Suffolk: summer learning fun

Students learned basketball skills and good sportsmanship at

Students learned basketball skills and good sportsmanship at the “Mike James Experience” summer clinic, led by the NBA player, at Edmund W. Miles Middle School in Amityville. Photo Credit: Handout

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For many local students, the learning process didn't stop just because it was summer.

Thousands of Long Island youngsters spent the past few months gathering at schools for everything from science research to instructional sports clinics to arts academies. The programs were designed as a way for kids to continue learning between the school years.

"We want to give these kids something to do," said Mike James, an Amityville Memorial High School alum who hosted a summer instructional basketball clinic for district students. "Many of them don't come from high-income families and don't have the financial resources to attend summer camp."

James, an NBA player who has played with 10 different franchises during his professional career, welcomed about 50 local elementary and high school students to the free clinic, titled the "Mike James Experience." Participants learned the importance of good sportsmanship as well as basketball skills ranging from shooting fundamentals to post offense and defense.

In Shoreham-Wading River, children in grades K-6 had the opportunity to participate in the district's annual summer camp, titled "Round Out," which was held at Albert G. Prodell Middle School. The camp offered kids a variety of activities ranging from arts and crafts to sports.

"It is very fun to help out and interact with the younger students," said Alyssa Pisani, a 2012 graduate of Shoreham-Wading River High School who volunteered as a summer counselor at Round Out. "You really get to know the children, as most return year after year."

In West Babylon, a summer technology camp provided a group of 33 English as a Second Language (ESL) students with an chance to build vocabulary and fluency on the unfamiliar topic of farming in New York -- while also enhancing their technology skills. The pupils also visited the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Yaphank.

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In Smithtown, the district's Summer Explorations program gave some 500 students a chance to engage in activities ranging from fishing to crocheting handbags to learning magic.



Interim superintendent

Dominic Mucci has been named the interim superintendent of Springs Union Free School District. He replaced Michael Hartner, who retired.

Mucci, who served as the district's superintendent from 1999 to 2002, most recently served as superintendent of Englewood Cliffs Public Schools in New Jersey, and before that he held the same position at North Bellmore Union Free School District until 2008.

"We are thrilled to have Dominic back serving in the new role of part-time superintendent," school board president Kathee Burke Gonzalez said in a statement. "He brings energy, passion and a wealth of experience. He knows our district and is familiar with issues we face, including the complexities of working under the 2 percent tax-levy cap."



New principal

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Rory Manning has been named the principal of Harborfields High School. He replaced David Bennardo, who is now the superintendent of South Huntington School District.

Manning most recently served as principal of Sachem High School East in Farmingville and previously held the positions of the school's assistant principal and the district's community education director. In addition, he has been science department chair and a classroom teacher at Division Avenue High School in Levittown.



New headmaster

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Thad Andrew Gaebelein has been appointed new headmaster of Knox School in St. James, a coeducational boarding and day school. He replaced George K. Allison, who retired.

Gaebelein previously served as headmaster of the Stony Brook School and taught history at the United States Military Academy in West Point and Elmira College in Chemung County. He also has served as the director of ethics and character development at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point and was an active- duty officer in the Army for 14 years.

"In accordance with the philosophy of a true college preparatory program, the Knox administration and faculty are firmly committed to building literacy and writing proficiency to prepare our students for higher education as well as the challenges of the real world," Manning said in a welcome message to the community.



Supplies sweepstakes

Lysol has launched a nationwide campaign to aid K-12 teachers in purchasing much-needed school supplies for the 2012-13 school year. The campaign, titled Healthy Classroom Sweepstakes, is intended to help alleviate the strain on teachers' wallets while providing disinfecting products that can kill germs in the classroom in an effort to encourage students to adopt healthy habits.

A $500 gift card will be issued to 100 teachers toward the purchase of school supplies. To participate, teachers can visit Those who submit school supply lists including Lysol disinfecting wipes will receive 10 additional entries into the sweepstakes.

The sweepstakes' entry deadline is this Friday, Sept. 14. The campaign is part of Lysol's Mission for Health Initiative.


Way to go!

Newsday will be continuing its weekly feature titled "Way to Go!" that invites K-12 teachers or parents to nominate outstanding youth to be profiled. Nominees can be highlighted based on: academic achievement and extracurricular activities; involvement in local charities or fundraisers; or for winning a local, state or national award, contest or competition, among other things.

To nominate a student, email a brief description of the pupil's accomplishments as well as his or her name, school, grade and contact information to

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