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Project PATCH Partnership

Project PATCH Partnership photo
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Recently, district-wide Project PATCH forged an official partnership with the Touro Law Center. Project PATCH, or Participatory Awareness Through Community Help, is the district’s law-related educational program, which was created to teach students to be active, well-informed, and empowered members of our participatory democracy. Touro will be sponsoring an educational outreach initiative that has long been in the works.

This initiative will focus on providing training for K-12 educators throughout the state, mock trial competitions for students, inspiring civic participation, and more. The partnership will be facilitated by Project PATCH coordinator David Scott. Mr. Scott attended Touro Law, is a licensed attorney, a Social Studies teacher at Northport High School, and a passionate advocate for empowering students.

According to Mr. Scott, the partnership between the district and Touro came about naturally. After years of working together on events such as Law Day and the annual Law and Civic Education Summer Institute, it seemed liked the next step.

“I needed an organization to step up for civic education and I am so glad my alma mater is the school that pledged to do it,” said Mr. Scott. “Our district truly believes in the importance of students translating civic knowledge into civic action, and we’re thankful to Touro’s Dean Harry Ballan for recognizing the value in these programs and for his willingness to work together on behalf of teachers and students.”

Suffolk Field Hockey Athletes Play 4 a Cure

Suffolk Field Hockey Athletes Play 4 a Cure photo
Northport High School’s girls field hockey program hosted their second annual Play 4 a Cure tournament on Sept. 29. Nine Suffolk County field hockey teams came together to raise money for cancer awareness and research. The day included a memorial and survivor walk, three hours of small-team scrimmages, and team dance-offs. Over 200 athletes participated, and the day ended with the “Fight for a Cure" cheer.

“A few years ago, I had the idea for a multi-team scrimmage fundraiser,” said coach and event organizer Gina Walling, “and it’s really inspiring to see girls come together for this cause that affects so many women—especially here on the island.”

Cumulatively among the nine teams a total of $2,277 was raised.

Turning Civic Knowledge into Civic Action

Turning Civic Knowledge into Civic Action photo
American Law and Criminal Justice students NHS were recently visited by Jaqueline Sullivan, a 2015 NHS graduate and the current Outreach Coordinator for the Town of Huntington Youth Court.

Volunteering for Youth Court gets students involved in the adjudication of real court cases that involve youth from the town. When a youth commits a crime, taking the case to the Youth Court affords them the opportunity to have the offense wiped from their record—and this type of restorative justice has been recorded to result in much fewer repeated offenses. During her visit, Ms. Sullivan explained how the court operates, how to get involved, and the skills one gains from the experience.

Social studies teacher and Project PATCH coordinator David Scott strongly advocates for students to be exposed and given opportunities to participate in real-life civic involvement.

“For our students to be empowered to make a difference, they have to see that civic learning can be translated into civic action,” said Mr. Scott. “And the Huntington Youth Court is just one example of the many opportunities students are afforded to use their knowledge and skills to change the world around them.”

A Message from the Superintendent

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Testing Center Hours

Testing Center- located in Room L-126
Beginning on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Testing Center will be open from 7:00 am- 2:50pm.

Free Heart Screening for HS Student-Athletes on 10/27 – Informational Packet

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Girls Volleyball Digs for Danielle

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NHS girls volleyball team hosted a fundraising game against Walt Whitman High School on September 28. The game was held to raise funds and awareness to support Danielle DeSimone, a NHS alumni who is currently battling leukemia. She has volunteered her time helping out the team with open gyms, practices and tryouts since she graduated in 2016.

Before the game, the entire team wore orange t-shirts, the color for leukemia awareness, that read “Digs for Danielle.” An overwhelming amount of the Northport community attended the fundraiser, and helped raise over $8,000 for Danielle.

“Whenever any sort of adversity strikes, the entire Northport community comes out in full force,” said head volleyball coach Chris Fritch. “And because of their incredible support, we can keep rallying behind Danielle as she continues her battle.”

“Hello” Makes a Huge Difference

“Hello” Makes a Huge Difference photo

Students and educators in throughout the district participated in “Start with Hello Week” in another district-wide effort to practice and promote inclusion and tolerance. This program, created by Sandy Hook Promise, focuses on uniting people of all beliefs and backgrounds, and creating climates of inclusion, ultimately to protect children from gun violence.

This week-long program provided opportunities for fostering a warm and welcoming learning environment, promoting friendship, and more. Throughout the district, each day of the week looked a little different. Bright and early Monday morning local home-town heroes greeted Bellerose and Dickinson Avenue students with warm smiles and hello’s as they descended off the bus and headed into school.

“Regularly receiving a warm greeting from those around us can truly make a difference in our lives,” said Dickinson Avenue Principal Laurie Storch.

At Ocean Avenue, students made physical representations of saying hello by placing their handprints on canvases that were mounted in the school’s All-Purpose Room.

NHS provided students with the opportunity to take part in a photo booth that served as a pledge to say hello to others. Photos with students holding up their names were posted in the commons so other students could put faces to names, and serving as a pillar of support for students who are looking to make more connects or maybe just looking to say hello. Later in the week, students participated in “Random Act Day” by leaving positive post-it notes for friends, staff members, or people they’ve never met before! The school was filled with smiles as students connected with others they didn’t necessarily know the week prior.

“Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in the lives of others,” said high school counselor Laura DeSantis. “I hope that this week served as a reminder as to how our actions impact those around us.”

Wednesday, Sept. 26 was “Hey” Day, where students and staff all received nametags and were encouraged to greet each other by their first name throughout the day. On Friday, students wore their favorite shirts for “Fave Shirt Friday” as a conversation starter with others.

“Throughout the district we will continue to seek ways to cultivate respectful, dignified relationships that connect us all,” said Superintendent Robert Banzer. “”Start with Hello” fit in well with many of our other initiatives to enhance a sense of community throughout our schools. It was a wonderful week.”

Creating “Whirled” Peace

Creating “Whirled” Peace photo

Students at Dickinson Avenue celebrated International Day of Peace on Sept. 21. The morning began with the entire school singing “What a Wonderful World” and planting pinwheels in front of the school.

“We are all different and unique, but we’re also very much the same,” Principal Laurie Welch Storch told her students. “It’s important to not only be kind and respectful to others, but to embrace tolerance, no matter your differences.”

Within their classrooms, teachers incorporated Pinwheels for Peace—a world-wide visual public statement of peace—into their day as well, having conversations about how to bring about peace locally and world-wide. Students created their own “whirled” peace pinwheels; decorating them with words of peace and harmony.

When questioned about ways they could create or feel peace, Dickinson Avenue second-grader Shelby answered, “Oh, that’s easy. I always have peace if I’m with my family because…love is peace.”

Parent University – Elementary Literary Workshops

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NOTICE for Parents/Guardians with Optonline Email Addresses

Our communication system, BlackboardConnect has identified a problem with sending emails to Optonline email addresses. They are working with Optimum to resolve the issue. In the meantime, you can change your primary email address in the parent portal form Optonline to any other email provider you use (Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Hotmail, etc.). Please click on the link below for directions on how to change your primary email address in our Parent Portal.

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National Merit Semifinalist

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Congratulations to NHS seniors Madeleine Kestler-DeWan, Katie Sierra and Nathaniel Wang for being named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program!

To qualify for this program, students were required to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test along with 1.6 million other students last year. After the long-awaited results were released, our three outstanding students were notified that they scored among the top 16,000 students nationwide! Semifinalists will now compete for the final 7,500 National Merit Scholarships by continuing their journey towards academic excellence and scoring well on the upcoming SAT.

Tigers Break in the New Stadium

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Northport High School’s football team played their first game of the season on the brand-new turf field on Saturday, Sept. 8! The team, led by new head coach Pat Campbell, secured a victory over Half Hollow Hills East, 47-28. Go Tigers!

Welcome Back Students!

Welcome Back Students photo

After a long summer of quiet hallways and empty classrooms, the district’s students returned for the 2018-19 year on Sept. 6 and 7! Many principals, faculty and staff anticipated the arrival of students outside their buildings, greeting children as they exited their buses, or let go of their loved ones’ hands.

At Dickinson Avenue Elementary, new Principal Laurie Welch Storch greeted students with a light-up Mickey Mouse hand, offering high-fives and welcoming them to school. Students dropped off by parents posed for pictures in their new outfits and then bid them farewell as they entered the building — ready to tackle a new year, learn new things and make new memories.

“I look forward to getting to know each and every one of my students,” said Mrs. Storch. “That’s one of my favorite parts of being a principal.”

Throughout the district, elementary students were reintroduced to morning meetings. These meetings, which are a part of the responsive classroom teaching approach, are implemented daily to help build classroom community by sharing and listening.

Middle and high school students wasted no time jumping right into the academic school year. At East Northport Middle School, apart from incoming sixth graders being afforded first-day tours to solidify their mental map of the school, it was business as usual — refreshing topics in math, science and other subjects. At Northport High School, some students took advantage of the warm weather during their free periods and did their “light” schoolwork outside in a courtyard.

“I’m excited to see what this year holds,” said Jocelyn, a NHS junior. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, for sure, but also to learning new things every day. 

Ready for the New School Year

Ready for the New School Year photo

Over the past week, both students and teachers have been focused on preparing for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.

On Aug.29, incoming NHS 9th graders attended a re-imagined freshman orientation. Instead of a typical assembly and tour of the school, students were invited to get to know their classmates and school landscape through various fun activities. Upon arrival, freshmen greeted new and old classmates excitedly as they made their way into the auditorium for a warm welcome back from their principal and assistant principals. Also in attendance were volunteers from the National Honor Society, who gave up one of their last days of summer to help incoming students get acclimated.

NHS Principal Daniel Danbusky shared some words of wisdom with the incoming freshman before they were released to participate in fun team-building activities.

“As you step into high school, you have the opportunity to create a legacy,” he told them. “Remember that every interaction you have with someone else adds to who you are; to your future self.”

Students then took part in activities to help them get to know their classmates and to break the ice such as learning the “In My Feelings” challenge dance, playing ultimate rock paper scissors, and escaping the human knot. Students ended the afternoon with a barbeque and a newfound excitement for the upcoming start of high school!

During Superintendent’s Conference Day on Sept. 4, all faculty and staff spent the day preparing and getting motivated for the upcoming year.

Guest speaker Dr. Robert Brooks gave a keynote presentation on the power of mindsets, and nurturing motivation in students. Dr. Brooks has lectured nation-wide on the topics of motivation, resilience, leadership roles, and more, and has written and co-written 17 books on a variety of topics.

“Motivation, student engagement, and resilience are all interconnected,” Dr. Brooks said, “and the more you focus on creating a positive classroom environment to foster those things, the more your students will push themselves.”

Throughout the rest of the conference, teachers attended breakout sessions, met with their departments, and participated in activities and exercises to promote student engagement. Full to the brim with new ideas, faculty left ready for the start of the 2018-19 school year on Sept. 6.



Welcome, New Teachers!

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We welcomed 25 new teachers to the district on Aug. 28 and 29 with a new teacher orientation. After being introduced to the district administration, new staff members took a bus tour to get familiar with the surrounding community. Throughout the day, teachers were given an overview of the district curriculum, instruction, technology, assessments by directors, principals, department chairs and coordinators.

During day two, teachers were assigned to professional growth mentors.

“Having new teachers in mentor-protégée relationships benefit both parties,” said Dr. Dana Boshnack, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “As the protégées are taught tried-and-true teaching practices, mentors can become more self-aware, improving upon their own teaching and professional competency.”

Additionally, new teachers heard from a panel of students who spoke from personal experience on school-related topics. One staff member asked the students what made a great teacher, and the students agreed on three key components. The first, a great teacher must have a solid knowledge of their subject; the second, they’re passionate about what they teach; and third, they care about each student individually, because every student has a story.

“We’re excited to welcome so many great new teachers to the district,” said Superintendent of Schools Robert Banzer, “and to see the positive impact they will have on each and every student.”

New Principal Comes to Dickinson Avenue

New Principal Comes to Dickinson Avenue photo
Dickinson Avenue Elementary welcomed a new principal this summer — Mrs. Laurie Welch Storch! Mrs. Storch comes to the district after seven years as principal at Fulton Avenue School #8 in the Oceanside Union Free School District. During her career there, she focused on cultivating successful, student-centered learning environments to maximize academic achievement, nurtured the unique school culture and more. Before that, Mrs. Storch held both principal and vice principal positions in Florida from 2001-2011.

“I am delighted to become a part of the Northport-East Northport community,” said Mrs. Storch. “As the new school year begins I look forward to creating long-lasting relationships as we create excellence together!”

On Aug. 22, Mrs. Storch met her new students, along with their families, at a special Disney-themed evening meet and greet. Dickinson’s new principal read aloud some of her favorite books to those in attendance, and many of those in attendance brought their own to share as well.

Welcome to the district, Mrs. Storch!

Creating More Engaging Classroom Environments

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For the past few years, more and more educators throughout the district have been learning and implementing the discipline of Responsive Classroom – a teaching approach that’s made up of specific practices to create a joyful, safe, engaging classroom and school community. The approach’s emphasis is placed on helping students, in addition to developing academic skills, to build upon social and emotional skills in a safe learning environment.

During the month of August, interested teachers at Bellerose Avenue took part in a two-part professional development workshop focused on implementing Responsive Classroom’s integral elements. During the workshop, curriculum coordinator Dana Ward, classroom teacher Patti DaCosta and speech and language specialist Judy Schneider covered the basics of Responsive Classroom, including morning meeting, quiet time, closing circle, energizers, interactive modeling and teacher language.

“All of these teachers are here by choice – they want to learn ways to make learning more engaging for their students,” Mrs. Ward said. “They are hungry for improved learning.”

Throughout the training, the teacher-presenters modeled much of the behavior as they covered each practice. Each topic raised healthy discussion and differing viewpoints amongst the educators, such as specific instances in which to use reinforcing language – a specific approach of highlighting students’ strengths in a helpful way.

“The feedback we received from our teachers was so helpful,” Mrs. Schneider said. “They’d much rather a few focused, intensive professional-development opportunities than a plethora of sporadic subjects, and their responses to the offerings have been overwhelmingly positive so far.”