Inside Islip Schools

Welcome to the E-Newsletter for the Islip School District

Board of Education Retreat Raises Awareness of District’s Culture and Vision

Islip’s Board of Education and members of the Central Administration team participated in a retreat in the High School Community Room on Saturday, October 30 to discuss the District’s vision and expectations for teaching and learning.


Prior to the retreat, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Dennis P. O’Hara distributed books to the trustees and administration. These books included The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey; Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dr. Carol S. Dweck; The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle; Grit, by Angela Duckworth; Good to Great, by Jim Collins; The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, by Paul Tough; and Think Again, by Adam Grant. Each Board member partnered with a member of the Central Office team to read and discuss one of the books. Each team then prepared a presentation for the entire group, sharing the knowledge gleaned from it and how they believed it could be applied to education and the Islip learning community.


“Evidence shows a correlation between adult learning and student learning,” explained Dr. O’Hara. “If we are learners, our children and students will be learners.”


The books and presentations served as a starting point for a conversation on ways to accelerate learning and instruction, as well as improve climate and culture in each school within the District. The focus of these discussions included addressing disparity and inequity in education, ways in which educators may raise expectations for all, and cultivating a belief all children can learn.


The titles are also available to all District staff as part of the “You’ve Been Booked” initiative. Copies of the books have been distributed to teachers and counselors. Included within the back cover is a log for each reader to fill-in once they have read the book and a poem that provides instructions for passing the book onto others. As these circulate throughout the staff, the District will grow in scholarship and as a community of learners.

A Homecoming to Remember

District pride and enthusiasm provided the backdrop for a successful homecoming weekend for the community on Oct. 23. Students from each of the district’s schools gathered at Town Hall to line up for the parade down Main Street, which included high school floats, organization and school banners, cheerleaders, the marching band and more, as residents cheered from the sidewalk. This year’s float theme was “Holidays,” with masterful creations centered around Christmas (seniors), Halloween (juniors), July 4 (sophomores) and Valentine’s Day (freshman).


After the parade, the community gathered at the high school soccer field for a district-sponsored carnival. The fun-filled event included a dunking platform, information booths, bounce houses and slides, a dance section and games.


During the game’s halftime show, the cheerleaders, kickline team and marching band gave flawless performances and motivated the already upbeat fans. The homecoming court was also announced and included King Richie Castronova, Queen Desiree Pagan, Stephanie Castro, Bipro Dhar, Brianna Dodier, Nate Moran, Emma Neri, Jameson Seegar, Noah Whitehouse and Abby Zimmerman.


The Buccaneers lived up to their reputation as a first-class team, even though they fell one touchdown short (14-7) of a victory against undefeated Sayville.

Honoring the 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees

Buccaneer Pride and tradition prevailed on homecoming weekend as the district inducted individuals into the Islip High School Hall of Fame during a dinner and reception, held in the school gymnasium on Oct. 22. The Hall of Fame honors distinguished members of the high school community who have made notable contributions to society through their profession, community or institution.


This year’s inductees include Kay Poro Erwood (Class of 1954), Robert Anthony Jones (Class of 1991), Anthony Mastrantonio (Class of 1989), Ryan Patrovich (Class of 2006), Pat Petersen (Class of 1978), Melody Thomas (Class of 1969) and the 2004 Islip High School softball team.


After each of the inductees was honored, they participated in an unveiling of the Hall of Fame Wall, which holds the plaques near the main entrance of the high school. At the start of the homecoming football game, the inductees were also introduced to and applauded by the Islip community.

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College Board Recognizes 27 AP Scholars

The College Board recognized 27 Islip High School students as Advanced Placement Scholars for exceptional achievement on the May 2021 national exams. Additionally, 16 students qualified to receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate, and six students qualified to receive an AP Capstone Diploma upon graduation in June 2022.


  • Jesse Caro, Sean Files, Keera Kittles, Juliana Marconi, Angela Padilla, Hasnayn Raza, James Wimmers, Cassandra Zaneski, Brianna Zavala and Abby Zimmermann qualified for the AP Scholar Award by receiving a 3 or higher on three or more exams.
  • Sarah Alvarez, Selina Chan, Bipro Dhar, Connor Edwards, Hannah Evans, Madeline Mulholland, Desiree Pagan and Yousuf Shrivardhankar received the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more exams.
  • Liam Biscari, Carolyn Do, Joyce Johnson, Carlo Lanza, Anthony Lopez, Timothy Mak, Justin Rhodes, Richard Rindos and Steven Schadt were recognized as AP Scholars with Distinction by earning an average of at least a 3.5 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on five or more exams.
  • Sarah Alvarez, Richie Castronova, Selina Chan, Carolyn Do, Connor Edwards, Sean Files, Kayla Hassell, Joyce Johnson, Ava Kurka, Carlo Lanza, Angela Padilla, Hasnayn Raza, Justin Rhodes, Richard Rindos, Steven Schadt and Serena Trabacchi have qualified to receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate upon graduation.
  • Liam Biscari, Bipro Dhar, Keera Kittles, Anthony Lopez, Timothy Mak and Desiree Pagan will receive an AP Capstone Diploma upon graduation.
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Making a Spark

Middle school students enrolled in the Excel Gifted Education Program learned lessons about the science and technology crucial to survival while hiking or camping in the woods. Wilderness preparedness teacher Dr. Scott Bronson explained how tinder and other natural substances like birch bark and cotton can catch a spark for a fire to stay warm. After the students made a bird nest out of the separated fibers of a jute string, Dr. Bronson taught them to spark fires with a fire starter.
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Food Science at Commack

Fifth grade students at Commack Road Elementary School learned what it’s like to be food scientists working in a lab for a large food production company. Their task was to identify the properties of three unknown food mixtures and to describe the properties using their senses. The mixtures, each having a different smell and appearance, were flour-based and blended with either vinegar, water and food coloring, or plain water. The students tested each mixture by smelling, dripping the contents with a paper towel and observing whether the blend stuck or dripped off of a spoon. After each test, the students recorded their observations, bringing them closer to their ultimate challenge – making a new, tasty salad dressing.
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Peace Whirled at Wing

In recognition of the International Day of Peace, kindergarten and first grade students participated in the annual Pinwheels for Peace Project this fall by imagining “whirled’ peace through the decoration of their own pinwheels, which were displayed on the bulletin board in the auditorium’s lobby. Throughout the day, students also wore white clothing to symbolize peace and discussed respect and kindness in their classrooms.

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Sherwood Hosts a Biography Parade

The annual Biography Parade, held on Oct. 29, was the culmination of the fifth grade class’s research on famous individuals. Once the students read a biography about their subject, they took copious notes, gathered facts and wrote a detailed report about famous athletes, historical figures, politicians, movie stars, singers and more. The information was organized on a trifold-shaped puppet in the likeness of their researched individual. Dressed as their subject, the students individually presented their reports to the class prior to parading through the front parking lot to the excitement of peers and parents.
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Student-Musicians Hit High Notes

The New York State School Music Association selected student-musicians Hannah Evans (flute), Maggie Frazer (voice) and Isabella Green (voice) to participate in the All-State Festival, held during the NYSSMA Winter Conference in Rochester, New York, on Dec. 2-5, based on their performances in the NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival.


Additionally, the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association selected vocal jazz musicians Ella Beiser (alto), Lucas Bohr (bass), Richie Castronova (bass), Leah Cyran (alto), Maggie Frazer (alto), Madelynn Lang (alto), Daniel Rubinson (bass) and Jordyn Zurbaran (alto) to perform during the All-County Vocal Jazz Ensemble, held at the SCMEA Day of Jazz on Nov. 6 at East Islip High School.

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Celebrating a Career Milestone

The Islip Board of Education and Central Administration announced the tenure of seven faculty members, marking the most important milestone of their educational careers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district was unable to recognize the recipients publicly in the spring and instead celebrated the occasion during the Oct. 27 Board of Education meeting.


The district congratulates the following tenure recipients:

Jorge Braadt – Islip Middle School – English as a New Language

Meghan Flynn – Commack Road Elementary – grade 3

Nicole Hall – Islip High School – school counselor

Scott Jackson – Islip High School – special education/resource room coordinator

Justin Lollo – Wing Elementary – grade 1

Nicole Morrisey – Commack Road Elementary – grade 5

Marc Segal – Maud S. Sherwood Elementary – grade 4

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