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Commissioner King and Regent Tilles Visit Commack Schools On September 16, 2011, the Commack School District was visited by Commissioner of Education Dr. John B. King Jr., Board of Regents Member Roger Tilles, and Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Senator John Flanagan. Commack was selected to host this visit for several reasons: our exemplary program offerings and outstanding student achievement, while keeping average per pupil spending well below the County level. During the visit, Superintendent James introduced them to several of Commack's outstanding programs with a focus on student participation and voice. Pictured and described in the following pages are programs for students with a wide array of abilities and interests. Regent Tilles remarked, “Commack is a model district when it comes to community support and educational programs.”

Student Leadership Academy

For many years, people across the country have voiced their concerns about our younger generation, wondering in what direction they will lead our country. While some continue to wonder, the Commack School District decided to take a more proactive approach.

In the winter of 2010, the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donald James, decided to take action by changing the way youth leadership is viewed and to instill in young people the belief that they have the ability to make a positive impact on the world around them. In conjunction with The Jorgensen Learning Center and the high school’s building administrative team, a potpourri of students from Commack High School was selected to participate in this dynamic leadership program that focuses on developing student capacities as leaders: within themselves, their school, and their community. The students chosen have a variety of interests and skills but share a common desire to be involved in leadership training and activities.


This eclectic group was brought together in a series of leadership sessions that incorporated Conversational Leadership, the ability to create and hold meaningful conversations. The power of these learning conversations stemmed from the opportunity that everyone had to be heard and learn from one another. As the program unfolded and the teachers and administrators continued to work with students, they began to address real issues facing them on an individual and community level, and discovered that both individually and as a whole; they could have a positive impact at home, in school, and in their community.

Applied Behavioral Analysis Program (ABA)

The 6:1:2 ABA Class at North Ridge is designed to meet the needs of primary age students with Autism. This class has a low teacher to student ratio to accommodate student needs for 1:1 or 2:1 instruction. Students receive this intensive instruction every day during timed intervals. Students are also afforded the opportunity for small group instruction. This design provides students with the intensive instruction they

need while also creating a learning community; fostering relationships, communication, and social skills. Applied Behavioral Analysis methodologies are employed throughout the day. In photo on left, some special education students are mainstreamed during the school day.


National Engineering Design Challenge

High school students spoke about the hands-on adaptive equipment they designed and built for children in the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) and ABA programs.


Commack High School Flags for Freedom Display: Scholar Lane in lined with 911 flags which honor those who perished in the September 11th attacks on America and those heroes who continue to serve our country every day. Each of the over 900 flags was sponsored by local individuals, families, businesses, schools and organizations and were installed through the efforts of Commack students, community members,

and school leaders. The money raised through this program will be utilized to assist the district’s Dollars for Scholars in memory of those who died on 9-11 and Commack High School graduate (2004) Justin Wilson, who died in Afghanistan. The school will also be donating to the Wounded Warriors Foundation.

International Baccalaureate Program – Humanities and Extended Essay

The Extended Essay offers diploma candidates the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at the college level. In other words, the extended essay is an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject area. Every IB diploma candidate must submit an extended essay.


IB Visual Arts

The International Baccalaureate Visual Arts program combines intensive research and the creative process in a two-year program that is open to all students. Students will produce 20-30 pieces of artwork to prepare for a portfolio presentation and the display of their cumulative work at the annual IB Arts Festival. In addition,

students conduct extensive research into cultural, historical, and visual art styles and techniques. Most importantly, during their two years of study, students develop their own personal and thematic styles to mark their individuality as artists.

Internationally Recognized Science Research Program

The Commack High School Science Research Program affords students the opportunity to pursue their unique interests in any scientific discipline through the research process. Guided by a cadre of expert and gifted teachers, students conduct highly specialized


research experiments in the lab at the high school, or at a local or regional university or research institution such as Stony Brook University, NYU, and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Our students seek to answer fundamental questions that will ultimately contribute to our understanding of the natural world and benefit the human condition.

Art Display and Musical Performance

The Art Gallery was another stop on the

tour. There, our esteemed visitors were able to speak with students and teachers, view an incredible array of original student artwork, and listen to the music of the Jazz Band.

In closing, given the fact that our esteemed guests were only able to be here for a fleeting two hours, we had to concentrate our visit in two schools, North Ridge Primary and Commack High School. However, being selected to host this visit was an honor bestowed on the entire community and every staff member and student that works and learns in our schools. We only wish we had time to highlight more programs as there is so much to be proud of here in Commack.

To view the entire gallery of photos, please click the link below.

Photo Gallery

NYS Commissioner of Education Visits Commack School District  

The New York State Comissioner of Education Dr. King, accompanied by Regent Roger Tilles and NY State Senator John Flanagan toured the Comma...