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West Islip High School's Safe Drive Assembly

On Thursday, May 21st, West Islip High School held a Safe Drive Assembly, an event devoted to encourage and remind seniors about making good driving decisions. During the assembly, a representative from the Allstate Insurance Company presented a $1,000 check to the Superintendent as part of a grant the school received. Additional presenters at the assembly included representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police, West Islip Chamber of Commerce President Joseph DiPalma, Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) and Student Empowerment Group (SEG). A wrecked car was displayed in the student parking lot with a banner that read “Small Decisions…Big Impact… Drive Carefully.” Sixteen black wreaths were displayed in the auditorium lobby to memorialize those students who lose their lives each day in this country due to poor driving decisions. A DVD, created by West Islip’s Dan Piening was shown during the daylong event. The DVD was created using the funds from a previous Allstate grant.

Pictured above, West Islip High School representatives accept check from Allstate Representative
James Jackson

West Islip Band Directors Visit 3rd Grade Students

On Wednesday and Thursday, May 27th and 28th, the West Islip Band Directors provided an instrumental and performance for our six elementary school 3rd grade classes. 

Music selections included Old Time Rock & Roll, Take the "A" Train, Mario Brothers, and Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Performing with their instruments were band directors, Luann Peskanov - Flute, Kevin Doolittle - Trombone & Baritone, Leonard LaPinta - Clarinet, Stephen Smith - Saxophone & Clarinet, Susan Babcock - French Horn, and guest artist Doug Jones on Tuba.



Westbrook Goes Green


An environmentally conscious Westbrook 4th grade student, Alexa R. has pioneered Westbrook's new recycling program!

Thanks to Alexa, Westbrook has now gone GREEN by providing recycling stations for the entire school!




Westbrook Elementary School Says Farewell to Mr. Stern
 with Flair

Westbrook Elementary School had a farewell breakfast for Mr. Stern on Thursday, May 21. He was presented with a Met's jersey to help him remember all of his friends at Westbrook.

Mrs. Kruer's 5th grade class made a book for Mr. Stern recalling their favorite memories from his many visits to their class. He will be greatly missed by the faculty and students, alike. We all wish him the best of luck!


St. Jude's Math-a-thon at Kirdahy Elementary


Paul E. Kirdahy Elementary at Captree recently sponsored St. Jude’s Math-a-thon. The students raised $2,245, which will go to benefit the St. Jude’s Children's Foundation. “Participating in the St. Jude’s Math-a-thon gave the students at Kirdahy a great opportunity to give back and practice math skills, and at the same time contribute to a worthy cause," said Program Coordinator Justin DeMaio.

Pictured at left, Joseph Z., Alex M., Program Coordinator Justin DeMaio and Palma M. display the certificates awarded to the students for their efforts in the Math-a-thon.


Rededication at Paul E. Kirdahy
Elementary School at Captree


Family, friends, school staff and students gathered on May 12th for the Rededication of the Paul E. Kirdahy Elementary School at Captree. School Principal John Mullins started the ceremony by welcoming and introducing the guests, who included Dr. Kirdahy’s wife Joan, his children Paul, Carol, Kevin, Jim, Kathleen, Tom and Neil, and his extended family and friends. Neil Kirdahy spoke about his father, “One of dad’s favorite sayings by Kahlil Gibran was ‘You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth.’ My father taught with caring and kindness. He loved working with the West Islip community. The best part of the job, he would say, is working with the people.”

Paul Eugene Kirdahy was born on November 28, 1930. Having graduated from St. Dominic High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University. While in high school, he met his wife Joan. The couple married in 1953 and had seven children. That same year, Dr. Kirdahy began his career in education teaching at the elementary school in the Levittown School District, and then becoming an Assistant Principal in the Plainview School District. He later received his Master of Science Degree from Hofstra and his Doctorate in Education from Saint John’s University.


Pictured above (l-r) front row Cameron Kirdahy, Andrew Kirdahy, Jade Kirdahy, and Collin Kirdahy; back row
Paul Kirdahy, West Islip Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Beth Virginia Blau, School Principal John Mullins,
Mrs. Joan Kirdahy, Board of Education member
Annmarie LaRosa, and Jim Kirdahy.


In 1963, Dr. Kirdahy became the Principal of Captree Elementary School. He continued his career in the West Islip School District for over thirty-three years. In 1974, he became the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education and three years later, in 1977, he became the Superintendent of Schools, a title that he held for 10 years.

Dr. Kirdahy was a respected educator and administrator whose legacy will live on in West Islip with the renaming of the Captree Elementary School, which will now be called the Paul E. Kirdahy Elementary School at Captree. In addition to the renaming dedication, an annual scholarship has been created, which will go to a graduating West Islip senior who will pursue a career in education.

“We're incredibly proud of our father's lifelong commitment to education and we are eternally grateful to the West Islip community for bestowing this honor on our father,” said Tom Kirdahy.

Frost Valley YMCA Trip a Wonderful Experience

Many students from Beach Street Middle School traveled up to the Catskill Mountains in Claryville, NY  to attend their annual 3-day, 2-night environmental / adventure Frost Valley YMCA field trip, on May 4th, 5th, and 6th. 

The activities included Project Adventure/Team building, canoeing, climbing rock walls and hiking through the mountains on cable bridges. 

They also learned many useful outdoor living and surviving skills, as well as water ecology for the surrounding area. 

This experience opened the students up to many wonderful things.  Family-style meals focused on community and character education topics. 

We thank everyone, including the chaperones, for giving their time to our students.  Fun was had by all!

Beach Street and Manetuck Students (and One Mom!)
Donate Their Hair to "Locks of Love"

Students from Beach Street Middle School and Manetuck Elementary School donated their hair to the Locks of Love program on May 11, 2009.  Beach Street students Brooke D,, Jaclyn M., Krista M., Victoria I., and Rachel H., along with Cameron L., whose father works at Beach Street Middle School and Manetuck students Jillian R., Rachel S., and Adrianna D'. and her mom, Donna, donated their hair at Kathy's Hair Corner on Udall Road in West Islip.

Their generosity is going to help many less fortunate children suffering with hair loss from various medical conditions.  Beach Street and Manetuck continue to be proud of their students' selfless acts.  Keep up the good work!


Manetuck Breast Cancer Cure Fundraiser


Manetuck Elementary School students from Mrs. Cynthia Laprarie’s second grade class raised money through bake sales and popcorn pops, to help find a cure for breast cancer. In doing so, the class learned how to market their products.

They created banners, made announcements and sold their products. They raised $1,115, breaking their previous goal of $1,000. Pictured above, students sell popcorn to raise funds for breast cancer cure.


Bayview Raises Funds for American Red Cross



Bayview Elementary School students from Miss Jennifer Calvano’s class raised money selling chocolate dipped pretzels and fruit during the week of Valentine's Day.  The students raised over $500 for the American Red Cross.  The class presented the check to a representative from the American Red Cross on March 10th. 




Community Reader’s Day at Oquenock

Professionals throughout the West Islip Community visited Oquenock Elementary School on March 24th to attend Community Readers' Day, share their love of reading with the students, and celebrate the conclusion of this year's PARP Program Read Across the United States. The professionals were welcomed to Oquenock by a school-wide musical performance under the direction of Oquenock's music teacher, Mrs. Cirasole, in addition, Oquenock’s PTA hosted refreshments for the event. During the event, each professional explained to the student body why reading was important to them. The morning culminated with students being read to in their classrooms by the invited guests.

Pictured above, Community Reader’s Day participants included administrators, Board of Education members, students, family and friends.

Sports and Entertainment Marketing Classes Gain real life experience.

Mr. Franzone's Sports and Entertainment Marketing classes and Compass Coalition have partnered up with the Long Island Ducks for a fun-filled West Islip COMPASS Night. The classes have created the marketing plan and divided into areas of marketing, tickets and sales, public relations for a real life experience on how a professional sports team operates on promoting and preparing for a game. The game is on May 26th at 6:35pm and tickets are $10.00, which can be purchased through PaySchools. Tickets will be sold through May 19th.

West Islip’s College Fair & College Awareness Day

Impressive Number of West Islip Graduates Accepted to Top Colleges and Universities

Hundreds of students gathered recently for West Islip’s Annual College Fair, where over 100 colleges participated. During the event Assistant to the Attorney General Brian Herrington presented a lecture on “Student Loans and the Law.”  

Many students are in the process of determining their future paths. The West Islip High School Counseling Office offers guidance in making students’ higher education choices. Many West Islip students have been accepted to some of our country’s top colleges and universities including: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie-Mellon, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and Boston College. 

If you are a West Islip student or parent and would like more information about preparing for college, contact West Islip High School’s Counseling Program at 504-5830.

Pictured above, West Islip students participated in the Annual College Fair where they were able to visit more than one hundred college information booths.


West Islip Swim Team Recognized

West Islip’s Boys’ Swim Team was recognized by the Long Island Swimming Officials’ Association for demonstrating the top Sportsmanship in Suffolk. County.

 Pictured above (l-r) Coach Robert Kollar, Director of Athletics, Physical Education, Health and Recreation Wayne Shierant, Thomas V., Giancarlo C., Matthew R., Kamil S. and Coach Kristi Lee Schubert.

West Islip Varsity Boys’ Basketball Team Receives
Sportsmanship Award

West Islip’s Varsity Boys’ Basketball Team has been awarded the 2008-2009 Suffolk County Basketball Officials’ Sportsmanship Award. The Suffolk County Officials’ Association honored the team at their annual awards dinner on March 24th at the Watermill Inn.



Pictured above (l-r) High School Principal Ken Hartill; Team Captains Joseph W.,  William K. and Nicholas G.; Basketball Coach Tom Cross and Administrative Athletic Assistant Tim Horan.

West Islip's DECA Competes

From March 3rd through March 6th, West Islip High School Distributive Education Club (DECA) students attended the 49th Annual New York State DECA Career Conference at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, New York.

Students competing in State events included: Timothy Bruckner, Marketing Mathematics; Jessica F., Marketing Mathematics; Jaimie D., Public Speaking Prepared; Amanda K. and Nora M., Travel and Tourism Management Team Decision Making; and Ellen T., Sales Demonstration. Two students, Kevin K., competing in Free Enterprise Economics and Heather R., competing in Public Speaking Extemporaneous, placed in the “top ten” finalists for their competitive event.

In January, West Islip’s DECA students participated in the Suffolk County Regional Competition held at Suffolk Community College in Selden. Chapter Advisor Diana Saadat and chaperones Joanne Hilbert and Christina Loggia accompanied the students. The competition involved over 1,600 students from high schools throughout Suffolk County.

Students competing in County events included: Timothy B., Steve C., Robert C., Paul S., Liam B., Cameron E., Steven T., Bill H., Lauren J., Nora M., Kristen P., Jessica Z., Kelly V., and Christie R..

DECA members learn and develop important values such as civic consciousness, social intelligence, leadership development, and vocational understanding, which are instituted throughout the competition.


Westbrook Welcomes Home a Hero


The halls of Westbrook Elementary School were lined with students cheering and waving American flags to welcome home Sgt. Narra from Iraq.

Sgt. Narra, father of a kindergarten student at Westbrook came home from Iraq in time to celebrate Easter with his family.





He was sent over seas in August, right before his daughter started kindergarten in Ms. Greenman’s class.

“We were honored and proud to welcome home her Dad, a true hero”, said teachers, Ms. Greenman and Mrs. Hergerton.

The children welcomed him with a pizza party to show their appreciation for all he has done for our country.


Westbrook Elementary School Shows They Care for the Earth

On Friday, April 24th, Westbrook Elementary School celebrated the CARING character trait by participating in an Earth Day Walk-A-Thon.

The entire school walked around the perimeter of the school’s property then gathered on the lawn to plant a tree, which was donated by 5th grade student Alex P., who is pictured planting the tree with Westbrook principal, Mr. Jack Maniscalco. 

Each class prepared a banner representing how they felt they could “care” for the earth.

 Also, the children were encouraged to bring donations to purchase seedlings which will be planted in front of the school.

As always, the Character Education Committee did a wonderful job organizing the walk. Go Westbrook!


Healthy Habits Taught at Oquenock's Health Fair

On April 3, 2009, Oquenock Elementary School students and staff took part in a school-wide Health Fair coordinated by Mrs. J. Howard. 

The day included a raffle of two bicycles, a selection of fresh fruits for the students to take home, a "hands-on" demonstration of bicycle safety, physical fitness activities provided by a local gym, and discussions and interactions with various health and public safety officials regarding healthy practices. 

Due to inclement weather, the rock climbing wall scheduled for the Health Fair was re-scheduled for early June.  A wonderful and informative day was had by all in attendance! 


MST Fair at Kirdahy Elementary School at Captree

On April 16th, Kirdahy @ Captree celebrated their 8th annual MST Fair in their gymnasium. It was a superb success! Over 80 students participated from kindergarten to fifth grade. The projects/experiments spanned from traveling germs to microorganisms, as well as volcanoes, electricity, and solar power.

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders were able to cast a vote for every participant from each grade on the project they felt taught them the most. The winners from each grade level were :

K - Gabriella A. and Olivia M.
1st- Heather M.
2nd- Andrea S. and Danalyn P.
3rd - Corinne C.
4th - Eric M.
5th - Liam K. and Trevor W.

A big thank you goes out to scientist Mrs. Niesen for planning the whole event, as well as her assistants Mrs. Blumling, Mr. McManus, and Mr. DeMaio.

Peaceful Bayview

On Friday, April 17th, Bayview Elementary school celebrated this month’s character trait by participating in a PEACE walk.  The entire school walked out of the building wearing white shirts and lined up on the letters PEACE which were chalked on the school field. 

This activity was organized by the building Character Education Committee which actively promotes a different character trait each month.  In addition to the PEACE walk, students were given paper puzzle pieces to write on and decorate.  These puzzle pieces for peace are hanging in the school and illustrate ways in which we can promote peace in our home, school and community. Mrs. Pratt, Principal, commented, “Hats off to Bayview for sharing such an important message with our community and world!”

English Honor Society Costume Gala and Honor Society Induction

The National English Honor society would like to invite everyone to its annual costume gala for Ride for Life (researching for a cure for ALS) on May 26th outside in the High School courtyard. This year's theme is The Count of Monte Cristo. The event starts at 8:00 p.m., after the National English Honor Society student Induction Ceremony (same place--however, the inductions will start at 7:00). In case of rain--both events will be moved into Cafe A/B - same time and place. Tickets will be sold at the door and during lunch periods starting May 4th. Last year we raised 2,000 for ALS research--we want to beat that amount!!  Any questions contact Mrs. Scudder or Ms. Russet at the high school.

Also, Mrs. Scudder's Social Issues class will take part in the Ride for Life Walk again on May 20th with North Babylon, Deer Park, and several other local school districts. Mrs. Schaffer's journalism class will join us on the walk, as well as several of Ms. Cucci's students. Last year Mrs. Scudder and Ms. Cucci's Social Issues classes raised 2,500 dollars for the walk and ALS research. Anyone interested in joining the walk (parents, teachers, etc), please contact Mrs. Scudder at the high school.

Combined Middle School Orchestras Tour

On Wednesday April 1, 2009 both the Beach Street Middle School and Udall Road Middle School Orchestras combined for a tour to the elementary schools.  There were a total of 74 students performing in the combined orchestra. Performances took place at Paul J. Bellew Elementary School, Oquenock Elementary School and Bayview Elementary School.

Under the direction of  string teachers Lynette O'Hanlon and Kristen Benson, the seventh and eighth grade middle school orchestra students performed SpongeBob Square Pants, The Tempest (Smith) and The Volga Boatman Swing (Caponegro) for their young audiences.  Director of Fine Arts and Music, Mr. Bernie Jones and string teachers Judy Hayes and Patricia Grasso assisted this great group of musicians throughout the program.


Click here for recordings of the tour!

Wacky Workout Wednesday
On March 25, 2009 from 6:00-7:30 p.m., Oquenock Elementary School students in grades K-5 participated in the first annual Wacky Workout Wednesday. Students taking part in the evening enjoyed learning about nutrition and healthy eating habits, and taking part in wacky races and physical activity in the gym. A memorable evening was had by all participants.


Click on each photo for a larger one


Town of Islip Sharp Shooter at Westbrook

Congratulations to Westbrook’s 5th grader Rachel W. who placed 3rd in the Town of Islip’s Basketball Sharp Shooter Contest. The Town of Islip sponsored the contest which was held at the West Islip High School on February 21st. She competed among all 5th grade girl finalists in the Town of Islip.  They are very proud of her accomplishments.



World Wide Environmental Awareness Day!

Attention West Islip Community! On Saturday, March 28th from 8:30-9:00 p.m., everyone is being asked to turn out their lights. is trying to get one billion people to join in to vote for saving the Earth. You can register your family at .

At Bayview Elementary School, they will be using only essential lighting on Friday, March 27th and turning out the lights for the entire day to “practice” and show their support for the environment and energy conservation. Please join us in this worthwhile event!

Town Meetings Called to Order at Bayview!

Students call a meeting to order!  Third and fourth grade students hosted their very own town meetings last month in the Bayview library.  The agenda for the meetings included the reading of a grade-level mission statement, which reinforced respectful, responsible and cooperative behavior at school,  an activity focusing on cooperation, a BrainPOP video on bullying, student awards, music, and a spotlight section on students. 




The Town Meeting concept incorporates Responsive Classroom principles, which support cognitive growth through social interaction.  These meetings allowed students to create a “town board,” who discussed and facilitated the agenda among their peers.   A special thank you to the ACT (Actively Communicating Together) committee for their planning and support of this student-centered learning experience.



"Art in Heart", K-12 Art Exhibition

Elementary art students in West Islip Schools are participation in the “Art in Heart, K-12 Art Exhibition” featuring artwork from schools across Long Island. The art exhibit sponsored by the Long Island Art Teacher’s Association will be at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, New York- March 15, 2009 through April 25,2009.

A reception will be hosted by the Broadway Mall on Saturday April 25th from 1 pm to 3 pm. All are welcome.


Pictured at left are two fifth grade P. J. Bellew students Rebecca W. and Cali L. are proudly holding their paintings which were chosen for the exhibition.  Rebecca’s work titled “Puppy” and Cali’s work titled “Sunset bridge” were painted in Mrs. Stephenson’s art class.




At right, Westbrook fifth grade students in Mrs. Culver's class, James K. and Joseph V. proudly display their artwork.



Melissa Kennedy Receives
Harvard Club Distinguished Teacher 2009 Award

West Islip High School math teacher Melissa Kennedy has been named Distinguished Teacher of 2009 by the Harvard Club of Long Island, and will be honored along with twelve Long Island teachers at the Harvard Club of Long Island University Relations Brunch in March. Mrs. Kennedy teaches AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC (by independent study), Pre-Calculus Honors, and the new Integrated Geometry course and has taught for 33 years in the West Islip District. In 2007, she was named Suffolk County Math Teacher of the Year and she has been named to Who's Who in American Teaching. She also teaches AP Computer Science and coaches West Islip’s competitive math team, the Mathletes.

“Mrs. Kennedy is an outstanding mathematics teacher. Her love of mathematics and her skill as a teacher have been inspirational for many students,” said West Islip Superintendent Dr. Beth Virginia Blau.

Captree Elementary and Good Samaritan Hospital's
Annual Wellness Fair

Captree Elementary School held its 9th Annual Wellness Fair, sponsored by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. Additional participants included orthodontist Dr. Tichler, All 4 Sports Gym, Sherry's Health Food Store, the West Islip Fire Department and Captree PTA. The goal of the fair is to foster good health habits in students, and to encourage students to make "healthy choices"!

Pictured (l-r) front row Jonathan C., Luke A., Jillian C. and Adriane C.; back row Captree PTA President Naz Afzal, Captree School Nurse Trish Reimer, Good Samaritan Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Charles Bove, Good Samaritan Hospital Community Health Coordinator Briana Tutino and Good Samaritan Hospital Community Health Assistant Christine Martin participated in Captree Elementary’s 9th Annual Wellness Fair.


West Islip High School Students Attend Inauguration


On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, four West Islip High School students attended the historic 2009 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Pictured (l-r) Jessica H., Jacqueline M., Natalia R. and Eric H..

“This was such a wonderful opportunity for these young people to see firsthand the transition of power from one president to the next. This was a learning experience that they will remember for a lifetime. We are very proud of them,” said West Islip High School Principal Ken Hartill.



West Islip Middle School Students
Participate in Anti-Bias Presentation

On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, Michael Zotto, former NYPD Detective and Advisor to the New York State Deputy Secretary of Public Safety, along with New York State Investigator Kim August, presented an Anti-Bias Awareness Presentation to 7th and 8th grade students at Udall Road Middle School. On February 10th, they presented a similar program discussing many issues dealing with anti-bias and self-awareness to Beach Street Middle School students. Following the presentations, group discussions took place among students, teachers, counselors, administrators and the law enforcement officers.

“It’s all about choices,” said Officer Kim August. “You have the power to make the right choices. Surround yourself with good people who can build your network of support.”

“If you see someone being bullied, don’t join in. Don’t participate or encourage their behavior. Subtle messages can create big change. Help that person being bullied and tell someone. If you think it’s funny you are giving the bully power and encouraging their behavior. All you may need to do to stop someone from being bullied is not react. Silence can be deafening,” said Officer Michael Zotto.

“What I witnessed at today’s assembly was a group of young ladies and gentlemen who were focused and attentive, and concerned about the many sensitive topics discussed. It is my belief that inviting the law enforcement community into our schools to speak with our students is a very effective means of providing them with real life issues facing society today and enabling them to express their thoughts about character building strategies,” said program coordinator and West Islip Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Louis M. Zocchia, Jr.

Samantha B.  Selected as Regional Intel Finalist

West Islip High School research teacher Mr. Robert Purdy and Intel Finalist Samantha B.On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, Samantha B. was selected as a finalist in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, which is part of the regional Intel Science Competition. Samantha's project was in the top 25% of the projects, and she will be competing in March for various prizes and a chance to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, Nevada.

Samantha's project "The Effects of Common NSAIDs on Isochrysis galbana and Tetraselmis" studied the effects that household pharmaceuticals such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen have on algae species consumed by shellfish such as clams and oysters. These pharmaceuticals enter the environment when they are disposed of and have been detected in waterways throughout the world.

“The project is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and a focused, conscientious effort. Samantha should be proud of her accomplishments including being named a Finalist in the New York State Science Congress held last June at SUNY Albany,” said Robert Purdy, West Islip High School research teacher.
“This is an outstanding accomplishment considering that almost all of the other projects were done at research institutions,” said West Islip Principal Ken Hartill.

West Islip HS Chapter of the NYS Business and
Marketing Honor Society

On February 11, 2009, Ms. Dawn Morgan, advisor, and Ms. Joann Hilbert, who heads the Business Education Department, hosted the West Islip HS Chapter of the NYS Business and Marketing Honor Society induction ceremony in Cafeteria C during which twenty students were inducted.

The primary purpose of the Honor Society is to recognize those students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in a secondary business/ marketing program by attaining a minimum overall grade point average of 80% and a business/marketing course grade point average of 88%, as well as demonstrating character, leadership, and service, both in the classroom and through extracurricular involvement.

With Mr. Ken Hartill, Mrs. Ellen Quaglio, almost all of the Business Department teaching staff, and 35 guests in attendance, the students inducted for 2009 were: Joseph A., Ricky B., Thomas B., Demi B., Steven C., Nicole C., William C., Robert C., Patrick D., Kelly D., Kelsey E., Lauren J., Ashley M., Kelly P., Jennifer R., Joseph S., Jaime S., Michael T., Shannon V., and Zachary W.. Everyone celebrated these students by enjoying a light breakfast, taking lots of photographs, and passing out lots of hugs, handshakes, and hearty congratulations from their parents, teachers, and HS administrators.

Click here for other Business Department News

Udall Librarian Kathleen Chinkel Receives Bright Light Award


Udall Road Middle School Librarian Kathleen Chinkel is the recipient of the Suffolk Asset’s 2009 Bright Light Award. Suffolk Asset is an association that strives to enhance teaching and learning in Suffolk County School Districts through the use of computers and other educational technologies by encouraging the integration of technology into the K-12 curriculum and ensuring that students are provided with the educational opportunities necessary to prepare them for the 21st century.





Cultural Student Exchange

 The Student Cultural Exchange with Bay Shore High School over the past six years has been a terrific success. Although Long Island as a whole is very diverse, some individual communities are not. The Cultural Exchange has given the students involved an opportunity to interact with other students from different ethnicities and backgrounds. When students have the opportunity to interact with others from a different environment, it can only foster growth, understanding, and change. The idea is a very simple one and has the potential to make a real difference. The two communities are five minutes away by car but are often seen as being worlds apart. This cultural exchange helps break down stereotypes, celebrates differences, and allows us to understand that we, in fact, have many similarities.

Forty-five tenth through twelfth grade students from Bay Shore High School were our guests on DecemberWest Islip and Bay Shore High School students participate in the Student Cultural Exchange 10th. After some brief introductions participants were paired up and spent the day going through their partners’ school schedule. At the end of the day all the students reconvened and enjoyed pizza and talked about their observations and impressions of the day. Differences and similarities between the schools were discussed. “I had a great time at West Islip High School …they made me feel at home”, were just some of the Bay Shore students reactions.


Student’s comments from the program:

"I can't believe I was even nervous for a second because everyone was so welcoming and genuine."

"...even though we live five minutes away from each other we are a different community but we are still all kids and can connect with each other through a myriad of interests."

"I believe that every kid in West Islip should experience this trip once in their high school life."

"There were people of so many different backgrounds and ethnicities, I lost track."

"I really learned just how similar we are and just how similar our schools are."

"Today many walls were knocked down and bridges were built."


"Wow"! Udall Reflections Winners


Students at Udall Road Middle School were awarded merit for their artistic accomplishments in the National PTA Reflections Program, which encourages students in grades K-12 to express their thoughts and feelings through the creative arts.


The theme of this year’s competition was “Wow.” Pictured (l-r) are award recipients Kaitlin M. for Visual Arts, Lilyan G. for Photography, Kathryne G. for Photography (which has been submitted for state judging), Eric B. for Literature, and Udall Principal Bernadette Burns. Not pictured is Samantha L. for Visual Arts.




West Islip's Paul J. Bellew Elementary Has a Surprise Guest

Stephanie N. was recently nominated "Student of the Week" at Paul J. Bellew Elementary School in Mrs. Janet Renganeschi’s fourth grade class, which allows her to invite a special guest to speak to the class. As a surprise, Stephanie’s mother, Kellie, invited Stephanie’s uncle, Staff Sergeant George Ost who is back from Iraq for a brief stay, to attend as the special “surprise” guest. On February 23, 2009, Mrs. Renganeschi’s fourth grade class, as well as a News12 reporter and cameraman, enjoyed a question and answer session with Staff Sergeant Ost, who is in the United States Army’s Helicopter Unit in the 42nd Division.

Questions asked included:

Q: Why did you join the Army?

A: Ost replied, “I joined the army for the educational opportunities. I also have many family members in the military service .”

            Q: What’s it like being in the Army?

A: Ost replied, “It’s good. There are a lot of rules and you need rules to create structure.”

Q: How many times have you been on a helicopter in Iraq?

A: Ost replied, “Over thirty times.”

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being in Iraq?

A: Ost replied, “Missing home and filling in the down time, which we do by keeping ourselves physically fit. We carry around fifty pound back packs, so you need to be able to carry your weight.”

During the discussion, Staff Sergeant Ost expressed, “We’re in Iraq to be peacemakers. It’s better to be a friend than an enemy.”

            “The students were eager to hear about Staff Sergeant Ost’s experiences in Iraq and to learn about what it’s really like to be part of the Armed Services,” said Paul J. Bellew Principal Dan Hunter.


Pictured clockwise (l-r) West Islip Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Joseph Stern (far left), Mrs. Janet Renganeschi and her fourth grade class, Stephanie N. (center dark jacket), Sergeant Ost’s daughters Danielle O. and Kacie O.,  Staff Sergeant George Ost (back right), Sergeant Ost’s parents Barbara and George Ost, News12 Reporter Ken Grimball, News12 Cameraman Greg Corso and Stephanie’s mother Kellie.


Vocal Motion Tours Hollywood


West Islip High School’s premier vocal performing ensemble, “Vocal Motion”, recently returned from a highly successful concert tour of Southern California. The 28-member singing and dancing ensemble was invited to perform at numerous locations throughout Hollywood. The group was invited to perform on the Main Stage at the Studio Backstage Theater in Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park. In addition, Vocal Motion was invited to perform at SONY Studios for the administrative and production staff, as well as for the artists at SONY that day.


Additional performances included a performance at Universal Studios in Hollywood where the group once again was invited to appear on the main stage at that venue. Vocal Motion presented a short impromptu performance of traditional vocal music at the internationally renowned Crystal Cathedral which is featured each week on Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power.” The performance impressed the producers so much that the group was extended an invitation to return and perform a scheduled concert in the future.

In addition to their performance schedule, the students were given behind-the-scenes tours of both the SONY and Universal Studios, where they met with many industry professionals including directors, producers and technical staff. Vocal Motion students were given an opportunity to audition for Disneyland’s Artistic director in a workshop setting. The students were given special guest passes to the NBC Studios taping of the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, and were treated to personal interactions and photographs with Mr. Leno and his staff.

The trip was an outstanding success, both educationally and musically, and the students were given first-hand exposure to the world of movies, and live performance.



W.I.S.E. Challenge Program Note-taking Goes Digital with
Tablet Devices




This past year the W.I.S.E. Challenge Program received six Hewlett Packard Tablet Computers through a grant from PAWS.  Tablet PCs are traditional wireless notebook computers with the unique ability to interact with the computer's digital ink by writing with a “stylus”, a digital pen. The computer becomes “intelligent paper,” capturing the benefits of the digital environment and traditional paper.


Tablet PCs are becoming increasingly popular in education settings. With large touch-screens and all the functionality of a laptop, Tablet PCs go far beyond the touch-screen technology found in PDAs. Tablets use a LCD screen that swivels and enables the computer to be turned into a virtual notebook.  The student’s handwriting is digitized and can be converted to standard text through handwriting recognition, or it can remain as handwritten text.



These computers are being used by the W.I.S.E. Challenge students to capture their observations, record data, label diagrams and type summaries of the units completed. This technology will keep West Islip students on the cutting-edge of educational technology while providing the millennial generation with individualized attention, interactive technology and equal opportunity for participation.




West Islip's DECA Competes

On January 7, 2009, twenty-nine students from the West Islip High School Distributive Education Club (DECA) participated in the Suffolk County Regional Competition held at Suffolk Community College in Selden.  Chapter Advisor Diana Saadat and chaperones Joann Hilbert and Christina Loggia accompanied the students.  The competition involved over 1,600 students from high schools throughout Suffolk County.

DECA members learn and develop important values such as civic consciousness, social intelligence, leadership development, and vocational understanding, which are instituted throughout the competition.  Membership in DECA also helps students to meet the rigorous New York State learning standards, both in content and performance. 

Students competing in events include: Timmy B., Steve C., Robert C., Paul S., Liam B., Cameron E., Steven T., Bill H., Lauren J., Nora M., Kristen P., Jessica Z., Kelly V., and Christie R..  Students who were awarded Honorable Mention in their competitive events include: Mike T. for Accounting Applications and Heather R. for Public Speaking–Extemporaneous. 

Trophy winners include: Natasha Y. for Business One-on-One, Kelly P. for Apparel & Accessories Marketing, Justin S. for Job Interview; Ellen T. for Sales Demonstration, Jackie K., Robby D., and Kevin K.for Free Enterprise, Aaqil A. for Advertising Layout, Jaimie D. for Public Speaking–Prepared; Jack K. and Jessica F. for Marketing Vocabulary.  Trophy team winners include: Amanda K. and Lori I. for Travel and Tourism Marketing. 

The students will advance to the 50th Annual DECA New York State Career Conference held March 3 through March 6, 2009 at the Riverside Convention Center, located in Rochester, New York.  Over 4,000 DECA members from high schools throughout New York State gather to compete in events, enhance their business skills, meet new friends, and enjoy the camaraderie of the conference.