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Superintendent's Letter Re: Traffic Safety Study

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Parent University – Elementary Literary Workshops

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NOTICE for Parents/Guardians with Optonline Email Addresses

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Notice of Audit Committee Meeting - September 24, 2018

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National Merit Semifinalist

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Congratulations to NHS seniors Madeleine Kestler-DeWan, Katie Sierra and Nathaniel Wang for being named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program!

To qualify for this program, students were required to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test along with 1.6 million other students last year. After the long-awaited results were released, our three outstanding students were notified that they scored among the top 16,000 students nationwide! Semifinalists will now compete for the final 7,500 National Merit Scholarships by continuing their journey towards academic excellence and scoring well on the upcoming SAT.

Tigers Break in the New Stadium

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Northport High School’s football team played their first game of the season on the brand-new turf field on Saturday, Sept. 8! The team, led by new head coach Pat Campbell, secured a victory over Half Hollow Hills East, 47-28. Go Tigers!

Welcome Back Students!

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After a long summer of quiet hallways and empty classrooms, the district’s students returned for the 2018-19 year on Sept. 6 and 7! Many principals, faculty and staff anticipated the arrival of students outside their buildings, greeting children as they exited their buses, or let go of their loved ones’ hands.

At Dickinson Avenue Elementary, new Principal Laurie Welch Storch greeted students with a light-up Mickey Mouse hand, offering high-fives and welcoming them to school. Students dropped off by parents posed for pictures in their new outfits and then bid them farewell as they entered the building — ready to tackle a new year, learn new things and make new memories.

“I look forward to getting to know each and every one of my students,” said Mrs. Storch. “That’s one of my favorite parts of being a principal.”

Throughout the district, elementary students were reintroduced to morning meetings. These meetings, which are a part of the responsive classroom teaching approach, are implemented daily to help build classroom community by sharing and listening.

Middle and high school students wasted no time jumping right into the academic school year. At East Northport Middle School, apart from incoming sixth graders being afforded first-day tours to solidify their mental map of the school, it was business as usual — refreshing topics in math, science and other subjects. At Northport High School, some students took advantage of the warm weather during their free periods and did their “light” schoolwork outside in a courtyard.

“I’m excited to see what this year holds,” said Jocelyn, a NHS junior. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, for sure, but also to learning new things every day. 

Ready for the New School Year

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Over the past week, both students and teachers have been focused on preparing for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.

On Aug.29, incoming NHS 9th graders attended a re-imagined freshman orientation. Instead of a typical assembly and tour of the school, students were invited to get to know their classmates and school landscape through various fun activities. Upon arrival, freshmen greeted new and old classmates excitedly as they made their way into the auditorium for a warm welcome back from their principal and assistant principals. Also in attendance were volunteers from the National Honor Society, who gave up one of their last days of summer to help incoming students get acclimated.

NHS Principal Daniel Danbusky shared some words of wisdom with the incoming freshman before they were released to participate in fun team-building activities.

“As you step into high school, you have the opportunity to create a legacy,” he told them. “Remember that every interaction you have with someone else adds to who you are; to your future self.”

Students then took part in activities to help them get to know their classmates and to break the ice such as learning the “In My Feelings” challenge dance, playing ultimate rock paper scissors, and escaping the human knot. Students ended the afternoon with a barbeque and a newfound excitement for the upcoming start of high school!

During Superintendent’s Conference Day on Sept. 4, all faculty and staff spent the day preparing and getting motivated for the upcoming year.

Guest speaker Dr. Robert Brooks gave a keynote presentation on the power of mindsets, and nurturing motivation in students. Dr. Brooks has lectured nation-wide on the topics of motivation, resilience, leadership roles, and more, and has written and co-written 17 books on a variety of topics.

“Motivation, student engagement, and resilience are all interconnected,” Dr. Brooks said, “and the more you focus on creating a positive classroom environment to foster those things, the more your students will push themselves.”

Throughout the rest of the conference, teachers attended breakout sessions, met with their departments, and participated in activities and exercises to promote student engagement. Full to the brim with new ideas, faculty left ready for the start of the 2018-19 school year on Sept. 6.



Welcome, New Teachers!

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We welcomed 25 new teachers to the district on Aug. 28 and 29 with a new teacher orientation. After being introduced to the district administration, new staff members took a bus tour to get familiar with the surrounding community. Throughout the day, teachers were given an overview of the district curriculum, instruction, technology, assessments by directors, principals, department chairs and coordinators.

During day two, teachers were assigned to professional growth mentors.

“Having new teachers in mentor-protégée relationships benefit both parties,” said Dr. Dana Boshnack, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “As the protégées are taught tried-and-true teaching practices, mentors can become more self-aware, improving upon their own teaching and professional competency.”

Additionally, new teachers heard from a panel of students who spoke from personal experience on school-related topics. One staff member asked the students what made a great teacher, and the students agreed on three key components. The first, a great teacher must have a solid knowledge of their subject; the second, they’re passionate about what they teach; and third, they care about each student individually, because every student has a story.

“We’re excited to welcome so many great new teachers to the district,” said Superintendent of Schools Robert Banzer, “and to see the positive impact they will have on each and every student.”

New Principal Comes to Dickinson Avenue

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Dickinson Avenue Elementary welcomed a new principal this summer — Mrs. Laurie Welch Storch! Mrs. Storch comes to the district after seven years as principal at Fulton Avenue School #8 in the Oceanside Union Free School District. During her career there, she focused on cultivating successful, student-centered learning environments to maximize academic achievement, nurtured the unique school culture and more. Before that, Mrs. Storch held both principal and vice principal positions in Florida from 2001-2011.

“I am delighted to become a part of the Northport-East Northport community,” said Mrs. Storch. “As the new school year begins I look forward to creating long-lasting relationships as we create excellence together!”

On Aug. 22, Mrs. Storch met her new students, along with their families, at a special Disney-themed evening meet and greet. Dickinson’s new principal read aloud some of her favorite books to those in attendance, and many of those in attendance brought their own to share as well.

Welcome to the district, Mrs. Storch!

Creating More Engaging Classroom Environments

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For the past few years, more and more educators throughout the district have been learning and implementing the discipline of Responsive Classroom – a teaching approach that’s made up of specific practices to create a joyful, safe, engaging classroom and school community. The approach’s emphasis is placed on helping students, in addition to developing academic skills, to build upon social and emotional skills in a safe learning environment.

During the month of August, interested teachers at Bellerose Avenue took part in a two-part professional development workshop focused on implementing Responsive Classroom’s integral elements. During the workshop, curriculum coordinator Dana Ward, classroom teacher Patti DaCosta and speech and language specialist Judy Schneider covered the basics of Responsive Classroom, including morning meeting, quiet time, closing circle, energizers, interactive modeling and teacher language.

“All of these teachers are here by choice – they want to learn ways to make learning more engaging for their students,” Mrs. Ward said. “They are hungry for improved learning.”

Throughout the training, the teacher-presenters modeled much of the behavior as they covered each practice. Each topic raised healthy discussion and differing viewpoints amongst the educators, such as specific instances in which to use reinforcing language – a specific approach of highlighting students’ strengths in a helpful way.

“The feedback we received from our teachers was so helpful,” Mrs. Schneider said. “They’d much rather a few focused, intensive professional-development opportunities than a plethora of sporadic subjects, and their responses to the offerings have been overwhelmingly positive so far.”

Greenhouse Breaks Ground

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A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted on Northport High School’s grounds to commence construction of the school’s student-proposed greenhouse on August 3.

Several years ago, class of 2018 graduate Samantha Fanuka in collaboration with NHS science teacher Janet Byler dreamed of a high school greenhouse. After measuring out where the structure would sit, and drawing up a proposal, the project was approved and included in the district’s bond project.

When ground was broken on Aug. 3, a sprinkling of sand from student voyages around the globe became a part of the foundation. This action was suggested by Ms. Byler, who was gifted the foreign soil samples, to symbolize the hope that wherever students go in this life they’ll take what they’ve learned in the classroom with them.

“This greenhouse will be providing a much-needed space for biology, environmental and research program students,” said Ms. Byler, “but we’re also hoping the Greenhouse influence will radiate out as our students gather knowledge and experience, acting as an incubator for positive change in the natural world, starting right here at NHS.”

In addition to the greenhouse being constructed, the high school’s science wing is undergoing renovation to include a new center for botanical research. The wing’s construction will continue through early fall.

“We’re really looking forward to the greenhouse and botanical research lab becoming interdisciplinary centers,” said Chairperson of Science and Technology Education David Storch, “supporting STEM programs and encouraging interest in our local ecosystems.”

Robert Howard Named Assistant Superintendent for Business

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The district is proud to announce the addition of Mr. Robert Howard, the district’s new Assistant Superintendent for Business. Mr. Howard joins the district after serving the Wyandanch Union Free School District as the assistant superintendent for business. Previous to that experience, he served as the business manager for the Levittown Union Free School District.

Mr. Howard also has years of additional experience in business and finance in the fields of education and government, and holds three Bachelor of Arts degrees in Finance, Economics, and Business Administration from Sacred Heart University. He earned a Masters in Business Administration from Hofstra University, and an Advanced Certificate in School District Business Leadership from C.W. Post Long Island University.

Mr. Howard is a resident of East Northport, and is looking forward to becoming a part of the school community.

“I’m excited to be a part of this incredible district,” said Mr. Howard, “and I’m honored to be able to contribute to the future they’re working to ensure for the community’s children every day.”

NHS Named NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction

NHS Named NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction
Recently, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) released its 2017-18 Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction winners, and Northport High School was one of ten high schools in Suffolk County!

In order for high schools to be granted this award by the NYSPHSAA, every varsity team from the school year must have earned a “Scholar-Athlete” title, which requires 75% of the team’s GPA average be 90.00 or greater.

“As a district, we pride ourselves in the achievements of our athletic programs,” said Mark Dantuono, the director of health, physical education, and athletics, “but even more so in taking that dedicated, competitive nature and applying it to the pursuit of academic excellence in the classroom.”