Music teacher Andrew Tilles listens to student Jordan Simpson-Fisher's performance...

Music teacher Andrew Tilles listens to student Jordan Simpson-Fisher's performance in the digital piano program at Alden Terrace elementary school as student Ananya Samuel looks on. Credit: Elmont School District

A Valley Stream elementary school is among 22 schools nationwide to be recognized for its innovative, effective and replicable technology programs.

Alden Terrace elementary school in the Elmont school district was named among the recipients this summer of District Administration magazine’s Schools of TechXcellence Award for its digital piano program, which was implemented last November.

The award recognizes programs that “contribute meaningfully to student or operational success,” the magazine said. It is sponsored by HP and Intel. 

“The students love it,” Alden Terrace music teacher Andrew Tilles said of the school's digital piano program. “They help each other, they teach each other. They’re doing very well, and there’s a wide range of experience.”

To launch the program, Tilles conducted a survey of students to gauge their interest and learn which kids had a keyboard at home to practice. The school also provided pupils with USB bracelets containing music selections to plug into their home computers so they can hear the music they’re trying to learn as they practice.

Roosevelt Middle School was among 11 recipients of the Schools of TechXcellence Award in December 2017. It was selected for the implementation of science-focused professional development sessions for teachers.


New principals

East Islip School District has several new principals: Mark Bernard at East Islip High School, William Brennen at East Islip Middle School, Janet Jones at Ruth C. Kinney Elementary School, and Nicholas Bilotti at Connetquot Elementary School.

Bernard replaced Brennen as the high school’s principal, while Brennen replaced Bernard as the middle school's principal, for "personal growth," district officials said.

Jones and Bilotti were both previously assistant principals at East Islip middle and high schools; Jones also has been the district's math and science director. Jones and Bilotti replaced Hillary Bromberg and Danielle Flaumenhaft, respectively.

"I am excited to begin this new chapter in my career," Jones said. "My goal as principal is to guide, motivate and support our staff and students to reach their highest potentials, in a safe and nurturing environment."

"I would like to continue to work with the teachers and community to improve upon the high educational goals and standards set for the children that I’ve had the privilege to work with for 23 years in East Islip," Bilotti said.


New principal

Kevin Tougher is the new principal of Waverly Elementary School. He replaced John Ruggero, now principal of Robert Moses Middle School in North Babylon.

Tougher previously spent 12 years teaching at Cayuga Elementary School in Lake Grove.

"As a Sachem graduate and teacher in Sachem for 12 years, I'm incredibly excited, thankful, and humbled to join the Waverly family as principal," Tougher said. "It's a vibrant school community filled with lifelong learners."


Sept. 11 events

Many schools hosted events and activities earlier this month in commemoration of 9/11.

In Oakdale, Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ Premm Learning Center honored the town of Gander, Newfoundland, which took in almost 6,700 people when planes were forced to land there because of the terrorist attacks in 2001. Activities included an indoor parade in which children waved Canadian and American flags.

In Commack, the high school remembered victims with a candlelight vigil called a "Night of Reflection." It was dedicated to Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, a National Guard airman and FDNY lieutenant who died this year in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

In East Setauket, Ward Melville High School's students and staff arranged a flag display in front of the school and along Old Town Road.

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