”

As a member of the executive committee, Dr. Bossert will help to recommend education policy to the House of Delegates and conduct business between meetings of the House of Delegates.

Congratulations to Dr. Bossert on this extraordinary accomplishment!

Seizing Opportunities for a Better Future

Seizing Opportunities for a Better Future photo
The district recently received over $36,000 in grant money thanks to the dedication and fundraising efforts of the Elwood Education Endowment (EEE)—a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching educational opportunities for the district’s students. Teachers and administrators throughout the district composed grant applications for review by the EEE’s grant committee. Each went through an in-depth evaluation, and nine were selected.

At the district’s April Board of Education meeting, recipients were honored for their grant-writing efforts, as well as the vision they have for their students. EEE president Deena Purow was in attendance to present each recipient to the Board.

Those honored, along with their winning grant titles, include: Krista Albrecht, Dash into Harley; Brittany Chalmers, Robotics in Computer Science at JGHS; Megan Gieser, Jessica Kennedy and Doris Smith, Flexible Seating to Foster True Engagement and Collaboration; Eileen Kelly-Gorman, Greenhouse Restoration Project; Eleanor Grady and Amy Lindenbaum, Creatively Containing Colorful Chaos; Richard Greening, Expansion of Science Department Vernier Probes Initiative; Kathleen Marinelli, A Mindful Journey into the Garden - Rooted to the Core; Kathleen Marinelli and Lisa Rosenthal, Cooking up a Lifetime of Essential Skills; and Frank Schiraldi, Health and Wellness "The New Norm”.

“Our teachers have gone above and beyond for our students by applying for these grants,” said Board of Education President Julia Fried, “and our district is so fortunate to have educators that seek to seize opportunities to better the futures of their students.”

Dodgeball Tournament

Dodgeball Tournament photo
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Dodgeball Tournament photo 3
The JGHS class of 2019 held a dodgeball tournament last week to make one last attempt at raising money for prom. Students gathered together after school and had two intense hours of dodging, ducking, dipping, and diving. Students had a blast and are excited to see how the funds will be used for their senior prom!

Positive Report from Internal Claims Audit

The Elwood Union Free School District recently received the results of an official internal claims audit, conducted by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. The internal audit sought to determine whether the necessary systems and procedures were in place to assure that claims were adequately documented for the appropriate purposes and were properly audited and approved prior to payment. The Comptroller’s report commended the district, noting that district officials “implemented a well-designed system of internal controls over the claims audit process.” The Office of the State Comptroller did not make any recommendations for improvement by the district.

“I am extremely pleased with the results of our claims audit report,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “This positive report is a testament to strong leadership and oversight of all business operations in the district. I thank the entire business team for their attention to detail and for establishing such stringent internal procedures.”


Senior Round Table Discussion

Senior Round Table Discussion photo
High school seniors had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion with Superintendent Dr. Bossert on April 3.

The 26 participating students gathered in the library to speak candidly with Dr. Bossert about their perceived strengths of the district throughout their K-12 education, identified areas for future focus, and offered feedback regarding the college preparation they gleaned from high school. Dr. Bossert invites groups of students to meet with him throughout the year to engage in this meaningful dialogue over a pizza lunch and is always pleased with how openly the students share.

“Our students show true altruism in their feedback,” said Dr. Bossert. “They know their advice will not affect them in any way, but instead will make a better future for those to come.”

Legal Notice of Annual Budget Hearing and Annual Election and Vote on the Budget


Noticia Del Presupuesto De La Audicion Anual Y La Eleccion Anual Y El Voto En El Presupuesto


March Madness Inspires Reading

 March Madness Inspires Reading
Recently Elwood Middle School students finished up a different kind of March Madness tournament—one with books!

In order to make this book-tournament a success, middle school librarian Donna Fife had teachers nominate books for their kids. Ms. Fife tallied up the most recommended books and included books that had high circulation records as well.

Ms. Fife then paired up books that would do well against each other—graphic novel against graphic novel, best seller against best seller—and had students vote, using Google forms, which books they thought seemed most interesting. Because most students had not read every book, each was listed with a summarizing blurb.

Each round had over 300 students vote for the books they were rooting for, which was an incredible amount of student participation. As the tournament progressed, students became more invested, stopping by the library to ask which books were in the lead. In the end, two best sellers went head to head, and a Dog’s Purpose won by a single vote.

"I love incorporating of different avenues to attract students to books,” said Ms. Fife. “ My hope was that by designing an interactive book tournament, students would be engaged and invested in learning about different books…and I already have new students coming in, asking if they can check out one of the books they heard their peers talking about!”

Keeping the Peace

The JGHS International and Italian Clubs traveled together to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan on March 29. Students went on a guided tour throughout UN, including The General Assembly room where delegates from all 193 countries meet—and even received a private tour of the UN television studio! Students learned about the role of the UN, purpose of meetings, and more.

“It was interesting and eye opening to see the importance of the United Nations and all that goes into keeping peace in the world,” said junior Maria Papadopoulos, who is an officer of the International Club. “I would love to be a part of that in the future and could possibly see myself working in the UN.”

Disabling the label at Elwood Middle School

Disabling the label at Elwood Middle School 2
Disabling the label at Elwood Middle School 3
During the week of March 18, students at EMS participated in Disabilities Awareness Week. Each day held different activities to help raise awareness and encourage students’ empathy towards disabled individuals.

Along with daily inclusive and motivational quotes delivered over the morning announcements, students made pledges to “Disable the Label” and wore wristbands to show their support, experienced playing basketball in a wheelchair, and participated in in-class challenges to emulate what someone with a physical disability might feel on a regular basis.

Students also attended a special assembly hosted by a young man who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was young, but now visits hospitals around the country making up songs and creating cartoons to raise patients’ spirits.

“All week we encouraged students to see the “able” and not the label,” said special education teacher Ms. Martine Pirolo. “And we hope that this mindset will carry over into their everyday lives, continuing to enhance the atmosphere of empathy and kindness in our school.”

Important Dates/Information About NYS Assessments

Grades 3-8 Assessment Administration Dates:
* ELA assessment, Grades 3-8: April 3 & 4
* Math Assesment, Grades 3-8: May 2 & 3
* Grades 4 and 8 Science: Written test on June 3; Performance test - classes scheduled between May 22 and May 31

Please note below how the assessments will be administered:
Grades 3-5 ELA: Paper-Based Testing
Grades 6-8 ELA: Computer-Based Testing (CBT)
Grades 3-8 Math Assessment: Paper-Based Testing

Important Note:
*Grade 8 Math: students in Algebra do not take the Math Assessment; they will take the Algebra Regents on Wednesday June 19, 2019
*Grade 8 Science: students in Earth Science do not take the Science Assessment; they will take the Earth Science Regents on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

World Language Month Spreads to James H. Boyd

World Language Month Spreads to James H. Boyd photo

Over 30 juniors and seniors from John Glenn’s World Language Honor Society (WLHS) recently visited James H. Boyd to teach students about Spanish, Italian, and ASL. WLHS students traveled from classroom to classroom in pairs, presenting the lesson plans they created covering a variety of different topics. Students loved learning about different languages and enthusiastically participated in each lesson! High schoolers appreciated the opportunity to teach younger students, and had a new-found respect for how much planning and patience is required to teach.

"It felt so rewarding to see that the students were eager to learn about something I take pride in,” said junior Sabrina Competiello, a WLHS Italian student, “and it was great to see them actively learning so they could remember, and use, what we taught them.”

This visit, in honor of World Language Month, afforded multiple language lessons throughout the day to over 20 classes of third through fifth graders.

"This day showed me how much joy can be found in teaching,” said senior Brianna Duswalt, a WLHS Spanish student. “I also learned that kids are more absorbent than you would think.”

Accomplished Students and Compassionate Professionals Recognized

Accomplished Students and Compassionate Professionals Recognized photo
Accomplished Students and Compassionate Professionals Recognized photo 2
Accomplished Students and Compassionate Professionals Recognized photo 3
At the district’s March Board of Education meeting, two outstanding groups of students were recognized for their recent academic accomplishments, along with two outstanding Elwood Middle staff members who jumped into action, while showing such compassion, for a student in a recent moment of crisis.

A group of Elwood-John H. Glenn research students were commended for receiving the “Best Presenters” award at the Northwell Hospital-Feinstein Institute’s annual Medical Marvels Competition. The team, advised by Dr. Arnold Kamhi, included Sasha Jamal, Julia Mady-Aguiar, Devin Lee, Rithika Narayan, Brennan Finnegan, and Jake Haddad, and each student was presented with a certificate from the Board for this accomplishment.

John Glenn’s Mock Trial team, also known as Knight Court, was recognized by the Board for making it to the county’s “Elite Eight” round of the New York State Mock Trial Tournament. After four previous rounds of competition and just as many victories, they entered as the top seed in the county. Though Knight Court did not make it to the final round of the competition, they had an impressive season that marked the fourth year in a row making the county’s “Elite Eight”.

Additionally, Mock Trial advisor Ms. Megan Geiser was honored for her dedication to the team, and helping them reach the “Elite Eight” for the past four years.

“These students are some of the hardest working at John Glenn,” said Ms. Geiser. “Not only do they practice several hours a week, but they are active during school break and weekends as well; honing advocacy skills whenever they can.”

Lastly, Elwood Middle School Assistant Principal Dawn Valle and nurse Lisa McNamara were commended for expertly and compassionately taking care of a student in a moment of crisis.

“What an honor it is to work alongside professionals who treat Elwood’s children with the same love, dignity, and support they would give their own children,” said middle school principal Dr. Christina Sapienza as she presented them to the Board, “and we are so lucky to have professionals like them protecting and loving the students of our middle school.”

Exceptional Bridge Engineering

Exceptional Bridge Engineering photo
JGHS student Ben Farina recently competed in the Brookhaven National Labs Annual Bridge Competition and received the Aesthetic Award for his design!

Ben, along with 26 other classmates, qualified for the competition earlier in 2019. Upon qualification, each student immediately went to work researching bridge designs. After settling on a design, students turned their ideas into sketches, sketches into digital copies, and then the digital copies into physical bridges. Ben’s bridge design in particular was deemed the most aesthetically pleasing at the competition, and was awarded a plaque from Brookhaven National Lab.

While over 50 students from nine schools qualified to participate in this competition, 27 students of those students were from John H. Glenn.

Collaborating to Create a Home for Those in Need

Collaborating to Create a Home for Those in Need
JGHS students involved in the Habitat for Humanity club recently volunteered to help build the frame of a new home for a family in need on March 13. Alongside other volunteers from Brookhaven National Lab, the family receiving the house, and Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk staff, students worked with determination and speed from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. to complete the frame.

In addition to this act of service positively changing a family’s way of life, the structure itself will be one of the organization’s most environmentally projects yet. This “GeoThermal” house will have the ability to be heated and cooled by the earth’s underground temperature, rather than gas or oil. This project was organized by Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk.

LISEF Honorable Mention

LISEF Honorable Mention photo
LISEF Honorable Mention photo 2
Congratulations to Rithika Narayan who recently competed in the second round of the LI Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF) and was awarded honorable mention. Additionally, Rithika also received an award for the best use of international metric units. While she is not advancing to the final round of the competition, as a sophomore, she has the next two academic years to compete again and advance further.

Exploring ASL at John H. Glenn

Exploring ASL at John H. Glenn photo
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Exploring ASL at John H. Glenn photo 3
John H. Glenn’s American Sign Language (ASL) program has been steadily growing over the years—starting with one small class and now boasting over 90 students across three high school levels and one college level. Students enjoy having this language to explore, and are vocal about the importance and necessity of having people who can interpret for hearing impaired individuals.

“People are often inclined to gravitate towards taking Spanish because that seems like a more practical route to take,” said Megan Hovanec, a level-two ASL student, “but that’s not necessarily the case. With the number of deaf Americans in our country, ASL is something that everyone should have a basic knowledge of.” Meagan plans to double major in interpreting and nursing in college so she can use ASL in the medical field.

The community of ASL students at John H. Glenn enjoy giving back to deaf the community each year by Fall Festival at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, participate in district-wide events like International Night, and put on some of their own events, such as ASL Idol.

“Sometimes all it takes is someone setting an example of something they’re passionate about,” said level-four ASL student Victoria Didiego. “I used to practice signing with my cousin because she studied it in college, and now I want to pursue full time interpreting.”

Recycling Responsibility at James H. Boyd

Recycling Responsibility at James H. Boyd photo
Recycling Responsibility at James H. Boyd photo 2
In response to being chosen to pilot a county-deployed recycling program, students at James H. Boyd have been stepping up to the plate to help save the planet.

Members of the student council have been especially important in keeping the program running like a well-oiled machine. Each week, council representatives collect the recycling bins from each classroom—one paper, one plastic—to weigh and record. Students take care of the paper, while the school janitors record how many bags of plastic have been removed. At the end of the month, the information is sent to the county.

“The students involved take this responsibility very seriously,” said student council advisor Mrs. Deborah Hemphill. “They’re the ones in the classrooms watching what their classmates recycle and what they throw away. They’ve been instrumental in encouraging their classmates to be more conscious of what they just toss into the trash.”

So far this school year, Boyd has recycled over 2,000 pounds of paper, which has saved approximately 17 trees.

“It’s important to help the earth in whatever ways we can,” said student council co-president Lily. “So we’re trying to set a good example and teach our classmates about taking care of our world.”

2019-2020 District Budget


JGHS Team of Researchers Named Best Presenters

JGHS Team of Researchers Named Best Presenters photo
A team of JGHS student-researchers recently won the best presentation award at the Northwell Hospital-Feinstein Institute’s annual Medical Marvels Competition. This collaborative research competition is for ninth and tenth grade students across the island who are seeking to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The team was comprised of sophomores Sasha Jamal, Julia Mady-Aguiar, Devin Lee, Rithika Narayan, Brennan Finnegan, and Jake Haddad. Collaboratively, the students wrote a fourteen-page paper on the harmful effects of vaping and proposed a resolution to the high school vaping crisis across New York. After presenting in competition with 37 other teams, they were awarded the best presentation award.

Congratulations students!

District-Wide International Night

District-Wide International Night photo
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District-Wide International Night photo 6
On Wednesday, March 6 the Elwood community came together to celebrate heritage and culture at a district-wide International Night.

Groups of students set up booths to represent different countries. Students served authentic cuisine to those in attendance throughout the night, thanks to the generous donations of students from James H. Boyd, Elwood Middle, and John H. Glenn. While there were over 22 stations incredible stations, South Asia—presented by Sasha Jamal, Rithika Narayan, Tanay Rametra, Arianna Surujbali, Riya Kumar—was named the winner. Italy, presented by Abby Rothleder, Ally Haddad, Joey LaCorte, Jake Ribowski, came in second.

Different student groups showcased well-practiced performances, including the Boyd fourth and fifth grade chorus, the EMS sixth grade World Culture classes, Melissa Mandel solo of "Black Orpheus,”, Ms. Gendjoian's Spanish Conversation class, the JGHS Step team, and Mrs. Correia's ASL class. As a finale to the night, the American Sign Language students (levels 1-4) performed a moving rendition of “This is Us”, accompanied by the vocal talent of sophomore Princess Onyianta.

A great night celebrating heritage and different cultures was had by all.

To watch Melissa Mandel’s performance, click here.
To watch the ASL performance, click here.

James H. Boyd Student Heads to American Ninja Warrior Junior Semifinals

James H. Boyd Student Heads to American Ninja Warrior Junior Semifinals photo
David Futeran, a fifth-grader at James H. Boyd, recently competed on one of the most popular family television shows currently on air—American Ninja Warrior Junior. His impressive strength and skill helped him remain undefeated on the show, and he is now on his way to the semifinals. His success was also recently spotlighted in a News12 Long Island segment, which you can watch here:

When Ninja Warrior Junior first aired, David was automatically hooked. He knew he wanted to become a warrior, and began practicing by “literally climbing the walls” of his house. After taking his skills to the next level at a ninja gym, David felt confident to submit six videos showcasing his athleticism to an open casting call of the show—and was selected.

Each week he puts in over ten hours of gymnastic and climbing practice. David believes he’s prepared to take on the semifinals, which will air April 6.

He mentioned that, while one of his favorite things about competing is the weightless feeling of falling through the air, he has thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie with the other members of the show.

“It’s been really awesome to meet and get to know other people with the same specific interest that I have,” said David.

Congratulations and good luck, David!

JGHS Spring Musical

Tickets are now on sale for the high school musical Hairspray!
Performances will be held on March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. in the Elwood John Glenn auditorium.
Tickets are $12.00 online, $14.00 (cash and check only) at the door. To purchase tickets, go to

2019-2020 Kindergarten Registration Information