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Donations of supplies help students get back to school

More than 400 local children from homeless shelters

More than 400 local children from homeless shelters received new backpacks and clothing as part of the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless Back Pack Pirates Summer Festival in Riverhead. Credit: Long Island Coalition for the Homeless

Many students across Long Island were well-equipped to start the academic year, thanks in part to donations of school supplies from residents, businesses and organizations.

One of the biggest efforts came from the Family Service League, which provided more than 3,000 children with new backpacks filled with supplies through its Bethpage Backpack Program. The Huntington-based nonprofit’s action was made possible by donors across the Island, including a $40,000 grant from Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

“When students arrive at school with their backpacks, they’ll have the tools and confidence needed to help them succeed,” said Karen Boorshtein, the league’s president and CEO.

Another large collection was spearheaded by the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, which gathered more than 1,200 backpacks through its “SOS: Supply Our Students” drive. Donation boxes were hosted by the group’s community partners, such as businesses and libraries.

In addition, 415 children received new clothing along with their backpacks at the coalition’s Backpack Pirates Summer Festival, held in collaboration with the Hauppauge-based nonprofit Holiday Magic.

In the South Huntington school district, about 100 backpacks filled with supplies were given to children in need. Items were provided by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, Unity Church of Healing Light in Huntington Station and Gathering of Light Interspiritual Fellowship in Melville.

“This amazing gift is truly appreciated,” said Nicholas Ciappetta, president of South Huntington’s school board.

In Mastic Beach, the William Floyd Alumni Association donated school supply packets to nearly 600 kindergartners in the district. The United Way of Long Island and East End Bus Lines also provided 50 boxes of supplies.


New principal

Christian Arsenault has been appointed principal of Fishers Island School. He replaced Karen Goodwin, who held the position for the past five years and moved exclusively to the position of part-time superintendent of the Fishers Island school district.

Arsenault most recently served three years as founding principal of Capital Community College Magnet Academy in Hartford, Connecticut. He also has taught social studies at Hartford Public High School’s Academy of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“Fishers Island is a special place and it is a privilege to be joining the work that is being done on behalf of its students,” Arsenault said.


New principal

Rob Catlin has been named principal of Mount Sinai Elementary School. He replaced John Gentilcore, who retired.

Catlin most recently served five years as principal of River East Elementary School in Manhattan. Before that, he was a first-grade teacher and staff developer at P.S. 11 William T. Harris School in Manhattan.

“The community has been so kind and welcoming in my short time here,” Catlin said. “My immediate goal is getting to know every student and family in order to ensure that each student gets the support they need.”


New superintendent

John Stimmel is the new superintendent of the Sayville school district. He replaced Walter Schartner, who retired.

Stimmel served four years as the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and before that was principal of the system’s Cherry Avenue Elementary School for a decade. He also has been on the board of directors for the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

“I am excited to be working with the Board of Education to maintain and enhance our outstanding educational programs,” Stimmel said. “Of note, we will be launching a major literacy initiative for our elementary schools with the Teachers College Readers and Writers Project and completing our digital 1:1 initiative for students in grades 3-12.”

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