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Great Hollow Middle School Crowns Sean Diffley Winner Of Geography Bee

Great Hollow crowns Geography Bee winner

After successfully winning their team competition, 10 students from Great Hollow Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District competed in the school’s 2018 Geography Bee in early February. 

The following students participated in the final round: Natalie Boeri, Ryan Diffley, Sean Diffley, Giovanni Di Grazia, Dominic Enright, Gia Garufi, Daniel Hwang, Samantha Jones, Michael Ryder and Shryians Sing. After many rounds, Sean Diffley was named the winner and will now take the online qualifying test for a chance to compete in the state Geography Bee.  

Photo caption: Great Hollow Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District recently held its 2018 Geography Bee. Sean Diffley was named the winner. Finalist competitors were: (bottom row, from left) Gia Garufi, Shryians Sing, Michael Ryder, Sean Diffley, Dominic Enright and Samantha Jones. (top row, from left) Giovanni Di Grazia, Ryan Diffley, Daniel Hwang and Natalie Boeri. They are pictured with Michael Cestaro, assistant principal, and Anna Fisk, social studies teacher. 


Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown East JV Whisperettes Take First Place At LI Kickline Competition

It was an exciting season for the Smithtown East Junior Varsity Whisperettes with three consecutive 1st Place wins in the JV Kickline category at the Long Island Scholastic Kickline Competition’s held December 12th, January 7th and February 4th at Nassau County Community College. Because of this amazing accomplishment, they also earned the Champion of Champions Award for JV Kickline. On January 27th, they performed their routine at the Stephanie Belli Memorial Scholarship Festival and earned the Technical Excellence Award for JV Kickline. Thanks to their Coach Michele Marciante for an amazing year and inspiring them every step (and kick) of the way!

 Front Row Left to Right: Stefani Ingenito, Kayli Camilleri, Rachel Amato (Captain), Michele Marciante (Coach), Jillian Catalano (Captain), Layne Lackmann and Natalie Farrell - Back Row Left to Right: Olivia Miro, Isabel McCleery, Skyler Gherardi, Sophia DeGuara, Maia Castelli and Gabi Ostrowski


SHSW Girls Basketball JV Creates Valentine's Cards For Children

Creating smiles with Valentine’s cards

As a tradition for the past five years, the Smithtown High School West junior varsity girls basketball team spends time before their final practice creating Valentine’s cards for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. The team continues a tradition in the hopes that it helps to brighten the day for children, parents and staff at the hospital.  

Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Accompsett MS Teacher Joe Stapleton's Memory Wall Of Photos

Middle school memories

Joe Stapleton, sixth-grade teacher at Accompsett Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District, has amassed more than 1,000 student photos over the years, which are on display in his classroom. He is pictured with former students Marisa Femia (left), an ENL teacher at Accompsett Middle and Stephanie Douglas, a student-teacher at Accompsett Middle.Joe Stapleton has been a teacher in the Smithtown Central School District for more than 18 years, spending most of his career teaching sixth grade at Accompsett Middle School. Since his first year of teaching in 2000, Stapleton has encouraged students to bring in a picture to hang on his memory wall of photos. With each passing year, the collection of photos has grown around his classroom walls.

Over the years, he has amassed more than 1,000 student photos. “Many of the students come back to my class to see the younger version of themselves or a sibling, friend or neighbor,” Stapleton said. This helps him to reconnect with his former students. 

Some former students have even followed in Stapleton’s footsteps and found a career in education. This year, a couple of his former students have positions as a teacher assistant, coach and student-teacher in Smithtown Central School District.

Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Commack HS Senior Jake Nieto Has Scientific Paper Published

Student Researcher Finds New Method to Determine Scar Tissue

left to right: Commack High School science teachers and mentors Jeanette Collette and Richard Kurtz, Dr.Jake Nieto, a senior at Commack High School, just had his second scientific research paper published, a very rare accomplishment for someone at any age. His research and manuscripts “laid the foundation for other students to continue Jake’s work,” said his mentor Dr. Prakash Narayan, Vice President of Preclinical Research & C.O.O. at Angion Biomedica Corp. Jake’s latest paper, titled, “A Modified Elliptical Formula to Estimate Kidney Collagen Content in a Model of Chronic Kidney Disease,” is “An important contribution to science and medicine” said Dr. Narayan. “His formula will most likely lead to a decrease in the need for painful kidney biopsies.”

Through the high school’s mentoring network, Jake teamed up with Dr. Narayan in the summer of 2016 to work on two projects relating to kidney disease. “Jake is a precocious young man, who brought exceptionally strong skills in applied mathematics, advanced biophysics, and deep data analysis.” Jake’s work during that summer resulted in two peer-reviewed first author publications. The first one published in 2016 describes a formula for estimating the amount of cysts in a model of polycystic kidney disease (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0163063). The second publication (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190815) in January 2018 describes a novel method to evaluate the amount of scarring in kidneys based off just two linear measurements. The salient features of this second body of work are a modification of the commonly used elliptical formula to estimate renal dimensions and potentially, in the future, reduction in the number of painful and sometimes risky biopsies performed to determine the amount of scar tissue in the kidney.

Each summer, Angion, a small business biotech engaged in developing therapeutics in areas of unmet medical needs such as kidney and liver disease, opens its doors to interested STEM students from Long Island, New York City, and New Jersey. The students spend about two months getting hands-on experience with basic and applied biomedical research conducting experiments, testing hypotheses, gathering and analyzing data while sharpening their presentation skills with the help of one of Angion’s principal investigators in a state-of-the-art research facility. 

Jake spent last summer studying the biochemical processes of THC through the Simons Science Research Program at Stony Brook University, and credits his interest in physics and engineering to his grandparents. “He loves to solve problems, and his quest for answers drives him,” said science teacher and mentor Richard Kurtz. Jake has many other interests besides science and math. He competes on the school’s Science Olympiad and Mock Trial teams, is president of the Spanish Honor Society and the Science Honor Society, and is vice president of the Gardening Club. Jake is also a musician, and a tutor. He has not made a final decision on which university he will attend next year, but plans to study physics and engineering.



Smithtown Students - Snow - Iditarod - Fun

Sledding Smithtown students pull their weight

Even during the winter months, Smithtown Elementary School physical education teacher Kurt Margraf knows how to get students to stay active. As part of his weekly before school sports program, Margraf is teaching his students about the Iditarod sled dog race. The two-week race takes place annually each March in Alaska. Fourth-graders were taught facts about the race, and necessary clothes they need to wear before trying to mimic the race by pulling one another on sleds.

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Kings Park SD Recognizes SCMEA Students

SCMEA Division III West

Back Row:  Standing L to R – Dr. Timothy Eagen-Superintendent, Mr. Ryan Flatt-Advisor,  Mr. Jon Nowak-Advisor, Dario Longobardi, Alex Aitchison, Steven Torre,  Ms. Cherilyn Holmes-Chustek-Advisor, Mr. Lino Bracco-KPHS Principal Front Row:  Micaela Ciambrone, Jacqueline Zambrotto, Emily Johnson, Zachary Kant Missing from Picture:  Mr. Paul Eger-Advisor, Dominik Cardamone)

The students pictured above have been selected as members of the 2018 SCMEA Division III West performing groups.  Congratulations to all!


Dogwood PTA Teaches Students To Stay Healthy While Having Fun

PTA gets a boost thanks to Dogwood runners

Dogwood Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School came together to support its Parent-Teacher Association while having fun and staying healthy on Feb. 1 by participating in a Boosterthon Fun Run. 

In an effort to raise money for the PTA’s Cultural Arts program, students garnered pledges and sponsors from family members and friends for each lap they ran. In total, Dogwood Elementary School raised more than $28,000 to benefit its PTA.

The track was set up in the gymnasium, and students completed between 30-35 laps as teachers marked off each lap completed on the back of each student’s shirt.

Photo caption: Dogwood Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District raised more than $28,000 for its Parent-Teacher Association during a Boosterthon Fun Run on Feb. 1. 


Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Formal Wear Clothing Drive For HS Prom Season

Community Notice

Do you have formal wear hanging up in your closet that you never wear and they just take up space?

We are collecting for the many Long Island students that are in need of formal wear for the upcoming prom season.

Items Needed:

¨ Formal wear¨ Dresses¨ Suits/shirts

¨ Accessories¨ Shoes¨ Ties

All donations of formal wear that are clean, gently used and in good condition will be accepted. Please send all donations to Burr Intermediate School, attention Debbie Virga by April 9, 2018. 

All questions contact Debbie Virga at: dvirga@commack.k12.ny.us 



Smithtown High School West Recognized By NYS Dept. Of Ed As Reward School

The State Education Department identified 155 high achieving and high progress schools as Reward Schools, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. Reward Schools are schools with high academic achievement or those with the most progress in the State and do not have significant gaps in student achievement between subgroups. Each Reward School will receive a certificate of recognition from the Commissioner.

“The teachers and administrators at these Reward schools work hard each day to raise the bar and give their students opportunities to achieve their dreams,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “The proof is in the results these schools have obtained and I am thrilled to celebrate their success.”

“It’s truly impressive that so many of this year’s Reward Schools were able to maintain the designation for three years in a row,” Commissioner Elia said. “All of these schools serve as models to others in the state to inspire them to achieve a high level of accomplishment and improvement.”

To be identified as a Reward School, a school must:

  • Be among the top 20 percent of schools in the state for English language arts (ELA) and math performance for both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years or be among the top ten percent of schools in terms of gains in ELA and math performance in the 2016-17 school year;
  • Have made Adequate Yearly Progress for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years for all groups of students on all measures for which the school is accountable, including the requirement that 95 percent of all groups participate in the English language arts and mathematics assessments; and
  • Not have unacceptably large gaps in student performance on an accountability measure between students who are members of an accountability group (e.g., low-income students) and students who are not members of that group.

In addition, elementary and middle schools must demonstrate that more than 50 percent of students are making annual growth in ELA and math; and that more than 50 percent of the school’s lowest achieving students are also making gains. High schools must have graduation rates above 80 percent to be a high-achieving school and above 60 percent to be a high-progress school and the percentage of students in the school who graduate with a Regents diploma with advanced designation or a Career and Technical Endorsement (CTE) must exceed the State average. Additionally, high schools must demonstrate that their graduation rate for students who entered the school performing below proficient in ELA or math exceeds the State average.

Of the identified schools, 64 are located in New York City, 73 are located in the rest of the state and 18 are public charter schools. In addition, 107 of these schools were identified as Reward Schools last year, and 81 have been identified as Reward Schools for three consecutive years. The full list is below.