Bellport Middle School Celebrates National Foreign Language Week

Each year, educators across the country observe National Foreign Language Week during the first week of March.  Over the years, the World Languages Department of Bellport Middle School has made National Foreign Language Week a highlight of our school life.  This year, the week-long celebration at the Middle School was particularly outstanding.  Each day had a different theme: Monday was “Hispanic Cultures Day”, Tuesday - “Italian Day”, Wednesday - “French Day”, Thursday - “Portuguese Day”, and Friday was “Multicultural Day”.  During homeroom, students introduced the morning announcements in Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese.  During their World Language class periods, students assembled each day in the auditorium for presentations and fun activities. 

Monday saw the debut of a BMS original documentary about global citizenship.  In the film, various BMS staff members shared their personal experiences about traveling abroad, and how those experiences helped shape their world perspective.  Mr. Di Puma, the creator of the film, said that he hopes the video will help increase student reflection on being global citizens, and that it will promote kindness and empathy throughout the Middle School.  After the film, students were invited to compete in a poster contest on the theme of global citizenship and what it personally means to be better global citizens.  

We are proud to report that our film has “gone viral” and has been shown to students in other schools outside of our district. 
The link to the video can be found here:

BHS Student Council Stays Awake for Brighter Tomorrows

The Bellport High School Student Council held its 2nd Annual Stay-Awake-A-Thon on March 3rd and 4th in the High School Gym.  As part of the Community Charity Champions Competition for Cablevision (now Altice), the Student Council raised $3,000 for Brighter Tomorrows, a domestic violence shelter that services people in our District. 
As Regional Champions in last year’s competition, Bellport is not eligible to win again, but that didn’t stop the StuCo members from achieving their goal in both fundraising and staying up all night.  There was a great amount of support from the faculty and staff, as well as parent and other students to meet the challenge, all much appreciated!

Good Turnout for College and Career Expo


Approximately 400 high school students packed the gymnasium at Bellport High School on Monday for the school’s annual spring college and career expo. Over 100 businesses and colleges were set up, ready to chat with students about potential post-graduation paths.

As the students made their rounds and explored life after high school, guidance counselor Jenna Restivo reflected on the annual event’s success. “We’ve had students find summer jobs and apply to colleges represented here,” she said. In the lobby, culinary students prepared and served hors d’oeuvres, a new addition this year. “Now, it encompasses all students,” Restivo said. “We used to use a small fund to get food from a deli, but realized we have students taking advanced culinary courses right here at the high school,” she said of the decision to have the students “cater” the event.

Both in-state and out-of-state private and public colleges were represented, and prospective students, many of them juniors, signed up for more information. All career paths were represented, from the U.S. Armed Forces to the South Country Ambulance to Long Island businesses like Splish Splash, wanting to recruit seasonal employees. Restivo noted the importance of having career professionals along with college reps to allow students to make connections between choosing a major and earning a degree and landing a job in the real world. “This allows the students to tie in their post-college plans with their pre-college prep,” she said.

Knowing that many students enroll in the Advanced Placement Government course, some government officials also talked with students. Terri Ann Malloy, a congressional aide for Lee Zeldin, discussed internship opportunities with students that are available in their Washington, D.C. and Patchogue offices. “We’re a very busy office,” she said, noting that congressional interns do more than grab coffee and make copies. “We try and involve them with casework so they get a good feel for the job,” she said.  Legis. Kate Browning’s chief of staff, Josh Slaughter, handed out applications for the 2017 Suffolk County Legislature Page Program. The internship is open to Suffolk County students 18 or older who have a high school diploma and want experience in leadership, policy and government. “The program really gives you a look at what it’s like to work in government,” Slaughter said, adding that he wished a program like that existed when he was that age and looking for experience.
Students walked around the gym with this advice in mind from Restivo: “I tell them to not be shy, to talk to each representative and ask as many questions as they can think of,” she said. 

Nick Felix and Gabrielle Consetti from Suffolk County National Bank set up a table with goodies and giveaways. Though in the process of merging with People’s United Bank, Consetti explained that they were happy to answer any questions students might have about what majors they might go for and their experiences working in a large bank. Felix was happy to offer general advice: “Do something you love,” he told one student grabbing candy. “If you do, it’s not really work.”  That advice was comforting for junior students Nicole Gomez, Kai Hatcher and Molly Honce. “This whole process is overwhelming,” Honce said, feeling the pressure. “But I talked to a lot of cool people today.” Gomez admitted that she has some research to do. “It feels like reality is hitting me,” she said. Hatcher agreed. “I don’t know what to do with my life,” she said, laughing nervously. The career fair, she said, helped her realize that there are tons of options out there. 

“Whether our students are leaving for college, the military or straight for a career, all have great opportunities,” Restivo added. “I hope today’s fair showed them that.”   (Reprinted, courtesy of Long Island Advance 3/9/2017)

Varsity Baseball Preps for the 2017 Season

Bellport varsity baseball players prepare themselves at All-Pro Sports Academy for the 2017 season.
Bellport varsity baseball players prepare themselves at All-Pro Sports Academy for the 2017 season.

This past Monday, the World Baseball Classic was underway, with Israel playing South Korea. Not only that, but school-wise, the tryouts for spring sports — lacrosse, tennis, track and baseball — began.

Bellport Varsity Baseball for the 2017 season, looks to once again do damage, as they have dedicated time and preparation since the beginning of January to accomplish the same goals they’ve accomplished in the last few years. In the 2015 season, Bellport managed to net a 10-8 record sweeping rivals like West Babylon and Huntington, enough for them to reach playoffs. Unfortunately, they would fall to Sachem East 2-0. Last year in the 2016 season, Bellport finished with a 10-10 record. After beginning in a slump with a record of 2-5, Bellport managed to win eight of their last 13 games to reach playoffs, but once again things would not go their way, as they fell to Connetquot 8-5. 

This year they’re looking forward to reaching the playoffs and even more, bringing home that banner by winning League IV. They will try to accomplish that with seniors Michael Sangiamo, Michael Francomano and Ian Hampson, who have all had varsity experience with last year. They will also have Adam Colon (six-year varsity player, committed to Citadel), Matthew Mulligan (committed to SUNY Purchase) and Joseph Greco (committed to Sacred Heart University). They have the addition of Ryan Kane, Rafael Vargas, William Romano, Trevor Virno, Kareem Holloway and the likes of Ryan Baumann and Anthony Jacabacci, who will both be entering their third year as varsity baseball players. Lastly, the roster will include sophomores Justin Maler and Andrew Veit. “Hopefully, we’ll maintain the success over the past couple of years, which is making playoffs and hopefully come out with a banner,” said Greco, who will be entering his fourth year of Bellport varsity baseball. “We just have to keep grinding and we’ll be in a good position to accomplish those goals.” 

“I’m looking forward to getting back to right where we were — we have unfinished business,” said Jacabacci. Bellport will dispute in League IV with schools like Centereach, Deer Park, Huntington, North Babylon and West Islip. Teams like Centereach (4-16 in 2016), Deer Park (6-14) and Huntington (3-16) will look forward to bouncing back this year and reaching playoffs. On the other hand, teams like North Babylon (13-7 in 2016) and West Islip (17-3) will look forward to reaching playoffs and doing more damage. West Islip won the Class AA Long Island Championship this past year. For the players, they all have the same mentality, to win League IV and bring the banner home. “We want to win a championship for the first time in 51 years,” said Baumann. “We are determined to put another banner up on the wall; the team chemistry definitely stands out. This is a group of guys that are all really close on and off the field and really want to go out and compete with each other,” said Mulligan, who enters his second year as a varsity player. The first game for Bellport will be at home on March 27 against North Babylon.

By Andres Rivas, reprinted courtesy of Long Island Advance 3/9/2017 


Principal Puckers Up for Hog & Haircut Reading Challenge


Pigs Bert and Ernie, from the Holtsville Ecology Center, made a special trip to Verne W. Critz Elementary School to have Principal Brian Ginty give them a kiss in the “Hog and Haircut Reading Challenge”.

Mr. Ginty challenged his students, consisting of Kindergarten through 3rd grade, to read 10,000 books. He promised he would cut his shoulder length hair and kiss a pig if they met this goal.  After only 5 months, the students met the challenge by reading well over 10,000 books!

To the delight of his students, Mr. Ginty held a special assembly on Monday, March 6th,  where a teacher from each grade level whose class read the most books, cut a piece of his hair.  Afterwards, Mr. Ginty’s personal hairdresser came by to finish it off with a “high and tight” haircut!   True to his word, he then puckered up to Bert and Ernie, planting a kiss on each of them, amidst the cheers and laughter of all!  

Although the spotlight centered on Mr. Ginty, we can't forget the real stars in this story - the Verne Critz students, who worked hard to meet the challenge.  As much fun as it was, the end goal was to get students reading and indeed it did!   

Superintendent's Letter Regarding Testing Refusal

Please click here to view the Superintendent's letter to parents regarding refusal of the New York State ELA and Math Assessments. 

Private School Transportation Requests

Reminder:  Private School Transportation Requests for the 2017-2018 School Year are due by April 3, 2017.  Please visit the Transportation Page for information.  

Kreamer Street Celebrates Black History Month

Kreamer Street third grade students spent the month of February celebrating Black History Month. Students used the Virtual Reference Collection in library to research some famous notable African American men and women and their accomplishments and legacies. Every morning, during the month of February, one student would share that research during the school announcements with the entire building teaching younger students all about their research. Way to go third graders!

Students Celebrate Career and Tech Education Month

Bellport High School seniors Peter Mistretta, Chrissy Hobson and Adrian Trent show off their marketing skills for a virtual enterprise called “Portside Sweets” during a CTE Month presentation last week.
Bellport High School seniors Peter Mistretta, Chrissy Hobson and Adrian Trent show off their marketing skills for a virtual enterprise called “Portside Sweets” during a CTE Month presentation last week.

Last week, Bellport High School  students spun a  prize wheel during seventh-period lunch. As they came up for a chance to win silly prizes — a piece of candy or a free hug — several career and  technical education senior students were on  hand to  entice younger classmates to enroll in these classes by presenting examples of  work they had been doing all year.  It’s also a way for students to participate in a national public awareness campaign called Career and Technical Education Month. These programs, which at Bellport High School include culinary, business and technology, directly prepare students for high-wage, high-demand careers.

During the month of February, the value and achievements of CTE programs are celebrated throughout the country. “It’s perfect timing since the students are working on their schedules for next year,” explained culinary teacher Lisa Martin.  “Our program is growing every year.”  This year, 122 Bellport students enrolled in CTE classes, with an additional about 70 students participating  in after-school clubs.“The reason I come to school is for culinary class,” said senior Kiara Trent. Last year, she joined a group of culinary students at Walt Disney World’s Epcot for a program called Cook Around the World. Though most of us who have been to Disney look forward to “eating” around the world at Epcot, Trent and her classmates were  treated to  student tours, hands- on cooking demos and crash courses in hospitality during their trip. Trent was amazed at the inside look at how food is grown and prepared at one of the most renowned resorts in the world. France, Trent explained, was her favorite part of the tour because it tied into her core studies at home. “I’ve taken French since seventh grade,” she said. “And I love crêpes.” Fellow senior Chrissy Hobson has taken every culinary class offered to her at Bellport and is planning to enroll in the culinary arts program at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead next fall. “They wouldn’t let me take it again,”she joked about her high school culinary classes.  The program, she explained, has given her the skills needed to cook  recipes at home, but also given her experience in event planning and catering. With the culinary club, Hobson has helped cater school events such as NYSSMA,  events for the Boys and Girls Club and even worked with the business department to cater some of their virtual enterprise meetings.  

The virtual enterprise is a project developed  by  students in the business program. Essentially, they create a business from the bottom up and cover everything from sales and marketing to human relations and customer service. Each project “expires” every five years, explained senior Adrian Jones. Last year was the fifth year, so his class was tasked with coming up with a brand-new idea.  And thus began Portside Sweets, a virtual bakery created entirely by students. According to Martin,  the students must consider the meaning behind each busi- ness decision, down to the name itself. “We chose ‘portside’ as an homage to our location in Bellport,” said senior Peter Mistretta.  Mistretta  and Jones showed off some marketing materials they helped create for the project, including creative business cards that could do well in the real world. “You learn everyday things that you’ll actually use,” said Jones, who plans to study software  engineering after high school. For Mistretta, who plans to study business management in college, the program has showed him how interconnected these disciplines can be. “It shows you how business affects everything  around you and how often these skills are used,” he said, noting that the three departments frequently work together. “I also like the competition aspect,” he added, explaining that projects such as the virtual enterprise have helped him learn how to go above and beyond — a trait future employers will look for.  

These seniors have all taken advantage of the CTE programs and are career-oriented as a result. They also explained how the program has helped them apply these skills to their after-school jobs as well. Martin sees the CTE classes as a way to learn essential life skills that are not always taught in core classes. “These are the skills they need to develop themselves before they go out into the world,” she said. For her culinary students, it’s also a way to be prepared for the future. “They have a head start on learning how to take care of themselves in college, so they aren’t eating junk and fast food all thetime.” Regardless of their future paths, Martin is proud to see CTE students embracing the classes and hopes they feel a sense of pride in their work. “It can be as simple as being able to fix something that breaks in the house,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s a way for students to showcase their talents and feel successful. Our goal is to have well-rounded students leaving Bellport High School.”

(By Tara Smith, reprinted courtesy of the Long Island Advance 2/23/17)

Fifth Grade Student Soon-to-be Second Time Author


Christopher Ford may only be turning 11, but he is already an accomplished author with a big heart and a long list of goals.  “I want to be a whole lot of things,” he said. “First a football player … then eventually, president.”

After publishing his first children’s book at the end of third grade, “Mr. Mustache Goes to the Circus,” the now fifth-grader at Frank P. Long Intermediate School is developing his second book in the Mr. Mustache series. 

“It took me a few years to write,” he said.  “It’s about a young man named Mr. Mustache and he likes to explore … so when the circus came to town, he wanted to see it.” Mr. Mustache eventually joins the circus, but realizes he isn’t good at it, Ford stated as he held up his colorfully illustrated book. “Then he realized at the end that he just had to be himself, and that’s all that mattered.”

Ford's parents, Elisa and Jim Ford, were with their son from the beginning and encouraged him to bring his ideas of Mr. Mustache to life.  “He was writing on a big yellow pad and he had page after page … pictures, everything,” his mother said. “So that’s when I told my husband to start filing all of it online.” The father-and-son duo began researching publishers and were quickly picked up by Archway Publishing. Although Christopher drew the entire concept art himself, which was essentially a stick figure sporting an antenna, he decided to outsource the illustrator online.

The family is hoping to have his second book out by the end of this school year, so fans can read about Mr. Mustache’s growing family. “It’s about Mr. Mustache and how he is going to get a puppy … it’s going to be a schnauzer,” he disclosed. “He’s going to have a mustache, too.”
The books are available online only and in sparse stores across the U.S., but that doesn’t stop the soon-to-be middle school student from sharing it with his friends to read. 

On Feb. 28, Christopher will participate in the Parent University workshop at Kreamer Street Elementary School. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the young author will be signing copies of his book for families in attendance. Half of the proceeds for each book will go towards fighting illiteracy, a topic he finds concerning. “He donated books to the library and to his teachers,” said his mother.

The karate black belt and track-running, book-loving, football-playing Cub Scout and student tutor knows that being sincere is the first rule and will always hold the door open for a group of strangers. “You can teach manners and helping others,” she added, “But you can’t teach being genuine and you can’t teach integrity… you’re just born that way.”  “I think he’s a role model for other students,” said Regina Hunt, South Country School District Board of Education trustee. “He just wants to help other kids.”

Christopher thought long and hard when he came up with the concept for the Mr. Mustache franchise, by even including a “Where’s Waldo?” type of game within its pages. “He said, ‘I don’t want kids to be done when they’re finished reading it … I want them to want to read it again and again and again,’” explained his father.  “We have mustaches hidden on each page,” Christopher added. “We challenge you to find all of them.” 

“At Frank P. Long Intermediate School, he serves as an active member, contributing to the fabric of success within the school community,” said principal Stefanie Rucinski. “He is kind and caring to others and accepts everyone regardless of their differences. Chris is one of many who exemplifies excellence in the South Country Central School District.”

The young author’s success comes from the help of his parents and his own business-savvy mind. At 5 years old, he created his own branding trademark, CF Productions, which also holds the name of his personal website.  When asked for any insight, the 10-year-old mini-businessman said that anyone can write a book, and compared creating a literary work to a game of Othello — all one needs is a strategic plan. With a dozen book ideas, a published work and a sequel currently in production, Christopher is nothing but happy.

“Make sure you put your mind to it and put your ideas on paper first so you can work off of it,” he said. “It makes me feel like so proud of myself because it came from such a big dream to write a book.”

 (reprinted courtesy of Long Island Advance)


Lending Library Open for Business in Cluster A

Lending Library Open for Business in Cluster A
Lending Library Open for Business in Cluster A 2
Sharing their love of reading, Frank P. Long Intermediate School teachers Mary Pettit, Trish Gallina, Tony Giresi, Laura Heaton and Nick Paolillo worked together to create a "Lending Library" for 5th Grade students in Cluster A. Stocked with books donated from "The Book Fairies", a Long Island based non-profit organization, the library aims to foster literacy by inspiring and cultivating a love of reading among students. The library is maintained by the students themselves, who are free to both borrow and donate their own books to the collection. They ensure the success of the program by making sure it runs smoothly and offering new features to keep kids motivated. Book requests, book reviews and book raffles are among the features added since the program began.

Pictured above left to right are....
Bryelle Reid, Brian Suarez, Taylor Macioce, James Voher

New Parent Technology Workshops - Family Engagement Center

Click here to view the upcoming Parent Technology Workshops at Family Engagement Center.  

BMS Cancer Research Fundraiser Sets New Record

Pictured 1st row: Angie Gomez, Madison Peters, Emily Zahralban.  2nd row:  Kaylee Thatcher, Annie Mezzatesta, Karli Monsell, Isabella Gascon, Grace Mezzatesta, Row 3:   Stuco Advisor Mr. DiPuma, Jack Armann, Cassidy Solina, Michaela Lyons, Mitchell Mordente, Isabella Banellis, Dr. Colson, Principal.
Pictured 1st row: Angie Gomez, Madison Peters, Emily Zahralban. 2nd row: Kaylee Thatcher, Annie Mezzatesta, Karli Monsell, Isabella Gascon, Grace Mezzatesta, Row 3: Stuco Advisor Mr. DiPuma, Jack Armann, Cassidy Solina, Michaela Lyons, Mitchell Mordente, Isabella Banellis, Dr. Colson, Principal.
The Bellport Middle School Student Council concluded its third consecutive “Penny Wars” for Cancer Research. The school engaged in a month long competition this January, in which the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students battled it out to see which grade could win the most points while raising money for cancer research.  Cassidy Solina, 8th grade Student Council Representative, said “We all know someone who has been affected by this terrible disease and remembering those people helped push us to beat the goal.” This year the council set the goal to beat the $3,010 record that was set last year.  The faculty and students set out to do exactly that.  The success of this fundraiser was supported by many of the staff members helping to cheerlead and coordinate the students' enthusiasm.  Other students took to collecting outside of local supermarkets to help increase their collection.  In the end, Bellport Middle School collected $3,800, which will go directly to Johns Hopkins University for Cancer Research.  
Bellport Middle School Student Council advisor, Mr. Di Puma, said that he is truly grateful for the collective efforts of the Bellport faculty, staff and students.  He stated that he is continually inspired by the charitable nature of the Middle School and the amazing feats that the faculty, students and staff continue to accomplish on a daily basis.    

Brookhaven Visiting Artist Program

Pictured are Artist Lorena Salcedo-Watson & Kindergarten Student Kaiya Griffin
Pictured are Artist Lorena Salcedo-Watson & Kindergarten Student Kaiya Griffin
During the week of January 9th , local artist Lorena Salcedo-Watson spent a week at Brookhaven Elementary School working with art teacher, Michelle Procida and her students.  As part of a program funded by the South Country Education Foundation, Ms. Salcedo-Watson collaborated with students in the art room, exploring line, shape, texture, and color in nature’s treasures. They created original works of art and afterwards completed a paper  reflecting on their experience. 

Ms. Salcedo-Watson also prepared a school wide collage with drawings contributed from students and staff.  The collage is on display in the Brookhaven Elementary School lobby.  Staff and students are grateful to both Ms. Salcedo-Watson and the South Country Education Foundation for their support in providing this wonderful opportunity.  

Pre-K & Kindergarten Registration Information - 2017-2018 School Year

Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration for students who will be entering the district in September of 2017 will be held at the Central Registration Office from March 1st to March 30th 2017.  Click here for information

South Country Community Leadership Network Extreme Yard Spring Clean Up

We're looking for yards!  The South Country Community Leadership Network (SCCLN) is organizing the 3rd AnnualFREE Spring Front Yard Clean Up for a select number of homes deserving of a little TLC in the South Country Community.  Please click on the document below for details.  Information must be sent in by April 1, 2017:

Thursday, March 23, 2017