Don’t Miss It: ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Tomorrow afternoon, the middle school Drama Club will present Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” at 2:00 p.m. in the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School auditorium, 350 Old Post Road, Port Jefferson.

The production will showcase the talents of our middle school students, who have been working over the past few months to perfect their performances.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $5 for adults, $2 for students/children and $10 per family. Tickets will be available at the door.

Student-Musicians Perform at Mid-Island Band Festival

High school student-musicians had the honor of participating in the 58th annual Mid-Island Band Festival at Sayville High School on Jan. 30.

These student-musicians – Miles Kaming-Thanassi, Jillian Lawler, David Moir, David Rotunno, Amanda Sarubbi and Timothy Skula – were selected to participate based on teacher recommendations and NYSSMA scores.  

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to all six performers.  

An Introduction to the Future


In an effort to have Port Jefferson Middle School students thinking about their futures earlier, the Port Jefferson School District launched a new postsecondary program on Jan. 29.

Using a computer-based program, Naviance, students’ strengths and interests are matched with their postsecondary goals.

Naviance, which is already available to Earl L. Vandermeulen High School students, aims to fully prepare the middle school students for the postsecondary planning process that awaits them in high school.

During the launch, school guidance counselors helped students register with the program and complete interest and career surveys.

“The transition from middle school to high school can be an overwhelming experience for all involved,” said Claudia Smith, K-8 assistant principal. “It is our goal to provide students and parents with information and resources, such as Naviance, to ensure that this process proceeds smoothly.”

Pennies Add Up For Charity

The middle school Student Council recently completed a successful “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

During the month of January, the students raised funds through an online campaign, organizing several in school bake sales and hosting a “pay to play” fundraiser, where they sold passes to peers to play computer games during their lunch periods. Additionally, the council held Pajama Friday, which enabled teachers to wear their pajamas to school for a $5 donation.    

The Student Council’s efforts yielded a $1,672 contribution to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which surpassed their initial goal of $1,200.

Drama Students Head to Broadway

High school Drama Club members attended an evening performance of the Broadway production “Something Rotten” on Jan. 14. The Port Jefferson students were accompanied to the performance at the St. James Theater in New York City by Drama Club advisors Mary LaSita and Tony Butera.   

Speller Heads to Regionals

Fifth-grader Sophie Blumenthal has secured a spot in the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, to be held at Hofstra University on March 13.

Sophie won the chance to compete after participating in her school’s fourth- and fifth-grade spelling bee on Jan. 25. She took the top spot after correctly spelling “excursion.” Runners-up in the competition were fifth-grader Benjamin Perez-Fletcher and fourth-grader Michelle Wu.

The district extends its congratulations to Sophie and wishes her luck in the next round of competition.

All-County Jazz Musicians

Two Port Jefferson School District musicians were recently selected to participate in the prestigious SCMEA All-County Instrumental Jazz Ensemble.

Trey Pisano, a 10th-grader who plays double bass, and Samuel Florio, an eighth-grader who plays trombone, were both named to the ensemble after a highly selective audition process.

Both students will perform at Centereach High School on Feb. 6. Pisano will also travel with the ensemble to Albany on March 8 to perform for the New York State Legislature at the capitol building as part of a “Music in Our Schools Month” celebration.  

Junior Named All-American

High school junior Jillian Colucci has been named an All-American soccer player by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She received her prestigious award at a luncheon at the Baltimore Conventions Center on Jan. 16.

“Jillian is an amazing student-athlete whose hard work, dedication and leadership do not go unnoticed,” said coach Allyson Wolff. “This award is well-deserved.”

This is not the first award Jillian has received as a student-athlete. She also holds several regional and state titles, including League Player of the Year, All-State, All-Region, All-Long Island Team and New York State Player of the Year. In addition, she is a two-season athlete, as she is a member of the school’s varsity basketball team.

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to Jillian on her latest accomplishment.

Student-Musicians Attend String Festival

Ten student-musicians from Edna Louise Spear Elementary and Port Jefferson Middle School participated in the Long Island String Festival Association’s Suffolk Elementary Festival, held on Jan. 17 at Smithtown High School West.

The fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders were selected based on their New York State School Music Association scores, coupled with teacher recommendations.

The district extends its congratulations to fifth-graders Alexa Ayotte, Teppei Fukuto, Anna Rebic, Olivia Schlegel and Tabitha Schully; sixth-grader Kasumi Layne-Stasik; and seventh-graders Jack Reilly, Grant Samara, Noah Teaney and Lucas Welinder.

Binghamtonics Perform

To show high school music students how their love of music can continue after they graduate, chorus teacher Lisa Scrom invited Binghamton University’s a cappella group, the Binghamtonics, to perform and speak with students on Jan. 13.

During the session, the Binghamtonics performed a variety of songs across all genres, from current top 40 hits to pop and hip-hop. They also encouraged the Port Jefferson students to continue their love of music in college, regardless of their major.  

Students Show Off History Smarts

Ten elementary students have proven that they have what it takes to succeed in the National History Bee.

After taking a 50-question qualifying exam in December, the fourth- and fifth-graders learned that they had each qualified to compete in the online regional qualifying exam for the National History Bee. The round will take place in late January.

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to fourth-graders Viviane Kim, Michael Melikyan, Key Ranjbar and Alana Samara and fifth-graders Luke Dickhuth, Kenny Dixon-Lanza, Teppei Fukuto, Ben Perez-Flesler, Tabitha Shully and Amy Whitman.

Joint Letter to Secretary of Education John King Regarding Testing Enforcement


Port Jefferson School District Assigned Favorable Bond Rating

Receives Moody’s Rating of Aa2
The Port Jefferson School District has received notice from Moody’s Investors Service that it has been assigned a rating of Aa2. The rating has been assigned to the district’s $3.8 million in School District Refunding Serial Bonds for 2016. It also affirms the district’s $4.9 million of outstanding general obligation parity debt.

According to Moody’s, the Aa2 rating “reflects the district’s moderately-sized wealthy tax base with significant taxpayer concentration, well-managed financial position with ample reserves and liquidity, and low debt profile.”
“The Board of Education and administration have been diligent in their joint efforts to be fiscally responsible,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “We take great pride in our financial stability and will continue to work to ensure that Port Jefferson remains a fiscally sound district.”

Dr. Bossert noted: “The five year period of budgetary stability and fiscal surpluses cited within the report coincide with the stewardship of the Assistant Superintendent for Business, Sean Leister. Mr. Leister and his staff deserve a great deal of credit for this excellent rating.”

‘Good Morning’

As part of its character education program, the elementary school has introduced a new initiative called Morning Greeters.

Each day, coordinating teachers Carleen Parmegiani and Doreen Marullo select four students to serve as the following day’s Morning Greeters. Those individuals are then encouraged to welcome fellow students as they enter the school by simply saying “good morning.” The program is aimed at sparking added friendliness within the school’s walls.

“Since we started the program, we have noticed that more people are saying good morning and starting off their day in a friendly manner,” said Ms. Parmegiani.

BOE Recognitions

The Port Jefferson Board of Education recognized three individuals during its meeting on Jan. 12. Among those honored were eighth-grader Lucas Rohman, special education teacher Monica Consalvo and elementary school Principal Thomas Meehan. Each individual was presented with a certificate of recognition.

Lucas was honored for being named one of Johns Hopkins University’s Brightest Young Students in the World. As an awardee, he qualified to attend a Center for Talented Youth residential summer program and participate in online classes and several family programs.   

Ms. Consalvo was acknowledged for her work ethic, initiative and dedication. Prior to being presented with a certificate of recognition, Port Jefferson Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Neidig said, “It is clear that Ms. Consalvo loves what she does and makes everyone around her better, including myself.” He noted that aside from attending many school activities outside the school day, Ms. Consalvo frequently goes above and beyond her duties to forward the mission of the school district.

Mr. Meehan was commended for being named a 2015 Person of the Year by the Port Times Record. In recognition of this honor, he was presented with a plaque that will be hung in the elementary school.

12 Days of Kindness

To inspire kindness within their school, second-graders in Carleen Parmegiani’s class at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School participated in a “12 days of kindness” initiative. As part of this effort, the students, along with their “buddies” in Doreen Marullo’s class, carried out 12 good deeds for 12 days in a row. 

Students Listen to Music Greats at Lincoln Center

As a complement to their music curriculum, more than 50 string students and their parents recently attended an evening performance of the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center.

Attendees enjoyed the orchestra’s renditions of Wagner’s epic “Ride of the Valkyries” and “Die Walkure,” Sibelius’ “En Saga,” as well as selected songs by Strauss, featuring soloists Eric Owens and Heidi Melton.

The trip, which was coordinated by Director of Music and Fine Arts Michael Caravello, provided the opportunity for the student-musicians to take in the sights and sounds of professional musicians.  

Students Raise Funds to ‘Adopt’ Chimps

High school Environmental Club members have reached their goal to “adopt” two chimpanzees through various fundraising projects. Over the holiday break, the club members adopted chimps Thabu and Zac, who reside at the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

“The students were determined to adopt the chimps by the holidays,” said club advisor Dawn DeLeonardis-Moody. “This is a cause near and dear to them, especially our Club President Arunima Roy, who is a Roots & Shoots National Youth Leader.”

To raise the $100 needed to adopt the animals, the club members sold reusable water bottles and held healthy bake sales and plant sales. They also hosted an Optimum Charity Challenge, where participants learned how to make repurposed arts and crafts.  

With the adoption, the students will receive periodic updates on the chimps’ well-being.

Student’s Poem Published

A poem penned by Kailey D’Accordo, a seventh-grader at the middle school, was recently published in the Port Times Record’s “Kids Times” section. The poem, titled “A Snowy Winter’s Night,” was written as part of an ELA class assignment that tied into Port Jefferson Village’s annual Dickens Festival Lantern Dedication.

The district extends its congratulations to Kailey.

To read the poem, click here.

History Brought to Life

Port Jefferson’s role in the American Revolution was brought to life during an assembly at the middle school on Dec. 22.

Seventh-graders listened as Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant and Historian Georgette Grier-Key presented an 18th-century letter confirming Port Jefferson’s role in the Culper Spy Ring, which carried secret messages written in invisible ink to General George Washington. Students also watched a short video outlining the significance of the historical document, which was written by a suspected British spy four years after Colonists declared independence from Great Britain.     

The program complemented the grade level’s history curriculum, which is currently focused on the American Revolution.

Swimmingly Perfect Impressions

As part of an interdisciplinary lesson, high school students used the ancient Japanese printmaking technique of gyotaku to create impressions of fish while also learning about the external anatomy of this marine life.

Over the course of the three-day lesson, the students, who are in Jonathan Maletta’s marine science class and Carrie Morgan’s art course, had their science unit reinforced as they used washed fish carcasses, sumi ink and rice paper to make the life-sized fish impressions.

A Joint Letter to Gov. Cuomo Regarding the Education Task Force


Mini Master Class

Middle school student-musicians expanded their orchestral knowledge as they enjoyed a mini master class taught by the Harbor Front Trio on Dec. 21.

During the session, the professionals provided feedback and tips to the sixth-grade orchestra on their concert piece, “Salsa Verde.” The trio, made up of Natalie Kress (violin), Phuc Phan (cello) and Ofir Tomer (viola), also performed for the students, including pieces written by W.A. Mozart’s father, Leopold Mozart.

The musical group is familiar to many in the community, as they frequently hold free concerts at the Port Jefferson Village Center and are the founding members of the Harbor Front Chamber Music Festival.

Hockey Players Recognized

Four high school varsity field hockey players were recognized for their talents at the annual Suffolk County Field Hockey Coaches Association dinner, held at Villa Lombardi’s.  

Among the athletes recognized were seniors Andreya Harvey (All-Tournament) and Michelle Bourguignon (All-Division), as well as juniors Chiara Rabeno (All-Conference) and Jackie Brown (All-State).

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to these outstanding student-athletes.

Saturday, February 06, 2016