A New Year Begins in South Huntington

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Walt Whitman seniors gather before school starts to create positive messages as they welcome back friends and new students.
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A new day and a new year brings opportunities and excitement as Walt Whitman’s seniors begin a new chapter in their lives.
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The sun was barely up, but our seniors were already working on welcoming incoming students with a positive message.
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Each senior class leaves behind an imprint that they have made on the school community. The Class of 2015 is looking forward to making the upcoming year a very special one.

The Walt Whitman Class of 2015 got busy very early today as schools in the South Huntington Schools District open for another exciting year. “We are blessed with a fantastic community of learners, and our parents, students, faculty, and staff remain united in their quest for excellence,” said Superintendent Dave Bennardo in his welcome back message to the community. “We certainly have much to celebrate from the year gone by as Walt Whitman High School was awarded a silver medal ranking in the survey completed by the U.S. News and World Report of the nation's best high schools, and our graduates went on to some of the finest colleges and universities in the nation.”  Kathleen Acker, Principal of Walt Whitman, views this recognition as an affirmation of the extraordinary efforts of talented educators, administrators, support staff and students. Principal Acker also noted the special "Whitman Spirit" shared between students and staff, which makes the high school a vibrant working and supportive community. Walt Whitman High School is off to another great year.

 

A Message from the Superintendent of Schools

Dear South Huntington Learning Family:

It is hard to believe that the time has come to compose the welcome back to school letter. It seems like only moments ago we were enjoying the commencement ceremony, cheering various moving-up exercises, and preparing for summer activities. Yet here we are, in what seems like the blink of an eye, on the threshold of an exciting, new September opening.

We certainly have much to celebrate from the year gone by as Walt Whitman High School was awarded a silver medal ranking in the survey completed by the U.S. News and World Report of the nation's best high schools, and our graduates went on to some of the finest colleges and universities in the nation.  Ivy League, SUNY and private school acceptances were tallied at record rates, while at the same time Grades K-12 students made considerable improvements both in and out of the classroom walls. The young men and women of our primary, intermediate, middle, and high schools continued to distinguish themselves in academics, athletics, leadership, and the arts, and there is a common sense of purpose permeating the district. Our community progressed through another remarkably cooperative budget season and worked as a team to build upon the wonderful foundation that has been established in our schools. Through the collective work of our teachers, parents, administrators, and students, we managed to navigate the demands of increased Common Core standards in a balanced, contemplative manner and avoid much of the divisive rancor that plagues New York State. Although we will never be satisfied until every student is proficient, there were areas of considerable growth upon which to build, and the future looks remarkably promising.  Fortunately, the thoughtful approach of our learning family is allowing us to pursue higher standards, while simultaneously maintaining a student-centered philosophy.  

We are in good position to begin the 2014–2015 campaign, as programs and personnel are in place to keep our students moving forward. Our buildings are fully staffed, and classes are balanced in a way that will help provide quality instruction for all. Our teachers and administrators have worked to sharpen curriculum and enhance resources for parents and students alike. Programs, such as Upraised Math, which allow for online support of Common Core Math and enriched differentiated instruction, are already being utilized by hundreds of community residents; and English-Language Arts instruction will also be bolstered through continued use of LearnZillion and CompassLearning.  Our team will continue to use data to build upon effective strategies and important support personnel have been added throughout the district.  At the same time our secondary Honors and Advanced Placement programs remain strong, and we are dedicated to bringing more enriched and college experiences to the district. In addition, the curriculum office will be adding more grant-funded, co-curricular activities, which build upon students’ interests and stimulate high-level activity. While there is no question that the road ahead will have its share of obstacles, the members of our learning family remain committed to the Renaissance spirit that is sweeping the South Huntington School District.  We are blessed with a fantastic community of learners, and our parents, students, faculty, and staff remain united in their quest for excellence.

Together, we look forward to a fantastic year ahead. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Be well,

Dave Bennardo

 

Upraised Math K-8

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Our school community now offers Upraised Math, a resource to help families help their child(ren) succeed in math this year. Families can use Upraised Math to be informed about what your child is learning each week in grades K-8, understand today’s new teaching strategies and get tips to help with homework.  You can also access high quality resources online, including videos, practice activities, and games. Click here to access Upraised Math. 

Family Fun Day

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SOUTH HUNTINGTON EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (SHEF) Invites children of all ages and their families to the 11th ANNUAL FAMILY FUN DAY.

 
 

Sunday, September 7th   11am – 4pm

WEST HILLS DAY CAMP

Entrance and Parking on Paumanok Drive off Jericho Tpk.

$10 per person - includes Food & Drinks!

Fun for everyone including: Live Entertainment-Miniature Golf-Soccer-Tether Ball-Basketball-Playgrounds-Swings-Dodge Ball-Slides - Heated Pools -Tennis - Giant Water Slide-Boating-Kick Ball- Boating - BBQ Hamburgers Hot dogs - Salads - Ice Tea - Lemonade and more. 

Back by Popular Demand- Dunk Tank featuring your favorite Principals!

 

See Attached Flyer

 

Attachments:

A.J. Preller Joins Baseball’s Elite

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Photo composite of A.J. Preller from the 2012 Hall of Fame Journal.

In 2012 when A.J. Preller was inducted into the South Huntington Hall of Fame, he spoke of the importance of our diverse multicultural community. As the assistant general manager and head of scouting and player development for the Texas Rangers, A.J. quickly built a reputation as an international expert, especially in Latin America.

Crediting his days at Walt Whitman for giving him a well-rounded view and acceptance of diversity, A.J. Preller has just reached professional baseball's business pinnacle. As was announced on Wednesday, A.J. Preller was just hired as the general manager of the San Diego Padres.

Club president Mike Dee and owners Ron Fowler and Pete Seidler accompanied A.J. into the Padres clubhouse, introducing him to the coaching staff and players. “This is a guy that eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball, and baseball at every level,” Dee said to ESPN’s Calvin Watkins. “Preller was the difference maker among the candidates when it came to deciding who would be best at bringing impact talent, championship-level talent, to the organization."

A.J. has been described by those who work with him as the best in the business at what he does. His accomplishments are the result of his determination, work ethic, and drive--characteristics he developed while he was a student at Walt Whitman High School.

Congratulations, A.J. Go, Padres!

 

Marching Band is Ready!

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The Wildcat Marching Band broke summer camp today at Farmingdale University and will put all the pieces together for a pre-season performance tomorrow on their home turf. Beginning at noon on Friday, August 15, the marching band will present a performance for district administrators and staff and then at 6PM they will present this year’s performance titled “JOY” to their parents and families. 

Practicing three times a day for the past four days, the students are excited to get the season underway. If you would like additional information about this upcoming season visit the band’s dedicated website at: http://wwhsmb.com

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Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

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SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, October 18th  Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Homecoming Festivities @ Walt Whitman High School

The South Huntington School District 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees have been announced. A day of celebration and honoring the new inductees is planned for Saturday, October 18, 2014 at Walt Whitman’s Annual Homecoming. Community, friends, and family are invited to welcome back Walt Whitman alumni who have distinguished themselves both professionally and personally. It is with great honor that we present the South Huntington School District Hall of Fame class of 2014.

Click on the link below to read about the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

http://www.shufsd.org/community/hall_of_fame

Model Summer Employment Program Congratulated

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, at podium, congratulates South Huntington administrators, teachers, and students on a well run program.
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Schools Superintendent Dr. Dave Bennardo, congratulates Deputy Superintendent Jacci Harris and Coordinator of Student Services David Perkins and thanks County Executive Steve Bellone for his support.

Suffolk County and South Huntington Schools have found a perfect partnership, one from which our students benefit greatly. The Suffolk County Summer Work Program, expertly integrated here in South Huntington, is adding to the hum of activity in several of our buildings. 

To witness firsthand the benefits of this model program, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stopped by Birchwood Intermediate School last week for a hands-on experience with our students at work. “This is one of the most innovative districts we have anywhere in the region,” said Mr. Bellone of South Huntington. “It’s a little startling to come to a school district in the summer and see it bustling with activity.”

“The activities and programs that are run here [in South Huntington] are both extraordinary and outstanding,” said Mr. Bellone as he acknowledged and congratulated Superintendent Dave Bennardo.

“Our highly creative team, led by Deputy Superintendent Jacci Harris and Coordinator of Student Services David Perkins, has created something really special here,” said Bennardo.  “We welcome the opportunity to be the home of any partnership with the County Executive’s Office that is good for the children of South Huntington.”

This summer, Stacey Lesko, Youth Unit Director for the Suffolk County Department of Labor, received an increase in funding for the program that enabled close to 200 additional Suffolk County students to experience what for many would be their first job. “Because of this program, our students are learning and better understanding the integrity and value system in the work environment,” said South Huntington’s Coordinator of Student Services Mr. David Perkins.

“Our students are learning about professional structure and accountability that will be critical for their success in the working environment,” said Mr. Perkins. “I’m so excited, because when I look at these kids I see doctors, lawyers, and teachers.”

Ms. Harris thanked the County Executive for a program that helps ensure that young people have a productive summer. “Here in South Huntington we have so many bright and beautiful children,” said Ms. Harris. “This summer, thanks to the Suffolk County Summer Work Program, our students are better able to explore a variety of work experiences throughout the district and get an idea of possible career choices, which in turn gives them a direction to pursue.”

At Birchwood as well as in several of our buildings this summer, it’s inspiring to hear our students speak of their pride in their summer employment experiences. The Suffolk County Summer Employment Program is working, and working very well, here in South Huntington.

 

Spotlight News Summer 2014

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Walt Whitman Junior Gabrielle Ramirez Wins Leadership Award

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Each year the Women's Fund of Long Island (WFLI) holds their Women Achievers Breakfast. At this annual event, remarkable young women are recognized with several prestigious awards. One of those awards, the Shapiro-McCormick Young Woman Leader Award, is presented to a deserving candidate for advocating for girls within their schools or communities and making a difference in the lives of young women through philanthropy, advocacy or other community service efforts.

Walt Whitman junior Gabrielle Ramirez was the recipient of this year’s award. Gaby is a motivated young woman who achieves goals that are well beyond those set by your average high school student. Her motivating ideology revolves around the concept that leaders are one-third born and two-thirds made. Leaders like Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who defy society's expectations of Latina women, inspire Gaby. She also looks to her younger sister, Epiphany, for motivation and inspiration.

Well known at school for her sense of responsibility and dedication, Gaby is trusted by teachers to guide her peers. She holds several leadership positions including Secretary of the World Affairs club; Mentor of the Red Cross club, Treasurer of the World Language Honor Society and serves on the Public Relations team for her school newspaper. Gaby has been diligently working with her French teacher to launch the French Culture club in the fall of 2014 and was nominated in her sophomore year as one of the few permanent members of her school's Student Focus Group. Her determination to excel follows her onto the field where she is a three-Varsity sport scholar athlete, participating on the Varsity Soccer, Winter Track and Spring Track teams.

Gaby is an active member of her community and devotes her free time to service and volunteering. This past June, she recorded her 100th hour of volunteer service at Huntington Hospital. Teens who volunteer there not only provide assistance to nurses, but also personal attention to the patients who might not receive it every day. In alignment with her diverse interests, Gaby referees for South Huntington's Soccer club and interns at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center.

Gaby, whose whole family wears glasses, has taken the initiative, with her sister Epiphany, to help others who have trouble seeing. Together, they started Eye Partners Inspire (EPI), which collects unwanted eyeglasses island-wide and gives them to other organizations to distribute to people in need.  Gaby will use her community service award to kick start EPI. In addition, Gaby is working to establish a Girls Learn International (GLI) chapter at her high school. GLI helps students advocate for access to education for women and girls around the world. In the future, Gaby aspires to become an ophthalmologist.

Visit EPI at: http://www.epilongisland.org

 

 

Drowsy Chaperone Packs the PAC

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Audiences simply loved The Drowsy Chaperone. The musical, performed by the incredibly talented cast of The Long Island Musical Theatre Festival, had two performances this past weekend at Walt Whitman’s Performing Arts Center.  The play opens with the houselights down, the narrator, Man in Chair, sitting on a darkened stage, greets the audience. He is a fan of vintage musicals and decides to cheer things up by playing a record of the original cast recording of a (fictional) Broadway musical entitled The Drowsy Chaperone.

No sooner has the needle touched the record, the audience, together with the narrator, are transported to a 1928 Broadway theater and the recording comes to life and The Drowsy Chaperone begins, as the man in the chair looks on. Mix in two lovers on the eve of their wedding, a bumbling best man, a desperate theater producer, a not so bright hostess, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a misguided Don Juan and an intoxicated chaperone, and you've got a show packed with fun, great music and dance numbers, and the perfect showcase for this talented cast.

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Summer 2014 Reading Program - I reached 100 points!

Click Here to let us know that you have finished the Summer 2014 Reading Program and reached 100 points.