Many local schools made special efforts to ease students into the new year with activities including barbecues and interactive games designed to familiarize students with each other and school grounds.
In Bayport, upperclassmen at Bayport-Blue Point High School volunteered to provide tours of the building to incoming freshmen as part of an orientation. Incoming sixth-graders at James Wilson Young Middle School, meanwhile, had a chance to try out their lockers and personalize them with decorations during a special day of transition.
"The only thing better than seeing the excitement on their faces as they explored their lockers and the school was seeing how much students helped one another," said Robert Haas, the middle school principal. "It was a great way to kick off the new school year."
Incoming sixth-graders at Port Jefferson's middle school were treated to a barbecue in which each student was presented with a Hawaiian lei, followed by a dinner prepared by parent volunteers. The students also practiced navigating the school's hallways.
In Greenlawn, Harborfields High School hosted a buddy program in which more than 100 upperclassmen volunteered to show the freshmen around the building and offer advice. The school's administration, faculty and PTA members were on hand to greet students.
"The upperclassmen walk through their ninth-grade buddy's schedule and provide valuable information from a student perspective," Harborfields principal Rory Manning said.
In South Huntington, kids at Countrywood and Oakwood primary centers were joined by their parents for a practice bus ride to school and home again.
ISLIP: New principal
Michael Mosca is the new principal of Islip High School, replacing Eileen Rossman, who retired.
Mosca served the past four years as executive assistant principal of Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station and before that was an assistant principal at John F. Kennedy Middle School in the Comsewogue district. He previously was a history teacher in the Freeport school district.
"Islip already has an exceptional reputation, and I hope to build on that terrific foundation to prepare students for an ever-changing global society," Mosca said.
MOUNT SINAI: New superintendent
Gordon Brosdal is the new superintendent of the Mount Sinai school district, replacing Enrico Crocetti, who retired.
Brosdal previously served as assistant superintendent for secondary instruction and administration in the William Floyd school district in Mastic Beach.
"It is a great honor to be selected as superintendent of the Mount Sinai school district," Brosdal said in a recent letter to the school community. "I look forward to working with all members of our school and community family as we continue to make strides in the education of our young people."
SHOREHAM: New principal
Christie Carlson has been named principal of Miller Avenue Elementary School, which is transitioning from a K-5 to a K-2 school. The move is part of a district effort to restructure its elementary program under the so-called "Princeton plan," a way of clustering students by grade rather than neighborhood.
Carlson previously was an assistant principal at the John Hobart and Nathaniel Woodhull elementary schools, both in the William Floyd school district, and also has taught first grade and third grade in the West Islip district. She replaced Patricia Nugent in the principal's position.
"My vision is to take the best parts of the 'old' building and bring them into the 'new' Miller Avenue, while at the same time implementing new initiatives to create our own culture," Carlson said.
ISLANDWIDE: Essay contest
Four Long Island students recently were named winners in the Long Island Presidents' Council's 14th annual essay contest, which challenged youngsters to write about something that one of their teachers had made fun and intriguing.
Winners were Katelyn Gilhuley of Fork Lane Elementary School in Hicksville, Lily Labella of South Salem Elementary School in Port Washington, Matthew Kiley of the Munsey Park School in Manhasset and Chris Louie of Syosset High School.
The students each won $500 and recorded their essays at the West Babylon studios of WBAB/102.3 FM and WBLI/106.1 FM under the guidance of Ray Adell Media Enterprises. The essays have aired on 11 local radio stations this month.