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The Budget Has Passed. Thank You!
Yes - 1233
No - 350

Congratulations to Deborah Weiss on winning the Board election.
Deborah Weiss – 845
Sara Siddiqui – 712

El presupuesto ha sido aprobado. ¡Gracias!
Sí- 1233
No- 350

Felicitaciones a Deborah Weiss por ganar la elección de la Junta.
Deborah Weiss – 845
Sara Siddiqui – 712

Budget Passed - Thank You


Elwood Knights Commit to Collegiate Sports

Elwood Knights Commit to Collegiate Sports photo

A special signing ceremony was held for 13 JGHS senior athletes committing to play at the collegiate level on May 20. Family members, coaches, and district administrators attended the ceremony to honor of the students’ hard work and dedication throughout their athletic careers.

“Committing to play at the college level is a major accomplishment, and is a testament to the incredible work-ethic each of you have shown towards both academics and your chosen sport," said District Athletic Director David Shanahan. “Wherever you go from here, remember that you are now Elwood ambassadors.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert and Principal Carisa Burzynski also congratulated both students for their achievements, and expressed pride in their accomplishments.

“These student-athletes have exemplified the qualities of our mascot, the Knight, with courage, compassion, and dedication throughout their high school careers,” said Dr. Bossert, “and we’re confident they’ll continue to carry themselves in these ways through their college career and beyond.”

Recognized students are as follows:
Patrick Ancewicz, Rhode Island College, wrestling; Adam Astarita, SUNY Geneseo, soccer; Lucas DiGiovanni, SUNY Plattsburgh, baseball; Gianna Dilillo, SUNY Farmingdale, softball; Sabrina Emmerich, SUNY Cortland, softball; Nicolas Faretta, College of Saint Rose, soccer; Nick Ford, SUNY Maritime, football; Caroline Garretson, DeSales University, volleyball; Krista Gross, Mount Saint Mary College, soccer; Ryan Mantione, Allegheny College, lacrosse; Caroline Miller, University of Scranton, lacrosse; Russell Rohan, Allegheny College, track and football; Kyle Szokoli, University of Rochester, football.

Congratulations, students!

STEM-U-Late Your Brain - June 12, 2019 - Registration

The Elwood School District is proud to present, STEM-U-Late Your Brain, our spring STEM event for students in grades K-8. Please join us for an
afternoon that will have you exploring various concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics! For more information and to register please visit the event website:

*Please note that all students in grades K-5 must be accompanied by a parent.

Athletic and Academic Excellence

Elwood’s Board of Education recognized some outstanding students during its meeting on May 9.

James H. Boyd fifth-graders Megan LaMena and Christopher Mascia, and Elwood Middle School eighth-graders Sophia Pelkofsky and Connor Monclova were brought before the Board in commendation for being named Suffolk Zone Award Winners. Each year the NYS Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance recognizes one boy and one girl from elementary and middle school across Suffolk County. To be selected for this award, students much be extraordinary examples of leadership and dedication in their physical education programs.

“These students are true ‘all-stars’ in every sense of the term,” said District Athletic Director Dave Shanahan. “They exhibit extraordinary energy and strive to be good examples for their peers every day.”

Additionally, two outstanding high school students were presented to the Board by Director of Math, Science and Technology Eileen Kelly-Gorman.

Sophomore Ben Farina, who recently competed in the Brookhaven National Labs Annual Bridge Competition, was commended for receiving the Aesthetic Award for his design.

Sophomore Rithika Narayan was recognized for multiple awards in math and science she’s received over the past year. Two of the most notable include her recent participation at the Al Kalfus Long Island Math fair where she received a gold medal for her patent pending project titled: A Mixed Lattice Approach For The Determination Of The Area Of Irregular Curved Plane Regions. Additionally, Rithika advanced from Island to state-level in the New York State Science and Engineering Fair, where she placed third in the math category.

“Watching each of these students grow in their ability to think critically in the areas of STEM has been such a privilege,” said Ms. Kelly-Gorman, “and I am confident they will continue to succeed in whatever they put their minds to in the future.”

Breaking Out of the Norm

Breaking Out of the Norm photo
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JGHS teacher Megan Gieser seeks to bring lessons to life for her students, and recently, she did so by spending many hours with a few of her fellow teachers to create a “breakout” lesson revolving around the critically acclaimed novel “The Things They Carried.”

“Breakout” lessons are similar to the popular “Escape the Room” scenarios in that students have to decipher clues and take action to solve—and escape—a situation.

Two classes were broken into teams: those stationed in Vietnam and those “home.” While deciphering separate sets of clues amongst themselves, teams had to also communicate via walkie-talkie from separate rooms.

“Look closer at the photo of the man protesting with fire,” Gio, a student on the Vietnam team, urged the home team through a walkie-talkie during the lesson.

Students navigated through provided clues using black lights, news articles, and images from the Vietnam War to open three different lock boxes. Without knowledge of the novel or historical context, getting through the challenges would have been impossible, but each class completed the challenge with mere minutes, or seconds, to spare, showcasing their knowledge of the novel as well as their abilities to work together.

After completing the challenge, teams were ranked, similar to military rankings, by their success.

“Students learned that effort, teamwork, awareness, and knowledge are key factors in succeeded as a unit,” said Ms. Gieser.

Additionally, the following week, students participated in a fitness lesson to help simulate the things soldiers carried during Vietnam, as well as
many physical challenges and obstacles the soldiers faced during that time period.

Suffolk Zone Awards

Suffolk Zone Awards photo
Congratulations to Megan LaMena, Christopher Mascia, Sophia Pelkofsky and Connor Monclova for being named Suffolk Zone Award recipients! These students were chosen based on their outstanding leadership and athletic excellence on a regular basis. Thank you to Mrs. Weiss for setting an excellent example for our students and for being an outstanding physical education teacher!

Tennis League Champions

Tennis League Champions
The John H. Glenn’s boys varsity tennis team recently captured the Division 1 League II championship! With a 9-1 league record and an overall record of 11-1, the team secured the league championship with a 4-3 victory over Smithtown East High School.

“This year’s championship win was one of the best team victories I’ve ever been a part of as a coach,” said coach Frank Schiraldi, who was selected as League II coach of the year. “Every single player contributed to our overall success.”


Up for Debate at EMS

Seventh graders at Elwood Middle School honed their debate skills in Ms. Lindsay Kenny’s class on May 2. Students were challenged to gather evidence for both sides of an argument and then face off with a partner using their informed opinions.

The class was presented with the question: should kids should be involved in competitive sports? After gathering information for both sides of the argument, students were prepared to fight for either stance, and the class was evenly divided with those defending either pro or con roles.

While a lot of the students debated with passion and used experiences to carry their argument, they skillfully referred back to textual evidence, therefore strengthening their positions. Some students even left the classroom still good-naturedly debating the topic with one another.

“It’s important for students to defend opinions in an informed manner because what they say matters—and this goes beyond the classroom,” said Ms. Kenney. “If we can teach students to not only come to the table with a strong claim but to be backed up with evidence, while also directly addressing their peer’s concern, we’ll be preparing them to properly diffuse differences of opinion as they navigate through life!”

2019 Hunting-Tony Nominees

2019 Hunting-Tony Nominees photo
Congratulations to John H. Glenn’s talented cast, pit and crew members for being nominated for the 2019 Hunting-Tony Awards! Along with five individual nominations, the high school’s production of Hairspray has been nominated for Best Orchestra Pit, Best Dance Performances, Best Ensemble in a Musical, and Best Musical! Additionally, members of the production have been selected to perform at this year's award ceremony on Monday, June 3. The district is proud of every single student involved both on and off stage.

Below is the list of the nominees:
Omolola Adewale - Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Felipe Gonzalez - Best Lead Actor in a Musical; Best Male Vocalist
Princess Onyianta - Best Supporting Actress in a Musical; Best Female Vocalist
Caitlin Rossi - Best Lead Actress in a Musical
Terrence Sheldon - Best Supporting Actor in a Musical


Audit Committee applications for 2019-2020 now being accepted

Please send a letter of interest and resume (as per Board policy 6690) no later than May 31 to:

District Clerk
Elwood School District
100 Kenneth Avenue
Greenlawn, NY 11740

or via email to Mary Lou Janelli, District Clerk, at

Suffolk Share Check-In at EMS

Suffolk Share Check-In at EMS
On April 17, County Executive Steve Bellone and Chief Sustainability Officer Frances Reid visited Elwood Middle School to check in on the Suffolk Share recycling program. The district was nominated to pilot this program last year and has been working dutifully to contribute positively to the environment.

The Community Service Club, which executes and oversees the school’s recycling efforts as well as tracking collections, took Mr. Bellone and Ms. Reid through a day in their recycling routine. They exhibited their collection and weighing of items, and displayed their log of items collected.

Additionally, students shared other aspects of the Community Service Club with their visitors, such as annual fundraisers that are hosted in order to give back to the surrounding community.

Mr. Bellone and Ms. Reid thanked the students for enthusiastic efforts and shared inspiring recycling facts with them to encourage them to continue.

“With your support, we are creating lifelong stewards of the environment,” said Mr. Bellone, “as well as community ambassadors!”

Taking a Stand with Silence

Taking a Stand with Silence photo

Middle and high schoolers throughout the school district took a stand for students across the country who feel they cannot speak freely about their orientation, those who have been bullied, and those who have been permanently silenced by suicide, by participating in the Day of Silence on April 12. This day was organized nationwide in collaboration with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

EMS has been participating in the event for the past few years and had over 80 students sign up to participate this year. Each student who signed up was given dry-erase boards in order to communicate when necessary throughout the day. For students who were unable to be silent for the day, rainbow pins and stickers were made available to show their support.

Throughout the day, students through walked the halls with encouraging messages, such as “speak up for what’s right” and “equality rocks”, written on their white boards. The day not only served to bring awareness, but also as an effort to continue building a welcoming and accepting climate free of hurtful slurs and bullying.

“Students don’t use certain words because they know innately that they’re wrong, so why should they feel comfortable using others that are just as hurtful?” asked guidance counselor and event spearhead Todd Schwartz. “Another facet of today’s mission is to educate our students to not repeat history by hurting their peers.”

The John H. Glenn High School community observed the day, officially, for the first time. The Elwood Knight, redesigned with a rainbow plume donning his helmet and the word “silence” engraved into his sword, was printed on t-shirts and worn by many members of the faculty and staff. Those staying silent for the day were able to silently deliver instruction to their students, as well as students being able to respond to lessons without speaking by way of Google Classroom.

Additionally, inspirational speaker Jared Foxx visited John H. Glenn to break the silence and speak openly about the oppression that the LGBQT+ community faces, and how we can show kindness and support to one another.

“We want to continue creating an affirming and safe environment for all students,” said Principal Carisa Burzynski. “And days like today are a big step in that direction.”

View a video from EMS on the Day of Silence below.


Charity Volleyball-A-Thon

Charity Volleyball-A-Thon 2
The Elwood John Glenn High School raised $3,900 during a charity volleyball-a-thon for three worthy causes close to the heart of the Elwood Community earlier this year. The charities, run by or in memorial of Elwood community members, were the Sean Urda Memorial Soccer Scholarship, the Christopher Raguso Memorial Fund, and the Medical Mission for Nepal run by Joe Rizzuto.

The 42 teams engaged in good-natured spirited competition wearing matching t-shirts featuring creative names including Cereal killers, Tanking for Zion, and Serves of Steel. Each team competed on one of four courts until team Tallini was crowned the champions.

The district was thankful for the support of those who organize and attended, making the night such a success!

Seizing Opportunities for a Better Future

Seizing Opportunities for a Better Future photo
The district recently received over $36,000 in grant money thanks to the dedication and fundraising efforts of the Elwood Education Endowment (EEE)—a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching educational opportunities for the district’s students. Teachers and administrators throughout the district composed grant applications for review by the EEE’s grant committee. Each went through an in-depth evaluation, and nine were selected.

At the district’s April Board of Education meeting, recipients were honored for their grant-writing efforts, as well as the vision they have for their students. EEE president Deena Purow was in attendance to present each recipient to the Board.

Those honored, along with their winning grant titles, include: Krista Albrecht, Dash into Harley; Brittany Chalmers, Robotics in Computer Science at JGHS; Megan Gieser, Jessica Kennedy and Doris Smith, Flexible Seating to Foster True Engagement and Collaboration; Eileen Kelly-Gorman, Greenhouse Restoration Project; Eleanor Grady and Amy Lindenbaum, Creatively Containing Colorful Chaos; Richard Greening, Expansion of Science Department Vernier Probes Initiative; Kathleen Marinelli, A Mindful Journey into the Garden - Rooted to the Core; Kathleen Marinelli and Lisa Rosenthal, Cooking up a Lifetime of Essential Skills; and Frank Schiraldi, Health and Wellness "The New Norm”.

“Our teachers have gone above and beyond for our students by applying for these grants,” said Board of Education President Julia Fried, “and our district is so fortunate to have educators that seek to seize opportunities to better the futures of their students.”

Dodgeball Tournament

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The JGHS class of 2019 held a dodgeball tournament last week to make one last attempt at raising money for prom. Students gathered together after school and had two intense hours of dodging, ducking, dipping, and diving. Students had a blast and are excited to see how the funds will be used for their senior prom!

Positive Report from Internal Claims Audit

The Elwood Union Free School District recently received the results of an official internal claims audit, conducted by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. The internal audit sought to determine whether the necessary systems and procedures were in place to assure that claims were adequately documented for the appropriate purposes and were properly audited and approved prior to payment. The Comptroller’s report commended the district, noting that district officials “implemented a well-designed system of internal controls over the claims audit process.” The Office of the State Comptroller did not make any recommendations for improvement by the district.

“I am extremely pleased with the results of our claims audit report,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “This positive report is a testament to strong leadership and oversight of all business operations in the district. I thank the entire business team for their attention to detail and for establishing such stringent internal procedures.”


Senior Round Table Discussion

Senior Round Table Discussion photo
High school seniors had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion with Superintendent Dr. Bossert on April 3.

The 26 participating students gathered in the library to speak candidly with Dr. Bossert about their perceived strengths of the district throughout their K-12 education, identified areas for future focus, and offered feedback regarding the college preparation they gleaned from high school. Dr. Bossert invites groups of students to meet with him throughout the year to engage in this meaningful dialogue over a pizza lunch and is always pleased with how openly the students share.

“Our students show true altruism in their feedback,” said Dr. Bossert. “They know their advice will not affect them in any way, but instead will make a better future for those to come.”

March Madness Inspires Reading

 March Madness Inspires Reading
Recently Elwood Middle School students finished up a different kind of March Madness tournament—one with books!

In order to make this book-tournament a success, middle school librarian Donna Fife had teachers nominate books for their kids. Ms. Fife tallied up the most recommended books and included books that had high circulation records as well.

Ms. Fife then paired up books that would do well against each other—graphic novel against graphic novel, best seller against best seller—and had students vote, using Google forms, which books they thought seemed most interesting. Because most students had not read every book, each was listed with a summarizing blurb.

Each round had over 300 students vote for the books they were rooting for, which was an incredible amount of student participation. As the tournament progressed, students became more invested, stopping by the library to ask which books were in the lead. In the end, two best sellers went head to head, and a Dog’s Purpose won by a single vote.

"I love incorporating of different avenues to attract students to books,” said Ms. Fife. “ My hope was that by designing an interactive book tournament, students would be engaged and invested in learning about different books…and I already have new students coming in, asking if they can check out one of the books they heard their peers talking about!”

Keeping the Peace

The JGHS International and Italian Clubs traveled together to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan on March 29. Students went on a guided tour throughout UN, including The General Assembly room where delegates from all 193 countries meet—and even received a private tour of the UN television studio! Students learned about the role of the UN, purpose of meetings, and more.

“It was interesting and eye opening to see the importance of the United Nations and all that goes into keeping peace in the world,” said junior Maria Papadopoulos, who is an officer of the International Club. “I would love to be a part of that in the future and could possibly see myself working in the UN.”

Disabling the label at Elwood Middle School

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Disabling the label at Elwood Middle School 3
During the week of March 18, students at EMS participated in Disabilities Awareness Week. Each day held different activities to help raise awareness and encourage students’ empathy towards disabled individuals.

Along with daily inclusive and motivational quotes delivered over the morning announcements, students made pledges to “Disable the Label” and wore wristbands to show their support, experienced playing basketball in a wheelchair, and participated in in-class challenges to emulate what someone with a physical disability might feel on a regular basis.

Students also attended a special assembly hosted by a young man who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was young, but now visits hospitals around the country making up songs and creating cartoons to raise patients’ spirits.

“All week we encouraged students to see the “able” and not the label,” said special education teacher Ms. Martine Pirolo. “And we hope that this mindset will carry over into their everyday lives, continuing to enhance the atmosphere of empathy and kindness in our school.”

Important Dates/Information About NYS Assessments

Grades 3-8 Assessment Administration Dates:
* ELA assessment, Grades 3-8: April 3 & 4
* Math Assesment, Grades 3-8: May 2 & 3
* Grades 4 and 8 Science: Written test on June 3; Performance test - classes scheduled between May 22 and May 31

Please note below how the assessments will be administered:
Grades 3-5 ELA: Paper-Based Testing
Grades 6-8 ELA: Computer-Based Testing (CBT)
Grades 3-8 Math Assessment: Paper-Based Testing

Important Note:
*Grade 8 Math: students in Algebra do not take the Math Assessment; they will take the Algebra Regents on Wednesday June 19, 2019
*Grade 8 Science: students in Earth Science do not take the Science Assessment; they will take the Earth Science Regents on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

World Language Month Spreads to James H. Boyd

World Language Month Spreads to James H. Boyd photo

Over 30 juniors and seniors from John Glenn’s World Language Honor Society (WLHS) recently visited James H. Boyd to teach students about Spanish, Italian, and ASL. WLHS students traveled from classroom to classroom in pairs, presenting the lesson plans they created covering a variety of different topics. Students loved learning about different languages and enthusiastically participated in each lesson! High schoolers appreciated the opportunity to teach younger students, and had a new-found respect for how much planning and patience is required to teach.

"It felt so rewarding to see that the students were eager to learn about something I take pride in,” said junior Sabrina Competiello, a WLHS Italian student, “and it was great to see them actively learning so they could remember, and use, what we taught them.”

This visit, in honor of World Language Month, afforded multiple language lessons throughout the day to over 20 classes of third through fifth graders.

"This day showed me how much joy can be found in teaching,” said senior Brianna Duswalt, a WLHS Spanish student. “I also learned that kids are more absorbent than you would think.”

Accomplished Students and Compassionate Professionals Recognized

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At the district’s March Board of Education meeting, two outstanding groups of students were recognized for their recent academic accomplishments, along with two outstanding Elwood Middle staff members who jumped into action, while showing such compassion, for a student in a recent moment of crisis.

A group of Elwood-John H. Glenn research students were commended for receiving the “Best Presenters” award at the Northwell Hospital-Feinstein Institute’s annual Medical Marvels Competition. The team, advised by Dr. Arnold Kamhi, included Sasha Jamal, Julia Mady-Aguiar, Devin Lee, Rithika Narayan, Brennan Finnegan, and Jake Haddad, and each student was presented with a certificate from the Board for this accomplishment.

John Glenn’s Mock Trial team, also known as Knight Court, was recognized by the Board for making it to the county’s “Elite Eight” round of the New York State Mock Trial Tournament. After four previous rounds of competition and just as many victories, they entered as the top seed in the county. Though Knight Court did not make it to the final round of the competition, they had an impressive season that marked the fourth year in a row making the county’s “Elite Eight”.

Additionally, Mock Trial advisor Ms. Megan Geiser was honored for her dedication to the team, and helping them reach the “Elite Eight” for the past four years.

“These students are some of the hardest working at John Glenn,” said Ms. Geiser. “Not only do they practice several hours a week, but they are active during school break and weekends as well; honing advocacy skills whenever they can.”

Lastly, Elwood Middle School Assistant Principal Dawn Valle and nurse Lisa McNamara were commended for expertly and compassionately taking care of a student in a moment of crisis.

“What an honor it is to work alongside professionals who treat Elwood’s children with the same love, dignity, and support they would give their own children,” said middle school principal Dr. Christina Sapienza as she presented them to the Board, “and we are so lucky to have professionals like them protecting and loving the students of our middle school.”

2019-2020 Kindergarten Registration Information