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Sixth-graders welcomed to Port Jeff Middle School

Port Jeff Middle School Pic

Incoming Port Jefferson Middle School students became acquainted with their new school at the sixth-grade back-to-school pizza party.

Students met Middle School Principal Robert Neidig, Assistant Principal Claudia Smith and numerous teachers before taking a tour of the school and receiving their locker assignments. The festive atmosphere was the backdrop for the PTSA-sponsored pizza, beverages and flavored ices served by parent volunteers.

The annual welcome event helps to prepare students for their entry into the middle school, familiarize them with the layout of the school and is an opportunity to catch up with classmates from the elementary school and seek out new friendships for the upcoming year.

District Ranked Among Finest in NYS

District Ranked Among Finest in NYS Pic
In recognition of its exceptional educational program, the Port Jefferson School District has been ranked No. 84 in’s annual list of best elementary, middle and high schools as well as school districts. It also received a ranking at No. 66 of districts with the best teachers in the state.
The study factored in Port Jefferson’s academics, administrative leadership, college readiness, clubs and activities, attention to health and safety, resources and facilities for students, sports programs and quality of teaching.

A total of 670 public school districts in New York State were ranked in the annual study, which according to carefully selects ranking criteria to represent a healthy balance between statistical rigor and practical relevance. The organization uses comprehensive school data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as school reviews and online survey responses.

To read more on the ranking, click here:

Learning in Harmony at the Summer Music Camp at Port Jefferson

Learning in Harmony at the Summer Music Camp at Port Jefferson Photo
Learning in Harmony at the Summer Music Camp at Port Jefferson Photo 2
The annual Summer Music Camp at Port Jefferson brought the sweet sounds of music to the air as elementary and middle school students honed their creative skills. For beginning and intermediate band and string students, the camp provided an enjoyable and positive way to begin learning an instrument or continuing their studies.

Special Education Post-Review Announcement – July 24, 2017


Superintendent's Report - Summer 2017

It’s hard for me to believe that my first school year in Port Jefferson is over and that we are already busy preparing for a successful start to the 2017-18 school year. This past year was a very rewarding experience as I had the privilege of working with our students, staff, parents, and community. We wish our 97 graduates of the Class of 2017 well and look forward to hearing about their future accomplishments. I know that they will continue to make us proud.

The past school year resulted in many noteworthy accomplishments. Students excelled in all academic disciplines, the arts, and athletics. Students took advantage of the many opportunities that our school-community has to offer by participating in many clubs, competitions, and organizations, supporting many worthy causes, and being good citizens of our schools and community.

With the start of the 2017-18 school year just weeks away, administrators, teachers and staff are busy working to prepare our buildings, enhance and strengthen curriculum and develop new programs and courses. All of us in Port Jefferson are looking forward to watching students flourish in the new school year under the instruction, guidance and support of our talented educators.

While we prepare to strengthen the educational experience for our students, our Board of Education has commenced discussions on a bond proposal focused on improving our district’s facilities. In the near future, community residents will be invited to participate in conversations regarding potential capital improvements to be included in the bond and to provide input on the development of the project. We expect our first meeting to be held sometime in August.

I would like to thank the community for your continued support of our students and the Port Jefferson School District.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Paul Casciano, Ed.D.

Investors Head to Washington

Investors Head to Washington Photo
The members of the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School investment team were recently presented with recognition awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The team earned the accolades after becoming the only team from New York State to place in the top 10 in the nation as part of the 14th annual SIFMA Foundation’s educational Stock Market Game.

During their visit to Washington, D.C., the students visited the White House and met with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Congressman Lee Zeldin.  

To earn their fifth-place spot, the team, comprised of students Joseph Cangemi, Alex DiCarlo and John DiCarlo, invested a hypothetical $100,000, during a 14-week period, in listed stocks, bonds and mutual funds to maximize the return on their portfolios.  

Student Musician to Serve as Concertmaster

Student Musician to Serve as Concertmaster Photo
Annalisa Welinder, a violinist from Port Jefferson’s Earl L. Vandermeulen High School has been selected as one of two concertmasters for the prestigious National Youth Orchestra of the USA as part of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. As a concertmaster, Welinder will represent Port Jefferson as a musical ambassador and travel around the world to play at some of the most famous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall on July 21. The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to Annalisa Welinder on her outstanding musical achievement.

What a Year It Has Been!


The 2016-2017 school year was filled with numerous accomplishments, exciting educational events and community service projects. This video highlights a few of those amazing achievements and milestones.

Port Jefferson BOE Members Sworn In; President, Vice President Re-Elected

Port Jefferson BOE Members Sworn In; President, Vice President Re-Elected Photo

During the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education’s annual reorganization meeting on July 11, the board unanimously re-elected Kathleen Brennan as board president and Mark Doyle as vice president.

District Clerk Janice Baisley also swore in board member Adam DeWitt who was re-elected by the community in May. Newly-elected board member David Keegan was sworn in earlier in the week.

Moving up to High School

Moving up to High School Photo
The academic achievements of Port Jefferson Middle School eighth-graders were recognized at a moving up ceremony on June 22 at Earl. L. Vandermeulen High School. 

During the event, the students received several special classroom recognitions, Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence and certificates to signify their move to high school. 

“You are an amazing group of eighth-graders,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano. “Embrace all that the high school has to offer and continue to make us proud.”

Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Neidig and eighth-grade Student Council President Hailey Hearney also spoke during the ceremony.  


All-County Honors

All-County Honors Photo
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School junior Thomas Mark was named an All-County lacrosse player for the 2017 spring season at an awards ceremony, held at Villa Lombardi’s in June 14.

Mark, who has been playing lacrosse since elementary school, received the honor after leading his team in points, explained coach Taylor Forstell.

“Thomas exhibits all the qualities you look for in a player, from his physical play and leadership, to his exceptional vision on the field,” Forstell said. “He is truly the quarterback of our offense and we look forward to having him back for his senior season.”

American Wax Museum

American Wax Museum Photo

Edna Louise Spear Elementary School fourth-graders brought history to life recently when they successfully created their own American wax museum in their classroom. For the project, each student researched an American historical figure from the Revolutionary War time period, wrote about the figure and created caricatures and timelines. They then performed as wax figures, dressed as their figure for fellow students who visited their classroom.

Heading to Middle School

Heading to Middle School Pic 1

The future Port Jefferson Class of 2024, celebrated their moving up to middle school at a ceremony on June 21 at the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

During the event, Edna Louise Spear Elementary School students, received special classroom, safety patrol and principal recognitions, as well as certificates to signify their promotion to middle school.

Speaking to the students during the ceremony was Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano. He said, “This is a milestone in your education. It is your first significant accomplishment and I have no doubt that you will shine in sixth grade.”

Also, speaking at the ceremony was parent Jennifer Cobb. She said, “You should be proud of yourselves. This is an ending and a beginning.”

In her remarks to students, pre-K teacher Jennifer Guerrazzi offered the following advice to students: “Stay positive, try new things and reach for the stars.”

The ceremony also included the presentation of a class gift — two new garbage cans for the playground and special surprise gifts for the incoming fifth-grade class that will include messages from the outgoing fifth-graders.  

The event culminated with the students singing, “How Far I’ll Go” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Principal Thomas Meehan left students with his words of wisdom. “Always help out someone who needs it,” he said.

Setting an Example

Setting an Example Photo
The Port Jefferson Board of Education recently recognized district administrators Danielle Turner, Ed.D., director of physical education, health and athletics, and Michael Caravello, Ed.D., director of music and fine arts, for setting a positive example to students by earning their doctorates this year. Pictured, from left, are Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano, Dr. Turner, Dr. Caravello and BOE member Ellen Boehm.

Port Jefferson names tenured educators; bids farewell to retirees, board member

Port Jefferson names tenured educators Photo

At its June 13 meeting, the Port Jefferson Board of Education bid a farewell to three retiring employees and congratulated three educators on receiving tenure.

District administrators stood to speak highly of retirees Lorraine Novellino, an elementary school teacher; Carrie Morgan, a high school art teacher, and Maureen Colin, a teacher aide.

“We wish each of you the very best in the next phase of your lives,” said Board of Education President Kathleen Brennan.

After heartfelt goodbyes, the district approved tenure for Caitlin Terrell, a teaching assistant; Selinda Moore, a library media specialist, and Paige Lohmann, a special education teacher.

In addressing the newly tenured employees, Ms. Brennan said, “We hope you each continue to the promise we have seen in you and you have a long and successful career here in Port Jefferson.”  

Additionally, the board of education took a moment to recognize retiring member Robert Ramus, who has served on the board since 2008.

“He has been a dedicated board member and has even served on three committees at a time,” said Ms. Brennan. “He has provided very valuable insights throughout his tenure and we wish him well.

The board additionally thanked student board member Kyra Becker for her service and wished her well on her future. Kyra will be attending Liberty College in the fall to pursue studies in finance and cyber security.

Fifth Place for Golfer

Fifth Place for Golfer Photo
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School sophomore Shane DeVincenzo took fifth place at the NYS Federation Golf Tournament held at Bethpage State Park on June 11.

During the highly competitive game, Shane, faced off against 24 top public and private school players from around the state on Bethpage black, a 71-par course that is considered one of the toughest on the pro-circuit. He finished with an impressive score of 79.

He earned the chance to compete at the tournament after capping off a tremendous season with a sixth-place finish at the NYSPHAA high school golf tournament. 

“Shane just may be one of the best golf players in the school’s history,” said Danielle Turner, Ed.D.., director of health, physical education and athletics.

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to Shane DeVincenzo.  

Student Musicians Participate in Master Class

Student Musicians Participate in Master Class Photo
Port Jefferson Middle School orchestra students participated in a master class with two members of the Three Village Chamber Players on June 9. During the session, violinist Natalie Kress and bassist Jonathan Davies performed excerpts from Reinhold Gliere and then worked with the student-musicians to polish their concert performances pieces. Students also learned about leadership within the orchestra and differentiating articulation and dynamics. 

Artists win art competition

Artists win art competition photo
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School junior Tatum Hurney and Port Jefferson Middle School eighth-graders Jacqueline Poten and Hannah Skulla were finalists in the “Park a Day in May” art competition, sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. For the competition, the students visited a local park and then drew their favorite Suffolk County landmark or scenic view. From left, is Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, Jacqueline Poten, Hannah Skula and middle school art teacher Stacey Shuman.

Class of 2017 Joins Ranks of Port Jeff Alumni

Class of 2017 Joins Ranks of Port Jeff Alumni Photo

Dressed in purple and white caps and gowns, the 2017 Earl. L. Vandermeulen High School graduating class was presented with diplomas at a ceremony on June 23.

During the commencement, speakers offered congratulations and words of wisdom. Among those addressing the students were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano, High School principal Christine Austen and valedictorian Chiara Rabeno and salutatorian Xinyi Hong gave a unique unison address.

The district extends its congratulations to the Class of 2017 and wishes them a successful future.

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Named Reward School

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Named Reward School  Photo
In recognition of its excellent educational program and stellar student performance, Port Jefferson’s Earl L. Vandermeulen High School has once again earned the prestigious New York State Department of Education Reward School designation.

“This award would not have been possible without all of the significant contributions made by our teachers, staff, administration, parents and students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano. “We congratulate all of them for ensuring that Port Jefferson continues its path of excellence in education.”

The New York State Department of Education presents the award annually to schools that have made the most progress or have the highest performance in the state with no significant gaps in student achievement. Earl L. Vandermeulen High School was one of only 185 schools across New York State to receive the recognition this year. 

This is not the first time that the Port Jefferson School District has been recognized with a Reward School Designation. The district’s high school has earned the honor consistently since the 2012-2013 school year.  

History Knowledge Pays Off

History Knowledge Pays Off Photo
Port Jefferson Middle School student Andrew Patterson recently showed off his history smarts at the National History Bee National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. 

During the two-day competition, he participated in several buzzer and test rounds and placed in the top 60 out of 285 competitors. Andrew earned his spot in the national competition after competing in the regional competition, held in Connecticut in April. 

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to Andrew Patterson.        

Student Golfer Ends on a High Note

Student Golfer Ends on a High Note Photo

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School golf team member Shane DeVincenzo capped off a tremendous season with a sixth-place finish in the NYSPHAA high school golf championship, held at Cornell University.

During the competition, Shane battled through tough weather conditions to end the day with a total 151. In addition to his sixth placement, he secured All-State honors and a chance to play in the Federation Cup at Bethpage Black.

“Shane’s success is a direct result of a tireless work ethic and desire to be the best. He handled himself like a pro and I couldn’t be prouder,” said coach Charles Ruoff.


Saturday, August 19, 2017