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Board of Ed Gets a Close-Up Look at What Kids Are Learning

Board of Ed Gets a Close-Up Look at What Kids Are Learning Photo

Board of Education members recently took time out of their busy work schedules to get a closer look at some of the interesting projects and programs taking place in the Syosset schools. One of the main themes of this year’s annual Board tour was crosscutting concepts, and how multiple disciplines are meshed together for a well-rounded learning experience.

Making stops at every school, the Board was greeted by each principal and sat in on at least one classroom demonstration or presentation at each site. They listened to testimony from students at Syosset High School regarding the new and highly successful Virtual Enterprise business program; at H.B. Thompson Middle School they witnessed how math and science come together on the Chromebook for collecting data about natural selection; were treated to entertaining Revolutionary War period monologues written and acted out by students at Baylis Elementary School; listened to student pitches for various designs for a new butterfly garden at Walt Whitman Elementary School; and watched in awe as students at Berry Hill Elementary School brought STEM learning into the fantasy world by building some fun fairy tale themed machines.

Students were excited to share their work, as Board members asked them several questions about their experiences. Without exception they departed each classroom impressed with the things Syosset scholars are learning.

South Woods Girls Amaze at L.I. Science Congress with Top Honoree Moving On

Seven students from South Woods Middle School participated in the Long Island Science Congress held at St. Anthony’s High School with every student receiving a trophy for their dedication, presentation and innovative science projects.      

Giselle Rasquinha received the Highest Honors High Honors for her research in testing the five-second rule for food consumption.  High Honors were awarded to Jade Maracic, Alexa Trapani, Emma Van Dorn and Lara Weinberg. This marks the second year that Alexa, Emma and Lara have received trophies for their experiments. Sachi Sethi and Michele Shleimovich were also recognized with Honors.

Giselle received 1st place in the Most Distinguished Categorical Project in Biology award and was awarded $300.  She also won the Research Institute Award (a $25 gift card) as well as a $150 stipend to represent Long Island’s Junior Division at the State Science Congress in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, June 3, 2017.  Long Island Science Congress also picked up her $100 registration fee for the state competition.

Congratulations to all our future scientists!  Coach Linda Stollow is so proud of your hard work and challenging projects.

Forensic Experts

Forensic Experts Photo
Once again, the Syosset High School Forensics Society scored big at the New York State Forensic League Championship Tournament held at Hofstra University April 29-30. The team won 1st place in the Speech events division, placed 2nd in both the Debate events and Student Congress divisions, and won the award for Best Overall in the state!

This year’s team produced three individual state champions as well: Ronit Dhulia (Lincoln/Douglas debate-novice level); the team of Jahnavi Arora and Aram Moghaddassi (Lincoln/Douglas debate-varsity level) and Iree Mann (Oral Interpretation-varsity level).

According to Syosset Forensics Society adviser Lydia Esslinger, students qualify for the state competition either through a consistently good showing during the academic year or at a regional qualifying competition. Eighty students from Syosset High School's team qualified for the championship this year, capturing numerous awards. Syosset Forensics also remains a top debate team in the country, holding its position among the top 1% and consistently ranking in the top 10, overall.

The team is also sending a large number of students to two major national tournaments. Twenty-three students qualified for the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament to be held in Louisville, Kentucky later this month, while twelve qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament to be held in Birmingham, Alabama in June. Esslinger will be honored there with the Eighth-Degree Diamond Award as a member of the NSDA Honor Society whose teams have earned at least 22,000 points.

Participants at the state competition were judged based on varsity, junior varsity, and novice levels for categories Lincoln/Douglas debate (LD), extemporaneous speaking (EX), declamation (DEC), public forum debate (PF), oral interpretation (OI), dramatic interpretation (DI), original oratory (OO), and congress (CONG).  

Individual awards winners are:

•    Zan Ahmed (VEX, 2nd)
•    Nishant Bhaumik (VEX, 4th)
•    Rushabh Mehta (VEX, Semifinalist)
•    Simar Kohli (VEX, Quarterfinalist)
•    Sahil Rustami (JVEX, Semifinalist)
•    Avneet Chhabra (JVEX, Quarterfinalist)
•    Jason Lan (JVEX, Quarterfinalist)
•    Ronit Dhulia (NLD, State Champion)
•    Ryan Moon (JVLD, Octofinalist)
•    Jahnavi Arora/Aram Moghaddassi (VLD, State Champions)
•    Leanna Faimon (VLD, Octofinalist)
•    Elizabeth Ruggiero and Hersh Ved  (NPF, Double Octofinalists)
•    Diya Chadha and Malini Rudra (JVPF, Octofinalists)
•    Eugene Lee and Sarah Schwartzberg (JVPF, Octofinalists)
•    Iree Mann (DI, 2nd/ VOI, State Champion)
•    Alvee Chowdhury (VOI, 4th )
•    Rebecca Weisberger (VOI, Semifinalist)
•    Jordan Stecker (DI, 7th)
•    Brooke Lewitas (DI, Semifinalist)
•    Alisha Saluja (5th, Impromptu)
•    Gabrielle Bieder (JVOI, 5th)
•    Janvi Pamnani (OO, Semifinalist)
•    Brian Bertrand (OO, Quarterfinalist)
•    Mariam Malik (OO, Quarterfinalist)
•    Suhail Younus (CONG, 10th)
•    Jack Liu (CONG, Semifinalist)
•    Sohail Mohammed (CONG, Semifinalist)
•    Rahul Rokkam (CONG, Semifinalist)
•    Pia Paul (CONG, Semifinalist)

Pictured are Syosset’s winners from the New York State Forensic League Championship Tournament with Esslinger.

Thank You from the Board


Presidential Scholar Honored

A Presidential Scholar Photo

Congratulations to Syosset High School senior Ben Rhee who is a member of the 53rd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, which was recently announced by the U.S. Department of Education. Ben is one of just 161 high school seniors named a Presidential Scholar in 2017 for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

The White House Committee for Presidential Scholars selects winners annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.    

“It never ceases to amaze me the range of talents that our students possess and the exemplary honors they earn,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers. “When you look at Ben’s resume of accomplishments it’s really no surprise that he is the recipient of such an elite award. On behalf of the Syosset CSD and the Board of Education I commend him on being named [a] Presidential Scholar and thank all of his teachers through the years, his family and everyone who has been a positive influence on his life.”                               

Ben is the Class of 2017 salutatorian, was a National Merit Finalist and a National AP Scholar of Distinction. He serves as editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper “The Pulse,” is senior class treasurer and vice president of Model Congress. This year Ben was also named a Regeneron prizewinning scholar and has reached the finals and semifinals in national Chemistry and Biology Olympiads respectively, while achieving multiple honors in Mathletes. An award-winning violinist with the school’s chamber orchestra, Ben is the Chamber Music Club president and has been selected for All-National and All-Eastern ensembles. In addition to all of this, he finds time to volunteer at a local nursing facility and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Ben will attend Harvard and major in biosciences.                   

“I'd like to thank everyone who has helped and encouraged me to get where I am today,” said Ben.” This honor doesn't just represent me, it represents the whole community of family, teachers, friends, and mentors who have always been there and made Syosset such a great place to remember."

Ben named chemistry teacher Ann Cassin as the teacher who influenced him the most throughout his high school career, a requirement of the Presidential Scholarship essay. “She has been more than just a teacher to me. She has taught me a great deal about life,” said Ben. “She cares for all of her students.”

Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, scholars in the Arts and 20 in Career and Technical Education. Ben and the other recipients will be honored during a ceremony in Washington D.C. on June 18.

Syosset Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante, Deputy Superintendent Adele Bovard, Cassin and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers congratulate Ben here.        

South Woods Students Excel on National French Exam

Of the 22 eighth-grade students from South Woods Middle School who competed in the National French Exam Le Grand Concours (Level 1) held in March, 13 placed in the top five positions nationally. They are:

• Elsie Ho, Mizuki Iida, Jenny Ou, Maiya Raghu – 2nd place, 95th percentile;
• Ria Chadha, Angela Mao, Ariane Lee – 3rd place, 95th percentile;
• Tess Latham, Eric Wang – 4th place, 90th percentile;
• Jennie Dapice, Saba Mehrzad, Nolan Smithwick, Gabrielle Unson  – 5th place, 90th percentile.

The following South Woods students also received Honorable Mentions on the exam: Autumn Avery, Alexandra Bukary, Harrison Feusi, Manuela Fusara, Siya Gandhi, Eric Liang, Atharv Mehtani, Lara Muratyan, Krish Pamnani.

Additionally, nine South Woods seventh-grade students competed in the Level 01 National French Exam, with four placing in the top 10 nationally:

• Alex He – 7th place (4th place in Nassau County);
• Manaal Nabi – 8th place (5th place in Nassau County).

Honorable Mentions for the exam were awarded to  Meaghan Anzalone, Sage Gladstone, Alisa Gong, Lilah Grubman, Eric Huang, David Liu, and Andrew Zhou.

Congratulations to all participants!

Summer School Brochure 2017


Voters Approve 2017-18 Budget & Proposition No. 2

Thank you to all of the residents who participated in the 2017-18 school district budget vote and trustee election. Voters approved the budget 2,277 to 793. With this support, the district will continue to provide a full academic and co-curricular program while also addressing important areas of our school infrastructure and implementing new instructional technology resources.
Additionally, the community approved Proposition No. 2: Expenditure from the Capital Reserve Fund, 2,526 to 539. This will enable the district to move forward on district-wide capital improvements identified as Phase I projects using monies saved in the Capital Reserve Fund.
In the Board of Education election, Carol C. Cheng, Dr. Michael Cohen and Anna Levitan won seats on the Board of Education. Vote totals are as follows: Dr. Cohen – 2,003, Cheng– 1,726 and Levitan – 1,089.

Again, thank you to all who voted, and for your ongoing commitment to our schools!

A Gold Medal at I-SWEEEP

A Gold Medal at I-SWEEEP Photo
Congratulations once again to Syosset High School seniors Dahyun Park and Jordan Sanford, who won a gold medal in the Environment: Management and Pollution category at the International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP!) held in Houston, Texas last week.   
Dahyun (who also goes by “Elle”) and Jordan worked together to explore the use of microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment. They worked in school and from home under the direction of Science Research Facilitator Veronica Ade. In addition to being selected as finalists for I-SWEEEP, they were both named semifinalists in this year’s Siemens Foundation Competition for Math, Science and Technology for this research project.   
“Elle and Jordan are [two] of the most dedicated students in the research program,” said Ade.  “They spent their entire junior and senior year working on this project and are passionate about the impacts their novel microbial fuel cell can have on the environment. They have worked hard and achieved so much already. I look forward to the accomplishments they will have in college and beyond.”
Both students will also present their work at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California and will be joined by fellow Syosset High School science research students Rahul Chaudhry, Sahil Chaudhry, Mohamed El-Abtah and Rushabh Mehta who will be presenting projects as well.
For the past 10 years, I-SWEEEP! has inspired students to develop projects to help preserve Earth's resources and create a sustainable planet for everyone. Each year the competition brings together hundreds of the brightest STEM-focused students from approximately 70 countries in a fun and collaborative environment.        

Dahyun and Jordan are congratulated here by Ade at I-SWEEEP.

Syosset Junior Takes 3rd in the Country in Poetry Recital

Syosset Junior Takes 3rd in the Country in Poetry Recital Photo
Syosset High School junior Iree Mann has done it again. Just a month after being crowned New York State champion in the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud competition, Iree took third place in the national competition held at George Washington University in April.

POL participants are evaluated on a cumulative point total covering multiple recitations that factor in accuracy, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of the poem’s understanding, presence, and voice and articulation as well as overall performance.

For the national competition, Iree advanced through three tough rounds, reciting works “American Smooth” by Rita Dove, “The Golden Shovel” by Terrance Haynes and “Break of Day” by John Donne. She was drawn to these particular works because of their different styles that require varying degrees of emotion when reading in order capture the essence of each work.

“You grow to understand why a poet, or any director, wants you to express their emotion… express their feeling through their work,” said Iree, who is a member of the Syosset High School Forensics team and enjoys writing poetry of her own in addition to reciting others’ works. “It brings life to poems.”

Syosset High School English teacher Lydia Esslinger, who is also Iree’s adviser on the Forensics Society, accompanied her to Washington D.C. for the nationals, where she introduced Iree to one of her former students, Syosset Alumna and current U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao who is also a former Secretary of Labor. Chao and her staff were so impressed with Iree that they asked her to practice reciting her poetry to them just prior to the competition finals.

According to Esslinger, Iree has also distinguished herself as a member of the Forensics Society, most recently by qualifying as one of three students from the entire downstate area to represent New York in Dramatic Performance at the National Speech and Debate Association's national championship in Birmingham, Alabama in June, joining six other Syosset students.

Syosset Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante, said the moment Iree arrived at Syosset High School this year (relocating from California) she began making an “astonishing impact” on her classmates and friends at school.  Iree immediately began reviewing the school’s student activity list for interesting things to get involved in and was drawn to the Forensics Society, recalling how she told her mother that she had found something “awesome.”

Both POL and Forensics require a keen combination of sentiment and savvy to be successful, which Iree brings with every performance.

Iree is pictured displaying her state and national awards, as she is congratulated by Esslinger and Dr. Durante.

Physics, Fun or Both?

Some people may consider the recent student craze of bottle flipping merely an activity for kids to pass the time. Berry Hill Elementary School views it as another opportunity to engage young students in learning. During select recess periods fourth and fifth graders tried their hands at the activity and a new enrichment workshop titled "Bottle Flipping, Physics or Fun?" was born.  
Bottles were flipped and students collected data, discovering that there are many variables behind a successful flip, including bottle brands, bottle volume and technique. “Students concluded that physics plays a big part in the bottle flipping  phenomenon,” said Carrie Wilson, Berry Hill’s Project Beyond teacher. “And that science is the driving force behind the fun!”

Special Insight from the Author

Special Insight from the Author Photo
HBT students who recently finished reading the 2015 Principal’s Award for Children’s Book of the Year “Devin Rhodes is Dead” were treated to a special visit by the author and HBT mom Jennifer Wolf Kam.

Mrs. Kam spoke to the students about the writing process, the GRIT it takes to be a writer, and her personal journey as a published award-winning author. Students were thrilled to meet her and enjoyed an informative audience-engaged presentation. In addition to being treated to personally signed bookmarks, Mrs. Kam too some time after the assembly to take pictures with students. Students and teachers alike were thrill to learn about the writing process and how stories come to life!

The May Board Briefs are now available. Please click here


Video: Super Coops

Super Coops Photo

South Woods Math Teachers Honored

Math Teachers Honored - Lenzi
Math Teachers Honored - Falco
Congratulations to South Woods math teachers Mary Lenzi and Tom Falco on their selection as Nassau County Math Teachers Association “Teachers of the Year.”  The NCMTA will honor them during its annual spring dinner on May 17, 2017 at the North Ritz Club. What a well-deserved honor for two of our own South Woods family members, who strive each and every day to ensure that every child learns.  We are so proud!

South Woods Wins 15 Medals at Math Fair

South Woods Wins 15 Medals at Math Fair Photo
South Woods Middle School sent 16 students to participate in the Al Kalfus Long Island Math Fair held on Friday, April 28 ay Hofstra University. Students researched various topics for the fair, including Matrix Algebra, Pascal’s Triangle, The Mathematics of Disease, Binary and Hexadecimals, Complex and Imaginary Numbers, Optical Illusions Math in Music,  Math in Astronomy, Game Theory, Math in our Election Process and Brain of a Swimmer.  They then wrote a mathematics paper and developed a presentation based on their research. Overal,l South Woods took home an impressive 15 medals: eight gold, four silver and three bronze. 

Patriotism in Writing

Patriotism in Writing Pic 1
Congratulations to South Woods student Maria Manolas, who won the VFW-sponsored Patriot’s Pen youth essay competition for her essay titled “The America I Believe In.” Maria is congratulated here by Gus Scutari of Syosset VFW Post 6394.

A special budget edition of the Syosset Pride newsletter is now available. Please click here


Vets Have a Special Place in Our Hearts

Vets Have a Special Place in Our Hearts Photo
Baylis students once again participated in Nassau County’s program called Valentines for Veterans.  Through this program, Nassau County collects thousands of valentines from children and distributes them to veterans in hospitals and nursing homes. Many Baylis students showed our veterans their appreciation through drawings, cards, and sweet notes. The participating students received an official certificate from the Nassau County Executive’s office. Thank you to our Baylis students for participating in this wonderful program and making our veterans smile!

Trivia Champs!

Trivia Champs! Photo
Congratulations to the South Woods Middle School seventh-grade Trivia Team for capturing the CP Nassau Trivia Challenge championship in March. The team earned the right to participate in the championship after winning the school trivia competition.

Schools from throughout Nassau County participated in the event. Now in its 31st year, the challenge brings students with great minds and good hearts together to help raise funds to benefit the programs and services CP Nassau provides for over 1,800 children and adults with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. According to CP Nassau’s website, it has become the organization’s most successful fundraiser thanks to the students, parents, teachers and administrators who support the effort.

During the competition, each participating school provides a team of four students who collaborate on a 100-question trivia test. Each team member raises money for CP Nassau by asking family and friends for a standard donation for their participation. 

In winning this year’s event, the South Woods team answered questions on a wide variety of topics. They are pictured here with the CP Nassau Trivia cup. From left Michelle Gervitz of CP Nassau, team members Zach Goldstein, Gianna Vecchio, Alex Larson and Matthew Shafritz and their coach, Greg Ryan. 

A Beautifying Tribute

A Beautifying Tribute Photo

Students and staff at Baylis Elementary School took time to recognize Earth Day 2017 and pay tribute to a strong supporter of children in the community. The entire school assembled on the school lawn to sing about the Earth and dedicate a new tree in memory of the late Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs, a frequent visitor to Baylis and supporter of the Syosset School District.

Baylis student council officers led their fellow schoolmates in singing an original song titled “Many Helping Hands.” Baylis parent Ramona Machson wrote and composed the song, incorporating Earth Day-related phrases provided by students from every grade level at Baylis into her lyrics. The Baylis Garden Club accepted a generous donation of flowers from the Baylis PTA, which will be used to create a second butterfly garden at the school.

Student council officers (from left) Reese Fink, Samantha Goldberg, Sydney Geller, Carly Greenbaum and Grace Duguid are pictured with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers and Baylis Principal Lisa Greiner, with the tree dedicated in memory of Legislator Jacobs behind them. Sydney is the granddaughter of Jacobs.

Willits Thespians Well Behaved

Willits Thespians Well Behaved Photo

A.P Willits Elementary School students learned  that chivalry is not dead and that it’s not difficult to exercise good behavior and act appropriately toward one another.  A recent production of the school’s First Grade Drama Club demonstrated this, as the approximately 35 young actors and actresses, aided by dedicated crew members, presented “Good Manners: A Medieval Quest for Good Behavior.”

Drama club members assumed the roles of apprentices, damsels, kings, queens, princes, princesses, knights, sorcerers and dragons for this play that brought a medieval twist to character education in an entertaining fashion. Characters such as “Sir Cus Clown” and “Sir Loin Steak” provided plenty of humor to the show, which was directed by teachers Denise Martinez and Jill Mulherin.

Fundraising Highlights Baylis Student Council News

On April 4th, Baylis students participated in a Hop-A- Thon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Approximately 30 students came to school early to use their muscles in our obstacle course.  We had a blast while raising money for a great cause.  Thank you to the Baylis community for supporting this fundraiser!

In other news, Baylis has been lighting it up Blue for World Autism Awareness Month!  In addition to wearing blue for a week, students and teachers have been purchasing puzzle pieces for $1 to benefit the group, Autism Speaks-Long Island.  We have filled almost 3 bulletin boards with our puzzle pieces.  Way to go Baylis!

Syosset Student Part of Gold Medal Math Olympic Team

Syosset Student Part of Gold Medal Math Olympic Team Photo
Syosset High School junior Wanlin Li is part of a four-member team representing the United States that took first place in the European Girl’s Mathematical Olympiad held in Zürich, Switzerland. In addition to taking top honors, the girls were each awarded a gold medal for their individual performances on the challenging mathematics exam.

The EGMO is an international mathematics competition for female high school students that this year welcomed 168 students on 44 teams from throughout the world. Wanlin joined team members Angela Deng, Qi Qi and Siye Zhu in scoring 148 of a possible 168 points on six proof-style problems administered over the course of two days. The U.S. team was sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America, which consistently assembles top teams in the competition. The organization is the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students and math enthusiasts with a goal of accelerating the understanding of the world through mathematics.

“We are proud of the students on our team who have worked very hard to prepare for this competition,” said U.S. EGMO team leader/supervisor Sherry Gong. “This was a challenging exam so we are especially honored to have all four students take home individual gold medals.”

Last year Wanlin tied for the fourth highest score in the country on the United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad exam and was one of just 50 students nationwide invited to the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program. She is also a past runner up at the New York State Mathematics League competition. Wanlin is pictured here (third from left) with her EGMO teammates.

Kids Design Super Coops

Kindergarten students at Baylis Elementary School learned about the life cycle of animals.  As part of their embryology unit, they began learning about chicks and what they need to live.  Students set chick eggs in an incubator and anxiously awaited their hatch.  Mrs. Pizzarelli, Mrs. Trotta, Mrs. Ward, and their students planned and designed a “Super Coop” for the chicks to live once they hatched.  Each class went through the engineering design process. They asked themselves what chicks needed, imagined what they could build, sketched a plan, collected various materials and created their coops. Each “Super Coop” is unique in design and special to each kindergarten class.  This was a hands-on project and each student was very involved.  They helped, cut, glue, paint, build and problem solve along the way.  This was truly a remarkable project that these kindergartners will remember forever!

District Report Card with Proposed Budget for 2017/2018 has been posted and can be found via Board of Education under Budget Information

Baylis Ambassadors Welcome New Students

On Friday, April 7, 2017, the fifth-grade Ambassadors welcomed three new students who had recently joined Baylis Elementary School:  second grader Sam Awadalla, kindergartener Christina Dai and fourth grader Sara Nasheed. Baylis Ambassadors worked cooperatively on their chromebooks using Google Classroom to create a “Welcome to Baylis” card filled with information about the school’s activities.  They presented the new students with a Baylis tote bag containing many useful items including a folder, pen, pencil, eraser, highlighter, stickers, bookmarks, and a key ring with mini-charts on the playground rules, bus safety rules, and “Before You Speak, THINK.” The newcomers were happy to be welcomed in such a personal way.  From the smiles on their faces, they are thrilled to have new friends and mentors at Baylis!

Robbins Lane International Night 2017

On Friday March 31, 2017 Robbins Lane Elementary School held its first International Night, a program in the works since the beginning of the school year.

Thirteen countries were represented through informational booths set up throughout the perimeter of the school gymnasium. Parents took the initiative to plan these booths and the structure the event. Children had an opportunity to visit the booths and learn about the cultures of different countries. Upon arrival, students received a “passport” which was stamped at every booth they visited. In addition, there were cultural presentations, dances and performances from a number of countries. The “Cultural Food Court” provided an opportunity for students and parents to sample food from a number of countries. Three dishes were created from each represented country, providing a wide variety of food to satisfy everyone’s taste buds! Children were so enthusiastic to try out new flavors and parents were thrilled to have their children expanding their food repertoire!!!

By the end of the event, many parents and students agreed that this was one of Robbins Lane’s best events and they were grateful for the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the cultures of the world. A special thanks to all the vendors who contributed to the event, Robbins Lane principal, staff and PTA.

Newsday’s “Students to Watch”

Newsday’s “Students to Watch” Photo
Two Syosset High School seniors are among nine students from Long Island featured on as “Students to Watch” for Spring 2017. You can read about Adam Caranick, Vito Arujau and their peers from other schools by clicking here:

Seven Survivors

Seven Survivors Photo 1
Seven Survivors Photo 2
Seven Survivors Photo 3
Seven Survivors Photo 4
Syosset High School welcomed seven survivors of the Holocaust for a day of reflection and respect for one another on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Coordinated by Social Studies Administrative Assistant Thomas Fusco, Library Media Specialist Lynn Ortlieb and teacher Richard Cafiero, Holocaust Remembrance Day brought tenth-graders together to listen to compelling presentations and testimony from speakers/survivors Annie Bleiberg, Gloria Gantz, Sam Hersley, Mordechai Miller, Werner Reich, Irving Roth and Mireille Taub. Some of the speakers brought images of the Holocaust to help illustrate this tragic time in world history. Miller even brought a model of a barn, which replicates the real barn he hid in from the Nazis during their occupation of Poland.

The event had special meaning to sophomore Jacob Hersley, a student organizer and grandson of speaker Sam Hersley. Three generations were on hand to listen to the elder Hersley’s account of Auschwitz, as Jacob’s father Mark Hersley was also present.

Each speaker emphasized the importance of respecting others, including those of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Pictured are student organizers, flanked by Cafiero and Ortlieb, with speakers Miller, Hersley, Bleiberg and Taub seated. Jacob Hersley and Frank Hersley are standing behind Sam Hersley.

South Woods Science Olympians Take 6th in NYS, Top Small School

South Woods Science Olympians Take 6th in NYS, Top Small School Photo
South Woods Middle School took the 6th place trophy out of 39 schools at East Syracuse-Minoa High School on April 7-8. It was an amazing competition for South Woods as the school won 28 medals, a plaque for best small school performance and a plaque for outstanding coach.
The team captains were Nolan Smithwick and Akitora Iyoda.  The team members were Stella Chen, Evan Cheng, Edward Duan, Eric Huang, Ashley Jung, Kevin Li, Kenneth Lin, Angela Mao, Jenny Ou, Augustine Park, Giselle Rasquinha, Josh Yun and Andrew Zhang.

Coach Linda Stollow is extremely proud of the hard work and all the determination from these dedicated students.

South Woods Takes 6th in NYS at State Science Olympiad

South Woods Takes 6th in NYS at State Science Olympiad Photo
Wins Best Small School Award

South Woods Middle School took the 6th place trophy out of 39 schools at East Syracuse-Minoa High School on April 7-8. It was an amazing competition with South Woods winning 28 medals, a plaque for best small school and a plaque for outstanding coach.  
The team captains were Nolan Smithwick and Akitora Iyoda.  The team members were Stella Chen, Evan Cheng, Edward Duan, Eric Huang, Ashley Jung, Kevin Li, Kenneth Lin, Angela Mao, Jenny Ou, Augustine Park, Giselle Rasquinha, Josh Yun and Andrew Zhang.

Mrs. Stollow the coach is extremely proud of the hard work and all the determination from these dedicated students.

Seniors Get a Visit from Their Congressman

Seniors Get a Visit from Their Congressman Photo
Syosset High School seniors recently received a special visit from Congressman Thomas Suozzi.

Students enrolled in the college-level Contemporary Law, Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics, and AP Comparative Government and Politics World History classes attended an in-school assembly featuring Congressman Suozzi, who discussed his experiences as a Congressman, government affairs and the importance of civic duty. He also answered students’ questions about the recent election, his passion for public service and how he became involved in politics.  

Pictured are Syosset High School Social Studies Department Chairperson Tom Fusco, junior Jake Gould, senior Billy Belloli, Congressman Suozzi, junior Ethan Fine, Syosset High School social studies teacher and Political Science advisor Marc Occhiuto and Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante.

Essay Contest

Essay Contest Photo
Emma Leiman earned 2nd place in Nassau County for the 2016 -2017 VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest. The theme for the 2016-2017 VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest was “The America I Believe In.” Pictured with Emma are Gus Scutari and Commander Bill Santini from the Syosset VFW, James Kassebaum (HBT principal), and Heather Schulman, Emma's seventh grade social studies teacher.   In addition to certificates of recognition, Mr. Scutari and Commander Santini awarded Emma checks totaling $100 for her outstanding achievement.

Syosset High School’s VEI team Takes 2nd in the Nation

VEI team Pic 1
VEI team Pic 2
Congratulations to Syosset High School’s Virtual Enterprise International (VEI) team Flip Chip for taking 2nd place overall in the country in the National Business Plan Competition finals held at the Microsoft Technology Center in New York City earlier this month!  Over 570 teams from across the country competed in this year’s NBPC finals.
Flip Chip marketed a line of all-natural, environmentally sustainable and tasty potato chips. Since palm oil is not used in the production of its chips, Flip Chip’s product line offers a healthier alternative to the common potato chip and does not aid in deforestation associated with the palm oil industry.  
In the VEI program, students take on the roles of business professionals and create a workplace environment in the classroom. They brainstorm ideas for a product, service or marketable concept, and then establish their company by submitting resumes and cover letters to hopefully land an interview for various positions, including the CEO. Once the company is established, students develop marketing initiatives to promote their business and participate in various competitions involving other VEI teams from schools throughout the country. This year, the Flip Chip team has been extremely successful out of the gate in the district’s first year offering the VEI program.
According to Flip Chip teacher/advisor Matthew Fiasconaro, students reviewed video from previous competitions, recorded themselves and made adjustments to their presentation just prior to the national competition.  
“In between rounds at the NBPC we would meet as a team and go over my notes to try and find ways to improve,” said Fiasconaro.  “We were making adjustments every time we presented all the way through the final presentation.”
Flip Chip also won a gold award for its potato farm themed booth in the Best Booth category and a silver award in the Best E-Commerce Website category at the International Trade Show held at Pier 92 in New York City in conjunction with the NBPC and other competitions sponsored by VEI’s Youth Business Summit. Another Syosset High School VEI team, Nice Pops, also received silver awards in the Best Booth and E-Commerce Website categories at the trade show. Syosset’s VEI team  Alternatitive Reality Entertainment also won Honorable Mention in the Youth Business Summit’s National Marketing Competition. Max Cohen of AAA Turbo Tech (another Syosset VEI team) also joined students from other VEI programs around the world to win 2nd place in the Global Business Challenge, yet another event held at Pier 92.
“It is so rewarding to see the students have so much success after how hard they have worked,” added Fiasconaro. “They would practice over school vacations when school was out and on weekends. I’m glad the students get to see that hard work does pay off.”
“The VEI program overall has achieved tremendous success in just its first year at Syosset High School,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers, who provided input to Flip Chip after taking the time to sit in on their presentation. “All four of the school’s VEI teams have achieved some level of success and recognition. To be named second in the nation after what amounts to less than seven months of participating in the program, is a tremendous achievement for these students and Mr. Fiasconaro. I commend them, and all of our VEI teams and teachers for once again demonstrating that Syosset High School is one of the best schools in the country.”
Pictured are Flip Chip’s NBPC presenters: Zach Appel, Jack Santoro, Aaron Rosenfeld, Matt Catton and Scott Mansouri.

Autism Acceptance

Autism Acceptance Photo
Students and staff at Syosset High School once again showed they care for fellow classmates and all others who live with autism, as the school honored national Autism Acceptance Month. Since the color red is symbolic of love, students and staff members decided to get on board with a campaign to “wear red instead.” In the past, blue was the official color of autism awareness, however the symbolic color has changed to take on a deeper meaning.

Special education teachers and students, Community Health classes and Student Government members as well as others, joined together to decorate the Syosset High School halls with puzzle pieces, important facts and other significant messaging about autism. On April 4, all those who lent their support showed their love and acceptance for those living with autism, by wearing a little love on their backs.

Special thanks to: Assistant Director of Pupil Personnel Services Mary-Lou Sapienza, Student Government adviser and special education teacher Dale Iovine, special education teacher Debi Hunter, Stacey Balducci and her Community Health students, special education teachers Susan Botta and Kristin Fuchs and their students and Samantha Feigelson of the Student Government office.

More than 300 Inducted into National Honor Society

More than 300 Inducted into National Honor Society Photo 1
More than 300 Inducted into National Honor Society Photo 2
More than 300 Inducted into National Honor Society Photo 3
This year, Syosset High School’s National Honor Society inducted 315 new members into the Thalian Chapter during two special ceremonies held in the school’s Harvey P. Karp auditorium, which was filled with proud parents, faculty, school officials and scholars.

NHS advisors Jessica Rosenberg and Beth Waschitz welcomed the audience as Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante and NHS President George Chai each gave accounts about the dedication and hard work that goes into becoming a NHS member, as well as all of the wonderful efforts of NHS members over the years to make Syosset High School and the community a better place.

Executive Board members lit the ceremonial candles that represent the four key principles of NHS membership: character, scholarship, leadership and service. Then, one by one, the new inductees’ names were announced and each stepped up to the stage to receive their certificates prior to taking the NHS pledge.

Special thanks to the Syosset High School chamber orchestra, led by Stephanie Merten, for providing the processional, interlude and recessional.

South Woods Sensational in the Science Olympiad Regional Competition

South Woods Sensational in the Science Olympiad Regional Competition Photo
All three teams from South Woods Middle School scored high enough to participate in the 2017 New York State Science Olympiad Regional Competition, with each group delivering impressive results.  South Woods Team 1 finished in first place at the competition Team 2 scored in fourth place and Team 3 scored in sixth place. Team 1 won a total of 44 medals; Team 2 took home 33 medals and  Team 3 collected 26 medals.  Altogether South Woods took home an amazing 103 medals!         
Team 1 finished with an exceptional score and fell just two points short of first place.  The team, comprised of students Nolan Smithwick, Akitora Iyoda, Stella Chen, Evan Cheng, Edward Duan, Elena Hong, Eric Huang, Ashley Jung, Kevin Li, Kenneth Lin, Angela Mao, Jenny Ou, Augustine Park, Giselle Rasquinha and Andrew Zhang, advanced to represent South Woods at the New York State Science Olympiad Competition this month.                 

Coach Stollow is very proud of all the teams.

HBT Science Olympians Impress

HBT Science Olympians Impress Photo

Congratulations to HBT Middle School’s Science Olympiad Team 34, which took eighth place overall at the New York State Science Olympiad Regional competition and earned a trip to the New York State Science Olympiad finals!

Overall, HBT earned 14 medals in 12 different events at regionals. Special thanks to the hardworking sixth and seventh graders, who will be counted on to lead the team next year.  Coaches are also hopeful that some of this year’s stellar eighth graders return as mentors next year. Current high school freshmen Sophia Jang and Caroline Ruggiero, members of last year’s HBT Science Olympiad team, returned to lend their expertise to this year’s group.


Robbins Lane PTA Holds Annual Carnival

The 2017 Robbins Lane Luau Carnival provided traditional carnival games such as "Can Smash" and "Hoop Shot," and new favorites like "Tic-tac-toe Basketball," for children of all ages to enjoy. Popcorn, cotton candy, and hot dogs were the snacks of the day as children took pictures at the luau-themed photo booth, had their face painted, made a fish craft and participated in other fun activities available. There were many raffles, including Disney World Park Hoppers, Mets tickets, and autographed baseballs and posters. Kids had tons of fun, enjoying relief from the cold and a day in the sun.

Robbins Lane Dances the Night Away

Robbins Lane School held its MVP (Most Valuable Person) dance on Friday, March 17.  The event was a huge success as each student invited a loved one to come do-si-do and have some fun line dancing!


Robbins Lane Students Read for PARP

This March, Robbins Lane Elementary School participated in the PARP (Pick A Reading Partner) program. The two-week long PTA-sponsored program encourages students to read at home with family members to develop a culture of reading outside the classroom. This year’s theme at Robbins Lane was “Under the Sea.” Parents and teachers were reminded to encourage their readers to get involved in reading and participating in fun reading-related activities.

PARP kicked off with award winning author, educator and storyteller Jason Edwards who engaged the students during schoolwide assembly with a collaborative story-telling experience. The Robbins Lane Book and Author committee also sponsored a day of captivating assemblies presented author Lisa Funari-Willever.  Two lucky readers per grade were chosen to have lunch with the author where they asked her questions about her work and her experience as a writer. The entire school brought home an grade-appropriate autographed book from Ms. Funari-Willever.

The class and top three students from each grade who logged the most minutes read received awards.  As a school, Robbins Lane read an amazing 86,733 minutes over the two-week period! Although PARP has ended, the thirst for reading still continues in our young readers. 

Snow Make-Up Day Notice

Due to inclement weather, the district was closed for instruction on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. With this closure, it became necessary for the District to use one of the snow make-up days scheduled in the District calendar. Accordingly, the District will be open on Thursday, May 25th for a full day of instruction. In the event that there is a future additional weather-related school closure, the District would have to be open on Friday, May 26th.

Six Take Top Honors at LISEF; Advance to International Fair

Six Take Top Honors at LISEF Photo 1

Six students from Syosset High School won first place at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair held on March 23, qualifying them to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May.

Students Rahul and Sahil Chaudry captured first place in the biochemistry and translational medicine category, Dahyun “Elle” Park and Jordan Sanford took first place on the energy category, Rushabh Meta took first in physics and astronomy, and Mohamed El-Abtah won first place in the biomedical and health sciences grouping. These projects are four of only 20 from the LISEF competition that earned this distinction.                                       
"ISEF is the premier time for high school students to network with other young scientists and solve problems,” said Veronica Ade, the district’s research facilitator. “These six students emulate exactly what the Syosset High School research program is about: perseverance and dedication to scientific inquiry."

The following students earned second-place honors in their categories at the event:
•    Christopher Moon (microbiology)
•    Jarrad Li (biomedical and health sciences)

Honorable mention awards were given to:
•    Zan Ahmed (microbiology)
•    Adam Canarick (embedded systems, engineering mechanics, and robotics and intelligent machines)
•    Justin Cohen (behavioral and social sciences)
•    Andrea He (computational biology)

Special awards were also presented to the following students:
•    Justin Cohen, American Psychological Association
•    Rushabh Mehta, Mu Alpha Theta Award
•    Elle Park and Jordan Sanford, Ricoh Sustainability Award
•    Jarrad Li, Society for In Vitro Biology
•    Adam Canarick, US Metric Association Award
•    Mohamed El-Abtah, US Airforce Award

Pictured from left are the six LISEF winners from Syosset High School who advanced to ISEF: Mohamed El-Abtah, Sahil Chaudry, Rahul Chaudry Rushabh Mehta, Elle Park and Jordan Sanford.

Baylis Celebrates PARP Week

Baylis hosted several activities in celebration of PARP week! Baylis alumni (current Syosset High School students) came back for a special visit to read a selection of award-winning picture books to current Baylis students. The staff was excited to host their former students in their classrooms. Additionally, the entire school participated in “Drop Everything and Read,” an activity in which all students and staff spontaneously took out their favorite book and read for fun. The PTA also hosted an author presentation with Max Brallier, who expressed his passion for creative writing and shared some of his childhood experiences as inspiration for his books. During the “Buddy Up and Read” activity classrooms were paired together to celebrate reading with new partners. As a culminating event, students wore their favorite jerseys to support Student Council’s “Wear a Jersey” Spirit Day.

While Baylis students enjoyed all these special reading experiences, the school continues to celebrates its love of reading every day.

Highest Honor in National Reflections Contest

Highest Honor in National Reflections Contest Photo
Highest Honor in National Reflections Contest Photo 2
Congratulations to Rachel Doyle of Syosset High School, who is a National PTA Outstanding Interpretation Award winner in the PTA Reflections contest “What’s Your Story?”
Rachel’s Reflections photo entry titled “Out Of The Darkness” has earned her the highest honor that a student can receive at the national level, as one of only seven winners in the country recognized in a Reflections category. She will receive a gold medal and certificate, an $800 Young Artist Scholarship, $200 for the high school PTSA, and recognition in the traveling art exhibits and online gallery. Rachel will also receive an expense paid trip for her and one adult to showcase her winning entry at the National PTA Awards and Reflections Celebration at the National PTA Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in June.
“On behalf of New York State PTA, we are overjoyed by this magnificent achievement,” said NYS PTA President Gracemarie Rozea in a letter sent to Rachel.
Hundreds of thousands of students earned recognition for their participation and talent in the 2017 PTA Reflections contest. This year, Rachel is the only New York artist honored with the Outstanding Interpretation award, with five students from the state earning Awards of Merit in Dance Choreography, Literature, Music Composition (2) and Visual Arts. Reflections also recognizes students in Film Production and Special Artists categories.         
Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante is seen here congratulating Rachel along with her teacher Chrysoula Highland. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers joins Dr. Durante in congratulating her in a second photo.

Washington Post Ranks HS No. 200 of Most Challenging Schools

Washington Post Ranks Syosset HS No. 200 of America’s Most Challenging Schools Photo
The Washington Post is the latest national news outlet to recognize Syosset High School as one of the finest schools in the country. Less than a month after U.S. News & World Report ranked the school No. 24 in New York State and 173 in the country, The Washington Post has named Syosset High School No. 200 on its list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools.

Schools are ranked through an index formula of the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. Public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.00, meaning they had as many tests in 2016 as they had graduates, were put on the national list. Schools are ranked in order of that ratio.

The Washington’s Post’s rationale for not counting passing rates is that some high schools tend to keep rates artificially high by allowing only their top students to take the courses. This formula factors in average students who take on the challenge of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations. According to the Post, research has found that even low-performing students who got a 2 on an AP test did significantly better in college than similar students who did not take AP.

In addition to U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post, the website ranked the Syosset Central School District No. 16 in the country and No. 5 among the state’s best school districts for the current year., a ranking and review website for K-12 schools, colleges and neighborhoods, factored in Syosset’s academics, administrative leadership, college readiness, clubs and activities, diversity, food, attention to health and safety, resources and facilities for students, sports programs and quality of teaching.

Syosset HS No. 24 in NYS; No. 173 in U.S.

US News image
Syosset High School has been ranked No. 24 in New York State and No. 173 nationally in U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings of the “Best High Schools in America.” Syosset also received a gold medal from the news organization for its attention to preparing students for college while making significant jumps in this year’s standings overall.

U.S. News & World Report evaluated 28,496 schools to determine the top public high schools nationally. Factored in were overall student performance on state-required tests, how effectively schools educated students who are disadvantaged and graduation rates. Schools were also evaluated on how well they prepared students for college based on participation in and performance on AP and IB exams.

Syosset High School has an AP participation rate of 84 percent and received a college readiness index of 72.8 resulting in the gold medal distinction. The school also has a student proficiency rating of 99 percent in English and 94 percent in math. Syosset’s graduation rate is 99 percent.

The school also has received high marks in past rankings of top high schools conducted by U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post and and, websites that rank and review school districts and gather statistics on successful communities around the country. This year reflects a considerable climb for Syosset in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, as the school advanced 81 positions in the national ranking and 15 on the state list.  

“On behalf of the Board of Education and the central administration team, I congratulate Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante, the school administration, faculty and support staff for their tireless efforts to deliver an exemplary educational experience,” said Syosset Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers. “They have created an environment where high challenge is enabled through high support across a wide breadth of program opportunities. Coupled with rich extra-curricular opportunities, students clearly leave Syosset well-prepared not only for college but all that is beyond.”

Board of Ed Honors Athletes

Board of Ed Honors Athletes Photo

Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation Drew Cronin recently touted the successes of the distrct’s winter athletes and athletic teams at the May Board of Education meeting. Each team member on hand was called up onto the stage and applauded by the community. Board members also met with each team prior to the meeting to offer their congratulations.        

Individual honorees were: News 12/conference scholar-athlete for basketball Griffin Halpern; Rebecca Lee, Jacqueline Tang and Mackenzie Wagner as state qualifiers in bowling; Richard Chow, Michael Jiang, Sungchan Kwak, Sunghyuk Kwak, Joseph La Bianca, Kevin Li, Javier Ramirez, Alexi Weis and James Wun as state qualifiers in boys swimming with Javier, Joseph, Michael and Sungchan honored as county champions; girls winter track All-Americans Samantha Destefani, Melissa Esswein,  Reilly Seibert and Lauren White; boys winter track state qualifier John Antonelli; and No. 1 ranked All-American, state and county champion, all-academic state team and county consecutive wins record-holder Vitali Arujua for varsity wrestling.      

Teams honored were the county champion girls varsity bowling team; the conference/division champion varsity boys swim team; and the National Dance Association showmanship award-winning varsity kickline squad. Gregory Cardona (boys basketball), Michael Ferreira (girls basketball) and Christopher Schleider (boys swimming) all won conference coach of the year while Wayne Berbert (girls bowling) won Newsday Coach of the Year.   
Congratulations to all of the student-athletes and their coaches on another successful season!

Thursday, May 25, 2017