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Experiencing Native American Culture at Norwood Avenue

Experiencing Native American Culture at Norwood Avenue photo
Experiencing Native American Culture at Norwood Avenue photo 2
The Traveling Wilderness Museum came to visit first graders at Norwood Avenue Elementary School on Nov. 15. The morning featured sage Teepee Ted, who travels from Montauk to Manhattan, teaching students about the original Native Americans that lived as settlers on Long Island. The morning’s events were tied into the theme of Thanksgiving that was taught in classrooms throughout the week.

Students, with the help of Ted and some volunteer parents, built a teepee from the ground up, made wood medallion necklaces with Native American symbols, played pick-up sticks with animal bones, and more. The first graders also learned that the native people had to make everything themselves—that they couldn’t just go to the store to pick something up. Students also learned how the Native Americans tried to be good “recyclers” by using every part of the animals they hunted for food.

“I try to teach kids that these people were the best recyclers,” said Teepee Ted. “That’s something they can relate to. We recycle bottles and cans, but the natives just did it a little differently.”

Northport student spotlight: Alexa Valentino

Northport student spotlight: Alexa Valentino photo
Northport student spotlight: Alexa Valentino photo 2
Since the beginning of the school year, Northport Middle School student Alexa Valentino has been busy with schoolwork—but also with her aspiring career as a musician and actress.

At 12 years old, Valentino has already released multiple singles, and had roles in films, web series, and Off-Broadway productions. Being a member of National Honor Society, Northport’s Tour Choir, as well as advocating for anti-bullying, makes juggling a growing career difficult—but she manages.
“One thing that my mom taught me as things started to take off was that balance was the key,” Valentino explained. “Completing all my responsibilities, while always making sure that I got down-time, was super important. It taught me how to grow up, and be more responsible.”

In regard to her love for music and acting, she recalled teachers within the Northport-East Northport district who inspired and encouraged her to follow her dreams. Her fourth-grade Dickinson Avenue teacher, Mrs. Fee, shared her love of Broadway, and came to see many of the Off-Broadway shows she secured roles in.

“I remember when I did my first Off-Broadway show,” Valentino recounted. “Mrs. Fee came all the way to the city to see me perform. Her support meant so much to me.”

Since the end of the summer, Alexa has performed at the Labor Day Bash at Wildwood Pier, the East Northport Festival, and in front of PETCO, singing sweet tunes and raising nearly $1,000 for animals affected by Hurricane Harvey. She plans to continue following her dreams now, and in the future.
“I never want to give up my pursuit for success in the arts,” Valentino declared, “and I will do my best to use my voice to speak for causes I believe in.”

Updates to Elementary Report Card

In our work with students we aim to create proficient and passionate readers.   We want to help each student build a positive reading identity as we work to strengthen their skills as independent readers.  This year, we will be communicating your child’s progress in bands of reading behaviors using the continuum.  We will provide you with the specific reading behaviors your child is demonstrating as well as his/her next steps.


Fall Newsletter Now Available

Click here to read the newsletter

Women in Technology

Women in Technology photo
On Nov. 8, high school juniors Alexia Kaloudis and Anne Catherine Unser graduated from the Women in Technology Program at BAE Systems in Greenlawn. This nine-week program hosts a consortium of students from local high schools, where they engage in problem solving and teamwork. Skills in both hardware and software are cultivated, and the program is an extension of the computer science and technology curriculums at Northport High School. The purpose of this program is to provide female students who excel in math and science with a hands-on opportunity to explore careers in various areas of technology.

“Working with other girls who were also interested in computers was incredible,” said BAE systems graduate Alexia Kaloudis, “and after this program, I can definitely see myself going into a STEM field.”

High School Heroes Visit Bellerose Elementary

High School Heroes Visit Bellerose Elementary photo
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High School Heroes Visit Bellerose Elementary photo 3
High School Heroes Visit Bellerose Elementary photo 4

On Nov. 9, Northport High School’s Business Club for Students participated in High School Heroes Day at Bellerose Elementary School. A group of 44 business students, grades nine through twelve, were trained by a Junior Achievement representative in order to be "teachers for a day" at Bellerose. This day was organized in an effort to provide a basic overview of the business world to younger students.

The lessons taught focused on how communities work, what economics are, and the circulation of money. In addition to teaching younger students about the economy, the goal of the program was to also provide positive role models for younger children, and to foster effective school-to-school connections. Several students had siblings in the classes they taught, while other students were able to teach in their old classrooms.

Whether teaching or being taught, students thoroughly enjoyed the day!


Operation Gratitude at Fifth Avenue Elementary

Operation Gratitude at Fifth Avenue Elementary photo
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Operation Gratitude at Fifth Avenue Elementary photo 3
In order to teach children the importance of the U.S. Military, students at Fifth Avenue Elementary School participated in Operation Gratitude. Students wrote letters to veterans, thanking them for their service, and shared a little bit about themselves in hopes of a reply.  

“It felt good to write these letters and to thank them for protecting our country,” said Abigail, a third grader from Ms. Michele Maldari’s class. “It must be hard for them to be away from their families.”

Along with letter writing, students also collected nonperishables for a food drive for vets in need, and created some crafts to send them as gifts.

Northport-East Northport Students Accepted into Math Institute

East Northport Middle Schooler Accepted into Math Institute photo
Recently, the Northport-East Northport School District was informed that five students have been accepted into the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students.  Northport Middle School eighth-grade student Braden Ciszek, Northport High School freshmen James Connor, Tara D’Amico, and McKenzie Schuvart, and East Northport Middle School sixth-grader Luke Tuthill are five of the 90 students who received this honor. Six hundred students across Long Island were nominated, but being selected for the program places these students in the top one percent of math students Island-wide.

These five students will spend 50 hours over 20 Saturday mornings studying an extensive mathematics curriculum.  This tuition-free institute is supported by SUNY College at Old Westbury, the Suffolk and Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Associations, the Nassau Interscholastic Mathematics League, and others.

The district is extremely proud of these students, and commends them for their academic excellence and hard work that qualified them for this honor.

New York State Counselor of the Year at Northport High School

 New York State Counselor of the Year at Northport High School photo

Recently, the New York State School Counselor’s Association selected Northport High School counselor Jenny Konop as the 2018 New York School Counselor of the Year representative for the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of Year awards. Konop was selected based on her excellence in counseling innovations, effective counseling programs, leadership and advocacy skills, and contributions to student advancement.

“One of our core beliefs at Northport is that students come first,” said high school Principal Daniel Danbusky, “and I can think of no better example than Jenny Konop, who is always putting students first.”

According to many different staff members and students, Konop excels in knowing what her students need, and provides an incredible amount of support to help them get to where they need to be.

“From day one, I knew she was someone I could connect with,” said Northport High School student Brielle. “She’s always there.”

Konop will travel to Washington, D.C. from Feb. 1–3 to be honored in a ceremony along with the national School Counselor of the Year and state finalists.

Revolution reenactment in Northport

Revolution reenactment in Northport photo

On Nov.1, seventh-graders had the exciting opportunity to learn different facets of the Revolutionary War from the reenactment group Boots and Saddles.

Students from East Northport Middle School joined students at Northport Middle School for the reenactment. Split into groups, students rotated between five stations behind the school, each facilitated by a reenactor dressed in attire from the time period. 

The seventh-grade class learned about the different aspects of the war, including the British Calvary, or the “Dragoons”, the Scottish highlanders, material culture and everyday implements, the artillery, and more. Students also heard from reenactors fighting on both sides of the war – the “loyalists” and the “patriots.”

Many students did not grasp how different things were during that period time until they heard from the expert reenactors. When explaining things like food rations, or how soldiers often used their coats as blankets, students were aghast, especially during the soldiers’ explanation of bayonets. 

When handed a musket ball, one student pretended to fall under its weight. “They shot these out of guns?” he asked, in disbelief.

After students had experienced all of the stations, they gathered together to watch three reenactors on horseback. Each competed against the others’ accuracy. The reenactors, while riding, had to retrieve rings off a hook with swords, and then chop “heads” of cabbage atop poles in half. Students cheered for their favorite riders and their horses. 

The afternoon ended with a bang as the Huntington Militia lit and fired one of their cannons—an exclamation mark to the end of an exciting day. 


Unity Day at East Northport Middle School

Unity Day photo
Recently, at East Northport Middle school, students celebrated Unity Day, a day to promote kindness and acceptance. The goal of the day was to remind students that every one of them is important and unique, and to celebrate their strength as a community. The day was spearheaded by the Unity Club, along with the help of STARS and many teachers.

As a picture of their unity, each student and staff member created a puzzle piece that was constructed into a full puzzle on the wall. The moto of the day was “You’re an important piece of the puzzle, and we are better together!”

Girls Varsity Soccer Team's 2nd Consecutive County Championship

Consecutive County Championship photo
Consecutive County Championship photo 2

What an incredible night for our community, student-athletes and Northport HS. Our girls varsity soccer team competed like warriors last night and outplayed a tough Eastport South Manor Team in the Class AA Championship by a score of 3-0. This is our 2nd consecutive County Championship.

The Lady Tigers advance to the Long Island Championship, Sunday November 5, 10am at Bethpage HS, $7.00 admission fee. We will play the winner of Calhoun vs. Massapequa.

Great job to our student-athletes and our Head Coach Aija Gipp and Assistant Kevin McGinn. Way to go and GO TIGERS!

Click here to read a Newsday article

Northport High School student organizes weekend STEM Challenge

Northport High School student organizes weekend STEM Challenge photo
Northport High School student organizes weekend STEM Challenge photo 3
On Oct. 21 at Northport High School, 65 fifth- and sixth-grade students spent their Saturday morning attending creative workshops revolving around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—or STEM for short.

This event was Northport High School freshman and Eagle Scout candidate James Connor’s Eagle Scout community service project, which he organized and set into motion himself. 

The workshops, which were free of charge and taught by district teachers and STEM professionals, aimed to give students a head start in these specific areas.

"I wanted to focus on something that was as important to me as my project," said Connor, who aspires to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology for computer programming. 

Connor worked closely with the school district, especially the Chairperson of Science and Technology Education, David Storch, over a period of six months to plan the event. Four different workshops were designed, one for each area of STEM studies.

Students learned about structure design using popsicle sticks and binder clips to build bridges, discovered algorithms to solve a Rubik’s cube, experimented with liquids that react to magnets, and learned basic computer programming. 

"Technology is one of the most important fields for the future," Connor commented, "and it's important for kids to get comfortable with it as early as possible." He hopes this STEM Day will become a yearly event in the district, and looks forward to organizing another next year.

Dickinson Avenue collects costumes for children in need

Dickinson Avenue collects costumes for children in need photo
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Dickinson Avenue collects costumes for children in need photo 3
This month, fifth-graders at Dickinson Avenue Elementary School held a Halloween costume drive for the children at the Brentwood homeless shelter. On Halloween, the children at the shelter will host a parade, decked out in their new costumes.

The entire fifth-grade class at Dickinson is part of the Leadership Club, and this drive was their first project of the school year. Students participate in various service projects throughout the year, and can even spearhead ones that they come up with. 

For this drive in particular, each student contributed in different capacities.  Some reminded their peers of the drive over announcements, while others visited different classrooms and explained the drive to the other grade levels. 

“We went around the school and explained that doing this drive will help homeless children have their own Halloween parade, like we’re used to having,” fifth-grader Fallon said. “It feels good to help people who are less fortunate.”

Many even gave up their recess period to help empty the boxes of costumes. The school collected ten large garbage bags of costumes for the 350 children living at the shelter. 

“Now these children can have a super cool costume on Halloween and have fun,” said fifth-grader Elliote. “All because of the kids here at Dickinson.”

A “spook-tacular” Halloween in Northport-East Northport

A “spook-tacular” Halloween in Northport-East Northport photo
A “spook-tacular” Halloween in Northport-East Northport photo 2
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A “spook-tacular” Halloween in Northport-East Northport photo 4
On Oct. 31, the Northport-East Northport School District hosted a number of Halloween activities throughout many of the district’s schools. Before marching in their separate Halloween parades, all first-grade students visited the high school for a special morning of fun-filled activities. High schooler students helped out by leading different stations for the younger children, including a performance of a Halloween safety play, crafts, games, and spooky Halloween stories.  

Later in the afternoon, each elementary school held their own Halloween parade, with students proudly marching around in their costumes while parents and loved ones looked on.

Norwood’s “O Team” Recognized by Board of Ed

Norwood’s “O Team” Recognized by Board of Ed photo
At its Oct. 26 business meeting, the district's Board of Education recognized students from Norwood Avenue Elementary School who attended the We Day U.N. leadership conference in New York City in late September.

Fourteen current Norwood students, as well as four recent graduates of Norwood Avenue who now attend Northport Middle School, were chosen to attend based on their involvement in the school’s O Ambassador club, an organization dedicated to understanding various social issues and making a difference in the world. School counselor Nicole Barbier nominated the students to attend.

The We Day U.N. leadership conference is an inspirational event geared at empowering the youth of the world to focus on social issues and harness the power of community. At this year’s conference, students heard from powerful leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, actress Whoopi Goldberg, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation Chelsea Clinton and President of the Republic of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. More than 6,000 students from across the tri-state area attended the conference.

“It was an honor for Norwood students to attend the leadership conference,” said Principal Michael Genovese. “Time and time again our students have demonstrated that they understand social issues and are committed to making a difference. The real results our students see through their efforts reinforce their belief that a better world is within reach and that they are the key to creating change.”

The students who attended were: Molly Ahearne, Benjamin Bunch, Mairead Carroll, Lillian Clements, Patrick Clements, Sedona Conforti, Christian Darrigo, Brendan Fenlon, Haiden Forster, Masen Forster, Wyatt Fredericks, Harrison Kuhn, Glenn May, Spencer Murphy, Ava Olsen, Liam Prasad, Jack Sandin and Finn Tyrer.



Northport Math Educator Named New York State Master Teacher

Northport High School math teacher Kristen Rozell was recently named a New York State Master Teacher. 

The Master Teacher Program is composed of the highest performing teachers and educators in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. Once accepted into the program, through letters of recommendation and a rigorous interview process, teachers enter a four-year commitment. This commitment includes peer mentoring and professional development opportunities, as well as monthly regional meetings with other Master Teachers. 

“Kristen embraces professional growth,” said Chairperson of Mathematics Robin Rann, “so this is a well-earned accomplishment. We’re extremely proud of her.”

 Rozell, a graduate of Northport High School, started her teaching career in 1999. She attributes her inspiration to pursue math in college to the great teachers she had throughout her high school career at Northport. She truly loves being a math teacher and is honored to have been one of the selected Master Teachers. 

“I’m really looking forward to jumping into this program,” said Rozell. “It’s exciting. Halfway through my career, I get to try something different. I have the opportunity to learn more and bring new ways of teaching to my classroom.”

Girls Swimming & Diving League I Champs

Champs photo
On Oct. 24 Northport High School’s girls swimming and diving team won the League I Championship meet against Sachem East High School. This championship win is the first in Northport history.

During the final event the meet was tied, but the girls in the 400 Freestyle relay put on an amazing performance, winning the meet by 6 points, and qualifying for the State Championships. The team is currently ranked 3rd in the state.

Congratulations to coach Drew Modrov and all of our student-athletes!

Smithtown, Northport Students Study Nissequogue River

Click here to read the article

1, 2, 3’s and pumpkin seeds

1, 2, 3’s and pumpkin seeds photo
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In honor of fall and the upcoming holidays, kindergarteners at Norwood Elementary in the Northport-East Northport School district are learning about pumpkins. Teacher Marie DiGennaro explained the life cycle of the pumpkin and the purpose of everything inside it—and gave them the opportunity to see for themselves!

Students explored the insides of tiny pumpkins, giggling at the sliminess of the pulp, and counting the seeds inside. One students exclaimed, “They’re little pumpkin babies!”

The children in Ms. DiGennaro’s class enjoyed the hands-on nature of the lesson, and many were excited to go home and plant the pumpkin seeds to have pumpkin plants of their own. 


Siemens Semifinalist at Northport High School

Siemens Semifinalist at Northport High School photo
Thanks to hard work, research, and a passion for science, junior Katie Sierra was named a semifinalist in the 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. Every year, students from around the country submit research projects to compete on a regional and national level for college scholarships. There were 491 semifinalists nationwide, and Sierra was one of the 56 students selected from Long Island. 

The project Sierra submitted sprang from her work in the ecology and evolution department at Stony Brook University this past summer—that program in particular standing out to her because of the ecology related topics she’s studied in school. Her lab research was part of a published study that she completed with research partner Brian Torres from Brentwood High School. 

The project’s aim was to examine the effect of plastic surfactants, the chemicals that coat most plastics, on marine environments and the creatures that inhabit them—specifically the Blue and Ribbed Mussels. Overall, their findings showed that plastic toxins negatively affected the filtration systems and capture efficiency of both types of mussels, which can upset entire ecosystems.

“It was amazing to be honored in such a prestigious competition,” said Sierra. “I put so much work into this submission, and it was incredible to see my summer at Stony Brook pay off.”

Tigers in the Playoffs

Tigers photo
On Oct. 17, Northport’s boys varsity soccer team won the Suffolk County League II championship against Riverhead in the last game of the regular season. 

Currently, the Tigers have an overall record of 13-2, with a League II record of 11-1.  The last time the Tigers won the league was in 2012.  A combination of teamwork, determination and hard work led to this incredible achievement.  The Tigers begin playoffs at home on Tuesday Oct. 24 at 2 pm.  Congratulations to these incredible student-athletes, and to coaches Don Strasser and Cary Gluck!

Northport alumn returns as new district director of health

Northport alumn returns as new district director of health photo
Recently Mark Dantuono, a 1994 Northport High School alumnus, was appointed new director of health, physical education and athletics. 

For the entirety of his career, Dantuono has served as an educator in a variety of capacities, with additional roles spanning from lacrosse coach to a building coordinator of health. After serving for ten years as the Director of Health, Physical Education & Athletics at Locust Valley Central School District, he was given the opportunity to return to his roots in Northport-East Northport.

“My love and passion for the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District is tremendous,” said Dantuono, “and I am so fortunate to return to the community that provided me with skills that helped me get to where I am today.”

Tons of Tiger Spirit at Homecoming

Tons of Tiger Spirit at Homecoming photo

The Northport-East Northport School District held a day of homecoming festivities full of district pride at the high school on Oct. 14. Students, faculty, and members of the community all came together at the football game against the Sachem North Flaming Arrows.

The Tiger Stadium stands were packed with over 2,000 students, families, and faculty—many clad in district colors, chanting along with the cheerleaders as they watched the team take the lead within the first few minutes. 2017 Hall of Fame inductees, who were inducted earlier that morning, got a perfect view of the game from their seats in a tent at the end of the field. 

The halftime show featured the Northport Tiger Marching Band, whose 60th anniversary is this year, as well as the Tigerettes and the Flagline. They performed a medley of songs, including “Happy Together” and “Play That Funky Music” for the crowd, where many were dancing in their seats.

The Northport Hall of Fame inductees were introduced to the community—one of which was Coach Richard Castellano, the first Northport coach to ever be inducted. Other Hall of Fame inductees included Frank Cavagnaro, Joseph Correia, Craig Dowd, Edward Ettinger, Beth Grecco-Gothers, Thomas Henske, Vincent Porciello, Karen Scheibe-Meneses, Kaylie Schiavetta, Thomas Thatford, Kevin Tschirhart, and the 2001 Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team. 

To conclude the halftime festivities, homecoming court nominees took a ride around the field waving to the crowd. Later that night, seniors Colin Trainor and Elyse Farabaugh were crowned homecoming king and queen at the homecoming dance.

The homecoming spirit of all in attendance helped propel the Tigers to a dominating win with a final score of 48-7. 

Northport-East Northport Board Recognizes English Student of the Month

Northport-East Northport Board Recognizes English Student of the Month photo
At the most recent Board of Education meeting, student Jaqueline Stevens was recognized as this year’s English Student of the Month. 

District Chairperson of English/Language Arts & Library Media Patricia Schmitt presented the award to Jaqueline, and recounted the process of selecting a student from those nominated. Stevens’ character, and high praise from past teachers as “astute and eloquent”, set her apart from the rest. Along with exemplifying rigor and dedication in all of her studies, Stevens also received the highest possible scores on her AP English Exam and in the Common Core, making her the most qualified candidate for the honor.

The Northport-East Northport School District congratulates her on this achievement, and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors.

Fishing Trip

Fishing Trip photo

Between Sept. 26 and 29, sixth grade students at Northport Middle School experienced The Great South Bay Investigation—an engaging day of fun and learning about the history and environments of Long Island.

Students explored the Great South Bay with hands on marine science activities, as well as experiencing fishing aboard the Yankee III. Students also visited the Fire Island Lighthouse and climbed to the top of the tower and learned about the history of shipwrecks, lighthouses and the barrier beaches of Long Island. 

Exploring Nature at Bellerose Elementary

Exploring Nature at Bellerose Elementary 2017

On Sept. 29, students from Bellerose Avenue Elementary in the Northport-East Northport School District participated in a nature hike in celebration of National Public Lands Day. Volunteers from the Town of Huntington guided individual classes through trails behind the school grounds. During the two weeks leading up to the hike, students were taught to use and create science field guides, which they utilized on their hikes.

Younger students trekked through the woods looking for signs of fall and sketched them in their notebooks. Fourth and fifth graders focused on spotting living and nonliving elements, and how they interacted with one another. During the hikes, students stopped to sketch leaves, moss, animal footprints, and glacial erratics. Throughout the hikes, students answered questions posed by the volunteer guides, and showcased their knowledge of nature.

“It’s really exciting to be integrating outdoor learning into our curriculum,” said Instructional Coordinator Dana Ward.

“Uke” can do it at Pulaski Road School

“Uke” can do it at Pulaski Road School photo

This week, students at Pulaski Road Elementary School had the opportunity to play the ukulele—many for the first time. Music teacher Cristen Salisbury kicked off the lesson by showing students in David Kaiser’s fifth-grade class the basics of holding the instrument, how to strum the ukulele, and the correct amount of pressure to apply to the strings.

Several years ago, the district purchased six classroom sets of ukuleles as a result of their high demand in the Summer Music Program. Teachers discovered that in a short amount of time, students were able to learn five to six chords, which comprise 50% of the American songbook of folk and popular music. 

“Learning these chords help students to unlock some of the mysteries of music composition by empowering them to write their own music,” said Dr. Izzet Mergen, Director of Fine and Performing Arts.

After learning the basics from Ms. Salisbury, students then praticed strumming the strings as if flicking water off of their hands and forming different chords to create beautiful tunes by the conclusion of class.

“It’s such a great opportunity to get kids interested in playing an instrument, especially if they’ve never played one before,” said Ms. Salisbury.

Northport student selected as a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist

Northport student selected as a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist photo
During the second week of September, Northport High School announced that student Julianne Starzee was named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program. 

To qualify for this achievement, students must show dedication to excellence in academics, and take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test. This test serves as a screening process for the 1.6 million students who enter each year. Starzee, who took the test last October, scored among the top 16,000 students nationwide. Semifinalists will now compete for the final 7,500 National Merit Scholarships by continuing their academic excellence, and by scoring well on the SAT. 

“I feel really accomplished because I worked very hard,” Starzee commented. “It feels great to be recognized for that hard work!”