MS Builders Club Thanked by Marines


In recognition of the club’s continued efforts on behalf of those serving overseas, the East Islip Middle School Builders Club received thanks from three U.S. Marine Corps members. Gunnery Sgt. Stanley DeGoicoechea, a native Long Islander and NYPD member stationed in Afghanistan, sent the students a letter as well as a framed flag that was flown for them on Veterans Day in Afghanistan as well as in California and closer to home in Syosset.

The patriotic middle schoolers were also recently honored by Marine Corps veterans Nick Meath and Tom Page, who thanked the club members for their support by treating them to pizza and ice cream following one of the club’s weekly meetings, and by Leo Mease and Cramine Ranieri of the Marine Corps Detachment League of Suffolk County, who met with the Club at the East Islip Post Office and treated them to a visit to Friendly’s restaurant.

Weather-Related Update - Jan. 26

Dear East Islip Families:

All after-school and evening activities for today, Monday, Jan. 26, are canceled. 

All schools will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27, due to weather.

Please always visit the school district website at and follow us on Twitter for important updates throughout the day. The attached letter further details procedures to follow for when there are school closures, as well as delayed openings and early dismissals.

Very truly yours,
Mrs. Linda J. Rozzi
Superintendent of Schools


Modified Regents/Midterm Schedule for HS

Attached is the updated Regents/midterm schedule for East Islip High School students, pending schools are open on Wednesday, Jan. 28. If schools remain closed through Wednesday, we will post a second updated Regents/midterm schedule for Thursday, Jan. 29 and Friday, Jan. 30. Please stay tuned for further information as we monitor the storm. Thank you.


Seal of Approval for Connetquot Students


Families and students from David Kennedy’s kindergarten class at Connetquot Elementary attended the Riverhead Foundation’s first seal release of the new year on Jan. 24, near the Ponquogue Bridge on Dune Road in Hampton Bays. The foundation rescues and rehabilitates sick and injured marine mammals found in Long Island waters with the hope of reintroducing them to the wild.

Kennedy's students participated in the Riverhead Foundation’s seal adoption program as a class learning project. They adopted a yearling harbor seal named Ivy that was found near Montauk Point, suffering from a serious respiratory infection. The students read books and stories about seals and other marine mammals, and created a bulletin board featuring their own writings and illustrations about what they learned.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the students waved goodbye to Ivy and wished her good luck as they watched her swim out into the chilly waters of Shinnecock Bay.

Story Pirates Share Treasure of Self-Expression


Story Pirates brought their musical sketch-comedy act to Timber Point on Jan. 16, with a humorous interactive assembly incorporating stories written by children. The troupe even performed an improvised segment based on ideas from students in the Timber Point audience.

Founded in 2003 to celebrate the words and ideas of young people, Story Pirates uses these child-created story performances to strengthen the link between literacy and confident self-expression.

“The kids were so inspired to write after seeing stories written by other children performed on stage,” said PTA member Marianne Borruso-Gilmore, who coordinated the event. “The show was a great way to celebrate kids’ ideas.”

Seven at HS Chosen for All-State


Seven high school student-musicians were selected for All-State honors this year by the New York State School Music Association. Senior flutist Valli Mani and junior clarinetist Harrison Gieraltowski were both selected for the All-State Symphonic Band, with senior trombonist Doug Keller chosen as an alternate. Seniors Joseph Janover (tenor II), Samantha Sampollo (alto I), Sam Sharkey (tenor II) and Alyssa Stephens (soprano II) were all selected to sing with the All-State Mixed Chorus.

While participating in December at the NYSSMA Winter Conference’s All-State concerts, held at the Eastman Theater in Rochester, Gieraltowski and Mani both performed in the All-State Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Stephen Peterson. The ensemble rehearsed up to eight hours a day for three days, performing extremely challenging works such as Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” Eric Whitacre’s “October” and Howard Hanson’s “Laude.” Mani, the co-valedictorian for East Islip’s Class of 2015, was seated as second chair flute, ranking her as one of the top flutists in New York State.

“Valli, Harrison and Doug are all extremely talented students, but what sets them apart from the rest and led them to be All-State musicians is their hard work, discipline and dedication,” said band director Christopher Neske. “Not only are they incredible musicians, but the three are such great students and genuinely nice people. I am so proud and humbled to be their teacher.”

The four chorus students, who likewise participated at the Winter Conference, all boast impressive resumes. Janover serves as president of East Islip’s honors choir, with Stephens as vice-president; both are enrolled in AP music theory and the new Acting for Musical Theatre class. Sampollo, the alto section leader in the honors choir, also serves as president of the school’s women’s choir and is enrolled in Acting for Musical Theatre. Sharkey serves as tenor section leader of the honors choir, and plays trumpet in East Islip’s honors wind ensemble and honors symphony orchestra. Janover (playing “Doc” and serving as assistant musical director), Sampollo (as “Consuela” and “Somewhere Ballet” vocal soloist) and Stephens (as “Anita”) will all be featured in the high school’s musical production of “West Side Story,” set for March 26, 27 and 28.

“All four students have not only displayed excellence in their musicianship and leadership skills but a genuine love and appreciation for music,” said Bethany Affelt, the high school’s choral and theater director. “To have four students chosen from one high school to sing with the All-State choir is truly a remarkable feat and I am so incredibly proud of them.”

The First East Islip Big Egg Hunt

Click on the attached document for information on the first East Islip Big Egg Hunt by the East Islip Art Department.


HS Artists Shine at College Competition


Art students from the high school participated this winter in Suffolk County Community College’s seventh annual High School Art Competition, with senior Krista Cook winning first place for her chalk pencil work “Skewed Self-Portrait.”

Two other East Islip students – senior Polina Arteev (for “Innocence and Loss”, a work in micro pens and paper) and junior Faith Kern (“Rose”, done with color pencil) – both earned Honorable Mention.

Additional East Islip students from the studio in art, electronic illustration and AP drawing classes also submitted works to the juried art show, including senior Tom DiOrio, sophomores Kamryn Pasha and Kevin Sejdiu, and freshmen Amaya Scott, Samantha Sihpol and Zoe K. Stengel.

These nine student-artists attended a reception for the competition held at the college’s Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood on Dec. 11, with attendees included art teachers, family and friends.

Middle Schoolers Research Substance Abuse


Supporting the East Islip school community’s increased focus on drug awareness, seventh- and eighth-graders at the middle school conducted research on substance abuse, working both solo and in small groups, and presented their findings to their peers and health teacher Chris Padgur.

“We used a selection sheet of commonly abused substances to determine which group would be responsible to be the class experts on a certain topic,” explained Padgur.

After reviewing drug-specific terminology, the reasons why young adults choose to experiment with drugs and how drugs enter the bloodstream, the students spent time at the school’s library media center. Under the direction of librarian Valerie Ware, they researched their topics, exploring physical and psychological effects, common street names, how drugs enters the body, history, statistics, state and federal laws, and means of getting help for persons who are addicted.

Each group or individual student then presented their findings to their classmates, using a wide range of media including posters, movies, PowerPoint presentations, puppet shows, game show skits, song parodies and computer animations.

“As each group presented, the audience filled in a drug chart to use as a resource so they have information about all of the most dangerous chemicals that young adults experiment, which have deadly consequences,” said Padgur.

RCK's Kindness and Justice Challenge


Students at Ruth C. Kinney Elementary School kicked off two weeks of the annual Kindness and Justice Challenge with a special assembly presented by the student council on Jan. 16. The schoolwide event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day serves to promote acts of kindness and justice within the school and the wider community, with the assembly providing examples in the form of student-acted skits showing different acts of kindness.

During the challenge, each child at RCK sets a goal of how many acts of kindness and justice they think they will be able to complete between Jan. 16 and Jan. 30. Then every day they will log the acts of kindness they have performed by writing the date and description.

“The Kindness and Justice Challenge is designed to review the life and work of Dr. King and the civil rights movement,” said teacher Heather Johnson. “We want to encourage our school to perform good deeds for others.”

Community Sex Offender Notification Update

According to a letter from Suffolk County Police Department Det. Margaret Kirk, a new format requires community members to access information on Level 2 and Level 3 sex offender directly from the Department of Criminal Justice website. Information on Level 1 offenders is updated and viewable on the district website here.

Artist of the Week: Jan. 19, 2015


John F. Kennedy Elementary: Third-graders Leah Garvey and Kelsey Kreuscher (“Torn
Paper Snow Scenes”)

Ruth C. Kinney Elementary: Fourth-graders Ruelin Man-Martinez and Anthony Rigogliosi (“Pattern Teacups”)

Timber Point Elementary: Second-graders Dilana Schwartz, Danielle Birner and Emily Farrell  ("King Tut's Sarcophagus Part 2”)

Dellevecchia Wins Fifth Rocky Gilmore


East Islip’s stalwart wrestling team had 13 place winners at the 28th annual Rocky Gilmore Classic wrestling tournament on Jan. 10, with Jesse Dellavecchia earning his unprecedented fifth championship – the first in the tournament’s history.

Dellevecchia, who has scored the most all-time pins of any East Islip wrestler, was honored with the Most Outstanding Wrestler award. He is the No. 1 one ranked wrestler in New York State at 132 pounds and remains unbeaten at 21-0.

The dozen other Redmen 2015 winners included first-place finisher Alex Deveglio (138 pounds); third-place finishers Mike Barra (160),  Griffin Brown (120) and Nick Motta (182); fourth-place finishers Kai Brothers (285), Joe Marninch (170) and Dan Orlando (126); fifth-place finishers 195 Shane Garcia (195) and Nick Picece (106); and sixth-place finishers 152- Tim Kenyon (152), Matt Moskowitz (126) and Joe Picece (138).

Purple & Black Dinner on Feb. 7

For more information on the second annual Purple & Black Dinner on Feb. 7, please see attachment.


MS Girls Volleyball Team Finishes Undefeated


With a victory in the final game on Jan. 13, the East Islip Middle School girls volleyball team finished its 2014-2015 season undefeated. For 10 straight games the girls defeated schools from districts such as Bayport-Blue Point, Connetquot and Eastport-South Manor.

“I am so proud of both the individual and team progress from our first practice to the last match,” said coach Laura Hegna. “The girls worked hard to achieve their level of success.”

“Our team was full-spirited and enthusiastic,” said Allison Franzese, one of 10 eighth-grade players and middle hitter for the team. “It was fun and a great experience,” added her teammate Ryan Conway, an eighth-grade setter.

Nikki LaFrancesca, one of the eight seventh-graders on the team, said, “Just because you can’t do it now, doesn’t mean you can do it later”. As a back row player, she initially struggled with hitting at the net. “My teammates encouraged me, and by the end of the season I was hitting,” she said.

“We started out like strangers, and by the end of the season, we were like a family,” said Nia Kalodimos, an eighth-grade middle hitter.

“Each of the girls brought to the team their talent, commitment and motivation,” said Hegna. “Add their great personalities and personal character to the dynamics, and you have an unbeatable team. They truly deserved it.”

MS Sports Night on Jan. 29

The East Islip Middle School PTA will present the annual Sports Night on Thursday, Jan. 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission is free and includes one raffle ticket. Attendees can receive a second raffle ticket by bringing an item (see attached wish list) to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.

Please view the attached flier for further info and student permission slip.


SEPTO Snowflake Event and Workshop

East Islip's SEPTO will hold a workshop for parents of children with special needs on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Please see the attached flier for more information.

SEPTO's fifth annual Snowflake fundraiser is set for Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Ancient Order of Hibernians Hall. A ticket form is attached below. The organization is requesting basket donations (see attached letter), as well as student snowflake artwork for the event (see the attached fliers, one for grades K-2 and the other for grades 3-5).


Artist of the Week: Jan. 12, 2015


John F. Kennedy Elementary: Fifth-graders Jennifer Brzostek and Haley Mierzejewski (“Stained Glass”)

Ruth C. Kinney Elementary: Fifth-graders Gabriela DeCristofalo and Miranda Stockton (“Sun Stones”)

Timber Point Elementary: Second-graders Casey With, McKayla Mahon and Hunter Long ("King Tut's Sarcophagus")

Second Spelling Bee Win for Keenan


Eighth-grader Victoria Keenan triumphed in the middle school’s annual schoolwide spelling bee for the second year in a row, beating fellow eight-grade student Julia Desiderio with the word “nebula” after numerous nail-biting final rounds. Emma McGaugh finished in third place.

The 26-round event, which included 42 participants, was the qualifying round for the local edition of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, with students competing to represent East Islip at the local edition of the national bee, to be held on Feb. 8 at Hofstra University.

“The spelling bee was action-packed this year,” said English teacher Ann Mingione. “Our classroom winners successfully spelled a multitude of challenging words and we congratulate all of the participants.”

Inter Academic Council Makes Plans


A new feature introduced this year for the high school’s Career Academy program was the creation of an Inter Academic Council which includes four students from each of the Career Academies. Together, the student representatives plan how each academy can help the others.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for all four academy programs to share ideas, fundraising events and community events,” said Career Academy Director Israel Malinowitzer.

MS Builders Club Supports Honor Flight Vets


The East Islip Middle School Builders Club, guided by teacher Rena Costello, participated in a special Dec. 6 event honoring World War II veterans who took part in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. last September. These patriotic students helped distribute photo scrapbooks that were created and customized for each veteran from the September flight.

Phil Bates, a member of the Honor Flight Long Island Board of Directors, organized the Honor Flight reunion event, whose audience was comprised of the aforementioned veterans, their families and the guardians who had escorted them on the Honor Flight, as well as prior Honor Flight attendees. East Islip’s superintendent, Linda J. Rozzi, was also in attendance

Bates’ wife, Tina, brought along her Girl Scouts Cadette Troop 2137, who hosted the welcome table, while two other members of the Builders Club, Jacob Arens and Lucas Bates, manned the refreshment table.

Powell Named HOBY Award Winner


Sarah Powell, a sophomore at East Islip High School, has been selected as the school’s winner of this year’s Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership award, sponsored by the Lions Club of the Islips.  As part of her recognition, Powell will represent East Islip while attending the HOBY New York Metro Leadership Seminar, a three-day conference held at Adelphi University in Garden City from June 19-21.

Founded in 1958 by civic-minded actor Hugh O’Brian, HOBY’s mission is to inspire a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. Programs like the Adelphi seminar provide selected students with unique leadership training and motivation-building experiences.

HOBY’s Leadership award competition is open only to students in 10th grade, and rewards students who exhibit outstanding leadership skills and participation in community service.

Powell’s essay discussed the rewards and challenges of being a leader in the school community, focusing on her experience as a student-teacher, guiding young children at an event at Lori’s School of Dance in East Islip.

“It’s really cool that I could write about something that means so much to me,” said Powell.

“Sarah Powell is a kind and sincere young lady who exudes positive energy,” said her guidance counselor, Nicole Vincenti. “She always has a smile on her face, and a warm and approachable demeanor. She is the type of student who strives for success in her classes and is always looking for new and exciting opportunities to gain more experience and knowledge. Her community service involvement outside of the classroom is an example of her willingness to help others.”

Timber Point Art Exhibit for January


The art of Timber Point Elementary School curated by art teacher Christina Spera-Bartlett, has taken over the second-floor hallway of the district office for a comprehensive art exhibit, viewable to the community during the entire month of January.

The Timber Point gallery features projects from students in grades K-2, incorporating art, principles of design, the use of various materials, interdisciplinary lessons and New York State Common Core Learning Standards integration, including English language arts and math skills.

Kindergarten project “Pattern Mittens” displays use of artistic elements and principles of pattern, line and color, with fine motor skills used to “sew" yarn around mittens, while the “Rug Weaving" project taught students about Navajo Indians and the process used in making a weaved rug using natural colors and materials.

“Color Wheel Pizza,” a first-grade project, enabled students to create primary, secondary and tertiary colors through the use of just three colors (red, yellow and blue). They first used math skills to draw 12 equal slices. After color mixing, toppings were added in similar colors on all “pizza slices.” “Symmetry Spider Web” project taught students about symmetry in making the web and 3D sculpture by assembling a 3D spider using various materials.

The second-grade projects include “Edvard Munch's The Scream,” an artist study of the expressionist painter. Students created self-portraits of themselves screaming while using watercolor paint and straws to create “scared,” expressive hair. In “Optical Art,” the second-graders created optical illusions after learning about op-artist Bridget Riley. Students drew a bubble letter or shape, measured boxes across the paper and then colored in every other box to create the illusion.  

BOE Business Meeting on Feb. 12

The East Islip Board of Education's next monthly business meeting will take place Thursday, Feb. 12 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.

Community Health Alert: Case of Pertussis

The East Islip School District received a request from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (DOH) to alert the school community to a confirmed case of pertussis (whooping cough) at East Islip High School.

Please read the pertinent letter (attached below) from Dr. Shaheda Iftikhar, the director of public health,, and contact your health care provider should you observe any of the symptoms described.

For further information on this illness, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's pertussis page.


Dondero Wins Fine Arts Scholarship


Michael Dondero, an East Islip sophomore studying drawing under teacher Daniel Figliozzi, attended a scholarship competition in December at Huntington Fine Arts, and proudly walked away with a $250 scholarship to attend advanced art classes at the Greenlawn art school.

HFA’s scholarship competition provides freshmen, sophomore and junior students on Long Island with the opportunity to draw the live figure. “This life drawing technique and process is challenging, but essential for further collegiate study in fine arts,” said Figliozzi.

An excited Dondero returned to school eager to share his experience with the drawing class.  “I honestly really loved it,” he said. “The institute itself was amazing in person and the contest turned out to be a lot less nerve-racking then I initially thought it would be. I learned a lot about how I draw, how others draw, and how unique and diverse everyone can be when creating art.”

Dondero initially was hesitant to participate, but was encouraged by Figliozzi to not think of it as a competition. “My advice to Michael was to go in and just do what he does best,” said Figliozzi. “Don’t compare yourself to others – just draw.” Classmate and fellow HFA student Nicholas Dahill also offered his support, advising Dondero to enter with confidence and have fun.

Art has been a part of Dondero’s life since early childhood. “I like art because I grew up on it,” he said. “It’s like second nature to me. Art allows you to be free and create anything you want with no limits.”

Dondero plans on continuing to broaden his practice by taking courses such as AP art, electronic illustration and Drawing 2 in the coming years at East Islip. He plans to use the scholarship money to take drawing and painting classes at Huntington Fine Arts. “I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

Winter Concerts Showcase Progress


Lovely music filled the high school’s Rydzeski Hall over the course of six exemplary winter concerts by 21 different ensembles of student-musicians from Ruth C. Kinney Elementary (Dec. 2), John F. Kennedy Elementary (Dec. 3), East Islip Middle School (Dec. 9 and 10) and East Islip High School (Dec. 15 and 16).

All levels of achievement were showcased, from the promising first sonic steps of the youngest elementary performers to the remarkable proficiency and fluid musicianship of the high schoolers.

Each of the events blended impressive classical pieces with festive Christmas carols and Hanukkah/Kwanzaa-themed traditional material, pleasing audience members’ ears while warming their hearts. At the secondary concerts, music from the popular film “Frozen” was a common theme, tackled by both choirs and orchestras.

“I am very proud of the musical growth of our students during the first part of the school year,” said Judith Fischer, an orchestra director at East Islip Middle School. “The eighth-grade orchestra played a challenging and demanding series of pieces with varying styles and genres, while the seventh-grade orchestra made tremendous progress in technical ability as well as musicianship.”

“These young musicians worked hard to prepare for the concert and their performances were beautiful,” said band director Lynda Maniscalco of RCK’s event.



Creativity Contest at JFK

Students at JFK recently participated in a special Box Tops for Education national sweepstakes, organized by PTA representative Anne-Marie Orgera. The contest required the school to come up with a creative answer to the question of what it would do with 800 reams of paper, and submit a photo. A total of 21 students – one from each class in grades 3-5 – were chosen by teachers to represent their classes in the photo.

“The picture reflects the many creative and regular things the students use copy paper for everyday,” said Orgera. “The answer was: Our school would use 800 reams of paper to copy school work, do our homework, march to the beat of the music we created, paint a picture, write a note to a friend, read a story, keep track of how many push-ups we do in gym, record data on our science projects, have fun, play a game, make paper airplanes, and figure out the dimensions and shape of our classroom Box Top collection containers.”

From Polar Express to Pantry at Connetquot


For second-graders at Connetquot, charity was the price of admission at the school’s “Polar Express” party on Dec. 22. In lieu of “tickets” to the screening of the classic animated holiday film, students donated canned and nonperishable goods, which were later delivered to the Greater Sayville Food Pantry.

Artist of the Week: Jan. 5, 2015


John F. Kennedy Elementary: Fourth-graders Daniel Glynn and AJ LoMacchia (“Home for the Holidays”)

Ruth C. Kinney Elementary: Fourth-graders John Benedetto and Emma Rivera
("Pattern Tea Cups")

Timber Point Elementary: First-grader Liam Eichler ("Color Wheel Pizza")

Elementary Holiday Music Tour


Band and orchestra students from JFK and RCK performed a holiday tour at Timber Point and Connetquot on Dec. 18; many were visiting their old school for the first time since the district realigned the four elementary schools at the start of the new school year.

“The students were very excited to see their former teachers and friends,” said teacher Jaime DeMaria, “and the younger students were a fantastic audience.”

Creating Holiday Bottles at MS


Students in the middle school’s home and careers classroom had the opportunity to recycle and spread holiday cheer at the same time during a recent activity. The class researched ways to make low-cost holiday projects, and decided on creating glittered bottles. The middle schoolers were asked to bring in recycled bottles such as  sparkling cider or vinegar bottles, which were spray painted and adorned with glitter.

“The students really got to express the creativity,” said teacher Rena Costello. “No two bottles went home looking the same.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015