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Sunday
Nov122017

Kings Park Students Learn Mental Health First Aid Training

Mental Health First Aid Training

 

tanding L to R – Emma Adelmann, Bianca Byrne, Marykate Murphy, Nataly Guerrero-Martinez, Rayad Abaza, Alexander Fey, Victoria Malatos, Olivia Hickey, Erica Karahalis, Abigail Donahue, Caralyn Stein, Caitlyn NagleA recent report issued by the Council (NYS School Superintendents) stated, “…the percentage of superintendents identifying increasing mental health-related services for students as a funding priority surged by 17 percentage points, from 35% in2016 to 52% this year.”  Additionally, “…increasing mental health-related services emerged as the top priority among superintendents statewide.”

On October 12th and 13th, Kings Park High School offered Mental Health First Aid training to 12 Kings Park High School students.  This 8-hour training course will give our students the tools to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.  Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training, they can assist an individual having a heart attack.  Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person struggling with a mental health or substance use problem.

Statistics show that one in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care.  We also know that substance use and the disease of addiction has become a serious health epidemic in the United States, and in particular, Suffolk County.

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid USA, visit https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/.

Friday
Nov102017

Accompsett Middle School Students Enjoy Snacks And Games With Veterans

Middle school students enjoy snacks with vets

Members of the National Junior Honor Society at Accompsett Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District held a snack and game event for veterans and first-responders to show their appreciation for their service on Nov. 8. The students played cards, board games and spent time getting to know one another while enjoying snacks after school in the cafeteria. 

 

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District

Thursday
Nov092017

Mills Pond Elementary Students Write Letters To Veterans

Second-graders pen letters to local vets

 

Ms Barbara Haining’s 2nd grade class Mills Pond Elementary SchoolSecond-graders in Elizabeth Ozol’s and Barbara Haining’s classes at Mills Pond Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District wrote letters thanking veterans for their service to the country. They also collected goods – such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, magazines and puzzle books – for local veterans. The letters and items will be sent to the Northport VA Medical Center. 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School DistrictMs. Elizabeth Ozol’s 2nd Grade Class a Mills Pond Elementary School

Thursday
Nov092017

Smithtown's Cross Country Win County Championship

Cross-country county champs

Smithtown Central School District’s boys cross-country team won their second consecutive county championship on Nov. 3. Five Smithtown runners placed in the top 12 and seven in the top 20. Steven Spreizer led the runners with a second-place finish in 16:39. Nick DeFelice (third-16:46), Nick Cipolla (sixth-16:59), David Cabello (ninth-17:02) and John Cuff (12th- 7:13) were the scoring five. Aidan Kennedy (18th-17:42) and Michael Danzi (20th-17:43) rounded out the team scoring. The boys will represent Smithtown and Section XI at the New York State Cross-Country Championships at Wayne Central High School in Ontario Center, New York. Pictured (from left): Mark Jackett, Peter Schieck, David Cabello, John Cuff, Michael Danzi, Nick DeFelice, Nick Cipolla, Steven Spreizer, Aidan Kennedy, Kevin Cawley and Alex Martin.

Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District

Tuesday
Nov072017

Vote! Mills Pond Students Vote 

A race to run the forest

With Election Day right around the corner, first-graders at Mills Pond Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District learned about the electoral process during a forest election on Nov. 6.

Three candidates – Bartholomew Bear, Betsy Beaver and Fitzgerald Fox – were all vying for the position to be the head of the forest. The students listened to each candidate’s platform and learned why they would be the best one to run the forest. The first-graders then cast their vote for their favorite candidate. 

Photo: First-graders at Mills Pond Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District participated in a forest election to learn about the electoral process on Nov. 6. 

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District

Tuesday
Oct312017

Tackan Students + Pumpkins = Improved Math Skills

Pumpkins provide plenty of hands-on learning

Fourth-graders at Tackan Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District spent Oct. 27 working on different pumpkin day activities.

Using their scientific and mathematic knowledge, students worked in groups to record how many lines were on each pumpkin. Students measured the height and circumference of their pumpkin. To get the weight of their pumpkins, they had to use math skills, first stepping on the scale alone and then with their pumpkins. They recorded the volume of the pumpkin by submerging it in a bucket of water.

The fourth-graders then carved their pumpkins, counting the number of seeds in groups of 10. After totaling the hundreds of seeds inside, they were tasked with finding the mass of the seeds by placing them on a balance scale. 

 

Photo caption: Fourth-graders at Tackan Elementary School in the Smithtown School District used their scientific and mathematic skills when they participated in pumpkin day activities on Oct. 27. 

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District-Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday
Oct302017

Youth Ambassadors Explain Life With Tourette Syndrome

“Current estimates are that 1 out of every 160 children (0.6%) between the ages of 5-17 in the United States has Tourette Syndrome (TS). Using 2010 US Census data, we estimate that approximately 300,000 children in the United States are affected by Tourette. When Tic Disorders are included with Tourette, the estimate rises to 1 out of every 100 children or 1% of children between the ages of 5 and 17.” Tourette Association of America 

Gianna DiLeo with Rebecca Caron (Patchogue SD)Gianna DiLeo with Mary GregorianThe Tourette Association of America describes TS as a tic disorder with movements that are involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalizations. Simple motor tics can include eye blinking, facial grimacing, jaw movements, head bobbing/jerking, shoulder shrugging, neck stretching, and arm jerking. Motor tics are not the only type of tics people with TS experience, there are also vocal (phonic) tics. Simple vocal tics include sniffing, throat clearing, grunting, hooting, and shouting. Complex vocal tics are words or phrases that may or may not be recognizable but that consistently occur out of context.

“In 10-15% of cases, the words may be inappropriate (i.e., swear words, ethnic slurs, or other socially unacceptable words or phrases). This type of vocal tic, called coprolalia, is often portrayed or mocked in the media as a common symptom of TS.” Tourette Association of America

Chris Alessandri (Nassau student) and Gianna DiLeoSmithtown HSE Assistant Principal, Robert Rose, Rebecca Caron, Gianna DiLeo and Smithtown HSE Psychologist, Macle Rodriguez During the month of October, Gianna DiLeo, Mary Gregorian, Rebecca Caron and Chris Alessandri discussed Tourett Syndrome with students in the Smithtown school district.

Gianna, Mary, Rebecca and Chris have the disorder and have trained to become Tourette’s Ambassadors. Their goal is to educate children about TS and to spread tolerance of and understanding of the disorder.  

In a very personal way the peer presentations address anti-bullying and tolerance for those who have extraordinary challenges.

 

Sunday
Oct292017

Commack Students Fundraise To Help Those In Need

Joining Together in Support of our Global Neighbors

CHSHurricane: CHS Spanish Honor Society Members: Sophia Margaritis (2nd Vice President), Kara Gorgano, Jake Nieto (President), Maggie Montera, Sophia Fabrizio (Secretary)CMSHurricane: Student Govt Members: Heather Mendes, Erica Huang, Sabrina CinqueWhen our neighbors need help, the Commack School District reaches out with generosity and spirit. With so many in need after the deadly storms across the United States and beyond, multiple efforts continue by our students, staff, and the Commack community.

Commack High School’s History Honor Society sold flags and pins to raise funds for the American Red Cross, and the Spanish Honor Society and Middle School Student Government recently joined hands with the World Languages department to host a cross-district fundraiser in support of residents of Puerto Rico, who suffered devastating losses from Hurricane Maria. The groups sold seasonal mums and flags and raised $1,200 that was donated to globalgiving.org.

Commack Middle School students held a car wash with all funds raised donated to globalgiving.org. Advisor Debra Lindquist quipped, “It was a great event, and the kids were thrilled to take on the task of washing a local fire truck.”  

Thousands of water bottles were collected during the “H2O for Puerto Rico” at Burr Intermediate School and Sawmill Intermediate School’s “Island to Island” relief drives. Island Harvest and United Airlines arranged for distribution to our neighbors in Puerto Rico.

Burr Assistant Principal Donna Forbes with a portions of the water collected at Burr.High School Honor SocietyThese donations will help meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Reaching out to others is what this caring community is all about!

 

Photos Courtesy or the Commack School District

 

Saturday
Oct282017

Commack SD Accepting Applications For Legislative Advocacy Committee

Commack School District Accepting Legislative Affairs Committee Applications

Interested community members are invited to apply to join the District’s newly‑created Legislative Advocacy Committee.  Those with backgrounds in legislative matters, law, or education are preferred as this experience could lend assistance in navigating future potential and sustainable endeavors.

The Legislative Advocacy Committee has been established to assist the Board of Education in implementing solutions regarding legislative matters.  The role of the Legislative Advocacy Committee shall be advisory and any recommendations it provides to the Board shall not be substituted for any required review and acceptance by the Board of Education.

The Committee will be asked to center its efforts on assessing the impact of existing and proposed State and Federal education legislation, promoting legislation that supports the District’s mission, and communicating vital information to our residents.  Further, the Committee will be charged with effectively communicating Commack’s needs to our local, State‑ and Federally‑elected representatives (this may call for periodic visits to legislative offices both locally and in Albany).  The legislative agenda will include items such as (1) school funding matters; (2) educational issues i.e. mandated standards and assessments, graduation requirements, State teacher evaluation requirements, etc.; and (3) fiscal mandate relief.

The Legislative Advocacy Committee shall be comprised of the Superintendent of Schools, one (1) Board of Education member, five (5) Commack residents, two (2) High School student representatives; and one/two member(s) from each collective bargaining unit.  The Board of Education will appoint these members to the Committee, and they shall serve without compensation.  All resident members of the Legislative Advocacy Committee shall be residents of the Commack UFSD. 

The voluntary membership position will be a term that begins November 10, 2017, and ends on June 30, 2018, with extension at the request of the Board of Education.  The application deadline is November 1, 2017, with resident applicant interviews anticipated on or about November 2.  Interested residents can obtain applications by clicking here: http://www.commackschools.org/Downloads/LegislativeCommitteeApplicationForm.pdf

Wednesday
Oct252017

Kings Park Rolls Out KidOYO Coding Program

The Kings Park Central School District is rolling out an initiative this year to ensure that all students in grades K-12 are afforded the opportunity to learn how to code. One of the district’s adopted goals for this year is, “Investigate ways to incorporate STEAM-related problem-solving activities, robotics, and coding/programming into instruction and offerings.” Computer programming, better known as coding, is becoming one of the most sought after skills in the workforce.

This week the district conducted a “launch party” at the RJO Intermediate School to introduce a new personalized learning platform called kidOYO. The launch began with grade-level assemblies, followed by presentations in each 4th and 5th grade classroom. As part of the launch, each student logged into the platform and earned his/her first badge. According to Superintendent Eagen, “kidOYO gives us the opportunity to merge a few district goals into one online experience for our students. KidOYO allows students to personalize their own coding learning path through various design challenges and content courses.

Students learn and then apply various programming languages and become creators of new content - earning badges as they complete tasks. They can also share their creations with other students.” Dr. Eagen indicated that the district chose to go with this particular product because the students can create their own online portfolio that they can share when they apply to colleges. According to Dr. Eagen, “Some college applications now have a place where students can enter the address for their personal website. Now our students will be on the cutting edge in this area.”