Island Trees Memorial Middle School

The Home-School Connection

February 26, 2018

Hello All.

I do hope you and your family had a wonderful Presidents Week. I know how hard you and your children worked in the weeks leading up to this vacation, so I trust that the time together was restful and fun.

With the tragedy of Parkland, Florida fresh in our minds, and the sadness we feel for these families in our hearts, please know that the safety of your children is at all times paramount. Always feel free to reach out to me with any questions or thoughts you may have in reference to school safety procedures and student connectedness. We will continue to seek your feedback through formal channels--Shared Decision Making, PTSA, School Safety Committee, but you are also asked to share with me your thoughts at any time. I look forward to continuing to work with you to best serve our school and community.

Please accept our special thanks to our PTSA for supporting our school's assembly on February 12th featuring Rohan Murphy. Rohan spread an important message of hope and resilience in the face of challenges. Rohan's charismatic and student-centered message was well-received by all attendees and holds the promise of deeply impacting our school.

Additionally, thank you to the many parents, students, and families who attended an amazing IT Learns event on February 12th. The great turnout illustrated our community's commitment to finding ways to best support our children in making healthy choices that promote safety and personal growth.

Our PTSA has also made it possible to arrange for an assembly program built around the documentary Screenagers. All students at ITMMS will view Screenagers on Tuesday, February 27th. Please see the film's website. Screenagers is an award-winning film that probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games and academics. The film offers solutions on how we can help our kids navigate the digital world.

Parents, please join us tonight (2/26) as we hold a community event which will include the film (Screenagers) and a discussion on the impact of digital media in our lives. This event will begin at 7:00 PM at ITHS.

Please take a look at the resources included below that promote more mindful screen time.

Calendar Notes:

Screenagers - Community Event: 2/26 (7:00-9:00 @ ITHS)

Screenagers - Student Assembly: 2/27 (During School - ITHS Auditorium)

Shared Decision Making - 3/1 (2:45-3:30 @ ITMMS)

Girl Power in STEM: Press for Progress - 3/3 (8:30-4:30 @ Stony Brook University)

Chopped - Community Event - 3/15 (6:30 @ ITMMS)


Please take a look at the Girl Power in STEM resources outlined below. Stony Brook University is hosting a wonderful event on Saturday, March 3rd. This free event is designed to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Registration is free but the deadline to register in Wednesday, February 28th.

As you peruse this newsletter, I would also ask that you carefully review the PTSA's Honorary Life Award nomination form as well as information related to our PTSA's Founder's Day. Your continued support of our PTSA is an integral part of the Home-School connection.

You may also be interested in one or more of the programs listed under Contests & Competitions. These competitions are beyond the curriculum but do hold the possibility of inspiring, motivating, and tapping into the areas that most interest our students.

Additionally, I would encourage you to review the Healthy Kids section of this newsletter. This section includes a number of resources that promote safe and healthy behaviors for our adolescent learners.

As always, thank you for all that you do to support our school and connect with us in so many meaningful ways.

Please enjoy this week's newsletter.

Mr. Keegan


Big picture
Do you ever struggle with screen time in your home?

Are you unsure or uncertain when to allow your child to use a cell phone?

Do you ever grapple with your own use of digital technology?

Are you torn by the benefits of technology and the ways in which technology can distract?

Do you ever find that screens separate you from your child?

If these questions are important to you, please attend our community movie event - Screenagers. This one-hour movie will be followed by a conversation on the impact of technology in our lives.

We look forward to seeing you tonight!

Girl Power in STEM

International Women’s Day 2018 Symposium: “Girl Power in STEM: Press for Progress”
Saturday, March 3, 2018

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Simons Center for Geometry and Physics

Stony Brook University

The Girl Power in STEM: Press for Progress! symposium at Stony Brook University (SBU) on March 3, co-sponsored by Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS), will celebrate the accomplishments of women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Lecturers and panelists, including many from Brookhaven Lab, will discuss the impact of women in STEM careers on the work environment and on the economy and how to improve women’s participation in STEM fields. Bringing together women from academia, government, and the private sector, this event will also help up-and-coming young professionals learn about women's experiences in STEM fields.

The event marks International Women's Day, proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) as a day to champion women's rights. This year the UN celebrates taking action to promote equal opportunities at all levels and to help forge a more gender inclusive world.

Scheduled speakers and panelists from Brookhaven Lab include the Biology Department’s Crysten Blaby, Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Science & Photon Sciences Jim Misewisch, and Aleida Perez of the BNL Office of Educational Programs.

Other speakers scheduled to attend include visual effects professional Carolina Jiménez Garcia, whose work can be seen in many blockbuster films including Star Trek: Beyond, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Justice League, as well as Vice President of Research Strategy at IBM Kathryn Guarini, Team Leader of Extreme Fluids team at Los Alamos National Laboratory Kathy Prestridge, Dean of the SBU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Fotis Sotiropoulos, SBU Chief Diversity Officer Lee Bitsoi, SBU Associate Prof. of Mathematics Moira Chas, and Executive Director of Stanford University’s WISE Venture Carol Muller.

The symposium is sponsored by BWIS, SBU’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors Program, and SBU’s Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE) Student Society, along with the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics (SCGP), the SCGP and Stony Brook Math Department Research Training Groups grant, and the M&C Venture Group.

Registration is free and the deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 28. So don’t delay!

Big picture
Big picture

Chopped - Mystery Box Event

Big picture

Congratulations! PTSA Food Drive Recognized by the Tribune

Levittown, NY – February 14, 2018 – Hempstead-based human service agency EAC Network was recently joined by Senator Kemp Hannon and AARP volunteers to pick up hundreds of bags of breakfast food collected from a week-long drive by students and families from the entire Island Trees School District.

Led by Island Trees PTSA Co-President and EAC Network RD/Health Educator Laura Zelenka-Dufresne, RDN, students from Island Trees High School, Island Trees Memorial Middle School, Michael F. Stokes Elementary, and J. Fred Sparke Elementary collected nutritious, non-perishable items for EAC Network’s Nutrition Education & Food Services food pantry. The food is being used to supplement breakfast meals for vulnerable Nassau County residents, people living with HIV/AIDS, and frail homebound seniors. It will help stock the pantry for months.

In Case You Missed It

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

PTSA Honorary Life Nomination

The Honorary Life Award is the highest recognition annually awarded by the Island Trees PTSA at the Island Trees District Dinner. This award is bestowed upon an individual who has been outstanding in his or her dedication and service to the children in our community.

Is there a person who has generously donated his/her time, talent or skill to improve or enrich the lives of the youth in our community? Do you believe this person deserves to be honored in a special way?

If you would like to nominate a member of our community who you feel is deserving of this award, please send us the name of the candidate, together with a brief summary of his or her contributions. Please be sure to sign your letter. Anonymous letters will not be considered.

Please submit your recommendations to ITPTSA Honorary Life Committee, Attention: Maureen Dieppa,, by March 1, 2018.

The Honorary Life Committee will read all of the nominations and choose the candidate that has the most outstanding letter. If your letter is chosen, please make sure you are available on April 26th to read your letter at the District Dinner, where the winner will be announced.

If you have any questions, please call Maureen Dieppa at 796-6563.

PTSA Founder's Day

Yearbook News

Big picture

Healthy Kids
Big picture

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Grades & the Growth Mindset for Parents

As you visit the Parent Portal and review grades throughout the quarter, please be sure to review some of the Growth Mindset resources included below. The midpoint of a quarter provides an excellent opportunity for students, teachers, and families to examine the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. This discussion can also help to reboot a student who may feel as though he/she can never do well in a particular course.

Stay Connected

Big picture

Our Hallways are Popping with Student Work

Walk the hallways of Island Trees Memorial Middle School on any day it is quite likely that there will be a new display that forces one to stop. Our teachers and students continue to create projects and produce work that illustrates deep learner, creativity, and student personality. While many of our projects and assignments have migrated to the digital form, many of our students and teachers continue to create wonderful displays that now proudly grace our hallways.
Big picture
As a father with young children and a middle level educator, it is important that I use the resources available to me to find age appropriate and meaningful experiences, books, apps, and tech tools that support growth. One website that I refer to often is Common Sense Media. As your child may be interested in books, apps, movies, and games, you may find the reviews and ranking helpful.

The Mission of Common Sense Media:

Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music. Our Parent Concerns and Parent Blog help families understand and navigate the problems and possibilities of raising children in the digital age.

Big picture
Big picture

No Place for Hate

Our No Place for Hate initiative is launched! On Wednesday, December 13th, all students at Island Trees Memorial Middle School signed the Resolution of Respect, a pledge which committed them to respecting others, combatting prejudice, and standing up for the dignity of others. Our committee has met to discuss activities and programs for the school-year, and it is our belief that No Place for Hate will have a strong a positive impact on our school community.
Big picture
Big picture

With public displays of hate on the rise, it is more important than ever for schools to commit to programs that clearly define expectations in behavior for all members of the community. Whether you are a student, educator, or family member, you have a role to play in combating bias and bullying as a means to stop the escalation of hate.

Island Trees Memorial Middle School is excited to announce our partnership with the ADL's No Place for Hate Movement. No Place for Hate is a self-directed program helping all of the stakeholders take the lead on improving and maintaining school climate so all students can thrive. To be designated No Place for Hate, a school must complete the following:

  • needs assessment
  • formation of a No Place for Hate committee
  • signing of the Resolution of Respect
  • one A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute anti-bias or bullying prevention training program (optional in some regions)
  • design and implementation of three school-wide anti-bias or bullying prevention activities

We look forward to your support and ideas as we work with our students and school community to promote respect, understanding, and positive interpersonal behaviors.

Big picture

Read Every Day Initiative

Big picture
Walk around our school before Homeroom, step onto buses at dismissal, or circle the cafeteria during a lunch period and you are likely to find students buried in a book. No, not only a school-assigned book, but one that is driven by a passion or a particular interest. Though we have and will continue to create many opportunities to promote reading across the curriculum, we would ask that you continue to support your child's independent reading outside of school.

Read Every Day Initiative

Island Trees Memorial Middle School requires all students to have a book of their choice with them at all times. Teachers often set aside 5-10 minutes of class time to silent reading in order to promote reading stamina and skill development.

We also have students read whenever there is any downtime in class. Most importantly, teachers very often to read with their students. This has really had an impact on students reading because they see our love as well. We have had kids make quick review posters for other classmates who might need an idea of a book to read.

Big picture

If You Are Looking For...

Thank you for connecting with our school in so many ways. Whether it has been at a trip meeting for Greenkill or Washington DC, Meet the Teacher Night, or the 5th Grade Welcome, it is clear that the home-school connection is strong. I wanted to use this section to remind all of the ways in which we continue to connect with families.
Big picture

The Daily Bulletin

Please be reminded that our school's daily announcements are posted on our website. These announcements come from teachers, coaches, and club advisors. Please be sure to review these announcements by selecting the "Daily Bulletin" link on our school's website.

Did you know that our Daily Bulletin is also posted within the Parent Portal. Please take a look at this helpful resource.

Homework Online

Our teachers work hard to keep families connected to their classroom by posting homework to our website. Please be sure to review the "Homework Online" link on our school's website.

Home-School Connection Newsletter

Maybe you read something in a school newsletter and wanted to go back to review. Perhaps you missed a newsletter but heard it was worth reading. Find all of our Home-School newsletters on our school's webpage and in the Archives section found below.


Want to celebrate so many of the great things happening in our schools? Sign up for our IT-Grams and IT-Grams will be sent directly to your inbox. You can also view our library of IT-Grams from our website. The screenshot below is an illustration of the form found on our website to sign up for IT-Grams.
Big picture

Let's Stay in Touch

Though decisions regarding the use of social media should be made by families, it is important to know that adolescents are increasingly drawn to this medium. The Island Trees Memorial Middle School will make every effort to model the appropriate use of social media and support your children as they navigate the digital age. Though e-mail and phone calls are still welcome and useful, we will seek to leverage the power of technology to provide school-based updates in multiple formats. To this end and to keep the lines of communication open between home and school, we ask that you consider following ITMMS on the platforms below.

Contests & Competitions

This space highlights the many programs that are geared toward middle-level learners.

Please encourage your child to participate in competitions and contests that speak to his/her passions and interests.

Generation Nano: Superheroes Inspired by Science

The National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative are sending up the signal and asking for your help!

Optimus Prime Spinoff Promotion & Research Challenge

Students are asked to use their imagination and creativity to identify NASA Spinoff technology in their everyday world.

NYS Student Research Awards

The contest is open to all New York State students in grades 4 – 12 who use historical records in their research projects. The deadline for entries is July 1, 2018. Three awards will be presented in the Fall of 2018.

C-Span's Student Cam

“THE CONSTITUTION & YOU” Choose a provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video illustrating why it's important to you.

Flocabulary Shout-Out Contest

Every Thursday at 6 PM EST, we'll announce the week's contest prompt. You have a week to submit your entry. The contest closes when we post a new prompt.

Parenting & Middle School

This section has been created to help parents and families better understand the needs and characteristics of young adolescents. The research and briefs shared below highlight the significant changes that our students are going through and the ways in which families and schools can best support our children.

Essential Resources

Please bookmark the following websites as they will be important points of reference throughout the year. Each site will be update throughout the year, providing timely and important updates regarding our academic and co-curricular programs.
Big picture
Be sure to follow Island Trees Memorial Middle School on Twitter for daily updates from our classrooms, club meeting rooms, playing fields, and the stage. @islandtreesmms