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South Country community addresses vaping and opioid overdose

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Parents and community members are now more informed about vaping and use of e-cigarettes after attending a presentation sponsored by COMPASS Unity and Bellport High School, held on October 28. Additionally, participants received training in the application of Naloxone or Narcan in the case of an opioid overdose. The two-hour presentation was held during the District’s annual Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s largest drug awareness campaign and one that teaches students how to develop positive, healthy habits early in life.
Suffolk County Department of Health Supervising Public Health Educator John T. Martin delivered the powerful presentation, The Truth About Vaping and E-Cigarettes, packed with valuable information about the type of e-cigarettes being used, how young people are being targeted and the effects of vaping. One fact discussed during the workshop was that one Juul pod is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine and possesses nicotine, lead and formaldehyde gas.  
“We are up against an industry that is unregulated,” Martin noted. “Vaping opens the door to other possibilities.”  
Bellport High School student Katherine Gaynor, who is working with social worker and COMPASS Unity Project Coordinator Lynette Murphy, described to the community her take on why students begin vaping.   
During the second half of the program, New York Army National Guard Sergeant Sean Cassidy, a civil operations specialist with the Counter Drug Task Force, discussed opioid addiction and the response to an overdose using Narcan, an opioid antagonist that blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication. He discussed what an overdose looks like, the risk factors for overdose, and specifically how to respond to someone who is not breathing or has lost consciousness. 
“It only takes minutes for the brain to shut down, so it is extremely important to know how to respond,” Sgt. Cassidy said.
Participants were given a free Narcan kit and instructions for use after the program.

Pumpkin ELA and Math

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South Haven Early Childhood Center students combined their newly acquired English language arts and mathematics skills with their fondness for pumpkins and Halloween. 

Karen Ernst’s students learned the days of the month by placing pumpkins on each of the dates during the start of the school day, strengthening their knowledge of the topic.  They also read various fall and Halloween stories, including Wendell Minor’s “Pumpkin Heads.”

During a combination math and ELA activity called Five Little Pumpkins, students read a poem about how a certain number of pumpkins would fall off a fence, asking the students to guess how many were left. They were also instructed to place pumpkin seeds on a paper pumpkin to match the number and to illustrate one-to-one correspondence. 

During an activity where they practiced their listening skills, Ms. Ernst instructed the students to use geometric shapes to create a pumpkin face according to her directions. They also talked about the shape of a pumpkin and participated in a tactile finger painting project, using their hands to paint a carved pumpkin.

Art Gallery Commendations

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The artistic talents of 51 individual student-artists and group work by Verne W. Critz Elementary School first graders were commended during the district’s second annual Art Gallery Reception, held on Oct. 23 at Central Office headquarters. The students’ artwork is part of an ongoing art gallery, which will be exhibited throughout the 2019-2020 school year. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani told parents and faculty in attendance that “This is a new tradition, and we are excited and pleased to walk down the hallway at Central Office and see this wonderful children’s artwork.”
Each student received a certificate, and refreshments provided by the art department were served.

The district congratulates the following students: Bellport High School: Roselida Albarran, Edwin Alfaro, Audrey Barry, Tatianna Davis, Josselyn Fuentes, Sarai Garcia, Courtney Gerard, Violet Gordon, Haley Herrmann, Abigail Horn, Tiara Jones Hanna Lupo, Robert Menendez, Jake Mulle, Yeak Kay Phong, Samantha Porsche, Madelyn Reyes, Sabrina Rodriguez, Caitlin Saliba, Dream Smith, Seryna Waldron-Walker and Jaelyn Zapata; Bellport Middle School: Karyn Devine, Louisa Gordon, Julia Kotasek, Scarlett Maldonado, Alana Negron, Leah Ofori, Megan Wilkinson, Katherine Yanza and Mirka Zapata; Frank P. Long Intermediate School: Jack Fauci and Joshua Terry; Kreamer Street Elementary: Adrianna Fudge, Mason Kern, Sophia Fuentes Rios and Adeline Wiley; Brookhaven Elementary: Isay Gonzalez Bonilla, Shianelle Dilan, Samantha Velasquez-Garcia, Jayden Giuseffi, Iniya Holland, Brody Kandler, Antonio Michielli and Ashly Angelina Muy; Verne W. Critz Elementary: Christopher Behnke, Lineth Rivas Gamero, Joseph Figueroa Oliva, Sofia Perez, Lola Provenzano, Dylan Sarmiento Quiroga and Group Work by First Grade Students.

Celebrating Hispanic Culture

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Fourth graders in Diana Santos’s bilingual class at Frank P. Long celebrated Hispanic culture in recognition of national Hispanic Heritage Month.

With the upcoming Halloween holiday, the students studied the Day of the Dead, a holiday traditionally celebrated in Mexico on Nov. 1 and filled with prayer and remembrance of deceased family and friends. In preparation for their celebration, the students read two nonfiction articles, “Dia De Los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead) and “The Ofrenda,” about the collection of objects placed on an altar to honor the deceased during the Day of the Dead. The articles were followed by the students’ writing of important facts, which were included on a colorful bulletin board. They also colored a traditional skull-shaped sugar mask and skull key chains, an iconic Day of the Dead symbol.

During a two-week nonfiction unit, the students researched a famous and influential Hispanic person in English. After collecting all of their research, they were instructed to write a paragraph about the person in Spanish. The culminating activity included a wax museum, where upon being touched by Ms. Santos, the students read their thoughtfully written paragraph to classmates. The unit not only taught the students how to conduct research but assisted with their oratory skills in Spanish and reading skills in English. 

Tricks and Treats

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Throughout the district, students have been preparing for Halloween.

The Bellport High School Student Council held its Safe Trick or Treat program for students at Frank P. Long Intermediate School and Brookhaven, Kreamer Street and Verne W. Critz elementary schools. Dressed in Halloween costumes, the high school students visited classrooms where they gave tips for a safe Halloween. Some of the tips included abstaining from eating unwrapped candy, never entering a stranger’s home, staying in big groups and having parents check candy before eating it. 

At each of the elementary schools, the PTA held pumpkin picking activities in the back of each schoolyard. Classes were escorted to the pumpkin patch by hayride where they chose their favorite orange gourds. 

The week commenced with the community’s stroll down Trick or Treat Street, held at Bellport High School on Oct. 25. Students participated in activities in each of the themed classrooms, ventured down the haunted and scary hallway and grabbed handfuls of candy as they modeled their costumes for peers.
Monday, November 11, 2019
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