Teachers in the William Floyd School District, in collaboration with...

Teachers in the William Floyd School District, in collaboration with the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library, offered the "Teachers' Story Corner" Summer Reading Program two days a week this summer. Credit: William Floyd School District

While the 2016-17 school year has officially kicked off across Long Island, for thousands of local students learning was a constant during the summer months.

Many school districts offered educational opportunities for children, with everything from programs linked to the Summer Olympics to fine arts workshops and explorations in career paths.

The Harborfields, Lindenhurst and Riverhead districts put an emphasis on the games held in Rio de Janeiro.

Lindenhurst’s six-week Extended School Year program saw kids create a world map, mock passports and crafts reflecting various countries, such as watercolor silhouettes of the Eiffel Tower and a Leaning Tower of Pisa made of spaghetti and marshmallows.

“The core values that encompass the Olympics are the same ones shared by our program,” said Deborah Smidt, Riverhead’s summer director. “We focused on friendship, respect and excellence. We hope our learning will spark interests that continue to blossom.”

The Shoreham-Wading River and South Huntington districts hosted music and arts programs that culminated with concerts for family and friends. Shoreham-Wading River’s five-week program drew about 200 students, who could take lessons for voice or instruments, including guitar and piano.

Eastern Suffolk BOCES hosted a summer career exploration program with hands-on classes at the Islip Career Center in Oakdale and the Harry B. Ward Technical Center in Riverhead. Topics ranged from culinary arts to computer animation.

In Amityville, nearly 70 students in grades four through six participated in an eight-day enrichment camp, selecting two courses from a variety of art and science-based offerings.

“Presenting the workshops during the summer gives us the additional flexibility and time without the constraints of the daily school-year schedule,” said Peter Solow, an art teacher for the Sag Harbor school district, which hosted a summer arts program for nearly 80 students.


New Park Avenue principal

Robyn Santiago is the new principal of Park Avenue Elementary Memorial School. She replaced Scott Bullis, who now is principal of a school in Oceanside.

Santiago most recently spent four years as assistant principal of P.S. 120 Magnet School of Multicultural Education in Brooklyn, where she also held positions including academic intervention leader, data specialist and business manager.

“I’m looking forward to using my background in data analysis and intervention to challenge all students of Amityville and support their success,” she said.


New elementary principal

Travis Davey is the new principal of Babylon Elementary School, replacing Jessica Kemler, who now is principal of Harbor Hill Elementary School in Greenvale.

Davey most recently served as principal at Bellport Middle School and Brookhaven Elementary School, both in the South Country school district.

“I firmly believe that every child can excel and that the partnership between home and school builds confidence in students to use their powers to shape their future,” he said.


New middle school principal

Jamal Colson has been appointed principal of Bellport Middle School, replacing Travis Davey, who now is principal of Babylon Elementary School.

Colson most recently served two years as assistant principal of Charles E. Walters Elementary School in Yaphank. Before that, he was an assistant principal at William Paca Middle School in Mastic Beach — a post he also held at Coram and Ridge elementary schools.

“In a short time, I can say with confidence that Bellport Middle School has a wealth of opportunities for its students, and I look forward to continuing the improvement efforts for our students,” Colson said.


New interim superintendent

Kevin M. Miller is acting interim superintendent of the Central Islip school district. Miller, who replaced Craig G. Carr, also will continue in his role as the system’s assistant superintendent for business.

Miller started work in the district as a substitute custodian in 1989 and has served as a teaching assistant, special education teacher and assistant director of special education.

“I am proud to have this opportunity to now serve the children, the residents and the employees of Central Islip School District as acting interim superintendent of schools as we work together to advance educational opportunities for all of our students to achieve their personal best,” Miller said.


New Sunrise Drive principal

James Foy is the new principal of Sunrise Drive Elementary School. He replaced Rose Castello.

Foy previously served as a principal in the Sachem Central School District and an assistant principal in the East Williston school district. Before becoming an administrator, he was a teacher and summer school principal in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District.

“During my entire career, I have focused on bringing out the best in each student,” Foy said. “Our children are the most important things in our lives.”


Newsday will continue its weekly Way to Go! feature this school year, inviting K-12 educators and parents to nominate outstanding youths to be profiled. Nominees can be highlighted based on academic achievement or extracurricular activities, involvement in local charities or fundraisers, or for winning a local, state or national award, contest or competitions, among other things.

To nominate a student, email a description of his or her accomplishments, along with his or her name, grade, school and contact information to michael.ebert@newsday.com.

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