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Classroom Garden

Classroom Garden Photo

All fourth-grade classes at Blue Point Elementary School recently extended their knowledge of plant life by working together to construct a hydroponic garden tower.

Prior to the construction of the system, the students studied the responses to seeds and seedlings to varying environmental conditions, including pole beans, which were grown in the traditional way using soil, water and sunlight.   

Students worked together using various tools such as wrenches and levels to construct the plant tower, tomato cage and install lights essential for healthy plant growth. After the assembly, they transplanted the bean plants to the garden tower, washing away excess dirt and leaving just the roots exposed. They were also able to test and regulate the pH balance to maximize the growth of the plants.

Additionally, students discussed and researched the pros, cons and other methods of growing plants. In doing so, they discovered plants can be grown many different ways to adapt to specific environmental constraints.

Honoring Talented Musicians

Honoring Talented Musicians Photo
James Wilson Young Middle School recently celebrated its annual eighth-grade awards ceremony, highlighting the many talents of the young student-musicians and their contributions to the music community. The music department was proud to present its Outstanding Musician awards to Nicholas Ayerle, chorus; Colin Feddern, jazz band; Lindsay Lessing, band; and Colin Somers, orchestra. The department’s highest honor, the Distinguished Musician Award, was presented to flutist, Cecily Phua; and violinist, Christopher Cody for their outstanding musical talents. The district congratulates all of the talented musicians!

Senior Recognitions

Senior Recognitions Photo
Six members of the Bayport-Blue Point High School Class of 2017 were recently honored as outstanding members of the school community and celebrated for their achievements at the annual “In Recognition of Excellence” event held on June 14.

The students — Abigail Auwaerter, Lena Diaz, Kayla O’Shea-Dorfman, Mackenzie Fabiani, Madeline Silecchia and Joseph Venero — were selected by a committee of teachers and administrators at the high school from a list of nominees submitted by the entire faculty. The criteria for selection included service to the school and community, respect for fellow students, strong moral character, academic achievement, commitment and appreciation of school ideals, participation in school activities and the ability to express himself/herself.  

Additionally, the students were able to reciprocate their gratitude by selecting three staff members — one from their elementary, middle and secondary experiences — who had a special influence on their education. The selected staff members included Ron Bard, Katherine Carpenter, Stephanie Eberhard-Holgerson, James Ferrara, Carly Gayer, Karen Gick, Dan Harrington, Joan Heiser, Jane Jacoby, Krista Klicpera, Dawn Moccio, Toni Mulgrave, Anthony Murphy, Kim Palma, Dr. Gaurav Passi, Frank Salino, Joy Schuster and Jodi Sleavensky.

A Night of Achievements

A Night of Achievements Photo

The early June Bayport-Blue Point Board of Education meeting celebrated multiple districtwide achievements, praising students and staff alike, for their contributions toward maintaining a flourishing learning environment.

To begin the night’s recognitions, multiple district kindergarten through fifth-grade students were rewarded with tokens of appreciation from the Board for their performances/artistic projects in the PTA Reflections Arts Program Contest. To qualify for recognition by the PTA, these students utilized their creativity to formulate projects spanning multiple categories all with the central theme of “What is your story?” in mind. In addition to the students celebrated for their success on the regional level, Sylvan Avenue Elementary student Charlotte Passamonte was honored for winning the Award of Merit at the state level for her dance routine. According to their website, PTA Reflections is a nationally acclaimed student recognition program to encourage artistic creativity in the classroom and at home. 

Bayport-Blue Point High School’s 19 summa cum laude students were also recognized by the Board for their years of hard work and maintaining a grade point average above 96.5 by the end of their academic careers. Congratulations to Matthew Abruzzese Ott, Abigail Auwaerter, Christopher Bartolini, Davis Bates, Abby Brewer, Christian Buckheit, Matthew Califano, Jayne Cudia, Abigail Edgeller, Olivia Ingrassia, Kraig Klein, Allyson Koehler, Jillian Lessing, Joshua Lurie, Jacob Ocon, Peter Prisinzano, Amanda Salva, Patricia Shiebler and Philip Tubiolo. 

The Board also granted tenure to multiple staff members throughout the district for their continued successes in their buildings. Congratulations to Rosemarie Castilletti, Samantha Demeusy, Roy Deyo, Gina Eisles, Bayley Everitt, Robert Haas and Andrew Peshkur.

Additionally, this year’s retirees of the Bayport-Blue Point School District were recognized by the Board for their many years of service and dedication to the district community. Congratulations and best of luck to Pamela Austin, Jean Brown, Jacqueline DeCanio, Maria Gomes, O’Myra Petrocine and Maureen Raemdonck. 

June 2017 Community Update


Welcoming New Administrator

Welcoming New Administrator photo
The district is pleased to welcome Richard Snyder as the new assistant superintendent for finance and operations, effective July 1.

Since 2007, Mr. Snyder has worked as the assistant superintendent for business within the Eastport-South Manor School District. During his time in this position, he managed $100 million in capital construction projects, reduced expenditures by $15 million over an eight-year time period as well as designed and restructured all internal controls and financial reporting requirements. 

Prior to his position in Eastport-South Manor, Mr. Snyder worked as an external and internal audit manager for R.S. Abrams & Company and had previously served as the assistant superintendent for business and technology in the Bellmore Public Schools. 

In addition to his administrative experience, Mr. Snyder worked as a business education teacher at the H. Frank Carey High School of Sewanhaka Central High School District and is a certified public accountant.

Mr. Snyder holds a bachelor’s degree in science of accounting from St. Joseph’s College, a professional diploma in school business administration and a Master of Science in computer science degree, both received at Long Island University. 

Subtracting the Competition

Subtracting the Competition Photo
The district would like to congratulate Bayport-Blue Point High School junior Angelina Mazzei for achieving the highest combined score at the school on all recent Mathletes competitions.
The Mathletes Team is composed of a group of mathematically talented students who compete in monthly math contests against other area high schools, as sponsored by the New York State Mathematics League. During each contest, six extremely challenging questions are posed, and the top five scores are to contribute toward a total team score. 

“The Bayport-Blue Point students have consistently scored well and proudly represented the district,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School math teacher and Mathletes adviser Connie Chiraz. “Additionally, Angelina is a very respectful and conscientious student, and she is the only student to never miss a contest.”

Bay Area Summer Orchestra


Friends of Carly Fun Run

Friends of Carly Fun Run Photo

Third- through fifth-grade students at Academy Street Elementary School were recently joined by members of the community to celebrate the fifth annual “Friends of Carly Fun Run” in honor of former Academy student Carly LeStrange.

After being cheered on by kindergarten through second-grade students lining the front entrance of Academy Street Elementary, students, staff and their families joined one another to jog around the newly renovated Bayport-Blue Point High School track. 

Additionally, $1,046.16 was raised in honor of the Carly LeStrange Scholarship Fund by members of the community to be awarded to a 2017 graduate of Bayport-Blue Point High School. 

Smile Train Week

Smile Train Week Photo
Students at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School recently celebrated Smile Train Week to recognize Better Speech and Hearing month as an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders.

To raise school spirits and promote fundraising, the week’s themes consisted of Pajama Day, Sports Day, Career Day, Wear Your Best Smiles Day and Crazy Hair Day. The school is proud to have supported the efforts of the Smile Train and Better Speech and Hearing Month for the past 10 years.

Due to their successful fundraising this year, Sylvan Avenue Elementary School raised $3,703 which was tripled by an unknown Smile Train donor, bringing the grand total raised to $11,109. With these funds collected, approximately 44 children in need will be able to receive a free cleft palette surgery.

Additionally, Sylvan Avenue Elementary School Speech pathologists Laurie Katz and Christine Monahan recently returned from Vietnam after being invited by Smile Train Organization. While there, they were able to get a glimpse of the Vietnamese culture, visit with the children who recently underwent the surgery and provide their families with small tokens of appreciation.

The Smile Train Organization assists millions of children with untreated clefts by providing training, funding and resources to empower local doctors in more than 85 developing countries to provide 100 percent-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.

Extending Kindness

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The district congratulates Bayport-Blue Point High School students Keri White and Sean Morge for being recognized by the Rotary Club of Sayville for their efforts in welcoming a friend and fellow classmate back to school after a major surgery.  

Thanks to the students’ efforts and the community’s generosity, Keri and Sean were able to create a “Wellness Basket,” complete with a video of well-wishes, filmed and beautifully edited by Keri and Sean.

The “Wellness Basket” provided the receiving family with numerous gift cards, comfort items and a donation to “Stand Up to Cancer” in the name of their classmate.

Pursuing College Athletics

Pursuing College Athletics Photo

Due to their fantastic efforts both in the classroom and on the athletic field, seven Bayport-Blue Point High School seniors recently committed themselves to continuing their athletic careers at National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III schools. The district congratulates this group of student-athletes on their commitments, and wishes them the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.

Amongst the students playing Division III college-level sports are Ashley Campasano (Mount Ida College/volleyball), Carly Croteau (SUNY New Paltz/field hockey), Emily de Onis (University of Scranton/field hockey), Collin Duffy (Kings College/baseball), Mackenzie Fabiani (SUNY Maritime College/soccer), Nik Ingraffia (Baruch College/baseball) and Jake Liberatore (Stetson University/baseball) (Not pictured: Patricia Shiebler (Hamilton College/Swimming) and Edward Schulze (SUNY Brockport/Swimming).

Dayna Russo Named “Teacher of Excellence”

Dayna Russo Named “Teacher of Excellence” Photo
The district congratulates Bayport-Blue Point High School psychologist Dayna Russo for being recognized by Sen. Phil Boyle as a “Teacher of Excellence” at his second annual Teacher of Excellence Awards Ceremony held at the Bay Shore Fire Department.

Ms. Russo was chosen for this award based on her radiant personality and her ability to connect with students to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable to be who they are, to name a few. Additionally, Ms. Russo is credited for establishing the Bayport-Blue Point High School Peer Education Program, a very successful initiative which trains and educates students to be leaders in bullying prevention.

Assisting Man’s Best Friend

Assisting Man’s Best Friend Photo
Due to their fantastic efforts, Peer Leader students at Blue Point Elementary School were recently able to raise $2,650 for the Guide Dog Foundation during their “Hotdog for a Guide Dog” dinner fundraising event. Throughout the course of the evening, guests were able to enjoy delicious hotdog meals and were given the opportunity to win gift baskets courtesy of local businesses and organizations during a raffle.

Travelling with Flat Stanley

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Second-grade students at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School recently interacted with students from different regions of New York State via video chat to discuss similarities and differences of their school and community as part of The Flat Stanley Project.

Throughout the course of their discussions, the Bayport-Blue Point second-graders were able to answer informative questions sent from the upstate students such as, “How many second-grade classes does your school have?” and “Do any students have pets at home?” In addition, the students from upstate New York were happy to answer the questions that the Sylvan Avenue Elementary students posed.

According to the official Flat Stanley website, the basic principle of The Flat Stanley Project is to connect children, students or classrooms with other students or classrooms participating in the project by sending out “Flat” visitors created by the children through mail or digital resources.

Top Graduates

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The district would like to congratulate 19 graduating seniors for being named summa cum laude students by achieving a grade point average above 96.5, including this year’s valedictorian Philip Tubiolo and salutatorian Olivia Ingrassia.
Throughout his career at Bayport-Blue Point High School, Philip was a member of the Science Olympiad team, and was deeply rooted in the music department – lending his musical talents as bassist in the jazz band and a cellist in both the chamber and pit orchestras. This fall, he will attend Stony Brook University, where he will be majoring in biomedical engineering within the school’s University Scholars Program. While at Stony Brook, Philip plans to seek out research opportunities in the medical field and become involved in university jazz band, orchestra, and the university martial arts clubs.

While at Bayport-Blue Point High School, Olivia was a member of the varsity tennis team and was an accomplished musician, garnishing All-State, All-National and All-Eastern orchestra honors. She will attend Fordham University with a major in political science following a pre-law track. As part of her extracurricular studies at Fordham, Olivia plans to get involved in the university orchestra, Fordham College Republicans organization, and hopes to write for the Fordham Political Review.

The district congratulates all members of the graduating class, including the following 19 summa cum laude students: Matthew Abruzzese Ott, Abigail Auwaerter, Christopher Bartolini, Davis Bates, Abby Brewer, Christian Buckheit, Matthew Califano, Jayne Cudia, Abigail Edgeller, Olivia Ingrassia, Kraig Klein, Allyson Koehler, Jillian Lessing, Joshua Lurie, Jacob Ocon, Peter Prisinzano, Amanda Salva, Patricia Shiebler and Philip Tubiolo.

“We are very proud of the students and all of the hard work they’ve continued to show throughout their years here,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School Principal Dr. Gaurav Passi. “Additionally, their teachers have been thrilled with all they have accomplished thus far.”

Phantom Challenge

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Bayport-Blue Point High School students were recently able to present tentative business ideas and products to district administration, Board members and local business owners during the school’s fourth annual Phantom Challenge competition. The event is sponsored by the Perri-Marchan scholarship program and the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout the course of the evening, the following students presented their innovative projects to the judges - Abigail Auwaerter, Elizabeth Auwaerter, Sucheta Ghandi, Madyson Gillanders, Derian Nasca, Lauren Remy and Kyle Spano.

The students’ projects included a “Park My Ride” parking application to help navigate cities and towns, and the idea of a “Culture Craze” which would bring students together for a night of cultural appreciation at participating schools.

The night’s top prize went to “Turtle Travel,” a series of space-saving compression suitcases; the runner-up was the “Med-Id,” a computer chip containing valuable medical information. The “Spray and Sun” sunscreen spray booth was named second runner-up. The district congratulates all student participants for their fantastic projects.

Physical Education Honors

Physical Education Honors Photo
Fifth-grade students Kyle Barber and Marisa Carney at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School in were recently presented with Suffolk Zone Physical Education Leadership Awards based on their outstanding leadership skills, fitness, citizenship and excellence in physical education. Kyle and Marisa were the only two students bestowed with this award from the entire fifth-grade class at Sylvan Elementary.

BBPHS Named Most Challenging High School

BBPHS Named Most Challenging High School Photo
Bayport-Blue Point High School has been named amongst The Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools list for the 2016-17 school year.
According to The Washington Post, the honor is based on an index formula that assesses students’ access to Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education assessments during the school year and based in proportionate to the number of seniors who graduated that year. Only approximately 12 percent of U.S. high schools received this designation in 2017.

School Board Elections

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Board of Education President Michael Miller and Vice President Daniene Byrne were re-elected on May 16th for a second 3 year term.

Lessons in Nature

Lessons in Nature Photo

Students enrolled in Philip Turano’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science classes at Bayport-Blue Point High School were recently able to further their studies with two firsthand nature experiences featuring live animals.

The classes raised trout inside their classroom fish tank as the culmination of a project surrounding testing water quality and ecology. After the fish hatched within the classroom, the students traveled to the Caleb Smith State Park in Smithtown to release the specimen into the Nissequogue River.

Additionally, Tony Valderama of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge visited the class and spoke with the students about the various species of owls which live on Long Island and highlighted the unique and critical role that the predators play in the ecosystem. Earlier in the school year, the students dissected owl pellets in an effort to learn more about the predator-prey relationship in nature, and were able to tie in their research to Mr. Valderama’s visit.

“I was very proud of the class and grateful for the opportunity the district affords the Environmental Science program to host qualified guest speakers and conduct meaningful field research projects,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School Environment Science teacher Philip Turano.

Citizenship Day Celebrations

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Student volunteers from the Bayport-Blue Point High School Peers-to-Peers program recently came together to assist their community in various ways during the school’s first Citizenship Day event.

Throughout the course of the afternoon activities, upperclassmen could be seen alongside freshmen making hundreds of sandwiches for the Bellport Boys & Girls Club, creating dozens of toiletry baskets to be donated to benefit local veterans, planting gardens courtesy of donations from Bayport Flower Houses and cleaning up debris at Bayport Beach.

“Through the Peers-to-Peers Program, every ninth-grade student is provided with academic, emotional and social support,” said David Johnson, Peers-to-Peers program adviser and Bayport-Blue Point High School music teacher. “The program fosters a positive and inclusive school environment while providing every student with an opportunity to develop a meaningful connection with other students and staff.”

A Taste of Culture

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Students enrolled in Advanced Placement French and Advanced Placement European History courses at Bayport-Blue Point High School recently ventured into Manhattan to get a first-hand glimpse of the works of European masters of art housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While there, the students and their chaperones were able to get a glimpse into the ancient Greek and Roman lifestyle as they analyzed the large collection of marble sculptures. Additionally, the students were amazed by the vast display of paintings, tapestries, sculptures, photographs, furniture, armor and crafts.

All of this was made possible due to Bayport-Blue Point High School teachers Sean Meade and Madame AnnMarie Allen.

Writing Toward Success

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The district would like to congratulate Bayport-Blue Point High School sophomore Emersen Hernandez for being named the third-place winner in her grade category in the 2017 Kenneth F. Gambone Writing Contest.

For her winning entry, titled “My Name,” Emersen will be recognized on Friday, May 19, at LILAC’s annual spring luncheon/workshop at Captain Bill’s Restaurant in Bay Shore.

“Emersen is an incredibly hardworking and dedicated student,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School English teacher Erin McKay. “We are all very proud of her and she completely deserves this award.”

High Honors at Festivals of Music Competition

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Bayport-Blue Point High School student-musicians gathered multiple awards and recognitions during their recent trip to Washington, D.C. for the 2017 Festivals of Music Competition.

The district is happy to announce that the symphonic band, jazz band, symphony orchestra and string orchestra earned first in their respective categories. The concert band and chamber choir earned second-place standings within their categories.

Additionally, the symphony orchestra was awarded the Overall Orchestra Award, and the symphonic band was awarded the Overall Band Award.
In addition to the group awards, student-musicians Alisa Barsch, Josh Lurie and James Herlihy were also individually recognized based on their outstanding solo performances. Alisa received the vocalist award, Josh the outstanding jazz soloist award and James the outstanding jazz soloist award.

“This weekend the Bayport-Blue Point High School Music Department had a wonderful and successful trip to Washington, D.C.,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School music teacher David Johnson. “We are very proud of the students and the way they handled themselves throughout the course of the weekend.”

‘Exploring’ the rainforest

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Fifth-grade students in Stacey Loeffler’s and Krysta Sidoti’s classes at Blue Point Elementary School recently interacted with Dr. Meg Lowman via Skype about her extensive research of rainforest canopies after reading “The Most Beautiful Roof in the World.”

In order to enhance the students' interviewing skills and to further their understanding of her scientific research, they were all given the opportunity to develop questions to ask Dr. Lowman.

During their conversation, the students learned how Dr. Lowman became interested in studying herbivory and what it is like to live and sleep in the rainforest. Additionally, the fifth-graders learned about the "stinging tree" that Dr. Lowman is fascinated by, and her most recent experiences working in Malaysia to protect and preserve rainforest biodiversity.

Taking to the Stage

Taking to the Stage Photo

Academy Street Elementary School fourth-grade students in Carrie Almskog’s class collaborated with Nancy Celentano’s kindergarten class for a theatrical performance of the classic story “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” on April 20. After months of rehearsals and preparations, the students premiered the show for family members and the entire school community to enjoy. This year’s production enabled the students to practice their collaborative learning and reading comprehension skills, and introduced them to various aspects of the theater, including how to follow stage direction.

Digging up Facts

Digging up Facts Photo

Fourth- and fifth-grade elementary-level students from the district’s Gifted and Talented Education program at Academy Street Elementary School were recently treated to two interactive lessons to help further their knowledge of forensic archaeology and ecosystems.

A representative from Long Island Science Center provided a hands-on presentation regarding forensics as a culmination of the fifth-graders 10-week classroom study on the topic. During her demonstration, guest speaker Eileen Tambone explained to the students the duties of a forensic archaeologist, and how their job consists of analyzing remains of human bones and teeth. Additionally, students were able to work together to analyze real bones to determine age, gender and cause of death.

The fourth-grade students also attended a separate program about ecosystems after studying environmental science extensively in their classrooms prior to their activity. They analyzed the water quality of samples taken from the Peconic River by testing the pH levels and analyzed the turbidity using Jackson turbidity units. Additionally, they learned facts about how the water quality affects life in an ecosystem and created interlocking food webs.

Lessons from Wounded Warriors

Lessons from Wounded Warriors Photo

Fifth-grade students at Academy Street Elementary School were recently visited by Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team members Greg Reynolds, Nick Clark and Josh Wege for an informative session about not giving up despite the obstacles that life may present.

Throughout the duration of their visit to the school, the “handi-capable” athletes spoke to the students about how they lost their limbs, and instilled hope in them that these misfortunes do not stop them from living their lives to the fullest potential. Students were able to test their physical endurance during a fun activity hosted by Mr. Reynolds, in which he challenged them to see how many pushups they could complete against him. Additionally, the students asked the wounded warriors about their lives, asking such informative questions as, “Did anyone lose their dominant limbs?”

Their visit to the school was made possible due to the efforts All Pro Sports Academy owner and Academy Street Elementary parent Scott June.
According to their website, the Wounded Warriors Project aims to honor and empower wounded warriors who have been injured and lost limbs while fighting to protect the country.

June 25, 2017