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MISSION MONDAY: Bus Role Models photo

Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.

Students are constantly working toward achieving the North Salem Mission and meeting the criteria of their grade-level profiles, both in and outside of the classroom.

Recently, a group of fifth-grade students who ride Bus 12 were acknowledged at Pequenakonck Elementary School for being bus role models for their peers by following all bus rules and displaying safe behavior toward themselves and others.

“We are proud of the ways they demonstrate being exemplary citizens!” said PQ Assistant Principal Dr. Stephanie Bell.

HS Drama Department Presents ‘The Breakfast Club’

HS Drama Department Presents ‘The Breakfast Club’ photo

North Salem High School’s Drama Department will kick off the holiday season with an adaptation of the iconic John Hughes 1980s drama “The Breakfast Club.” The play follows five students who report for all-day detention on a Saturday at Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois. While not complete strangers, each of them represents a different clique – “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.”

The students pass the hours by talking, arguing and causing a bit of mischief. Despite their differences in social status, the group begins to break down the stereotypical barriers and form friendships as the day progresses, realizing that even with their differences they face similar pressures and complications in their lives. 

The talented ensemble cast brings the 1980s back with fresh vitality and enthusiasm under the direction of Jennifer Molloy. For online tickets and more information, please visit:

“The Breakfast Club” will be presented in the MS/HS auditorium on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.


Student Council Rallies for Hurricane Relief

Student Council Rallies for Hurricane Relief photo

North Salem High School students were devastated to hear the news of the hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas and decided to help.

After a vote, the Student Council chose to hold a drive for school supplies and went on to officially adopt the Port Arthur schools in Texas.

In just two weeks, the school community had donated enough to fill 33 boxes. Student Council members categorized the supplies and packed them to send to Texas.

The council soon received a heartwarming email from Ms. Summers, a middle school teacher in the Port Arthur Independent School District, which read:

“Good Morning,
I received the supplies yesterday afternoon and I cannot thank you and your community enough! What a blessing all of you are. The secretary was shocked to have received such generosity! You are such an amazing group of people to help in such a big way. I cannot say thank you enough!! Hope all is going well with your school year!”

Seventh-Graders Enjoy, Critique Theater

Seventh-Graders Enjoy, Critique Theater photo
Seventh-grade students enjoyed a matinee performance of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on Broadway on Nov. 16.

“The class had a wonderful experience on the Great White Way,” said middle school Drama Club moderator Lesley Hoagg.

Students unanimously expressed their enthusiasm for the production that day, but will provide more in-depth analyses as they begin to write play reviews in their English classes.

Honoring a Local Veteran

Honoring a Local Veteran photo
Each year around Veterans Day, third-grade students at Pequenakonck Elementary School pay tribute to veterans from the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

This year, on Nov. 15, students welcomed Nancy Beetstra, a Marine and member of the Wounded Warrior Project, to the school. Beetstra is a relative of one of the third-grade students and said she was honored that PQ’s students take the time learn about veterans each year.

Students interviewed Beetstra about her experience as a Marine and later, each completed a write-up about a veteran; noting the branch of military he or she serves or have served in, any wars the veterans have served in and a brief description of their tours of duty. The write-ups, along with photos of the veterans, are proudly on display in the third-grade hallway.


Sixth-Graders Bring History to Life

Sixth-Graders Bring History to Life pic

What do Anne Frank, Napoleon Bonaparte, Isaac Newton and Clara Barton have in common?

All four historic figures, along with many others, vied for a spot in the coveted North Salem Middle/High School Historical Hall of Fame at the annual sixth-grade Historical Costume Contest.

After choosing a historic figure to research, the sixth-graders transformed into those individuals by creating costumes to wear and showcase for their classmates on Halloween. The day culminated in a grade-wide contest to crown winners in the areas of best costume, best presentation and total excellence, with five finalists presenting in each category.

A panel of administrators and teachers carefully inspected the costumes and listened to the presentations as students’ peers cheered them on before the three winners were announced during the Oct. 31 affair.

Congratulations to:
Best Costume Winner – Aleia Rizzo as Long Wang Dragon
Best Presentation Winner – Izzy Halstead as Mother Teresa
Total Excellence Winner (and Historical Hall of Fame inductee) – Matt Moia as Blackbeard

The historical Halloween project and contest, spearheaded this year by social studies teacher Jim Savarese, has been a tradition for the school’s sixth-graders for almost 40 years. Students also work in collaboration with their English teachers to master persuasive writing, research and public speaking skills.


A Frightfully Fun Halloween at PQ

A Frightfully Fun Halloween at PQ photo

The hallways and classrooms of Pequenakonck Elementary School seemed a little extra spooky on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Students, faculty, staff and administrators alike got into the Halloween spirit by dressing up in creative and fun costumes.

Kindergartners, in particular, enjoyed the day’s festivities by participating in a number of Halloween-themed activities like pumpkin decorating and skeleton making (using Q-tips!) before ending the day with a parade around the school. 


A New Year of Learning

A New Year of Learning photo
A New Year of Learning photo2

Students, faculty and administrators are all ready for another exciting year of learning and growth in the North Salem Central School District.

At each grade level, administrators are hosting assemblies and orientations to acquaint and reacquaint students with the ins and outs of the school day.

At the middle/high school, new Principal Mr. Vince DiGrandi and Assistant Principal Dr. Kathleen Murphy have been introducing themselves to students and faculty as they too ease into their roles. They have hosted welcome assemblies for grades 7-12 and have given sixth-graders more time to assimilate to their new building.

“The kids are undergoing a lot of change [with the new administrators],” said Mr. DiGrandi. “But they seem open to new opportunity. Everything has been great so far.”

Pequenakonck Elementary School welcomed new Assistant Principal Dr. Stephanie Bell. She, with Principal Mrs. Mary Johnson, have been meeting with each grade level during the first week to review expectations and appropriate behaviors in various school environments including the cafeteria, hallways, playground and bathrooms.

“It has been a great start to the year,” said Mrs. Johnson. “There is a lot of new energy and the kids are happy to be back.” 


MISSION MONDAY: An Animated Walk Through History

MISSION MONDAY: An Animated Walk Through History

Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.

View the below video to see our amazing journey to create a Mission for all students!

A Day of Remembrance on Sept. 11

A Day of Remembrance on Sept. 11 photo

While many of North Salem’s middle/high school students were not yet born on Sept. 11, 2001, they still took time to reflect on the tragic events of that day on its 16th anniversary.

“I know you are all aware of our post-9/11 world,” said Principal Mr. Vince DiGrandi during Monday’s morning announcements. “Let’s make today a time for remembrance, as well as celebration.”

Students and faculty members wore white, as has become tradition each year, to bring awareness to the day’s significance.

Mr. DiGrandi implored students and staff alike to “pause and reflect,” but also celebrate the unity and support that surrounded the New York community following the tragic deaths that occurred that morning. He praised the first responders, as well as the citizens who stood in line to donate blood to survivors.

“All Americans bonded in that time of need,” he said. “My message for you today is that we are again in a time of need. Our need is to truly celebrate the individuality and diversity that all students and staff bring to our building every day. Our individual uniqueness makes us all special in our own way and together we are stronger as a school and stronger as a community because of this diversity.”

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, everyone in the school remained standing for a moment of silence before band director Mr. Steve Austin performed taps on the trumpet.


Observing Family Life at an 18th-Century Farm

Pumpkins image
First-grade students took a deep look at how families change over time and how that change is recorded through a trip to Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, a historic site that transported them to the 1750s.

The students, who also have been studying how families from long ago have similarities and differences with their own families today, were immersed in 18th-century farm and mill life during the trip. 

They attempted to write using a feather pen and noted how much more difficult it is than using the writing utensils of today. Two classes also received corn meal from Philipsburg Manor and used it to create corn muffins that families would have enjoyed during that time period. Students also saw how candles were used in lieu of electricity, while today, they are only used if power is lost. Once back in the classroom, students used photographs from the trip as prompts for nonfiction writing. 

MS Drama Club Presents “I Hate Shakespeare!”

Shakespeare photo

The North Salem Middle School Drama Club is taking on one of the world’s most celebrated playwrights with its fall presentation of Steph DeFerie’s “I Hate Shakespeare!” on Friday, Nov. 3.

The 7 p.m. show features the club’s young actors, who will perform on a set that was completely designed and built by high school junior Hana Szabo.

There is no formal admission charge for Friday’s show, but any donation (suggested $1) will go directly to St. Jude’s Hospital, a charity voted on by the Drama Club members.

The poster for the production was designed by eighth-grade student Ruby Yarnell in Jan Malin’s digital art class.

Chase University River Central School District