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Area Stranger Danger Alert

The following information was shared with Elwood from the South Huntington School District on January 18:

"Earlier today, a parent reported that yesterday while exiting Silas Wood to walk home from an after-school activity, her 6th-grade son was approached by what he describes as two, late teenage males in a dark colored SUV. The Silas Wood student further reported that these two males asked him to get in their car, and claimed they had his mom’s permission. The 6th-grade student ignored the two individuals in the car and kept walking, and the teenage males did not attempt to re-engage or pursue. Within moments, the Silas Wood student saw a neighbor who ultimately provided him a ride home.

A report has been filed with the Suffolk County Police Department, whose members are fully investigating. We are also working with our security cameras to see if the individuals were anywhere in our parking lot areas covered by imaging equipment. Additionally, we have directed additional security and administrative personnel to the area for dismissal, and will have both district office and building administrative teams on-site to personally facilitate the situation.

While we are very fortunate that our Silas Wood student is fine and there were no follow up interactions and concerns, we are taking the situation quite seriously and working cooperatively to assist a thorough police response.  We are also making this a priority to both our security and administrative teams.  In addition, we suggest that this would be an excellent time to speak with your children regarding the dangers of getting in any unknown individual’s car for any reason at any time.

Rest assured that the safety of our students and staff, both in school and the surrounding neighborhood, remains a crystal clear focus of our energy."

Fiscal Health Update

New York State Comptroller Upgrades Financial Status of Elwood School District
District Receives “No Designation” Status, the Highest Classification Available

The Elwood Union Free School District is pleased to report that its financial classification as designated by the New York State Comptroller’s Office has been upgraded. The district has been classified as “No Designation” for the fiscal year ending in 2018. This is the fifth year that the Comptroller’s Office has rated the financial stability of school districts throughout the state.

Various financial indicators are assessed to determine a district’s classification for fiscal stress, including fund balance, cash position and operating deficits/surpluses. The state also assesses environmental factors such as teacher turnover rate, changes in property value and voter approval rate. The district received “No Designation” ratings for both the fiscal stress and environmental stress categories.

“This designation is a direct result of our continued effort to improve the overall financial stability of our district,” said Assistant Superintendent of Business Lorraine Dunkel. “This stability not only allows us to operate more efficiently, but will also assist us in our Moody’s rating when we borrow funds for the voter-approved bond. Overall, it will save our taxpayers money on the interest for our district’s long-term debt.” 



Read it, Dream it, STEAM it

Read it, Dream it, STEAM it photo

The district hosted their annual K-8 STEAM night at Elwood Middle School on Jan. 17! For this year’s theme, Read It, Dream It, STEAM It, students were invited to bring the worlds of storybook fantasy to life through experimenting with science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

“We were looking for a way to integrate literacy and our typical science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) themes together,” said Technology Instructional Specialist Krista Albrecht, “and we thought it would be interesting for students to participate in activities related to some of their favorite picture books and also to be exposed to some new titles.”

Students and parents journeyed through the school holding a map of the available stations that each contained a different activity. Students had the opportunity to use engineering skills to build a “campsite” for a family that got lost in the woods of a storybook, experiment with heart-rate monitors that tracked resting and active heart rates in real-time, experience augmented reality using “Merge Cubes”, enter a digital star lab, and much more.

At one of the stations, “If I Built a Car,” students were hard at work building rubber band propeller cars that ran on stored energy. Parents stood by, marveling at their children’s innovation, and commented on the refreshing nature of STEAM-focused events.

“The second the email hits home, my son is already asking to be signed up,” said Mrs. Calanese, mother to RJ, an Elwood Middle School student. “Today he reminded me that it started at 4:30—and that we shouldn’t be late!”

Mr. Glenn 2019

Mr. Glenn 2019 photo
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Mr. Glenn 2019 photo 3
On Jan. 11, the high school held the annual Mr. Glenn 2019 show. This comedy and talent show is an Elwood tradition organized and presented by the boys of the senior class. It also serves as a fundraiser for the Class of 2019.

World Language teacher Ms. Nicole Gendoijan directed the show, and participating boys were as follows: Abiola Familusi, Adam Astarita, Andrew Raymond, Giancarlo Porpora, Gregson Pigott, Irvin Evangelista, Justin Tiernan, Matt Tallo, Nicky Weiss, Russell Rohan, and Zach Stickelman.

The evening included date wear, formal wear, beach wear, and a talent skit for each contestant—making the audience roar with laughter. The boys ended the evening with a dance choreographed by Knightline and Step Team. Senior Russell Rohan was chosen as this year’s Mr. Glenn.

Congratulations on a wonderful job to all who participated!

All-Eastern Music Festival Selectees

All-Eastern Music Festival Selectees photo
Recently, two dedicated JGHS music students were selected to attend the 2019 the All-Eastern Music Festival. Elizabeth Choi, a violinist selected to play in the symphony, and Melissa Mandel, a soprano selected to sing in the Mixed Chorus, will be traveling to participate in the festival in Pittsburgh, PA, during the first week of April.

Congratulations students!

All New York State Selectees

Congratulations to two of John H. Glenn’s outstanding student-athletes, Kyle Szokoli and Adam Astarita, who were both selected for all New York State teams.

Kyle Szokoli - All New York State Football team
Adam Astarita - All New York State Soccer team

Congratulations, students!

Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration for the 2019-20 school year begins Feb. 4, by appointment only. Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m., and Fridays (in Feb and March only) from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The forms are available on the district website under “District Forms”, or can be picked up in person at Harley Avenue or at the district office. Contact Peggy Pietzak at 631-266-5400 x1455 or if you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment.

Elwood Comes together to Support Medical Missions to Nepal

Elwood Comes together to Support Medical Missions to Nepal photo
Elwood Comes together to Support Medical Missions to Nepal photo 2
Elwood Comes together to Support Medical Missions to Nepal photo 3
For the past two years, the James Boyd Student Council has conducted a fundraiser to aide Joe Rizzuto, a JGHS graduate class of 2011, in completing a medical mission to rural Nepal. Mr. Rizzuto desires to continue traveling to Nepal to provide medical supplies and health checks for people in need—many of which have never been seen by a doctor. During his mission, Joe and his colleagues visited a school that recently reopened after being destroyed by the 2015 earthquake and performed health checks on students as well.

So far, James H. Boyd raised nearly $500, and Harley Avenue raised $110.

Recently, Mr. Rizzuto visited James H. Boyd to explain to students what he does, and why he does it. Students listened intently as he disclosed his experiences, and students had many questions for him after his presentation concluded—and some even went up to Mr. Rizzuto to thank him for trying to make the world a better place. Additionally, he visited Elwood Middle School to speak with the National Junior Honor Society, and students were moved by his efforts, pledging to donate to aide his future trip.

Fundraisers are also set to take place in the spring at EMS and JGHS to contribute to Mr. Rizzuto’s mission.

Student Athlete Reaches 1000th Varsity Point

Student Athlete Reaches 1000th Varsity Point photo
Student Athlete Reaches 1000th Varsity Point photo 2
Congratulations to high school student athlete Josh Fenner who scored his 1,000th varsity point on Thursday, Jan. 3rd, during John H. Glenn’s impressive basketball game against Mattituck. Josh finished out the game with a total 1,028 points—the first junior in John H. Glenn history to reach 1,000 points before heading into his senior year.

Coach Charly Rogener praised Josh for his skill and versatility in which he plays, commenting, “He can break people down and then he can hit the 3-pointer. He's the fastest guy on the court, he gets the transition game going and he's a complete player for us."

Congratulations, Josh!

2019-2020 Kindergarten Registration Information


Video: James H. Boyd Spreads Holiday Joy


Decorating Delicious Houses

Decorating Delicious Houses photo

During the week of Dec. 17, kindergarteners at Harley Avenue got into the holiday spirit by constructing and decorating gingerbread houses. Students each invited a loved one to visit during the afternoon and had help building their creations. Many parents and loved ones helped by donating a lot of the delicious materials used to build the houses as well.

Using frosting as glue, marshmallows for snow, and more, students built their little houses around milk cartons, and enjoyed spending quality time with their loved ones!

A Moose on the Loose at Harley Avenue

A Moose on the Loose at Harley Avenue photo
A Moose on the Loose at Harley Avenue photo 2
During the month of December, Harley Avenue Primary students in Mrs. Schombs and Mrs. Millers second-grade class have been visited every day by a special guest—a moose named Fred. Every morning when Fred, also referred to as the “moose on the loose”, appears in the classroom, he has a different kindness challenge to give to the students. Some of the challenges have included writing a thank you note to someone special, volunteering for a good cause, and creating a kindness club.

Students have done a phenomenal job of extending kindness to those around them, and have seemed to absorb the concept’s importance.

“One of the most important things I learned is that it’s important to be kind to everyone…even when they’re not so kind to you,” said Logan, a second grader in Mrs. Schombs and Mrs. Miller’s class.

Students enjoyed accomplishing the challenges daily, and even resolved to start a kindness club—and had their first meeting on Dec. 18.

“We decided we wanted to start a club where we get together at recess and talk about ways we can be kind to others,” said second-grader Michaela. “Then at the end we come back and talk about how we were kind to other people.”

Mrs. Schombs and Mrs. Miller both agreed that they’re always looking for ways to better foster a climate of kindness in their classroom.

“Our hope is that the lessons that they learn while they are young will continue to be carried out as they get older,” said Mrs. Miller. “We feel that one of the most important things that we can teach our children is how to treat each other.”

Hour of Code Promotes Problem-Solving Skills

Hour of Code Promotes Problem-Solving Skills photo

Grades K–5 throughout the district participated in individual sessions of the Hour of Code, activities created to “demystify” coding, during the first two weeks of December. Both James H. Boyd Intermediate and Harley Avenue Primary School are equipped with functioning Makerspaces and made those available to groups of students at hour-long blocks to experiment with learning the basics, or building upon prior knowledge, of coding. Instructional Technology Specialist Krista Albrecht planned activities for students based on their grade level, which allowed all students to experiment freely.

“I really like learning more about coding,” said Ryan, a fourth-grader at James H. Boyd. “It’s like learning to build your own world, and I want to keep practicing to get better.”

At Harley Avenue Primary, students came to the Makerspace to learn how to program Bee-Bots to solve spelling challenges. At James H. Boyd students learned to create code for Ozobots. These tiny robots are built to follow drawn commands in the forms of lines, colors, and codes that are drawn out.

“When we give our students freedom to explore new areas and challenges, they never cease to impress us,” said Mrs. Albrecht. “And it’s so rewarding to watch them become such resilient problem solvers.”

Shining Lights Recognized

Shining Lights Recognized photo
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The district’s Board of Education recognized outstanding members of the school and greater community at their monthly meeting on Dec. 6.

Recently, Suffolk County Assemblyman Steven Stern focused special efforts towards targeting the district for additional educational aid. Assemblyman Stern secured $50,000 and awarded the sum to the district last month. This funding, designated for district-wide security enhancements, will be used for such during the current school year. The Board and district administration presented Assemblyman Stern with a certificate of appreciation to convey their gratitude.

“We are extremely grateful to be so fortunate to receive this funding to continue making security enhancements,” said Dr. Bossert. “We have a number of initiatives that still require funding, and this donation will go a very long way to help us accomplish those goals.“

Additionally, two members of James H. Boyd were honored by the Board, and were introduced and praised highly by principal Dr. Denise Toscano.

First called to the podium was student Colin Moshos, who was recognized for being a shining light within James H. Boyd.

“Colin, with his radiant smile and engaging personality, has touched each and every member of James. H Boyd,” said Dr. Toscano. “He knows his schoolmates all by name, is always ready with a positive comment, and has shown deep and moving empathy for those who need it.”

When Dr. Toscano thanked him for being a shining example for his peers, Colin responded precociously with, “You’re MOST welcome!”

Additionally, Assemblyman Stern presented Colin with a New York State certificate in recognition of his Shining Star status.

Dr. Toscano also sang the praises of Mrs. Lisa Magrino, an exceptional Teachers College Lead Teacher at James H. Boyd, who goes above and beyond to complete professional development opportunities and then share and teach her fellow educators. Mrs. Magrino has presented at Superintendents Conference days, has demoed lessons for teachers in their classrooms, and so much more. Along with a plaque from the board, Assemblyman Stern presented Mrs. Magrino with a New York State recognition of her leadership as well.

“You are the epitome of teacher leadership, and we wanted to extend our deepest thanks you for all you do,” said Dr. Toscano.

JGHS Alumni Pride

JGHS Alumni Pride photo
JGHS class of 2017 West Point Prep Cadet Nathaniel Larkins and Mid-Shipmen Cadet Patrick Giambruno came together to exchange pleasantries during the Army/Navy football game that took place in Philadelphia on December 8th. Great to see our alumni doing so well, and connecting with former classmates!

Suffolk Zone Award Winners

Suffolk Zone Award Winners photo
JGHS seniors Caroline Miller and Rocco Fratarcangeli were recently selected as the two recipients of the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NYS AHPERD) Suffolk Zone Award.

Each year, two students from every high school in Suffolk County are recognized as the top male and female physical education students based on NYS AHPERD’s criteria. Students nominated must exemplify a supreme level of physical education achievement, demonstrate leadership ability in school-wide activities and serve as outstanding role models for their peers and within their community.

During the last week in November, Caroline and Rocco received their awards, along with the other top students in Suffolk County at the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York State Association dinner. Congratulations students!

VIDEO: Conducting Cranberry Experiments at James H. Boyd

cran photo

Gymnastic Success

Gymnastic Success photo
Recently, two of John H. Glenn’s individually-competing gymnasts performed impressively at their corresponding meets. Gymnast Katy Kuroda, who has participated in gymnastics since the age of five, made it to All-League, and placed well in her events. Gymnast Katie Goetz, who began practicing gymnastics at the age of seven, made it to the Suffolk County Individual championship meet finished well in her events—including placing 9th out of 31 on the floor. Way to go, girls!

EMS National Junior Honor Society Food Drive

EMS National Junior Honor Society Food Drive photo
EMS held its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Schoolwide, 2200 nonperishables were collected and donated to the Community Food Council in Huntington Station. Additionally, over $1,000 was collected to give families of the Elwood community gift cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Way to be generous and community-minded, Elwood!