Promising to Protect the Earth


In celebration of Arbor Day, the Babylon Rotary Club provided small trees to each first-grader in the district. Santapogue students received a special presentation of the trees and learned how to take care of their trees for “life.” Each student took a pledge to help protect the Earth.

Congratulations Girls Track and Field

The girls varsity track and field team accomplished school history on May 26 by winning the Section XI Division II Championship. This is the first time the girls program has been able to achieve such a feat. West Babylon was led by a total team effort, with various athletes stepping up in unexpected places to make the girls season-long dream become a reality. The division-winning team consisted of Paige Keefer, Brittany Korsah, Dana Beggins, Nadine Keefer, Tara Hauff, Noela Franco, Natalie Haab, Haley Higginson, Myaysa Evans, Grace Glennon, Kylie Magee, Jenna D'Onofrio, Abby Navas, Erinrose Patruno, Lindsey Del Prete, and Cansel Cebeci.

Connecting at Annual Career Day

After a successful event last school year, the Senior High School hosted its second annual Career Day on May 13.

Throughout the day, professionals in different fields visited the school. Students had the opportunity to meet professionals in their area of interest, engage in conversation and make connections for summer internships and/or jobs.  
Local professionals from fields including government, medical, real estate, financial, civil service, journalism and more were available to answer questions and provide guidance for those interested in following the same career path.

Suffolk Zone Winners

Thirteen district students were recognized at the 11th annual Suffolk Zone of New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance elementary and middle school Physical Education Student Leadership Award ceremony at Longwood Middle School on May 4.   

Students from throughout Suffolk County were recognized based on their ability to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in activity, maintain personal health, create and maintain a safe and healthy environment and manage their personal and community resources.
The following students were recognized: Forest Avenue – Julianna Haab and Sean Ehrichs; JFK ¬– Lacey Downey and Ryan Bothe; Santapogue – Kaitlyn Bartley and Sean Kozodoy; South Bay – Shannon Hieber and Christopher Critchley; Tooker Avenue – Kelly Bianco and Drew McKittrick; and Junior High School ¬– Daniella Copeland, Eric Demaille and Warren Miller.

Grand-Prize Winning Poster

Cenahi Smith, a fourth-grader at Forest Avenue, has been named the grand-prize winner for her poster in the Bully Prevention Poster Contest held by Child Abuse Prevention Services.

CAPS received more than 800 submissions of posters and poems for the upcoming 2016-2017 calendar. Smith’s winning poster will be featured in the April position, which represents National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The calendar will be available at the end of the summer and is distributed to all elementary schools and libraries on Long Island.

Wonder Activity

In the novel "Wonder" by RJ Palacio, a teacher named Mr. Browne begins each month with a lesson on precepts. Mr. Brown informs the kids that precepts are "words to live by." Mr. Browne’s Precept for the month of September is: “If you have the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” It’s a quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Our class discussed this precept. The students then selected their own personal precepts. Each student displayed their precept on their desk with a dry-erase marker. We then did a gallery walk around the room to read each other's precepts. It was a worthwhile experience that allowed the students to share and reflect on how their precept fit in with the book we are reading and in their own personal lives.


Congratulations, Kyra!

Congratulations to eighth-grader Kyra Duke for being named Grand Marshal of the American Legion’s Memorial Day Parade.
The parade will take place on Monday, May 30. It begins at 10 a.m. at Arnold Avenue and Route 109 and continues on to the American Legion Hall - Post 1634, located at 10 Bruce Street, West Babylon.

Tooker’s Published Poet

Fourth-grader Alma Gaxiola, a student at Tooker Avenue, recently became a published poet.

Gaxiola’s poem, “I’m Growing Up,” was published in “A Celebration of Poets, East, Fall 2015.” Gaxiola was inspired to write the poem after she came across a poem by a former Tooker Avenue student in the school library. With the help of her school librarian, Gaxiola learned about poem types and structures. Her teachers reviewed and provided feedback on her poem.
After submitting her work online for the Fall 2015 contest in December, Gaxiola finally received news that her poem was chosen to appear in print.

Ready, Set, Go...

More than just a race, the district’s annual Fun Run and Wellness Fair included a variety of activities and information about staying active and healthy. Watch all the excitement as hundreds of families came to enjoy the evening together.


PE Teacher Takes Top Honors

Senior High School physical education teacher Gina Antonelli has been selected as the Suffolk County Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. This award places her among the other zone winners in New York State and she is eligible and under review for consideration as New York State Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year 2016.

Antonelli was nominated by Joanne Hamilton, a former physical education teacher from a local district. “After meeting Gina, I knew in my heart she deserved this nomination,” Hamilton said. “I was so energized by her positive attitude and her amazing enthusiasm for our profession, I wanted to come back to teach with her. She showed such patience, understanding, caring and nurturing. It was my extreme pleasure to nominate her as our Teacher of the Year.”

NYSSMA Soloists

More than 100 district students in grades 2-12 performed as soloists at this year's Area 1 New York State School Music Association’s Festival and/or the NYSSMA Suffolk Jazz and Guitar Festival. For the complete list of student participants, click here.


Third-Graders Wax Poetic

In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, third-graders at JFK participated in a poetry contest through the America Library of Poetry.

Third-graders in Nicole Mercardante’s and Renee DeStefano/Maura Thompson’s classes wrote a variety of different genres of poetry and learned about the foundations of writing poetry. Each student submitted his or her favorite poem, and contest winners will be announced in September.

Aprils All-In group

West Babylon Budget Passes

Residents in the West Babylon School District voted to support the 2016-17 budget on May 17 by a vote of 1,097 to 402. Thank you to all residents who participated in this important vote. In addition, Dennis Kranz, Peter Scarlatos and Diane Klein were elected to the Board of Education. The trustee vote was as follows:

Dennis Kranz – 774
Peter Scarlatos  – 769
Diane Klein – 1,068
Raymond Cascio – 635
Stephen T. Donnelly – 591

Newsday Spotlight on Santapogue’s Mrs. Manzi

Did you see the Newsday spotlight on Santapogue teacher Christine Manzi? If not, check out the below link. Please note, a subscription to Newsday may be required.

Third grade students show off their musical talent at the Spring Recorder Concert.

Earth Day Experiment

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, second-graders at Forest Avenue took part in an exciting science experiment, learning about items that are biodegradable, and those that get sent to local landfills.

The class collected a variety of items, and buried them in the ground outside of the school. Prior to burying the items in the ground, the second-grade classes discussed the difference between biodegradable items and items that are not biodegradable. The students then made their own hypotheses as to which items will decompose underground during the next two months. In June, the students will see if their hypotheses were correct when they will dig up the items and see which ones are still there.

Taking Time to Thank Teachers

The district and its students celebrated the hard work and dedication of the teaching staff during Teacher Appreciation Week, held May 2-6. Since 1984, the National PTA has designated the first week in May as a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children.

“We understand the hard work and dedication that these teachers bring every single day,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Yiendhy Farrelly. “This week serves to recognize the impact they have on each student, not only inside the classroom, but beyond the walls. ”
The PTAs at each of the district’s seven schools had plenty of surprises planned throughout the week. At the Senior High School, Junior High School and elementary schools, there were PTA-sponsored teacher appreciation breakfasts, brunches or luncheons. South Bay’s PTA even brought in a licensed massage therapist who offered 10-minute neck massages.
Across the district, building principals also treated their teachers to a breakfast or luncheon. Each morning, administrators showed their appreciation for their staff by reading special messages during announcements each day.
“As principal, I am grateful every day for my teachers because of their willingness to work collaboratively, with the shared mission of providing the best possible school experience for every child,” said South Bay Principal JoAnn Scott. “No challenge has ever been too great for my teachers, and I am proud to work with the kind of professionals who go to any length to find creative solutions. The synergy generated by our shared learning environment is powerful. It is a joy to work among such fine educators!”
Forest Avenue Principal Patricia Acocella also recognized the school’s teachers during the week’s morning announcements, researching and sharing poems about the impact that teachers have had, and will continue to have, on our lives. “I also put a quote a day on the dry erase board hanging in the main office for all teachers to see,” she said. “I’ve made our Forest community aware of this recognition by displaying it on our signboard in the building, and in my Weekly Forest Ranger, which is emailed to all parents, guardians and staff. It’s a wonderful week of recognizing the extreme dedication and professionalism of the teaching staff. ”
Elementary students also had a chance to show their appreciation for their teachers. Santapogue students were given paper buckets to color and cut out.

Each student wrote about a special teacher at the school and thanked them for their hard work. Once filled with appreciative messages, the buckets were placed on a bulletin board in the hallway, where they will remain for the rest of the school year.

Kindergarten Concert


Forest Avenue's PTA-Sponsored Cultural Arts: KidPower

On Friday, May 13th, our Forest Avenue PTA-sponsored a cultural arts assembly presented by Kid Power. The Forest Avenue students were absolutely delighted with this musical, 3-D interactive nutrition and exercise focused program. A BIG Thank you to our Forest Avenue PTA!

Forest Avenue's May Caring Garden

Forest Avenue students created a Caring Garden to spread & share the "Caring" character trait for the month of May. Students wrote about how they show they "care" for their family, friends and teachers. Our Caring Garden blossomed across the hallway to fill our walls. What a beautiful garden we have sown with the seeds of LOVE!

Artists on Display

Two Senior High School students have been selected into the Heckscher Museum of Arts’ annual juried exhibition, Long Island’s Best: Young Artists. Junior Courtney Foley and senior Austin Prendergast will have their work exhibited in the museum.

Foley’s ceramic piece and Prendergast’s photograph were selected from a record-setting number of entries, according to the museum. More than 350 works of art were submitted from 53 high schools in Suffolk and Nassau counties. The juried selection narrowed the field to works of art created by 83 students representing 44 schools.

An opening reception and awards ceremony was held on April 16, and the exhibit runs through May 15.

Literacy Celebration

Third-graders from JFK Elementary held a literacy celebration on April 1. Students in Renee DeStefano’s and Maura Thompson’s classes celebrated their nonfiction books by sharing their creations with first-graders.

The first-graders, who also crafted nonfiction texts, were impressed by the work of the third-graders and compared the differences between the two. The third-grade students were excited to see what they could accomplish in a few years.  

J.F.K. students, parents and staff participating in Walk to School Day.

JFK Circus Acts

J.F.K. 5th graders perform circus acts for the entire school. Lots of hard work and practice went into learning the acts during gym class.

Ten Honors in Science Olympiad

The Junior High School’s Science Olympiad team participated in the Eastern Suffolk County Regional competition in late March. The team placed 10th against 38 schools from across the county. Individual medals were awarded to team members Ryan O’Sullivan, Amanda Scarlata, Brianna Collara, Blake Ung, Erin Thompson, Olivia O’Hara and Nick Alexiadis.

J.F.K. kindergarten visits White Post Farms

Kindergarten at JFK went to White Post Farms to learn about a plant's life cycle. The students were part of a demonstration and discussion on how soil is made and how a seed grows into a flowering plant. Each child had a hands on experience in which they planted a seedling and got to bring it home and watch it blossom into a flower. The children also hand fed many animals including goats, sheep, llamas, and camels. Fun was had by everyone!

Track Team Takes Third

West Babylon’s girls track team finished third out of 74 participating girls teams from Nassau, Suffolk and New York City, narrowly missing second place by two points at the St. Anthony’s Invitational from May 6-7. This is the highest a West Babylon girls team has ever finished at this particular meet.

The team was fueled by solid performances from Paige Keefer, Brittany Korsah, and the near-record breaking 4x400m relay team.
Some highlights:

• Paige Keefer: First in the 800m (2:12.97), 5 seconds ahead of second place, and now ranks fourth in New York State; second in 400m and now ranks eighth in the state.

• Brittany Korsah: Second in the 200m, now ranking seventh in the state; fourth in the 100m, now ranking eighth in the state.

• 4x400m relay team: Brittany Korsah, Nadja Ashley, Dana Beggins and Paige Keefer finished in 3:52.97, shattering the previous school record and close to breaking the Suffolk County record set in 2010. They now rank second in the state.

The team will be competing in the Division Championships at Comsewogue High School on May 24 and May 26 at 3 p.m.

Elementary Students Bring Spring Smiles

Keeping the school-community connection top of mind, student council members at Santapogue recently participated in a Spring Smiles project.

The students created and designed cards and pictures to send to local nursing homes. They discussed how some senior residents may have no families or sparsely decorated living spaces. With this in mind, the student council hoped their creations will bring a smile to the residents’ faces as spring begins.
The student council felt it was such a worthwhile project that it decided to invite the entire school to participate. They are collecting additional cards, letters and pictures from all the grades, which will be sent to local area nursing homes.

Mother's Day Mystery Reader

Ann Lauricella's first-grade class was welcomed back from vacation with a week full of mystery readers in celebration of Mother's Day.

Award-Winning Photos

The photographic work of three Senior High School students won two first-place awards and one second-place honor in the 2016 Photographic Federation of Long Island’s Youth Showcase.
Ralph Reyes won first place in the architecture category for his digital print “Fulton Street Station.” Jessica Capobianco took first place in the scape category for her digital print “New York City Rising.” Second place honors in the monochrome creative choice category went to Austin Prendergast for his digital print “Orbit.”
The student-artists were honored at an awards ceremony on April 3 at the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island in Garden City.

Elementary band, chorus and orchestra perform

Elementary band, chorus and orchestra perform for the fifth and third graders at the High School. Everyone enjoyed the fantastic performances.

Long-Distance Learning

Senior High School students participated in a distance-learning lesson with scientists and educators from Monterey Bay Aquarium in California on March 24.

During the 45-minute session, the group of students in grades 9-12 interacted with scientists and educators from the aquarium via Skype and their cellphones, learning about the unique wildlife on the West Coast.

“Distance-learning programs are a unique new way of having students learn without having to travel, and our students were very excited to be able to ask and answer questions in real-time with Monterey Bay professionals,” said SHS science teacher Andrea Montalvo. “It was like having a guest speaker from 2,500 miles away.”

Solid Finishes at Penn Relays

The boys and girls varsity track teams competed at the Penn Relays at Penn State University from April 28-30.

The 4x100m team – Grace Glennon, Nadja Ashley, Myaysa Evans and Brittany Korsah – finished third in their heat with a time of 50.87 and 57th out of 377 total teams (including teams from Jamaica and the Bahamas).

The 4x400m team – Brittany Korsah, Nadja Ashley, Dana Beggins, and Paige Keefer – won their heat with a time of 4:02.51 on an afternoon that presented less-than-favorable conditions. The 4x400 team were led by the outstanding anchor leg of 56.66 by junior Paige Keefer, who was also named to USA Track and Field's All-Long Island team this past winter season. The 4x400 finished 67th of out 637 total teams and was the second fastest team representing Long Island.

Check back for updates on the boys track teams.

JFK Poetry Contest 2016

The students in Mrs. Mercardante's and Mrs. DeStefano's/ Ms. Thompson's Third Grade Classes participated in a poetry contest through the America Library of Poetry. Students wrote a variety of different genres of poetry and learned about the foundations of writing poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month. Each student was able to submit his/her favorite poem. Winners will be announced in September.

Students assembled with their college shirts for college acceptance day.

Science Olympiad Showcase


The Senior High School Science Olympiad team presented some of their projects and showed off their award-winning skills to the Board of Education, central administration and a few community members on April 19. The team earned numerous medals this season, led by adviser Andrea Montalvo. The district congratulates the team on all their hard work this year.

Third-Grade Experiments

Santapogue third-graders in Mrs. Kerr’s and Mrs. Lynch’s classes recently completed an experiment to determine what animals are part of the barn owl’s food chain. Students dissected the owl pellets and learned about the barn owl’s food chain.

South Bay Unveils Unity Murals

In December, students at South Bay created unity murals during a weeklong project with artist/author in-residence Joyce Raimondo. On March 22, the unity murals were finally unveiled and on display in the South Bay corridor. The murals were painted on canvas and contain images and phrases related to the themes of character education and growth mindset.

Blue & Gold Tradition Shines Bright

School spirit was shining bright at the annual Blue & Gold from April 14-16. From the colorful decorations to perfectly choreographed dance performances, the community was out in full force to support this event over three days.

South Bay Gets Special Visitor

As part of its Pick a Reading Partner initiative, South Bay had a special visit from author/illustrator Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer on March 22 and 23. Mulhearn Sayer wrote and illustrated “More Caps for Sale,” the sequel to “Caps for Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina.

Mulhearn Sayer conducted illustration workshops with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students, during which they created their own collages after learning about the collage technique used in the “Caps” books. For the K-2 students, Mulhearn Sayer held an engaging, interactive musical theatre performance of both “Caps for Sale” and “More Caps for Sale,” including her original music.  

Board of Education Candidates

Those running for the Board of Education on May 17, 2016 in order of the Ballot position are:

Dennis Kranz
Peter Scarlatos
Diane Klein
Raymond Cascio
Stephen T. Donnelly

Meet the candidate night will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC.

‘Honor’-able Mentions

The academic achievements of more than 500 of the district’s high-performing scholars on both the junior high and senior high school level were recognized over the last month during their respective honor society inductions.

National Honor Society/National Junior Honor Society: Ninety-two senior high school students were inducted into the National Honor Society, while 153 junior high school students became part of the NJHS. The NHS seeks to create enthusiasm for scholarship, stimulate a desire to render service, promote leadership and develop character. To qualify for consideration, a student must have a cumulative unweighted average of 88 or higher in Regents or honors classes, complete an application that documents a wide variety of community service and leadership and write an essay.  Click here for a list of NHS.  Click here for a list of NJHS inductees.

Technology/Business & Marketing Honor Society: Fifteen students were inducted into the Business & Marketing Honor Society in 2016, while the Technology Honor Society welcomed 25 inductees. In order to qualify, seniors must complete three units in a technology/business/marketing course by the end of year. Sophomores/juniors must complete two units with one more prior to graduation. They must have an 88 average or higher in technology/business/marketing courses and a minimum overall average of 80. Candidates must demonstrate character, leadership and service.  For the complete list, click here.

Vincent Foley Foreign Language Honor Society: This year, 124 students were inducted into the Vincent Foley Foreign Language Honor Society. Candidates are selected from those students who are in Level 3 foreign language classes. A student must have an 85 average or higher in each level of language studies and a cumulative average of at least 80 in all other courses excluding foreign language since their language studies began. Candidates are screened for character, class participation and oral competency. Members are expected to maintain high standards of performance in their subsequent language studies. The complete list of students can be found here.

Art Honor Society: To be considered for this honor society, students must have a 90 average or higher in art classes, with one year of credit in art. Along with two teacher recommendations, those in consideration must also perform eight hours of art-related community service. Click here for this year’s list of 21 inductees.

Math & Science National Honor Society: One hundred and twenty-four students, along with 20 probationary members, were inducted into the Math & Science National Honor Society. Students must be at least a sophomore and maintain an overall average of at least 85, a minimum course grade of 85 in all math and science honors classes, and a minimum course grade of 80 in all math or science Advanced Placement classes. They must enroll in at least one honors or upper level math class, and one honors or upper level science class each year. In addition, they must be active members of the Math Club, Science Olympiad, Forensics Team, SEA Club, Chess Club, Quiz Bowl or Robotics Club. A list of new inductees can be found here.

The district extends its congratulations to all students inducted into the honor societies.

HS Volunteers Recognized

Senior High School students Madison Milito and Kassandra Sherwood have been honored for their volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes those who have volunteered significant amounts of time to serve their communities. It is granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Obama.

Sherwood volunteers with the John Theissen Children’s Foundation. She sells raffle tickets at various events, helps out at parties for children with cancer, collects toys at Christmas and stuffs backpacks for the back-to-school drive. She also volunteers with the West Babylon Main Street Organization, packing boxes of food to be donated to community members in need.

Milito volunteers her time teaching religion to third- and fourth-graders at Our Lady of Grace Church. She has also been a camp counselor at the church’s Vacation Bible Camp during the summer.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Award applauds young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities.

Solar Studies

First-graders at Tooker have been busy studying the solar system. Each student researched a planet, completed a report and created a poster to present to their classes. On April 12, the classes took a trip to the Vanderbilt Planetarium to further enhance their studies on the unit.

Windshield Painting

In celebration of Earth Day, Mrs. Myers' group of fifth grade students painted on a repurposed windshield. The design was a collaboration of eight students' artwork to spread the word about recycling, repurposing, and reusing.


Sidewalk Chalked with Poetry

In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, students at Santapogue have been reading and celebrating poetry during their class time in the library.  

Fifth-graders created a Poetry Walk, writing their favorite works in chalk on the school’s sidewalk, on April 13. The students shared some of their favorite poems with the Santapogue community. The sidewalk was chosen as the prime location so other students could see the poems on their way to or from school.

Second grade field trip to the Fire Island Lighthouse

Owl Pellets in Grade 3

The third graders in Mrs. Kerr and Lynch's class learned inspected and dissected owl pellets in their classroom. You can see the children checking out the contents of the pellets and learning about the food chain.

“Ask the Superintendent” Updated 4/12/16

Click here for more information

Growing Cabbages

The Bonnie Plant Company provided each third grader with a cabbage plant to bring home and plant. The largest plant can win a prize from the Bonnie Plant Company. Each third grade class also planted one class plant outside the school. The students will monitor the growth of their cabbages at home and at school.


Brookhaven Bound

Five Tooker Avenue students have been selected to represent Tooker at the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Fair in May. Each year, students at Tooker are given the opportunity to conduct an optional science experiment for a chance to represent their school at the fair.

This year’s participants included Ava Field, Kaylee Harder, Kevin Woods, Jack Sackman, Lindsey Kutchens, Alma Gaxiola, Lauren Kutchens, Kaitlyn Zambrana and Kelly Bianco.
Ava, Kevin, Jack, Alma and Kelly had their projects selected to represent Tooker at Brookhaven.

April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and students at Tooker Avenue showed their support by learning about some facts about autism. The students colored puzzle pieces and designed a bulletin board outside their classroom in an effort to spread awareness.

Reading Marathon for PARP

First graders visit the Vanderbilt Planetarium

First graders visited the Vanderbilt Planetarium to supplement their Solar System unit. Students further learned about the planets through the show in the planetarium's 60ft dome.

Principal Acocella Dyes Her Hair for Ms. Wilken's 3rd Grade Reading Challenge

Back in October, Mrs. Wilken’s third grade class read “Miss Malarchy Leaves No Reader Behind.” After reading the book, Principal Acocella challenged the students to read *1,000* books by March 17th. If they did, she woulddye her hair. The students read a total of 1,290 books! True to her word, Principal Acocella dyed her hair purple and green. Way to *READ*, Ms. Wilken's class!!


Forest Avenue Students Recognized for their Amazing Science Projects

We are so very proud of all the fabulous Forest Avenue students who submitted creative science project entries for the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Fair. All the science projects were phenomenal. In recognition of their efforts, all participating students were presented with Certificates of Excellence.

Bringing Nature Indoors

On March 17, third-graders learned all about different types of birds. This program was brought into their classrooms through the Sweetbriar organization. The students learned about birds and also had the chance to be dressed as birds.