NCRMS Students Buzz About Geography

The Miller Place School District is celebrating the success of three notable students—Christopher Barton, Michael Drago and Sofia Wyllie—from North Country Road Middle School (NCRMS) who recently competed for the National Geographic GeoBee competition. The academic competition, held annually, is designed to promote geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.

North Country Road’s winners—Christopher Barton, 1st place; Michael Drago, 2nd place; and Sofia Wylli, 3rd place—were ranked as the building’s highest scorers for this year’s competition. The National Geographic GeoBee includes three levels of competition: school, state and national. The school’s champion—Christopher—then takes a proctored online qualifying exam for the state level and the top 100 ranked students in each state are chosen to represent their school. State champions then travel to national Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to compete in the national championship.

The contest aims to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world, and increase public awareness about geography. Students compete for a chance to win college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic GeoBee Champion.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website

MPHS Hosts its 2nd Annual STEAM Night

Miller Place School District (MPSD) recently held its second annual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Night. Hosted by North Country Road Middle School, more than 130 students participated in a multitude of engaging and stimulating events. Students collaborated with many of their peers as they harnessed their creativity and knowledge to design their own original inventions and experiments.

“STEAM night allows students to be innovators, while increasing skill and knowledgeability,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marianne F. Cartisano. “The District’s STEAM initiatives provide an increasingly diverse education and encourages our students to utilize their imagination in a hands-on way. During events like STEAM night, students have the opportunity to gauge their interest and capability in subjects that are constantly evolving in society today.”

Students in grades six through eight participated in interactive workshops that explored several elements of STEAM including fundamental game and coding concepts for video game coding, food science experiments, mobile planetariums that explored star lifecycles and blackholes, and Rube Goldberg Machines. These engaging activities allowed students to explore their interests and hobbies in a unique educational environment.

STEAM night was held at the Expo Center, put on by teachers of North Country Road Middle School, TESLA Science Center, LI Science Center, Microsoft, Brookhaven National Lab, Stony Brook Innovation Lab and Stony Brook Grads and Educational Outreach. There were two, 45-minute sessions, allowing each student to choose from two activities. The maximum number of participants for each activity ranged from 10 to 30. Students and parents from North Country Road Middle School were invited to participate.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website at

Panthers Prepare for AP Exams

While high school students throughout the nation are reviewing notes and practice exams to prepare for upcoming Advanced Placement exams, students at Miller Place High School (MPHS) are taking a unique approach. Students currently enrolled in the District’s AP Biology course recently explored Stony Brook University’s Biotechnology Teaching Lab to interact with professional scientists and explore modern technology that utilizes biological systems.

The aspiring biologists explored extensive research in genetic engineering, including the CRISPR technique. While completing labs, students learned how to use the unique equipment involved in biotechnology education like centrifuges, chillettes, micropipettes, and vortex shakers to complete their lab. Kalliopi Gasparis, AP Biology student at MPHS, said she “felt like a professional scientist” during her day at Stony Brook University.

Students worked with two different restriction enzymes and learned how these enzymes cleave or cut DNA, how to use and prepare a gel using gel electrophoresis and how to change the genotype of Escherichia coli (E.coli) by transformation. Following the labs, students ventured through the student union to have lunch for an inside look at the university.

Advanced Placement is an academic program that provides high school students with college-level rigor while still in high school. Students are eligible to earn college credit or advanced standing by achieving a score of 3 (out of 5) or higher on AP course exams. The Miller Place School District aims to set its students up for a successful future and secondary education by offering several opportunities to study subjects in greater depth and offer experiences that broaden their horizons, thus providing them with new insights into their own skills and interests.

Miller Place Musicians Take their Talents Abroad

Last summer, three of Miller Place High School’s musicians—Larry Davis, William Dunlop and Zoe Bussewitz—took their talents overseas on a two-week European concert tour with the Nassau and Suffolk Chapter of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. These three musicians were among 70 students from Nassau and Suffolk selected to perform in this ensemble that performed throughout Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.

Larry Davis, who plays the French horn, is a member of the MPHS Symphonic Band and Jazz Band. Throughout Larry’s musical career, he has participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association (SCMEA) and is an active member of the Nassau/Suffolk Jazz Ensemble. Larry is considering pursuing a minor in music when he reaches college.

William Dunlop, a member of the MPHS Symphonic and Jazz Band and Zoe Bussewitz, member of the MPHS Orchestra, are also notable participants of SCMEA. Aside from their musical endeavors in school, William is a member of the Suffolk County Boy Scouts and Zoe is a member of the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. Zoe is also involved in the drama club, student government and the MPHS Gay-Straight Alliance group.

Exploring New Languages

North Country Road Middle School’s sixth grade students ventured on a journey around the world to explore course offerings with members of the Miller Place High School Foreign Language National Honor Society (FLNHS).

As part of the District’s efforts to create a deeper understanding of and appreciation for humanity and culture, at the end of sixth grade students are required to select one of three languages—Spanish, French or Italian—to pursue throughout the seventh grade. In an effort to prepare the young students as they begin their course selections, members of the FLNHS led in-depth presentations, detailing various aspects of what each language course offers, such as the study of basic vocabulary and the food and other traditions of the culture. Miller Place’s sixth graders gained valuable knowledge about what each language option entails, providing them with a solid foundation to begin their cultural education and confidence as they finalize their schedules for the 2019-2020 academic year.