Town Of Oyster Bay Announces Annual ‘Toys For Tots’ Drive

Oyster Bay Town Councilman Anthony D. Macagnone joined with Town Councilman Chris J. Coschignano to announce the annual kick-off of this year’s “Toys for Tots” collection drive, which will run through Dec. 15, in an effort to collect new, unwrapped toys to be used as gifts for children throughout the community.

“Under the direction of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, the Toys for Tots Drive follows a mission  to help ensure that children in need within our area do not have to go the holiday season without something to bring them happiness,” said Coschignano.

“By helping those in need experience the wonderful embrace of the holiday season, contributors will get to play an active role in bringing happiness to one of our nation’s most valuable resources for the future, our children,” added Macagnone.

For those who wish to donate to “Toys for Tots,” collection boxes can be found in the following town facilities: Marjorie R. Post Community Park Community Center (Unqua and Merrick Roads, Massapequa); Oyster Bay Town Hall North (54 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay); Town Hall South (977 Hicksville Rd., Massapequa); Department of Public Works Facility (150 Miller Place, Syosset); The Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center (at Bethpage Community Park 1001 Stewart Ave., Bethpage); Ellsworth W. Allen Town Park Community Center (Motor Avenue, Farmingdale) and Syosset-Woodbury Community Park Community Center (Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury);  William P. Bennett Community Center ( West Carl Street, Hicksville); The Town of Oyster Bay Hicksville Athletic Center (South Broadway, Hicksville) and the North Massapequa Community Center (North Albany Avenue, North Massapequa).

For more information, contact the councilmen or co-chairs of the collection drive at 516-624-6619 or 516-624-6305. You can also visit

—Submitted by the Town of Oyster Bay

Board Continues To Address Sixth Grade Move

Massapequa’s Board of Education attended a work session with Superintendent Lucille F. Iconis that included a panel of experts to address the social/emotional appropriateness of a sixth grade move into Berner Middle School. Iconis focused on which mindset the district wants to embrace, fixed versus growth.

“A growth mindset changes and develops constantly and is related to opportunities,” she said. “This district prides itself on improvement.”

Back in the early 1990s, an Advisory Task Force was convened on grade configurations. The recommendation was to move grade six into the middle school, but the building could not accommodate the increase of students. With the decline in enrollment, a new advisory task force was formed two years ago to examine successful secondary models and reconfiguring the district’s instructional program. The task force unanimously recommended a 6-8 model, which is prevalent across Long Island. The recommendation was not accepted with two trustees abstaining for further information.

Iconis presented the board’s goals this September with an objective to provide multiple opportunities and systematic support for students to build strong post-secondary credentials. She made several recommendations including to research the re-configuration of the middle school once again.

The panel consisted of district psychologists with 70 years of combined experience across all academic levels to speak about the social emotional needs of young adolescents. Dr. Deering, Dr. Doring and Dr. Neary reviewed 12 key educational practices to meet early adolescent development, which centers on providing a safe school environment with strong adult role models to help guide students in developing a sense of self to make constructive decisions. The more young teens are offered various learning and social opportunities, the more it fuels motivation and better equips them to forge strong peer relationships. The school setting and strong family involvement is instrumental in facilitating social/emotional growth to develop strategies for conflict resolution, goal planning by observing and reflecting, developing empathy and building skills for interpersonal relationships.

Paul Weber, executive assistant guidance, reviewed the student transition to Berner, which currently includes parent and student orientations, video conferences, visits for plays/programs, Tour the Schedule opportunities and small group counselor meetings that focus on organization, study skills and stress management. Support resources for students include guidance counselors, psychologists and a social worker.

“Motivating them and giving them the capacity to contribute is very important for them now and their college transcripts later,” he said of students’ opportunities.

Detective Pamela Stark from the Nassau County Police Community Affairs office presented comprehensive programs to educate students to make good decisions in response to the substance abuse epidemic. “Too Good For Drugs” for K-12 students and “Impact” for middle/high school highlights the effects of poor decisions.

To round out the panel, Jamie Bogenshutz from YES Community Counseling Center reviewed the current trends minimizing risks facing youth. Bogenshutz has been working in the surrounding community for close to 40 years as a clinical social worker and credentialed alcohol/substance abuse counselor. She stated that protective factors far outweigh risk factors and students who are afforded opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities are less likely to engage in substance abuse. She could not site any research that stated that a 6-8 middle school model raises the risk of substance use.

“Being near older children will not necessarily impact upon a child’s decision to use; it is far more complicated than that,” she said. “It’s more about building a solid emotional foundation and keeping our children engaged, ensuring they feel loved and connected.”

Events 11/26 – 12/5

Thursday, Nov. 26
Happy Thanksgiving!MassCal_112515A
Libraries and schools are closed.

Friday, Nov. 27
Black Friday
Remember to shop local for those Black Friday deals and shop safe.

Santa Claus Needed
The Massapequa Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new Santa Claus. No experience necessary, outfit will be provided. Anyone willing to participate as Santa Claus for the Holiday Tree Lighting event on Saturday, Dec. 5 should contact the chamber office at 516-541-1443 or email

Saturday, Nov. 28
Massapequa Park Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting
Come and gather around Village Square for the annual Tree and Menorah Lighting at 5 p.m. There will be entertainment at the showmobile by the Massapequa High School cheerleaders and kickline. Remember to be on the look out for Santa Claus, who arrives on his magical sleigh. Massapequa Park Village Hall Square is located at 151 Front St., Massapequa Park. For more information, call 516-798-0244.

The Kimberly Coffey Foundation will be holding its first annual fundraiser in East Islip, honoring Kimberly Coffey and raising awareness for bacterial meningitis (also known as meningococcal disease). For more information and to register, visit

Adopt-A-Battalion Soldier’s Drive
Come help put care packages together for troops overseas. Our volunteers sort, pack and ship items to send to the troops. Looking for personal care items, seasonings and hot sauces and items other than candy. From 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Island Knight of Columbus Council, 2 Eastgate Rd., Massapequa Park.

Sunday, Nov. 29
Santa Claus At Westfield Mall
Come see Santa at Westfield Sunrise through Dec. 24. Mr. Claus will be available for meet-and-greets and photo opportunities. Santa will be located at the lower level Macy’s Court at Sunrise Mall. For more information on photos with Santa, see Westfield Sunrise’s Facebook event page at

Volunteers Needed
The Plainedge Public Library is looking for Plainedge School District volunteers in grades six and up for children’s crafts/activities during the 2015-16 school year. All applicants are accepted into a pool of eligible volunteers who will be called upon from time to time during the year. Application packets are now available from the children’s services staff. Contact the Children’s Services Department for more information at 516-735-4133, ext. 12 or ext. 13. Community service credit furnished upon request.

Monday, Nov. 30
Come in and enjoy a game of Scrabble from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bar Harbour meeting room.

Thursday, Dec. 3
Assemblyman Lavine Hosts Educational Program
Assemblyman Charles Lavine will be visiting Plainedge Public Library at 7 p.m. to give a presentation called “Albany 101,” an educational program about New York State Government that is broken into two parts: How a Bill Becomes a Law and Ethics in the New York State Legislature. By hosting this program across Long Island, Lavine is hoping to empower citizens to participate in state government by teaching them the mechanics of lawmaking, and starting a dialogue about the ethical conduct of legislators.

Movie: Love & Mercy
The Bar Harbour auditorium will host a 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. screening of the movie Love & Mercy. Paul Dano and John Cusack star in the true story of Brian Wilson, the talented singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Few have known the truth behind his disappearance from the world stage. Follow the remarkable story of the musical genius who suffered a mental breakdown, fell under the control of his controversial psychiatrist and ultimately found salvation, and a triumphant return to music, through a chance meeting with the woman who became his wife. Starring Paul Dano, John Cusack, Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks (2014; PG-13, 2 hrs).

Friday, Dec. 4

This photo provided by Roadside Attractions shows, Paul Dano, as Brian Wilson, in a scene from the film, "Love & Mercy." (Francois Duhamel/Roadside Attractions via AP)

MHS 7th Annual Career Day
Massapequa High School has scheduled its 7th annual Career Day (Futures Fair) from 8 to 10:30 a.m. in the school’s upper gym. The goal of this event is to introduce students to the many different careers available to them and give them the opportunity to learn about careers by speaking with those in the field. Last year, more than 700 students and 35 businesses/organizations participated in this hugely successful event.

Saturday, Dec. 5
Chorus Show
The Twin County Chorus presents “I Believe in Music” at Helen Butler Hall at the Dominican Village, located at 565 Albany Ave., Amityville. Doors open at 1:15 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m. Twin County, a Sweet Adelines International chorus, will entertain with songs in four-part harmony, sung a cappella. Light refreshments will be served. There will be raffles and a door prize. Admission for the show is $20 for adults; and $10 for kids 12 and younger. Call Deena for tickets and information at 516-216-1449.

Plainedge Wins Coveted County Title

BY BEN STRACKFootball_112515A

As Plainedge quarterback Davien Kuinlan scurried to the left sideline for a nine-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the Nassau III championship, he fielded some high fives, walked to the sideline and quietly sat by himself. After all the game was young and his dominating first drive was nothing out of the ordinary.

Glen Cove would not let Kuinlan rest, as running back Tim Hogan took the first play 65 yards for the answering score. He didn’t need any, as he one-upped the Big Red with a one-play drive of his one, taking it 72 yards to the melody of an ecstatic crowd at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium. [Read more…]

Getting Into Character

McKenna Elementary School students in Mary Anne Ferraro’s sixth-grade reading class had a chance to “live like a character” from a book. AftBlnd Folded Activity (5)er reading the novel, The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, the students were blindfolded and participated in several challenging hands-on activities to experience how the main character, Phillip Enright, who lost his eyesight during a torpedo attack while leaving his native island of Curacao, had to go through life. [Read more…]

MHS Junior To March In Macy’s Parade


Massapequa High School junior Courtney Conkling with Principal Dr. Barbara Williams and K-12 Music Curriculum Associate Dr. David Gaines.

When the Macy’s Great American Band marches across your television screen while viewing the Thanksgiving Day parade, pay close attention to the piccolo players. Among them will be Massapequa High School junior Courtney Conkling.

She will be part of the only band in the parade that brings together young musical talent from schools across the country. About five students are selected from each state. How did she do it? She applied on the band’s website and sent a video of herself playing the piccolo. After more paperwork and an effort to raise about $1,500 for parade expenses, the rest is history. [Read more…]

Massapequa Schools To Host AIDS Quilt Viewing

AIDS Awarenesss-MHS AIDS Peer Educators

PHOTO CAPTION: Massapequa High School Peer AIDS Educators stand in front of a World AIDS Quilt panel during last year’s AIDS Awareness Week. Peer Educators will attend the viewing to help with questions.

In an effort to heighten awareness, spark conversation and commemorate those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, the Massapequa School District will host a public viewing of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on Thursday, Dec. 3, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Massapequa High School Baldwin Auditorium. [Read more…]

Local Students Recognized At Awards Ceremony

The North Massapequa Fire Department recently hosted its annual Fire Prevention Awards Ceremony and recognized local elementary North Massapequa Fire Department Fire Prevention Poster Winners 2015 (Edited)school students who submitted award winning posters. The artistic and creative posters all featured fire prevention themes and helped teach important facets of necessary household fire prevention practices. Pictured are students from the Charles Schwarting Elementary School and the Maria Regina School along with Chief of Department Kevin B. Mauro (right), 1st Assistant Chief Frederick J. Ferrara (left) and 2nd Assistant Chief Joseph M. Pesale, Jr.

Paying Tribute To Veterans

Berner Vets Day-Take a vet photo 3

Social Studies teacher Noreen Miller, with, from left, student Richard Portogallo, Army veteran Don Hardina, Navy veteran Dennis Dietrich, Miller’s dad, Army veteran Jack Ryan; Principal Jason Esposito, and students Michael Reehil and Ryan Pagano.

In tributes streaming with patriotic songs, heartfelt speeches and standing ovations, students and staff in the Massapequa School District showed their gratitude for military veterans and active-duty soldiers, who later sat down with Berner Middle School students to share their experiences during “Take a Vet to School Day.” [Read more…]

Kindergartners Get Surprise Visitor


Christine Harris, retired assistant principal of Birch Lane Elementary School, came back to visit the kindergarten students as a guest reader. She read the picture book, Countdown to Halloween, which was written by her daughter, Annmarie. The students practiced counting while enjoying this Halloween tale.