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Superintendent's Letter on Vaping & E-Cigs


Grundy Avenue Students Race the Clock

Grundy Avenue Students Race the Clock photo

Problem-solving, collaboration and teamwork were at the center of a recent challenge Grundy Avenue Elementary School third-grade students worked to solve as they participated in a Breakout EDU activity.

As part of the event, each class raced the clock as it attempted to solve puzzles to determine the combination to open each lock within a secure box to reach a prize. In the allotted 45-minute time period, student teams worked together as they solved reading puzzles that gave them clues to the next portion of the challenge.

Breakout EDU is an activity that encourages students to work collaboratively while incorporating creativity, communication and critical thinking skills. Each activity can be adapted to the current curriculum and includes a wide variety of subjects such as ELA, math, science and history.

At the conclusion of the activity, each student group reflected on its Breakout EDU experience. Students explored what they learned during the activity, what problem-solving methods worked well and what they can do to improve next time. 


Sachem Students Seek the Lost Treasure of Newton

Sachem Students Seek the Lost Treasure of Newton photo
Intense focus guided students at Sachem High School East as they worked through math equations during a Breakout EDU activity to find the lost treasure of Newton.  

Calculus students in Scott Kennedy’s math class were separated into two teams and challenged to solve a series of calculus equations to get clues, tools, keys and combinations to unlock five different locks. Within the collection of locked boxes held the clue to the location of Newton’s lost treasure. 

With both teams successfully completing the task and finding the final clue, the students claimed their treasure, which was a tasty snack securely locked away in Dr. Kennedy’s file cabinet. 

Sachem Student-Athletes Honored With Fall Recognition

athletes image

Congratulations to our Sachem student-athletes listed below for receiving postseason honors in their respective fall sport. These student-athletes are recognized for their accomplishments and exceptional performances.  

These recognitions are awarded by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Section XI, Suffolk County coaches associations, Newsday and other sports-related foundations.

Sachem East Fall Postseason Award Winners

Boys Varsity Cross-Country

Scholar-Athlete Team
Justin Allore: All-League, All-Division, All-County
Christian Berberich: All-League, All-County
Joe Berberich: All-League, All-County
Kevin Engel: All-County
Ryan Famiglietti: All-League, All-County

Girls Varsity Cross-Country
Scholar-Athlete Team
League 1 Champions
Division 1 Champions
County Champions
Bridget Abraldes: All-League
Shayna Arrigo: All-League, All-Division, All-County
Margaret Atwood: All-Academic
Lindsey Dodenhoff: All-League, All-Division, All-County
Kaitlyn Famiglietti: All-Academic, All-League, All-Division, All-County
Melissa Merone: All-League, All-Division, All-County
Rachel Ruggiero: All-Academic, All-League, All-Division, All-County

Varsity Field Hockey
Scholar-Athlete Team
Katie Allen: All-County
Emily Allingham: All-Tournament
Marissa Cuevas: All-County
Katie D’Amico: All-County
Kyra D’Amico: All-Tournament
Lauren Lucas: All-Tournament
Kaylee Maier: All-County
Kayla Miranda: All-Academic
Michelle Parker: All-County
Kate Piazza: Unsung Hero Award
Emily Rodriguez: All-County
Kristen Shanahan: All-State, First Team All-Long Island
Morgan Zimmerman: All-Tournament

Varsity Football
Tyler Butkevich: All-Division
Thomas Cappello: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Dan Carroll: All-Division, All-County, Individual Scholar-Athlete, First Team All-Long Island
Anthony Ciraolo: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Ryan Coope: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Anthony D’Amico: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Justin Dobies: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Kyle Farrell: All-Division, Individual Scholar-Athlete
Andrew Kiernan: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Marcus Lopez: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Cameron Lynch: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Thomas Marks: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Nicholas Marracello: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Ryan Micheli: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Chris Park: All-Division
Daniel Pearo: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Jon Shaw: All-Division, All-County

Boys Varsity Soccer
Scholar-Athlete Team
William Ade: All-League
Lucas Beer: All-League
Sunny Gu: All-Conference
James Perrone: All-Conference, All-County

Girls Varsity Soccer
Scholar-Athlete Team
Morgan Debenedictis: All-County
Jules Matyas: All-League
Brooke Papele: All-County
Skylar Papele: All-County

Boys Varsity Volleyball
Scholar-Athlete Team
Richard Baumann: All-Division Honorable Mention
Robert Chalk: All-Academic, All-Division
Andrew Oakland: All-Academic
Devin Perez: All-Division Honorable Mention, All-Tournament
Gavin Qiuery: All-County
Liam Sheehy: All-Division, All-Tournament
Deniz Soysal: All-Academic, All-County
Dylan Stalzer: All-Division Honorable Mention

Girls Varsity Volleyball
Scholar-Athlete Team
Casey Biggers: All-League
Cierra Dolan: All-Classification, All-County Tournament
Molly Jandris: All-County, All-County Tournament, Second Team All-Long Island
Sarah Mangan: All-County, All-County Academic, All-County Tournament, League 1 Player of the Year
Shannon O’Keefe: All-League
Samantha Szatkowski: All-League

Girls Varsity Swimming
Scholar-Athlete Team
Jennifer Atkins: All-League
Shannon Byrne: All-League
Jessica Freund: All-League, All-County
Alyssa Mei: All-League
Erin Mullery: All-League
Kaitlyn Poli: All-League

Sachem North Fall Postseason Award Winners

Boys Varsity Cross-Country
Scholar-Athlete Team
Vidit Parikhr: All-League, All-Division, All-County
Vincent Tripi: All-League, All-Division, All-County

Girls Varsity Cross-Country
Scholar-Athlete Team
Allaura Dashnaw: All-League
Jordyn McDonnell: All-League, All-Division, All-County
Molly Ramirez: All-League, All-Division, All-County

Varsity Field Hockey
Scholar-Athlete Team
Abigail Bandl: All-County Honorable Mention
Michaela Califano: Unsung Hero
Paeton Hartmann: All-State
Molly Kearns: All-Division
Grace LaRocco: All-County Honorable Mention
Grace Lipponer: All-County, Second Team All-Long Island
Isabella Lorenzo: All-Tournament
Carolyn O’Brien: All-County, Second Team All-Long Island
Emily Stallone: All-Division
Vicky Taylor: All-Tournament

Varsity Football
Matthew Chirichella: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Nicholas Davide: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Shane Donovan: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Matthew Finder: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Joseph Gagliardi: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Nicholas Gambino: Individual Scholar-Athlete
William Leuck: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Nicholas Lofaro: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Anthony Marasak: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Alexander Martin: Individual Scholar-Athlete
David Martinez: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Michael Reid: Individual Scholar-Athlete
Michael Scicolone: Individual Scholar-Athlete

Boys Varsity Soccer
Scholar-Athlete Team
League 1 Sportsmanship Award
Dominic Altrui: All-Academic
Ryan Plate: All-League, Participated in the Suffolk-Nassau Senior All-Star Game
Steven Rojas: All-Conference
Eddie Sanchez: All-League

Girls Varsity Soccer
Scholar-Athlete Team
Erin Avanzato: All-Conference
Jenna Blank: All-County
Caitlyn Humann: All-Conference
Stephanie Radakovic: All-County

Boys Varsity Volleyball
Scholar-Athlete Team
League Champions
Jack Driscoll: All-County, Second Team All-Long Island
A.J. Fitzgerald: All-County, Rookie of the Year
Dan LaRosa: All-County, First Team All-Long Island
Alec Lehnert: All-County
Connor Pallmann: All-County, First Team All-Long Island
Matt Russo: All-Division

Girls Varsity Volleyball
Scholar-Athlete Team
Alexis Cavalieri: All-League
Jessica Comito: All-League
Kellianne Dempsey: All-Division
Lauren Hadzigeorgiou: All-League
Annie Keenan: All-Academic
Giana Tufano: All-Academic, All-League, All-Conference

Girls Varsity Swimming
Scholar-Athlete Team
Teressa LaFrancesca: All-League

Sachem Combined Team Postseason Award Winners

Boys Varsity Golf

Scholar-Athlete Team
Nick Campo: All-League
Brian Leckie: All-League

Girls Gymnastics
Scholar-Athlete Team
Summer Matlat: All-County
Grace McGowan: All-League
Kaylyn Spotton: All-County
Ariana Tehranchipour: All-League
Samantha Woodburn: All-County
Anna Wright: All-League

Girls Varsity Tennis
Scholar-Athlete Team
Kyra Bello: All-Conference
Krystle Chukwuanu: All-League
Mili Das: All-League
Jackie Lindsay: All-League
Vanessa Loutran: All-Conference

District Calendar Important Information


Drawn Lines Lead to Vibrant Math Creations

Drawn Lines Lead to Vibrant Math Creations photo
Drawn Lines Lead to Vibrant Math Creations photo 2
Drawn Lines Lead to Vibrant Math Creations photo 3
Samoset Middle School math students explored the unique capabilities of graphing straight lines as they participated in a holiday-themed activity introducing students to quadratics.

Eighth-grade honors students in Alicia Kroczynski’s math class learned how plotting straight lines can lead to creating curves. Utilizing, students observed how quadratics were applied in the environmental modeling of grass in the Disney Pixar film “Brave.” After watching videos on how the graphic designers incorporated straight lines to create realistic curves, the students began to work on their own creations. 

Using straight lines to connect a combination of dots, the students created various holiday objects such as a Christmas tree star, a snowman and a poinsettia. During the activity students also became familiar with popular quadratics vocabulary like axis, rays, angles and parabolic arches.

Drivers Education Information Now Available!


Click here to view the information for Sachem North

Click here to view the information for Sachem East

Sachem Students Explore Artists’ Creations

Sachem Students Explore Artists’ Creations photo

As a complement to the classroom curriculum, Sachem High School North art students had the chance to take an up-close look at several famous pieces of artwork during a recent field trip to the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington. The exhibit included Andy Warhol, who conceptualized the Pop Art movement, and Romare Bearden, who was a pioneer of African-American art in the 20th century.

Students viewed pieces from each famous artist as they came together in groups to discuss the works of art and share their thoughts. This opportunity provided students an authentic experience with the process of analyzing and responding to works of art. 

Attending this program will qualify them to enter the Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum competition. Their submitted artwork must be inspired by a piece of art currently on exhibit at the museum and must be accompanied by an artist’s statement. The artist’s statement should reflect the connection between the work on exhibit and their own creation. If selected, their work will hang in the Heckscher Museum of Art from March 17 to April 15, 2018.

The evaluators for the contest are interested in the art students’ thought process and what inspired each student to create their own piece. They want to see how the participating art students think outside the box. During the trip, museum educators provided examples of how other previous students made such connections, which showed the Sachem High School North students that the boundaries for creativity, interpretation and exploration are endless.

Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum is the only juried art competition on Long Island that offers high school students the opportunity to show their artwork in a museum setting. More than 40 schools will submit over 400 works of art, and from those submissions, only about 85 pieces will actually make it into the show.

Notice of Curriculum Council Meeting - January 16th

The next Curriculum Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 16th at 6:30 PM in the Conference Room A at Samoset Annex. Updates to the curriculum and project based learning will be discussed as well as a Q & A session will be held. All Sachem community members are welcome.

Important Information About the Spring 2018 Driver Education Program


Hiawatha Students Talk Pencil Drawing

Hiawatha Students Talk Pencil Drawing photo
Hiawatha Students Talk Pencil Drawing photo 2
A special gift presented to Hiawatha Elementary School Principal Kathleen O’Farrell and art teacher Nicole Healey recently sparked a special conversation about the intricacies of pencil drawing with students in art class. 

Yvonne Pineiro, a grandmother of two Hiawatha students and a local artist, presented the school with a detailed pencil drawing of the school’s mascot, the Hiawatha Husky. Pineiro was inspired to draw the husky because of her grandchildren’s love for their school.

Ms. Healey has put the drawing on display in the art room and has used the work to educate each grade level on the art of pencil drawing and the level of difficulty associated with the medium. 

Sachem Students Visit Atria Hertlin Place

Sachem Students Visit Atria Hertlin Place photo

Waverly Avenue Elementary School’s fifth-grade select chorus spread the holiday spirit in the Sachem community recently as they visited Atria Hertlin Place, an independent living facility in Lake Ronkonkoma. Lead by music teacher Bonnie Businksi, the students sang holiday songs to the facility’s residents. Following the chorus performance, the students enjoyed conversation with those in attendance.

Additional Board of Education Meeting - Executive Session Only

Meeting will be held Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 7:30pm in the Board of Education Room.

Sachem Schools Explore with Google Expedition

Sachem Schools Explore with Google Expedition photo
Students and staff in the Sachem Central School District’s middle schools recently traveled the world as they participated in activities utilizing Google Expedition’s virtual reality technology.

Without even exiting their classrooms, middle school students and staff were amazed by the 360-degree view provided by the Google Expedition goggles as they visited historic cultural landmarks such as Machu Picchu of Peru and other various Aztec and Inca civilizations. Earth science students were also able to take a virtual trip to the Grand Canyon as part of a geology lesson. 

As the schools continue to integrate this technology into classroom instruction, teachers and staff attend professional development workshops to fully harness the capabilities of this innovative technology. 

World Language Class Shares Helpful Tips

World Language Class Shares Helpful Tips photo
Sachem High School North tenth-grade world language students put their skills to the test as they presented how-to speeches to their classmates demonstrating assorted activities. 

Students in Christy Zummo’s Spanish class incorporated the commands learned in class into their how-to demonstrations. Each speech included an introduction, a list of supplies needed, the steps necessary to complete the project or task and a conclusion. The student-presenters also included a vocabulary list with English translations to help classmates follow along. Speeches ranged from how to play a sport to the construction of a craft to how to follow a specific cooking recipe. 

Along with working on their Spanish commands, the speeches provided students with an opportunity to advance their presentation and public-speaking skills.  

Sachem Students Create Connections

Sachem Students Create Connections photo

A sense of community radiated throughout the halls of Hiawatha Elementary School as the Peer Education class from Sachem High School North visited to share a special lesson with fourth- and fifth-grade students.

During the event, High School North seniors in Jonathan Chiaramonte’s Peer Education class delivered an important message about acceptance – noting that everyone has more in common than one may sometimes think. With the assistance of the high school mediators, students participated in a collection of classroom activities that made them more familiar with their fellow classmates. 

One game incorporated a numbered beach ball and each number correlated with different questions for the students to answer. Students shared things that they were afraid of, their initial feelings on moving up to the next grade level and people who inspire them. Another activity, named Cross the Line, called for students to listen to a series of questions and take a step forward when they identified with the question.

“Activities like Cross the Line give students the chance to get to know their peers on a different level,” said senior Nick Cariello. “Through their participation, they learn that we share similar qualities, feelings and experiences.” 

Concluding the day’s activities, students returned to their classrooms where they reflected upon their experiences from a day of recognizing the commonalities that exist among their peers. 

Goldilocks Goes on Trial

Goldilocks Goes on Trial photo

The multipurpose room at Hiawatha Elementary School transformed into a courtroom as fourth- and fifth-grade students participated in mock trial proceedings, where the famous storybook character Goldilocks was tried for her suspected crimes against the Three Bears.

To prepare for the event, the students worked with lawyer Glen Vogel to learn about fundamentals of the American legal system and take part in various activities to reinforce the concepts. The students then put their newfound knowledge to the test by acting out a fictitious case based on a series of famous children’s books. Each student assumed different roles in the mock courtroom as they brought the scripted trial to life. 

A jury composed of third-grade students listened to testimony from the cast, which included the Three Bears, Chicken Little, the Big Bad Wolf and Goldilocks herself. The activity provided students an opportunity to strengthen public speaking skills and the ability to identify characters’ points of view through analyzing questions and answers. 

Each separate class trial was overseen by a special guest judge, including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham who oversaw one class’ proceedings as the students continued their theatrical legal lesson.   

Sagamore Critter Club Educates on Animal Rescue and Awareness

Sagamore Critter Club Educates on Animal Rescue and Awareness photo
Sagamore Middle School has a “critter club,” with involvement from more than 100 students from grades six through eight. 

Adviser Michelle Esp said the club educates students on animal rescues, shelter work and local organizations, gathers food and animal supplies to help local shelters, sponsors fundraisers from which all proceeds donated go to local shelters, educates students on responsible pet ownership and develops student awareness of career choices in animal care.

So far this year, the club has had members from Long Island Rabbit Rescue and Jungle Bob as guest speakers, and has had experiences with Almost Home Rescue, Avalon Park and Preserve, Bideawee, S.T.A.R. Foundation, Sweetbriar Nature Center and Suffolk County SPCA. 

The club also raised money for hurricane relief for dogs and cats with a Swedish fish raffle, and in December it will be baking dog biscuits for another fundraiser.

“Jungle Bob visited Critter Club and brought in some fascinating reptiles to observe,” wrote Giavonna Perkins in an article for the school paper.

Reading Buddies Build Successful Bridges Together

Reading Buddies Build Successful Bridges Together photo

Classroom collaboration sparked creativity as kindergarten and fifth-grade reading buddies at Nokomis Elementary School teamed up during a recent STEAM activity inspired by a popular fairy tale, “The Gingerbread Man.”

Keri VanDeVenter’s kindergarten class joined Lisa Grant’s fifth-grade class and worked collaboratively to construct a bridge capable of safely transferring the Gingerbread Man from one side of a river to the other. Before students began the hands-on activity, they examined elements of a story, such as setting and conflict, and conducted a test to see what would happen if the Gingerbread Man were to fall into water. 

Beginning the construction process, the teams worked together to draw designs before constructing one from the supplies provided. The supplies included plastic cups, straws, pipe cleaners, tape and marshmallows. 

After the bridges were constructed the buddies tested their bridges in front of the other groups and explained the important design elements they incorporated to accomplish their goal. Each team of buddies successfully tested their bridge and all students enjoyed gingerbread cookies as a celebratory snack.  

Sachem Elementary Schools Spread Holiday Cheer

Sachem Elementary Schools Spread Holiday Cheer photo

During the holiday season, elementary schools throughout Sachem Central School District have held delightful musical holiday programs for family members and fellow students to enjoy.

At Waverly Elementary School, kindergarten students presented their holiday program in which they sang several songs to an audience composed of their families and peers. Students preformed songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “It’s a Small World,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Dreidel Song.” Waverly Elementary Principal John Ruggero participated in the performance, narrating the popular holiday book “The Night Before Christmas” in between the songs. 

Guided by music teacher Bonnie Businski, the students prepared for several weeks, memorizing each song and the hand motions that accompanied them. 

Tamarac Students’ Crafting Skill Shines

Tamarac Students’ Crafting Skill Shines photo

Tamarac Elementary School students in Deborah Allocca’s fifth-grade class acquired a creative new skill as part of a community service project to help a family in need during the holiday season.

Each year, students in Mrs. Allocca’s class give up their recess period to learn the art of knitting. Students work independently as they knit one square each that is then combined to form a large, multicolored blanket to be donated to a family in need. Students excelled as they surpassed their original one-square goal, knitting multiple squares each. Eventually they incorporated multicolored designs into their squares. 

The blanket will be donated to a family adopted by Mrs. Allocca’s class, along with various other clothing items and toys for the holiday season. 

Cayuga Elementary Second Grader Is Holiday Hero

Cayuga Elementary Second Grader Is Holiday Hero photo
Adriana Esposito wants to change the world. The Cayuga Elementary School second grader orchestrated a massive holiday toy drive that has caught the attention of the entire community.

Esposito, with the help of her parents and teachers, helped spearhead a toy drive that generated 549 items that will be distributed to children in need within the Sachem community this holiday season.

“I learned that there are many kids who don’t get toys for Christmas and this year they will,” said Adriana.

After collecting about 300 toys from family and neighbors who donated to her cause, the Fraternal Order of Police donated $1,100 and Sachem Sports Club followed suit with another $500 in donations. Toys R Us in Lake Grove gave 10 percent off purchases and allowed her to come in for private shopping time last weekend. 

This project quickly outgrew the Cayuga community’s needs and will benefit Sachem North’s toy drive as well. 

“She’s always trying to figure out how she can change the world and make it better,” said Adriana’s mother, Joanna. “We are so proud of her. She cares more about others than she does herself.”

Go to to see more images from a press event held with Adriana and her family, as well as video of her speaking about her volunteerism.

‘Professor for a Day’ at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

‘Professor for a Day’ at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory photo
Sachem High School East Science Research sophomore Ryan Meehan was among 16 high school students from New York City and Long Island chosen to participate in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Professor for a Day program. Ryan attended the “Plant Genomes & Biotechnology: From Genes to Networks” professional conference on Nov. 30. 

Throughout the workshop, Ryan learned about the development and use of biotechnology and genomic tools in economically important plant species, such as forest and fruit species, cereals, legumes and medicinal plants, and the reasons why these species are profoundly important to human civilization. Additionally, he was able to take a firsthand look inside the world of professional researchers and learn how they interact, share ideas and learn from each other. 

As part of the district’s Science Research program, Ryan has been studying the effects of ecological changes on living systems for the past two years. His research emphasizes the fact that human health is directly linked to environmental health. 

Sachem Students Tap Into Coding

Sachem Students Tap Into Coding photo

During the month of December, students across the Sachem Central School District participated in a collection of computer science activities in honor of the worldwide Hour of Code initiative.

For younger students, the Hour of Code initiative acts as an introductory experience to the world of computer science, covering programming as well as an exploration of how coding technologies are present in everyday life. For older students, the district’s continued participation in Hour of Code provides them with an opportunity to expand their prior coding knowledge as they explore more challenging areas of the discipline. 

Elementary students throughout the district learned about algorithms and how they act as a list of steps to complete a task. Utilizing, students engaged in interactive games that included creating their own lists of instructions to move a character through a computer-generated maze. At Wenonah Elementary School, fourth- and fifth-grade students chose to forgo recess and help kindergarten students as they embarked on their first coding experiences. 

Around other schools within the district, students participated in multiple “unplugged” coding activities, taking coding away from computers and integrating hands-on activities challenging students in other areas of coding. Ozobots were incorporated into code lessons as students controlled the tiny robots through color-coded commands written on paper. As student grade level increased so did the level of difficulty in the coding challenges they faced using the Ozobots. 

Middle and high school students took on more advanced coding activities as they navigated through drag-and-drop coding tasks before breaking up into teams to compete in robot races using mBots. Students also programmed the robots to move throughout different mazes. mBots are an all-in-one educational robot that allows students to experiment in programming, electronics and robotics.   

Sachem Students Honored with Suffolk Zone Awards

Sachem Students Honored with Suffolk Zone Awards PHOTO
Four students from Sachem were recently honored as the school district’s 2017 Suffolk County Zone Student Award winners.

Sachem East’s Ryan Coope and Mackenzie Murphy and Sachem North’s Dan LaRosa and Caitlyn Humann received the recognition, which is presented by the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

To be considered for this honor, students must maintain an A average or 90 percent average in high school physical education classes, maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher at the completion of his or her junior year, contribute to the overall positive tone of the physical education class as well as the school, be a leader in class activities and demonstrate the ability to accept responsibility for regular class tasks.

Additionally, these students are leaders in schoolwide activities both on and off the field, and are role models in physical education classes by achieving a high level of physical fitness as determined by individual accomplishments recognized by the district.

‘Life Is a Dream’ at Sachem North

‘Life Is a Dream’ at Sachem North photo

The Sachem North Drama Company performed their rendition of “Life is a Dream” on Dec. 7 and 8 and have a third and final performance scheduled for Friday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The play tells the story of a prince who must learn empathy and compassion for others before assuming his throne. 

It’s a 17th-century classic of European theater written by Calderon de la Barca that explores many of the same questions that continue to intrigue us today: What does it mean to be a ruler? What responsibility does a leader have to their people? And what part does love play in allowing us to see ourselves in the other?

The leading cast includes Alexa Adler as Arminda, Joey Albano as Clotaldo, Julia Albino as Estrella, Sonny Bergamini as Segismundo, Graham Burdick as Astolfo, Meghan Elberti as Basilia, Katelyn Frawley as Julia, Matthew Mazer as Armand, Paige Menneci as Rosaura and D’Angelo Treston as Clarin.

More than 70 students were involved in various roles, from actors and actresses to the stage crew and support staff, for this production.

“I believe what they’ve accomplished represents a significant step forward for the drama company,” said Stefan Kelleher, Sachem North’s faculty adviser and director.


Lynwood’s Musical Makerspace

Lynwood’s Musical Makerspace photo

Inspiring ingenuity hit a high note as Lynwood Elementary School fifth-grade students constructed musical instruments in their makerspace room out of everyday household items.

Students in Tara Trimboli’s fifth-grade class turned ordinary items into musical instruments as they collaborated to build various types of sound-making inventions. The students incorporated everyday items found around a home such as paper towel rolls, paper plates, shoeboxes, rubber bands, corn kernels and balloons. Each student was challenged to construct a functional sound-making instrument using only the items provided. 

Throughout the activity students were encouraged to revisit designs to make improvements as they continued through the construction process. 

Wenonah Weighs In on Hurricane Relief

Wenonah Weighs In on Hurricane Relief photo
During a recent hurricane relief fundraiser, fourth- and fifth-grade students on the Wenonah Elementary School Lighthouse Team incorporated mathematics into their community service project.

The Lighthouse Team is composed of fourth- and fifth-grade student leaders who organize fundraising initiatives to benefit people in need across the country. As part of the hurricane relief fundraiser aimed to benefit the victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the students incorporated mathematics into the service project as they used addition to arrive at a total amount of food donated in pounds before it was picked up for donation.  

In total, the students raised 958.1 pounds of food, which was donated to nonprofit organization Island Harvest.  

Hiawatha Second-Graders Making a Difference With Community Service

Hiawatha Second-Graders Making a Difference With Community Service photo
Over the past few years Hiawatha Elementary School has been encouraging its second-graders to be more active participants in the community. Each month they participate in a different community service project.

This year a student in Tiffany Cioffi’s class, who is in remission from pediatric cancer, inspired a food donation drive. 

“When I found out that Athena was a cancer survivor, I wanted to find a way to incorporate this into our community service learning,” said Ms. Cioffi.

Athena was featured in ads for Burlington Coat Factory promoting pediatric cancer awareness, and her family participated in a video for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ms. Cioffi reached out to Athena’s mom at the beginning of the year, and they worked together to think of a way “to make a small difference and to put some smiles on [patients’] faces.” 

“She shared with me that a majority of the children undergoing treatment are on steroids and have compromised immune systems,” said Ms. Cioffi. 

Since many patients and their families spend long hours at the clinic during their treatments, to make their visits a little more comfortable they collected individual pre-packaged snacks, K-cups and tea bags for them.
“Even though it’s a second-grade, yearlong project, we also try to get our staff and the rest of the building involved by putting it on our Hiawatha website to keep everyone informed of how they can help,” she said.
“I feel like the kids are really starting to understand how their actions are making a positive impact on others, and I think that having that connection with Athena made the drive even more important and personal,” added Cioffi. 

Next up, in the spirit of giving back to the community, they are sending holiday cards to the residents at the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook and in January they are hosting a coat drive for the Federation of Organizations.

Sachem Students Spread Safety

Sachem Students Spread Safety photo

During a recent visit to the Sachem Central School District’s middle schools, Sachem High School East and North students enrolled in the Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities class presented lessons regarding the dangers associated with drug use to sixth-grade students.

As part of the high school course, students are transformed into teachers, equipped with the skills to educate students on the dangers of drugs and the importance of making healthy choices throughout life. 

As part of the Too-Good-For-Drugs curriculum, the high school students deliver a series of lessons as they periodically visit the district middle schools, delivering students valuable information to lead healthy lives. 

Sachem’s Salon of Opportunity

Sachem’s Salon of Opportunity photo

Students at Sachem High School East and North are learning about the skills needed to succeed in a multimillion-dollar business as part of the district’s career and technical education cosmetology class.

Putting lessons into practice, the students are not only learning trade skills but are putting them to use in their own salon, offering a plethora of services to fellow students and staff. As part of the cosmetology class, the students practice techniques in hair coloring, cutting and styling, while also learning the intricacies of nail and makeup services.

“The cosmetology class is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience,” said High School East senior Jessica Hennessy. “We are given the chance to explore multiple different areas of cosmetology, which is a huge benefit.” 

Throughout the class, students can participate in workshops run by industry-leading professionals and gain practical career experience during multiple shadowing opportunities. After successful completion of the course requirements, the students are eligible to earn a New York State cosmetology license.

Sachem East, Sachem North Cheer Earn Bids to Nationals

Sachem East, Sachem North Cheer Earn Bids to Nationals photo
The Sachem East and Sachem North cheer teams competed at the 2017 UCA Empire Regional championship on Saturday at Nassau County Community College.

After their performances, both schools received bids to the National High School Cheerleading championship to be held at Walt Disney World in February of 2018.

Competing in the Large Division, Sachem North took first place overall.

The last time Sachem North won the Large Division was 2009 when coaches Danielle Gresalfi and Jaclyn Tomasello competed for the Flaming Arrows.

“Going into this competition our goal was to hit the routine we’ve been working on over the past few weeks,” said Gresalfi. “I continuously told my girls to trust the process and focus on hitting. When it was time to compete the girls hit an amazing and energetic routine with zero deductions. This routine was probably one of the most difficult and creative Sachem North has put out in some years.”

Sachem East, competing in the Small Division, placed second.

“We have a very young team,” said Sachem East coach, Tylor Grimm, “only four seniors, so we were very happy with their performance.”

Both teams will compete at the Section XI competitions next Saturday at Longwood. They will both compete every weekend until Nationals in February.

Girl Sprouts


Nokomis Multicultural Feast

Nokomis Multicultural Feast photo

Nokomis Elementary School third-grade students embarked on travel around the world as part of an interactive social studies lesson.

Each third-grade student wrote a report about a country from their heritage, exploring important elements such as its flag and prominent foods eaten in the area. The students then presented their reports to fellow classmates, answering questions and showing off items such as different forms of currency from around the world. 

Concluding the multicultural study, students indulged in a feast of prepared dishes from the locations explored. The feast featured dishes such as empanadas from Argentina, sausage bread from Italy, kebabs from Poland, Irish soda bread from Ireland and German chocolate cake.   


Sachem North Lends Hand with Habitat for Humanity

Sachem North Lends Hand with Habitat for Humanity photo
Students from Sachem High School North recently helped build a home in East Patchogue through Habitat for Humanity.

Open to leadership students at the high school, the activity was organized by Leslie Zanone, a social worker at Sachem North, and Jonathan Chiaramonte, a social studies teacher.

“We hope to get more classes involved,” said Zanone. “There has been a tremendous amount of interest in the school from students and teachers. We believe that Sachem North students could organize six builds a year, and that would be a dream!

“It is a very real experience for the students, and a concrete way for them to give their time and energy for the cause. We already have students asking to go back again in the spring,” said Zanone.

Wenonah Students from Readers to Chefs

Wenonah Students from Readers to Chefs photo

Wenonah Elementary School students in Heather Porciello’s Life Skills class turned story elements into tasty treats as they learned to follow the steps of a recipe.

Students first read the book “The Old Lady That Swallowed a Bat” by author Lucille Colandro. After completing the book, students participated in a sequencing activity where they glued picture cutouts of story events in the order they occurred in the story. 

The class then connected literacy to life skills as they began following a recipe to bake bat cookies. Gathering the necessary supplies one by one, the students worked together until all ingredients were combined. Throughout the cooking activity, students carefully followed the recipe, incorporating measuring cups, a microwave oven and an electric mixer when needed. 

At the conclusion of the activity, the student-chefs added wings to complete their bat cookie creations. 


Chippewa Celebrates 50 Years of Education

Chippewa Celebrates 50 Years of Education photo

Chippewa Elementary School recently celebrated 50 years of education during a day filled with special activities remembering the past.

The day began by recognizing past teachers and staff in attendance through special words by current Principal Patricia Aubrey before a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony. A time capsule sealed in 1968 by former staff members was opened and the contents displayed in the multipurpose room to showcase the preserved treasures from the past. Among the contents found within the capsule were old photographs of students and various documents displaying current trends of the time. 

Additionally, the day included several connections to the students’ social studies curriculum, as students were challenged to pick a past era and study what was popular during that time. Students created comparison posters showcasing current trends and how they contrasted with ones of the past. The posters were displayed amongst the time capsule artifacts for the visitors to enjoy as they viewed the collection of items.  

Concluding the special day was a parade throughout the building lead by past teachers and staff, followed by each kindergarten class dressed in holiday costumes. 

Waverly Elementary Pledges for Peace

Waverly Elementary Pledges for Peace photo

Students across grade levels at Waverly Elementary School recently attended a special assembly promoting peace throughout their school community and beyond. They helped to plant seeds of kindness as they wrapped daffodil bulbs in peace pledges that were planted in front of the school.

As part of the character education curriculum, each student at Waverly Elementary School was asked to write an essay on what peace means to them. Then, during the assembly, several students were selected to read their essays to fellow classmates, allowing the students to reflect on the ideas of their peers. 

Continuing the connection to promoting peace throughout Waverly, the students organized a fundraiser to benefit the nonprofit organization The Team Jesse Foundation, which provides education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams. The students sold Team Jesse bracelets and raised $400, which they presented during the assembly to the parents of Kevin Mincio, founder of The Team Jesse Foundation.

To conclude the event, all students wrote pledges on how they can make Waverly Elementary a better place. They then walked outside the school to plant daffodil bulbs that will bloom beautiful flowers in spring, reminding each student of their promises to promote peace. 

Wenonah Students Weave Webs

Wenonah Students Weave Webs photo

Design, research and critical thinking helped guide fourth-grade students to success in Lenore Lounsbury’s class at Wenonah Elementary School. They recently worked together in teams to weave webs capable of catching a stapler dropped from a height of one meter.

The students began the STEAM-based activity by first learning the job of an engineer and the processes they follow to create successful designs. With this newfound knowledge, the student-engineers then researched the many ways in which spiders spin their webs before beginning to design their own creations. Equipped with a clothes hanger, 15 feet of yarn and 6 inches of tape, students worked in groups to carefully weave intricate webs to accomplish the goal. 

Throughout the activity emphasis was placed on recognizing design flaws and correcting them until their webs succeeded. 


Rockets Take Learning Sky High

Rockets Take Learning Sky High photo

Physics equations fueled learning outside of Sachem High School North as students in Robert Wentzel’s Rocket and Aircraft Design class gathered to test launch multistage rockets they had constructed.

Prior to launch, students worked through various physics calculations to ensure the overall safety and success of their rockets. The student-engineers calculated the thrust necessary to reach 30 miles per hour while allowing the rockets to maintain a straight flight path. Also, students determined the speed at which their rocket had to fall to make a safe landing and then designed their parachutes accordingly. 

During the testing phase a focus was placed on unique design elements such as tube and fin size and how each component affected the rockets’ flight. 

Sachem Girls Gymnastics Coach Honored

Sachem Girls Gymnastics Coach Honored photo
Sachem girls gymnastics coach Mike Nowakowski was recognized as Assistant Coach of the Year by the Suffolk County Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association this season.

Nowakowski was honored for his dedication and service to the team, which wrapped up competition in November.

“We are so proud and happy for him,” said Sachem gymnastics head coach Jan Zettwoch.

Merrimac Elementary Kicking for a Cause

Merrimac Elementary Kicking for a Cause photo
Two Merrimac Elementary School siblings went above and beyond as they organized a kickball tournament aimed at collecting nonperishable food items and cleaning supplies to donate to the nonprofit organization Island Harvest, benefiting those affected by the devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

As part of the Leader in Me program, third-grade student Gabriel Nagel and fifth-grader Sarah Nagel organized the engaging benefit to involve all students of Merrimac Elementary by creating friendly competition amongst classes. With help from gym teachers Robert Romano and Nicole Kessinger, the drive was arranged so that every two days each class’ donations would be tallied to arrive at that class’ total score. Adding an interesting twist to the drive, the inclusion of cleaning supplies as bonus items counted as 15 points added to the class totals. During each gym class throughout the week, every point scored by students during the kickball games was added to their overall totals. 

The Leader in Me is a program that provides students the opportunity to organize a service learning project that will contribute to the community. Each proposed project is presented to students and staff before implementation. 

The student duo worked together to create flyers and announcements to promote the Kicking for a Cause drive throughout the building. The fundraiser provided students across all grade levels an opportunity to synergize and work towards a common goal while having fun. 

“With the Leader in Me program our students have developed valuable skills such as leadership, communication, empathy and teamwork, all of which have contributed to a school culture that values project-based learning, goal setting and critical thinking,” said Merrimac Principal Veronica DeCicco. “All of the students learned a valuable lesson about contributing as a community.” 

As a result of the school’s generosity, hundreds of items were donated to the cause. 

At the conclusion of the drive, Michelle Nelson’s kindergarten class, Peter Gentzlinger’s first-grade class and Lorraine Alvarez’s fifth-grade class were presented with trophies donated by Port Jefferson Sporting Goods to be displayed in their classrooms as the three winning classes. 


Sachem Students Absorb Storm Science

Sachem Students Absorb Storm Science photo
The science behind weather events wowed second-grade students in Tiffany Cioffi’s class at Hiawatha Elementary School as the students participated in an engaging STEAM experiment creating a rain cloud simulation in a jar.

As part of a science unit focusing on weather, students have been actively observing weather patterns, identifying different types of precipitation and learning how the water cycle works. The experiment began with a mason jar partially filled with water, representing air. Then shaving cream was added on top of the water to represent clouds. In a separate container, water and food coloring were mixed together to represent rain.

Simulating the process in which clouds become oversaturated and begin to rain, the student scientists used an eyedropper to carefully drop water onto the cloud until it reached the point of saturation and leaked through the shaving cream cloud into the water below, simulating rainfall. 

Acting as true scientists, the students used data collected during their experiment to draw conclusions about why a cloud starts to rain. 


Thanksgiving Food Drives Bring Out Best in Sachem Students, Staff

Thanksgiving Food Drives Bring Out Best in Sachem Students, Staff photo
Thanksgiving Food Drives Bring Out Best in Sachem Students, Staff photo 2
Sachem was at its finest on Tuesday morning when students and staff across the district came together for one last push for the annual Thanksgiving food drive at both Sachem High School East and Sachem High School North. The high schools combined to generate more than 1,600 boxes this year. 

“This is probably one of the most impactful things we can do in our schools,” said Emma Hirt, president of the Student Government at Sachem North. “Every year we average over 1,000 boxes, and it’s amazing. It’s really cool when you’re finished and see how many families we’re going to feed this Thanksgiving.” 

Students began in September generating funds and items and have worked extremely hard over the last two weeks sorting, packing and shipping the boxes. 

“It’s a great feeling knowing that we’re doing something that goes to people in our community and helps them out,” said Erin Mullery, the Student Government president at Sachem East.

The boxes were shipped out on Tuesday afternoon to various local churches, food pantries and other organizations. 

“You see the best of everybody come out around this time,” said Damon Gallo, a Student Government adviser at Sachem East. “We’re doing something that directly affects people. We’re able to give someone a Thanksgiving meal that otherwise may not have one. This is community service, this is civics. The students love the fact they can help out people in our community.”

For Sachem North teacher and Student Government adviser Jonathan Chiaramonte it’s about inspiring the next generation of volunteers in the building, knowing that dozens of alumni will be out doing good in the world after their impactful experience at Sachem.  

“The reason we want so many students involved is because we don’t want it to end here,” said Chiaramonte to a crowded auditorium during a food drive assembly on Tuesday. “We want them to do that in their dorms in college and continue this. None of us need to be here to make that change. So many students of ours have gone on and done fundraisers like this. We want you to be inspired to continue a life of service.”

Tamarac’s Thanksgiving Adventure

Tamarac’s Thanksgiving Adventure photo

Kindergarten students at Tamarac Elementary School explored a plethora of Thanksgiving-themed activities as they worked through multiple stations examining aspects of Native American culture.

Accompanied by their parents, the kindergarten students in Jamie Onorato and Dara Goz’s class moved throughout the room participating in hands-on activities, including fishing for numbers, reading symbol stories and creating various Native American items. These items included such things as wampum bags, miniature teepees and totem poles. 

The enriching activities from the Thanksgiving adventure make direct connections to the grade level’s social studies curriculum, in particular their study of the first Thanksgiving. 


Wenonah Read to Feed

Wenonah Read to Feed photo
Wenonah Read to Feed photo 2
Wenonah Read to Feed photo 3
Wenonah Elementary School connected literacy and learning during a recent community service initiative – the Read to Feed food drive. 

The initiative, which benefited the Sachem Food Pantry located at Sachem High School North, works through a pledge system. For every 75 minutes of reading accomplished outside of school, a friend or family member donated a food item to the participating classes. Throughout the drive the students watched the donations add up, as colored feathers representing the classes were added to a turkey-themed bulletin board.  

In addition to the literary connections, the drive also incorporated mathematics, as students tracked all weekly donations and used the data to graph their progress.

Tamarac Teacher Turns Broken to Beautiful

Tamarac Teacher Turns Broken to Beautiful photo

Art students at Tamarac Elementary School have been working toward something special this year as part of a recycled rainbow-crayon reward program promoting teamwork, respect and recycling within the classroom.

Students across grade levels in Alexis Rae Curcio’s art class have been displaying teamwork and togetherness as they work to earn 100 class points, points that are assigned in recognition of good behavior. Once the point goal is achieved, the students receive a multicolored recycled crayon produced by Ms. Curcio.

To make the colorful creations, students and staff throughout the building were encouraged to drop off their broken crayons, which Ms. Curcio then melted down in different molds to form various shapes. Throughout the students’ time in art class, the importance of reusing and recycling was emphasized. 

To date, several students have received multicolored crayons and are eagerly integrating their multicolored effects into their creative works of art.


Pumpkin Chuckin’ Challenge at Wenonah

Pumpkin Chuckin’ Challenge at Wenonah photo

Design and engineering principles propelled students during a competition at Wenonah Elementary School in which fifth-grade students were challenged to construct a catapult that could perform best in three challenges, testing distance, power and accuracy.

Separated into teams, the student-engineers participated in an engaging design activity that incorporated several aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Beginning with design, students were tasked with sketching two separate plans they believed would obtain the best results. Picking one design, the students then constructed their catapults using household materials such as spoons, rubber bands and popsicle sticks. 

Once the creations were finalized, the students then carefully used their catapults to launch miniature pumpkins and competed in three different challenges. The first challenge tested accuracy, in which the goal was to launch five cotton balls into a cup. Next, the power of the catapult was tested as the students pushed their catapults to the limit, launching a marshmallow as far as possible. Finally came the tower test, in which accuracy and power were combined to topple a tower of plastic cups using miniature pumpkins. 

Furthering the connection to the design principles necessary to construct a successful catapult, students tracked their test launch results and graphed the effectiveness of angle adjustments and how they correlated to launch distance. Using the data collected from the accuracy test, students also calculated the accuracy percentage derived from fractions.

At the conclusion of the testing phase the students competed amongst each other in a schoolwide competition.  


Sachem Elementary Student Takes the Lead

Sachem Elementary Student Takes the Lead photo
Sachem Elementary Student Takes the Lead photo 2
On Oct. 27, the field behind the Grundy Avenue Elementary school was blanketed by students and staff members in pink supporting a great cause – raising awareness for breast cancer during a student-organized walk. Leading the charge during the event was student-coordinator and advocate Bret Auricchio.

Bret, a Grundy third-grader, took the lead on this initiative last month to raise money for the American Cancer Society. After realizing the success these walks have had elsewhere in the district, Bret was confident that his school could make a significant impact. He developed a plan for the event from start to finish, including creating and reading daily announcements and designing and distributing flyers for the students to bring home to their families. 

Reflecting on Bret’s actions, Principal Amato remembered a quote from renowned American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

As a result of student and faculty participation throughout the building, the breast cancer awareness walk raised a total of $1,100. 

Nokomis Elementary Veteran Visit

Nokomis Elementary Veteran Visit photo

Shortly before this year’s Veterans Day, students at Nokomis Elementary School welcomed past Nokomis student, High School North alumni and recent United States Marine boot camp graduate Amadeus Garay-Reyes for a special visit.

Over the past few months, third-grade students in Laura Clifford and Tara Erb’s class, including Amadeus’ younger brother Tyler, have been in contact with the new Marine during his time in boot camp, sending messages of encouragement, along with questions about his experience as a beginning military member. Amadeus replied to students with answers to their questions and thanks for their unwavering support. 

During the in-class visit, Amadeus thanked the students personally for their kind words and encouraged them to always try their best in everything they do. He continued the visit by answering more questions for the students and explained what Veterans Day means to him.  

Concluding the eventful day, Amadeus was surprised by his favorite teacher Bill O’Neil, who was his inspiration growing up. 

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As we embark on the 2017-2018 school year, we look to enhance the level of communication within the Sachem family.

In an effort to build upon our connections with our parents and community, we are excited to announce the creation of our e-newsletter. The newsletter will be sent monthly to those who sign up and will include district news, announcements and important dates. Our hope is to provide valuable information about the happenings inside our classrooms while strengthening our community bond as we move forward on the path to a successful academic year.

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2017-2018 District Calendar Summary

Calendar Summary Pic 1
Click here to see the 2017-2018 School Calendar Summary.