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Dancing classrooms

Dancing classrooms photo
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Fifth-graders at Frank P. Long Intermediate School entered and exited the gymnasium in the escort position, two-by two and linked arm-in-arm, during a physical education dance unit taught by Dancing Classrooms of Long Island. The escort position shows honor and respect, two ideals that go hand-in hand with learning ballroom dance, teaching artist Jessica Heins explained during the first lesson on Sept. 17.

First positioned in a circle, the students learned core moves that form the basis of the merengue, fox trot, rhumba, tango, swing, heal-toe polka and the waltz. Ms. Heins, along with accompanying teaching artists Angela Trivigno and Christina Stiriz, also explained the importance of being a good partner, while students paired off to try their new steps. 

In addition to great exercise, the  goal of the ballroom dance unit is to provide additional opportunities for students to hone teamwork, develop respect for peers and invoke elegance in movement. With the introduction of each dance, the students also learn about diverse cultures.

After their first lesson, the students were instructed to each write a letter to Dancing Classroom, explaining what they learned, how they feel about the program and what they expected prior to their first lesson. In December, the students will conduct a showcase of their new dancing skills for family and faculty.  

Two victories for Bellport soccer

soccer photo
(By Andres Rivas, The Long Island Advance 9/13/18)

After reaching the playoffs for the first time in nine years, the Bellport soccer team is looking forward to keeping in that direction this season by winning League III. It won’t be an easy task for the Clippers, as they have Newfield, Smithtown East, North Babylon and Huntington in their division. They also have Deer Park and West Islip, who they defeated in their senior game last year to make playoffs and break the nine-year drought. The team is counting on their senior captains Steven Williamson, Samuel Hampson, Justin Barbecho, Jonathan Ulloa and Gerson Granados. Their first game on Sept. 1 was against Huntington, ranked No. 6 in the county last year. The Clippers got the start they wanted, dominating on their half for the initial 15 minutes, playing with through passes and had two shots on target. After 19 minutes, Josiah Igwe got a chance to break the tie and he converted. From there on, there was an aggression-style of football from the away team, but it was 1-0 headed to the break. After the break, the game changed; three minutes in, Huntington made it 1-1 with an effort inside the box. With little less than a half-hour remaining, Huntington found the space they needed to get a breakaway, and after they got inside the box they wouldn’t miss. Five minutes later Bellport had their chance to tie through Leo Argueta, but was denied by the goalkeeper. In the ending minutes, there was a controversy on a cross to the box. The ball ended up in the back of the net for the Clippers to make it 2-2, but the referee called it back and said he didn’t see it. Coaches on the Bellport side claimed the goalie grabbed it from inside the net, but the game rolled on and the Blue Devils took the victory. “After a good season last year, the boys and I want to improve. We have a great team this year and could do big things if we stay mentally strong and have each other’s backs.” said Ulloa. The next game on Sept. 4 was against Centereach, who tied in their first game of the season against Comsewogue. The Clippers managed to defeat the Cougars 3-1. Throughout the game they passed the ball from side to side, looking for through balls and striking first. Igwe scored his second goal and put his team up 1-0 after 15 minutes. Centereach looked for a counter attack, but Barbecho pressed the man at midfield and intercepted it; he then gave a through ball to Argueta to make it 2-0. With five minutes left in the half, there was a foul inside the box and Centereach cut the lead to 2-1 with a penalty from Eric Beukelaer. In the second half, Bellport continued to have possession of the ball and there was a foul inside the box with 15 minutes remaining, and Maicon Contreras converted from the spot. “We need to have the same mentality to win and become better as a team,” said Barbecho. Heading back home on Sept. 6, the Clippers wanted to make it two straight wins and soon took their first win in front of their fans against Comsewogue, with a convincing 3-0 result. Ten minutes in, a cross from Barbecho at the 40-yard line went in the box, where Cruz converted to make it 1-0. Then Troy Zarba took a free kick and Contreras finished it for his second goal in three games. In the second half, the Clippers maintained the lead and increased it when Cruz got a brace off a Williamson assist. But with four games in five days, the fatigue caught up to the Clippers and they were defeated 7-2 by North Babylon on Sept. 8. Contreras scored his third goal of the year, a penalty, and Igwe did as well. “We have a super-talented team and when we’re playing in form no one can beat us. We just have to stay focused and remain as one,” added Hampson. Bellport (2-2) will now face Newfield (3-0) next Monday at 4 p.m. at Bellport High School. 

(Courtesy of The Long Island Advance 9/13/18)

Bellport football takes convincing victory

Bellport football takes convincing victory photo
(By Andres Rivas, The Long Island Advance 9/20/18)

After a war between West Islip and Bellport last week ended in a close loss, the Bellport Clippers got back on track, blowing out Smithtown East 48-7.

In last week’s showdown between the Lions and the Clippers, a rematch of the 2016 playoffs, the Lions outdueled the Clippers 29-28 in a game that went down to the wire. Before heading to the road, Bellport had one more game against Smithtown  East, who defeated Copiague 42-13 in their first week of the 2018-19 season.

In the opening possession, Ka’Shaun Parrish threw a 40-yard ball to DJ Trent, which looked to be caught by him, as he had the ball in his hands when the play ended, but the referees ruled an interception.  Smithtown East capitalized off of this, scoring a touchdown and leading 7-0, but from there on, the home team brought out its artillery.

After the kickoff, Parrish threw a 75-yard pass to Myles Wilson in the first play of the drive for a touchdown and Bellport trailed by one. In the second quarter, the Clippers scored 29 unanswered points. A factor that started this was Wilson blocking a punt inside the red zone with 11:38 remaining. Parrish then threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Pizzo, who ran for two extra points. Four minutes later, Trent found space and ran for 40 yards all the way to the end zone. Christian Moreno was in charge of adding the extra point.

With five minutes remaining, Wilson blocked the punt from the Bulls as Kyler Pizzo recovered the ball and ran for 44 yards all the way into the end zone and Moreno added the extra point. With a minute left in the half, Bellport got the ball back and reached the red zone, where Parrish rushed for six yards for a  touchdown. Moreno added his third extra point of the afternoon.

The defense for the Clippers kept holding it down, refusing to let the visiting team convert on fourth down and on third downs, forcing them to punt or give the ball up. In the fourth quarter with a little under 10 minutes remaining, the Clippers were a threat as Jhamari Bell rushed for six yards into the end zone as Moreno added the extra point. The Clippers weren’t done, as Shaun Bolton rushed 60 yards to add six more to the board.

“We knew the game wasn’t going to be easy, but we battled back after facing adversity and came together and got the job done,” said Wilson. “We started clicking on offense and defense and we were happy with the result.” 

Bellport (1-1) will now hit the road for the next two weeks, where they will face Centereach (1-1) and Smithtown West (2-0). 

“We have to work hard all week; we need to key in on the little things. Most importantly, we have to be disciplined and focus on the little things,” added Trent.

(Courtesy of The Long Island Advance 9/20/18)

Bellport HS junior New Ex-Officio Board Member

Bellport HS junior New Ex-Officio Board Member photo
An official piece of business on the Board of Education’s Sept. 12 agenda was the official swearing in of Carly Diolosa as Ex-Officio Board Member. Carly, who is student council president during the 2018-2019 school year, will serve as a liaison to the Board, relaying information about high school events and activities to the trustees while informing student council members about district business. 

Even though Carly does not have voting privileges, she said she is excited with her new role. “It is an honor to be able to speak on issues concerning the school and student council,” Carly said. “I want to learn as much as I can.”

Carly is a member of the math and science honor societies, as well as the National Honor Society. She is an Advanced Placement student and takes honors classes to round out her challenging academic schedule. While taking time out of her studies, Carly is a three-sport athlete on the school’s varsity soccer, winter track and lacrosse teams.

Board President Cheryl A. Felice welcomed Carly to the Board and wished her much success in her new position.

Books Unite Barbers and South Country Students

Books Unite Barbers and South Country Students photo
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The district’s elementary students read their favorite books as local barbers trimmed their locks during the Barbers, Beauty and Books reading campaign held on Sept. 15. Held in conjunction with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Smart Start Suffolk and the South Country Public Library, the district encouraged students to visit KO Hair Designs and Lonnie’s Barbershop of Bellport and Imperial Kut Kreators and Razor’s Edge of East Patchogue where each received a certificate of participation and $5 gift card to use at participating businesses.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Marlon Small, Director of Elementary Education Amy Brennan, Director of Humanities Jackie O’Hagan, Brookhaven Elementary School Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond, teacher Krysta Kanowsky and South Country Public Library Assistant Director Patrick O’Leary were on hand to applaud the students for their excellent reading skills.

“This is a great way to connect the community and the school district through literacy,” Dr. Giani said. “Not only did the students and barbers have a great time, the students received the opportunity to showcase their academic skills.”

During the event, the district rolled out its new mobile library, which will be officially unveiled at homecoming on Oct. 6. Students took a tour of the school bus, which will house a collection of books and a computer for use by district residents.

District Students Receive Donations of School Supplies

District Students Receive Donations of School Supplies photo
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District students are on the road to success with the gifts of school supplies from members of the community.

In conjunction with Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez, William Ferro, managing partner of Ferro, Kuba, Mangano and Sklyar, P.C., generously donated 50 backpacks filled with supplies to be distributed equally among the district’s schools.

In addition, East End Bus Lines delivered boxes of supplies in conjunction with United Way’s 10th annual Stuff-A-Bus program. Volunteers from corporate sponsor PSE&G were on hand to unload the school supplies for students of low-income families at the district’s administrative offices as students from Verne W. Critz Elementary School looked on with excitement. 

“We are extremely grateful for the generous donations of school supplies,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said. “These gifts will assist in setting up our students for success in the new school year and help prepare them in their academic studies.”         

District First in Tri-State to Utilize Nureva Wall Technology

District First in Tri-State to Utilize Nureva Wall Technology photo
The Bellport High School library is now home to a fourth generation Nureva Wall (WM408i) dual system and workspace. The district is the first school district in the tri-state area to utilize this newest system as part of its ongoing strategy to support effective technology, library and media services.

The Nureva Wall is a visual collaboration system that provides opportunities for student-led learning. The system combines a panoramic projector with a cloud-based “canvas” that is both projected onto a wall and accessible through personal electronic devices. Two screens positioned side-by-side and each measuring seven-feet wide can be used independently or continuously as one screen and will allow groups of students to share and capture initial project thoughts and contributions; organize, plan and create; and discuss ideas and information by working directly on the Wall using digital sticky notes, templates, flipcharts, images, text or sketches. The Nureva Wall’s HD touch sensitive, 14-foot screen can be swiped out to 72 feet and is the highlight of the library’s newest classroom area. 

High school librarian Jayne Johnsen-Seeberger said the interactive and intuitive features of the technology “increases the level of student decision-making.” She added, “Students will collaborate by discussing what they want the canvas to communicate and what information is valuable enough to be added.”

The Nureva Wall should be available for student learning later this fall.

“The Nureva Wall truly provides 21st century learning skills, as well as skills important to employers, such as leadership, the ability to work as a team, written and verbal communication and problem-solving skills,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said. “I would like to thank district administration and the many specialists from Phi Services, South Country Maintenance and Technology who allowed the installation to happen for the new school year.”

Dual Language Magnet Program Officially Open

Dual Language Magnet Program Officially Open photo
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The District officially celebrated the opening of its Dual Language Magnet Program at Brookhaven Elementary School on Sept. 4 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by district administration, Board of Education trustees, faculty and community residents. The magnet program will now allow all district students beginning in kindergarten the opportunity to learn core subjects in both English and Spanish, becoming bilingual and biliterate through fifth grade.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said, “We are thankful to so many of our school community, who have contributed to our past successes, and we are very excited about our future successes under our new school leadership and teacher leaders.”  

Brookhaven Elementary School has offered dual language instruction since 2015 to its students who reside in the school zone of Brookhaven Hamlet. The Dual Language Magnet Program, now offered to students districtwide, will allow Spanish-speaking students to learn English and English-speaking students learn Spanish. Under the new model, two teachers will simultaneously instruct students in both languages. Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond explained that accessibility to dual language instruction commences with kindergarten and will expand by one grade level each year.

“This was a vision since four years ago and it is humbling to see how the program has grown,” Dr. Raymond said. “I believe the program will further bridge the community together.”

Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice thanked the community for “seeing the mission through.” She added, “This could not have been accomplished without a team effort.”

Brookhaven Elementary School students Anastasia Blanco and Naomi Schindler-Schul were also on hand to assist the district with the ribbon-cutting and to speak with the community as well as peers about their experiences in the dual language program. 


Back-to-School Community Photos

Thank you to everyone who shared their back-to-school photos! The first day of school was a great day!

Smooth Opening for South Country Schools

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The iconic yellow buses pulled up in the driveways of the District’s elementary and secondary schools on Sept. 5 filled with students toting backpacks and supplies for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. The students were greeted with warm smiles and well-wishes from their teachers and principals as they filed into the buildings ready to begin instruction.   

Prior to opening day, the district eased the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students’ transition into elementary school by hosting “playdates,” so that the schools’ youngest students could meet their teachers and make new friends. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said he was impressed by the district’s smooth opening and the teachers’ and students’ enthusiasm and motivation to begin work immediately. “I am confident that the 2018-2019 school year will be productive for all of our South Country students,” Dr. Giani said.

Faculty to ‘Lead’ the Way to Student Success

Faculty to ‘Lead’ the Way to Student Success photo
Excitement resonated throughout the building as the entire faculty and staff gathered in Bellport Middle School’s auditorium for Superintendent’s Conference Day on Aug. 30. The two-day program hosted important instructional workshops to optimally prepare teachers for the 2018-19 school year.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani welcomed the faculty and staff back from a restorative summer break. He also acknowledged Board President Cheryl A. Felice and introduced new administrators. During his opening remarks, Dr. Giani focused on the importance of leadership in the classroom, regardless of specific roles and responsibilities. “We lead when we work together, share, respect and support one another as we strive to educate all students,” he said.

The theme of leadership was continued with the introduction of guest speaker Drew Dudley. Dudley is founder and chief catalyst of Day One Leadership, Inc., an international motivational speaker and author of “This is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters.” Based on Dudley’s TED talk “Everyday Leadership (The Lollipop Moment),” voted one of the program’s 15 most inspirational TED talks, Dudley spoke about cultivating behaviors that help individuals succeed, empowering those around them and providing a path for success for every student in the district.

After the opening speeches, the faculty attended workshops at their respective elementary and secondary schools to assist in the faculty’s readiness for the 2018-2019 school year on Sept. 5. 

District Welcomes New Administrators

District Welcomes New Administrators photo

The District has filled four administrative positions with talented faculty to commence the 2018-2019 school year.

Dr. Rebecca Raymond, assistant principal at Brookhaven Elementary School since 2014, has been appointed principal of the building. A Center Moriches resident, Dr. Raymond was instrumental in developing the framework for the district’s Dual Language primary program. She holds a doctoral degree in educational administration from Dowling College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in elementary education from Adelphi University. Dr. Raymond is also bilingual in Spanish and holds certifications in bilingual education and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Replacing Dr. Raymond as Brookhaven Elementary School assistant principal is Rosa Kalomiris. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Kalomiris served as a K-12 English as a New Language teacher and as the district’s Family Engagement Coordinator. Ms. Kalomiris, a Sayville resident, holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics/TESOL, a master’s degree in liberal studies and educational leadership certification from Stony Brook University. She is proficient in both Portuguese and Spanish.

Joseph Watson, a Blue Point resident, has been appointed assistant principal at Bellport Middle School. Prior to working in South Country, Mr. Watson served as a social studies teacher at Elmont Memorial High School in the Sewanhaka Central High School District since 2003. Mr. Watson holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in secondary education from Molloy College, as well as a master’s degree in school leadership from Touro College.
Rounding out the administrative appointments, Jack Burke will serve as the director of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Mr. Burke, a Lake Grove resident, was previously supervisor of K-12 mathematics in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in school administration from Indiana University, as well as advanced certification in school building leadership and school district leadership from The College of Saint Rose. Mr. Burke is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in leadership and administration at St. John’s University.

The district congratulates the faculty on their new administrative positions and wishes for much success in the new school year.


Letters from the Police Commissioner


SCCSD Board of Education readies for a new school year

SCCSD Board of Education readies for a new school year photo
In preparation for the start of the new school year, South Country Central School District Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice and trustee Dr. Anthony Griffin conducted their annual walkthrough of each of the district’s buildings and grounds 

During the five-hour tour, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Dr. Sammy Gergis, Supervisor of Operations and Maintenance Anthony Clements, and the buildings’ principals and head custodians joined Ms. Felice and Dr. Griffin as they examined each facility. Throughout the comprehensive walkthrough tour, the Board reviewed the completed summer facility projects and ensured each building was prepared to welcome back students and staff on Sept. 5. 

“The district is proactive in taking measures to ensure our facilities are properly maintained and support the educational goals for the betterment of our students, staff and community,” Ms. Felice said. 

Students Get a Glimpse of the Year Ahead

Students Get a Glimpse of the Year Ahead photo

The District’s incoming freshmen and sixth-grade students jump-started their high school and middle school careers during Bellport High School’s and Bellport Middle School’s annual freshman and sixth-grade orientations, held on Aug. 21 and Aug. 27, respectively. Faculty were on hand to welcome the new students, encourage them to become involved members of the school community and assure them that their doors are always open.

High school Principal Timothy Hogan reminded the freshmen that they are responsible for their actions and academics moving forward. “You will have a better academic experience when you get involved with all the high school has to offer,” Mr. Hogan said. “Students who do well freshman year are successful throughout high school.”   

In addition to meeting administrators and faculty, the students learned about sports eligibility, guidance goals, and academic and behavioral expectations. At the middle school, seventh-grade student Chris Ford also spoke to the new students about the ways in which he overcame his anxiety with starting middle school by becoming involved.

At each of the orientations, students paired up with student council representatives to take a tour of their respective buildings. Middle school students also had the opportunity to locate and open their lockers. Both the high school’s PTSA and the middle school’s PTA generously donated snacks to celebrate the students’ entrance into their new schools.

Regina Hunt Receives Prestigious Warrior Award

Regina Hunt Receives Prestigious Warrior Award photo
Board of Education Vice President Regina Hunt received the prestigious Warrior Award from the Transformative Educational Development Services organization. The award recognizes Ms. Hunt’s longtime advocacy in the school district community.

During the Aug. 22 meeting of the Board of Education, Ms. Hunt was congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani and Board President Cheryl Felice for her community outreach.

Celebrating Summer Graduates

Celebrating Summer Graduates photo

Wearing red and blue caps and gowns, several Bellport High School seniors  officially graduated during a summer graduation ceremony held on Aug. 22 in the school’s auditorium.

During the momentous ceremony, Principal Timothy Hogan congratulated the students on their achievement and spoke to them about the importance of always maintaining integrity as they move forward in their lives. He also urged them to always show respect and kindness to others. “If you do this, you will reap the benefits,” he said. 

Following Mr. Hogan’s speech, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani and Board of Education President Cheryl Felice assisted in presenting the graduates with their diplomas. Summer School Principal Erika Della Rosa also spoke about the graduates’ future plans, including going onto college to study, law, nursing, pediatric medicine, botany and music production. 

The South Country School District extends is congratulations to all the graduates.

Monday, September 24, 2018
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