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Five Star Performance by LVHS Jesters!

Collage of four scenes from the high school spring musical

The Locust Valley High School Jesters entertained audiences during three stellar performances of  “The Drowsy Chaperone” March 15-17. Set in the Jazz Age, the musical provided the perfect stage to highlight the singing, dancing and acting talents of the Locust Valley High School actors.

The Jesters’ comedic timing resulted in roaring laughter from the audience, and applause for their singing was endless. 

The story opened with a man in a chair putting on his favorite record, the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical. The Jesters then brought the record to life with the man, played by Locust Valley High School senior Alim Merchant, pausing the record to share his commentary on the actors and the plot during various scenes. 

This musical within a comedy brought energy to the Locust Valley High School auditorium, and the Jesters should be proud of the professional performance they presented.

Cultural Celebration Reinforces Curriculum

A girl paints Japanese letters.

Creating flower art, learning to use chopsticks and crafting origami reinforced what third-graders at Bayville Intermediate School learned during a unit on Japanese culture. Celebrating the culture of Japan with traditional Japanese activities was a fun and creative opportunity to reinforce the lessons taught in class.

Activities also included haiku, Sudoku puzzles and making dragon puppets. Parents attended the cultural celebration and assisted their children with the activities. Mock sushi made from crispy cereal and fruit rollups helped children experience eating with chopsticks.

Experiencing actual aspects of Japanese culture was exciting and informative for everyone.

Transported Back to Colonial Times

A boys and girl make candles.

Candle making and yarn weaving were among the activities that fourth-graders at Bayville Intermediate School tried during Colonial Day. The curriculum includes learning about colonial times and, therefore, replicating activities done during that era helps reinforce the lessons learned in class.

Parent volunteers helped the day to run smoothly by leading various activities. They helped children dip wicks into colored wax to make candles and instructed them in how to weave yarn. In another demonstration, volunteers outlined students’ heads using flashlights to replicate the silhouette portraits of the time because cameras had not yet been invented. Other activities included writing in calligraphy and making butter from scratch.

Time to Write ... But First, Yoga

Several students do a yoga pose.

Standing in warrior pose and practicing bear breath, snake breath, elephant breath or bunny breath, first-graders in Brianna Spitaliere’s class at Ann MacArthur Primary School are learning to self-regulate. Students choose the yoga breath they need depending on whether they need to calm down or energize before beginning their writing workshop.
Yoga is practiced in this classroom as a transition between guided reading and writing workshop to help children prepare for their creative session. The mindfulness activity is performed during the Integrated ENL/ELA block with co-teacher Marie Mills.
Standing yoga poses such as mountain, triangle and warrior contribute to the development of strength, balance and focus. Students also learn partner poses, which they do with their writing partners. Elevator and back-to-back chair pose offer additional benefits, such as building trust and cooperation.
Ms. Mills said that yoga has offered a positive transition to the writing process. “Physical movement fosters learning,” she said. Similarly, “writing partners must work together, provide feedback and cooperate with one another,” she said. 
Ms. Spitaliere said that the students have benefited from the workshops in many ways. “Students feeling tired now know some breathing techniques they can use to gain energy, while those feeling like they can’t sit still can use different breaths to calm them down and prepare them to write,” she said.
Co-teaching during the ENL/ELA block has allowed the two yoga enthusiasts to work together to bring more enrichment to the children. The idea was gleaned from a workshop the two teachers attended on Superintendent’s Conference Day. Taught by Bayville Primary School librarian Stefanie Lipsey, the session focused on ways to incorporate yoga into writing workshops and recommended various materials that Ms. Spitaliere and Ms. Mills have incorporated into their workshop, including the use of chimes to signal the start of breathing exercises and for behavior management.

Lip Sync Battle - March 26

Don't miss the entertaining performances during the high school's Lip Sync Battle - an entertaining evening that supports the Class of 2019.

Tuesday, March 26

7 p.m.

High School auditorium 

Tickets are $10 at the door.



Author Offers Writing Inspiration

Visiting author poses with students and teachers.
Author Joe McGee stood in front of Bayville Elementary School students and asked them to close their eyes and imagine a yellow room with a table and a red tablecloth and a cage with a fuzzy, white bunny.
“I just created an image in all of your heads,” Mr. McGee said. “That is the magic of storytelling.” He told the auditorium full of students that storytellers are like magicians. “We take words and create characters, and it’s like magic.”
Mr. McGee visited Bayville Primary and Intermediate Schools for Author’s Day, sponsored by the Bayville PTA in coordination with the schools’ librarians Paige Coppola and Stefanie Lipsey.
Ms. Lipsey said that having an author visit and talk to the children about writing encourages them to write more. “They see firsthand how writing can be fun, and they learn tricks of the trade that they can use in the classroom,” she said.
“My goal is for each of you to use your imagination,” Mr. McGee said. He went on to explain that ideas come from observing, daydreaming, being curious, reading, playing, listening and asking “What if?” He said asking questions and finding the answers helps in writing amazing stories. “Anything you want to do, you can absolutely do it,” he said.
After sharing details on how he became a writer, including that he started writing his own stories in fourth grade, Mr. McGee read his book, “Peanut Butter & Aliens.” 

Many thanks to the Bayville PTA for bringing this special guest to Bayville Elementary Schools!

Second-Graders Debate Topical Issue

The entire class poses with their speeches.
Should plastic straws be banned? This was the topic debated in Tanya Becker’s second-grade integrated ENL class at Ann MacArthur Primary School. Using persuasive writing, the students chose one side of this topical issue and made their viewpoint known.
Ms. Becker and her co-teacher Suzette Ioannou said the debate took place after the class researched the topic by reading an article on whether or not plastic straws should be banned. The information in the article was discussed in small groups before each child wrote their opinion with supporting information, based on the article and their personal experiences. 

Those students favoring the banning of plastic straws pointed out that the straws can injure animals and are bad for the environment. On the opposing side, students said that straws are needed by people with certain disabilities and that those using the straws should learn to recycle them.
Once each student in the class had read their persuasive essay, they answered questions as to whether or not the debate changed their own opinion. Some students said that indeed, a classmate had provided information that changed their opinion.

Ms. Becker and Ms. Ioannou explained that this type of challenging assignment will help prepare students for future academic goals and achievements and that the topic was chosen because it was one that the students could relate to regardless of language acquisition. 

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater

Random Acts of Kindness Spark Joy

Three girls pose with the lunch bags they decorated.

Learning to be kind starts young and is reinforced as students grow. At Locust Valley Middle School, health classes recently used teamwork and creativity to help students share ideas on ways they can be kind.

After viewing a video about a boy named Liam in Massachusetts who started a non-profit organization called Liam’s Lunches of Love. Liam delivers food to the homeless in paper bags handcrafted with motivational sayings, and Locust Valley Middle School health classes decided to step in to help him, just as Liam helped others. 

Sixth-graders talked about various acts of kindness, wrote examples of acts of kindness on the white board and then decorated paper bags to send to Liam’s Lunches of Love. Students researched inspirational quotes and, using colorful markers and crayons, wrote those quotes on the bags. Their own decorations surrounded sayings such as “It never gets easier, you just get better” and “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”

Middle school health teacher Laura Vera said that after learning about Liam’s Lunches of Love, she and her fellow health teachers Heather DeGregorio and Roberto Gutierrez agreed that assisting him in his efforts could act as a reminder that we all have the capacity to spread kindness.  

“By decorating the bags with motivational sayings and artwork, and writing gratitude notes to a special person in their lives, students were able to practice a random act of kindness before they even left the classroom," said Ms. Vera.

Interact Makes a Difference

Two students and a teacher pose with collected items.
The high school’s Interact Club took their toy and pajama drive to the next level by personally delivering the collected items to Winthrop Hospital, where they will be distributed to children undergoing various medical treatments.

The club members collected the items for the Matthew Fetzer Foundation which was established in memory of Matthew Fetzer, who lost his life to cancer when he was a student at Bayville Intermediate School. When Matthew was sick, he dreamed of bringing toys to sick children when he got better. His family made sure his dream would come true in his honor, and the school community supports their efforts each year.

Interact Club adviser Erica Reilly said the club’s members work all year to support important causes. “Supporting the Matthew Fetzer Foundation makes the students feel good, knowing they are helping children who are suffering,” Ms. Reilly said. “Putting a smile on the face of a child who may not have much to smile about is extremely gratifying.” 

100 Days of Learning

Four girls are dressed like 100-year-old ladies.

Primary school students can count to 100 by fives, tens and twenties and they proved it during assemblies celebrating the 100th day of school at Ann MacArthur and Bayville Primary Schools.

Students in kindergarten through second grade sang songs that included counting to 100, listened to a story about the 100th day of school and celebrated the number 100. The 100th student to enter the school that day, students who were present for all 100 days of school and those that correctly guessed the number of treats in a jar were all recognized. 

“While the 100th day of school may not be an official holiday, it is an opportunity to reinforce math skills through collaboration with reading, music and movement,” said Locust Valley Elementary Schools Principal Dr. Sophia Gary.

Important Letter from the Acting Superintendent


Please see the attached letter from Acting Superintendent Carl Bonuso, Ed.D




I Have A Dream Too

Four students look at a photo of MLK Jr.
Looking up to Martin Luther King Jr., fifth-graders at Locust Valley Intermediate School replicated his “I Have a Dream” speech with their own dreams. Black History Month is the perfect time to highlight the students’ “I Have a Dream Too” projects in which they describe dreams such as a world with no bullying. 

Athletic Accomplishments Recognized

Collage of athletes at ceremony
They’ve earned county and state honors, broken records and exhibited exceptional sportsmanship, and for that and more the Locust Valley High School fall and winter athletes were recognized. The athletic recognition ceremony was held Feb. 27 with coaches sharing the impressive details of their teams’ accomplishments. Honors earned during the season were recognized and individual awards were presented.

Congratulations to all of the fall and winter athletes on their dedication, accomplishments and athletic pride. See the attached list of all the honors earned during the two seasons.


Learning to Love Literacy

Four students pose with their folders

Fifth-graders in Margaret Costello’s class at Locust Valley Intermediate School all have jobs. They are illustrators, discussion directors, summarizers, connectorsand word wizards. These hardworking students don’t just stick with one job, but rather try out each of these jobs on a rotating basis. The roles are part of a literary circle/book club that Mrs. Costello is running in her classroom.

Assigned to groups, the fifth-graders are reading the book “The Great Gilly Hopkins” by Katherine Paterson. Groups of approximately four students each meet to discuss a chapter of the book that either has been read together in class or individually at home. Each student shares with their group the work they did at home for their assigned job.

The illustrator shares a drawing depicting their interpretation of the chapter, while the summarizer will read a description of the same section of the book. Connectors discuss how events in the story relate or connect to their own lives, and word wizards explain the meaning of advanced words that their classmates may not know. Discussion directors make sure the group discussion is flowing appropriately. The jobs are rotated so each student has the opportunity to perform each task at least once.

Anna Cavallo, a student in the class, said this method of working together helps her understand the text. She explained that when her classmates make connections to their own lives she is able to make sense of the story more easily.

Some students said they enjoy that the activity allows students to hear different perspectives of each chapter. Christian Ciccone said studying a book in this manner allows him to communicate his thoughts to his classmates. “We are all equal, sharing ideas, and it inspires me,” he said.

Mrs. Costello walks around the room visiting each group, offering her guidance as needed. She also gathers feedback on how this process is working to ensure the students are learning in the best possible way.

“Helping their peers learn is very powerful,” she said. “If they have ownership over what they learn, they will put more effort in and the learning will be authentic.”


Senior Named National Merit Finalist

Adit Dutta poses with administrators
High school senior Adit Dutta has been named a National Merit Scholarship finalist based on his exceptional performance on the Preliminary SAT. The College Board bestows this honor upon less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide each year.

Adit was named a semifinalist in the competition earlier this school year. Advancing to finalist standing is an even greater achievement, as he is among an elite group of only 15,000 finalists out of 1.5 million seniors nationwide that took the PSAT. Adit then went on to perform exceptionally well on the SAT, a requirement for advancing to finalist status. 

An IB Diploma candidate, Adit is also a member of the wrestling team. He plays the piano and has a talent for drawing, which he practices in his IB Art course. Adit is considering majoring in biology and preparing for a possible career in dentistry.

The College Board shares the names of students who earn these distinctions with colleges and universities. As a finalist, Adit is now eligible to receive scholarships of $10,000 toward his college education. These scholarships can come from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, corporate sponsors or the universities the finalists attend. 

Congratulations to Adit on this prestigious accomplishment!

Focusing on Inspiration, Independence and Ingenuity

Marc and Nicole at a table with pencil and paper
Marc and Nicole at a table with pencil and paper and their teacher
Two seventh-grade students learned important lessons by teaching a lesson themselves. Marc Joseph and Nicole Contoudis became teachers for a day and they prepared for the experience as any expert educator would.
As part of Michele Gaglione’s rhetoric and debate course, which offers enrichment for all students, Marc and Nicole were participating in Genius Hour, a concept Ms. Gaglione learned about while partaking in professional development. The idea comes from Google, where it is said that employees are given 20 percent of their time to research a passion project. Ms. Gaglione put this practice in place, allowing these first-time teachers to experiment with their own passion, which happened to be drawing for both of them. Ms. Gaglione served as the facilitator for their project, allowing them to develop independence while guiding them to be successful.
To learn more about teaching drawing, Marc and Nicole interviewed their principal, H. Thomas Hogan, who also heads the district’s art department. They polled their classmates to uncover what type of drawing lesson would be best received and they created a lesson plan. Finally, they executed the lesson, teaching the students in their rhetoric and debate class how to draw a hand in an illustrative and realistic fashion.
Ms. Gaglione said the lesson had to include an adaptive teaching method, creating a plan that could be followed by students of varying artistic abilities. She explained that they also had to set a schedule to ensure their lesson would fit into the allotted time frame.

“Marc and Nicole chose a challenging project and they succeeded by taking it one step at a time,” she said.
Nicole, who described herself as shy, said teaching a lesson to her classmates helped her learn that not all people are judgmental. She felt comfortable teaching a topic that she is passionate about and felt that her students respected her.
Marc said that he discovered just how much a teacher has to learn, as he had to become an expert on drawing all parts of a body in order to teach his students how to do the same. 

“I really enjoyed teaching drawing and the preparation that was involved,” he said.
“I encourage children to think critically and work on their 21st-century skills,” Ms. Gaglione said. “Genius Hour allows them to question, break projects down and choose a project that inspires them.”

Excellence Earns Entrance to National Junior Honor Society

Five students pose in front of glitter board

More than 60 Locust Valley Middle School students proved that they had all the attributes required to join the prestigious National Junior Honor Society and were inducted during a traditional ceremony on Feb. 7.

The society accepts only those students having demonstrated qualities that exhibit scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship. Therefore, sitting on the stage in the middle school auditorium during the ceremony were inductees representing the school as well-rounded, hardworking and community minded. 

Assisted by the National Junior Honor Society advisers Kelley Grassi and Jennifer Tichy, the organization’s current officers led the ceremony, each describing one of the society’s required qualities and lighting the corresponding candle. President Margaret Kuebler lit the candle for scholarship, Vice President Jolie Pye for service, Secretary Catherine Saffi for leadership, Treasurer Megan McDonald for character and Service Officer Susan Meza for citizenship.

Board of Education President Brian Nolan addressed the inductees and their guests. “On behalf of the Board of Education, I congratulate each of you and thank you for being a part of what makes Locust Valley Central School District so successful,” he said. “It is you and your teachers that bring life to our school buildings and create energy in our classrooms, and we are thrilled to celebrate you.”

Principal H. Thomas Hogan said it was impressive that the students managed to be successful in a broad range of subjects over an extended period of time. “Think about that as the central attribute of success,” he said. 

Mr. Hogan led the inductees in reciting the pledge of the National Junior Honor Society and the lighting of their individual candles. 

The ceremony closed with inspiring words from Acting Superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso. “I was truly in awe to hear the kinds of things that these young people are involved in,” he said. Dr. Bonuso explained that in his short time in the district, he has seen middle school students excel in an array of activities, including their recent musical production. 

Congratulations to all of the National Junior Honor Society inductees!

All-State Wrestlers

Congratulations to varsity wrestlers Gage DeNatale (132 lbs.) and Vinnie Marchand (126 lbs.) on earning All-State Honors at the state wrestling championships! Gage and Vinnie took fourth and sixth place in their respective weight classes, an incredible accomplishment at the state level. Congratulations Falcons! 

Reading Aloud Benefits All

Two students at a table reading a book
On World Read Aloud Day, celebrated on Feb. 1, some classes from Bayville Primary School and Bayville Intermediate School joined together to celebrate. Victoria Shishkoff brought her first-graders down the hill to the intermediate school and joined Marie Fonzo’s class. Lori Pace’s third-grade class partnered with Dani Schatz’s second-grade class and the four classes celebrated reading.

The students sat in pairs as the older children read books to the younger children, both groups learning and gaining from the experience. 

“The activity made my students feel very important and special,” Ms. Shishkoff said. “The older students were excited, kind and nurturing. It was a wonderful sight to see! My class couldn’t stop talking about the third-graders the rest of the day.” 

She also explained the benefits in developing a crossover and collaboration between teachers at both schools so the younger children become comfortable and familiar with the faces when it’s time to move down to the big school. 

Ms. Fonzo said the event was just as rewarding for her class. “This activity allowed third-grade students to become mentors to their younger peers. They felt a feeling of pride and accomplishment as the roots of our school community deepened.”

Kids of Distinction

Three student honorees with their certificates
Three Locust Valley Central School District students won the Kid of Distinction Award from Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan. They were among only 25 student winners recognized as outstanding in athletics, academics, the arts and community service. The Locust Valley winners were William Edmonds, Seamus Fallon and Grace O’Mahony.

Locust Valley High School senior Seamus Fallon has represented Locust Valley at the highest levels as a student, athlete and community member. Seamus has a 108.29 grade point average, taking a full course load of AP and IB classes. He was captain of the football team and has earned innumerable honors for his athletic and academic prowess in the football community. Seamus also serves as a student representative to the Board of Education. 

“Seamus is truly a kid of distinction in many areas,” said Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Dr. Danielle Turner, who nominated him for the award.

Locust Valley Middle School sixth-grader Grace O’Mahony was nominated by middle school teacher Emily Storck. She described Grace as one of those students that comes around rarely. Grace is a leader in and out of the classroom and participates in acting classes, performs in school shows and is a member of the field hockey team.

“She is one of the hardest-working students,” Ms. Storck said. “Grace goes above and beyond without ever having to be asked.”

Locust Valley Intermediate School fourth-grader William Edmonds was nominated for his dedication to BMX racing. In just a short time, William has had a tremendous amount of success. He ranks second in the nation in his age group and 32nd overall. 

“Racing requires a great deal of practice and mental focus, and William is a dedicated racer who practices and competes most weekends,” said Locust Valley Elementary School Assistant Principal Amy Watson.

All-County Musicians

Music note graphic
Student-musicians across the district are excelling in band, orchestra and chorus. Many students performed in the Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Music Festival. Acceptance into this prestigious program is largely based on NYSSMA scores from the previous year. Students are nominated by their music teachers and are chosen by a selection committee from the festival. Students participate in several long rehearsals led by a guest conductor and have a culminating concert at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.

Congratulations to the following students:

Bayville Elementary School

Evie Bergman, Grade 5, Chorus
Leah Bolitho, Grade 5, Chorus
Delila Cody, Grade 5, Chorus
Lucia Connelly, Grade 5 Chorus
Juliana Darrah, Grade 5, Chorus
Christopher Emmerich, Grade 5, Chorus
Elizabeth Madden, Grade 5, Chorus
Samiyah Michalski, Grade 5, Chorus
Julia Pisciotta, Grade 5, Orchestra
Morgan Smith, Grade 5, Chorus
Adbvaith Sreenivas, Grade 5, Chorus
Elizabeth Watson, Grade 5, Band

Locust Valley Elementary School

Grant Creedon, Grade 5, Orchestra
Emily Gallo, Grade 5, Band
Julia Rappa, Grade 5, Chorus
Rowan Shenoy, Grade 5, Orchestra

Locust Valley Middle School

Ciaran Bowden, Grade 6, Orchestra
Kathryn Constantin, Grade 6, Chorus
John D’Addario, Grade 9, Orchestra
Katherine Gu, Grade 8, Orchestra
Jenna Linden, Grade 7, Chorus
Sofia Maragos, Grade 6, Chorus
Aidan Moran, Grade 8, Band
Kieran Moran, Grade 7, Jazz Band
Owen Pye, Grade 6, Band
William Wysolovski, Grade 7, Orchestra

Locust Valley High School

Ashleigh Capozzi, Grade 11, Treble Choir
Olivia Cody, Grade 9, Chorus
Nils Coffey, Grade 11, Orchestra
Brett Dalis, Grade 9, Chorus
Timothy Peguillan, Grade 11, Mixed Chorus
Ezra Pietrafesa, Grade 10, Band (Division 4)
Sabrina Raichoudhury, Grade 9, Chorus

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Wrestlers are County Champs!

Vinnie and Gage
Locust Valley High School wrestlers are on top again! At the Section VIII Division II Wrestling Tournament, juniors Gage DeNatale and Vinnie Marchand each won the county championship at 132 pounds and 126 pounds, respectively.  

Additionally, Locust Valley had a total of 14 wrestlers place on the podium across all weight classes, including juniors Pat Fallon, Vito Rodriguez, Anthony Scicutella and Kyle Shriberg, who were all named county finalists.

“Throughout the season, they remained focused and dedicated to their coaches and to their teammates, and to see so many of them succeed on Saturday was outstanding,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “I could not be more proud of our student-athletes and coaches, and I look forward to watching Gage and Vinnie compete at the state level.” 

Congratulations to all of the wrestlers on these outstanding accomplishments!

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Boys Basketball Advances

Team photo
The Conference Champion Boys' Basketball team secured the 11th seed in the Section VIII Class A basketball tournament. The Falcons will face 22-seeded Herricks in a play-in game on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 5:00 in the High School Gymnasium. Come out and show your Falcon Pride!

Girls Basketball Advances!

Team photo
The Girls' Basketball team secured the 9th seed in the Section VIII Class A Basketball tournament, and will face 8th seeded-Floral Park on the road this Friday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. Come out and show your support for our Falcons!

Junior Track Champion

Nina Cialone
Locust Valley High School junior Nina Cialone took home the girl’s long jump championship with an outstanding jump of 17 feet, 1 inch during the Nassau County Class B track and field conference championships on Feb. 5. This jump was 1 inch shy of an automatic bid to the state championships; however, her win gives her another chance to add that inch at the state-qualifying meet on Feb. 14. 

In addition to winning the Class B championship in the long jump, she also placed second in the girls triple jump, improving her personal best and toppling a school record over a decade long by about 6 inches, with an outstanding jump of 36 feet, 8 ½ inches. This jump will automatically advance her to the girls triple jump state championships in March. 

“Nina really showed up to jump,” coach Erin Holmes said. “She blocked out all of the stress that comes with a championship event like this and focused on making little adjustments, implementing what we have been working on in practice, listening to the coach and just going full throttle to the board. It was an absolute pleasure to see the joy on her face when she won the long jump, but it was definitely the best to watch her face light up when she realized she had broken the school record. I am so very proud of all of her hard work this season and can’t wait to be there to see her break her record again at states.” 

Lip Sync - Interested in Performing?

Forms and money due March 18.

Tryouts are March 22.

Open practice - March 26 after school.

Performance  - March 26, 7 p.m.

See attached flyer for details.


Teaching Empathy Through Teamwork

Two students pose with characters they drew
Showing empathy is an important part of being a kind person, and learning what empathy is can be the first step in exhibiting empathetic behaviors. Bayville Intermediate School fifth-grade teacher Kelly Price implemented a creative approach to teaching her students the importance of empathy and sharing the lesson with younger students. The lesson, which included reading books about character, carries the motto, “I Have Character.”

To enhance the project, Ms. Price’s students are mentoring second-graders in Dani Schatz’s class at Bayville Primary School to help them learn about empathy. The two classes join together monthly, pairing fifth-graders with second-graders to work collaboratively. In a recent lesson, the older students presented the younger ones with questions about how they would handle certain situations, including seeing a student sitting alone at lunch or witnessing bullying. The questions sparked important conversations, enabling mentors to guide the second-grade students towards the best way to be an empathetic classmate.

Students created paper versions of themselves, and as they learn new, positive personality traits each month, they add symbols to their characters to represent those traits. Ms. Price said this demonstrates to them that what we have on the inside is more important than what we see on the outside. She hopes the lesson will help them become more empathetic, kind, grateful, resilient and hardworking. 

“I hope that 20 years from now when my students think back to fifth grade, they remember their experience and journey of becoming better human beings. I hope when they are 30 years old, they can say, ‘I have character,’” Ms. Price said.

Students Rocking Kindness

Studens and teachers pose with rocks
Spreading kindness is commonplace at Bayville Primary School, as the students and staff are dedicated to bucket filling, a philosophy that uses a bucket as a metaphor for a person’s feelings. The students learn that kind acts fill the bucket of the recipient and the giver. Unkind acts deplete buckets.
Maggie Holz, an Individual Needs teacher, worked with one of the school’s occupational therapists, Alison Milligan, on a special project that would fill the buckets of strangers around the community. First- and second-graders in Ms. Holz’s class created kindness rocks to leave in the community for residents to find.
The students used colorful permanent markers to decorate the rocks and write uplifting messages. They brought the rocks home and were encouraged to hide them in the community for random people to discover. They learned that even though they may never know who found their rocks, they could feel good knowing they made someone smile.
Besides teaching them to be kind, the activity helped to build many skills, including eye-hand coordination, graphomotor skills, strategic planning, visual perceptual skills, problem-solving, following multistep directions and spatial organization.
“While our students are constantly reminded of how we can choose to fill each other’s buckets on a daily basis, we are teaching about how significant of an impact a random act of kindness can make on the recipient, and even people who hear about it,” Ms. Holz said.

Congress in Action Puts Students in Government

Students at podium
Students at podium
Students at podium
Students at podium
Students at podium
Proposals were made, rebuttals presented and opinions offered as high school seniors participated in Congress in Action, a realistic replica of the United States Congress. 

Participants used research and writing skills to prepare bills that they presented to their peers, lobbying for votes to help those bills pass, while rebutters worked against the bills. Topics ranged from having armed security guards in schools to prison reform and from paying college athletes to changing school starting times. Each presenter had well researched facts to back their proposals and their adversaries were just as well prepared to take the bills down.

Once all audience members had time to make comments for or against each bill, a vote was taken to determine if the bill would pass. By the end of the activity, students had a true feel for how Congress works. Keeping with the workings of the actual government, a Rules Committee kept order throughout the proceedings. Members of that committee included Speaker of the House Antonia LoCascio, Clark Brennan, Thomas DeLancey, Ava Famiglietti, Thomas Placilla, Stephen Porko and Timber Zino.

Social studies teacher Robert Buonaspina coordinated the program and said that the students were dedicated to making the event as realistic as possible. “Congress in Action offers students an opportunity to learn the inner working of our government and to enhance many important skills such as research, writing and public speaking,” he said.

Bayville Kidsday Reporters

Class photo
Getting a byline in a newspaper is a big deal for a writer – getting that byline in elementary school is quite an accomplishment. Students in Christine Arthur’s fifth-grade class at Bayville Intermediate School accomplished just that when they became Kidsday reporters for Newsday.
Mentored by Newsday reporter Pat Mullooley, the students learned how to conduct interviews, write articles and edit their work. Mullooley visited Mrs. Arthur’s classroom several times to work with the students, and four writers were chosen to participate in a professional interview.
Gavin Boyd, Keith Dempster, Liz Madden and Kaitlyn O’Brien traveled with Mrs. Arthur to interview New York Islander Matt Martin at the Northwell Ice Arena in Eisenhower Park, where the team practices. They worked on their interview questions first in class with their teacher and then with Mullooley, who helped them understand what questions would produce better answers for a quality news story.
The team that interviewed Martin had their story published in Newsday on Dec. 8. Mrs. Arthur’s entire class wrote articles and submitted them to Newsday. Many of them will be featured over a six-day run in April editions of Kidsday. Other articles include local restaurant reviews, local news stories, DIY projects and surveys. The children wrote jokes and riddles, too. The class answered other children’s submissions to “Dear Kidsday” and provided illustrations to be included in their editions.
Mrs. Arthur said that the experience of working with a professional reporter enhanced the writing portion of the fifth-grade curriculum. “The students were excited to write for Newsday’s Kidsday and getting advice from a professional inspired them. They worked very hard and although not every article submitted will be printed, I am very proud of all of their efforts.”

Community-School Partnership

Students and family work on a project

Math games, spelling challengesand puzzles made Family Math/ELA Night feel like fun, but the participants were learning how to work together at home on schoolwork. Parents and students joined together at Ann MacArthur Primary School and Bayville Primary School where they traveled through stations set up with various mathematical and English language arts activities. Advice on how to help their children with the skills needed to complete the tasks was shared and each family left with some new activities to engage in with their children.

“Enhancing the school community partnership is always a priority,” Bayville Elementary School Assistant Principal Dorothy McManus said. “Our goal is to support parents so they can help children succeed at home, and therefore be more successful in school.”

Senior Earns NIAAA Scholarship

Athletic Director and Jordan Dyer
Locust Valley High School Senior Jordan Dyer has earned the Section VIII 2018-2019 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Scholarship.  

The NIAAA scholarship program recognizes distinguished scholastic leadership and sportsmanship attributes of high school student-athletes and the importance of high school athletics in each student’s life. Recipients must be seniors in high school, have achieved high academic accolades, have participated in two sports for at least two years each and have earned at least one varsity letter in each of two sports.
Finally, applicants must complete an essay on how high school athletics have impacted their lives.

Jordan was among 50 applicants for the scholarship and was chosen by a committee of Nassau County athletic administrators. She will now move on to the state level of the scholarship competition.

Jordan has a grade point average of 97.84, was a two-year member of the varsity field hockey team and five-year member of the varsity golf team. She was named the Most Improved Player on the varsity golf team for two consecutive seasons and earned All-Conference accolades in the county tournament.

Jordan is a member of the high school robotics team, book club, chamber singers and the athletic council, and also finds time for outside activities, including coaching and volunteering for the Oak Neck Youth Field Hockey program. In addition, she volunteers her time with the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, assisting with golf outings, the Tunnel to Towers 5K Race, the American Burn Congress and the Firefighters Ski Races. 

For all of these attributes, Jordan is extremely deserving of this recognition. Congratulations, Jordan!

LVMS Musical is a Hit!

Student actors on stage

The Locust Valley Middle School auditorium was transformed into a Caribbean Island as students acted, sang and danced in “Once on This Island, Jr.” The young performers were convincing as they told the story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island.

Colorful sets, traditional costumes and performances that came from their souls made this musical one to remember during two performances on Jan. 25 and 26. 


Frozen Fun

High School students pose

Spending the day frozen doesn’t soundfun, unless it’s at Locust Valley’s annual Frozen event, which offers winter-themed activities for younger students in the community. The high school student government, along with other high school clubs and organizations organized the day, which brought in students from all of the elementary schools. 

Ice fishing, snowman building, face painting, decorating mittens and cookies, dancing and pinning the nose on the snowman were just some of the fun events of the day. 

This year, a pancake breakfast was offered for an additional fee prior to the start of Locust Valley Frozen. 

The event not only serves as a fundraiser for the student government, but also provides an opportunity for the community to come together at all levels and for high school students to earn leadership experience. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Junior Earns Perfect Score on ACT

Michelle Hsu with Assistant Principal
Locust Valley High School Junior Michelle Hsu earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam. The exam is one of the components colleges and universities use when deciding which students to accept. The ACT has four parts, each one worth 36 points. Michelle earned a score of 36 on each of the sections: English, mathematics, reading and science.

Perfect scores on the ACT are extremely rare. For example, nationally, the Class of 2018 had only 2,760 students earn a perfect score out of the more than 2 million students that took the exam, or two-tenths of one percent. The curriculum-based achievement test measures what students have learned. Michelle’s perfect score demonstrates that she has mastered all of the skills and knowledge she will need to succeed in her first year of college.

Michelle is well-rounded, participating in clubs, writing for the high school newspaper, The Spectrum, and she is an accomplished pianist.

Congratulations, Michelle!

National Honor Society Honors Inductees

Students light candles

For their dedication to the pillars of scholarship, service, leadershipand character, Locust Valley High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society on Jan. 16. Nearly 100 students joined the ranks of this elite society, participating in a traditional ceremony, which included lighting candles to represent those four pillars.

Board of Education President Brian T. Nolan addressed the inductees and their families, congratulating them on their outstanding accomplishments. “We congratulate each and every one of you – students, parents and faculty – for the successes you have earned,” he said. “And we thank you for making Locust Valley the exceptional place that it is. To our inductees, this is the beginning of a life that can be whatever you want. You set your goals on being admitted to the National Honor Society and you succeeded, so now you know you can do anything you set your mind to. We will be here to cheer you on, to celebrate your successes and to follow your journey.”

High School Principal Patrick Clemente also shared inspiring words for the inductees to take forward. “Thomas Friedman recently wrote in the New York Times about owning your own future,” Mr. DiClemente said. “He stated that if you want to be a lifelong employee anywhere today, you have to be a lifelong learner. That means that more is now on you – self-motivation to learn and to keep learning becomes the most important life skill.”

Junior Michelle Hsu, one of the inductees, performed “Reflets dansl’eau,” by Claude Debussy on the piano, creating a relaxing and enjoyable interlude during the ceremony.

National Honor Society officers President Caroline Faraday, Vice President Joe McNamara, Secretary Brooke Cody and Treasurer Lindsay Merenda presented descriptions of each pillar and lit the appropriate candle, before all of the inductees recited the pledge and lit individual candles, lighting up the stage.

National Honor Society advisers Rachel McShane and Stephanie Scavelli organized the ceremony along with the officers, creating an evening fit for the level of achievement these students have reached. 

Congratulations to all of the inductees on this remarkable accomplishment!

Wrestlers Shine at Eastern States Classic

Wrestlers pose in Falcon sweatershirts
Five varsity wrestlers participated in the Eastern States Classic, one of the toughest and most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the country, from Jan. 11-12 in Loch Sheldrake, New York. Anthony Scicutella (99), Kyle Shriberg (106), Jack Croke (106), Vincent Marchand (120) and Gage DeNatale (132), competed with wrestlers from 174 teams and nine different states.

Gage started day one of the tournament with two decisive wins. He dominated his first opponent and recorded a technical-fall (16-0) in the first period. Gage continued his dominant performance with an 18-7 major decision over his second opponent. He began the second day of the tournament by upsetting the No. 1 seeded wrestler in his bracket, with a 3-2 decision, in an intense quarterfinal match-up. During the semifinal match, Gage recorded his first loss of the season to one of the top-ranked Division II wrestlers in New York State. However, Gage was able to conquer one of the most difficult challenges in the sport of wrestling and grind his way through the wrestle-backs to end his tournament with a victory. In dramatic fashion, he defensively pinned the No. 3 seeded wrestler in his bracket to place fifth in the 132-pound weight class. Gage’s success is not a surprise and his tireless work ethic ensures that he will be a force to be reckoned with during the New York State championship tournament in February in Albany, New York. 

Despite not making it onto the podium, Locust Valley’s other four participants wrestled at a high level against the best competition available. The experience these wrestlers gained from entering and competing in this kind of tournament will prepare them to reach their individual goals in the postseason, as well as help Locust Valley defend its title as Division II county champions.

Congratulations to all of the wrestlers! 

High School Career Fair - March 19

Save the Date!

The high school will host a career fair on March 19. Details to follow.