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South Country Central School District Board Notes July 2, 2019 - Reorganization and Business Meetings

The Board of Education reorganized for the 2019-20 school year during its meeting in the administrative offices on July 2, 2019.  The Reorganization Meeting was called to order by the District Clerk who presided until Board officers were elected.  Newly elected trustees, Melissa Aruta, E. Anne Hayes and Clyde Parker, were sworn into office by District Clerk, Christine Flynn, who then called for nominations for Board President.   The Board nominated and elected Ms. Hayes as President and Jack Nix as Vice President, both of whom were sworn in by the District Clerk.  The District Clerk also administered the oath of faithful performance to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph Giani.

The Board conducted its Business Meeting following the Reorganization Meeting,   During his report, Dr. Giani congratulated the Class of 2019, whose commencement exercises took place on June 27, 2019.  He also congratulated the eighth grade class, who moved up from Bellport Middle School on June 24, 2019. 

During the Trustee and Advisory Committee Report, both trustees Lisa Di Santo and Chris Picini thanked administrators for a smooth graduation ceremony and end to the 2018-19 school year. Trustee Melissa Aruta, President E. Anne Hayes and trustee Clyde Parker also thanked the community for the opportunity to serve the district’s students and the community by being elected to the Board of Education.

The Board unanimously approved a resolution to establish a sub-fund within the  Retirement Contribution Reserve Fund, established in 2009, to be known as the Teachers Retirement System District Retirement Contribution Reserve Sub-Fund. Monies for the sub-fund will be provided through budgetary appropriations or raised by taxes to finance retirement contributions to the New York State Retirement System and will not exceed 2% of the total annual compensation or salaries of teachers employed by the District who are members of the TRS, paid during the immediately preceding fiscal year.  

The Board determined which Trustees will serve as liaisons between the schools and the Board of Education. The list is as follows: Melissa Aruta – Frank P. Long Intermediate School; Lisa Di Santo – South Haven Early Childhood Center; E. Anne Hayes – Brookhaven Elementary School; Jack Nix – Kreamer Street Elementary School; Clyde Parker – Bellport Middle School; Chris Picini – Verne W. Critz Elementary School; and Cameron Trent – Bellport High School.

The Board approved proposals submitted in response to an RFP for a district grant to provide pre-kindergarten services to the community.  As recommended by the Superintendent, the pre-kindergarten services will include one full-day class at Head Start, two full-day classes provided by New Interdisciplinary School at South Haven, and two half-day classes at Bellport United Methodist Church. In addition, the District will operate four half-day classes and one full-day class at the new South Haven Early Childhood Center. The pre-kindergarten program will consist of four full-day classes (74 seats) and six half-day classes (108 seats) for a total of 182 seats. The District is also in the process of seeking a vendor to provide before-school and after-school childcare in one of the open classrooms located at South Haven Early Childhood Center. This could extend the day for half-day program children/families for a fee paid by the family.

The Trustees also determined who would serve as Board representatives on the following Board Advisory Committees: Strategic Planning - E. Anne Hayes, Jack Nix and Cameron Trent; Teaching and Learning – Melissa Aruta and Lisa Di Santo; Health and Safety – Lisa Di Santo, Jack Nix and Cameron Trent; Finance and Facilities – Clyde Parker and Chris Picini. 

Trustee Cameron Trent was also appointed to serve as the official South Country Central School District representative to the New York State Countywide Shared Services Initiative. Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone previously invited school districts to elect a representative to the countywide shared services tax savings plan panel, known as SuffolkShare, so that municipalities can save dollars through shared services and procurement of goods and best pricing.    

The Board also ratified the Bellport Teachers’ Association Affiliate contract for a four-year period.

The Board determined to hold its annual retreat on August 17, 2019.  The location of the retreat and whether to use a New York State School Boards Association representative to run the retreat and to speak on important policy and procedure will be decided at the next meeting.
The next Board of Education meeting will be held on July 24, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the District’s administrative offices.

District Reorganizes for the 2019-20 School Year

District Reorganizes for the 2019-20 School Year  photo
District Reorganizes for the 2019-20 School Year  photo 2
District Reorganizes for the 2019-20 School Year  photo 3
District Reorganizes for the 2019-20 School Year  photo 4
District Reorganizes for the 2019-20 School Year  photo 5
The Board of Education reorganized and prepared for the 2019-20 school year during the July 2 meeting. 

In addition to welcoming newly elected trustees Melissa Aruta, E. Anne Hayes and Clyde Parker to the board, the trustees nominated and elected Ms. Hayes as president and Jack Nix as vice president.  

In addition, the trustees decided who would serve as liaisons between the schools and the board of education. The list is as follows: Melissa Aruta – Frank P. Long Intermediate School; Lisa Di Santo – South Haven Early Childhood Center; E. Anne Hayes – Brookhaven Elementary School; Jack Nix – Kreamer Street Elementary School; Clyde Parker – Bellport Middle School; Chris Picini – Verne W. Critz Elementary School; and Cameron Trent – Bellport High School.

The trustees also determined who would serve on the district’s Board Advisory Committees as follows: Strategic Planning - E. Anne Hayes, Jack Nix and Cameron Trent; Teaching and Learning – Melissa Aruta and Lisa Di Santo; Health and Safety – Lisa Di Santo, Jack Nix and Cameron Trent; Finance and Facilities – Clyde Parker and Chris Picini. 

On Stage Fairytales

On Stage Fairytales photo
As a culminating study of fairytales, third grade students in Jessenia Morales’ Dual Language Program class at Brookhaven Elementary adapted the popular tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” into puppet shows. The puppet shows were performed for K-2 students enrolled in the dual language program and were written and acted out completely in Spanish.

Ms. Morales explained that the 14 students worked collaboratively in groups to create their own script, puppets and set. The activity not only entertained school peers, but built language, communication and confidence skills. 

The District’s Dual Language Magnet Program housed at Brookhaven Elementary School officially opened in September 2018 and now allows all district students beginning in kindergarten the opportunity to learn core subjects in both English and Spanish, becoming bilingual and biliterate through fifth grade.

Hats off to Bellport High School’s Class of 2019

Hats off to Bellport High School’s Class of 2019

A clear summer evening set the stage as 310 Bellport High School graduates processed through the fire department’s ladder and flag archway as the wind ensemble played “Pomp and Circumstance” during the school’s annual commencement exercises, held on Joe Cipp Field on June 27. After the graduates made their way to the bleachers, the Cadet Corps and Dance Club presented the colors and Senior Class President Kyle Climan led the salute to the flag.

During his opening comments, Kyle remarked that the Class of 2019’s roots in the community has influenced them and created a big family. “Each of you are special in your own regard, and I believe we can achieve anything,” he said. “Let us not forget our roots, because this right here is what made us.”

Principal Timothy Hogan welcomed parents and the community and asked the graduates if they are aware of their impact on the world. “What starts here changes the world,” he said. “Never discount the effect you have on a person.” Mr. Hogan also listed three attributes of true leaders, including knowing your content, being passionate about what you do and having a genuine interest.  

As the valedictorian, salutatorian and essayist were introduced, Mr. Hogan presented each with a medal and plaque. Essayist Grace Armann asked the question of how we measure the value of one’s past, both individually and collectively. “Our sadness and struggles are not what specifically define us as they often seem to, but they can help us become the people we are today or will become in the future,” she said.

Salutatorian Aneeqa Majid reminded her classmates that the present is a gift and is sometimes taken for granted. “I wish someone had told me years ago that time doesn’t deliver happiness; that I didn’t need to seek a better tomorrow when all along I could have made my today the tomorrow I wanted,” she said. 

Valedictorian Tyler Brock said graduation is a time when everyone can have a clean slate to redefine who they are now. “Whatever reputations, good or bad, we have earned over our lives so far will be gone, and with that comes the ability to make a new first impression that aligns more with who we want to be,” Tyler said.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani then certified that the Class of 2019 has met the credentials for graduation, and Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice led the students in the traditional moving of their tassels to signify becoming graduates of Bellport High School. The graduates were then individually called to the podium to receive their diplomas from Mr. Hogan, Dr. Giani and Ms. Felice, as well as special persons in their lives.  

The South Country Board of Education, administration and faculty extend best wishes of happiness and success to the Class of 2019.

Frank P. Long Students Take to the Stage

Frank P. Long Students Take to the Stage
Frank P. Long Students Take to the Stage 2
Frank P. Long Students Take to the Stage 3
At Frank P. Long Intermediate School, students not only are encouraged to be expressive, but have been showcasing their dramatic talents on the stage.

Students who are members of the Actor’s Studio, an enrichment club that met once a week throughout the school year, recently performed “When in Doubt, Laugh It Out.” Under the direction of Trish Gallina and Cami Ciervo, the montage of skits was much like a Saturday Night Live comedy for kids. The numbers resembled summer camp skits. Students started rehearsing in January and performed live for parents and peers in June. 

Fifth grade students in Patricia Kraker’s and Suzanne Olivotti-Dodge’s classes also held performances of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet” in the courtyard learning lab. Dressed in period costumes, the students presented a more modern and fun-filled version of the author’s tragedies as presented by Brendan P. Kelso’s series “Playing with Plays.” Not only did the students learn to appreciate Shakespeare’s works and language, they learned stage direction, elocution and performance skills.

New Principal for South Haven Early Childhood Center

New Principal for South Haven Early Childhood Center
The district has hired Brian Ginty as principal of the new South Haven Early Childhood Center, which will open this coming fall and hold the district’s already robust pre-kindergarten program.

A Sayville resident, Mr. Ginty has served the district for 10 years first as a principal at Verne W. Critz Elementary School and formerly as an assistant principal and principal at Bellport Middle School. Prior to his tenure at South Country, Mr. Ginty also taught high school social studies at Bethpage High School and at St. John  the Baptist Diocesan High School in Rockville Center.

Mr. Ginty holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies and secondary education, as well as a master’s degree in education from Stony Brook University. 

He said he is pleased to be principal of the district’s new pre-kindergarten center. He said one of his goals is to “establish a loving presence” so that each student can reach his or her full potential and acquire skills that will prepare him or her for elementary school.


Rockstar Readers

Jasmyn Jackson in Mr. Tortora’s class and Samuel Sorto in Ms. E. Kelly’s class were rock star readers this year! Jasmyn checked out books 79 times and Sam checked out books 73 times from the library media center this school year. Jasmyn and Sam received a canvas bag with three new chapter books, a magnetic bookmarks, and some goodies. Keep up the great reading in middle school! (Thank you to Ms. Belford, library media specialist at Kreamer Street Elementary School, for the inspiration.)

A Trip to ‘The Farm’ (La Granja)

Brookhaven Elementary School’s dual language program kindergarten students took a trip to “The Farm (La Granja),” an end-of-year bilingual play performed for parents and faculty on June 4 in the library. Under the direction of teachers Brenda Tejeda and Natalie Baeza, students assisted in creating the props and worked in groups to create the skits. 

Assigned group skits and dressed as various barnyard animals, the students read the poem “All Around the Barnyard,” where they met farm animals and described their purpose on the farm.  The kindergartners then performed the “Three Little Pigs” and a Mexican version of the “Little Red Hen” called “Mañana Iguana.” There was a skit called “Los Pollitos Dicen” about how hens take care of their chicks and “Josefina La Gallina” about a hen that goes crazy when she hears music. The delightful performance concluded with “The Farmer in the Dell” about a farmer’s various jobs on the farm.

During the school year, the students have been studying farm life. They created a farm corner in the classroom where they participated in purposeful play to help them learn important concepts. They even had the opportunity to visit a farm and met with a farmer and his animals.

South Country Says Farewell to BOE Trustees

South Country Says Farewell to BOE Trustees photo
During the June 12 board of education meeting, the community said farewell to three district trustees, who will retire from their posts on June 30. President Cheryl A. Felice and trustees Dr. Anthony Griffin and Carol Malin were acknowledged by central administrators, fellow trustees and the community and thanked for their tireless efforts, unwavering support and service to the district’s students.

Both President Felice and Dr. Griffin served on the board of education for one term, July 2016-June 2019 with Felice serving as president for the past two years. President Felice also served on the board advisory committees for teaching and learning, strategic planning and finance and facilities and was the board representative for the South Country Community Leadership Network. 

During his tenure, Dr. Griffin served as a member of the teaching and learning and finance and facilities board advisory committees. He noted that being on the board “has been like being in a car with different drivers, but one moving in the same direction. Ultimately we were all here for the community.”

Ms. Malin served two terms on the board (July 2013-June 2016 and July 2016-June 2019). She served three years as vice president and one year as president of the board from July 2016-June 2017. Ms. Malin was a member of the board advisory committees for teaching and learning and strategic planning. During the meeting, she thanked the committee and fellow trustees for their support and noted that she was pleased with the amount of work the board accomplished during her tenure.

Ms. Felice ended the meeting by thanking Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani for holding on to his belief that students come first. She also wished the new board best of luck and encouraged the trustees to continue to push forward with current initiatives.

A-buzz With Spelling Talent

A-buzz With Spelling Talent photo
Congratulations to students Saraiya Ferguson and Marcella Krotschinsky, who were first- and second-place winners, respectively, in the annual Frank P. Long Intermediate School fourth grade spelling bee. After 11 rounds, the winning spelling word was “persuasive.”

Prior to the competition, contests were held in each class and the school’s more than 50 top spellers then took to the stage to battle it out for the spelling title on June 10. Teachers Keri Gimpel, Jeni-marie McCarthy and Michael McGovern were the judges, while Sandra Winslow served as moderator and Kristin Christie as stage coordinator. The students carefully spelled each word presented, with the words becoming more difficult as the spelling bee progressed. 

South Country Marks Two Important Milestones


The school district marked two important milestones for faculty, retirement and tenure, during the June 12 meeting of the board of education. Prior to the meeting, the high school culinary students hosted a reception in the high school cafeteria with music by student-musicians Jack Armann, Mariah Chavez and Victoria Monte.

To the retirees and tenured teachers Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said, “Each of you came to South Country with the credentials, talent and the potential to be successful. You have done the job well during your time here and you have demonstrated your ability to help our students learn and grow.”

The district’s 15 retirees have a collective 394 years of service between them and include:
Lorraine Beals – Central Office – dispatcher – 11 years
Jacqueline Berger – Bellport MS/Kreamer Street Elementary – speech – 31 years
Susan Diviney-Giustino – Verne W.  Critz Elementary – elementary – 33 years 
Linda Freiband – Frank P. Long Intermediate School – ESL – 17 years
Jean Gray – Brookhaven Elementary – special education – 27 years
Jorge Jimenez – Central Office – Assistant Manager DP – 27 years
Jayne Johnsen-Seeberger – Bellport High School – librarian – 20 years
William Kobel – Frank P. Long Intermediate School – head custodian – 24 years
Emanuel Kostakos – Verne W. Critz Elementary – psychologist – 30 years
Catherine Mulligan – Kreamer Street Elementary – speech – 19 years
Nancy Nolan – Kreamer Street Elementary – teaching assistant – 32 years
Eric Roeske – Bellport High School – music – 30 years
Sheila Smith – Bellport High School – business – 32 years
Susan Smith-Alpert – Kreamer Street Elementary – psychologist – 28 years
Sandra Winslow – Frank P. Long Intermediate School – elementary – 33 years  

In addition, 17 teachers received tenure and include: 
Bellport HS: Gaetano Greco, Matthew Herrschaft, Amy Karp, Amy Krawczyk; Bellport MS: Kaitlyn Cutrone, Victoria Hogan, Judy Kaiser-Krywolap, Cristina Piraino, Stephen Schwicke, Kyle Sherlock: Frank P. Long Intermediate School: Dusty Deery, Kimberly Narciso, Jennine O’Shea, Genevieve Piazza, Alyce Smith; Brookhaven Elementary: Melissa Gascon; and Verne W. Critz Elementary: Ashley Sagistano. 

Mercury-Containing Flooring

You may have recently read reports in the news regarding school districts with flooring of a certain type which may contain mercury. As a precautionary measure, we recently screened potential suspect floors within our schools. We are happy to report the results of the testing were "none detected." Complete results by our Environmental Consultant can be found here.

Needs Assessment Visit with NYSED


Bellport High School Athletes to Continue their Sports

Bellport High School Athletes to Continue their Sports photo
Thirty-three Bellport High School student-athletes are planning to continue playing their sports on the college or university level this coming fall, Athletic Director Robert McIntyre reported. Wearing their sports jerseys and T-shirts, the athletes gathered in the library to take an official photo. The activity was also an opportunity to celebrate the students’ impending athletic intentions and to wish their peers continued success.

The district congratulates the following student-athletes:
Angela Aruanna – Suffolk County Community College – tennis
Enma Bautista – SUNY Potsdam – volleyball
Shakeese Byrd – Mansfield University – football
Jaelyn Conquest – Suffolk County Community College – volleyball and track & field
Samuel Hampson – John Jay College of Criminal Justice – soccer
Gionnah Hicks – John Jay College of Criminal Justice – cheerleading
Salvatore Iadicicco – Suffolk County Community College – lacrosse
Janiah Jones – University of Mississippi – cheerleading
Matthew Juarez – Alvernia University – track
Gabrielle Koehler – Post University –  lacrosse  - National Letter of Intent
Candice Lopez – Alvernia University – cheerleading 
James MacGilvray – Western Connecticut State University – lacrosse
Justin Maler – SUNY Oneonta – baseball
Alyssa Mantione – SUNY Oneonta – volleyball
Nathalia Minchala – Dean College – basketball
Grace Minikel – Adelphi University – track – National Letter of Intent
Melannie Molina – SUNY Plattsburg – soccer
Sean O’Hara – Western Connecticut State University – football
Steffen Peabody – Dominican College – lacrosse – National Letter of Intent
Kyler Pizzo – Herkimer College – track
Damian Rabstejnek – Suffolk County Community College – track and field
Sabrina Richards – SUNY Delhi – track and field
Savannah Sargent – Denison University – swimming
Emmaly Seamen – University of Hartford – cheerleading
Devin Trent – SUNY Morrisville – football
Dwan Trent – SUNY Morrisville – football 
Jamie Trowbridge – Adelphi University – lacrosse 
Andrew Veit – Saint Peter’s University – baseball  - National Letter of Intent 
Jarell White – College Prep School – basketball
Khyree Wilson – SUNY Morrisville – football
Myles Wilson – SUNY Cortland – football
Shawn Wolf – Saint Joseph’s University – lacrosse – National Letter of Intent
Robert Zahralban – University of Alabama – lacrosse – National Letter of Intent

Championship Win for Middle School History Team

Championship Win for Middle School History Team

After a successful competitive season, the Bellport Middle School History Team now holds the title of Suffolk County History League championship team. 

The team competed in seven competitions this school year scheduled between the months of October and May, placing first in six out of seven competitions and earning 20 out of a possible 21 points in the overall standings. During the last competition, held at Bellport Middle School on May 21, the team won first place and was awarded the title and the Suffolk County History League championship trophy.  

“This was, by far, the hardest working team I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching,” adviser Clifford Piraino said. “They took the initiative every week, writing practice questions for themselves, and even giving up their lunch [period]  to come to my classroom and prepare for each competition. This is truly a team I will never forget.”

Members of the championship team include Tatianna Alvarado, Claire Cannella, Patricia Carballido, Madeline Day,  Kevin Uceda, Emma Kuegel, Rachel Li,  Eirini Michaels Hrysanthopoulos and Leah Ofori. The history competition resembles a game of Jeopardy, with the only difference being that the students work together as a team to answer questions. Each month, the students study topics in current events, U.S. presidents, notable historical figures, sports, grade 6-8 history and geography. 

The district congratulates the team on this outstanding accomplishment.

South Country Central School District Board Notes – June 12, 2019

There was a change of location to Bellport High School for the school year’s final scheduled board of education meeting. Prior to the meeting, a reception was held in the high school cafeteria to honor 15 retiring faculty and 17 teachers receiving tenure. The reception was catered by the culinary students who served an array of delicious appetizers and desserts thoroughly enjoyed by those in attendance. Music students Jack Armann, Mariah Chavez and Victoria Monte also set the tone with string performances.

During the business meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani and Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice presented each retiree with a plaque to commemorate their unwavering support and service to the students of South Country. In addition, each of the principals read a biography on the retiree’s stellar career with their respective schools. The district congratulates the following faculty on their retirement: Lorraine Beals, Catherine Mulligan, William Kobel, Jorge Jimenez, Jayne Johnsen-Seeberger, Jean Gray, Susan Smith-Alpert, Eric Roeske, Emanuel Kostakos, Jacqueline Berger, Sheila Smith, Sandra Winslow, Susan Diviney-Giustino, Nancy Nolan and Linda Freiband. 

In addition, the board also said farewell to three trustees, President Cheryl A. Felice, Dr. Anthony Griffin and Carol Malin, who chose not to run for reelection on May 21. In addition to receiving proclamations from Senator Monica Martinez’s office, the three board retirees were honored with words of appreciation from each of their fellow trustees and applause from those in attendance. 

The board of education also unanimously approved an item which granted tenure to the following individuals: Kaitlyn Cutrone, Dusty Deery, Melissa Gascon, Gaetano Greco, Matthew Herrschaft, Victoria Hogan, Amy Karp, Judy Kaiser-Krywolap, Amy Krawczyk, Kimberly Narciso, Jennine O’Shea, Genevieve Piazza, Cristina Piraino, Ashley Sagistano, Stephen Schwicke, Kyle Sherlock and Alyce Smith. 

In other news, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Marlon Small, Director of Humanities Jacyln O’Hagan, Director of Guidance and Counseling Programs Justin Arini, Director of STEM Jack Burke and Bellport High School Principal Timothy Hogan gave a presentation on their recommendations for implementation of the Advanced Placement Capstone Program. A college and career-readiness program, AP Capstone provides students with the opportunity to develop skills in research, analysis, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration, in addition to writing and presentation skills. The first phase of implementation will occur during the 2020-2021 school year with the offering of AP Seminar to students in grades 10-12 and will follow with full implementation of the program and the offering of AP Research in either the 2021-22 or 2022-23 school years. 

The board also changed the date of the annual reorganization meeting from July 10 to July 2 at 7 p.m.

During their closing remarks, President Felice, Dr. Griffin and Ms. Malin thanked the community for the opportunity to serve the South Country community. President Felice noted that during her tenure, the board has participated in healthy dialogue without discord, the way a board should run. She also thanked Dr. Giani for his leadership and for “holding onto the belief that students are first.” Dr. Griffin said he was told prior to serving that being a board trustee is a thankless job. “The thanks are there, and I appreciate all of the thanks I received,” he said.

Kreamer Street Students Talk About STEAM

 Kreamer Street Students Talk About STEAM
 Kreamer Street Students Talk About STEAM
During the May 22 Board of Education meeting, Kreamer Street Elementary School students and members of the school’s STEAM Lab Commission reported the success of the new STEAM lab. The science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics lab was a pilot program for the 2018-2019 school year and students visit each week for hands-on exploration, problem-solving and building activities that are in tandem with the district’s grade-level curriculum.   

Bellport High School’s Top Achievers Honored at Senior Awards


Bellport High School’s top seniors were recognized for their scholarship, community service and enthusiasm for extracurricular activities during the annual senior awards ceremony, held in Ebersole Auditorium on June 3. One hundred seniors sat on the decorated stage as their names were called out to receive one or several of the 104 awards and scholarships presented to deserving recipients.  

In his introductory remarks, Class of 2019 President Kyle Climan said being chosen for an award or scholarship was a sensational feeling. “We are fulfilled in knowing that we have made the school proud,” he said.

Congratulations to the following seniors who received awards and scholarships, and much success in their future endeavors.

U.S. Air National Guard Certificate of Enlistment - Carson Nagle
U.S. Air Force Math/Science Achievement Award - Nicholas Nazzaro and Chiara Scharf
U.S. Army Certificate of Enlistment - Ayden DeGrijze, Brian Kavanagh Jr., Johnathan
 Patterson and Sean Rodriguez
U.S. Army National Guard Certificate of Enlistment - Gabriel Bernal
U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete Award - Valentina Banellis and Kyle Climan
U.S. Marine Distinguished Athlete Award  - Jamie Trowbridge and Jarell White
U.S. Marine Scholastic Excellence Award - Tyler Brock
U.S. Marine Semper Fidelis Music Award - Andrew Zimlinghaus
U.S. Navy Athletic Achievement Award - Grace Minikel and Andrew Veit
U.S. Navy Certificate of Enlistment - Ivan Lopez
U.S. Navy Inspirational Leadership Award - Jarell White
U.S. Navy Outstanding Scholar Award - Aneeqa Majid
SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD OF SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE/University of Rochester/George Eastman Young Leaders Award - Andrew Zimlinghaus
AAA Northeast - Makayla Carrozza 
Ambulance Company of South Country Award - Erin Bone
American History Award Colonel Josiah Smith Chapter NSDAR Scholarship - Eloise Kocay
Anthony D. Ferrara Scholarship - Tiara Jones
Baha'i Faith Unity in Diversity Award - Sarah Valenzuela
Bassford, Dick Memorial Golf Scholarship - Max Kaczmarek, Theo Loizides, Nicholas Nazzaro and Finn Rauch
Bell Street Artists-The Dr. Erwin Lubit Award for Art - Bryce Reid, Caroline Slovensky
Bellport Chamber of Commerce Business Scholarship - Kyle Climan
Bellport Chamber of Commerce Malcolm Morley Art Scholarship - Caroline Slovensky
Bellport Fire Department Scholarship - Carson Nagle
Bellport Football Sean Nigel Vaz "Rich in Pride, Rich in Heart, Rich in Spirit" - Dwan Trent 
Bellport Garden Club Scholarship - Anna Burkhardt and Chiara Scharpf
Bellport High School (School Store) Award - Kimberly Barbecho, Donald Henderson Jr., 
Chani Jones, Keona Ringgold and Rashona Ringgold
Bellport High School Athlete of the Year - Jaelyn Conquest and Dwan Trent
Bellport High School P.T.S.A. Scholarship - Ivelisse Diaz, Rebekah Ofori and Steven Uhrie
Bellport High School Rick Herrmann Math Scholarship - Megan Berja and Tyler Brock 
Bellport High School Rick Herrmann Memorial Wrestling  - Andrew Porsche
Bellport High School Rick Herrmann Scholarship - Tyler Brock, Erin Grace Kelly and 
Sean O'Hara
Bellport High School Scholar Athlete Award - Tyler Brock and Aneeqa Majid
Bellport High School Significant Progress Award - Tiara Jones and Devin Trent 
Bellport High School Student Council Scholarship Awarded in Memory of 
BHS Student Jennifer Mejia - Kyle Climan and Grace Armann
Bellport High School Theatre Sponsors Award - Rafael Benavides, Savanna Borrero, 
Angelina Caroli, Henry Chillogallo, Alex Erwin, Mia Grossman, Alliandra Khillawan, Erin Kelly, Eloise Kocay, Shaun Laurinaitis, Katelyn Maddalena, Maya McCullough, Grace Rojas, Hannah Tapler, Steven Uhrie and Tyler Zapata
Bellport High School Volleyball Scholarship - Enma Bautista and Jaelyn Conquest
Bellport Middle School Julia Nofi Scholarship Award  - Gabriella Koehler
Bellport Middle School PTA Scholarship - Angelina Caroli, Donald Henderson Jr., Thomas Wilson and Tyler Zapata
Bellport Middle School Student Council Award - Tyler Brock
Bellport Play crafters Theatre Company Desmond W. Burke Scholarship - Alexander Erwin, Shaun Laurinaitis and Tyler Zapata
Bellport Play crafters Theatre Company Margaret W. Smith Scholarship - Mia Grossman and  Erin Kelly
Bellport Retired Educators Association in Memory of: Maureen Asher, Richard Chant, Denis DeSosa, Phyllis Hausner, Kenneth Hughes, William Reynolds, Paul Susskind – Anna  Burkhardt, Samantha Murray and Jamie Trowbridge
Bellport Rotary Scholarship - Max Loeffler, Alyssa Silvestro 
Bellport Soccer Matt Cimino Memorial Scholarship - Jonathan Ulloa Fuentes
Bellport South Country Lions Club Scholarship - Makayla Carrozza and Lauren Moncayo 
Bellport Teachers' Affiliate Association Scholarship - Gabriel Bernal, Kyle Climan, Samuel Perez and Mackenzie Thompson
Bellport Teachers' Association Mary Chavious Scholarship - Grace Rojas
Bellport Teachers' Association Sally Munson Scholarship - Samantha Murray
Bellport Youth Football/John Leone Memorial Scholarship - Shakeese Byrd, Anthony 
Deiters, Gionnah Hicks, Candice Lopez, Myles Wilson and Shawn Wolf
Brookhaven Elementary PTA Scholarship - Chiara Scharpf
Brookhaven Hamlet Foundation (Virginia Brown Scholarship) - Chiara Scharpf and Grace Minikel
Brookhaven Homemakers Beatrice Patrone Memorial Scholarship - Kaitlin Henderson
Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Med & Dental Staff Scholarship - Grace Minikel
Caithness Long Island Energy Center Scholarship - Marvina Baslious, Henry Chillogallo, Ivelisse Diaz, Michael Foley, Aneeqa Majid, Finn Rauch, Daniel Roach and Gabrielle Tims
Capital One Bank Scholarship - Judelka Molina
Captain P.J. Roberge Memorial Scholarship  - Aneeqa Majid
David Kinard Memorial Scholarship - Jarell White
Donna Warshaw Memorial Scholarship - Victor Gonzalez
Dorothy Roberge Memorial Scholarship - Ahmed Rehman
Elaine Messina Memorial Scholarship - Nolan Lyons and Chiara Scharpf
Frank P. Long P.T.A. Scholarship - Thomas Wilson IV
Gershow Recycling Environmental Conservation Scholarship - Chiara Scharpf
Great South Bay Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8300 Scholarship - Justin Maler and 
Thomas Wilson IV
Green Community Builder Scholarship - Eloise Kocay 
Harbor Crab Fishing Tournament Scholarship in honor of Paul "Skippy" Ambrose and Jason Nichols  - Theodore Loizides
James Felix Grucci Memorial Fund - Erin Bone and Ahmed Rehman  
James L. Vaughan Memorial Citizenship Scholarship - Tyler Zapata
Jeffrey George & Darren Yancey Memorial Scholarship - Devon Balfour
Jennifer Hromada Memorial / Spirit Scholarships - Tyler Brock and Jamie Trowbridge
Jostens Leadership Award - Kristine Brittelli and Genesis Martinez
Karin J. Briggs Memorial Scholarship - Juliana Polonski
Katelyn Kokis Women's Soccer Scholarship - Valentina Banellis
Katie Kokis Memorial Scholarship - Mia Grossman 
Kiwanis Club of Patchogue Scholarship in Memory of Edmund Tuton and J.P. 
Brown–Natalie Arriaza, Trinity Behlen and Carlos Paxtian
Kreamer Street School PTA Scholarship - Grace Armann and Melannie Molina 
Kristin Rohde Theatre Memorial Scholarship - Grace Rojas
Lifetouch School Portrait Scholarship - Mia Grossman and Genesis Martinez
Long Island Teachers Benevolent Fund Scholarship - Grace Armann, Tyler Brock, Nolan Lyons And Alyssa Mantione 
Long Island/New York Blood Services Scholarship - Emily Dupointe and Nicholas Nazzaro
Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship - Rafael Benavides, Makayla Carrozza, Emily Dupointe, Gionnah Hicks, Jasmine La Gala, Candice Lopez, Genesis Martinez, Judelka Molina, Melannie Molina and Tyler Zapata
Maryrose Bono Memorial Scholarship - Alliandra Khillawan
Munistat Services, Inc. Scholarship - Kyle Climan
Murray L. Fink Memorial Fund  - Jamie Trowbridge
NYS Council of Administrators of Music Education/Suffolk Award - Andrew Zimlinghaus
NYSASBO Scholarship - Melannie Molina
Office of the State Comptroller Student Achievement Award - Kyle Climan, Samuel 
Hampson, Eloise Kocay and Chiara Scharpf
Patchogue Lioness Lions Club - Tiara Jones
Paul Susskind Memorial Scholarship - Samuel Hampson
Peter S. Celentano Memorial Scholarship - Tyler Zapata
Principal's Leadership Award - Chiara Scharpf
Principal's Recognition Award - Katerin Fuentes Velasco, Janiah Jones and Shealyn Rice
Ray A. Kroc Youth Achievement Award  - Tiara Jones
RJ Buada Memorial Scholarship - Savanna Borrero, Morgan Monte and Sarah Valenzuela 
Robert J. & Muriel Kossoy Memorial Scholarship - Tyler Brock
SCOPE - Christopher Tucker
South Country Administrators Association Award - Jarell White
South Country P.T.A. Council Academic Scholarship - Justin Maler and Mitchell Maresco
South Country Women’s Kickball League - Trinity Behlen and Jamie Trowbridge
South Country Youth Soccer League Rose Ventiere Memorial Scholarship - Branden Rasmussen
Suffolk County Music Educators Association Award - Andrew Zimlinghaus
Suffolk County Public Executive Service Award - Grace Armann
Susan Digilio and Fred Corso Spirit & Humanity Award - Emily Dupointe
Triple "C" Award - Grace Armann, Emily Dupointe, Aneeqa Majid, Christina Nunez and Gabrielle Tims
U.S. Congress Congressional Merit Award - Tyler Brock, Aneeqa Majid and Grace Armann
Verne W. Critz PTA Scholarship Award - Henry Chillogallo and Mia Grossman
Women's Club of Patchogue Scholarship - Anna Burkhardt


VIDEO: South Country Cadet Corps


High School Athletes to Commit to College Sports

High School Athletes to Commit to College Sports
The district is proud to announce that six Bellport High School student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to continue their sports on Division I and Division II teams this coming fall. The district congratulates the students on this outstanding athletic accomplishment and continued success at college this fall.

Gabriella Koehler – Post University (Division II) - lacrosse
Grace Minikel – Adelphi University (Division II) – track
Steffen Peabody – Dominican College (Division II) lacrosse
Andrew Veit – Saint Peter’s University (Division I) – baseball
Shawn Wolf – Saint Joseph’s University (Division I) – lacrosse
Robert Zahralban – University of Alabama (Division II) – lacrosse


A Day Just for Kindergarten Students

A Day Just for Kindergarten Students
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With summer right around the corner, Brookhaven kindergarten students were excited to showcase what they have learned throughout the school year during Kindergarten Day. Each class dressed in specific colored T-shirts, like the colors in a crayon box, to match the theme of the day. 

Rotating through the classrooms, the students participated in activities that reviewed their graphing, Spanish language, color identification, direction following, fine motor and science skills in a fun-filled way. They graphed their favorite colors, played color and shape Bingo, drew a crayon box by following directions, reviewed their colors in Spanish and planted flowers in individual pots. Fine motor skills were also reviewed through activities which included shoe tying, a button sort, weaving and a ping pong grab. There was also a classroom and school assembly read aloud of author Drew Daywalt’s “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “The Day the Crayons Came Home” to match the theme of this special event. 

Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond explained that even though the kindergarten students are having fun during the planned activities, Kindergarten Day was a review of the basic concepts and skills learned by the kindergarten class this year. 

Gina Benzie Named STANYS Science Teacher of Year

Gina Benzie Named STANYS Science Teacher of Year
The district is pleased to announce that Kreamer Street Elementary School first grade elementary teacher Gina Benzie has been named the 2019 recipient of the Suffolk Section of the Science Teachers Association of New York State Elementary Level Science Teacher of the Year Award.
According to STANYS, Ms. Benzie received this prestigious recognition based on her ability to provide students and teachers with programs and strategies for the advancement of science. She has not only promoted the enhancement of science education with distinction but has also earned the respect of her colleagues. 

Ms. Benzie was honored by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, the board of education and Principal Sean Clark during the May 22 board of education meeting. Mr. Clark said, “It is a real honor to have you on our staff and the whole Kreamer Kingdom is proud of you.”  

Cameron Trent Sworn in as New District Trustee

Cameron Trent Sworn in as New District Trustee
During the May 22 Board of Education business meeting, Cameron Trent was sworn in as the district’s newest trustee. District clerk Christine Flynn administered the Oath of Faithful Performance of Office at the start of the meeting. 

Mr. Trent received the fourth highest number of votes during the trustee election on May 21, enabling him to serve a two-year term commencing on May 22, 2019, and expiring on June 30, 2021. Melissa Aruta, E. Anne Hayes and Clyde Parker will start a three-year term of office on the Board of Education commencing on July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2022.  

Mr. Trent said being elected to the Board has been an “humbling experience” and that he is ready to get to work.

VIDEO: Annual Fine and Performing Arts Show


Class of 2019 Valedictorian Tyler Brock Honored

Class of 2019 Valedictorian Tyler Brock Honored
Class of 2019 Valedictorian Tyler Brock Honored 2

Bellport High School valedictorian Tyler Brock was among Suffolk County’s highest-achieving students from the Class of 2019 who were honored by school district superintendents, administrators and parents during the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association’s 25th annual Valedictorian’s Luncheon, held at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook on May 30.  

The celebratory event was punctuated with music provided by Elwood School District’s John H. Glenn High School Chamber Strings under the baton of Karen Gellert. 

Congratulating the students on their hard work and achievements were Dr. Kenneth Bossert, SCCSA president and Elwood School District superintendent of schools; Dr. Ronald Masera, SCSSA vice president and Remsenburg-Speonk School District superintendent of Schools; Dr. Yiendhy Farrelly, SCSSA secretary and West Babylon School District superintendent of schools; and Bernadette Burns, SCSSA president-elect and West Islip School District superintendent of schools.

Dr. Bossert told the valedictorians that they possess the many attributes of Elwood School District’s mascot, a knight, in that they have demonstrated humility, honor, sacrifice, faithfulness, courage and grace. “Today, we are all knights,” he said. 

During the keynote address, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini told parents and educators that education is vital to the security of our communities and nation and that by navigating the hard issues they empower students. To the valedictorians, he said that people often told him he would fail, but that he did not allow others to tell him he could not do something. “Your goals and plans may change over time, but think how to best serve the community,” Mr. Sini said. “This will happen if you do something you love.”     

Each valedictorian was called to the stage to receive a certificate and gift of recognition. Accompanied by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani and Principal Timothy Hogan, Tyler was called to the podium where he was introduced and his intent to study engineering at the University of Central Florida’s Barnett Honors Program was announced. 

The district congratulates Tyler on this academic achievement and wishes him much success.  

South Country’s Chris Picini elected to N-SSBA

South Country’s Chris Picini elected to N-SSBA
Board of Education trustee Christopher Picini was elected as a member of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association’s Executive Committee. N-SSBA is an organization which seeks legislative action to protect and sustain Long Island’s public schools. Mr. Picini was officially introduced and congratulated on his new position during the annual N-SSBA dinner, held at the North Ritz Club in Syosset on May 29.

An East Patchogue resident, Mr. Picini has served the school district as a board of education trustee for the past seven years. He works with a manufacturing firm for competitive swimwear and has three children who attend district schools. 

Mr. Picini said he is excited to start his work with N-SSBA and representing the Long Island school community. “It has been really nice being recognized by outside board members for my work as a board of education trustee in South Country,” he said. 

Bellport HS Students Grand prizewinners in CAPS contest

Bellport HS Students Grand prizewinners in CAPS contest

Bellport High School is pleased to announce that Ellen Hoffman’s public speaking and debate class are grand prizewinners in the 2019 New York Mets Anti-Bullying Campaign, “Strike Out Bullying,” in conjunction with Child Abuse Prevention Services.

CAPS is a Long Island nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the prevention of bullying, child abuse and neglect through its resources and educational campaigns. CAPS  also works directly with children in Nassau and Suffolk counties and is a leading resource in bullying, cyber-bullying, child abuse prevention, internet safety, relational aggression, sexual harassment and date rape prevention. 

Ms. Hoffman explained that the students wrote, performed in and produced their own public service announcement, “Your Words Matter,” to raise awareness of the dangers of bullying to social and emotional health. The 60-second video was filmed in the hallways of Bellport High School. As grand prizewinners, the students have won tickets to the June 5 New York Mets game at Citi Field, where they will attend batting practice and participate in a pre-game recognition ceremony. Their video will also be shown on the Diamond Vision screen for all fans to see. In addition, CAPS will feature the PSA video in their training materials to ensure that all students feel safe, valued and respected throughout Long Island’s schools. This award also comes on the heels of a second-place win by the class during the 2018-2019 school year.

“It is wonderful for the kids to be recognized,” Ms. Hoffman said. “The award is well-deserved. [The video] is just a small slice of the tremendous talent and hard work the public speaking and debate students exhibited throughout the year.”

Workout for a good cause

Workout for a good cause
The Bellport High School wrestling team, high school athletes, coaches and staff gathered on May 22 to complete a memorial workout to benefit the Wounded Warriors project in remembrance of local fallen hero Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy. 

The memorial workout consisted of a two-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats. More than $650 was raised with generous contributions from the high school staff and the South Country Central School District community.

Born in 1976 in Suffolk County, Lt. Murphy was a U.S. Navy SEAL officer and the first Navy recipient since the Vietnam War to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the War in Afghanistan in 2005. He also received posthumous awards including the Silver Star Medal, later upgraded to the Medal of Honor, and a Purple Heart.   

Memorial workout organizer Joseph Scioli said the event drew a great group of staff and students. The top five finishers completed the workout in under 35 minutes, which are elite athlete times. 

Bellport Wrestling “Murph” Memorial Workout Video

A Marshmallow Challenge

A Marshmallow Challenge
At Bellport High School, English as a New Language students enrolled in Matthew Herrschaft’s and Sheila Smith’s human relations course have been learning about communication and teamwork. The students recently put their skills to the test during participation in a Marshmallow Challenge. 

Using only dry pasta, one marshmallow, tape and two feet of string, the students were instructed to work together to build a spaghetti tower. Many of the students succeeded by utilizing communication, planning and teamwork among their groups. One of the more successful groups was even able to suspend the marshmallow 13.5 inches on top of their tower.

Bellport HS Students Nominated for Teeny Awards

Bellport HS Students Nominated for Teeny Awards photo
The Bellport High School Theater Program is proud to announce that three student-thespians have been nominated for 2019 Teeny Awards. Sponsored by East End Arts, the Teeny Awards, also known as the “Tony Awards” for Long Island high school theater programs, annually celebrates excellence in high school theater across the East End of Long Island. During the Teeny Awards Gala Ceremony, East End Arts will showcase the year’s favorite performances and bestow Student Theatre Arts Recognition Awards to the best of the best at Southold High School on June 9.

Bellport High School’s nominees were all involved with the school’s production of “Rent.” Tyler Zapata and Erin Kelly received nominations for lead male and lead female in a musical, respectively, while Katelyn Maddalena was nominated in the category of supporting female in a musical. David Bellante was received a recognition honor for pit orchestra, and Maya McCullough received a recognition honor as assistant director. 

The district congratulates the students on this outstanding accomplishment and wishes continued success at the Teeny Awards this June. 

Learning the Power of Spark

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During an assembly with “The Donut Fix” author Jessie Janowitz, Frank P. Long Intermediate School students learned that there are three important elements to writing a story or book: spark, the question of what if? and revision. 

The popular author, whose second book “The Donut King” was released on May 14, read the first two pages of “The Donut Fix,” shared her inspiration for the story and led the students through exercises to excite them about the writing process. She also shared her preferences for stories with lots of character and dialogue and referenced several books that meet that description.

Students brought their own journals to write down notes and to record their own “sparks.” Students who ordered Ms. Janowitz’s book also had the opportunity to meet the author and have their book signed. 

Ms. Janowitz’s visit not only excited the students, many of whom have read “The Donut Fix,” but encouraged them to pursue their own writing.  

Everyone can dance!

Everyone can dance photo
The gymnasium at Verne W. Critz Elementary School abounded with energy and the sound of popular music as students learned the fundamentals of hip hop, jazz and modern dance with Stephanie Vertichio of Stage Door School of Dance. For two weeks, the students participated in the physical education program unit with much success and enthusiasm.

Physical education teachers William Champlin and Donielle Brower explained that the dance unit was funded through a South Country Educational Foundation grant to pay for two alternate physical education programs. For one week, the students learned dance moves, while Mike Hesselbirg from Mike Hesselbirg’s Taekwondo and Karate for Kids taught a martial arts unit during the second week. 

Mr. Champlin noted that both units taught balance and coordination, spatial awareness, movement and listening skills. “These two units don’t just focus on physical education,” Mr. Champlin said. “They focus on emotional and social skills as well. Every child can dance.”

South Country Named a Top Music Education Community

South Country Named a Top Music Education Community photo
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The NAMM Foundation has designated the district as one of the nation’s 2019 Best Communities for Music Education for its demonstration of exceptionally high commitment to music education and access to music instruction for all district students.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants to advance active participation in music. The district music program was analyzed for funding, staffing of qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction.

The district is proud of its music program which offers instruction in orchestra and band instruments, piano, chorus and music theory. Elementary instruction begins in kindergarten and third grade students may join the chorus, followed by orchestra or band in fourth grade. As students reach the high school level, they have opportunities to perform with the freshman orchestra, string orchestra for grades 10-12, or to audition for membership in the concert orchestra. There is also a high school wind ensemble and symphonic band for students who play band instruments, as well as membership in the school’s mixed chorus. Piano I and II is offered, as well as Music Theory I and Advanced Placement Music Theory for those planning on continuing their education in music on the college level. The district’s various ensembles also compete in the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County festival, the Long Island String Festival Association festival, and the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education All-County festival. Opportunities to perform and compete also include the New York State School Music Association’s Ensemble and Solo and Majors Organization festivals. The district’s most talented student-musicians also apply to participate in NYSSMA’s All-State festival.

Music Chairperson James Uzzi explained that South Country supports the music program in ways other districts do not. “Because of support from Central Administration, the Board of Education and the community, we have the resources to do what it takes to make the music program visible and one that serves all interested students,” he said.  

Celebrating the Season with a Pre-K Spring Sing

Celebrating the Season with a Pre-K Spring Sing photo
The district’s prekindergarten students performed for the first time on stage during Brookhaven Elementary School’s prekindergarten Spring Sing, held on May 3 for parents and faculty. Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond explained that this annual tradition is a chance for the students to celebrate the end of the school year with their families and to show how much they have grown academically and socially during the year. 

Under the direction of teachers Karen Ernst, Kim Lampert and Dawn Sackman, the students sang seven tunes including “America the Beautiful,” “ABC Rock,” “Scat Like That,” “Tiny Tim,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “Baby Shark” and “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Each song was carefully choreographed with minimal props, and select students announced each of the musical selections.

Dr. Raymond noted that the pre-K spring sing ties into the district’s literacy program in that the students learned how to connect language to song. During their practices, the students also learned tempo, beat and performance skills that will last a lifetime.  

South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez

South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez photo
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The district welcomed New York State Sen. Monica Martinez, who visited the Frank P. Long Intermediate School on May 9.  

During her visit, Sen. Martinez met with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice and Principal Stefanie Rucinski to learn about the school’s programs and initiatives. She also toured the newly constructed courtyard learning lab where students were participating in outdoor learning activities.

Completed with the use of capital reserve funds this past fall, the courtyard learning lab provides an outdoor instructional space flexible enough to allow for large group concerts, plays and presentations, as well as an extension of classroom learning. Through its construction, the courtyard learning lab improved the overall health of the building. Overgrown vegetation was removed and rain gardens now purposely draw water and moisture away from the building. The turf flooring also reduces maintenance and eliminates the need to bring gas operated lawn mowers through the school to cut the courtyard’s grass. There are garden plots where students can plant and observe the growth of flowers and vegetables, a labyrinth and trees under which students can relax.   

The district thanks Sen. Martinez for her interest in visiting the school and the courtyard learning lab. 

Boys' Spring Track 2019 League 4 Champions

Boys' Spring Track 2019 League 4 Champions
Congratulations to SCCSD Boys’ Spring Track 2019 League 4 Champions

An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary

An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary photo
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First and second grade students in Tracy Behl’s combined class at Verne W. Critz Elementary School joined faculty and administrators in the sharing of their best writing collected during the school year. Teachers have been teaching writing methods and tools acquired from the Reading and Writing Workshop from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Ms. Behl explained that students have advanced in their writing significantly, starting with basic sketching and labeling of pictures to writing sentences and pages of information. For the author celebration, the students were given a writing assignment that compares and contrasts their favorite book or video to another. They learned how to write transitional sentences to make their comparisons flow and to explain more fluently author techniques that make their books or videos similar or different. Ms. Behl also helped the students type their writing on the computer for the author celebration. Literacy coach Jennifer Hayhurst added that the students recorded their work and that a QR code was created. This step allowed the students to play back their work and to allow parents to hear their children’s writing in verbal form. 

“Not only does recording the work help students feel comfortable listening to their own voice, some of the students have taken the initiative to self-correct their writing,” Ms. Hayhurst added.    

Each of the students rotated to faculty members where they shared their best work. Faculty, in turn, gave feedback of the student’s work by writing a short review.

Long Island’s Best Young Artists

Long Island’s Best Young Artists photo
Bellport High School is proud to announce that art students Courtney Gerard, Maria Slavnova and Gury Umanzor received awards of recognition at the Heckscher Museum’s Long Island’s Best Young Artists 2019 exhibit. 

This 23rd annual program is the only juried exhibition for high school students that provides the opportunity to exhibit in a museum. Students submit work in a broad range of media, styles and subjects, using artwork on view at the museum as the inspiration for their own work. The object labels next to each work include a statement written by the student and an image of the professional work that inspired them. Heckscher Museum Curator Lisa Chalif and guest juror artist Robyn Cooper juried the 2019 exhibition. This year, the museum received 359 artwork entries from 57 schools, with 80 selected for display in the exhibition.

Courtney, a junior, was the winner of the Donald and Gloria Horn Scholarship Award for her digital photo “Yellowstone” printed on vellum with gold leafing. Maria, a sophomore, was the winner of the Andrew Presberg Promising Young Artist Award for his digital art, “Shades of the City.” Gury, also a junior, won the Cozza Family Photography Award for her digital photograph, “Sit with Me.”  

Courtney and Gury are both students of South Country Art Department Chairperson Suzette-Emma Fandale, and Maria is a student of teacher Brandon Payne.

The district congratulates the students on this outstanding artistic accomplishment.

South Country broke out the gardening gloves

South Country broke out the gardening gloves photo
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Volunteers for the South Country Community Leadership Network pulled out their gardening gloves and tools during participation in the fifth annual spring Front Yard Cleanup, held on May 11 in Bellport. 

Each year, the Network receives nominations for those whose properties are in need of a little sprucing up and TLC. Winners work alongside the crew of volunteers to beautify the properties through the removal of leaves and yard debris, lawn cutting, hedge trimming and plantings. One hundred percent of materials used during the cleanup are generously donated by local businesses and government. The Network’s goal in hosting the Front Yard Cleanup is to assist residents in making a better first impression of the South Country community.

The South Country Central School District would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their donations: Bloomin Haus, Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco’s office, Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, Home Depot in Bellport, Jason Crane Landscaping, Brookhaven Town Councilman Michael Loguercio’s office, Susan Toplitz, Woodside Nursery and South Country Community Leadership Network volunteers. 

The South Country Community Leadership Network is a network of community organizations within the school district, joined together to assist the community and its residents. Its mission is to assist residents in reaching their highest potential by helping families in crisis, implementing prevention and intervention strategies for at-risk individuals, developing its youth and addressing underlying issues to promote a stronger and safer community.
Monday, July 15, 2019
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