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Rhame Welcomes Spring With Poet-Tree

Rhame Welcomes Spring With Poet-Tree photo
Rhame Avenue students are filling up the school’s Poet-tree with unique poems written on paper leaves. The winter was long and stormy, and the tree remained barren. The addition of the leaves was a beautiful way to welcome the spring.

Screen-Free Week at East Rockaway

Screen-Free Week at East Rockaway photo
The district will be participating in a Screen-Free Week on April 30-May 6. Screen-Free Week is a nationwide event celebrated annually by schools, families and other community groups to encourage students and families to limit screen time as much as possible, especially social media. Instead of using social media (Facebook, Instagram, Livestream video, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.), this can be time to read, think, create, get physically active and spend more time with friends and family.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, too much screen time has been linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, sleep disruptions, attention problems, behavioral problems, loss of social skills and violence. American children spend more time in front of a screen than they do in school! 
We ask all parents and guardians to take this challenge and limit screen time for the week. If you are able to complete at least one of the days or set limits on how much screen time is used each day, you are being mindful of how much time is spent on screen use. This kind of support is the best thing you can do to ensure that your child/children will have a successful and beneficial experience. 
Please see the “101 Screen-Free Activities” handout for screen-free ideas and learn more about this national event by visiting Please join the movement in East Rockaway Schools to swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen and to reconnect with the world around you.


Senior Voter Registration Day

Senior Voter Registration Day photo

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School held its first-ever Senior Voter Registration Day on April 16.

Social Studies, Foreign Language, and English as a New Language Chairperson April Francis explained to students that the meeting was orchestrated to help students understand why their voices matter.  

New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, along with Ms. Ricki Casta, Mr. Kevin Clemency and Mr. Anthony Santino from the Nassau County Board of Elections, were on hand to discuss the importance of voting and assisted students with the registration process. Sen. Kaminsky explained to students that by registering to vote they would be able to participate in the September primaries. He also discussed the importance of the absentee ballot if they planned on attending an out-of-state college. Mr. Santino reiterated the importance of voting and encouraged students to read about the issues and get familiarized with the platforms of those running for office. 

After the discussion, students filled out voter registration forms. The representatives from the Board of Elections also brought with them a voting machine to demonstrate and familiarize the students with the actual process of entering their ballot into the machine. Students voted for their favorite type of pizza. 


Budget Newsletter – Now Available


Open House - Living with the Bay - April 24, 2018, 6:00 PM - ERHS Cafeteria


Centre Avenue PARP and March Madness Reading Challenge

Centre Avenue PARP and March Madness Reading Challenge photo

The Centre Avenue Pick a Reading Partner and March Madness Reading Challenge was a great success.

Centre Avenue’s PTA and Reading Action Committee organized the four-week event and were excited by the responses. Throughout the month of March, students participated in a number of ways. All students attended a kickoff at the Reading Rocks assembly. Then, students recorded and returned the amount of minutes they read each night, wrote book reviews, completed crossword puzzles and illustrated words from the books they had read. This event showcased students’ motivation and talent in so many different ways. Students were rewarded for “playing” in the challenge and received bags full of books and other goodies. Thanks to participants and all staff for continuing to share their love for reading!

Rhame Students Create Volcanoes

Rhame Students Create Volcanoes photo
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Rhame Avenue School third-graders recently read about volcanoes in Hawaii. They, along with their teachers, discussed how magma erupts from the ground and the short time that people have to escape the path of the molten lava. 

To create a simulation, the students covered a plastic bottle with a volcano and took it outside. When it was time, each student sprinkled baking soda into their volcano’s cone and watched it erupt. During the experiment, they noticed that the time of the eruption was quicker than they anticipated, thus connecting what they saw with their readings and reinforcing that if a volcano is expected to erupt, one should prepare and evacuate quickly. They also noticed that when two chemicals mix, the outcome can be a chemical reaction.

East Rockaway Names Top Two Seniors

East Rockaway Names Top Two Seniors photo
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East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School is proud to announce seniors Marissela Gomez as valedictorian and Gabriella Walsh as salutatorian for the Class of 2018. 

Marissela is brilliant, witty, creative and curious. She is a humanitarian who truly wants to do good for the world. When filling out her college application, she asked guidance counselor Jennifer Melecio if she should include volunteering at the local elementary school and local veterinarian in her family’s home country of Guatemala because she “did these things for fun, not to get community service hours.”

Marissela has participated in accelerated and honors classes throughout high school, enrolling in the most challenging classes offered. She has enrolled in nine Advanced Placement courses, not because it “looks good for college,” she said, but because she has a genuine sense of curiosity about the world and loves a good challenge. Her favorite subjects are chemistry, physics and art, all of which foster her passion for creative problem-solving. As a talented artist, she wanted to take AP Art this year, but it did not fit into her schedule. Instead of just accepting this fate, she took the initiative to work on her AP Art Portfolio during her own time and will submit it to the College Board this spring. 

Marissela’s life seems to revolve around personal growth. She strives to inspire people by being a good person and working hard to improve herself. For example, she just started running cross-country this year, even though she says she isn’t the best runner. She said it quickly became her favorite activity because it allowed her to realize her own weaknesses and work on them. She is a National Hispanic Recognition Program honoree and is the recipient of the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award and the Rensselaer Medal. In addition, she is a Presidential Scholars Program nominee. Her extracurricular activities include serving as chess club president, a peer AIDS educator, cross-country team member and Students Against Destructive Decisions member.   

Gabriella is intelligent, hardworking, extremely motivated, sincere and kind. She is a hardworking student who knows where she is headed in life. Over the past four years, she has challenged herself with a rigorous course load but has managed to stay after school every day to take part in extracurricular activities. Gabriella is the captain of the varsity soccer team. She is also an advocate in the school building, acting in the role of class president. Voted in by her peers, she used her platform to advocate for changes in the building to benefit students. 

Academically, Gabby has pursued a most challenging and rigorous course load, including most honors and Advanced Placement courses. She has maintained a solid A average while balancing a very busy and often hectic schedule. This year, she has also become a member of the National Honor Society. 

As dedicated to her studies as Gabby is, she is also passionate about her after-school activities. She is a valued member of the Quiz Bowl team, where she helps East Rockaway compete against some of the brightest students on Long Island. She has also served as chairperson of Rock Rivalry and was part of the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. Aside from the work in her clubs and organizations, Gabriella also served as a camp counselor for 12-year-old girls this past summer. She described it as one of the most demanding yet rewarding jobs she has ever had. It taught her a great deal about herself and what she can handle. Finding the time to balance her hectic schedule while still maintaining solid grades shows what a well-rounded young lady Gabby has become.

Congratulation to Marissela and Gabriella! The entire East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School community extends its best wishes for success to them in their future endeavors.  

Community Gathers for Safety Forum

Community Gathers for Safety Forum photo
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The district hosted a safety forum on April 12 to provide an update on security enhancements, and to review essential safety items and future plans. 

  A key aspect of the district’s school safety plan is an ongoing districtwide safety committee, which establishes and maintains a plan annually that is shared with the New York State Education Department and local and state police. It includes individual building safety committees, liaisons in each school and a dozen evacuation drills held throughout the year. This safety plan is constantly reviewed and altered as needed. 

Current safety measures were also discussed, such as the close working relationship between the district and members of the Fourth Precinct. Emergency response measures include a panic button at each building, which remotely locks down the building and alerts police. In addition, the district has implemented strict front door procedures at each school building, as well as exterior and interior cameras. They are also looking at increased safety measures.

Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz expressed her gratitude to all those who participated in the panel discussion at the safety forum, including district administrators, New York State Assemblyman Brian Curran, New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, New York State Assemblywoman Melissa Miller, Village of East Rockaway Mayor Bruno Romano, Board of Education trustee Neil Schloth, Sergeant Sollins and police officers Alex Anastasiades and John Zanni from the Fourth Precinct, and Joseph Grubman from Intralogic Solutions. 

For more information on the safety forum, please click here: (English Version) (Spanish Version).

Village Honors Girls Varsity Basketball Team

Village Honors Girls Varsity Basketball Team photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s girls varsity basketball team was honored by the Village of East Rockaway for winning the Long Island Championship and being a New York State Scholar-Athlete team. Congratulations, girls! 

Summer Driver Education Flyer


Students Explore Scientific Inquiry

Students Explore Scientific Inquiry photo

Centre Avenue students in Diana Collins’ and Kelly Dowling’s sixth-grade science classes completed a Penny Lab. This interactive learning activity provided students with a hands-on approach to the scientific inquiry process. Each student was required to create a hypothesis to determine how many drops of water would fit on a penny before experimenting to find the results. The students loved working like scientists in the classroom!


Presentation: The Effects of Drugs of Abuse on the Teen Brain


Elementary Students Experience Native American History

Elementary Students Experience Native American History photo

Rhame Avenue fourth-graders and students from Centre Avenue learned about Native American history when the cultural immersion program Journeys Into American Indian Territory visited them on March 28.

During the in-house field trip, students were exposed to ancient artifacts, as well as activities that taught them about Native American customs. They enjoyed playing games, learned the importance of the oral tradition of telling stories, had an opportunity to grind corn and beat a traditional drum, and made clay pots. Students also used a bow and arrow and watched presenter Maddi Cheers use a blow dart.   

Rhame Avenue teacher Sarah Kane said the visit reinforced the students’ recent study of Eastern Woodland tribes, including how they lived, the clothing they wore and how they gathered their food. 


A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use

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A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use front cover image
Parents and teachers alike are aware that one of the toughest challenges we face is helping our children avoid the perils of substance abuse. Through the efforts of the East Rockaway School District Prevention Task Force, parents, school personnel and community organizations have joined together to create and implement comprehensive, community-based prevention efforts aimed at protecting our children and eliminating tolerance of underage drinking and drug use.  

Thanks to a partnership with the East Rockaway Kiwanis, members of the Prevention Task Force created an informative resource guide, “A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use.” The purpose of this resource is to help parents understand the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and provide ways to seek help, support and guidance, if necessary. The ERSD Prevention Task Force kicked off districtwide distribution of this guide at the Vaping Forum held at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School in December 2017. Representatives from the task force also attended several other district events to distribute this resource, including building PTA meetings, the junior-senior high school’s winter and spring sports tip-off nights and parent/teacher conferences. 

To date, more than 150 households have received their copy and the feedback is positive, indicating that this guide increases awareness of the types of drugs commonly abused by teens, the signs and symptoms of drug use, the negative effects of substance use, child and adolescent brain development and local resources available for early intervention. 

If you have not received a copy of “A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use,” please look for a Prevention Task Force representative at an upcoming event, including the pre-prom meeting and the Dr. Dewey presentation on May 1, as well as elementary, middle school and high school graduation and moving-up ceremonies.  

Poetry Madness

Poetry Madness photo

The English Department at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School recently hosted its annual poetry contest that mimics the March Madness College Basketball Tournament.

The contest is a legacy of Ginny Sievers, former English teacher and lover of both poetry and basketball. The English Department annually receives hundreds of entries and narrows them down from 64 to 32 to 16 to eight. On Friday, March 23, the poems of the Elite 8 – Anjali Baloy, Anne Blaeser, Caitlin Cassini, Marc Crocco,
Jessica Fraumeni, Tyler Kelly, Sharon Oosterwijk and Gabriella Padiernos – were read at an assembly for students in grades 9-12. After the judges heard and reviewed the students’ work, the following were named winners: 

First Place: Tyler Kelly’s “Done Waiting on Change”
Second Place: Gabriella Padiernos’ “Poetry Is Freedom”
Third Place: Jessica Fraumeni’s “Together”
Fourth Place (tie): Anne Blaeser’s “A Vivid Memory” and 
Marc Crocco’s “The Closet”

Assistant Principal TJ Terranova said the poems submitted spoke exceptional truth and are timely, passionate and inspiring.



Publishing Party at Centre Avenue

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Centre Avenue second-graders in Susan Glickman’s class recently celebrated the completion of their opinion pieces. As part of the process, they worked hard using many thinking maps to organize their writing. Then, the students revised and edited their writing before they published it. Everyone enjoyed this special day!

Centre Fourth-Graders Learn About the Dangers of Drugs

Centre Fourth-Graders Learn About the Dangers of Drugs photo
Centre Avenue fourth-graders in Ms. Kirsten Miolan’s class participated in the Too Good for Drugs program with East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School social worker Amy Weissman. 

Too Good for Drugs is an evidence-based prevention program designed to teach skills for living healthy and drug-free lives. The program introduces and develops social-emotional skills for making healthy choices. It also promotes setting goals, identifying and managing emotions, building positive friendships, communicating effectively and resisting peer pressure. 

On the last day, students pledged to continue to take care of their body, make safe and healthy choices and to stay free of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Every student received an achievement award. 

Students Graph Art in Math

Students Graph Art in Math photo
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The Departmental Algebra class at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School practiced their newly acquired graphing skills by plotting points onto a coordinate grid on March 15. Often referred to as Cartesian Art, these are point-plotting puzzles that result in a picture when students correctly plot and follow the ordered pairs given.  

Rhame Students Identify Character Traits

Rhame Students Identify Character Traits photo
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Rhame Avenue sixth-graders in Diana Collins and Maureen Sheerin’s ELA class used multiflow maps to recognize traits of characters from their reading. Students used text evidence to support their thinking and had to explain it further in their own words. Students are really enjoying using thinking maps as a way to explain their thinking.

Students Enjoy Pi Day Fun

Middle School Students Enjoy Pi Day Fun photo

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School students took part in a variety of activities on Pi Day.

Seventh-graders in Mrs. Brigid Mulvaney’s class received Pi tattoos, while Ms. Alissa Longo’s algebra class read “Sir Cumference and the First Round Table” by Cindy Neuschwander. Ms. Longo’s eighth-graders enjoyed a digits of Pi scavenger hunt. Middle school teachers wore buttons with pairs of digits from the number Pi. Students had to find each teacher and have him or her sign their sheet to complete the hunt. They also completed a digits of Pi memorization contest. The winner was Jason Miller, who recited 120 digits correctly. Students in Mary Beth Palazzolo’s class also took part in a digits of Pi memorization contest. 

Congratulations to Arcely Reyes who was named winner, with 122 correct digits.


‘Iggy’ the Guide Dog Visits Centre Avenue

‘Iggy’ the Guide Dog Visits Centre Avenue photo

As a culminating activity to reading and learning about Helen Keller, an American educator who overcame the adversity of being blind and deaf to become one the 20th century’s leading humanitarians, Centre Avenue second-graders learned all about the life and service of a guide dog.

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind Inc. representative Joan Lee visited the school, along with her service dog, Iggy. Mrs. Lee explained that golden and yellow Labradors and Standard poodles are the most commonly used breeds as guide dogs and that training costs approximately $50,000. She also demonstrated for students how Iggy helps her get around objects and helps her to find doorways. The second-graders had an opportunity to ask questions and learned a lot about guide dog etiquette. 

During the meeting, second-grade teacher Susan Glickman read the book “Guide Dog, Guide Dog” to students. She said meeting Mrs. Lee and Iggy provided the students with a real-life experience to reinforce what they were reading about in the classroom.   


ERHS Students Perform With Professional Choir

ERHS Students Perform With Professional Choir photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School senior chorus members Matthew Cooney and Samantha LaChiana performed with the eVoco Voice Collective on March 18.  EVoco is a choir of musicians and music educators from across Long Island, which includes high school Choral Director Seanna Silver. Matthew and Samantha performed the final song of the concert, “My Flight for Heaven” by Blake Henson, alongside Mrs. Silver. 

The concert, “In Remembrance: Music of Healing,” was held at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City. The theme of the concert was especially relevant with the recent events across our nation. The program was one of hope – an invitation for all to reflect on the opportunities and responsibilities that life presents.   

Matthew and Samantha were two of just a handful of students that were selected to participate in this performance. The East Rockaway Music Department is proud of the hard work that they put in to prepare the music for this event.

East Rockaway Supports a Device-Free Dinner

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Common Sense Media is promoting #DeviceFreeDinner, which encourages families to balance their digital life. District families who are interested in learning about the movement, or want to receive tips on what you can do to be more engaged with your family during dinner, visit The organization’s video on the topic can be viewed at

First Solo Art Show for High School Senior

First Solo Art Show for High School Senior photo
Zachary Olewnicki, a senior at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School, exhibited his first solo art show, “A Message to You,” on March 22 at Cooked To Perfection in East Rockaway. 

“A Message To You” explored female standards in current society. Zachary’s photos displayed the strength it takes for a woman to overcome the hardships of rape and the process of being able to mentally move forward with life. While explaining the story of a survivor, his photos branch off into other current-day societal issues, such as body shaming, slut shaming, mental illness, loneliness and being heartbroken.

Photographer’s Forum magazine also recently published one of Zachary’s photos in their “Best of College & High School Photography.” His extraordinary talent secured him a spot at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the fall. Congratulations, Zachary! 

Art in Heart Exhibit Features Elementary Students

Art in Heart Exhibit Features Elementary Students photo

The artwork of district elementary students is being exhibited in Long Island Art Teachers Association’s Annual Art in Heart Exhibit at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa.

Congratulations to the following students: Centre Avenue kindergartner Bella Pecere, third-grader Danielle Ramos and fourth-grader Ethan Alvarez. Representing Rhame Avenue, first-grader Ellie Nowakowski, fifth-grader Jessica Gordon and sixth-grader Louis Perri. A special congratulations to Ethan and Louis, who received awards in excellence. The students’ work will be on display until April 22. 

Students Get Competitive at the Brain Game

Students Get Competitive at the Brain Game photo

Seventh- and eighth-graders at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School enthusiastically participated in the educational assembly The Brain Game, along with faculty members, on March 16. Participants worked in groups to answer questions in all subject areas. It was an incredibly positive experience for all those who attended.

Board Grants Tenure and Honors Students

Board Grants Tenure and Honors Students photo
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A tenure recipient, student-athletes and artists were celebrated at the Board of Education meeting on March 20. 

The evening began with Rhame Avenue School psychologist Dr. Alissa Nunes being recommended for tenure. Rhame Avenue Principal Erik Walter spoke on Dr. Nunes’ behalf. 

“I’d like to paint a picture of how amazing Dr. Alissa Nunes has been in her role as a school psychologist over the last four years,” Mr. Walter said. “Dr. Nunes has played an instrumental role in helping our school function as a place where all students feel safe, comfortable, supported and positive about themselves.”

Members of the girls varsity basketball were celebrated for being recognized as scholar-athletes. Athletic Director David Barth commended the girls, as well as the coaching staff, for their outstanding accomplishments both on and off the court.      

The team not only won the 2018 Class C Long Island championship, they earned the distinction of New York State Scholar-Athletes. To receive this honor, the team’s average grade point average of 75 percent of the roster had to be greater than 90 percent. Coach Karin Leary explained that all nine girls on the team’s roster had earned greater than a 90 percent GPA.  

Additional honors were presented to 13 East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School student-artists who won a total of 26 awards across seven categories at the 2018 Northeast Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Northeast regional competition is administered by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ national office in New York City.

Thinking Maps and Fractions at Centre Avenue

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Centre Avenue third-graders created a series of thinking maps all with the common theme of fractions. They were able to use different types of thinking with fractions to complete each map. The cognitive processes include comparing and contrasting, defining, describing whole-part relationships, classifying and seeing analogies.

Centre Avenue Students Learn the Importance of Self-Esteem

Centre Avenue Students Learn the Importance of Self-Esteem photo

Fifth-grade students at Centre Avenue participated in the Beautiful Me project, developed by the Hance Family Foundation.

In the program, facilitated by school social worker Amy Weissman, students had an opportunity to honor the lives of three beautiful sisters, Allyson, Emma and Katie Hance, by participating in this self-esteem program that teaches students to understand who they are, to appreciate their own skills and qualities, and to understand that there is gratification in helping others. 

The students discussed alternate views of beauty, distorted views of beauty from the media and learned how to respect themselves and develop healthy relationships. They also engaged in activities that focused on self-esteem, values, problem-solving and positive motivation. 

Bagpiper Visits Rhame Avenue

Bagpiper Joseph Beyrer visited students at Rhame Avenue to teach children about the history of the bagpipes and the different parts of a bagpiper’s uniform. Mr. Beyrer was able to share his knowledge and show different tartans from various families. The children learned many facts, including that bagpipes were initially made from a sheep’s stomach.

East Rockaway Celebrates 82nd Annual Rock Rivalry

East Rockaway Celebrates 82nd Annual Rock Rivalry photo

East Rockaway students delivered outstanding performances when they took the stage for the 82nd annual Rock Rivalry.

The evening began with the outstanding freshmen entrance, “Big Apple Bites Back.” Set in New York City, the entrance tells the story of Lily Gray and her arrival to New York and the theater industry. The sophomores followed with “An Argh Rated Production,” the story of Captain Scarlet, a world-famous plunderer. Up next was the junior class’ “Cruisin’ Past the Present,” which took cruise passengers back in time through the Bermuda Triangle. The senior class’ “The Dual to Rule” closed out the show with a performance set in Japan’s Edo period, and described how a brother and sister try to save the life of their father Emperor Kyoto. 

Students earned points for various components of their entrances and sportsmanship. In addition to competing in a quiz bowl, sports night, and boys and girls volleyball games, they also created murals and stands as part of the interdisciplinary competition. The seniors were victorious, earning the coveted silver cup. Congratulations! 

Rhame Students Learn About Energy Conservation

Rhame Students Learn About Energy Conservation photo
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Rhame Avenue students recently enjoyed The Energized Guyz assembly sponsored by PSEG. 

Students were highly entertained during the assembly, which told the story of junior superhero Nikki Neutron, who is on a mission to stop energy from being wasted all over town. Along the way, Nikki and the students learned important lessons about energy resources and conservation – and even convinced the crafty villain, the Sneaker, to join their cause. The program focused on what energy is, how it is used, ways it is wasted and how to conserve it.

Centre Students Learn to Live Healthy and Drug Free

Centre Students Learn to Live Healthy and Drug Free photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School social worker Amy Weissman facilitated the Too Good for Drugs program in Patricia Sertzoglou’s fifth-grade class at Centre Avenue School.

Too Good for Drugs is an evidence-based prevention program designed to teach skills for living healthy and drug-free lives. The program introduces and develops social-emotional skills for making healthy choices. It also promotes setting goals, identifying and managing emotions, building positive friendships, communicating effectively and resisting peer pressure. 

The class and Ms. Weissman met for 10 lessons, and on the last day, students pledged to continue to take care of their body, to make safe and healthy choices, and to stay from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Every student received an achievement award.

Centre Avenue Students Make Butter!

Centre Avenue Students Make Butter photo

Centre Avenue fourth-graders in Kirsten Miolan’s class are studying physical and chemical changes.

They began by watching videos, reading informational texts and taking notes in a Tree Map to determine the differences between a physical and chemical change. They then took what they were learned and combined it with their social studies Colonial Times unit. Students read “The Story of Butter” to find evidence of either a chemical or physical change. They learned that making butter is a physical change, but decided that they needed some proof. Working in small groups, the class filled jars with heavy whipping cream and took turns vigorously shaking them. This motion caused the cream to turn into butter! As a result, they could see that a physical change had occurred and there were no signs of a chemical change.

Success for DECA Club at State Competition

Success for DECA Club at State Competition photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s DECA Club members Anjali Baloy, Edward Gorsky, Marie Lisondra, Katelyn Reddy, Andrew Schwarzman and Peter Wilson competed at state competition in Rochester, New York. 

The students attended business workshops and participated in events, such as financial consulting, personal financial literacy, visual advertising, principles in tourism and hospitality, and job interviews, over a period of three days. Andrew Schwarzman placed fourth in financial consulting and is moving on to nationals in Atlanta in April. Peter Wilson placed in the top 10 on his written exam for personal financial literacy and Katelyn Reddy placed in the top 10 for visual advertising. All of the students competed against the best in the state and did a great job. We are so proud of their success and wish Andrew lots of luck at the national competition.

PARP Has a Magical Start at Centre Avenue

PARP Has a Magical Start at Centre Avenue photo

Students were treated to a Reading Rocks magic show by Joe Holiday during Centre Avenue’s Pick a Reading Partner kickoff on March 12. They saw pages from a book go on fire, a student’s head shrink and a balloon-dog magically appear from a paper bag. Magician Joe emphasized the importance of reading every day, not just during PARP. Principal Sherry Ma extended her thanks to the Centre Avenue PTA for sponsoring this assembly. The PARP theme this year is the March Madness Reading Challenge. All students are encouraged to pick a reading partner and read daily!

Destination: Albany for Centre Avenue Sixth-Grader

Destination: Albany for Centre Avenue’s Mahoney photo
Centre Avenue School’s National Geographic Bee champion Michael M., is headed to Albany, New York, after passing the National Geographic Bee state-qualifying test. He will compete against 100 students from across New York State on April 6. 

“I’m excited and a little nervous,” he said. “I feel like if I study and try my best, it will be okay.” 

Michael said his interest in geography began at a young age. 

“I would ask my parents a lot of questions and when I saw places on TV, I’d ask where they were.”

Michael received the book “How to Ace the National Geographic Bee” in December and began studying for his school’s Bee. He said the book was helpful because it provided facts about geography and study tips for all levels of the competition. As for the state-qualifying test, Michael said it was “easy.” 

“I had an hour to take the test, but it I did it in 15 minutes,” he said.

Michael also offered some advice for those interested in competing in next year’s Bee.

“Never stop asking questions,” he said. “If you don’t know something, research it on the internet, and remember – you can learn from getting the wrong answers.”

One champion from each state will advance to the National Geographic Bee championship held May 20-23 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. Good luck, Michael! 

Global Studies Breakout Tests Students’ Knowledge

Global Studies Breakout Tests Students’ Knowledge photo
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Sophomore students in Mr. Nick Taylor and Mrs. Valerie Parasmo’s global studies class recently participated in a Global Studies Breakout, fashioned after the popular Escape Room experience. Students were highly engaged in extracting a series of global studies facts to discover clues in order to unlock a series of locks.

First, students used their knowledge of each other to figure out who their groupmates were. They then used their global studies expertise to solve riddles whose answers would provide solutions to open combination, word and directional locks. Clues were revealed using various technologies, including a black light and magic ink, tablets and a United Nations database.

To solve the riddles, students answered Regents-level questions and navigated supported text. They also utilized Gapminder, which helps students interpret more than 200 years of data collected by the United Nations. Upon the opening of each lock and box, the complexity of clue increased and further supported students in their quest to “breakout” of global studies.

Students Study Erosion at Centre

Students Study Erosion at Centre photo
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Centre Avenue second-graders recently completed a science lesson on erosion using Skittles candy. 

Prior to the experiment, teacher Venesia Heyward instructed students to ask questions and come up with a hypothesis. They then placed 10 drops of water on a Skittle, which served as a “rock,” to see the effects of the “erosion.” Once they completed their experiment, the class recorded its results. 

Rhame Students Commemorate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Rhame Students Commemorate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday photo

Rhame Avenue kindergarten students celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday by reading “Green Eggs and Ham” and eating them. The classes learned about author’s purpose and concluded that Dr. Seuss wrote this book because he wanted us to try new things. They all gave it a thumbs-up! Principal Erik Walter joined the fun, eating green eggs, along with the students.

Centre Avenue First-Graders Learn About Rosa Parks

Centre Avenue First-Graders Learn About Rosa Parks photo

First-grade students in Centre Avenue celebrated Black History Month by learning all about Rosa Parks, and how influential she was during the time of segregation. The students created flow maps to retell the order of events that happened in her life. They also worked in partnerships to create props to act out her story and bring it to life.

East Rockaway PTA Hosts Founder’s Day Celebration

East Rockaway PTA Hosts Founder’s Day Celebration photo

East Rockaway School District’s PTA units held its Founder’s Day event on Feb. 28 at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School. Honorees included East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School teacher and coach Russel Pajer and PTA President Bridget Saporito; Centre Avenue teacher assistant Kristi Boyce and PTA President Jennifer Hickam; and Rhame Avenue teacher aide Theresa Owen and parent Daniel Carraciolo. Congratulations to all those honored!


Dignity Club Creates Black History Month Scavenger Hunt

Dignity Club Creates Black History Month Scavenger Hunt photo
Dignity Club Creates Black History Month Scavenger Hunt photo 2
Dignity Club Creates Black History Month Scavenger Hunt photo 3
In honor of Black History Month, East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s Dignity Club created a schoolwide scavenger hunt using technology and creativity.
The club members created QR codes and websites to help students learn more about African Americans who made great accomplishments in a variety of fields. Students picked up an answer form in the school’s main office and scanned it for the first clue. They then had to fill in five answers based on the clues given at each "station" located around the high school. There were multiple entries with correct answers. The winner was selected at random and was awarded a $50 Visa gift card.

It’s Cool to Be Kind at Centre Avenue

It’s Cool to Be Kind at Centre Avenue photo

During the month of February, Centre Avenue participated in a 10-day Kindness Challenge. Every student had the opportunity to decorate a paper heart inscribed with an act of kindness that they had performed. The hearts were then posted to the school’s Kindness Tree.

All of the students’ acts of kindness were celebrated during a brief assembly on Feb. 14, with two students from each grade level having a chance to present three to four acts of kindness they had performed. They also discussed as a school why kindness is important, and how it can be displayed each and every day at Centre Avenue. 

Skills and Achievement Students Assist AP Students

Skills and Achievement Students Assist AP Students photo

Advanced Placement Environmental Science students from East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School recently toured eWorks Electronics Services in Freeport, a company that recycles electronics and creates employment for surrounding communities. The eWorks facility is one of the school’s community-based settings for students enrolled in the Skills and Achievement Certification Program. The Skills and Achievement students working in the program showed the environmental science students how to disassemble a computer and determine what parts needed to be recycled.

District Hosts Robotics Tournament

Forty-one teams from 19 school districts and two outside school organizations from Long Island, New York City and Katonah, New York, participated in the VEX IQ Robotics Challenge at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School on Feb. 10.

Numerous members of East Rockaway’s staff participated in the event, which was filled with excitement and enthusiasm. The students dealt with mechanical hurdles, programming changes and autonomous challenges throughout the competition. This did not detract from the vitality of fair competition. 

The event had its share of successes and challenges, but all who attended saw the teams actively engaging in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and robotics matches that were spirited and filled with sportsmanship. 

The East Rockaway team, led by Frank Nunez and Devon Herrera, made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Congratulations to all of the East Rockaway students who competed. 

Tarsia Puzzle Fun for Algebra Students

Tarsia Puzzle Fun for Algebra Students photo

Sophomores in Deanna Mignella’s Algebra 2 class at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School recently worked on Tarsia puzzles involving rational exponents. The students enjoyed taking part in the fun and academically engaging activity.

Superintendent’s Day Ed Camp

Superintendent’s Day Ed Camp photo

Administrators, faculty and staff gathered at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School for Superintendent’s Day Ed Camp on Feb. 16.

After enjoying a light breakfast, those in attendance heard from keynote speaker Dr. Nancy Kaplan, associate provost for academic support services and external academic partnerships from St. John’s University. Dr. Kaplan discussed implicit bias and how it contributes to social inequities in the criminal justice system, healthcare, employment, and within schools in terms of discipline, opportunity, expectation, recognition and ultimately achievement. She also called on the educators to reflect on where they were in terms of managing their own biases. 

“Are you neutral, meaning you treat all people the same? Are you cognizant, meaning you sometimes treat individuals differently based on their difference and what he or she needs? Are you reflective, meaning that you know unconscious bias can impact decisions you make and you try to consider each action with that in mind? Or are you proactive, meaning you know that unconscious bias can impact decisions you make so you actively and continuously challenge yourself and improve your skills around these issues?” Dr. Kaplan asked.

“I hope you become proactive, I pray that you become proactive, and if you are one of the few that is already proactive, I hope and I pray that you become more proactive,” Dr. Kaplan continued. “When you are proactive and your colleagues are proactive, you have a school building populated with professionals who are dedicated to providing opportunities for children. But more than providing opportunity, you have a school building that is filled with people who have the highest of expectations for each and every child, even if they don’t have them for themselves, even if those families don’t know what the expectations should be.”   

After the keynote address, district educators attended various sessions, including Fostering Inclusion: Understanding My Role, led by Dr. Kaplan. Other sessions held throughout the day focused on technology, special education, communication, math learning standards and more. 

Publishing Party at Rhame Avenue

Publishing Party at Rhame Avenue photo

Third-graders at Rhame Avenue enjoyed a reading celebration of their recently published books. Students studied weather in science and brought their knowledge into a writing project. They created a superhero to combat extreme weather and designed their own logo, which was prominently displayed on their T-shirts. The students created masks and wore capes to round out their outfits. Each student’s story was incorporated into a class book.

Dan Vito Is NYS Assistant Coach of the Year

Dan Vito Is NYS Assistant Coach of the Year photo
East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School coach Dan Vito was named New York State Assistant Coach of the Year. 

Presented by the New York State High School Football Coaches Association, this is a tremendous honor and is no small task to earn. Dan was selected out of all teams participating in high school football across New York State, all of whom have assistant coaches.  

“This is a testament to the work that he puts in on a daily basis and the impact that he has had on this program,” Athletic Director David Barth said.

Coach Vito was honored on Feb. 9 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Geneva, New York. Mr. Barth extended his gratitude to coach Vito for his loyalty and commitment to the football program, students and the community of East Rockaway.

Centre Students Examine Black History

Centre Students Examine Black History photo

Centre Avenue students learned about Civil Rights and the contributions of famous black Americans as part of the school’s Black History Month celebration.

Fifth-graders in ToniAnn Donald’s class read about the Civil Rights Movement and were given specific dates in history to research by their teacher. Based on their findings, they then created digital newspaper articles, which highlighted their research. Some of the influential persons studied included Ruby Bridges and Rosa Parks. According to Mrs. Donald, the class had an in-depth discussion about the changes that occurred as a result of the Civil Rights Movement and made connections to present day.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Christian Soto’s sixth-grade class conducted a Black History Month Scoot, which tasked them with reading excerpts about famous black Americans, such as Thurgood Marshall, Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and Harriet Tubman. The students then worked in teams to identify the famous people and classify them into one of the following categories: activist, inventor, politician, athlete or musician. Once they were finished, they created a Thinking Map to convey what they had learned.   


St. Jude Math-A-Thon Kicks Off at Rhame Avenue

St. Jude Math-A-Thon Kicks Off at Rhame Avenue photo

On Feb. 1, Rhame Avenue kicked off its St. Jude Math-A-Thon. Students created a kickoff song to encourage their peers to participate. They also participated in an assembly where they watched videos on how raising money will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The school will be collecting donations until March 1, with hopes of raising $3,750 for the hospital.


East Rockaway Names New Athletic Director

David Barth, RAA was appointed as the new athletic director for East Rockaway School District during a special meeting of the Board of Education on June 20.
Barth, a Northport resident, comes to East Rockaway after serving at Friends Academy in Locust Valley for 12 years. While at Friends Academy, he taught physical education for students in grades K-12 and health to students in grades K-5. In addition to teaching, he served as an administrative intern since 2014, supervising the athletic facility and various athletic events. Other duties included conducting interviews for potential teacher candidates, assisting with budget preparation for soccer and lacrosse programs, and conducting formal and informal teacher observations.

Barth also has extensive coaching experience, serving as the boys varsity soccer coach at Freeport High School, boys eighth-grade basketball coach at Manhasset Middle School and boys lacrosse coach at Smithtown Middle School. His coaching tenure continued at Friends Academy, where he held assistant and head coach positions for multiple sports.
His educational background includes a Master of Science in educational leadership and administration from the College of St. Rose, a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Stony Brook University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in education/physical education from SUNY Cortland. He is a Registered Athletic Administrator and holds the following New York State certifications: School District Leader, School Building Leader, Health Education and Physical Education K-12. He also holds certifications in several other areas.  

“I am very excited to join the East Rockaway School District,” Barth said. “I have already met many great students, parents, teachers and community members, who have given me insight into this wonderful community. My goal is to continue to build on the strong foundation that has been established by former Athletic Director Dom Vulpis, and to uphold the tremendous reputation that East Rockaway has throughout the county. I also look forward to working with all stakeholders in delivering quality home and career, health education and physical education curriculums, while enhancing our athletic programs in an effort to positively impact our students’ lives.”

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