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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. 

The Festival of Trees & Lights @ North


Aftershock Robotics Team Clothing Drive


Reptiles, Reptiles, and More Reptiles! By Giavonna Perkins

critter club photo
Sagamore Middle School’s Critter Club was visited by Jungle Bob on November 15, 2017. Jungle Bob is a specialist when it comes to all kinds of reptiles.

Jungle Bob visited Critter Club and brought in some fascinating reptiles to observe. First, Critter Club members saw and felt Rosy, a cool, scary and hairy tarantula that was the size of a human palm. Then Critter Club met two slithery and sly snakes that had wildly colored patterned skin. The little one was about one and a half feet long. The little one also had red and black stripes on its skin. The larger snake was about two feet long with an unusual pattern that was green, yellow, and tan. One student got to wear it as a necklace. We learned that every snake is unique in its own special way.
Next, we saw a bearded dragon.  I fell in love with it quickly because it was tiny and cute. The bearded dragon had yellow skin that felt like rubber and it had a blue tongue. When I held the dragon the wrong way, I got scared because the dragon looked like it was about to scream. Now I’m wondering, do bearded dragons actually scream? Turns out I loved the bearded dragon and it was a fascinating experience, one I will never forget.

Lastly, Critter Club met Castro who is an iguana that was four feet long. This interesting critter was from Cuba and he was nineteen years of age which is pretty old. The iguana ate a live bug. In conclusion, being a Critter Club member gives me a lot of opportunities to learn, see and meet new animals. You can also visit Jungle Bob at his stores.

JUNGLE BOB’s Reptile World: www.junglebobreptileworld

Collaborative Construction Builds Bridges at Grundy Avenue

Collaborative Construction Builds Bridges at Grundy Avenue photo

Fourth-grade students at Grundy Avenue Elementary School came together to complete a common goal as they applied basic engineering principles to construct a bridge capable of holding an added load.

Students in Donna Marie Sherwood’s class were challenged with the task of creating a bridge that could withstand an unspecified amount of added stress. To begin the activity, students learned about the engineering process and how different shapes withstand force. It was determined that a triangle was the strongest shape and would be a valuable design element to incorporate into their bridges. Students were broken up into teams, and each group was provided with toothpicks and Dots candy to assemble the strongest bridge. 

With a designated span of 6 inches to cross between student desks, each member of the team shared ideas as they navigated through their respective bridge constructions. At the conclusion of construction, students tested each bridge, adding blocks until their bridge broke. 

Throughout the activity, teamwork was emphasized, and how with input from all team members each goal becomes more attainable. 


Sachem Students’ Talents Shine at PEAK Music Festival

Sachem Students’ Talents Shine at PEAK Music Festival photo

The musical talents of 22 fourth-grade students from across the Sachem Central School District were recently on display and applauded during this year’s Parents, Educators and Kids Festival hosted by the Suffolk County Music Educators Association.

Approximately 200 students from 32 Suffolk school districts were represented during the PEAK Festival at Northport High School, where they participated in various enriching musical workshops. The gifted student musicians had the opportunity to play the recorder in a peer ensemble and perform songs for an audience as part of a chorus comprised of other top fourth-grade musicians from Suffolk County.  

The PEAK Festival is an opportunity for the musicians to experience new and exciting music that they may not have been exposed to before, while allowing parents and educators to join in on the fun. The workshop sessions included activities such as world drumming, folk dance, ukulele and musical theater. Music educators participating in the workshops are encouraged to draw inspiration from the activities they attend and incorporate elements into their own classroom lessons.  

“PEAK provides students, parents and music teachers a unique experience participating in workshops and performances together,” said Jennifer Fischer, Sachem music teacher and co-chairperson for the PEAK Festival. “The smiles on the faces of all those involved during the performance speaks volumes about the festival.”

Congratulations to the following students who were selected to take part in this event:

Cayuga Elementary (Teacher - Amy Beck)
Aidan Pardi
Lilliana Surbito
Alexcis Tramontana
Matthew Umbenhower

Merrimac Elementary (Teacher - Debbie Degenhardt) 
Gianna Fitzpatrick
Elizabeth D’Agostino 
McKenna Dembinski
William Knaub
Jordyn Simone

Grundy Avenue Elementary (Teacher - Alyssa Gallagher)
Krish Rajan
Wyatt Straub

Hiawatha Elementary (Teacher - Marjorie Kelting) 
Catarina Dutra
Isabella Meichner
Justin Perry
Kiera Reichel
Abigail Tannacore

Wenonah Elementary (Teacher - Grace Kim)
Alexa DyReyes
Jonathan Giraulo
Melanie Marchionna
Abigail Rabbitt

Nokomis Elementary (Teacher - Christina Schaefer) 
Delilah Creter
Alyssa Tappin

Sachem Gymnastics Wins Co-League Championship

Sachem Gymnastics Wins Co-League Championship photo
The Sachem girls gymnastics team finished the season in a three-way tie for a League II championship. They were in the lead with Kings Park and Patchogue-Medford all season.

Overall, the Flaming Arrows finished seventh in all of Suffolk County after a successful outing at the Suffolk County Individual championships held at Hauppauge High School on Nov. 9.

Three student-athletes competed at the county championships. They were Kaylyn Spotton on vault, bars and beam, Samantha Woodburn on bars and Summer Matlat on bars, floor and as an alternate on beam.

Spotton was ranked No. 1 on vault in Suffolk County this season and will be an alternate on the state team that will compete in the state championships on March 3 at Cold Spring Harbor High School.

A World of Opportunities for Sachem Students

A World of Opportunities for Sachem Students photo
At a recent Board of Education meeting, several Sachem Central School District faculty members and students delivered a comprehensive presentation on the career and technical education programs offered at both Sachem High School East and North, a program that encompasses technology, business, and family and consumer science disciplines.  

Chairperson Keith Connelly spoke about how the technology program creates a unique learning environment for students and places an emphasis on the hands-on learning experience. Students are challenged with real-world applications as they work to problem  solve and deploy the skills acquired through their study of engineering, carpentry or various computer-related topics.   

All aspects of the workplace are integrated into the school day through the high school Virtual Enterprise course. As Chairperson for Business Thomas Sullivan explained, this live global business course simulates the profession and calls for students to develop new business models and plans from the ground up. The course places a focus on college and career readiness and enables students to practice imperative business skills such as communication, personal finance, problem solving and technology. 

Mary Faller, the department chairperson for family and consumer sciences, spoke about the vast cosmetology program offered by the district. Through this program, students are not only provided with the opportunity to learn from various professionals about hair, nail and skin care, they also gain greater hands-on experience in an industry worth an estimated $445 billion. 

The input of the students during the presentation solidified the programs impact on their educational experience. Students Melissa Pankus and Jessica Hennessy assisted in the cosmetology presentation and students Alec Roberts, Andrew Scavo, Hannah Shapiro and Jeanine Cerqueira provided insight on the Virtual Enterprise class. Student Andrew Scavo spoke about how the non-traditional VE classroom setting provides students the opportunity to gain self-confidence, explore all aspects of the business world and acquire a number of skills needed to succeed.

“The CTE programs offered at Sachem provide students a strong foundation in their chosen career path that will propel them to continued success in their future education or career choice,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham. “The students participating in the various programs offered by the district are able to earn college credits and multiple state-recognized certifications as they work towards graduation. It is a great opportunity to take learning out of the textbook and enable students to make connections to subjects they are particularly interested in.” 

Sachem Student-Athletes Sign National Letters of Intent

letters of intent image
On Thursday, Nov. 9, multiple student-athletes from both Sachem High School East and Sachem High School North signed their National Letters of Intent to play college sports next year.  

“It’s always a proud day for Sachem when our student-athletes sign their National Letters of Intent to play at the next level,” said Sachem Athletic Director Gary Beutel. “These individuals have dedicated themselves academically and athletically in order to achieve this success. We wish them the best of luck in their future academic and athletic careers. We know they will represent Sachem proudly at their future institutions.”

The following students were recognized:

Sachem North
-Grace Lipponer, Manhattan College, lacrosse
-Ashley Perrini, NYIT, lacrosse
-Hailey Rhatigan, Mercer University, lacrosse

Sachem East
-Justin Allone, Seton Hall University, cross country
-Taylor Calvagna, Hartford College, lacrosse
-Danielle Cosgrove, University of Notre Dame, basketball
-Pete Engelken, Marist College, lacrosse
-Craig Leonard, LIU Post, baseball
-Daniel Palermo, Iona College, baseball

Sachem Students Share Kindness

Sachem Students Share Kindness photo

Sachem ROCKS – Reach Out Choose Kindness Sachem. A simple acronym with a meaningful message is blanketed across the new kindness rock garden in front of Sachem High School North thanks to a program to promote kindness in a unique way.

An initiative that began in Andrea Biblow, Carrie Dansky, Jamie Durkin, Cheryl Haugie and Lauren Puleo’s communication skills classroom as a hands-on activity for speech and language students has transformed into a project with much more meaning. Painting by the dozens, these students are working to transform ordinary rocks into colorful pieces of art inscribed with uplifting messages of kindness. Once completed, the rocks are then placed outside, creating a vibrant kindness garden in front of the school. 

During this ongoing project, students have received special help from members of the Suffolk County Police Department, fellow students and parents, as all were invited to participate and create their own colorful kindness rocks. Extending the garden further, transition program students who work throughout the Sachem community practicing life skills in a real-world setting have been placing decorated rocks at their destinations, spreading kindness wherever they go. 

All who have participated are encouraged to include the hashtag “Sachem ROCKS” on their designs in order to help spread the kindness project beyond the borders of the school community. 

Throughout the month of November, opportunities for students to create their own rocks will be offered within the building to continue to promote the power of kindness. 


Grundy Avenue Parade for Patriots

Grundy Avenue Parade for Patriots photo

American flags waved in the wind as students across all grade levels gathered to honor veterans during a parade in front of Grundy Avenue Elementary School.

The patriotic students, dressed in red, white and blue, cheered as the veterans marched down the road. They then joined the students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as part of a flag raising ceremony. Students then performed two songs for the veterans, thanking them for their extraordinary sacrifice for our country. 

Following the parade, students in grades 3-5 had the opportunity to ask the veterans questions about their experiences as members of the military. The panel of veterans fielded questions about each branch of the armed services, their individual terms of service and what influenced them to become a member of the military. 

To conclude the celebration, the students served the honorees cake and coffee and invited them to continue to share their past memories. 

Singing Stories to Sachem Students

Singing Stories to Sachem Students photo
Singing Stories to Sachem Students photo 2
This October, fourth-grade Sachem students throughout the district enjoyed a visit from award-winning author and storyteller Heather Forest, as she incorporated her singing musical mastery into her folktales. 

Delivering a range of folktales from across the world, storyteller Heather Forest seamlessly weaved musical instruments into her stories. Incorporating a guitar and xylophone, she periodically called upon students to join in on the music. Grasping the imagination of each listener, Forest’s visual stories painted a picture as she guided students through each tale. 

Teachers were provided with copies of Forest’s books to continue the folktale fun in future classes.

Fire Safety at Nokomis

Fire Safety at Nokomis photo

Sachem students at Nokomis Elementary School were visited by members of the Ronkonkoma Fire Department as the district continued its emphasis on fire safety and prevention.

Students across all grade levels learned about the various gear that firefighters wear during emergency situations, such as a self-contained breathing apparatus which provides firefighters air as they enter a smoke-filled structure, how to safely escape a fire and the importance of knowing more than one way to exit their home if necessary. 

Concluding the fire prevention assembly program, students were guided through the multiple firefighting apparatuses within the department and had the opportunity to explore a fire truck. 


Fact Family Fun in Fall

Fact Family Fun in Fall photo

First-grade Chippewa Elementary School students in Laurie-Ann Rooney’s class approached math artistically as they practiced fact families in a hands-on activity using a construction paper pumpkin. To better understand how addition and subtraction work together, students were each given a set of three numbers, which they switched around to form four different combinations. Students discovered by arranging the numbers in different orders that they get the same sums and differences. They then displayed the different fact families by arranging the combinations on the pumpkin. After completing their pumpkin, the students were challenged to correctly label the four sections on it with each equation from their assigned fact family.

High School East QuestBridge Finalists Named

High School East QuestBridge Finalists Named photo
Three Sachem High School East seniors were named QuestBridge College Match Finalists and have been selected for the chance to receive full scholarships to some of the nation’s top colleges upon admittance. 

Juan Amaya, Julia Araujo and Ilyssa Forman were selected for their high academic prowess, success in a plethora of Advanced Placement courses and for securing their respective places as part of the top 5 to 10 percent of their class. 

Among many accolades, Juan is class vice president, Foreign Language Honor Society vice president, and a member of the varsity track and field team, participating in high jump and in hurdling events.  

Julia is a member of the school orchestra in which she plays violin, and she also volunteers for Teens as Teachers and the Diversity Club.

Ilyssa is the president of the History Honor Society, the editor of the school paper and president and founder of the Philosophy and Debate Club.

“These three individuals are the true definition of persistence and have long maintained a focus on high academic standards,” said Principal Louis Antonetti. 

Out of approximately 15,000 applicants in 2017, only 5,759 have been selected as finalists.   

Student Buddies Share Discoveries

Student Buddies Share Discoveries photo

First- and fifth-grade students at Chippewa Elementary School buddied up as they participated in a hands-on science and mathematics autumn-themed activity.

First-grade students in Donna Gianfortone’s class became buddies with fifth-grade students from Jackie Foley’s class as they performed various activities centered on pumpkins. As a team, the student buddies visited different stations where they performed a multitude of examinations on the favorite fall fruit. Using paper clips and blocks, students began with taking measurements, then continued their observations by reaching inside the pumpkin to count the seeds and using a magnifying glass to inspect them closely. 

Throughout the activity, the student buddies offered each other varying perspectives on their observations. 


Carpentry Class Brings Learning to Life

Carpentry Class Brings Learning to Life photo

Students at Sachem High School East take learning out of the classroom as they apply mathematics concepts while collectively constructing a small ranch-style structure from the ground up, as part of a Career Training Program Carpentry class taught by James Byrne.

As part of the yearlong program, students work right outside of their classroom to raise a residential-type structure on the grounds of High School East. Students deploy multiple construction skills learned within the classroom to aide in the challenging building project. With the help of schematics, students turn designs into something tangible. Beginning with framing, sheathing and laying the initial floor, students raised the walls for the 16x24 foot L-shaped ranch. Next, students carefully measured rough openings where they will eventually hang doors and place windows. 

While working to complete the structure, students will be challenged further with angles and measures as they raise the rafters to begin the roof. Continuing to improve their craftsmanship, the students will lay shingles to complete the roof and also work on their trim abilities as they add full siding to the building. 

As the construction project continues, students will also incorporate various other trade skills to make the structure replicate a fully functioning home on the interior as well. The house will be equipped with running water, working electricity, and simple cabinetry features, all completed by the student craftsmen. 


Sachem Duo Wins Teslamania Physics Demo-Derby

Sachem Duo Wins Teslamania Physics Demo-Derby photo
Sachem High School East physics educator Richard Gearns and senior John Glenis took first place at the Teslamania Physics Demo-Derby at Stony Brook University, as they wowed onlookers with their incandescent bulb demonstration. 

The Teslamania Physics Demo-Derby is an event that gives physics educators from across Long Island an opportunity to showcase their ideas, inventions and lessons aimed at improving physics education and engaging students within the classroom. Participating educators are encouraged to incorporate demonstrations from the event into their own classrooms. 

“Teslamania was a truly fascinating experience,” said Glenis. “It exposed me to a variety of demonstrations which allowed me to better visualize the concepts we learn in class in an engaging way.”

Within their 15-minute demonstration window, the Sachem duo demonstrated to physics teachers how the filament of an AC incandescent bulb vibrates in the presence of a strong magnetic field. 

 “It’s a great contest,” said Gearns. “It brings together physics teachers and students in a way that allows everyone to share in the creativity, excitement and power of science.”  

Strong Showing for Sachem XC at County Championships

Strong Showing for Sachem XC at County Championships photo
Strong Showing for Sachem XC at County Championships photo 2
The dynasty-like ways of Sachem East girls cross country continued last week as the Arrows captured another Suffolk County Class A championship.

Melissa Merone was the top finisher for East, placing second with a time of 20:04.93. She was followed by Lindsey Dodenhoff, who placed third in 20:06.93.  Rounding out the team effort were Rachel Ruggiero, Kaitlyn Famiglietti, Caitlin O'Hehir, Bridget Abraldes, and Shayna Arrigo.

Also qualifying for the state championships was Jordyn McDonnell from Sachem North who placed fourth overall in 20:15.68.  North also had a strong showing from Molly Ramirez who placed tenth in the county championships (10th, 20:38.68).

The New York State championships will take place at Wayne Central School on Saturday, November 11.  We wish the East team and Jordyn good luck at States!

Learning Grows with Hiawatha’s Great Pumpkin

Learning Grows with Hiawatha’s Great Pumpkin photo

Hiawatha Elementary School kindergarten students were greeted by a great surprise as they participated in a fall-themed activity focused on identifying unique properties of pumpkins.

The students recited a poem and sprinkled a field outside the school with special pumpkin glitter in hopes the Great Pumpkin from the infamous Charlie Brown story would bring pumpkins overnight. The next day students were pleasantly surprised when a pumpkin patch blanketed the field where they had spread the glitter the day before. 

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Cerullo’s class began conducting several experiments – including observations of their pumpkins, describing their unique characteristics and measuring the pumpkins’ height and width with cubes. Continuing their observations, students placed their pumpkins into tubs of water, discovering their buoyancy.  

Following the activity, students were given the opportunity to take home their pumpkins to continue the fall-themed fun.  


Shaping Initials in Iron

Shaping Initials in Iron photo
Sachem High School East students in Keith Connelly’s technology class practiced metal design and production techniques as they crafted their initials out of iron. 

English as a New Language students in grades 9-12 worked through a multistep production process helping to improve upon communication skills through hands on learning activities. Students began production with the study of letter design and then practiced measuring curved lines as they turned their designs into reality. As production continued, students learned to cut and bend metal to mirror the designs that they sketched. Following cutting and shaping, students practiced self-shielded flux core welding to join each initial. 

Concluding the process, students applied finishing techniques such as grinding and finally painted their initials to complete their projects.   

National Teen Safe Driving Week

National Teen Safe Driving Week photo
National Teen Safe Driving Week photo 2
Sachem High School East students recently participated in various special assembly programs, each reinforcing the need to exercise caution and safety when operating a motor vehicle. The programs featured guest speakers representing different organizations across Long Island, who offered valuable information on safe driving practices. 

All health education classes attended an assembly presented by Karen Torres, distracted driving awareness advocate and founder of All4UDad. Following a tragic loss caused by a distracted driver, Ms. Torres travels to schools, sharing her story and speaking of the dangers associated with driving while distracted. 

During events organized by health educators Siobhan Carey, Sean Cully and Patricia Broderick,
students were visited by Officer McVeigh from the Suffolk County Police Department and members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, who spoke on the topic of safe driving and the dangers of driving under the influence.

Continuing the discussion on safe driving, Al Ferrari from the Empower Assist Care Network spoke with classes about safe driving practices and personal safety. 

Seneca Students Make Marble Mazes

Seneca Students Make Marble Mazes photo
Seneca Students Make Marble Mazes photo 2
Seneca Students Make Marble Mazes photo 3
Seneca Students Make Marble Mazes photo 4
Students in Michael Lundstrom’s technology class at Seneca Middle School used innovative thinking as they faced design challenges in creating marble mazes, racing the clock to reach a designated goal time of eight seconds. 

Seventh-grade students in Mr. Lundstrom’s technology class focused on the engineering design process as they embarked on the challenges of navigating a marble through a maze, meeting the time constraints allowed. Supplied with cardboard from cereal boxes, students assembled the mazes, weaving the marble throughout their creations to reach its destination. The only factor aiding the marble in its descent was gravity. 

During the project, the students learned a number of lessons beyond the engineering skill acquired. These included the concept of design ethics and the importance of attributing credit for components found in others’ designs while conducting research. Additionally, self-refection was emphasized during the testing phase, which required students to recognize design failures and the need to create functional solutions that successfully completed their goals.  

Connecting to Technology in Lynwood’s New Makerspace

Connecting to Technology in Lynwood’s New Makerspace photo

Students across all grade levels at Lynwood Elementary School experienced various new technologies within their makerspace room as librarians from the Sachem Public Library led an interactive showcase.

Throughout the week, Lynwood students explored technologies such as remote control mechanical arms; Osmos, an iPad attachment and app that allows students to bring drawings from the tablet to paper; and Mbots, programmable remote-controlled vehicles with a coding component. 

Along with new technologies, students were also challenged with more familiar objects. At one station, students were supplied with clothespins, popsicle sticks and alligator clips, and tasked with constructing a weight-bearing structure. An assortment of Legos was supplied at another station and students were challenged to build functioning cars or replica homes. Finally, common hand tools were incorporated to test the students’ problem-solving skills as they collaborated to remove various nuts, bolts and screws from a pegboard. 

In its inaugural year, teachers will utilize the Lynwood Elementary makerspace room to conduct educationally enriching and engaging activities. 

Spooky STEAM for Sachem Students

Spooky STEAM for Sachem Students photo

Waverly Avenue Elementary students in Cathy Juliano’s fourth-grade class participated in a Halloween-themed STEAM activity that challenged their creative design skills by calling for the construction of miniature haunted houses.

To begin the project, students drafted unique design ideas, keeping in mind the structural integrity of their buildings. Following the design process, students turned their ideas into reality utilizing popsicle sticks and glue. Throughout the construction process, students employed problem-solving techniques by incorporating the objects around them to act as braces, allowing the glue to set and the structures to strengthen. 

Following construction, students decorated their houses with paint and Halloween-themed cutouts. 

Pet Education Project

Founder of the Pet Education Project, Erica Falbaum visited Merrimac Elementary students today, spreading awareness of animal abuse and responsible pet ownership. Jaclyn Ianson and Camdyn Bentivenga raised a total of $500 dollars for the nonprofit organization. Read more about pet education at Merrimac here:

Sachem Students Teach Students

Sachem Students Teach Students photo
Sachem Students Teach Students photo 2
Sachem Students Teach Students photo 3
Students from Sachem High Schools North and East came together for a day of training as part of the Teens as Teachers Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Program club and course. The program, which included multiple guest speakers from across Suffolk County, featured interactive activities designed to strengthen students’ skills as peer educators as they work collectively as community liaisons, educating youth and promoting a safe and healthy lifestyle. 

The peer educators within the program facilitate lessons to sixth-grade students around the district on how to resist pressures to use drugs and alcohol. The skills-based health education program is designed to mitigate risk factors and build the basis for a safe, supportive and respectful learning environment. The Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) curriculum is used to put social and emotional learning to work through fun and interactive lessons, building the self-confidence young people need to make healthy choices and achieve success.

The training program organized by Sachem Health Education Department educators Patricia Broderick, Lori Hewlett and Kristen Maccarone began with a brief presentation from Sachem substance abuse and violence prevention counselors. Then the students transitioned into an inspirational presentation given by Kym Laube, executive director of HUGS Inc., about the importance of leadership. 

Following the guest speakers, students separated into groups and practiced presenting the lessons they will be delivering to the district’s sixth-grade students in the coming months. 

Students Skype With Chef Ina Garten

Students Skype With Chef Ina Garten Pic
Inspiration was on the menu for students of Tiffany Ambrico-Wilson’s World at Work class at Sachem High School East as they participated in a Skype call with Ina Garten, American author and host of the Food Network program, “Barefoot Contessa.”

The World at Work class helps transition special education students from high school to life after graduation, focusing on life skills such as cleaning, cooking, shopping and managing finances. Students get a chance to practice these skills as the class partakes in weekly grocery store trips. They are also given the opportunity to work with a job coach twice a week building the skills necessary toward gaining employment. 

Ina provided the students an inside look into her preparation process, from selecting a recipe to utilizing her home garden or purchasing ingredients at her local grocery store, before cooking an Italian dish, polenta, and a class favorite treat, chocolate chip cookies. Additionally, she spoke to the students about how she became a successful chef, reflecting on her inspirations growing up and the steps she took to teach herself how to cook. Throughout the videoconference, Ina reiterated the importance of passion in anything the students choose to do in life. 

“Being able to have this experience with Ina adds to what we try to do every day,” said Ambrico-Wilson. “Find what you love to do and do it.”

Grundy Avenue Draws from Dots

Grundy Avenue Draws from Dots photo
Opening doors of artistic creativity and inspiration, Grundy Avenue Elementary students in Nicole Liuzzi’s third-grade classes participated in their annual monthlong International Dot Day art project.

Students began their project by creating a single dot on a sheet of paper. Mrs. Liuzzi then read her class “The Dot,” by Peter H. Reynold. The book portrays a little girl who is shy about expressing her artistic abilities. After some encouragement from her art teacher, she becomes inspired by a tiny dot she put on a piece of paper and then goes on to create many more works of art, all stemming from a single dot. The students in Mrs. Liuzzi’s class mirrored this process, revisiting their original dots at the completion of the book and creating their very own masterpieces. 

“I feel that the book and this project truly embody what art is all about, creativity and innovation,” said Mrs. Liuzzi. “The art room is truly the one place where students can lose their fear of being wrong and just have fun.”

While creating their works of art, the students often looked to a line from the book, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Each dot took the students though their very own enriching artistic journey.  

Sachem Hosts Genetics Update Conference

Sachem Hosts Genetics Update Conference photo
Students and staff from several Long Island districts gathered in the Sachem High School North auditorium for a lecture on groundbreaking cancer genetics research topics by Indiana University professor Dr. Sam Rhine.

The college-style lecture covered multiple areas of the genetics scientific discipline, spanning from causes of different forms of cancer to the possibilities of correcting genetic diseases. Dr. Rhine also spoke to students and educators about ongoing organ transplant research involving pigs and promising new research with the capabilities to edit genomes known as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR). 

Students and staff were encouraged to ask questions throughout the lecture, and educators were provided with information to perform their own in-class genetic experiments. 

Girl Scouts Flyer


Fire Prevention Demonstrated at Lynwood

Fire Prevention Demonstrated at Lynwood photo

Fire safety took precedence at Lynwood Elementary School as students participated in fire prevention-week activities this October, including an informative assembly presented by members of the Farmingville Fire Department.

During the assembly, students enjoyed multiple demonstrations by the firefighters, learned essential safety tips for emergency situations and witnessed the rescue capabilities of the department. Students watched a vehicle extrication scenario as well as multiple firefighters rappelling from the department’s ladder truck from a height of approximately 100 feet.  Firefighters taught students how to safely exit from a burning structure and the importance of developing a meeting point in a safe location outside their home in case of a fire. 

At the conclusion of the demonstrations, students were given time to explore the various apparatuses and ask firefighters questions about their experiences as members of the fire department. 

Throughout the district, local departments will visit the schools to educate students on best practices in emergency situations. 

Music Tech Magic at Samoset

Music Tech Magic at Samoset photo
Captivating musical creativity filled the Samoset Middle School auditorium as sixth-grade students and faculty attended a music technology assembly presented by Brent Daniels, an award-winning composer, producer, sound designer and recording artist. 

Utilizing the latest in music technology, Daniels delivered an eye-opening assembly that explored the many ways to manipulate sound to create music. With the help from student volunteers, Daniels recorded sounds created by the students and crafted them into a seamless musical production. 

Throughout the assembly, Daniels reiterated the accessibility of technology such as the common Mac program Garage Band that is capable of mirroring the musical magic he performed for the students.  

Fifth-Graders Bring Pet Education to Merrimac

Fifth-Graders Bring Pet Education to Merrimac photo
Fifth-Graders Bring Pet Education to Merrimac photo 2
Merrimac Elementary students were treated to a schoolwide pet education assembly led by two of their fellow students – fifth-graders Camdyn Bentivenga and Jaclyn Ianson, each of whom has a passion for animal safety. During the presentation, the students shared that passion and spoke about the nonprofit organization, the Pet Education Project.

“We chose PEP because it was the only organization that helps animals with kids leading the way.” said Camdyn. “I like how we help teach everyone how to become animal heroes!”

PEP promotes a message of responsible pet ownership and spreads awareness of pet abuse. During the presentation, students learned about animal shelter overcrowding and ways that they can make a positive impact on affected animals. The two student presenters developed an interactive way to raise money for the PEP organization. They created a “spin and win wheel” where students donate a dollar to spin for a chance to win a prize such as stuffed animals, bookmarks, PEP pencils and key chains. All prizes were provided by Jaclyn and Camdyn’s parents. To date, the students have raised $476.

“Throughout our work with the organization I’ve learned many valuable lessons – the most important of which was how many pets really need our help,” said Jaclyn. “Having the spin and win wheel will involve everyone in our school in helping to raise funds for this very important cause.”

Following the presentation, Camdyn and Jaclyn held a brief question-and-answer period, also informing the students that Erica Falbaum, the PEP founder, will be visiting on Oct. 20. After the students contacted Mrs. Falbaum, she was excited to come to Merrimac and share her “PEP talk” with the students.  

Victory For Sachem Marching Band At Home Show

Marching Band image
The Sachem Marching Band hosted a home show on Sunday, October 15 and captured a victory in its division.

Sachem scored an 82.70 in the Large School 3 division and dazzled a packed house with incredible precision and execution in all areas of the performance.

There were 11 schools, including Sachem, who participated in the event. Other winners on the afternoon included Roslyn (Small School 3), Mineola (Small School 2), Huntington (Large School 2), Malverne (Small School 1), and Brentwood (National).

The 82.70 is a full seven points higher than Sachem’s previous best performance this season, according to band coordinator, Mike Carroll.

Sachem will be in action again next Saturday in a show at Mineola High School.

Energy Lessons Spark Student Interest at Grundy

Energy Lessons Spark Student Interest at Grundy photo
Energy Lessons Spark Student Interest at Grundy photo 2
Grundy Avenue Elementary Students learned about energy and effective practices to conserve it during a PSEG Long Island-sponsored assembly by The Energized Guys.   

The program incorporated multiple characters and explored four main topics: defining energy, the uses of energy, how energy is wasted and ways to conserve it. Throughout the show students were taught about various energy conservation methods and tactics to cut down energy waste around their homes. 
“It’s really important that we educate and help children and their families understand the importance of our natural resources and using energy wisely,” said George Coburn, customer experience manager for PSEG Long Island. “Even young students can understand that they have energy choices. The younger they begin learning, the more likely they will retain these concepts throughout their life.”

Following the presentations teachers reinforced topics learned during the performance with classroom activities on energy. 

District Sets Vision for the Future of Sachem Schools

District Sets Vision for the Future of Sachem Schools Photo

New Goals Establish Measurable Outcomes for Success 

As a culmination to a multimonth discussion process, the district’s Board of Education adopted a set of long- and short-range goals on Sept. 27 focused on continuing to strengthen academic programs, bolster student services, build upon past initiatives and reflect the vision and philosophy of our district and community.

“Just as we encourage our students to remain focused and set goals for themselves, it is imperative that we as a district establish a long-term vision for the Sachem community in order to ensure that we are continuing to evolve our school system and meet the demands of the ever-changing world around us,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham. “These goals were created with input from various members of our school community and are ones that we believe will enhance educational opportunities, build strong connections with our students and create the foundation – both within and beyond the classroom environment.”

An overview of the district’s adopted goals can be found below. For a detailed look at the goals and the targeted steps to achieve them, please visit (Insert Link).

Goal #1: Provide Safe and Secure Schools – Deliver a safe educational environment where students are supported and empowered during all educational, extracurricular and cocurricular activities.

Goal #2: Enhance Student Achievement, Quality of Instruction and Leadership Skills – Implement a well-rounded curriculum, which allows students to excel in their current academic environment and possess the skills to succeed in their further education or chosen career path. 

Goal #3: Improve Parent, Community and Staff Communication – Engage the community through multiple mediums and increase information accessibility.

Goal #4: Improve Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Throughout the District – Responsibly balance educational needs with taxpayer sensitivity.

Goal #5: Commit to Providing Staff with the Necessary Tools and Support to Provide the Students with the Highest Quality Education – Optimize instructional recruitment and encourage all employees to reach their full potential, positively impacting Sachem students and community through utilization of mindful professional development opportunities.

Goal #6: We are Sachem – Develop both horizontal and vertical articulation amongst our 15 schools, connecting students, staff, and community and fostering one Sachem family.

“Our school district has long maintained a reputation for providing students with a diverse and myriad of learning opportunities as well as avenues to excel beyond the walls of the classroom,” said Board of Education President Anthony Falco. “We believe that this set of goals is the first step in advancing our programs, reflect the vision our community has for our schools and will provide our students with the necessary educational opportunities to succeed in a safe and secure environment.”

The district will be reviewing the adopted goals and associated implementation action plans periodically throughout the year and identifying ways to improve moving forward. A comprehensive review of the plan will be conducted at the end of the school year during a Board of Education meeting.

2017 Sachem Athletic Hall of Fame Class Inducted

2017 Sachem Athletic Hall of Fame Class Inducted photo
For just the third time in district history, Sachem inducted an Athletic Hall of Fame class. Their ceremony took place on Saturday, October 7 in the gymnasium lobby at Sachem High School North.

“The Sachem Athletic Department is proud and honored to be a part of inducting some of the top athletes and coaches in Sachem history,” said Gary Beutel, Sachem’s Director of Physical Education, Athletics and Health Education. “We wish every inductee congratulations and thank them for their efforts in representing our school district with pride and honor.”

The event was sponsored by the Sachem Alumni Association.

“There is nothing better than honoring the past and inspiring the future here in Sachem,” said Chris R. Vaccaro, President and Founder of the Sachem Alumni Association. “We have a tradition of excellence in Sachem that has been built over decades of success in athletics and to honor some of the best coaches and student-athletes in district history is tremendous.”

Class of 2017 Inductees
Joe Amplo, lacrosse and football, Class of 1995
Daniel Brienza, soccer, Class of 1999
Matt Brisson, coach
Brian Brecht, lacrosse, Class of 1991
John Carvalheira, wrestling, Class of 1993
Jeanna Composti Sondag, track and field, Class of 1999
Matt DiStefano, volleyball and basketball, Class of 1996
Patty Fabian Scaturro, three-sport athlete, Class of 1978
Mike Falcon, wrestling, Class of 1980
Michael Farley, three-sport athlete, Class of 1984
Bill Kropp, coach and athlete, Class of 1977
Chris LaMorte, gymnastics, Class of 1992
Steve Lorincz, coach
Pat Metcalf, coach
Pete Montalbano, coach
Mike O’Flaherty, coach
Kathleen O’Reilly, three-sport athlete, Class of 1984
Linda Otten, administrator
Tony Petillo, coach and athlete, Class of 1974
Eric Reichenbach, baseball, Class of 1988
Steve Rich, coach
Shannon Weeks McCormack, track and field, Class of 1996
Mike Westscott, coach
Wayne Wilson, three-sport athlete, Class of 1987
Alex Young, coach, Class of 1977
Tom Zambrotta, gymnastics, Class of 1984

To learn more about each inductee, you can read bio capsules on

Photo Courtesy Jo Art Photographers

Inspirational Author Visit

Inspirational Author Visit photo

Literacy came alive for sixth-grade students from Sagamore and Seneca middle schools when they enjoyed an inspiring day with author and illustrator George O’Connor.

During two separate assembly programs, Mr. O’Connor spoke of his experiences as a student and what sparked his interest to pursue the career he excels at today. He also walked the students through his Greek mythology-based book series, “Olympians,” providing students with valuable illustrating tips and techniques. Concluding his presentations, Mr. O’Connor showcased his quick drawing style during an impressive 25-second drawing demonstration of Greek god Zeus.  

As an added treat, those students who participated in the Sachem Public Library Summer Reading Program had the chance to eat breakfast (Seneca) or lunch (Sagamore) with O’Connor and engage in a small-group question-and-answer session.

Sachem North Ends Homecoming Week With Victory

Sachem North Ends Homecoming Week With Victory photo
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Sachem North capped a memorable week of homecoming festivities by beating Central Islip 38-20 on Friday, October 6 at Fred Fusaro Alumni Stadium.

Students spent all week in spirit mode, celebrating each day with a different theme from American attire to famous duos, and Sachem pride.

On Thursday evening the gymnasium was packed with more than 800 students who enjoyed a homecoming dance. Homecoming royalty was selected and the senior honorees were Chris Eagler as King, Julia Boris as Queen and Sean Melious as Jester.

Fans at Friday evening’s game were treated to performances by the marching band, Arrowettes and cheerleader squads. During halftime, this year’s Sachem Athletic Hall of Fame induction class was honored.

Sachem’s football team was led by quarterback Nick Gambino, who had a career-high 170 passing yards, and also two rushing touchdowns. Javal Stanton also had a career-high 195 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns.

Senior Receives Science Award of Excellence

Senior Receives Science Award of Excellence photo
Sachem High School East senior Mark Benesh has received the Award of Excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. 

As a recipient of this award, Mark was chosen to attend the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders as a delegate representing High School East. Selected students are recommended by their teacher or guidance counselor for leadership ability, academic achievement and dedication to science and technology while also holding a GPA of 3.5 or above. 

The three-day conference, held in Lowell, Massachusetts, includes a collection of seminars lead by Nobel Prize winners and industry-leading inventors. The annual conference draws more than 1,000 students from across the country. 

Mark plans to further his science and technology knowledge by studying earth science and physics in college, with the hope of becoming a science educator himself. 

Sachem East Swimmer Qualifies for State Championships

Sachem East Swimmer Qualifies for State Championships Photo
Sachem East senior Jessica Freund qualified for the New York State Championship meet in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of :59.71 at a meet against Connetquot on September 26. Freund will be competing at the state meet for the third consecutive season.

While it’s great to qualify this early in the season, Freund has over a month to qualify in more events and finish off her high school career on top.

“I would love to see her win the county title and challenge some of the best swimmers on the state level in Ithaca on November 17-18,” said Sachem East swim coach, Kathleen Dugan.

Against Connetquot last week, she also reset her own school record in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:58.42.

“Jessica came into the season in the best shape of her career and I’m excited to see where this season can go,” said Dugan.

Sachem East swimming and diving is 3-1 and have had great step-up swims from a very young team this season.

Freund previously competed at the state tournament in 2016 in the 100-meter breaststroke, and in 2015 in the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley. She was a Suffolk County champion in the 100-meter fly in 2015.

(Photos courtesy: Freund Family)

Nine Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students

Nine Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students Photo
Nine Sachem Central School District seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

At the end of September, about 34,000 of the approximately 50,000 highest scorers were chosen for this honor based on their PSAT/NMSQT results. Paul Noble and Nobonita Paul have been chosen from High School North and Timothy Chiu, Kayli Manalo, Nicholas Manzella, Kayla Miranda, Emma Rigaud, Alecia Robins and Rachel Yaker have been selected from High School East.

Selected students receive letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic performance and become candidates to be chosen for special scholarships sponsored by corporate businesses.  

North (L-R): Nobonita Paul, Paul Noble.  

East (L-R): Timothy Chiu, Nicholas Manzella, Kayla Miranda, Rachel Yaker, Emma Rigaud, Kayli Manalo, Alecia Robins

Constructing Balloon-Powered Vehicles

Constructing Balloon-Powered Vehicles photo

Waverly Avenue Elementary students practiced basic engineering principles as they worked together to construct balloon-powered cars during an interactive STEAM lesson.

In the school’s new STEAM room, students from Cathy Juliano’s fourth-grade class began collaborating on designs to create a functioning self-propelled balloon car. Supplied with foam balls, straws, wooden rods, tape, rubber bands, a water bottle and a balloon, students began to assemble their cars. Assisted by art teacher Susan Kinsey and Librarian Luann Cronin, students applied problem-solving techniques throughout the construction process to overcome design obstacles and effectively complete their vehicles. 

At the conclusion of the lesson, the student groups came together to test their balloon-powered cars and collectively discussed solutions to improve their vehicles. 

Learning Makes a Splash at Nokomis

Learning Makes a Splash at Nokomis photo
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Learning Makes a Splash at Nokomis photo 3
As part of a life science lesson, Nokomis Elementary School students explored aquatic pond organisms during a presentation by the Department of Environmental Conservation. 

During the interactive presentation, fourth-grade students from Nokomis Elementary were asked to identify the segmented parts that make up each organism. Equipped with magnifying lenses, the students began to inspect the pond organisms and worked together to sketch the individual parts. Among the various pond organisms were tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs and crawfish. The students also learned of the larger species that inhabit ponds and their unique roles as predators within the ecosystem. 

At the conclusion of the activity, David Pomeranz and Maggie McCabe from the DEC initiated a conversation amongst the students about how each segment of the organisms serves a purpose out in the wild. 


Cayuga Students Study Hurricanes

Cayuga Students Study Hurricanes photo
During an interactive STEAM lesson, Cayuga Elementary students explored the power of hurricanes and their effects on structures. 

The activity began with a discussion on hurricanes, including identifying what defines the weather phenomenon, and key information for the students to consider during the hands-on activity. 

Separated into small groups, students worked to construct a structure capable of withstanding strong wind and rain using only masking tape, popsicle sticks, construction paper, an aluminum pan and Play-Doh. After construction was complete, the structures faced a hurricane simulation test. Two cups of water were added to the pan to represent rain and a fan blowing at high speed was pointed at the structures to act as hurricane-force winds. 

The class gathered after the activity for a discussion about the performance of their structures. The next day small adjustments were made and all of the groups’ structures were retested using the simulated hurricane conditions. 

Sachem Schools Lend a Helping Hand

Helping Hand Pic
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Throughout the month of September, Sachem Central School District students and staff came together to organize a variety of fundraisers and activities to benefit the victims of devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Among the various items collected were personal hygiene supplies, nonperishable food items and a harvest of crops grown in Wenonah’s community garden, as well as gift cards and other monetary donations.

All items will be donated to one of three Texas schools the district has adopted or to local organization Island Harvest.

Sign up for our e-newsletter!


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.

Click here to join our mailing list

Tamarac Elementary Receives Regional PARP Award

Tamarac Elementary Receives Regional PARP Award photo
Tamarac Elementary School has been recognized by the New York State PTA as having the best Pick a Reading Partner program in the Suffolk Region for the 2016-2017 school year. 

Titled “The Rock and Read PARP Tour,” the winning PTA-sponsored program incorporated four “stops” that explored multiple literary genres and provided enriched assembly programs for readers throughout the school year. Programs such as “Reading Rampage” and an author visit from Steve Metzger aimed to reinforce student reading, writing, vocabulary and punctuation skills. Dedicated parents and staff also provided innovative and engaging opportunities throughout the year that contributed to the widespread success of the building’s program. 

“Our program only works if our teachers are on board and fully support the activities and the program,” said Tamarac Principal Michael Saidens. “In addition to all of our participants, I want to recognize Francine Richetti, Lori Capozzi and the PARP Committee for the amazing job they have done with this program and the support they provide our school community.”

At the conclusion of the year, the students had read more than 2,500 books through PARP. 

2017-2018 District Calendar Summary

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