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There will be a minor asbestos abatement at Dickinson Avenue Elementary School on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.

Paralympic Athlete Mikey Brannigan Honored as Hometown Hero

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Mikey Brannigan, a Northport graduate and Paralympic gold medalist, was honored at Northport High School on Aug. 9 for his Paralympic records and medals, but above all, his good character. Brannigan, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3, is the only Paralympic athlete in history to hold records in the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m simultaneously.

Superintendent of Schools Robert Banzer and Northport High School Principal Dan Danbusky were joined by other district administrators, staff members, local dignitaries and students to celebrate Brannigan as a hometown hero and inspiration.

Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci, Sen. John Flanagan, Assemblyman Andrew Raia and Sen. Carl Marcellino each shared remarks about Brannigan’s accomplishments and presented him with citations and proclamations. Awards were also provided on behalf of Legislator Dr. William Spencer and Legislator Robert Trotta.

Brannigan’s coach, Sonja Robinson, was in attendance as well. “Mikey is anchored in the character traits that make him a champion, and he learned that here in Northport,” she said. “He loves competing and he loves the sport, but above all he is the personification of a good sportsman.” She noted that after every race, no matter how he does, he shakes his competitors hand.

“He has touched so many lives in so many ways that it’s really inexplicable, but it’s also very inspiring,” said Mr. Banzer. “Yes, we have the medals and the honors, and he works tremendously hard along with his coaches and parents to push himself to be the best, but it’s really his character that just exudes for all of us here in Northport.”

Congratulations, Mikey!

BOE Public Notice - August 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm


Music Students Showcase Talents

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Family members in the district beamed with pride on August 2 and August 4, while watching their children perform the skills they learned over the course of several weeks in the Northport Music and the Arts Summer Program.

Held at Northport High School during the evening of August 2, several groups showcased their musical abilities including the elementary orchestra, elementary band and intermediate orchestra. In addition, those involved in the dance group performed an exciting flash mob during the day, in the halls of East Northport Middle School.

Families were invited for demonstrations on August 4, the final day of the program. Here, the students took to their classrooms and under the guidance of their music teachers, showed off what they had learned.

Clay Creations

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Students recently got their hands dirty during the district’s Community Services Summer Recreation “Art – Clay” program. The 13 students from grades 3-8, joined the class to explore their creative abilities under the guidance of instructors Thuy Pham and Christine LaRosa.

The weeklong program allowed the class to learn the different techniques of working with clay. Through guided instruction, the students created various types of vessels such as bowls, plates, vases and boxes. In addition, they worked on a project focused on their favorite foods in which they sculpted a plate out of clay and molded different types of food to place on top of it. The students then had the option to paint their pieces with acrylic paint.

Reading Program Prepares Students for New Year

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Pulaski Road Elementary School was bustling with students this summer from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade in the district’s Summer Reading Program. The 20-day program allowed students to better prepare for the new school year by taking part in fun, educational games and activities that promote literacy.

Students met for two hours a day from Monday through Thursday and were placed with a teacher who gave them what they needed to strengthen their reading skills. The days consisted of small group instruction, which allowed for personalized attention and hands-on and multisensory activities. The students utilized centers which they rotated through, to explore different avenues of learning and participated in creative educational games such as fishing for words and bowling.

In addition, the program encompassed technology into the learning environment by providing reading exercises on the SMART Board and personal computers for students to learn through the educational platform, Compass Learning Odyssey.

District Coordinator of Reading & AIS Tara Gaiss and Program Principal Scott Pellegrino have run the program for the past five years and watched it evolve into a beneficial outlet for students to challenge themselves to succeed.

“The Summer Reading Program engages students in small group, multisensory reading activities with the goal of not only reducing summer loss but closing the gap in the specific areas of challenge for each student,” said Gaiss. “As part of our pre-summer goal setting process, we take great effort to pinpoint the specific areas of challenge and then work for 20 days to target these skills in creative and exciting lessons.”

Ready, Set, Design

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As part of the district’s Community Services Summer Recreation Program, students in grades 5-7 put their creativity to the test in the Video Game Design course held at East Northport Middle School this summer.

Led by Northport Middle School technology teacher Christopher Smith, the introductory course allowed students to design, develop and program simple 2-D games and personalize them to their liking. Students picked which time frame worked best with their summer schedule with four weeks of the course being offered. Each course took place for four days from Monday through Thursday for two hours.

Students gathered in one of the school’s computer rooms where they were taught the basics of computer programming to create their own characters, enemies, power-ups and levels to place into their games. They worked at their own pace and added sounds and background music to their creations.

At the end of each of the courses, the students took home their games to share with family and friends.

District’s Art and Music Program Heats Up During Summer

District’s Art and Music Program Heats Up During Summer Photo

The district’s Summer Music and the Arts Program kicked off on July 11 for its four-week program of learning and exploration. With its highest enrollment to date, this year’s program has marked new opportunities for students in grades 3-11, whether they are just starting a new instrument, exploring their creative abilities or strengthening their music skills at the intermediate level.

The Summer Music and the Arts Program was first established in 1957, specifically for music students. Throughout the years, the program expanded its offerings to allow students to sign up for a variety of different sessions in the art department as well. This includes a Pre-Advanced Placement Drawing and Painting class and a Pre-International Baccalaureate Art class for Northport High School students. 

Under the direction of Program Director Michael Susinno and Director of Fine and Performing Arts Dr. Izzet Mergen, the program expanded to accommodate more students this summer by providing a new half-day schedule where students could take part in different sessions and then be shuttled to the district’s summer recreation program. The program saw a 53 percent increase in enrollment this summer with the implementation of the new half-day schedule. 

With most students in grades 3-7 participating, the program offers 12 beginner classes which are available to help introduce instruments to students and 12 intermediate classes which gives students the ability to receive more instruction and personalized attention. In addition, there are six art classes and one dance class offered as well. 

A number of current faculty members from the district serve as instructors, as well as Northport High School graduates, retired staff members and other New York State Certified teachers from outside the district. An additional ukulele and guitar teacher was also added to the program this summer due to popular demand.

Technology has been utilized by many of the instructors as part of the learning experience. Many of the classes encompass SmartMusic, an educational platform that allows the sheet music to be displayed on the SmartBoard with their instruments connected. The students receive instant feedback as they play with green or red markings displayed when a note is played correctly or incorrectly. 

Susinno, a Northport-East Northport graduate, has taken the program to heart due to his involvement since 1988.  

“Past participation as a student, as a high school volunteer, as a teaching assistant, as a teacher and now as the liaison helps me to see the program through the students' eyes as well as through all of the staff roles as well,” said Susinno. “When Bob Krueger began the program in 1957, he set a wonderful wave in motion. I can only hope that he'd be proud of the program as it is today and that he's smiling from his current concert podium!”

Summer Program Welcomes Incoming Kindergartners

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For its second year in a row, the district welcomed incoming kindergarten students into the Summer Reading Program at Pulaski Road Elementary School. 

The 20-day program, which is typically geared at students in kindergarten through eighth grade, was created to help students in the district strengthen their reading and writing abilities. For the class of 12 pre-kindergarten students, the program focuses on preparing them for the kindergarten level in September. 

The small group, led by teacher Jamie Landry, has been engaged in various multisensory activities this summer such as rice tables, which helps the students better understand letters. In addition, they have participated in activities that focus on school readiness skills, language concepts and pre-reading strategies.

NHS Students Recognized by the Northport Running Club

NHS Students Recognized by the Northport Running Club Photo

Several Northport High School students recently received generous scholarships and donations from the Northport Running Club, who strive to give back to the community.

Bill Fleming, the organization’s race director for the Doug Wood 5K, presented seniors Evan Atherton and Abby Caulfield with the Doug Wood Scholarship. The club awards two of these academic scholarships annually to members of the Northport High School cross-country/track and field programs.

In addition, the Northport High School 4 X 800-meter relay team, consisting of students Elijah Claiborne, Isiah Claiborne, Tyler Dolhausen and Dan O'Connor, were gifted with a $1,000 check to cover their travel expenses to attend the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Here, the team set a Suffolk County record in the race with a time of 7:37. 

"The Northport Running Club has over 500 members and we realize the importance of giving back to help our community,” said Northport Running Club President John DeSpagna. “We take great pride in being able to give back to high school students who are the future of our community and giving them the opportunity to succeed.” 


District Gathers for Reorganization Meeting

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During the district’s annual reorganization meeting on July 6, the board prepared for the 2017-18 school year by swearing in trustee Donna McNaughton for another term. She will serve for three years.

In addition, Board President Andrew Rapiejko and Vice President David Stein were reelected to hold their positions and were sworn in by the board council. Superintendent of Schools Robert Banzer and district clerk Beth Nystrom took the oath of office as well, pledging their duties to the district.

Norwood Avenue’s Young Poets Get Published

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Norwood Avenue Elementary School’s poetry club recently received the support of community members at their first ever published book launch. The book titled, “Apprentice Poets: Norwood Avenue School, Northport Edition,” is comprised of 35 poems from 15 members of the club and was published by Local Gems Press.

Under the guidance of school librarian Linda Trott Dickman and publisher James P. Wagner, the third, fourth and fifth grade students worked during the course of three 8-week sessions and wrote a number of poems which were shared with Dickman and Wagner during his weekly visits. Through his advice and humor, Wagner served as a visiting advisor and helped teach the students about the parts of a book and what it takes to get their poetry published. The artwork for the book cover was even selected to reflect the students and showcased third-grader and club member Paolo Greco’s creation.

“Part of the idea of the Apprentice Poets program was to really introduce the kids to the idea that yes, people are doing this now and you can be one of those people if you buckle down and work with the prompts and exercises,” said Wagner.

More than 70 community members attended the book launch, including Suffolk County Poet Laureate Robert Savino and board member Donna McNaughton. A letter was also read from incoming Suffolk County Poet Laureate Gladys Henderson. Books were sold for 15 dollars at the event with proceeds going towards the district’s Bards Poetry Scholarship.

“It’s wonderful to be recognized by an established publisher and have a person take the children’s poetry as seriously as they do and as seriously as we take our own,” said Dickman. “Our hope is to expand this practice throughout Northport to Suffolk County and beyond.”

Hats off to the Class of 2017!

Hats off to the Class of 2017! Photo

The rain did not dampen the special day, as the Northport High School seniors walked across the graduation stage and into the next phase of their lives on June 24. Held in two separate ceremonies in the high school’s auditorium, proud family members, friends, faculty, board members and administrators joined in the commencement celebrations.

The packed auditorium stood as the graduates entered to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Class president Connor Widmaier led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem performed by the Northport High School Choirs under the direction of teachers Nicholas Hart and Ellen McCarthy. Principal Daniel Danbusky welcomed Superintendent of Schools Robert Banzer, the board of education, family members and faculty to the ceremony and thanked them for their support. The Northport High School Choirs then impressed the crowd with their rendition of “Fields of Gold” by Sting.

Special guest New York State Senator Chuck Schumer addressed the Class of 2017 and offered his own advice to the graduates. He encouraged them to “go for it,” as they move into the unknown and stressed that they have the assets to do great things in life.

Salutatorian Sarah Aboldalo approached the podium to thank the faculty members, administrators and board members for helping shape her and her fellow peers into the individuals they are today, comparing their experiences in high school to puzzle pieces in their lives.

In addition, Mr. Danbusky also addressed the Class of 2017, adding humor and guidance into his speech.

“Every door is open to you now,” he said. “Your memories of your time here will echo in your minds and your heart for the rest of your lives. The impact that you have made as a class has furthered our reputation as a prominent educational institution, promoting excellence in all areas.”

Following his address, board of education members presented the diplomas to the Class of 2017. Graduates were congratulated by Mr. Banzer and Mr. Danbusky as they made their way off the stage.

Valedictorian Cybele Laisney concluded the ceremony, reflecting on a recent family hiking trip that she took and explaining what she learned on her journey to inspire her fellow classmates.

“The decisions that we make don’t need to be monumental,” she said. “They could be as simple as going left on a trail that was meant to go right. From this small decision, this small chance, you may find that your life will become more worthwhile and perhaps you will find new meaning.”

The graduates conducted the tassel change to symbolize their completion of high school and with their loved ones looking on, proudly exited the auditorium to the Graduation Honor Band’s rendition of the “Grand March.”

Congratulations to all the graduates!

East Northport Middle School Student Reaches Premier Science & Engineering Competitions Again!

East Northport Middle School Student Reaches Premier Science & Engineering Competitions Again! Photo
Recent East Northport Middle School graduate Maxwell DeBrino proudly represented the district and received honorable mention at the New York State Science Congress on June 3. The young scientist also recently earned his second Broadcom MASTERS invitation based on his first place win in the junior division of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair.

DeBrino’s project titled, “Feeding Frenzy: The Effect of Position, Shape and Ultraviolet Color on the Feeding Behavior of Backyard Birds,” focused on the impact of color, shape and position on a bird feeder in relation to the feeding behavior of birds commonly found in the Northeast. He conducted his research from August to October 2016 and competed in the Long Island Science Congress where he received high honors for his project and second place in the biology category. As a result, DeBrino was presented with a nomination to participate in the NYS Science Congress.

In addition, he attended the regional LISEF Broadcom MASTERS competition in March 2016 where he placed among the top 10% of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who were nominated across the country to participate. Based on his high score, both he and his sister Isabella DeBrino, were selected as National Broadcom MASTERS semifinalists in September 2016.

DeBrino received his second invitation to the National Broadcom MASTERS after earning first place in the junior division of the 2017 Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. He submitted his application to participate in the national competition once again and will find out in September if he is chosen as a semifinalist.

Upon hearing the news that he was invited back, DeBrino was excited.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “It will help me progress in my science experiments so I can learn new things to try.”

In the future, DeBrino hopes to become an ornithologist, where he can further his study on birds. He plans to one day create a program where he can incorporate the ultraviolet coloring of a natural habitat into a rehabilitation program to help birds’ brains so that when they are released back into the wild, they have a better chance of survival. As for high school next year, DeBrino is looking forward to the change in classes and expanding his interest in biology.

High School Bound

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Eighth-graders throughout the district celebrated their transition to the high school with family, friends, faculty members and administrators on June 20 and 21 at Northport High School. East Northport Middle School held their ceremony on the evening of June 20, while Northport Middle School had their celebration on June 21.

During both ceremonies, the graduates entered the packed auditorium to “Pomp and Circumstance,” as proud family members looked on. After being seated, one student led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance. East Northport Middle School eighth-grader Alison Crosley performed the National Anthem, while Northport Middle School had their choraliers perform the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Over the Rainbow.”

The performances followed by East Northport Middle School principal Pasquale DeStefano and Northport Middle School assistant principal Dr. Chelsea Brown commending the eighth-graders on their years as middle schoolers. Several graduates of East Northport Middle School received special awards during the ceremony for their community service, outstanding grades and determination.

Northport Middle School students Sean Ryan, Alyssa Infranco and Isabella Anton reflected on their middle school experiences and shared their favorite memories as they move onto the high school.

Each student walked across the stage and received a certificate of completion as their names were proudly announced. East Northport Middle School’s President of the National Junior Honor Society Megan DellaMarco and Northport Middle School Principal Timothy Hoss concluded the ceremonies, wishing the graduates all the best as they move onto their next academic journey – high school.

District Honors Students, Staff and Board Members

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Recognition and accolades abounded in the Northport-East Northport School District as the Board of Education recognized its outstanding students, administrators, faculty and fellow board members during its June 15 meeting.

Kicking off the recognitions, Superintendent of Schools Mr. Robert Banzer and members of the board acknowledged the hard work, dedication and sportsmanship of the high school’s inaugural Unified Basketball Team. Led by the boys varsity basketball coach Andrew D’Eloia, the Northport High School Unified Basketball team consists of special needs students collaborating with general education students as one team and participate in basketball games against other schools.

“This has been the most rewarding experience of my coaching career,” said D’Eloia. “Students with special needs can teach all of us far more than we could ever learn. Their passion for the game, energy and effort is the standard I am going to hold the varsity team to.”

The evening proceeded with Northport High School Social Studies teacher David Scott receiving the 2017 Excellence in Civics Education Award from the Federal Bar Association for his dedication in teaching civics education. Additionally, the high school was named a 2017-18 Reward School by the State of New York Education Department. The SED identifies Reward Schools as those ranking among the top 20 percent in English language arts and mathematics assessment performance, having a graduation rate above 80 percent and obtaining the most progress and/or highest achievement in the state without significant gaps in student achievement.
Following, Mr. Banzer and members of the board acknowledged six teachers for their achievements in their respective field of teaching with the Professional Achievement Awards.
Acknowledging their years of service on the board, trustees Regina Pisacani and Jennifer Thompson were recognized for their devotion, effort and time with the district.

“On behalf of the entire board, we appreciate and thank you for your service, dedication and time that you both have given to this community,” said Board of Education President Andrew Rapiejko. “You both are irreplaceable and will be missed.”

Concluding the ceremony, retirees of the district were recognized for their years of dedication, support and guidance to the students of the district.

“Thank you for 471 collective years of experience teaching our students and collaborating with our staff,” said Mr. Rapiejko. “We wish you a lifetime of happiness during your retirement.”
In addition, three teachers, Erin Harrison from Dickinson Avenue Elementary School, Amy Lang from Ocean Avenue Elementary School and Northport High School English teacher Kerri Tordi received tenure.

ASSET Scholarship Winner

Congratulations Hayley Striegel, ASSET Scholarship Winner (Association of Suffolk Supervisors for Educational Technologies).  Ms. Striegel was honored for her exceptional academic record and outstanding school, community and volunteer involvement.