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EMS Sunken Meadow Modified Meet

EMS Sunken Meadow Modified Meet photo
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The EMS boys and girls cross country team participated in the annual Sunken Meadow Modified meet on Oct. 19, along with teams from 50 other middle schools. Student athletes, despite the cold temperatures and windy conditions, gave the competition’s tough course their all, and ran with true Elwood Spirit. EMS student Emily LaMena placed 5th overall out of 531 female runners, completing the 1.5-mile course with a time of 9:24.24. Way to go!

ASL Students Give Back

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ASL students from JGHS volunteered their time at the Mill Neck Family’s annual Apple Festival on Oct. 6. This festival, established in 1961, offers fall family fun with all proceeds going to the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.

After working in the packing and delivering station at the festival, alongside a few other students from Eastport South Manor, the students raised $104 in tips. These funds were then donated back to the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf. ASL students from Elwood-John H. Glenn have performed this annual labor of love for the past ten years, and will continue to do so in the years to come.

“I’m so thankful my students want to give back to the deaf community on Long Island,” said ASL teacher and club advisor Nicole Correia.

A Message from the Superintendent of Schools Regarding E-Cigarettes and Vaping

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Celebrating School Spirit & Outstanding Community Members

Celebrating School Spirit & Outstanding Community Members photo

After a week of spirit-filled activities, Elwood students and the surrounding community came together on Saturday, Oct. 13, to celebrate homecoming. Despite the morning showers that initially postponed the parade, the sun came out for the proud procession of each class’ floats. This year’s theme revolved around seasons—summer, winter, spring, and fall, in grade order.

The high school’s kick line and pep band headed up the parade, followed by the cheerleaders with a banner that proudly displayed the school’s newly acquired Blue Ribbon of Excellence. Homecoming king and queen Patrick Ancewicz and Haley Eno passed by in a convertible, waving regally to the crowd—followed by each cheering class and their float, along with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert, Board of Education members, administrators and district staff marching along with pride.

During the Knight’s football game against Bayport-Blue Point—which ended in a victory of 48-21—the athletes played hard, receiving encouragement from the cheerleaders and enthusiastic community members in the stands. After the pep band and kick-lines spirited half-time show, Dr. Bossert unveiled the school’s new Wall of Fame, and the first two inductees. The Board of Education was on hand as well, displaying the beautiful hand-made "Wall of Fame" signs crafted by our students from reclaimed wood salvaged from the JGHS original bleachers.

The first inductee was Dr. Virginia Cancroft. Dr. Cancroft was a beloved, innovative member of the Elwood Community who served as the principal of Harley Avenue School for 24 years, and was honored for all of the life, love, and dedication she gave to her students.

The second honoree was the late Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, who was a Class of 1997 alumnus, and a true hero. MSgt Raguso lived a life of selfless dedication to others that ended too soon in a military mission on March 15, 2018. Many of his friends and family attended the ceremony to honor him, and accepted the award on his behalf.

“We started the Elwood Wall of Fame to bring appropriate recognition to the men and women who made outstanding contributions to our school community,” said Dr. Bossert. “And these two inducted members will forever be honored and remembered as integral parts of the Elwood community as their plaques hang proudly on the Wall of Fame.”

To nominate an outstanding community member for Homecoming 2019’s Wall of Fame induction, please visit: http://www.elwood.k12.ny.us/district_information/district_forms

Students Craft Wall of Fame Sign

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In preparation for the high school’s first Wall of Fame induction during homecoming weekend, students from both Mr. McGuire and Mr. Rogener’s classes worked together to create a sign that all future inductees will be commemorated under. The sign was constructed using reclaimed wood from John Glenn’s old gymnasium bleachers. Students were intrigued and honored to help with something that would become so important to the Elwood community.

“Our students completely lit up at the thought of working on a project bigger than themselves,” said Mr. Rogener, “and at the possibility of one day being up on the wall, as well!”

Community Helpers

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Community Helpers photo 4
Recently, second graders at Harley Avenue explored the importance of “community helpers” during social studies. Teachers covered topics such as what it means to be a good citizen, the important laws that make up our society, the roles of community members and leaders, and more.

Second grade teacher Cindy Miller coordinated an assembly to enable students to have an interactive experience with community members they’re familiar with— Principal Elissa Milan and Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert. Three student representatives from each class were nominated to ask questions that the class had formulated together regarding the administrators’ leadership roles. Questions included “What challenges do you face as a community leader?” “Do you always follow the rules?” “What made you want to become a principal / superintendent”, and others.

Students learned a lot and enjoyed the experience of getting to interview two important people in the Elwood community!

Personnel Announcement - Assistant Superintendent for Business Lorraine Dunkel

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Bond Project Summary Chart

In November 2017, voters in the Elwood Union Free School District approved a bond referendum to make various improvements to district facilities. Since that time, the district has been working diligently with its architects to submit plans to the New York State Education Department for approval. The first phase of bond work has begun. For updates on the progress of each project, please click on the “Bond Project Summary” chart below. This will be updated on a regular basis to ensure our community is kept up to date with the status of each project. Thank you for your continued support!

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JGHS Named National Blue Ribbon School!

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The district is proud to announce that Elwood-John H. Glenn High School has been named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education!

JGHS was nominated for the award by the New York State Education Department. District administrators then completed a comprehensive application about school practices. Elwood-John H. Glenn High School was recognized as an Exemplary High Performing school—among the top schools in New York State.

“This designation is a tremendous accomplishment for our high school that is attributed to the hard work of our students, staff and administrators,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “Our entire community should be congratulated and celebrated for this outstanding achievement!”

“This designation is a representation of the collective effort of all members of the Elwood community,” said Elwood-John H. Glenn High School Principal Carisa Burzynski.  “I am so proud of the great work that we do at Glenn. Our faculty and staff work hard to produce an exceptional educational environment for our students and, in turn, our students work hard to produce exceptional results. Of course, the support of our families is critical to our success. Congratulations to the Elwood community!”

District officials will represent Elwood-John H. Glenn High School at a two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November to celebrate this prestigious recognition. The school is also in the process of planning a celebration of its own so the entire school community can participate.

According to the Department of Education’s website, the “National Blue Ribbon Schools program has honored America’s most successful public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools” since 1982. The department also states, “A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities.”

“We look forward to hanging our own Blue Ribbon flag proudly above the high school very soon!” said Dr. Bossert.

For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, please visit http://nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/.

Personnel Announcement - Sandee Batts-East & Steve Myers

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JGHS Student-Athletes Recognized

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During the September Board of Education meeting, two outstanding student athletes were recognized for their success.

Elwood-John Glenn student athlete Justin Tiernan was recognized for his excellence in the sport of lacrosse. In the spring of 2018, Justin was commended by Newsday as one of the All-Long Island second team lacrosse players, and then by New York as an All-NYS second team lacrosse player.

“Justin works hard and plays hard,” said Athletic Director David Shanahan, “and we’re so proud of him for representing our school with pride, dignity, and incredible success.”

Additionally, JGHS student-athlete Mia Sansanelli was recognized for being selected as a member to NYSPHSAA’s Section XI Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. As a member of this committee, Mia has become a liaison between the district and Section X1, having a voice in the arena of athletics in the county, on the island, and ultimately in the state.

All County, State, and National Musicians

All County, State, and National Musicians photo
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Multiple JGHS musicians have recently been selected for county, state, and nation-wide honors, setting them apart for having outstanding talent and dedication to the arts!

Elizabeth Choi, a senior violinist, has been selected for one of the NAFME All-National Honors Ensembles. She is one of thirty New-Yorkers nation-wide who was accepted into the all-National Honors Orchestra. This orchestra, which comes together to in Orlando, Florida, will be performing together in November.

The district is also pleased to announce that students Makenzy Chaikin, Felipe Gonzalez, and Melissa Mandel were selected for the NYSSMA All-State Music Festival Choirs. They will be performing in Rochester at the beginning of December with top vocalists from all over New York.

In addition, ten students were selected for NYSCAME All-County: Abiola Familus, Hannah Kleinman, Eleanor Rees, Meghan Rivardo, Ian Schombs Terrence Sheldon, and the four previously mentioned students.

NYSCAME is extremely selective, only choosing those with the highest NYSSMA scores across Suffolk County from the previous spring. These musicians will take part in three intensive rehearsals that will culminate in a concert on November.

Congratulations, students!

NAfME All-National Honors Ensembles
Elizabth Choi - Violin

NYSSMA All-State Music Festival Choirs
Makenzy Chaikin – Alto
Felipe Gonzalez – Tenor
Melissa Mandel - Soprano

NYSCAME /Suffolk All-County Festival Groups
Elizabeth Choi- Symphony Orchestra, Violin
Makenzy Chaikin - Mixed Chorus, Alto
Abiola Familus - Symphony Orchestra, Trumpet
Felipe Gonzalez – Mixed Chorus, Tenor
Hannah Kleinman - Symphony Orchestra, Oboe
Melissa Mandel – Mixed Chorus, Soprano
Eleanor Rees – Mixed Chorus, Alto
Meghan Rivardo - Treble Choir, Soprano
Ian Schombs - Symphonic Band, Trombone
Terrence Sheldon – Mixed Chorus, Bass

We the People

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In honor of Constitution Day, James H. Boyd students in Mrs. Held and Mrs. Noon’s classes came together to learn the preamble of the Constitution in American Sign Language on September 17. Along with learning the preamble, students learned other details such as who wrote the Constitution, why the document is important for our country’s government, and more.

Welcome Back Elwood!

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After a summer full of professional development, bond-work, and curriculum improvement, the district welcomed students back as they filled every classroom for the first day of the 2018-19 year!

Students at Harley Avenue and James H. Boyd disembarked buses, some for the first time, to waves and smiles from faculty and staff who were waiting outside excitedly to meet them. Clad in their first-day best, students walked through the doors ready to meet their new teachers and make new friends. Once settled in their new classrooms, students unpacked their fresh school supplies, and participated in fun first-day activities, such as creating wallets for their classroom “store” and writing about the best part of their summer.

Elwood Middle’s first day included a school-wide assembly going over the basics of middle school, and activities in the gym such as ultimate rock paper scissors, mini-volleyball tournaments, and more. Students at John H. Glenn jumped right in to the new school year with beginning coursework and getting back into the practice of flexing their academic muscles.

The district wishes all students, faculty and staff a wonderful, successful and enjoyable year ahead! Welcome back, all! 

Mindfully Preparing for the New School Year

Mindfully Preparing for the New School Year photo
Elwood welcomed faculty and staff back for the 2018-19 school year at Superintendent’s Conference Day on Sept. 4. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert warmly greeted all those in attendance, including the Board of Education, administration, and all those who were new to the district.

Dr. Bossert thanked those who worked tirelessly all summer to prepare for a successful first day back and commended them on their continuous race for excellence.

“Your success is intertwined with the success of our students, and the success of our students is the success of the district.” said Dr. Bossert. “Thank you all in advance for going above and beyond to meet the needs of each and every student.”

After other members of the Elwood community shared welcome messages, Dr. Maureen Hull, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, gave a keynote address encompassing the practice, process, and characteristics of mindfulness. Dr. Hull stressed the importance of its implementation within the education system.

"Mindfulness is a tool that has the potential to improve student focus, attention, behavior, social skills, and overall academic performance,” she said. Dr. Hull described mindfulness activities as an action or practice, with a process and a characteristic related to elements of character education and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Further, as we become more mindful and engage in mindfulness lessons, student and adult well-being can improve.

Through the end of the day, faculty went over important safety reminders, had the opportunity to meet with their building principals, set up classrooms, and generally prepare for the first day on Sept. 5.

Freshman Get Acclimated to Their “New Home”

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John H. Glenn High School held a special freshmen orientation to welcome the incoming class of 2022 on Aug. 29. High school principal Carisa Burzynski, along with other administration and faculty members, warmly greeted the students and introduced them to their “new home” for the next four years.

“We’re here to help you grow,” said Mrs. Burzynski. “Your education is your ticket to life beyond high school, so never be afraid to come to us for help in achieving your goals.”

Students were also introduced to their class officers, and new assistant principal Corey McNamara.

“This is my first year in this high school, so it’s all new for me too,” said Mr. McNamara, “but I’m confident this is going to be a great first year for all of us!”

Students received their Chromebooks and took a tour of the school with their Freshman Buddy leaders—a group comprised of approximately 75 upperclassmen volunteers who had previously been trained to be role models, and resources, for the incoming freshmen. Volunteers led freshmen around the building, sharing wisdom on the best routes to different parts of the building, experiences with teachers, course-loads, and more.

VIDEO: A Special Welcome Back to Students from Your District Administrators!

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SCSSA releases its Blueprint for Action to Enhance School Safety

SCSSA releases its Blueprint for Action to Enhance School Safety photo
On Monday, Aug. 27, the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association executive board introduced the association’s five-point Blueprint for Action to Enhance School Safety during a meeting with Suffolk County law enforcement officials and representatives from the office of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Hosted by the Elwood School District, the meeting was facilitated by Dr. Kenneth Bossert, superintendent of the Elwood School District and president of the SCSSA, along with Lars Clemensen, immediate past president of the SCSSA and superintendent of the Hampton Bays School District.

While school safety has always been a top priority, following the horrific massacre at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, and the tragic events that followed, the importance of a strong working relationship between the police, mental health providers and public-school officials has become more important than ever. 

The SCSSA plan recommends five actionable steps on the local, state and federal levels to enhance school security: invest in the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, providing additional officers in Suffolk County schools; adopt legislation that enhances campus safety, including amending the N.Y.S. Criminal Procedures Law dealing with setting bail; make the N.Y.S. SAFE Act the law of the land; support the social, emotional and mental health of children through screening programs and education initiatives; and provide institutional support to finance school safety, calling for the state to initiate School Security Aid and to exempt school safety expenditures from the tax levy limitation.  

The SCSSA plans to continue to work together with Suffolk County law enforcement and local, state and federal legislators to turn these plans into actions that will improve school safety and the safety and wellness of all students in Suffolk County.  

 

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Elwood’s Team of Teachers Increases

Elwood’s Team of Teachers Increases photo
We welcomed 20 new teachers to the district this summer! On Aug. 28, our new teachers spent the day preparing for the upcoming school year with a New Teacher Orientation.

The morning kicked off with a welcome breakfast for new staff and administration to get acquainted. Once settled, Director of Humanities Pam Fine and Director of Math, Science and Technology Eileen Kelly-Gorman walked the group through everything they needed to know about being a part of the Elwood school community. They covered topics from classroom design to collaborating with ENL teachers.

In addition, new teachers had the opportunity learn about the world of technology within the district from Executive Director for Technology and Transportation Gene Tranchino and Technology Integration Specialist Krista Albrecht. Teachers worked with technological tools utilized within the classroom, were guided in creating their own Google websites, and more.

Layered Language Learning

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On Aug. 20 & 21, thanks to the efforts of district administrators Ms. Pamela Fine, Dr. Maureen Hull, and Ms. Eileen Kelly-Gorman, renowned staff developer Amy Benjamin visited educators throughout the district to help enhance student reading comprehension, fluency, writing, and oral communication in all content areas. This professional development course was designed to help faculty and staff from a variety of grade levels to hone in on academic vocabulary and to give specific attention to those working with non-native speakers of English.

"Over recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of research related to how people acquire language,” said Mrs. Fine. “This research has prompted educators to reflect on the instructional practices employed in our classrooms and to identify the most effective techniques to help students learn academic vocabulary.”
The workshop began with debunking ideas about how children learn academic vocabulary. Groups discussed questions such as “Is learning new words cognitively difficult?” and “Should teachers not use big words in class to avoid confusion in students with vocabulary deficits?”

Ms. Benjamin shared her knowledge and research in engaging ways, including research and personal anecdotes, exploring language acquisition, and helping staff members grasp a deeper understanding of the English language.

“There are no such thing as hard words,” she told the staff members, “just infrequent ones. The English language is layered, so frequency, context, and reputation are important aspects of learning it more in-depth.”

Throughout the rest of the two-day work shop, staff members were shown specific practices to best teach vocabulary, worked together to identify relationships between words, and played different games to learn the meanings of word parts.

“We learn words because we can’t help it,” said Ms. Benjamin, “so as educators we need we teach in a way that our children can’t help but learn what they need to know!”