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District Spotlights Music Trip and Reward School Honor

District Spotlights Music Trip and Reward School Honor Photo

During the district’s recent Board of Education meeting, Music Department Coordinator Dan Bilawsky presented a video on the Harborfields High School Jazz Band’s trip to New Orleans this past March. In addition, Harborfields High School Principal Timothy Russo was presented with a certificate, naming the high school a New York State Reward School for the 2017-18 school year.

Mr. Bilawsky spoke about the memorable trip and thanked the central administration and the Board of Education for their support in making it a reality for the students. The video, created by student Jack Salzman, featured music from the Jazz Band performances and photos of what the students had the opportunity to experience while in New Orleans.

Following the impressive presentation, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni called upon Mr. Russo and announced that the high school was among 185 schools in New York State who received the honor of becoming a 2017-18 Reward School. To earn this prestigious recognition, the school had to make the most progress or have the highest achievement in New York State with no significant gaps in student achievement.

Check out the Harborfields High School Jazz Band’s video below!

To read more about the trip to New Orleans, please follow the link:

Letter from the Superintendent regarding Reflection on 2016-2017 School Year


District Recognizes Retirees and Honorees

District Recognizes Retirees and Honorees Photo

Faculty members, administrators, board members and their families celebrated the 2016-17 retirees and outstanding members of the community and district on June 14.

The evening took place in the Oldfield Middle School auditorium where refreshments were served. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni welcomed those in attendance for coming to the special evening.

“Special nights like this give us the opportunity to reflect on what we have done to enrich the lives of the many children in this district that all of you have impacted,” said Dr. Ianni.

To kick off the retiree recognitions, Dr. Ianni called up Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School principal and retiree Marguerite Greene. He praised her for her dedication and service to the students in the district. Greene was one out of 16 retirees that were honored during the evening.

Other retirees included Gregory Adams, Donna Basile, Maria D’Amore, Patricia DeMarinis, Linda Espey, Claire Flynn, Phyllis Hoar, Sharon Kiefaber, Ellen Macrae, Nicholas Maravell, Dale Melchior, Loretta Motz, Bonnie Robertson, Kimberly Shineman and Rita Vita. Each were thanked by their school principal for their positive impact on the students’ in the district.

In addition, Board of Education Service Awards were presented to faculty members, administrators and community members who have gone above and beyond in the district. The Teacher Award was presented to Harborfields High School science teacher Keith McInnes and Washington Drive Primary School social worker Anna Zaharia and the Custodial Staff Award was given to Oldfield Middle School custodian Joey Rice.

Three Community Member Awards were presented to Mary Seligmann, Deborah and Frank Stolba and Linda White. The Support Staff Award was given to Peter Iovino and Dr. Ianni presented the Administrator Service Award to Executive Director for Instructional Services Jordan Cox.

Harborfields Theatre Company Honored at Hunting-Tony Awards

Harborfields Theatre Company Honored at Hunting-Tony Awards Photo
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Congratulations to the members of the Harborfields High School Theatre Company for recently receiving four outstanding awards at the 7th annual Hunting-Tony Awards, held at the John W. Engeman Theater!

Students, parents and faculty members who were involved in their high schools’ extra-curricular theatrical productions during the 2016-17 school year were in attendance as 25 award categories recognizing excellent acting, singing, dance performances, stage crew, scenery, orchestra pits, costumes and technical productions were presented.

The Best Supporting Actress in a Musical award was presented to Nikki Balducci for her performance in “Guys and Dolls,” while the Best Actor in a Play award was presented to Finn MacDevitt for his role in “Rumors.” The high school also took home the award for Best Scenery in a Musical and the Best Musical award for their “Guys and Dolls” production.

Sponsored by Town of Huntington Councilmembers Mark Cuthbertson and Susan A. Berland, and the John W. Engeman Theater of Northport, the ceremony began with opening remarks from Councilman Cuthbertson and Councilwoman Berland and featured musical numbers from several Long Island high schools.

“It is my hope that this ceremony helps to celebrate and recognize the dedication, talent and hard work exhibited by the all of the students involved in their high school productions and the immense effort that is put into each and every show,” said Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. “I wish to congratulate and thank all of the students, parents, teachers and school staff involved for all of their efforts in creating these wonderful theatrical productions.”

Honoring America’s Flag

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Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students and faculty members gathered for two assemblies on June 14, to honor Flag Day. The ceremonies unfolded in the school’s cafetorium, where classes dressed in patriotic fashion.

Local veterans from the American Legion were invited to the event and sat front row as the celebration took place. Boy Scouts opened the ceremony by leading the flag down to the stage followed by Principal Marguerite Greene and students waving American Flags. Together, they all recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  

Several fifth-graders approached the podium and read either a poem or essay on what the American flag means to them. Ms. Greene shared her favorite patriotic poem with the audience and the students sang a number of America-related songs such as “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the classes walked past the veterans, shaking each of their hands as they exited to thank them for their service and the sacrifices that they made for the country.

Orchestra Students Participate in Special Presentation

Orchestra Students Participate in Special Presentation Photo
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Third, fourth and fifth grade orchestra bass players at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School recently enjoyed a special bass presentation by bass expert Glen Saunders. Mr. Saunders, a parent in the district, has a Masters in Music (MM) from The Juilliard School, and a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) from Manhattan School of Music. He has studied bass extensively and has performed professionally on the bass.
Mr. Saunders’ son Aidan was among the fifth grade bassists. Aidan followed in his dad’s footsteps by having chosen to play the instrument and has been instructed privately on the instrument by his own father. Mr. Saunders’ presentation involved playing for the students with and without accompaniment, coaching them on their own playing, and talking about the role of the bass in the orchestra. 

The students’ eyes lit up when he played, seeing the musical potential of this very large, low instrument that they had chosen to play. Bass player participants included fifth graders Gregory Bohk, Aidan Saunders, and Morgan Vallen, fourth graders Brooke Brown, Shea Flynn, Elizabeth Michalopoulos, and Zoe Sanders, and third graders Nathan Riegler, Elizabeth Sabino, Callan Steel, and Orion Yberg. 

The young bassists had a reaction that could be summarized by one student’s comment: “That was awesome!” TJL orchestra teacher Cathy Ferraro hopes to have Mr. Saunders back for another great bass workshop next year.

Marine Experts

Marine Experts Photo

Second-graders at Washington Drive Primary School recently showed off their marine knowledge during four days of their Seashore Museum. Classes were assigned select days to set up their projects in the school’s cafetorium to present their research on specific sea creatures.

Family members were invited to the event and had the opportunity to walk around and ask questions about the projects. Students were encouraged to showcase their creativity as many shared posters, shoebox dioramas and drawings to those in attendance.

In addition, each student wore a hat that they created to let others know what sea creature they studied and eagerly shared what they learned about their animal.

Seniors Honored During Awards Night

Seniors Honored During Awards Night Photo

Harborfields High School seniors were recently recognized for their outstanding achievements, citizenship and service at the school’s annual senior awards ceremony. In addition, more than 20 memorial and organizational scholarships were presented to deserving seniors.

Casandra Moisanu and Ishaan Lohia were announced as the Class of 2017 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Principal Timothy Russo commended the seniors for their academic dedication and contributions to the school community. Russo also announced the eight other outstanding students who make up the top 10 students in the graduating class.  

The following are the top 10 students in the graduating Class of 2017: Casandra Moisanu, Ishaan Lohia, Greta Browne, Sarah Murphy, Mia Santomauro, Alexander Martin, Falyn Dwyer, Olivia Madigan, Jacob Chalif and Donovan Snyder. Their names were added to the Wall of Scholars, which is affixed in the hallway of the high school.

Two Students Named National Merit Scholarship Winners

 Two Students Named National Merit Scholarship Winners Photo
Congratulations to seniors Casandra Moisanu and Mia Santomauro, who were recently named National Merit Scholarship winners in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program based on their academic accomplishments!

The students were among 7,500 scholarship winners chosen from 1.6 million entrants to receive a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship to use at any accredited college or university in the United States.

Both students were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who examined their academic records, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned. The committee also reviewed an essay written by each student, scores from two standardized tests, student contributions and leadership in school and community activities and a letter of recommendation written by a high school official.

TJL Hosts Math 24 Night

TJL Hosts Math 24 Night Photo
Over 100 Thomas J. Lahey School students in third, fourth and fifth grade recently participated in Math 24 Night. Sponsored by the school’s PTA and coordinated by LEAP teacher Christine Mayr, the event is held each year and gives students the opportunity to play the Math 24 game, tournament style. Students use addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division to find a math solution of 24 for each card.

Over 30 Harborfields High School students volunteered their time to act as judges. They arrived before the event for training and then each student proctored at a table of four. In addition, Assistant Principal Mary Williams emceed the event and 24 door prizes were awarded over the course of the evening. Parent volunteers were on hand to help with registration and refreshments.

Congratulations to our first place winners and medal winners!

First Place:
Grade 3- Rendon Ospina
Grade 4- Abby Buckley
Grade 5- Brooke Cheskes
Medal Winners:
Grade 3: Connor Mcquade, Matthew Maughan and Anderson Sopher
Grade 4: Bridget Hickey, Emily Xie and Aidan Smith  
Grade 5: Kerri Gadamowitz, Matthew Henry and Matthew Cooke

Exceptional Earth Science Students

Exceptional Earth Science Students Photo
Four Oldfield Middle School students recently earned top spots in the National Science Olympiad, a science trivia contest offered in a variety of categories. The four eighth-graders participated in the Earth Science category and received first and second place among all participating schools across the country.  

Ryan Cook was named a first place winner in the contest, while Cameron Best, Eric Dombrower and Evan Mock were named second place winners. Oldfield Middle School also had the highest combined score among all participating schools in the Earth Science category. The combined score was the sum of the top 10 scorers in the school and were made up of the first and second place winners, as well as students Ryan Armstrong, Kimberly DeSantis, Ty Ellenbogen, Jenna Forestiero, Emma Hardwick, Theodore Krijnse Locker, Mia Kushner and Jacky Xie.

The students prepared for the contest under the guidance of their Earth Science teachers Phyllis Hoar and Karen Fisher and medals were presented to the first and second place winners. Principal Joanne Giordano will receive an award bearing all the top scorers' names in honor of the school’s high combined score.

Blossoming Artists

Blossoming Artists Photo
Five Oldfield Middle School students recently won top spots in the Town of Huntington’s 17th annual Huntington in Bloom Art Contest. Only three students from each grade level were crowned winners for the entire town of Huntington.

Under the direction of their art teacher Drew Lockwood, the students created artwork that followed the theme of the contest which was “Huntington in Bloom: A Depiction of Spring in Huntington.”  

In the sixth-grade category, Abby Peterson won best in grade, Kyle Johnson won second place and Angelina Dolinsky took home third place.

In addition, Kalea Farrago won second place for grade seven and Lili Noah, a past best in grade winner, won third place for grade eight.

First-Graders Tackle STEAM Challenges

First-Graders Tackle STEAM Challenges Photo

First-grade students in Melinda O’Donoghue class at Washington Drive Primary School participated in their first ever “Maker Mayhem” event on May 31. Family members were invited to the event which focused on STEAM challenges, enabling the students to work together to create new ideas.

The class prepared by working on STEAM challenges throughout the school year. During the event, six teams of four students worked with one or two family volunteers to successfully accomplish a challenge of their choice. O’Donoghue gave the teams several options to choose from including the challenge of creating something you can wear, creating an instrument, creating an object that floats, creating a building or shelter, creating an object to play with and creating an object that can move. 

Each student had a worksheet where they first planned out their designs and ideas. Afterwards, they worked with their teammates to find the right materials for their creations. They worked with supplies such as recycled water bottles, boxes, Legos, construction paper, glue sticks, tape, pipe cleaners and more. 

They problem solved and constructed their designs together. O’Donoghue timed the students and upon completion, each team shared their creations. They shared what challenges they faced and what they ultimately came up with. 

“I hope that the students learned the importance of perseverance and flexibility with these challenges,” said O’Donoghue. “Also, a better understanding of how to put things together when you sometimes have to approach things in a different way. 


Board Recognizes Hard Working Students

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During the district’s Board of Education meeting on May 9, the Board recognized several students and one faculty member for their hard work and dedication. Each received a certificate from the Board of Education. 

Washington Drive Primary School students Cathalina Aguilar and Audrey Donnelly were congratulated for being chosen as a School Grade Level and State Grade Level Winner in the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest. 

In addition, seven Harborfields High School students were honored for their dedication and support as a member of the Tornado News Team with live streaming of the district’s Board of Education meetings and events. Students included Ryan Ackerman, Medora Benson, Emmanuel Berbari, Jack Blitch, Harrison Crawford, Antonio Ferme and Samual Lellis. 

The Board also thanked Vincent Ambrosio for his outstanding guidance with the Tornado News Team and the live streaming of the district’s Board of Education meetings. 

A Slice of “How-To” Knowledge

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Kindergarten students at Washington Drive Primary School recently invited Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni into the classroom as part of their “How-To” lesson. 

Kindergarteners in Melissa Moccaldi and Maria Semertzides’ class and in Cari Sacks and Melissa Ortiz’s class worked on writing “How-To” stories in their Writing Workshops. As a culminating activity to their writing unit, the students wanted to learn how to make pizza and Dr. Ianni did the honors. 

Originally from Italy, Dr. Ianni worked in a pizzeria for several years when he first arrived in the U.S. During the lesson, he taught the students how to make pizza, while they followed along and created their own out of Play-Doh. 

“The students enjoyed getting their hands dirty and now have their own pizza as a memento for the lesson,” said Moccaldi. “Seeing Dr. Ianni toss the pizza dough in the air was a favorite part for many of the students.”

Off to Italy

Off to Italy Photo
Congratulations to Harborfields High School senior Matthew Katz, for recently receiving the Anthony Calia Foundation Scholarship at the Association of Italian American Educators (AIAE) 20th Anniversary Gala! The full scholarship will allow Katz to study Italian language and culture in Pisa, Italy this summer.  

He will participate in an enriching program titled Programma Ponte, which enables qualified Italian American students to take part in an intensive summer program of study designed to give those with Italian American heritage firsthand experience with Italy today through coursework, visits to important Italian and European institutions and direct contact with the Italian people.

Katz was selected based on a strong recommendation from AIAE President Cav. Josephine Maietta and English teacher Jim Incorvaia. He also provided an essay about why he would be an exceptional candidate and a writing sample demonstrating analytical and writing abilities.

Along with his Italian teacher Craig Butler, Katz attended the special luncheon which featured authors, playwrights, news reporters and Former New York State First Lady Matilda Cuomo. Mrs. Cuomo congratulated and encouraged the award winners to continue their scholarship in Italian Language.

Readers Put Their Skills to The Test

Readers Put Their Skills to The Test Photo

Third-grade students at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School recently took part in the school’s annual ELA LEAP Battle of the Books competition.

Students prepared for the event by reading 14 books, along with some bonus books. All the books were chosen based on their similarities to give students a proper challenge. The seven teams consisted of three or four students that worked together to answer questions based on the books. Students were given colored paddles with book titles on them to submit their answers.

Family members were invited to the event to watch their children show off their reading skills. Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Resources Dr. Rory Manning, Principal Marguerite Greene and Assistant Principal Mary Williams made an appearance as well to show their support for the hardworking students.

The competition ended with multiple tied teams. First place winners included Team Three and Team Six who both scored a 21 in the competition and received a gold medal for their achievement.  

Write into the Winner’s Circle

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Two students from Washington Drive Primary School were recently named State Grade-Level Winners in the 2017 Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest!

First-grader Audrey Donnelly and second-grader Cathalina Aguilar were first crowned winners at the school-grade level for their excellent handwriting. They then submitted their entries for the contest which is open to students in kindergarten through eighth-grade. The students were judged according to the Zaner-Bloser Keys to Legibility which focuses on size, shape, spacing and slant.

Both students received an engraved Zaner-Bloser State Winner Medallion and were recognized at the district’s Board of Education meeting on May 9.

Oldfield Middle School Knocks Down Hunger

Oldfield Middle School Knocks Down Hunger Photo

Letter from the Superintendent - 2017-2018 Budget


Harborfields Budget Passes

Harborfields Budget Passes
Thank you to all residents who participated in the 2017-18 budget vote and trustee election. The budget passed by a vote of 1,224 to 249. In addition, congratulations to David Steinberg and Christopher Kelly who were elected to the Board of Education. The vote totals for the Board race were as follows:

David Steinberg: 800
Christopher Kelly: 741
Lauri Levenberg: 623
Anila Nitekman: 467

Again, thank you for all the support that you have given throughout this budget process. This would not be possible without your help.

Washington Drive Celebrates Take Your Child to Work Day

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Washington Drive Primary School celebrated Take Your Child to Work Day on April 27. Faculty members at the school have been celebrating this national holiday for the past several years by bringing their school age children to work. Through much thought and preparation, the event was a fun filled day for all and the students loved meeting their teacher’s children.

The children were a huge help to the school and the students. They helped with the pledge of allegiance, dismissal procedures and classroom lessons. The school would like to thank Principal Maureen Kelly and Assistant Principal Tara Falasco for welcoming the children and supporting a wonderful holiday. The school also expends a big thank you to Heather Goldenberg and Denise Sullivan for organizing the event each year.

Letter from the Superintendent - NYSED Special Education Programs and Services Focused Review


A Paw-sitive Reading Experience


May Board of Education Preview

Letter from the Superintendent regarding 3 - 8 Math Assessments


Student Steps into First Place with Innovative Idea

Student Steps into First Place with Innovative Idea Photo
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Oldfield Middle School eighth-grader Danielle Barber recently earned first place in the Master of Invention category of the Long Island Family and Consumer Sciences Challenge for her innovative Footsy Faces prototype.

Barber won a grand prize of $100 courtesy of the Long Island Family and Consumer Sciences Professionals. Her product, a line of face stickers that are placed in shoes to help children know the difference between the right and left foot, came about when Barber assisted with swim classes at the local YMCA. Barber helped the children put on their shoes after their lessons and found that the children struggled.

“I tried my hardest to make the most unique thing that I could,” she said. “I was going through so many different ideas and this one just stuck out to me. I think it’s important because when I was younger it took me years to figure out which foot to put each shoe on.”
Barber created a three-minute video as part of her submission for the contest which showcased her invention and featured her young cousin. She wanted to show a child actually using her product to demonstrate how it works. Barber follows in her sister Alissa’s footsteps as her older sister won the Master of Invention Award three years ago.

Community Walks for a Wish

Community Walks for a Wish Photo

Students, families and faculty members from throughout the district took part in the annual Walk for a Wish fundraising event on April 22 to raise money for 13 year-old Alexa from Deer Park who is challenged with a neuromuscular disorder. The district raised 14,087 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and grant Alexa’s wish to travel to Greece this July.

Washington Drive Primary School’s Act of Kindness Committee, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School Walk for a Wish Committee and both school PTA’s helped organize the event. Finding her love of Greek mythology at a young age, Alexa thanked the Harborfields community for their support in helping her dream of going to Athens come true. She greeted the crowd with representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County.

“Most of the time the children who are granted these wishes are confined to a lot of doctor visits and hospital stays,” said Make-A-Wish Community Relations Manager Kellie Ryan. “By giving them the opportunity to have a wish granted, you help reopen their imaginations and give them something positive to focus on.”

The rain did not keep supporters away as many community members came out to walk the track at Harborfields High School for Alexa. Members of the high school concert choir kicked off the walk with a performance of the National Anthem and members of the high school jazz band led the first lap around the field while community members followed.

Throughout the event, the PTA sold pedometers and wristbands with proceeds going towards the cause and stories were shared over the loud speaker about how students throughout the district did their part and raised money.

Washington Drive Goes Green

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Washington Drive Primary School students and faculty members went “GREEN” in honor of Earth Day during the week of April 17 - 21.  The students participated in activities that focused on reducing waste and protecting the environment. The week kicked off with the students being encouraged to reduce waste by focusing on packing snacks and lunches in reusable containers as part of “Waste-Free Week”. All of the students learned different songs in their music classes about the Earth and took part in many Earth-friendly planting activities and art projects focused on the Earth. As a culminating activity, the students in kindergarten through second-grade had an Earth-Day Sing-Along.

Students Engage in Earth Day Fun

Students Engage in Earth Day Fun Photo

Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students learned about how to protect the environment in honor of Earth Day with a number of fun and engaging activities.

Third-graders in Noreen Paccione’s class focused on the importance of saving trees and participated in a hand-on activity of making paper out of recycled magazines and newspapers. With the help of family volunteers, the 23 students created their own paper out of the recycled material by using water and mixing the clipping in a blender. The class is planning on using the paper that they created to make Mother’s Day cards for their loved ones.

In addition, fifth-grade students in Alison Kraham and Amy Lustig’s classes received a visit from Robert Brown, a father of a student at the school and the owner of Brown Chevrolet. Brown brought the new Chevy Volt all-electric car to show the students in honor of Earth Day. Before the visit, the students researched the Volt on their Chromebooks and prepared questions to ask about the car. Students learned that the Volt has a range of over 200 miles on a single charge. They had the opportunity to sit in the car and also watch Kraham take the car for a ride around the parking lot.