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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
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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
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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. 

Incoming Junior Earns Trip of a Lifetime

Incoming Junior Earns Trip of a Lifetime Pic
Incoming Elwood-John H. Glenn High School junior, Iván Andrade recently had the unique opportunity to travel to Italy as a result of his first place win on the level three 2017 American Association of Teachers of Italian’s National Italian Exam. Iván and former high school senior Michael Hermanns, who placed first on the level five exam, were placed in a drawing with the students who earned first place on the exams.

Both Iván and Michael were selected as winners and as a result, were awarded with a 500-dollar monetary prize and a two-week all expenses paid trip to Italy during the summer.

As part of his paid trip, Iván participated in a program titled “A Door to Italy,” from July 22 to August 5, where he learned from Italian language experts and strengthened his skills.
“Iván is an amazing student with such a big passion for foreign languages,” said Italian teacher Alessia Franco. “He had the gift since he was in the middle school.”

Noting that the experience was an amazing one, Iván was able to see his education come to life during his time abroad. He visited Genoa, Rome, Venice and Milan and his parents came along to see Italy for the first time with him.

“I thank God for giving me such a unique opportunity to use what I had learned,” said Iván. “Even outside of A Door to Italy, in the city streets, I could see that the vocabulary that I had memorized, including the grammar and verb structure that I had fought with throughout my Italian year, had finally begun to make sense as it became a part of my daily life.”

Touchdown into Summer

Touchdown into Summer Photo
Elwood students ages 6-16 recently learned some new moves from professional football coaches, trainers and players on the Elwood-John H. Glenn High School football field during the Playmaker Factory Sports & Skills Camp. 

The one-day camp was free for all students in the Elwood Union Free School District and welcomed students from surrounding districts to participate as well. The camp was hosted by current and former National Football League and National Collegiate Athletic Association players. These included Chicago Bears player Trevor Coston, retired Cincinnati Bengals player Onyi Momah and Elwood-H. Glenn High School graduate and Arizona Cardinals player Ifeanyi Momah. Other former Elwood football players who play for Division I, II and III teams also returned for the day to give back to their community. 

The players strengthened skills and ran drills with the campers in two group sessions, with ages 6-12 in the morning and ages 13-16 in the afternoon. Campers also received a free Playmaker T-shirt and autographs from players for participating.