National Praise

Ward Melville High School senior Erika Riley, along with juniors Henry DaCosta and Grace Zhao, merited national recognition in this year’s highly competitive 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Contest.

Erika earned a National Gold Key Award for her piece, “Bad Ideas,” the tale of a girl looking back on a friendship after a tragedy. Erika, three-time national winner, aspires to major in creative writing in college.

Henry and Grace each won a National Silver Award. Henry was honored for his film “The Shore,” while Grace won for her short story “Adagio in G Major.”

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is one of the nation’s largest, longest-running, most prestigious literary arts programs that honors students in grades 7-12 for their original works.

Educational Science Workshops

Science concepts using dry ice, sounds and chemistry were explored in March when W.S. Mount Elementary School first- through third-grade students participated in a cultural arts program called “Mad Science.”

Second-graders focused on the characteristics of sound concepts and sound waves during the sonic sounds class. They produced and identified acoustic sounds from a variety of materials and learned how electronic distortions link shifting frequencies to voice alterations. At the end of the workshop, each student received a sonic horn resonance chamber.

Baldness Brings Donations

Setauket Elementary School fourth-grader Austin Vero joined the fight against childhood cancer by volunteering to shave his head at a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation this March.

As a result of his efforts, Austin raised $16,074 for the cause and was the top fundraiser at the Centereach Fire Department event, hosted by the Centereach Civic Association. In honor of his efforts, Austin was invited to Town Hall by Councilman Kevin LaValle, and the Town of Brookhaven declared a date this spring Austin Vero Day.  

Join Us & Stand Up for Public Education

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address in late January, during which he outlined his 2015 Opportunity Agenda, the district’s Board of Education and administration have publicly expressed concern with his proposals for public education. As the state’s budget deadline of April 1 draws nearer, the district encourages all residents to make their voices heard on these issues and implore their elected officials to “Stand Up for Public Education” by delivering a budget that is fair and supportive of our schools.

A form letter, which can be copied, personalized and emailed to officials, is located below. In short, it takes umbrage with the following matters, which the district feels would negatively and irrefutably diminish the quality of education that Three Village students receive:

-    The Governor’s plans to base 50% of a teacher evaluation on students’ state assessment scores. This 30% increase from the current value would create a single, inadequate measurement device to determine teachers’ effectiveness and unnecessarily impede the educational process.

-    Uniformed changes to APPR – ex. Shifting the responsibility for classroom observations to an outside evaluator, one who is unaware of the district’s teaching techniques or instructional goals.  

-    Withholding state aid increases unless lawmakers comply with the Governor’s education reform plan. This unprecedented action is especially troubling as the district is working to craft a proposed budget for the 2015-16 school year. Under the proposal, increases could range from 1.7% to 4.8%. In Three Village alone, this represents a swing of $645,000 to $1,820,000 in revenue.

Contact Information for Our Local Officials:

Email address:



Dear ___________,

I am writing on behalf of the students, parents, staff and community members of the Three Village Central School District. Our community is deeply saddened by the educational reforms outlined in the Governor’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda and are joining together with thousands of families statewide to “Stand Up for Public Education.” 

The outlined budget and policy proposals have the potential to seriously and irrevocably impede the work of our teachers, slow their progress and limit our student outcomes, all while costing our taxpayers far more than their fair share.

Our school district has a long and glowing history of success: We have a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon elementary school, several buildings deemed Reward Schools by the state, and our students regularly outperform their counterparts in the region and the state. We also have the second highest number of Master Teachers on Long Island – a program devised by the Governor to recognize the “best of the best” educators in the fields of STEM.

While our accolades are plentiful, they were not achieved overnight, nor were they stumbled upon; they are the direct result of the hard work and dedication of our teachers, parents and community. And while we do believe in continuous improvement, we also believe that the reforms before you were designed to dismantle, not enhance, the public education system. It is our hope that you will reevaluate these items and provide the support necessary to allow our teachers to continue to be effective, creative and inspirational.

Release the projected state aid runs for 2015-16.
Our district’s work to create a proposed budget that supports the needs of our students and falls within the confines of the state’s imposed tax cap has been crippled this year by the withholding of these figures. By challenging lawmakers to adopt his educational reform plan and tease a state aid package that increases between 1.7 and 4.8%, the Governor is using our children’s education as a pawn in a very serious game of chess. How is our district expected to deliver an efficiently managed budget when it can’t precisely predict if it will receive a state aid increase of $645,000 or $1,820,000?

Support local control of our classrooms. Our community is not in support of a system that relinquishes local control of evaluating educators on their performance within the classroom. The proposal to base 50 percent of a teacher evaluation on students’ state assessment scores and have classroom observations completed by an outside evaluator not only demeans our talented educators, but also compromises our programs. Testing has value as one element in the evaluation process. However, it is just one small measure of student growth. Putting a greater emphasis on this element would create a single, inadequate measurement device aimed at producing skewed data to inform broad decision-making.

As a community, we have come together to support our schools. We hope that you will deploy your power to protect our children and the quality education they are entitled to receive. 


Space Mission

W.S. Mount Elementary School fifth-graders participated in the live e-mission “Moon, Mars and Beyond,” making connections to their classroom math, language arts and science lessons.

During the videoconference space mission, the students worked to help NASA locate and rescue a lost spaceship that was orbiting one of the outer planets.

Working in five planet teams, they analyzed and computed answers to a variety of mathematical questions. They examined different variables and made predictions, including how much food, oxygen and water would be needed for the mission. In the end, the fifth-graders successfully accomplished the rescue.

In addition to tying into the school’s math and science curricula, the activity allowed students to practice their reading skills, think critically and logically, and communicate effectively with teammates.

SBU Doctors Share Safety Tips

Arrowhead Elementary School sixth-graders attended an in-school public safety and health awareness workshop with Dr. Anthony Szema and a team of six doctors and medical students from Stony Brook University Hospital.

The visitors taught the students how to recognize a medic alert bracelet and identify trigger allergens, engaged them in a skit to demonstrate anaphylaxis, and instructed them on how the EpiPen and Auvi-Q are administered. The program also reinforced the importance of calling 911.

Under the Big Top

Minnesauke Elementary School students learned a number of circus tricks when representatives from the National Circus Project conducted a weeklong workshop during physical education classes. At the end of the visit, the sixth-graders demonstrated their newly acquired skills during a performance under the “Minnesauke Big Top.”

Foreign Languages Celebrated

The importance of learning a second language was highlighted and celebrated by P.J. Gelinas Junior High School students and staff during foreign language week in March.

Hallways were decorated to promote the celebration and daily announcements highlighted the languages offered at the school. Members of the Global Language Honor Society wore special T-shirts to mark the occasion and created posters based on the week’s theme “Language Learning: Bridge to the Future.”

More than 185 posters were entered in the contest and Michael Dobo (first place), Claire Miller (second place) and Alana Abesamis (third place) were announced as winners.

‘Seussical the Musical’


Colorful sets and treasured children’s stories made famous by Dr. Seuss came to life at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School as the Gelinas Theatre Company performed its 31st annual musical, “Seussical the Musical.”

During their performances, the students took the audience on a journey to the smallest planet in the universe, introduced them to the Who citizens and reminded everyone that a person is a person no matter how small.

With spirited singing and dancing, the young thespians brought this beloved musical to life in all its fantastical, magical, musical glory. Attendees of all ages enjoyed watching as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and a tiny Who named Jojo, came together to tell a story about the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community.


Off to Nationals

After demonstrating a wide range of knowledge in science-related subjects at this year’s Brookhaven National Laboratory/Long Island Regional Middle School Science Bowl, R.C. Murphy Junior High School’s Science Bowl team has won a bid to complete in the National Science Bowl Finals this spring.

During the competition, Murphy’s team – which consisted of Reilly Browne (captain — eighth grader), Mourya Chimpiri (seventh-grader), Rohan Nagavardhan (seventh-grader), Luke Randall (seventh-grader), Keene Lu (seventh-grader) and coach Patrick McManus – went head to head against 19 teams from 13 schools across the region in a “Jeopardy”-style science contest. Questions spanned subjects such as life science, physical science, earth science, general science, astronomy, energy and math.

As the winners, the team earned an all-expense-paid trip to the National Science Bowl Finals in Washington, D.C., scheduled for April 30 to May 4. The Department of Energy sponsors this contest in an effort to encourage young Americans to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Bringing Order to the Court

Math and Baking Fun


Leaving a Lasting Memory

Sixth-grade students at Setauket Elementary School had the chance to leave a lasting mark on their school walls by participating in the annual mural project.

With the help of school art teacher Erica Kremens and visiting muralist John DiNaro, the students painted a whimsical mural inspired by the children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.” The completed piece runs alongside the kindergarten wing and features iconic scenes such as young Max swinging from vines and the wild things he encounters after sailing to a mysterious jungle island.

Response to Governor’s Proposals


Inspiring Unstoppable Actions

Nassakeag Elementary School teacher Dr. Peggy Place has been inspiring her students to not let any obstacle get in their way by sharing how she has overcome a personal challenge.

One year ago, Dr. Place was involved in a tragic car accident that left her critically injured. With much faith, hope, perseverance and support, she recuperated and was back to teaching full-time in September. This year, she is paying that support forward by working with her students on a reading and writing project titled “Unstoppable.”  

Students read the book, “Unstoppable Me! 10 Ways to Soar Through Life” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. They discussed ways to overcome obstacles and wrote essays about how they persevered to overcome challenges. Dr. Place taught her students this great life lesson as a living example of it.  

Board Honors Scientists

The Board of Education paid tribute to several talented Ward Melville High School science research students who achieved national recognition for their original projects this school year.

Under the tutelage of the district’s InSTAR teachers and professional mentors, the students investigated and explored complex subject matters in various fields. The following students were honored and presented with certificates of commendation during the Board’s early March meeting:

Niyati Desai – Siemens Regional Finalist
Niyati used a form of carbon called graphene to make a new type of transistor approximately 100 times smaller than current technology.

Gary Ge – Siemens Semifinalist
Gary developed software for training computers to recognize people’s actions based on a still photo. This has great implications in security, personal identification and computer control.

Jessica Ju – Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist
Jessica created software to translate Korean speech into a phonetically correct written transcript. With further development, this can be used for universal language translation.

Sapna Nath – Siemens Semifinalist
Sapna studied the FAS receptor, which promotes cell death, and found certain sequences that control its location within cells. This gives a better understanding of ways to prevent cancer.

Eric Wang – Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist
Eric also used the grapheme oxide form of carbon to create a highly efficient filter for water desalination. The filter greatly surpasses the capabilities of previous graphene-based systems.

Science Olympians Advance

The Science Olympiad teams of P.J. Gelinas and R.C. Murphy junior high schools have qualified to compete at the New York State competition based on their first- and second-place wins, respectively, at the Eastern Suffolk Regional contest this winter.

Both schools were represented by three teams from each school at the regional contest, all of which placed in the top 10.

Now one team from each school will start preparations for the state tournament, which will be held in Syracuse on April 17-18. Congratulations to both schools and to all of the coaches who worked so hard to achieve such success.

Fun with Food

W.S. Mount Elementary School’s fourth-graders are putting an artistic spin on some of their favorite foods with the help of art teacher Maria Maritato.

During a lesson on American artist Wayne Thiebaud, the students learned how Thiebaud became intrigued by the desserts on display while working in a bakery as a child. They also learned how this early inspiration led to his desire to make his paintings look as realistic as possible, and the emergence of food art.

These lessons were the basis for the class’s work to make 3-D food art using clay. The students created an entree, a main course and sides in the style of Thiebaud, made to appear realistic and appetizing. They also discussed good nutrition and dressing up food with lettuce, tomatoes and other garnishes to make it look more appealing.  

Voice of History

As an extension of their English lessons, eighth-grade classes at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School learned about one of the world’s darkest times when Holocaust survivor Warner Reich visited the building.

The students, who have been studying the Holocaust as part of their English curriculum over the past several weeks, were captivated by Mr. Reich’s message of standing up for others. He recalled Nazism, its influence throughout Europe, and his own escape from Germany before being captured and placed in a concentration camp. Equating the passive behaviors of what transpired at that time to bullying, Mr. Reich urged the students to stand up for others and to not tolerate any negative actions.

In their classes, the students have been learning about the Holocaust through literature such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The Cage” and “Night,” as well as through activities and research projects on the historical context of the Holocaust. Mr. Reich’s firsthand account of the period enabled the students to better understand the atrocities of World War II.  

To help preserve Mr. Reich’s compelling presentation for future generations, Gelinas art teacher Mike Sacco and technology teacher Dean Kostis recorded the morning’s event. They will edit the vocal recordings to pair with Mr. Reich’s PowerPoint presentation. The final project will allow the sharing of this historical recollection to continue.

Performing for Seniors

Setauket Elementary School fifth-graders in Pamela Austin’s and Adrienne D'Onofrio’s classes showcased a myriad of skills during a talent show for the residents of Jefferson’s Ferry and several kindergarten classes.

As part of the community outreach effort, the students played familiar tunes on instruments such as the piano and cello. They also danced, did gymnastics routines and told jokes for the audience. In addition, several fifth-graders volunteered to have lunch with the visitors before the program.

The classes extend special thanks to the sixth-graders in Richard Guez’s class, who helped run the technical board during the performance.
The school regularly coordinates community service learning opportunities with the local senior establishment.

Contractor for Kids 5K & Health and Wellness Fair - April 25, 2015

Three Village Schools & Contractor's For Kids Annual Health & Wellness Fair and 5K run will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Ward Melville High School.

Please see flyer for registration and sponsorship information.

Seniors Vie for National Scholarships

Sixteen Ward Melville High School seniors have been named finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.     
Earlier this year, as a result of their performance on the qualifying exam, the students earned the distinction of being designated semifinalists in the contest. These academically talented seniors will now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million.
Congratulations to the following students:

Stephanie Chen
Donald Della Pietra
Gary Ge
Jayne Green
Nicholas Greene
Kriti Jindal
Edward Liu
Sapna Nath
Adina Nawaz
Ramy Rao
Nichole Schneider
Eric Wang
Felix Wang
John Welde III
Grace Whitney
Yongqi Zhu

Updated Snow Closure Information

Dear Parents and Guardians:

After careful consideration of the dangerous weather conditions affecting the area, our district worked to ensure the safety of our students and staff by closing school on Thursday, March 5. As this closure brings our total snow days for the year to four, school will now be in session for students and staff on Friday, April 10.

The decision to dismiss early, delay or close the schools is based on careful consideration and analysis of the weather forecast and road conditions. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our students and staff while also considering the impact to instruction. In anticipation of weather-related cancellations, the district builds emergency-related closing dates into our annual calendar. These dates are noted within the printed calendar distributed to families at the start of the school year and on our district website.

Please be reminded that as a result of our previous snow days, school will be in session on Friday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 26. If any additional days are needed, we will update you accordingly.

This winter has surely brought an unprecedented number of storms to our region. I am sure all our families join me in looking with great anticipation to the spring weather ahead.


Cheryl Pedisich
Superintendent of Schools

Electrifying Strings

Recognized for Service

As a result of their years of dedication to the school district and volunteer work as part of the Board, three Board of Education members were awarded honors by the New York State School Boards Association. The following trustees were recognized during the Board’s February meeting:

Deanna Bavlnka – NYSSBA “School Board U” Level 1 Board Member Achievement     Award
Bill Connors – NYSSBA “School Board U” Level 2 Board Excellence Award
Irene Gische – NYSSBA “School Board U” Level 2 Board Excellence Award

Legal Notice


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that, at its regular meeting of January 7, 2015, the Board of Education of the Three Village Central School District conditionally appointed Martin Malone to the position of Interim Assistant Principal for Ward Melville High School, commencing on January 20, 2015, at a compensation rate not to exceed $650.00 per diem.

The Board of Education hereby notifies resident taxpayers that Mr. Malone has received the approval of the Commissioner of Education for employment in the District pursuant to Section 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law, at a compensation rate not to exceed $650.00 per diem, and will continue to receive his pension while employed by the Board of Education.

100 Days Smarter

Celebrating an educational milestone, students and staff members marked the 100th day of school with educational lessons and creative character initiatives.

At Arrowhead Elementary School, kindergarten students worked in centers to complete math and English language arts exercises. They counted to 100 in various increments, created pictures using the digits in 100 and individual books about the number, and crafted artistic projects displaying their favorite 100 items. They also completed individual projects using 100 of the same item.

Setauket Elementary School kindergarten and first-grade students teamed up to collect 100 items per class for the district food pantries. Together they collected hundreds of nonperishable food items, toiletries and paper products for members of the community. The grades also shortened the collections by 10s and completed other math and writing projects based on 100.

Learning from Broadway Greats

Talented student-musicians and actors from Ward Melville High School and P.J. Gelinas Junior High School had the chance to meet and interact with Broadway performers during two separate visits to New York City.

Ward Melville students had the chance to experience the highly acclaimed musical “Beautiful” thanks to an ongoing partnership with recent alumni. During their visit, 43 sophomores from the school’s Women’s Choral Ensemble not only had the chance see the Carole King-inspired musical, but they learned about music and fashion history from the 1950s to 1970s. After watching the performance, the stage manager and six cast members conducted a very informative and honest question-and-answer session about theater, their careers and love of the art.   

To learn about the intricate chorography involved with stage productions, members of the Gelinas ninth-grade chorus, band and orchestra attended a Broadway Stage Combat Workshop. There, they learned from Broadway fight choreographers how stage combat works during a live performance. They had a question-and-answer session with one of the ensemble members of Disney’s “Aladdin.” The event reinforced a concept taught within the Gelinas annual musical – that every actor needs to have a history.  This was followed up with lunch at Planet Hollywood and finally a performance of Disney’s “Aladdin” on Broadway.  

Opening Doors to Creativity

Outstanding written pieces created by R.C. Murphy Junior High School and Ward Melville High School students garnered recognition at this year’s Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Competition. Sixteen students were honored in the contest, and four, who received the highest honor of being named Gold Key winners, will now have their submissions judged at the national level.

Ward Melville High School senior Erika Riley received a Gold Key for her short story “Bad Ideas”; senior John Raney received a Gold Key for his poems “Poet’s Fire,” “Seeds,” “The Great Beast,” “Bookworm” and “On the Wings of a Letter”; and junior Eleni Aneziris received a Gold Key for her poems “To Dust” and “The View from the Couch in the Far Left Corner.” R.C. Murphy Junior High School ninth-grader Cameron Liquori won a Gold Key for her short story “Hero.”

Gold Key winners are recognized as the top 1 to 2 percent of all participants in the Northeast region. Their writing will be forwarded to the national level, where it will be considered for a Gold Medal. National medalists will be announced in mid-March.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is one of the nation's largest, longest-running, most prestigious literary arts programs that honors students in grades 7-12 for their original works.

Congratulations to the following honorees:  

Ward Melville High School
Eleni Aneziris: Gold Key in Poetry; four honorable mentions in Poetry; one honorable mention in Memoir
Amanda Liu: Silver Key in Poetry
Sachin Patnaik: Silver Key and honorable mention in Poetry
John Raney: Gold Key in Poetry, Silver Key in Writing Portfolio; honorable mentions in Poetry (two), Flash Fiction (two) and Writing Portfolio (one)
Erika Riley: Gold Key in Short Story; honorable mention in Flash Fiction, Writing Portfolio and Poetry

R.C. Murphy Junior High School
Samarah Ahmed: Honorable mention
Maddy Avni: Silver Key
Justin Diamond: Silver Key
Ivy Guan: Honorable mention
Julia Hu: Honorable mention
Noor Kamal: Honorable mention
Cameron Liquori: Gold Key in Short Story
Serena Liu: Honorable mention
Ilsa Shahzadi: Honorable mention
Emily Toth: Honorable mention
Amy Xie: Silver Key

Celebrating Shining Behaviors

As part of the school’s PBIS program, R.C. Murphy Junior High School students and staff members are celebrating positive and character-building behaviors this February through their “Let Your Heart Shine” campaign.

Roughly 200 positive quotes have been displayed on pink papers throughout the building and via a PowerPoint in the library. Members of the SHARP club also created a display outside the library with teachers’ responses to how they let their hearts shine. In turn, students had a chance to write how they let their hearts shine on banners set up in the cafeteria.

To recognize those exemplifying positive behaviors, students “caught” letting their hearts shine will be recognized by their teachers, have their names displayed in a showcase, and be entered into a drawing to win gift certificates to the school store.

Pennies Add Up

Thousands of pennies flooded into P.J. Gelinas Junior High School this winter for the school’s spirited Penny Wars competition.

During the weeklong drive, coordinated by seventh-grader Sophia Adams, students and staff members donated pennies during their homeroom periods to benefit the Setauket-based organization Room 4 Love. As added excitement, students could deposit quarters in another class’s jar to lower that homeroom’s final tally and, at the same time, increase the overall donation, which ended up totaling more than $800. Christian Alessi’s homeroom was rewarded with tasty treats from Crazy Crepes for winning the contest. 

“I coordinated this initiative as part of my Bat Mitzvah project as a way to help the community,” said Sophia. “It was amazing, and I am very impressed with how many donations we received. My brother conducted a similar project several years ago, and I’m happy that my cause received as much support as his.”

Room 4 Love was established in 2012 by district students Maggie and Bella Diehl with the help of their parents. The group works with another local organization, Friends of Karen, to provide bedroom makeovers for local children with cancer and their families.


Sharing Cultures

As part of their social studies course, John Strub’s ninth-grade classes at R.C. Murphy Junior High School are sharing a bit of their culture with peers through an alternative learning project.

In lieu of one quarterly journaling entry, global history and Advanced Placement World History classes have the chance to help their peers make connections to their ethnicity or culture through song, dance or performance art. Most recently, students performed traditional Spanish and Hindi songs, played a French concerto on the cello, and shared a song and peasant dance native to Crete in Greece.

“The project enables the students to experience these regions beyond the academic component and gives opportunity for them to obtain a well-rounded picture of the country,” said Mr. Strub. “It is an enrichment to their classroom study and shows how ethnicity and culture can be expressed in many ways, and that there is a commonality in shared human traditions that comes across in arts and culture.”

Exploring the States

Microsoft Office Now Available to Students for Free

Three Village Central School District is excited to announce the Microsoft Student Advantage program. Due to an existing enterprise agreement with Microsoft, students are now able to download and install Microsoft Office desktop applications on their home computers and/or devices for FREE!

Please read this information thoroughly for specifications and directions.