Special Performance

Elementary school orchestra students enjoyed the sounds of the Arcanum String Quartet during a special in-school performance on Nov. 12.

The quartet, made up of Chris Ferrara, Johnathan Spence, Andrew Minguez and Jesse Smith, performed W.A. Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, mvt. 1; Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, mvt. 1; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, Op. 108.

SCSSA Letter to Gov. Cuomo on Education Reform


Board of Education Joins Lawsuit Against LIPA

At a special meeting on November 24, the Port Jefferson UFSD Board of Education voted  to join a breach of contract lawsuit filed by the Northport-East Northport UFSD against LIPA (Long Island Power Authority). This lawsuit is a challenge to LIPA’s attempt to reduce the tax assessment on the National Grid power plant located in that community. Our district has joined that effort, as we agree that LIPA’s attempt to break a promise not to challenge taxes on the power plants violates the formal and informal guarantees made to the school districts (including ours), which could cause significant financial harm.

Recent state appellate court decisions have ruled that the case could move forward. John Gross, the attorney for the school districts of both Northport-East Northport and Port Jefferson, has said that that this was a favorable decision in the legal effort to prevent LIPA from reneging on its financial commitments. The Port Jefferson UFSD Board of Education believes our decision to join this lawsuit is a necessary step to protect the resources of our school district and the the financial stability of our taxpayers.



State Soccer Champions

For the first time in school history, the high school’s varsity girls soccer team captured the New York State Class C Championship after defeating Elmira Notre Dame 3-1 on Nov. 15.

The win came after an upsetting 2014 season, where the Lady Royals lost the state championship following a three-goal defeat by Bronxville. Using the loss as motivation, the team resolved to win in 2015.

“Our goal from the beginning of the season was to bring home the state title after losing in the finals last year,” said coach Allyson Wolff. “The girls were determined and more confident this season. I’m so proud of them for this amazing accomplishment.”

Over the past season, the team worked hard to build their playing skills, as well as synergy among teammates. They even adopted a new team motto: “Strong alone, unstoppable together.”

Their hard work shined through as they took the field at SUNY Cortland. Throughout the game, the girls made a number of power plays, including Brittany Fazin scoring a goal from 20 yards and goalkeeper Brianna Scarda.

The district extends its congratulations to the entire team and coaching staff.  

NYS Class C Final vs. Notre Dame
A Royal Homecoming

Semifinals vs. Caledonia-Mumford

Applause for ‘The Dining Room’

Applause resounded off the auditorium walls as the talented student-actors at the high school presented the play “The Dining Room” by A. R. Gurney on Nov. 13-15.

Directed by Tony Butera, the production centered on family dynamics and American culture and how the two have changed over the past 70 years. During the show, 15 students portrayed more than 60 different characters in 18 vignettes.

Students Make a Difference

Elementary school students are doing their part to make a difference in the community through a food drive to benefit those in need. The annual food drive, organized by the school’s guidance department, began on Nov. 2 and will run through Nov. 20.

In just the first few days of the initiative, the Port Jefferson students collected several boxes of nonperishable goods that will help fill local pantry shelves.    

Students Raise Money for Childhood Cancer Organization

The Port Jefferson School Board honored six middle school students on Nov. 10 for a fundraiser they held for the American Childhood Cancer Organization. The students were recognized for organizing an after-school bake sale with the assistance of their teacher, Deirdre Filippi. Through the sale, they raised $225 for the ACCO.

“We are very proud of these students, who are upholding the ideals of the Port Jefferson School District, including responsibility to self, family and community,” said Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Neidig.

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to Charlotte Ambrozy, Sarah Moshe, Abigail Muffly, Meghan Penske, Jacqueline Poten and Nicole Schully.  

Important Letter from the Superintendent re: Substance Abuse Prevention


Starry Nights Concert

Classical orchestral music reverberated in the ears of elementary school orchestra students when they attended a performance at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center on Nov. 6.

During the event, billed as the annual Starry Nights Concert, the students heard renditions of Haydn’s String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5; Brahms’ Sextet in B Flat Major, Op. 18; “Our Delight” by Tadd Dameron; “Tres Palabras” by Osvaldo Farrés; and “September in the Rain” by Harry Warren. The pieces were performed by Stony Brook University music faculty and members of the Emerson String Quartet, the university’s artists-in-residence performing group.
The field trip was made possible through a partnership with the Staller Center Outreach Endowment and Coordinator Paul Newland.

Letter Regarding Inappropriate Sharing of Images

Please read the attached Letter Regarding Inappropriate Sharing of Images


Music Master Class

To assist middle school orchestra students in fine-tuning their performance skills, the district’s music department invited Stony Brook University’s Calidore String Quartet to conduct a master class on Nov. 2.

During the workshop, the professional musicians provided the orchestra members with feedback after listening to them play, which helped the student-musicians refine various technical and musical aspects of their performance.

Additionally, the Calidore String Quartet performed pieces for the students, including Webern’s Langsamer Satz and the second movement of Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 6 in E Flat Major, op. 80.  

The event was funded through the Staller Center Outreach Endowment, which is overseen by Outreach Director Paul Newland.

Icons of Freedom

As part of a lesson in their government class, high school seniors had the opportunity to participate in the Icons of Freedom Conference held recently at Stony Brook University.

During the conference, the Port Jefferson students learned about historical Supreme Court cases and met several individuals involved in the cases, including Mary Beth Tinker, an American free speech activist involved in the 1969 case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District. Students also heard from civil rights activist Fred Korematsu, the central figure in the 1944 Korematsu v. the United States case, where the Supreme Court ruled that the wartime internment of American citizens of Japanese descent was constitutional.

“I love history, and interacting with Ms. Tinker and Mr. Korematsu was a great experience,” said senior Karin Thomassen.

Students Flourish in Latin Program


The high school Latin program offers students a unique opportunity to not only learn a second language and about the culture and history that surrounds it, but also form friendships and advance their educational careers. Learn more about the program in this short video.



Bottle Cap Art


Over the course of three days, elementary school students recycled colorful bottle caps to craft a large mural that will be prominently displayed in the school. The hands-on project was spearheaded by the school’s student-run Green Team in an effort to teach their peers about the importance of recycling.

To bring the project to fruition, the Green Team held a schoolwide collection drive for bottle caps and worked with visiting artist Leslie Slatter of Green Earth Craft of Plainview to design the mural.

The mural features a water-themed design around the word “SAIL,” which stands for the school’s values — Safety, Acceptance, Independence and Learning.  Each bottle cap in the mural is adorned by a student’s name and initials.


Public Forum - The Ugly Truth

Please read the attached flyer regarding the upcoming Public Forum.


Football Players Tackle Community Service

High school varsity football players recently scored two touchdowns in the name of community service.

On Nov. 1, the team held a successful food drive to benefit Long Island Harvest. The following day, the athletes sponsored a blood drive in conjunction with New York Blood Services. Players, coaches, faculty, administrators and community members donated enough blood to help as many as 120 patients.  

The team says the community service initiatives are a way of giving back to the community, which has always supported Port Jefferson football.

Tennis Players Are Ace

Three varsity girls tennis team athletes competed at the Suffolk County tennis individual championships, held on Oct. 17 at William Floyd High School in Shirley.

The students earned their way into the competition after defeating some tough teams during the season. The Port Jefferson doubles team, comprised of Danielle Goldstein and Rebekah London, was one of 16 doubles teams to make it to the championship game, and first singles player Rachel Collins returned to the championship for the third year in a row as one of the top 16 singles players in the county.   

The three seniors also led their entire team, coached by Dennis Christofor, to the Suffolk County team playoffs as the ninth seeded team of the 53 participating schools countywide.

Google Classrooms Help Students Succeed

This school year, the district introduced Google Classrooms to students to promote learning at all levels. Learn more about the initiative in this short video.

Music Inspires Students to Be Good Citizens

Elementary school students were energized to stand up, clap and dance while popular children’s singer Brady Rymer performed on Oct. 28 as part of the kickoff to a new schoolwide character education program.

Through his music, the two-time Grammy nominee and his band inspired students to be kind and respectful of one another. He sang songs with lyrics such as, “Jump up, it’s a good day” and “You never know until you say hi.”

The school’s character education program supports proactive strategies for reinforcing positive student behavior.

Student-Athletes Donate Time to Miracle League

For the fifth year in a row, high school student-athletes offered their time and friendship to the athletes of the Miracle League of Long Island.   

The members of the Varsity Club, as well as the girls and boys basketball, soccer and volleyball teams, served as buddies to the Miracle League athletes while they played several games of baseball on Oct. 17. They helped them bat, provided them with tips and taught them good sportsmanship.    

“We are very proud of our student-athletes and the efforts they put in to ensure that the Miracle League athletes had a wonderful experience,” said Debra Ferry, the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics.

The Miracle League is a nonprofit organization that provides special needs children with an opportunity to play structured baseball games.

Students Read Easy with E-Books

With the help of computer literacy class teacher Nancy Bachety, middle school students are tapping into learning and expanding their educational resources by downloading e-books and audiobooks from the Port Jefferson Public Library.

During a recent in-school demonstration, the students used iPads and Chromebooks to explore the local library’s online resources and endless supply of digital texts. They were assisted in this venture by Port Jefferson Public Library teen department librarians, Eric Schaarschmidt and Andrew Bliss.

Ms. Bachety noted the lesson demonstrated how these digital and local resources could be used for future research assignments and leisure reading.

Mets Jersey Fundraiser Is a Home Run

To help the local community and celebrate the Mets making it into the World Series, the elementary school is holding a Thanksgiving raffle, where the grand prize is a jersey signed by Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz.

The raffle kicked off earlier this month after Matz donated his signed jersey to the school through his aunt, an assistant teacher in the elementary school.

So far, parents and staff have donated $500 toward the raffle. All of the money will be used to purchase food items and supplies for those in need this Thanksgiving.

College Admissions Panel Held

To help students prepare for the college admissions process, the district hosted a college admissions panel at the high school on Oct. 21.

During the event, admissions representatives from Fordham University, Queens College, Suffolk County Community College and Stony Brook University discussed various aspects of the college preparation and application process. The panel focused on topics such as the college essay, submission of the application, the college visit, college entrance exams and academic credentials.

The panel was held in conjunction with a range of other college preparation initiatives at the high school, including a mini-college fair and the release of a new district college-planning handbook. The handbook provides foundational information on postsecondary planning for students and families.

Student Helps Paint Port Pink

To do his part for John T. Mather Memorial Hospital’s breast cancer initiative, Paint Port Pink, fifth-grader Dennis Bonlarron made and sold rubber band loom bracelets to family, friends and teachers.

Through his fundraiser, Dennis raised $250, which he donated to his school’s Paint Port Pink hourglass collection. At the end of the October fundraiser, all of the hourglass money will be donated to the hospital’s cause.

Dennis said he decided to start his own fundraiser because he wanted to do something special in honor of his late grandmother.   

Senior Wrestler Commits to Princeton

High school senior and wrestling champion Matteo DeVincenzo has committed to attend Princeton University and join the school’s athletic program next fall.  

“I found the school’s wrestling and strong academic offerings to be a good fit for me,” said Matteo. “University representatives were very welcoming to me during my visits, and I am looking forward to working with the coach.”
Matteo said he intends to study business and finance, while also wrestling for the Tigers.  

As a junior, Matteo earned the Eastern States crown before moving on to the state tournament, where he took the bronze.  

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to Matteo and is confident he will continue to bring the Royals pride through his future achievements.  

Paving Future Pathways to Success

As part of its effort to ensure that every student has a postsecondary plan upon graduation, the high school guidance department has developed a planning guide for students in grades 9-12.

The handbook, which was distributed to students during the week of Oct. 19, provides foundational information on postsecondary planning. Included in the 73-page guide are chapters on self-assessment, postsecondary options, the college experience, the admissions process, planning timelines and college financial information.

“This bound volume is both attractive and informative,” said Principal Christine Austen. “I am confident that Port Jefferson students will be using this handbook for years to come.”

“It truly is an impressive document that will assist our students in postsecondary plans,” added Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert.

The new handbook supports an already comprehensive planning support system for students, which includes interactive workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions, college fairs, and meet and greets with college and university representatives.

In addition to providing students with a hard copy of the handbook, the district will also make the document available on its website.

Scoring a Reading Touchdown

Wearing their purple and white jerseys, eight seniors on the varsity football team volunteered to share their love of literacy by reading to first-graders at the elementary school this fall.

The football players – Shane Bruno, Nick Caltagirone, Mike DiCalogero, Bill Govits, John Guerra, Garret Hiz, Jefferson Koutsantanou and Spencer Wooley – participated in the event as part of a community outreach program organized by the team’s booster club.

“The high school athletes were very exited about this opportunity to give back,” said coach Andrew Cosci.

After reading “Fall Mixed Up” by Bob Raczka, “If You Take a Mouse to School” by Laura Numeroff and “A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon, the players took turns answering questions from students. The reading session culminated with the athletes taking the first-graders outside to teach them how to throw a football.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015