Motivated Students Honored

During its Feb. 10 meeting, the Port Jefferson Rotary Club honored two Port Jefferson Middle School students as Most Motivated Students. Sixth-grader Mattea Rabeno received the award for January, while eighth-grader Jillian Lawler was presented with December’s award.     

According to her math teacher, Meg Ryan, Mattea earned her award for being an extremely hardworking student who is especially thoughtful and kind. She is also a valued member of the Port Jefferson Middle School Student Council.          

English teacher Kayleen Everitt said of her student Jillian that she earned her award for being a stellar student, especially when it comes to writing and reading.

Students Pack Blizzard Bags for Senior Citizens

With the unpredictability of winter weather, members of the high school’s Leo Club recently spent an afternoon filling bags with food for Meals on Wheels recipients.

The “Blizzard Bags” will be provided to the recipients of the Meals on Wheels program to have on hand in the event that bad weather prevents their weekly meals from being delivered by the Three Village Meals on Wheels program.

Each Blizzard Bag contains four shelf-stable meals for the seniors, including boxed or canned nonperishable items that can be stored and used in the event of bad weather.     

All of the items were donated by the Leo Club, which raised funds to purchase the food through bake sales.  

Suffolk Superintendents Articulate Concerns to Legislators

The Legislative Committee for the Suffolk County Council of School Superintendents has delivered a letter to our local elected representatives in the State Senate and Assembly. Important concerns such as funding, support for English Language Learners, Unfunded Mandates, and other issues were addressed in the letter.

Dr. Ken Bossert, Superintendent of Schools, is a member of the committee that drafted the letter. “It’s important for all stakeholders to have a voice in the reform process,” said Dr. Bossert. "The SCSSA firmly believes that educators need to be the primary voice in shaping educational reform, with parents and community members learning about critical issues and advocating for positions that support high-quality instruction and financial stability in local communities."

The letter can be read here.

BOE Recognizes Staff

While students and staff were snuggled warm in their homes during the last few snowstorms, the Port Jefferson School District’s Operations and Maintenance staff were hard at work ensuring that the district’s parking lots and sidewalks were safe and clear of snow and ice.  

For their hard work, the Port Jefferson Board of Education paid tribute to the crew by presenting them with certificates during the Feb. 10 Board of Education meeting.

“The work has been extensive, with crews working for 36 hours in a row just during the blizzard,” said Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “Some of them even stayed overnight in sleeping bags. We would be remiss if we did not thank them for their efforts.”

Speaking to the Operations and Maintenance staff in attendance, BOE President Kathleen Brennan said, “You have been tested by water, wind, snow and repairs. On behalf of the BOE, I thank you.”

‘School House Rock Live!’

Audiences clapped and cheered as the Port Jefferson Middle School’s Drama Club presented “School House Rock Live!” on Feb. 6 and 7.

The musical production featured 19 middle school students, as well as high school volunteers and a full orchestra made up of volunteer community members.

Highlights of the show included Drama Club president Saoirse Cohen singing “Interplanet Janet,” and Cole Fortier, Drama Club past president, belting out “Conjunction Junction” and “Magic Number.” Equally entertaining was when Katie Ambrozy sang, “I’m Just a Bill” and Ava Schully performed “The Preamble.”

“We are very proud of this talented ensemble cast and crew,” said Mary LaSita, middle school Drama Club co-advisor.

Celebrating 100 Days of School

To celebrate the completion of the first 100 days of school, kindergarten students in Ms. Allison Coppi’s class spoke about everything they learned so far this school year, from learning their letter sounds to counting to life skills, including sharing and making new friends.

Music Students Learn about Careers in Film

During a workshop with Port Jefferson alumna Ja-Ann Wang, music students at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School explored careers in the entertainment industry.

At the Feb. 5 workshop, Ja-Ann, who holds a degree from NYU and works as a freelance sound editor and mixer, spoke to the students about her personal experiences and the process of adding sound effects and music soundtracks to film.

Additionally, Ja-Ann encouraged the young musicians to follow their dreams and explore the many careers available in music and the entertainment industry. Ja-Ann’s resume includes editing and mixing sound for movies, including “The Conjuring,” “The Giver,” “Mortdecai,” and “Foxcatcher.”

Runner Is Unstoppable

Record-breaking runner James Burke has done it again! On Valentine’s Day, he took first place at the 108th Millrose Games.

James competed against the top 15 milers in the country at the Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center in Manhattan. He finished the one-mile race in 4:11.25, just ahead of Greenwich’s Jeremy Spiezio and Northport’s Mike Brannigan.

This is not the first time that James, who has been running since the fifth grade, has come out on top. He recently took first in the 1,000-meter race at the Malloy Stanner Games, where he broke a Long Island record. He also holds several championship titles and has not lost a race this season.  

To watch the race, click here.

Photo compliments of the

Day in Clay


Fourth-graders learned about Native American ceramic art through a visiting artist program on Feb. 10.

During the hands-on program, artist-in-residence Cliff Mendelson taught students how to make a multicultural ceramic vessel out of clay. Students were able to mold and paint their creations, which will be fired in a kiln and displayed in school in the coming weeks.  

The cultural arts enrichment program aims to not only expose the Port Jefferson students to the process and effort involved in creating ceramic pieces, but also teach them appreciation of the skills needed to craft any type of art.




A meeting of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on February 24, 2015, 4:30 p.m., at the District Office, for the purpose of entering executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters; and any other business as may be needed.

The regular monthly business meeting of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on March 10, 2015, 7:30 p.m., at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School.  Call to order will be at 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of entering executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters.

Art Students Design Valentines for Classmates

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Port Jefferson Middle School art club students designed valentines for their classmates.

The personalized valentines, made with the help of art teacher Stacey Schuman, were hung on all student lockers as a Valentine’s Day surprise.

Girls Basketball Star Scores 1,000th Point

On the same night that the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School girls varsity basketball team clinched their league championship title, the team’s shooting guard, Courtney Lewis, marked a milestone in her own career: scoring her 1,000th point.

“It felt great,” said Courtney, who noted the role her teammates played in helping her achieve her accomplishment.

Courtney started the championship game with 992 points, and with less than two minutes left on the clock in the first quarter, she scored her 1,000th point.

“It is an impressive achievement that very few individuals accomplish,” said Debra Ferry, director of physical education, health and athletics.

Courtney, who started playing varsity basketball in the seventh grade, is currently one of the top 10 scorers in Suffolk County. She plans to continue to play the game that was introduced to her by her father throughout high school and into college.

Courtney also plays soccer, runs spring track and is a member of the varsity club.

Sophomore Earns National Fencing Rating

Anthony Buono, a sophomore at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, earned his “E” national rating in men’s sabre after competing in a tournament held in mid-January.

To earn the rating, Anthony defeated fencers from Stony Brook, Ward Melville and Shoreham-Wading River high schools.

Anthony, who is enrolled at Mission Fencing Center in Rocky Point, is now one of only 13 sabre fencers with an “E” national rating in his age category on Long Island.


String Students Attend County Music Festival

String students of all levels were selected to participate in the Long Island String Festival on Jan. 17 at Smithtown High School West and Feb. 1 at Ward Melville High School.

All of the students were selected on a competitive basis with NYSSMA scores as the main criteria, along with teacher recommendations.

The district congratulates the following students: Kasumi Layne-Stasik (grade 5), Jack Reilly (grade 6), Grant Samara (grade 6), Lucas Welinder (grade 6), David Bershadsky (grade 7), Hyun Jin Lee (grade 8), Mayu Takeuchi (grade 8), Ibuki Iwasaki (grade 9), Trey Pisano (grade 9), Joseph Samara (grade 9), Xinyi Hong (grade 10) and Danielle Goldstein (grade 11).


Perfect Season Scores League Championship

Following their Feb. 4 win against McGann Mercy High School, the Earl L. Vandermeulen varsity girls basketball team clinched the Suffolk League VIII Championship.

Under the leadership of coach Ed Duddy and assistant coach Allyson Wolff, the Port Jefferson team took the title with a final score of 51-31.

The win gave the team an undefeated league record of 10-0.

Last season, coach Duddy’s first as head coach, featured a young team, and he had to create a whole new program that included hard work and discipline in practices and in games.

“Last year, the team had to learn a new defensive and offensive philosophy, which is to be aggressive and execute plans,” said coach Duddy. “They are now reaping the benefits of their hard work and team play. I am very proud of these girls, not just because they are winning, but because they care for one another, which makes them a special group in my eyes.”

Lego Building Enriches Students

For the second year in a row, fourth- and fifth-graders had the opportunity to participate in a Lego enrichment program.

On Jan. 29 and 30, the Port Jefferson students, under the direction of SEAL teacher Janelle Bellotti, learned about simple machines and their real-world applications. The applied that knowledge to build a pull-back car, which they tested using various engineering theories. Students also honed their communication, teamwork and visual interpretation skills through the program. At the end of the class, the students were allowed to take their finished products home.

HS Students Perform at Mid-Island Band Festival

Four high school band students recently participated in the 57th annual Mid-Island Band Festival, held at Patchogue-Medford High School.

Students Andreya Harvey, Calla Kelley-Renda, David Moir and Lara Sarubbi performed with musicians from the Miller Place, Sayville, Patchogue-Medford, Hauppauge and West Islip school districts. The evening concluded with a performance led by guest conductor Peter Randazzo, an adjunct instructor at Suffolk County Community College.

Star Students Recognized

Six elementary students have been named Star Students in the American Library Association’s yearlong Read Campaign. Those chosen as Star Students for the month of January are, in grades K-5 respectively, Lucas Lotten, Meghan Laffey, Joseph Aronica, Alana Samara, Margaret Johnson and Morgan Bullis. As a reward, the students have their photos displayed on the bulletin board outside the library along with a summary of their favorite books.

Port Jefferson Junior Takes Wrestling Title

Junior Matteo DeVincenzo secured the 113-pound wrestling title while competing at the Eastern States Wrestling Classic, held Jan. 10 and 11 at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake.

Matteo earned the title after defeating several top competitors from four states, including New York champion Kyle Quinn of Wantagh in a final match that ended 2-1.

“This win means a lot,” said Matteo. “It places me higher in the rankings.”

This is not the first time that Matteo, who has been wrestling for six years, has found himself in the winner’s circle. He is currently running an undefeated season with a record of 31-0, and at the Armstrong meet on Jan. 24 at the high school, he earned his 100th career win.

Matteo is also a two-time state finalist and placed fourth in the sophomore national wrestling competition.

Community Forum Series - A Conversation on the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Please read the attached flyer regarding the upcoming Community Forum Series - A Conversation on the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts


Snow Closures - Calendar Adjustments


The decision to close school is a very difficult one. A balance must be struck between preserving instructional time and insuring the safety of students, faculty and staff. In addition to our outstanding maintenance and grounds crew, we are fortunate to be able to work closely with the Village to prepare roads and facilities after wicked weather comes our way. Please know that we will always err on the side of caution when making final decisions. As any resident knows, the hills of Port Jefferson, and some of the small winding roads present great challenges to bus drivers, parents, and staff.

As per our Board of Education approved 2014-15 School Calendar (available on the district website), due to the three emergency closings we have experienced, school will now be in session for all students on:

* April 1 (originally designated as a Conference Day)
* May 22
* May 26

If one additional emergency day is required, school will be in session on Thursday, April 2. If any additional days are required, I will formulate a recommendation to the Board of Education for their approval. There are several potential scenarios to review; however, we hope we won't have to!

First and foremost, please stay safe during these challenging weeks ahead. Please also be prepared, at all times, for the potential of a delayed opening, early dismissal, or school closing. On behalf of the Board and the entire District Administration we greatly appreciate how well prepared students are when these events arise. It truly "takes a village".

Warm Regards,
Ken Bossert

Running into the Record Books

High school senior James Burke not only won the 1,000-meter race at the Malloy Stanner Games at the Armory in Manhattan on Jan. 17, but his race time of 2:26.75 broke the Long Island record of 2:27.39 that was set last season.

This is not James’ first win or even first broken record. During his running career, he has broken the high school’s record for the 1,000-, 800- and 600-meter races and earned several championship titles on the national, state and county levels.

“Breaking records is awesome, but winning a title is equally as awesome, since records can be broken but titles can’t be taken away,” said James, who has his sights set on continuing his running streak through the end of the season.

With six out of six wins so far this season, James, who has been running since the fifth grade, now faces several more championship races, with expectations to once again compete in the nationals.

Learning More About New York


During the week of Jan. 19, elementary students learned more about their home state through an interactive program during their physical education classes.

The program, “Welcome to New York,” transformed the school’s gymnasium into an information-packed New York State, complete with tour guides. The guides introduced the Port Jefferson students to more than 20 hands-on activity centers where they learned about New York State history, geography, symbols and facts. Activities included fishing for trout in the Finger Lakes and hiking in the Catskill Mountains.


Monday, March 02, 2015