Experimenting with Genetics

Several of the lessons learned in the classroom came to life when Babylon High School’s AP Biology class visited SUNY Stony Brook to conduct authentic genetic research projects.

The students determined restriction enzyme rates under various conditions, including pH changes and the use of heat, detergents and salt. Restriction enzymes produced by bacteria are used to cut DNA and allow for transformation of bacteria. The students then incorporated this genetic engineering technique to transfer green fluorescent and red fluorescent genes from different organisms to bacteria. Once they reproduce, those bacteria that pick up the fluorescent gene will glow under ultraviolet light.

Revised January 2015 Midterms and Regents Schedule


Flipping Instruction

Babylon Memorial Grade School’s fifth-grade students have been put in the driver’s seat of their math lessons, as teacher Stephen Fasciani has introduced a new technology-driven instructional platform.

The flipped classroom initiative enables critical information to be shared with students before, during and after class times. Discussion questions, instructional videos, tutorials and links for practice items directly aligned with the Go Math program and Common Core are easily accessible on the class website.

Using this model, students can view lessons at their own pace, discuss concepts and topics with other classmates and/or the teacher, and be prepared to have a discussion about the topic in the next class session. This provides an excellent opportunity for the lesson to be more student-directed and increased time for the classroom teacher to provide direct help to individuals and small groups as compared to a traditional model.

As the lessons are accessed through any computer with an Internet connection, the model also bridges the home-to-school connection by providing students with help when completing homework and reviewing concepts.

Solving the Case

Students in Babylon High School’s Syracuse University Project Advance Forensic Science classes exercised their knowledge about Crime Scene Investigation by processing a mock crime. 
 Working collaboratively, the students performed all necessary tasks to investigate a mock crime scene set up in Babylon High School’s courtyard. The 11th- and 12th-grade students documented evidence, photographed and created crime scene sketches as they searched the scene to determine if the physical evidence could help solve a murder. In follow-up activities, they learned how to analyze the evidence they saw during this setup.  
In this class, taught by Syracuse University adjunct instructor and Babylon teacher Melissa Callahan, students learn the science behind analyzing all types of physical evidence, such as hair, fibers, blood, DNA, glass, fingerprints and chemical evidence. At the end of the year, registered students receive four Syracuse University credits, which can be transferred to their future college.

A Beacon of Light

In recognition of her work to integrate and promote the use of technology within the district’s schools, Babylon Memorial Grade School library media specialist Lisa Lindeman was named a “Bright Light” educator.

The honor was presented by the executive board of the Association of Suffolk Supervisors for Educational Technology during their annual luncheon in January. Suffolk ASSET is a membership organization that encourages and celebrates the integration of technology into the K-12 curriculum.

Performing at Festivals

As a result of a rigorous application process, seven student-musicians were selected to perform at two of the region’s most coveted festivals – LISFA and the All-County Percussion Ensemble.

Seventh-grader Lauren Ragen (violin), ninth-grader Sophia Sherman (violin) and 10th-grader Emma Schubart (violin) represented Babylon at the Long Island String Festival, along with fifth-grader Sachi Onishi (violin) and sixth-grader Ethan Schubart (viola). Senior Christian Martino and junior Patrick Roche took part in the All-County Percussion Ensemble.

The students were selected for these honors as a result of their scores at last year’s NYSSMA solo and ensemble festival and based upon the recommendation of their teachers.

Commending Heroism

The district commends the swift action of Babylon Junior-Senior High School science teacher Judy Procaccini, who came to the aid of a student in her biology class.

Keeping calm under the pressure of the situation, Ms. Procaccini successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged a mint caught in the freshman’s airway. She was aided in the effort by two of the student’s classmates, who recognized the universal choking sign and were instructed to alert the nurse. 

All teachers and staff members are able to receive CPR/First Aid training through the high school health office. Ms. Procaccini had recently completed such a course at the building.

Creating Happy Birthdays

Babylon Elementary School second-grade students in Stacey Aprea’s class are brightening birthdays for homeless children through a unique community service venture. 

The initiative, which was coordinated through the nonprofit organization Birthday Wishes, helps provide birthday parties for children who may not be able to celebrate with their families due to homelessness. For the project, the students collected items for a 7-year-old girl, including presents, party decorations and favors, as well as supplies to make and embellish a cake.

The items, which were wrapped in a decorated pink box, were delivered to Birthday Wishes by class grandparent Barbara Altman. The class plans to make another birthday-in-a-box for a 7-year-old boy in the spring.

DECA Heads to States

Babylon High School’s DECA club took home top honors at this year’s Suffolk DECA Career Competition.

More than 100 Babylon students took part in the event at Suffolk County Community College and earned more than 40 top-place trophies. Among the events they competed in were Visual Advertising, Finance, Accounting, Restaurant Management, Travel and Tourism Marketing, and Public Speaking. Approximately 40 students will now travel to compete in the State Career Competition in Rochester, New York in March.

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is a national co-curricular service organization with more than 200,000 student members nationwide. This year, the Babylon chapter supported the Make-A-Wish foundation as well as the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition through various fundraisers and community events.

Working on Writing

As part of its implementation of the Teachers College Lucy Calkins writing program, the district is celebrating the writing and creativity of students at Babylon Elementary School.

Throughout the year, students’ written works are displayed on classroom bulletin boards and exhibited during sharing events with peers and parents. Recently, Jennifer Brooks’ kindergartners shared their word pattern books with Bernadette Forthmuller’s first-graders, who in turn shared their how-to books. The kindergartners wrote in the style of scientists, describing different objects they had examined. The first-graders taught readers how to accomplish various tasks in their books.

The celebrations occur after the students fine-tune one of their favorite writings from the completed unit and publish them in a personal book.

Flags to Half-Staff

Flags are to be flown at half-staff for former Governor Cuomo until further notice.

Bee-coming a Winner

After successfully competing in their classroom bees, 14 Babylon Junior-Senior High School students took part in this year’s school spelling bee in the library.

The talented seventh- and eighth-graders navigated challenging words derived from various countries and time periods as they vied for the title of school champion. The bee went for several rounds before eighth-grader Kaitlyn Tourin was named the winner after correctly spelling “dementia.”

Kaitlyn will now compete against other school winners at the Long Island regional spelling bee at Hofstra University.

Sunday, February 01, 2015