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Elwood students make strides against breast cancer

Elwood students make strides against breast cancer photo
Despite the wet morning weather, National Honor Society students and the girls varsity soccer team from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School came together to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach on Oct. 14. Cumulatively, they collected more than $2,500.

Elwood musicians selected for All-National, All-State and All-County

Elwood musicians selected for All-National, All-State and All-County photo
This year, students at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School have been selected for numerous musical honors, highlighting their talent and dedication to the arts.

Student Alexandra Vallejos has been selected for NAFME All-National Chorus and will be attending the All-National Music Festival in Orlando, Florida from Nov. 26-29. There, Alexandra will participate in rigorous rehearsals and perform with students from around the country at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

The district is also pleased to announce that Elizabeth Choi has been selected for NAFME All-State Orchestra, and will be attending and performing at the All-State Winter Conference and Music Festival in Rochester from Nov. 30 to Dec 3.

In addition, seven Elwood students were selected for NYSCAME All-County, including Alexandra and Elizabeth. NYSCAME is extremely selective, only choosing those with the highest NYSSMA scores across Suffolk County from the previous spring. These musicians will take part in three intensive rehearsals that will culminate in a concert on Nov. 17 at Hauppauge High School.

NAFME All-National Chorus
Alexandra Vallejos, Alto

NAFME All-State Orchestra
Elizabeth Choi, Violin

NYSCAME All-County
Elizabeth Choi - Orchestra, Violin
Makenzy Chaikin - Women's Choir, Alto 
Abiola Familusi - Band, Trumpet
Samuel LaGrego - Mixed Chorus, Tenor 
Jason Mueller - Mixed Chorus, Bass 
Alexandra Vallejos - Mixed Chorus-Alto
Kira Williams - Mixed Chorus, Soprano

Notice of Special District Meeting

Attachments:

Bond Building Tours and Forum

In an effort to inform the community about the upcoming bond referendum, the Elwood Board of Education invites all interested residents to attend building tours on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The tours will be held at Harley Avenue Primary School, James H. Boyd Intermediate School, Elwood Middle School and Elwood-John H. Glenn High School beginning at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in each building. An administrator will guide residents through the school, identify current facility challenges and highlight the projects to be addressed through the proposed bond.

In addition, community members are also invited to attend a Superintendent’s Community Forum on Monday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Elwood Middle School. At that time, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert will provide an overview of the bond proposal and answer any questions residents may have.

All information related to the bond can be found on the district’s website, www.elwood.k12.ny.us. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. at District Office.

Commended students at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School

Commended students at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School photo
Recently, Elwood-John H. Glenn High School seniors Joseph Franzese and Brendan Harrigan were named Commended Students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship program. Each received a letter of commendation from the school and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for their outstanding academics.

Although not continuing in the National Merit Scholarship competition, Joseph and Brendan placed among the top 3% of students across the country who took the 2016 PSAT, and have demonstrated strong potential for academic success.

“We are extremely proud of our Commended Students and recognize the magnitude of this achievement,” said Principal Carisa Burzynski. 
 

Readers and reporters at James H. Boyd

Readers and reporters at James H. Boyd photo
On Oct. 11, four students from James H. Boyd Intermediate School in the Elwood Union Free School District will be traveling into New York City to interview author Andy Horowitz for Kidsday—the kid-written section of Newsday. 

Students from room 412 were submitted as potential reporters by their teacher. After being selected, the class was narrowed down to four students to perform the assigned task—reading and critiquing pre-released copies of Horowitz’s new book in the Alex Rider series, Never Say Die. Students also prepared interview questions to ask the author in person.

Students Gabrielle Crockett, Keyth Jeudy, Yeonjae Lee, and Ethan Levy were excited for the opportunity, and up for the challenge. 

“Our teacher said we had to be able to read 350 pages in a week, but I knew I could do it,” Gabrielle explained.  

The students all gave rave reviews about the book, and were excited to speak with Mr. Horowitz. When asked what they liked most about the book, and reading in general, the students had similar answers.

“My favorite thing about reading is the problem in the story,” Yeonjae said. “Without the problem, there’s no story to read about.”

“And finding the resolution,” Ethan added, “to see how the character solves the problem they face.”  

“Especially when the book takes place in a world that’s different from ours,” Keyth concluded.

Cultural competency at James H. Boyd

Cultural competency at James H. Boyd photo
On Monday, Oct. 2, Newbery Award winning author Matt de la Peña visited James H. Boyd Intermediate School in the Elwood Union Free School District to read his book Last Stop on Market Street. This story not only finds beauty in the ordinary, but acknowledges issues of inequality—fitting in with the district’s goal of building cultural competency within their students.

Before reading his book, de la Peña told the students, “When you write a picture book, you don’t have a lot of room for words—so you have to make every one count.”

Students listened and engaged with the author as he read his book and asked the children questions. De la Peña touched upon some deep truths that caused many children to ask questions.

 “Even if you don’t have a lot, you always have something to give,” de la Peña told students. “Even if it’s just your time.” 

Board of Ed Recognizes Outstanding Staff Members

Board of Ed Recognizes Outstanding Staff Members Photo 1
Board of Ed Recognizes Outstanding Staff Members Photo 2

At its business meeting on Sept. 28, the Elwood Union Free School District Board of Education recognized several outstanding staff members for their dedication to the students of the district. Bari Shapiro was commended for being awarded a Books for Children Shelf from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Program. Out of 2,000 applications, only 45 educators throughout the country were honored with a Books for Children Shelf. By receiving this honor, Ms. Shapiro’s classroom will be the beneficiary of new leveled reading books in a variety of different genres. “Our district has realized tremendous gains in literacy,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “These results are evidence of Ms. Shapiro’s hard work, as well as the dedication of the entire Harley Avenue staff!”

Also at the meeting, Eileen Kelly-Gorman, Director of Math, Science and Technology, and Krista Albrecht, instructional technology specialist, were honored by the Board of Education for receiving a Certificate of Recognition from the New York State School Boards Association’s “Be the Change for Kids Innovation Program.” Ms. Kelly-Gorman and Ms. Albrecht have been instrumental in introducting Elwood’s Family STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) nights to the district. Last year, more than 200 students throughout the district attended the Family STEAM Night, during which they participated in hands-on experiments and showcased their innovation.

“The Elwood staff continues to go above and beyond for district students,” said Board of Education President Julia Fried. “The amount of hard work they continue to show has brought positive changes to our district. Your dedication is appreciated!”

Video on Proposed Bond

Bond Vote Set for Tuesday, Nov. 28

The Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution at its Sept. 28 business meeting to present a bond proposal to the greater community for vote on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The proposal addresses a number of major renovations and repairs at all schools throughout the district to address aging infrastructure, as well as several academic enhancements.

The proposal consists of two propositions. The first proposition includes health and safety improvements at each of the district’s four buildings. These include total roof replacements at each school, repairs to crumbling sidewalks and curbing, abatement of contained asbestos and renovations to the cafeterias and middle and high school auditoriums. The first proposition also addresses academic enhancements, including renovations to the high school science labs, middle and high school art rooms, and family and consumer science classrooms. A Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics lab would also be created at the high school to provide students with additional hands-on learning experiences.

The bus loop at Elwood Middle School would be reconfigured through the first proposition, eliminating current congestion and safety concerns that exist during building drop-off and pick-up times. Additional parking would be added at James H. Boyd Intermediate School which would allow the building to host schoolwide events after hours. The first proposition also includes the addition of air conditioning to each building cafeteria, providing a cool, safe place for students to gather on days of oppressive heat, as well as the renovation of the high school tennis courts that are in extreme disrepair.

A second proposition will also appear on the Nov. 28 ballot. The second proposition includes the addition of a synthetic turf field at the high school, as well as a new concession stand, press box and outdoor restroom facilities at the main field. It is important to note that the second proposition can only pass if the first proposition is also approved by residents.

The total cost of Proposition 1 is approximately $34.5 million. If approved, the annual tax impact to the average community resident (with an assessed value of $3,800) would be approximately $221 a year or $18.42 a month. The total cost of Proposition 2 is $3.65 million. If Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 are both approved, the annual tax impact to the average community resident (with an assessed value of $3,800) would be approximately $333 a year or $27.75 a month.

Residents are encouraged to visit the district’s website, www.elwood.k12.ny.us, for detailed information on the proposal, as well as a tax calculator to help them determine what their estimated tax impact would be.

In an effort to inform the community about the upcoming bond referendum, the Elwood Board of Education invites all interested residents to attend building tours on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The tours will be held at Harley Avenue Primary School, James H. Boyd Intermediate School, Elwood Middle School and Elwood-John H. Glenn High School beginning at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in each building. An administrator will guide residents through the school, identify current facility challenges and highlight the projects to be addressed through the proposed bond.

In addition, community members are also invited to attend a Superintendent's Community Forum on Monday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Elwood Middle School. At that time, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert will provide an overview of the bond proposal and answer any questions residents may have.

Social Media Danger

Attachments:

New Phone Extensions for District Effective 9/25/17

Please be advised that with the addition of a new phone system throughout the district, new phone extensions will take effect on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. The main number for each building will remain the same. Please check the district’s website for the updated listing of extensions. We appreciate your cooperation and patience during this time of transition.

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School Named School of Distinction

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School Named School of Distinction photo
On Sept. 14, Elwood administrators attended the Section XI Athletics annual state meeting to receive the School of Distinction award. Robert Zayas, head of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, presented Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Maureen Hull and Director of Athletics and Physical Education Dave Shanahan with the award, both of whom attended the event on behalf of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. 

In order to qualify for the distinction, 75% of athletes on all district teams must have a 90% grade point average or better for all three seasons. Only four of Suffolk County’s 69 school districts received this outstanding award.

“I commend all the hard working athletes who made this accomplishment possible by putting academics first,” Mr. Shannahan remarked. “Let’s strive to reach this goal next year!”

View the recording of the 9/18 Bond Forum Presentation

September 18, 2017, Community Forum: Potential Bond Project

First day back for Elwood students

First day back for Elwood students photo

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Elwood Union Free School District started the 2017-18 school year. Students were all smiles getting off the busses, greeting new teachers and old friends.

At James H. Boyd Intermediate School, students were busy unpacking their school supplies into their desks and getting to know their classmates through “getting to know you” questionnaires. Teachers took the time to introduce themselves, and set the tone for the year. Principal Denise Toscano spent the morning visiting classrooms and welcoming students back to school.

Kindergartners at Harley Avenue rode the bus for the first time, disembarking to waving, excited parents, and lined up, ready for their first year. Harley Avenue Principal Elissa Millan greeted students at the front, and welcomed them to school for the first time. 

“Kindergarten is a big step for children,” Principal Millan said, “and every year seeing the new students is just as exciting as the year before.”

Middle and high school students also had an exciting day, filled with exercises geared at familiarizing themselves with one another, as well as their academic courses. The Elwood Union Free School District wishes all students and staff a successful year ahead!

 

Building momentum and mindfulness

Building momentum and mindfulness photo
Staff was welcomed back to school on August 30 and 31 with two Superintendent’s Conference Days, designed to build momentum and set priorities for the 2017-18 school year. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert offered a warm welcome to all district faculty and staff in attendance, including 15 new Elwood teachers, and also gave special thanks to all who worked throughout the summer. 

“We have a lot to be proud of here in Elwood,” Dr. Bossert remarked. “I am excited to begin the year with the exceptional faculty, staff and leadership team we have established.”

The upcoming school year will revolve around three themes: equity, mindfulness and teaching the “whole child”. Dr. Bossert noted that he looks forward to staff members dedicating themselves to the success and wellbeing of the whole child, not just the academic component. Elwood educators were also challenged to build on their relationships with students, colleagues, parents and the community, as it truly “takes a village” to reach new levels of excellence.

“When we grow in closeness, it benefits the children more than we know,” James H. Boyd Intermediate Principal Denise Toscano said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Sheryl Petty, a senior consultant at Management Assistance Group—Make Real Change, gave an address to the staff, encompassing equity, courage and kindness, which are essential skills in the teaching field. 

Afterwards, teachers had time to prepare their classrooms and lesson plans, and select staff and administration took part in group discussions and department meetings. Upon returning for the second day, teachers met in their home buildings, and were given additional time for planning and preparation for the upcoming year. 

“Elwood’s race for excellence has no finish line.” Dr. Bossert stated. “We look forward to another successful year ahead and thank our teachers and staff for their continued dedication to our students and the community.”
 

A ‘fresh’ start in Elwood

 A ‘fresh’ start in Elwood Photo
 A ‘fresh’ start in Elwood Photo 2
 A ‘fresh’ start in Elwood Photo 3
 A ‘fresh’ start in Elwood Photo 4
On Aug. 29, the high school welcomed the Class of 2021 with a special freshman orientation. Principal Carisa Burzynski, along with other member of the administration and faculty, offered a warm welcome to incoming students, as well as the Elwood Freshman Buddies, who volunteered to provide school tours to freshmen and answered any questions they had. 

In her welcome address, Ms. Burzynski encouraged students to view freshman year as a fresh start and to focus on doing their best.
 
“Work hard, and take advantage of all of the opportunities John Glenn high school provides,” she said. 

The district’s mission statement was read aloud by a freshman buddy, which encompassed a vision of providing excellent education and empowering and inspiring each and every student to succeed. To illustrate this “growth mindset,” Ms. Burzynski showed a video of a mother duck waiting patiently as her baby ducklings persevered to climb upstairs. 
           
“We all get to where we need to on our own time,” she said. “We need to root for each other!”  

Freshmen were then paired with their buddies, who gave ninth-graders a tour of the school.  

“I’m really glad I was elected to help with the orientation,” student Matt McDermot remarked. “It’s fun to help the new students find their way around a place I know so well.”

To conclude the orientation, freshmen received their school Chromebooks, an expansion of the initiative that first started at Elwood Middle School when the Class of 2021 entered sixth grade.
 

Fifteen New Teachers Join the District

Fifteen New Teachers Join the District Photo
Fifteen New Teachers Join the District Photo 2
Fifteen New Teachers Join the District Photo 3
It was a day of preparation for the district’s 15 newest teachers as they gathered in the Elwood Middle School library on Aug. 28 for the first day of their New Teacher Orientation. The two-day orientation program allowed the new staff members to be officially introduced to the district through key tools and information.

Director of Humanities Pam Fine and Director of Math, Science and Technology Eileen Kelly-Gorman hosted the first day of orientation, where the focus was on curriculum and instruction. New staff members were welcomed with a special breakfast to kick off the day and met with the administrative team. To get better acquainted with each other, the group took part in icebreaker challenges including a round of “Two Truths and a Lie.” 

In addition, Executive Director of Special Education Dianne Wilkinson presented on special education and the group learned about student engagement and the expectations for instruction. At the end of the day, the new teachers took a bus tour of Elwood to familiarize themselves with the district. 

During the second day of orientation, the new teachers honed their technology skills under the guidance of Executive Director for Technology and Transportation Gene Tranchino and Instructional Technology Specialist Krista Albrecht. They created their own Google websites, worked with technology tools utilized in the classroom and were introduced to Google Expeditions, a new hands-on virtual reality gadget that the district will use during the new school year. 

Community Welcomes New Principal

Community Welcomes New Principal Photo
Community Welcomes New Principal Photo 2
Community Welcomes New Principal Photo 3
Community Welcomes New Principal Photo 5
Before the start of the new school year, students and families were invited to a special meet and greet with Elwood Middle School’s newest principal, Dr. Christina Sapienza on Aug. 24. 

The district appointed Dr. Sapienza over the summer where she began her new position. The community arrived to the Elwood Middle School cafeteria where they were each greeted by Dr. Sapienza, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Maureen Hull. 

Board of Education members, vice president James Tomeo and trustee Heather Mammolito, were also in attendance to welcome the new principal. Dr. Bossert kicked off the informal meet and greet by expressing his excitement of having Dr. Sapienza join the Elwood school community.

“We knew we needed to find a real all-star for the students of Elwood Middle School,” he said. “Dr. Sapienza was a candidate who didn’t just want a job, she wanted a position in a district where she felt she could really be successful and make a difference. I am confident that she is the right person to do that here.” 

Before speaking one-on-one with students and families, Dr. Sapienza spoke to all in attendance about herself and her goals as an administrator. 

“Adolescence is a beautiful, challenging, messy time in our children’s lives,” she said. “I’m very passionate about creating programs and STEAM programs that not only offer them the opportunity for academic excellence but really develop mental responsiveness.” 

Throughout the event, refreshments were served and students and families were able to introduce themselves and ask questions to Dr. Sapienza.