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Superintendent's Community Forum


James H. Boyd Hosts 4th Annual nErDCampLI

James H. Boyd Hosts 4th Annual nErDCampLI photo
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James H. Boyd Hosts 4th Annual nErDCampLI photo 5
James H. Boyd hosted the fourth annual nErDCampLI on Nov. 3. Created to celebrate all things literacy, nErDCampLI had over 60 authors and illustrators in attendance to share their passion for reading and writing with educators from all over Long Island.

nErDCamp draws its name from the term “Ed Camp”, or an “Unconference” — a non-traditional conference that is planned and organized in advance with very little content as to the day’s activities. The planning instead is decided by the participants the morning of the conference, based on what they want to learn, share or experience. It is a model designed specifically to meet the needs of the educators involved. Additionally, it provides a place where students and families are able to meet and chat with some of their favorite authors.

“It’s really a day of free-flowing ideas with the single goal of figuring out how we as teachers, librarians, authors, and illustrators can inspire kids to become lifelong readers,” said author Robin Newman.

This year’s camp had many sessions for educators to attend, such as “Inspiration is Everywhere”, “I Wish My Teacher Knew…”, “#KidsNeedMentors”, and many more. Educators left feeling inspired, refreshed, and excited for next year’s nErdCampLI.

Halloween Spirit

Halloween Spirit photo

Halloween spirit throughout the district! Great costumes, everyone!

The World of Harry Potter Comes to Life at EMS

The World of Harry Potter Comes to Life at EMS photo

The Library at Elwood Middle was transformed into a miniature Hogwarts during the week of Oct. 22. The entrance, covered in brick-wall paper and dubbed “Platform 9 ¾”, welcomed students during their lunch periods to come in and take part in activities that are found in the ever-popular Harry Potter series.

On Monday, students were sorted into one the four different “houses” of Hogwarts—Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slythern. Throughout the week, students had the opportunity to create their own wands, chanting spells such as the famous Hermione Granger’s “Wingardium Leviosa”, play a Muggle-version of Quidditch, and challenge each other’s literature knowledge in competitive trivia.

Librarian Mrs. Donna Fife organized this week in honor of the book series’ 20th anniversary, but also in an effort to continually keep creating activities and experiences to engage students in new ways.

“The more the library is viewed as a socially engaging place,” Mrs. Fife said, “the more likely students will come and engage with the materials and resources within it.”

Harley Avenue Celebrates Opening of Makerspace on Global Maker Day!

Harley Avenue Celebrates Opening of Makerspace on Global Maker Day photo
Harley Avenue celebrated the completion of their brand-new Makerspace with a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 23, which was also Global Maker Day. Thanks to the generous donations of the Elwood Education Endowment (EEE) and the Harley PTA, the school’s vision to have an environment where students can learn through hands-on activities and building became a reality. All grade levels, wiggling with excitement, were in attendance for the special ceremony—as well as Dr. Bossert, district administration, Board of Education members, and representatives from both the EEE and the school PTA.

Instructional Technology Specialist Mrs. Krista Albrecht took the stage to help the students understand what the Makerspace was all about.
“The Makerspace is place where you can let your imagination run wild,” Mrs. Albrecht said to the sea of students. “You can explore science, engineering, art and so much more all in one room! Does that sound like something you’d like to do?”
Along with a resounding yes, the children applauded and cheered emphatically.

After a short video showcasing the exciting features of the Makerspace, the Harley Knight appeared to cut the ribbon to the room himself, and the room was officially open for educational exploration.

“Through maker education, the space encourages students’ curiosity, tinkering, and iterative learning,” said Mrs. Albrecht. “Students are inspired to continually question how processes happen, inventions can be improved, and look to take ownership of their learning.”

Within the school’s Makerspace, students will have access to a wide variety of items. From low-tech items like LEGOs and art materials to high-tech tools such as Snap Circuits and Code and Go sets, students will have the opportunity to build knowledge through creating, problem solving, and hands-on experience in a whole new way.

District Sings Praises for Board of Education

District Sings Praises for Board of Education photo
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The school community gathered for an evening of recognitions during district’s Board of Education meeting on Oct. 18.

In honor of Board Recognition Week, Elwood board members were treated with surprise gifts from both students and staff. As a form of gratitude John Glenn’s a capella group, Acapelwood, performed for the board at the start of the meeting. Under the direction of music teacher Joanna Durante, the group harmonized to the song, “True Colors,” which received a standing ovation from central administrators and the board.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert proudly spoke about the high school’s 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence title. He acknowledged the hard-working staff and the board for their leadership in obtaining this honor.

“Leadership starts at the top,” said Dr. Bossert. “The board of education has given the administration, the faculty and staff the resources, the support and the guidance for the initiatives that help us to achieve such a designation in our country.”

On behalf of the high school’s technology department, each board member received a wooden plaque inscribed with the National Blue Ribbon logo and the high school logo. The plaques were created with a laser cutter and reclaimed wood from the old high school bleachers as a sign of appreciation for the board’s commitment to the district.

Dr. Bossert also presented gifts to the high school building administration and the board members in honor of achieving the National Blue Ribbon status. Each received a National Blue Ribbon shirt to wear with pride. JGHS Principal Carisa Burzynski was also presented with a proclamation from Assemblyman Steve Stern’s office, highlighting the milestone.

In addition, 10 outstanding faculty members from the high school were honored during the meeting as 2017-18 Noble Knights of Elwood-John H. Glenn High School. Recipients included Dom Abbate, Garrett Chesnoff, Kevin Harrington, Vickie Henson, Laureen Kennedy, Michael Marino, Allison Peiliker, Therese Regan, Nancy Sherwood and Patricia Vaccaro-Scisci. Each were nominated by a fellow colleague for their valuable contribution to the school community. They were congratulated and received a certificate from Principal Burzynski.


Acquiring a “Taste” for Literature

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Third graders at James H. Boyd worked up an appetite during a “Book Tasting” held on Oct. 18. Clad in chefs hats and equipped with a menu in which to write their reviews, students spent the morning in the cafeteria-gone-restaurant, sampling different types of literature. At each table, books were laid out like delicious meals. Student committed eight minutes to each book they chose to get a satisfactory “taste” of the story and its genre, and then gave it score of 1-3.

Exposure to different types of literature will encourage children to read books that they may not otherwise have developed an interest in,” said third grade teacher Mrs. Liz Held, who coordinated this event in partnership with teacher Beth Noon.

There were six different types of literature for children to sample, and students enjoyed titles such as “The Gingerbread Boy”, “Our Strange New Land,” and more.

“I really like reading,” said Brendan, a third-grader at James H. Boyd. “I like to see how authors hook you in the beginning, and then all of a sudden you don’t want to put the story down.”

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


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:

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!

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.