It was a morning of community pride, as Copiague Public School hosted its annual Community Summit for more than 600 invited guests on March 16. Among those in attendance included the Copiague Board of Education, district administrators and staff, representatives of community organizations, local politicians and students and their families.
“The summit is an opportunity to showcase some of the things that are going on within our schools, celebrate the success we’ve had and collaborate on ways we can make things better,” board of education trustee Brian J. Sales noted in his address. Continuing, Mr. Sales shared a number of the district’s and student accomplishments. “For this board, our administration and staff, our top priority is putting children first. We are extremely proud of our results, we have spent our money wisely and effectively and we have delivered with excellent results.”
Echoing Mr. Sales’ message of success, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon presented her annual State of the Copiague Public Schools. During her address, Dr. Bannon provided an overview of district highlights, including various student accomplishments, expansion of the pre-K program and the completion of the community-approved capital project. She also provided an update on the budget process and the district’s funding.
“Over the last several years, we have stayed within the New York State tax cap,” Dr. Bannon said. “We continue to contain our costs and budget conservatively, so we can maintain the programs and services we have. If we were to see an increase in state aid, we would expand and add to our offerings, which would positively benefit our students. In a perfect world, there would be adequate and equitable funding for public education. Funding which is predictable, transparent and sustainable so that we can plan for the long term rather than year-to-year.”
With the theme “Copiague Students Soar,” the summit also featured student performances, spotlights on elementary, middle and high school programs, clubs and projects and an introduction of the Class of 2019 top ten students.
Copiague School District’s foreign language department is thriving thanks to classes structures that are allowing students to reach their full potential as language learners. Beginning in seventh grade, students have the option to take Spanish or Italian as a foreign language.
According to Michelle Passeggiata, director of ENL and world languages, students are engaged in real-world learning geared toward college and career readiness. “The goal is for these students to be able to function using these languages in a real setting,” she said. Native language speakers and heritage speakers, those who understand the language but do not necessarily read or write it, are put in the same classroom setting. Together, they hone their reading and writing skills.
The Advanced Placement Spanish class, for example, uses speaking/interpersonal communication. The class is designed to develop a high level of Spanish vocabulary. Students have debates, and lessons are focused on social themes and world issues.
In the World Affairs in Foreign Films class, students explore different foreign films and learn about the history of the particular country. They study social issues, languages and holidays and then participate in related cultural activities.
During their physical education classes, students at Great Neck Road Elementary School perfected their bowling games. The students worked on strikes and spares during this class in February.
Deauville Gardens West Elementary School held a family literacy night celebration on March 6 themed “Stomp, Chomp and Read.” Students in grades 3-5 acted like paleontologists and searched for dinosaur fossils in a sand kit and a dinosaur egg kit. They then researched facts about their fossil on Chromebooks. Students in grades K-2 listened to dinosaur stories and made dinosaur puppets. All students received a dinosaur book to take home.
Payton Lewis, a first-grader at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School, was inducted as the Town of Babylon’s youngest junior beautification ambassador. He was recently recognized by Town of Babylon representatives for this achievement and will work with the town on his recycling project, “Payton’s Planet.”
Copiague School District held its annual winter sports awards dinner for its varsity athletes at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School on March 5. Sponsored by the Copiague Booster Club, the awards recognize the accomplishments of the student-athletes both on and off the field.
Coaches, administrators and Copiague Board of Education members congratulated athletes from girls bowling, boys bowling, girls basketball, girls winter track, boys basketball, boys winter track and wrestling teams.
Coaches called athletes up front to be recognized and celebrated both their individual and team achievements during the season. They also distributed individual awards, including the Coaches’ Award, Most Improved and the MVP award, to worthy receipients.
Seven Golden Eagle awards were presented to students from each team with the highest cumulative grade point average. This year, Melanie Garcia (girls bowling), Jonah Breskin (boys bowling), Marvin Pineda Lobo (wrestling), Faith McCombs (girls basketball), Erhumwunse Eghafona (boys basketball), Nicole Hernandez (girls track) and Luis Castillo (boys track) were recipients of the Golden Eagle awards.
How do you get students excited and engaged during math lessons? Just ask Copiague Middle School because the excitement is palpable in each and every classroom.
Lessons incorporate hands-on learning, real-world scenarios, games and technology. For example, sixth-graders in Kirsten Ostrofsky’s class recently completed a statistics lesson – learning fractions, percentages and decimals – using Skittles. Seventh-graders in Cara Horigan’s class were learning unit rates and participated in a scavenger hunt around the classroom to test their knowledge. Students in Paul Kounadis’ class had to figure out exponents and bases using different colored dice. In Richard Radziewicz’s class, students were using scientific notation to calculate the approximate distant of different planets in the solar system.
In addition to these classroom lessons, Copiague Middle School students have the opportunity to get involved in after-school activities. Math researchers are preparing and practicing their presentations for the math research papers they have written and will present at an All-County competition in the beginning of March. The Math Club/Team is open to all students, where they can go to have fun with math while others practice for upcoming math team competitions.
Students in the art club at Great Neck Road Elementary School created soft food sculptures inspired by the works of Claes Oldenburg, who made soft sculptures of everyday objects. Under the direction of art teacher Meghan Haughney, the sweet treats created by the art club members were made of cardboard, plastic and tempered paint.
Check out the photos of some of the incredible work done by the Great Neck Road student-artists in the slideshow.
Students showcased their musical and theatrical talents for the annual Black History Month celebration at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School on Feb. 28. This year’s theme was “Honor the Past, Inspiring the Future.”
Ajhani Carroll and Jahnay Cuffy hosted the event and introduced the different performances. They explained that the purpose of the after-school event was to showcase black history as an integral part of American history while celebrating the richness of black culture.
The Madrigal Choir opened with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the black national anthem. They returned to the stage to perform the Zimbabwe greeting “Sorida,” a traditional Sea Islands medley “Yonder Come Day” and a traditional gospel song “He’ll Make A Way.”
The drama club reenacted a scene from the front of the Selma courthouse when segregation ended. There were also cultural performances by the jazz band, dance troupe, and high school and middle school steppers.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held its voice to voice leadership induction ceremony for the 2019 cohort on Feb. 15 in the school’s library.
Eight female students were inducted during the ceremony and presented with certificates by Assistant Principal Tamika Eason and pearls by the members of the current leadership. In order to qualify for induction, students were required to interview for their positions. The leaders help to facilitate both of the voice to voice empowerment workshops. Leaders also meet monthly to discuss women’s issues.
The goal of the organization is to help young females find their inner strength and power. The mission of the initiative is to motivate and empower one another through teamwork and conversation. It was developed to provide opportunities for young women to gain awareness of their individual and collection skills, experiences and professional goals.
The following students were inducted into the voice to voice leadership: Delia Exantus, Nickia James, Jasmine Jimenez, Mariah McDougall, Jillian McLowrin, Amy Moskowitz, Kenia Rodriguez and Gianna Torres. The new inductees recited the leadership pledge and joined with existing members in circle to close out the ceremony.
Copiague Middle School offers a peer-to-peer tutoring program after school four days a week. The tutors – and a few select super-tutors – are hand selected by members of the mathematics department and math department chair Dr. Natasha Murray.
The middle school tutoring program has been in place for five years and approximately 30 eighth-graders are currently serving as tutors, which is overseen by teachers in the homework center. Pete Casale, one of the teachers who oversees the homework center, believes it’s a great opportunity for students to help them reach their potential. Different tutors, some of whom are bilingual, rotate days of the week.
The tutors are paired with students who may need assistance with specific problems, homework or even online with the Go Math program.
Fifth-graders in Jennifer Rosario’s class at Susan E. Wiley Elementary School used their math and critical thinking skills to “break out” on Feb. 4.
Using Breakout EDU – which is the educational version of an escape room challenge – the learning came alive as students worked in small groups to unlock the clues. The class was given clues to unlock a series of locks of the boxes. Students used collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication to challenge themselves, all while having fun and learning at the same time.
Middle school students work hard during their physical education classes trying to cross “the island.” Check out the video of this team-building activity.
The members of the student government club at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School teamed up with the members of the art club to help recognize the unsung heroes in their school community. The art club made origami gift boxes and filled them with a few sweet treats and candies. Working together with the student government, they created thank-you cards for the silent heroes of the school – custodians, nurses, cafeteria staff, security guards and secretaries. They delivered their sweet treats – along with a smile – around the school at the end of January.
Thirteen Copiague School District students were recognized at the Feb. 11 board of education meeting by members of the Knights of Columbus in the organization annual poster and essay contests.
The poster contest, now in its ninth year, had a record number of entries at 104 from Copiague student-artists. The goal of the contest is to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse. The winners, who received certificates and prizes were: Deauville Gardens West: Carolina Acosta-Rivera and Sandavi McCants; Susan E. Wiley: Ivanna Gonzalez Rodriguez; Deauville Gardens East: Kiarisleidy Baez Fabian; Great Neck Road: Jazlyn Batista, Justin Martinez Canas and Rayana Gooden; Copiague Middle School: Jayden Risch, Joseph Risch and Eliud Bonilla.
Three Copiague Middle School eighth-grade students were presented with certificates and prizes for their essay contest entries. The contest is in its third year and essays are focused on religious freedom. Paulo Gonzalez was the first-place winner. Diana Carbajal placed second and Ari Chervony was named the third-place winner.
Click here to see the school’s participation in the Great Kindness Challenge.
Doing their part to spread love, kindness, friendship and companionship this Valentine’s Day, the Builders Club from Copiague Middle School spent the day visiting with those at the Tanner Park Senior Center on Feb. 13. The club makes the trek for Valentine’s Day annually for the past 16 years.
Along with adviser Maria Ostrofsky, the students spend the day with the local seniors making connections. The club makes cards, notes and letters, which are then hand-delivered to the seniors with a rose, to help brighten their day. Many students spent their time talking to the senior citizens, while others joined them on the dance floor for some fun.
As a kickoff to its Parents as Reading Partners celebration, Great Neck Road Elementary School held a literacy night themed “Reading Is Magical.”
Students and their families rotated through different areas throughout the evening, enjoying dinner in the cafeteria and learned about the art of magic in the library. During the classroom read aloud, students listened to magic-themed books and made their own bookmarks using “magic ink.” The evening concluded with a magic show in the gymnasium and each student received their own magic trick to perfect at home.
Throughout the district, elementary students celebrated the 100th day of school with hands-on learning activities centered around the number 100.
Dressed as 100-year-olds, the kindergarten and first-grade students rotated through different centers at Susan E. Wiley Elementary School. They sorted snacks by groups of 100, made Fruit Loop necklaces using 100 pieces of the cereal, and read poems and stories about the 100th day of school. First-graders also rotated to different centers, completing 100 exercises, building a structure using 100 Legos and writing about what they would do with $100.
At Deauville Gardens East and Deauville Gardens West elementary schools, the students received 100th day certificates and drew pictures of what they would like at 100 years old. Great Neck Road kindergarten students also did 100 exercises, made quilts out of 10 boxes of 10 and ate snacks sorted into 100s.
Fourth-graders in Kelly Lambert’s class at Susan E. Wiley Elementary School recently expressed their creativity when they designed their own longhouses. The longhouses could be constructed of any items; some designs featured tree bark, popsicle sticks, straws or branches. The lesson was a culminating activity to their English Language Arts module on the Iroquois.
The students learned about how the men and women worked together to build the longhouses and how some of the houses could be hundreds of feet in length to hold different members of their clan. The fourth-graders showed off their knowledge of the Iroquois and their architectural creations during a visit with the third-grade classes.
Third-graders in Dawn Masure’s class at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School became meteorologists for the day when they presented the Copiague weather forecast to their classmates on Jan. 23. In conjunction with their lesson on weather, the students created posters representing the five-day forecast. Each student acted as a weather forecaster, giving their five-day report on temperatures, the wind chill, precipitation, what to wear, and how to prepare for the upcoming weather.
The Copiague Board of Education hosted their biannual Student Recognition Awards ceremony to honor the outstanding accomplishments of its students on Jan. 28 in the Copiague Middle School auditorium.
The event is a way for the board of education to recognize excellence and the successes of students throughout the district. During the ceremony, board members read a list of accolades and accomplishments that students achieved this school year.
Each of the 17 student-honorees was presented with a framed certificate presented by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon. The district congratulates the following students: Deauville Gardens East: Amelia Bright and Darlene Herrera; Deauville Gardens West: Kieran Erickson and Ny’Shawn Legette; Great Neck Road: Hunter Nicholas Natoli and Hailey Wendel; Susan E. Wiley: Kaitlyn Caldwell and Jonathan Marine Suarez; Copiague Middle School: Iran Sophia Gonzalez, Vaiva Kean, Andrew James O’Connell and Neisy Rivera Garcia; Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School: Ajhani Carroll, Wilson Murcia, Arelee Ramirez, Brenda Reyes and Kyree Scott.
The Builders Club members at Copiague Middle School have been busy with their community service activities these past few months. For the holidays, the students sold ornaments and raised $675 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County. In January, the club held a book drive for Tanner Park Free Library. Builders Club members also collected donations for Good Samaritan Hospital to help new moms who needed assistance with newborn essentials.
Deauville Gardens East Elementary School held a Primary Literacy Night on Jan. 24 for students in kindergarten through second grade. Close to 100 students – dressed in their cozy pajamas – along with their families were in attendance.
The evening started with a writing presentation from Deauville Gardens East guidance counselor and resident author Lysa Mullady. Families gathered in the gymnasium to hear about the inspiration for her writing and how feelings can be developed into stories. Ms. Mullady then did a read aloud of her book, “Bye Bye Pesky Fly.”
After the story, students moved into classrooms to write their own books about their feelings. The young writers created their books about feelings, and each student received a bag with a book and pencil to take home.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School honored the accomplishments of its top 20 students in the graduating class of 2019 during a special luncheon in the school’s cafeteria on Jan. 25. The luncheon was a way to not only recognize the students but also to honor the teachers who helped them in their successes.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Principal Joseph Agosta welcomed students, faculty, administrators, members of the board of education and family to the event. He addressed the parents and family members in attendance, thanking them for their role in each students’ success. “You are your child’s lifelong teacher,” he said. “They are here today because of your involvement, encouragement and support.”
Mr. Agosta encouraged the students to get involved in all that life has to offer. “Surround yourself with people who make you want to be a better person,” he said. “Remember the values you learned here in Copiague and continue to strive for excellence in everything you do.”
In chronological order, beginning at No. 20, Mr. Agosta introduced each student and read a short summary of their accomplishments and anticipated post-high school endeavors. Following their introduction, the students proceeded to the podium, where they expressed their gratitude to the teacher whom they value most and credit for helping them through their academic journey in the Copiague School District.
The district congratulates the top 20 students (in order beginning with No. 20): Emily Korba; Iris Romero; Mery Gomez Herrera; Faith McCombs; Darley Senat; Jocelyn Fernandez; Lacy McIntyre; Justin Taveras; Luis Castillo; Julia Brzozka; Kailee St. Angelo; Melinda Mercedes; Jahnay Cuffy: Jonathan Conlon; Jackson Bright; Liam Mahabir; Owen Rosenberg; Aleksandra Bugajczyk; Abigail Romero; and Aaron Eng.
Fifth-graders at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School transformed their gymnasium into an interactive experience during a wax museum on Jan. 11.
As a culminating activity to their literacy lesson on biographies, the fifth-graders researched and studied a person who has had a major impact on history and portrayed that person as a “wax” figure. Dressing the part, students played the role of their person.
Wax museum visitors, which included the third- and fourth-grade classes, walked around, looking at the famous people and pushed the button on their hand to hear interesting facts about their life and why they are important to history.
Third-graders at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School have been working hard on their literacy skills as well as character building. In Ms. Newman’s class, the students are writing their own personal narratives. Ms. Byrnes’s class spent time learning about good judgement, confidence and sharing as they presented the school’s monthly character education lesson in January.
Thirty-one student-musicians will represent the Copiague School District at the 2019 Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Music Festival in March. Each of these students received outstanding scores on their performance at the NYSSMA solo and ensemble evaluation festivals last May.
Selection to the All-County band and chorus is the highest honor a student of music in grades 5-10 can attain. The district congratulates the following students:
SCMEA All-County I West Band
Esmeralda Claros Sanchez (flute)
Eve Estevez-Rivera (baritone/euph)
Alyson Tenebro (flute)
Rhianna Coleman (Bb clarinet)
Andrew Wagner (Bb clarinet)
Ismael Garcia (trumpet/cornet)
Raisaun Gibson (trombone)
Analiz Rosario (alto sax)
Dyson Brown (alto sax)
Hannah Alara (Bb clarinet)
SCMEA All-County II West Band
Shenn Barredo (flute)
Philip Popielarz (baritone/euph)
Sadia Velasquez (Bb clarinet)
SCMEA All-County II West Orchestra
Alice Sztabinski (flute)
SCMEA All-County III West Band
Ryan Bott (tenor sax)
Zuri Milliner (baritone/euph)
SCMEA All-County I West Chorus
Linda Paiz Romero
SCMEA All-County II West Chorus
SCMEA All-County III West Chorus
Kindergarten students at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School are busy with hands-on learning activities in January. Students are using scales to weigh different objects during a heavy vs. light lesson. Kindergartners are also learning about rhyming words and the difference between living and nonliving objects.
Forget the cute dolls you can’t wait to snuggle with in bed. Copiague students worked together to create Ugly Dollz.
Students in Christie Layden’s fourth period Studio Workshop class at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School and Jodi Embleton’s fourth-grade art club at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School collaborated on the cross-curriculum project.
Ms. Embleton’s students drew their best version of a made up monster. When they were complete, they were sent to Mrs. Layden’s class to transform the drawings into real life dolls. Mrs. Layden’s students used the pictures and learned to sew and stuff the dolls.
Prior to the holiday recess, the art club and high school students joined together for a breakfast to see the dolls. The students were excited to see their monsters come to life.
Fifth-graders at Great Neck Road Elementary School were challenged to be architects and engineers during a recent library class. After reading the book “Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing,” which tells the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the students were tasked with creating their own bridges. Working in small groups, the builders used 42 Citi Blocks to create their own bridge, strong enough to hold a water bottle and with room to pass below the bridge.
As a culminating activity to their English Language Arts module on the Iroquois, fourth-graders at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School created their own longhouses.
Getting as creative as possible, the students crafted some unique designs which included using different resources to build the houses. The students learned about the men and women worked together to build the longhouses and how some of the houses could be hundreds of feet in length to hold different members of their clan. The fourth-graders had the opportunity to show off their knowledge of the Iroquois and their architectural creations during a gallery walk in December.