Superintendent's Holiday Message

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Dear Friends,
With the festive time of the year upon us, let me take a moment to wish all of our East Islip students, families, faculty and staff a joyous holiday season! I have such a deep appreciation of serving this wonderful community as your superintendent of schools. In the last 18 months, I have witnessed an optimistic and enthusiastic partnership take shape, comprised of families and district personnel, as decisions made are only those that are in the best interests of our students. Everything we do affects their lives directly or indirectly. We have accomplished much together in a short amount of time; what better time to thank you for your continued enthusiastic support and partnership. East Islip is truly a terrific community!
 
Whatever your role may be, know that it is appreciated and that it matters immensely to the children and families we serve as a whole. It is during the holiday season that the importance of children and family becomes even clearer in our lives. Please take the time over the holiday break to enjoy those close to you and be thankful for their support and kindness.  
 
During this special time of the year, the Rozzi family and I would like to wish each of you a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to many more years of celebrating with you and enjoying spontaneous moments of joy.
 
Sincerely,
Mrs. Linda J. Rozzi

Superintendent of Schools

Artist of the Week: Dec. 15, 2014

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John F. Kennedy Elementary: Fifth-graders Gabrielle DiVerde and Caitlyn Morales (“Masks”)

Ruth C. Kinney Elementary: Fourth-graders Nicole Longo and Raymond LaRocca ("Pattern Tea Cups")

Timber Point Elementary: Kindergartner Andrew Arena ("Poinsettia Prints")

MS Holiday Brass Kick Off Tree Lighting

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The East Islip Middle School Holiday Brass Ensemble has been busy spreading holiday cheer, starting on Dec. 5 when they kicked off the season with a performance at the East Islip Fire Department’s tree lighting ceremony.

Despite inclement weather, the young student-musicians – Joseph Bucci, Max Calarco, Justin Lamando, John Sidorski, James Smalley and James Sullivan on trumpet; Stephen Bernhardt, Aiden Furay, Steven Gieseler, Thomas Gonzalez and, Zachary MacMorris on trombone; AJ Rumfola and Thomas Wienclaw on baritone; and Michael Fiorello and Gabriel Poroslay on tuba – played holiday favorites such as “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, “Deck the Halls”, “Joy to the World”, “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” to an appreciative audience. 

The Holiday Brass subsequently performed in the ballroom of the Islip Art Museum’s Brookwood Hall for the annual Orphan Tree Lighting.

“I had such great fun working with these wonderful young men, and am extremely proud of their commitment to music and giving back to their community,” said ensemble director Concetta Stevens.  

Connetquot’s Caring Mitten Tree

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During the month of December, Connetquot students donated mittens and gloves as ornaments for their “Mitten Tree,” located in the school’s main lobby. For now, these colorful donations serve to adorn the tree, but they ultimately will be provided to local outreach programs for distribution to children in need of inclement weather items.

The project was organized by kindergarten teacher Karin Hipp. “She has encouraged all of Connetquot’s caring citizens to think of helping others during the holiday season,” said Principal Deborah Smith. “The Mitten Tree also ties in to our schoolwide character trait for the month of December, which is responsibility. Connetquot students are learning that helping others is a collective responsibility that we all should participate in.”


Dec. 22 Lunch Menu Change

Whitsons Culinary Group has announced a slight change to the elementary lunch menu for Monday, Dec. 22:

Connetquot will be serving chicken tenders

JFK will be serving chicken nuggets

RCK will be serving chicken tenders

Timber Point will be serving popcorn chicken




BOE Business Meeting on Jan. 8

The East Islip Board of Education's next monthly business meeting will take place Thursday, Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. in the district office boardroom at 1 Craig B. Gariepy Ave. in Islip Terrace. It will be preceded by an executive session at 6 p.m. The community is welcome to attend.

Redmen Honored as County Champions

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East Islip’s county champion varsity football team and head coach Sal Ciampi Jr. were honored at the district’s Dec. 11 Board of Education meeting. The Redmen defeated Half Hollow Hills West, 27-14, at Stony Brook University on Nov. 22 to win the Suffolk County Division II championship, East Islip’s first since 2007.

Superintendent Linda J. Rozzi congratulated the football players, noting that the discipline and cooperation skills that have been instilled in the football players will serve them well in their future careers. She told them, “You will be leaders wherever you go.”

Rozzi also lauded coach Ciampi, saying, “What you teach goes well beyond the football field, and we thank you for your time and dedication in helping these young men be the best that they can be.” Ciampi in turn noted the importance of the community’s support during the team’s magical run to the Long Island finals, citing the dedication of assistant coaches, parents and siblings.


RCK's Barnes & Noble Book Night

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Several RCK fifth-grade musicians performed at the school’s annual Barnes & Noble Book Night on Dec. 5. The annual fundraising event, organized by the RCK PTA, was held at the book store’s Bay Shore outlet, which was decorated with students’ holiday artwork.

Flute students under the direction of Lynda Maniscalco performed “Variations on a Shepherd’s Tune.” The performers of this ensemble included Julianna Bartick, Jordyn Camp, Chelsea Dodenhoff, Emily LaMorte, Allison Lichter, Miranda Stockton and Brianna Zinkiewicz.

Angela Stewart’s cello and bass ensemble students performed a medley of Mozart’s arrangement of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” by Mozart and Shinichi Suzuki’s “Allegro.” The string performers included Steve Carlino, Jack Kelly, Mia Mendoza, Elisa Montalbano, Gavin Moore, Gabrielle Olds and Amelia Ross. 

“It was a great experience for the students to perform for their families and the holiday shoppers at Barnes & Noble,” said Stewart.

Wrestler Dellevecchia Ranked First

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All-American varsity wrestler Jesse Dellevecchia has been ranked first in New York State at 132 pounds. The senior recently signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Binghamton University.

 

Sparks Simulation at Southside

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Students from the high school’s Medical and Health Technology Career Academy were invited to participate in Southside Hospital’s first Sparks event on Nov. 13, sponsored by North Shore-LIJ Health System, designed to simulate an accident and trauma center operation.

Organized by human resources supervisor Marje Miller, the event began with the students’ morning arrival at the Bay Shore hospital, where they were the first to view North Shore-LIJ’s new helicopter landing. They were given an opportunity to speak with the helicopter’s pilot and medical team, ask questions and board the helicopter.

After the helicopter visit, the Medical Academy students were brought to the Southside trauma center, where they were given a firsthand look at a mock trauma situation involving a severe accident and a simultaneous heart attack. Initially unaware that this event was an actual simulation and that the hospital had hired actors to play the injured persons, the students were brought to the operating room where doctors demonstrated heart surgery techniques. They also visited the hospital’s radiology lab to view the use of MRI and CAT scan machines.

In a follow-up to the Sparks presentations, the attending students will be required to create a three-minute video on the day’s events and present it at a special competition. The winning schools will be announced next April at the Long Island STEM Hub celebration at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

“This was an amazing opportunity for the Medical Career Academy students and teachers to see what it takes to save a life after a serious accident,” said Career Academy Director Israel Malinowitzer.

Faith Penny to Jump for WVU

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Champion high jumper Faith Penny has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Division I track team at West Virginia University.

WVU’s top-notch facilities in Morgantown, W.V. and Mountaineers coach Sean Cleary’s reputation factored into Penny’s decision. “The organization is all about improvement,” she said, “and it’s in the Big 12 Conference, one of the best in the country.” She has not decided on a major.

The senior, who has been running since age 4, won her first championship at age 7 and set a world record in the long jump for 9-year-olds. She also was a member of the East Islip Middle School cross-country squad.

Named an All-American 37 times, she has dominated high jump as an 11-time U.S. junior Olympic champion, seven-time county champion, U.S. high school champion and four-time All-State honoree, and is a league and division record-holder in the event. She also qualified for the national championships last year.

Penny attributes her success to early support from her father, Harry Penny, a track coach at Farmingdale High School and vice president of USA Track and Field.

EI Hosts a Hero in Mero

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The district recently played host to a champion of both sport and life, thanks to a grant from State Sen. Phil Boyle in collaboration with the East Islip Community Watch Group. Former professional wrestler Mark Mero visited East Islip on Dec. 8 to bring an encouraging message of hope and inspiration to the school community.

Mero, a former WCW and WWF champion, retired from wrestling in 2000 and now serves as an inspirational speaker. In 2007, he founded Champion of Choices, an organization devoted to speaking out against bullying and bad life choices. Also a former New York State Golden Gloves boxing tournament winner and member of the New York State champion Liverpool High School varsity football team, he is the author of “How to Be the Happiest Person on the Planet,” published by New Education Press in 2010.

For his morning presentation, part of his “Dream Big” tour, Mero spoke to students at the middle school, recounting his life story and discussing the importance of students making positive choices. He returned in the evening for another similar event that was open to the entire community. Both were held at the high school auditorium, affording ample space for the crowd-pleasing routines of his backing dancers, Mero’s Heroes.

“We are so fortunate to have the support of Senator Boyle and the East Islip Community Watch Group in financially assisting this terrific program,” said Superintendent Linda J. Rozzi. “The students truly enjoyed Marc’s message that the choices we make – and the people we associate ourselves with – can greatly affect the path of one’s life. There was not a dry eye in the house.”

Softball Santas

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Members of the high school’s varsity softball team met at Target on Dec. 8, each holding a “Dear Santa” letter and Christmas wish list. Their mission was to shop for 10 underprivileged children who reside in the Amityville School District, a project organized by Charlie Russo of the Holiday Magic organization.

The players spent several hours making sure everything on the lists was procured. Jason McGowan, the team’s coach, will deliver the presents to the children during the week before Christmas.

“It felt great shopping for the little girl I had,” said junior Emily Churpita. “It was so much fun. I got her a nice outfit and some toys and other clothes. I really hope she likes it, and I am so glad we did this.”  


Artist of the Week: Dec. 8, 2014

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John F. Kennedy Elementary: Third-graders Marlana Rebholz and Charlie Hoffernan (“Native American Weaving”)

Ruth C. Kinney Elementary: Fourth-graders Isabella Fantauzzi and Kenneth Scholl ("Pattern Tea Cups")

Timber Point Elementary: Kindergartners Jack Williamson and Kathryn Coakley ("Pattern Mittens")



Enjoyable Embers Returns

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The popular Embers Coffee House program returned to the high school on Nov. 26, with teacher James Connell’s broadcast television and video production classes presenting another talent-laden edition of the school’s annual daytime variety show. As in past years, the Embers event was produced and filmed live by the students themselves over the course of several periods, for audiences comprised of their classmates.

Corinne Koubek and Brandon Potter acted as student hosts, while others such as Rebecca Fitzmaurice and Andrew Scialla served coffee and snacks from behind the counter of the “coffee shop.” Performers included student musicians like Joe Janover, Pete McDermott and Justin Pannullo as well as teachers Michael “P-Nasty” Petre and Joseph Tursi.

“Everyone really enjoyed the event,” said Connell. “My special thanks go out to all of the performers and staff for working at the event, the teachers who brought their classes, and our student security guards Jake Piacenti and Hugens Tranquille.”

Career Connections at Hofstra

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Students from the high school’s International Business Globalization Career Academy attended the fourth annual CTE Conference, “Transforming Schools: Creating Pathways to Careers.”

At the Nov. 14 event, held at Hofstra University, the students set up their own booths to promote their virtual enterprise firm, VE Connected, collecting over $400,000 in sales.

Superintendent of Schools Linda J. Rozzi participated in a panel on multiple career pathways, while three East Islip educators – Career Academy Director Israel Malinowitzer, business teacher Paul McHugh and science teacher John Reilly – hosted a well-received workshop, “Creating Career Academies in High Schools across Long Island,” spurring other districts to request visits to East Islip to learn what it would take for them to start an academy program.

Dellavecchia Headed to Binghamton

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Top wrestler Jesse Dellevecchia signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Binghamton University. Visiting the campus, he felt that he clicked with the Binghamton Bearcats program and coaching staff. He has not yet decided on a major.

A two-time All-American and state finalist, Dellevecchia has participated in the sport of wrestling since age 5, amassing a formidable 138-25 record. Reflecting on his career, the senior remains humble in attributing his success. “It’s all from working hard,” he said, “and good coaches, my dad taking me to wrestling and my mom cooking me good meals.”

“I’m very excited about Jesse going to Binghamton, and looking forward to his senior year here,” added his coach at East Islip, Michael Longobardi.

eiMAPS Clothing Drive on Jan. 24

A clothing drive will be held by eiMAPs on Jan. 24. For the first time, eiMAPs will be awarding two scholarships this year, one to a music student and one to an art student, and the money raised in the clothing drive will help fund those scholarships. See the attached flier for further information on how to donate to the drive.

Attachments:

HS School Store Reopens

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The high school recently celebrated the grand reopening of the school store, located near the gym and manned by hardworking students.

“We are excited to announce that we have brand new spirit wear and merchandise for sale,” said store manager and special education teacher Sabina Uettwiller. Some of the new items include winter hats, blankets, water bottles, window decals, drawstring bags and a variety of new clothing styles.

The store is open during the day from periods 6 through 7 (10:55 a.m.-12:19 p.m.) and after school from 1:50-2:20 p.m. Gift certificates are also offered.



Serving Those Who Have Served

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Three dedicated students from the high school’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Career Academy – Emily Fackelman, Victoria Rossi and Corey Swanberg – volunteered to serve at Plainview Hospital’s first Veterans Day dinner. The Nov. 11 event, organized and supervised by Margaret Gurlides, the assistant director of the hospital’s food and nutrition department, provided meals for U.S. military veterans.

Earlier that day, the three students and their classmates had attended a food-related field trip at the hospital. Noting the students’ professional demeanor and interest, Gurlides contacted Culinary Academy teacher Patricia Emmons- Fritz to offer the students a chance to volunteer at the dinner. The three spent several hours at Plainview, assisting with the meal set up, serving food and making sure that all 50 veterans in attendance had a good time.

“This was a wonderful experience for our students, to be able to work alongside with the professionals from Plainview Hospital and take part in this special event to honor our veterans,” said Career Academy Director Israel Malinowitzer.

Design Students Get Materialistic

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High school students in Heather Toomey’s fashion design class studied the elongated fashion figure and how to draw in correct fashion proportion. The young artists were then challenged to find natural materials to create original, unique garment designs, utilizing the elements of art and principles of design.

“I am so impressed at how creative the students were at designing clothing based on natural materialsm,” said Toomey. “Each design is so unique and all of the students successfully completed the design challenge.”

“I enjoyed this project because I could use my creativity with an unconventional material,” added student Rhiannon Nelson.



EI Etiquette Experience

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The high school’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Career Academy recently helped present an etiquette workshop in the ECC cafeteria, accompanied by food service. The event, titled “EI Dines Fine: An East Islip Etiquette Experience,” included such topics as invitations, hosting, introductions, and formal and restaurant dining.

'Warm Your Head' Hat Fundraiser

Purchase East Islip embroidered hats and support your community through the "Warm Your Head While Warming Someone’s Heart" fundraiser. All proceeds will be used to support families in the East Islip community throughout the holidays and year.

See the attached flier for more information.

Attachments:

Turkey Time at Timber Point

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Students in Sheryl Beltrami’s second-grade class at Timber Point presented a special Thanksgiving play on Nov. 25 in front of an impressed audience of parents.

Each student helped describe the history of Thanksgiving, focusing on the hardships of the Pilgrims when they settled in America and how they were helped by the Native Americans. For a finale, music teacher Kathy Carter led the second-graders in singing the song “Albuquerque Turkey”.

“The students worked very hard rehearsing their parts, and they gave a fabulous performance, even giving an encore,” said Beltrami. “The entire audience was delighted.”

High Schoolers Prepare Feast

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In a longstanding East Islip High School tradition, more than 60 students – including members of the new Culinary Arts and Hospitality Career Academy – participated in preparing and serving a Thanksgiving feast in the school’s kitchen classroom, guided by teacher Kelly Schwender. More than 250 hot meals were served by the students for their fellow classmates, district administrators and visiting family members.

“This is always a wonderful opportunity for our students to invite their parents and grandparents and show them how they worked together to prepare for the Thanksgiving feast,” said Israel Malinowitzer, guidance director. “The students enjoy being involved in the culinary program and this event truly showcased their skills.”

Sconone Signs with UMass

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Senior Sean Sconone has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the largest public university in New England.

Explaining his choice to suit up for the Minutemen, he noted his admiration for the UMass staff and players. “I felt like I fit in,” he said. He has not yet decided on a major.

A varsity starter on the lacrosse squad since he was a freshman, Sconone has earned All-County and All-Division honors. He cited the dedication of his parents, Bob and Maureen, as a major factor in his success. “They drove me to so many camps and tournaments around the country,” he said.

Sconone also served as captain of the school’s varsity football team, helping the Redmen win the county title and reach the Long Island championship finals on Nov. 30.



Red Ribbon Week Across the District

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Helping elementary students understand the dangers of drug use, and providing high schoolers the chance to act as leaders and positive role models, the Red Ribbon Week annual drug awareness program was recognized across East Islip School District during the last week of October. The week culminated with members of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club speaking in fifth-grade classrooms at John F. Kennedy and Ruth C. Kinney elementary schools, and encouraging the younger students to participate in an anti-drug poster contest.

The four contest winners – JFK fifth-graders Jessica Peluso and Kayla Sciallo and RCK fifth-graders Miranda Paige Stockton and Griffin Wylie – were recognized at the East Islip Board of Education’s November business meeting, and awarded certificates and prizes.

“Our SADD organization at the high school is comprised of amazing students who recognize the importance of delivering valuable lessons regarding healthy lifestyles to their younger peers,” said adviser Bridget Lopiccolo. “I am very proud of them as well as the fifth-graders who participated in this year’s slogan contest.”

At RCK, following daily Red Ribbon themes that promoted saying no to drugs, including No Sweat Day, where students and staff were asked to wear sweatshirts and sweatpants, and Team Day, where they wore their favorite sports team apparel, a special Red Ribbon Week essay and art contest was held, sponsored by the school’s PTA. The winners were third-graders Terri Sonnanburg (art) and Cassidy McConnell (essay), fourth-graders Joshua DiPrima-Bien (art) and Olivia Simonetti (essay), and fifth-graders Kamilah Pasha (art) and Mary DeLorenzo (essay).

“There were so many wonderful submissions, it was really hard to choose winners,” said Principal Danielle Naccarato.

Meanwhile, over at Connetquot Elementary School, pre-K through third grade students also observed Red Ribbon Week with a variety of special PTA-sponsored activities. The theme at Connetquot this year was connected to the school’s character education monthly traits of being an upstanding citizen and choosing a healthy lifestyle. Students pledged to be “wise as an owl” and brought in paper owls to be colored and displayed in the cafeteria. On one day, students wore their shirts backwards to illustrate “turning their backs on bad choices,” while the entire student body joined in Zumba classes during recess to demonstrate healthy activities. Connetquot’s week culminated in a presentation by entertainer Janice Buckner. The show, “Safe Not Sorry,” enlightened students about important, thoughtful choices that can keep everyone safe. Buckner’s interactive show used songs, puppets, and stories to foster creativity and critical thinking, and students participated by clapping and singing along.  

“Red Ribbon Week reminded us all how much fun it can be to find healthy activities and make good choices,” said Connetquot Principal Deborah Smith.

A Winning Worker in Watts

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Lauded for his successful career experience, East Islip High School student Chris Watts was recently recognized at a Board of Education meeting.

Watts, a student in the high school’s career development class, obtained a work placement last year at the Islandia Marriott. For six months, he and several of his classmates spent several afternoons a week working at the Marriott, supported by his teacher, Margaret Gallagher, and East Islip job coaches Scott Hoelldobler and Kelly Kern. Learning what it takes to run a hotel, the students gained experience in a variety of hospitality areas, including housekeeping, laundry, culinary, engineering and banquets.

As a result of his positive experience with the program, Watts was offered a part-time position as a pool attendant at the Marriott, working mainly on summer weekends, and quickly proved himself. “Chris is one of the best hires I’ve had in my 13-year career,” said Islandia Marriott General Manager Damien Hirsch, who cited numerous complimentary quotes regarding Watts posted by Marriott customers on the Trip Advisor website. “Although he is only working twice a week, he gets more positive feedback from our guests than many of our full-time associates,” said Hirsch. “The reason is that he is extremely hard working. He never stops. He has a brilliant personality that lights up when speaking with our guests, managers and associates alike. He loves what he does and it shows day in and day out.”

“We are all so proud of Chris's accomplishments in the workplace,” said Superintendent Linda J. Rozzi. “He is a fine young man who knows how to treat people, which will take him far in life.”

Hirsch also noted how beneficial the career development program has been for both the hotel and the school.  “I can’t say enough about Kelly Kern and this fantastic program she has brought to the Islandia Marriott,” he said. “We love the relationship with East Islip, we love the students and we love that we now have an amazing associate in Chris, who consistently wows our guests, time after time.”

“Congratulations to Chris’s parents, his job coaches and Mrs. Gallagher for their commitment to help him develop the work and social skills necessary to become an outstanding employee,” said Susan Kosser, East Islip’s assistant to the superintendent for student support services.

Networking for Future Careers

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Attended by 93 East Islip High School students and 48 business professionals from across the community, the Catch-a-Career Breakfast kicked off the school’s mentoring program on Oct. 29. Developed by the East Islip/Dowling School Business Partnership and held at the Irish Coffee Pub in East Islip, it featured a keynote speech by Al Henneborn of Motorola Solutions Inc.

Serving each fall as the initial event in the school’s annual Mentor Me career exploration program, the Catch-a-Career Breakfast yields numerous interning and mentoring opportunities for the participating students, which assists them in better defining their career paths of interest.

“Catch-a-Career is a terrific networking event for our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Linda J. Rozzi, who took part in the interchange of knowledge. “We are very proud of the partnership we have developed with the greater community’s businesses and professional mentors. Together, they help one another.”

Represented career fields this year included accounting, marketing, advertising, finance, human resources, medical and health care, dental, environmental science, law enforcement, information technology, education, mental health services, hospitality, journalism, politics and television.

“This year's Catch-a-Career Breakfast was the most diverse we have had in regard to career choice,” said business education teacher and event coordinator Paul McHugh. “Not only did the students request a greater variety of fields and professions, but many also identified a specialization within a particular field, something that indicates greater career awareness. We are extremely pleased that our students continue to engage in these beneficial college and career readiness experiences.”

Parent Portal Gradebook Launched

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The new Infinite Campus Parent Portal Gradebook feature, for grades 6 through 12, launched on Nov. 17. Please see the below attachments for further information.

Attachments:

Sunday, December 21, 2014