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Howitt Middle School Building

       Weldon E. Howitt Middle School


       HMS Virtual Backpack


Parents: please take some time to review the district Attendance Policy, Code of Conduct, Emergency Planning Guide as well as other notices in this folder:

 Important Policies and Notices


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SPORTS CORRECTION: 8th Boys' Baseball is home against Berner @ 4:45 pm

                                             8th Boys' Lacrosse is CANCELLED & reschedule to 5/31


Please read this letter highlighting changes to student phone use at HMS





  Have some free time?  Check out this cool Padlet!



Students entering the building prior to the 7:55 bell must proceed to one of the cafeterias or the Morning Rec Program in the East Gym. Students are not permitted to go to their lockers or homerooms before the 7:55 bell rings.  


The school doctor will be here on Thursday, May 26, for athletes trying out for fall sports who need a physical. Athletes should notify the Health Office by May 25 if they need a physical. 


ALL of Mrs. Taibi's 6th grade Band students will meet in the auditorium immediately after homeroom today.
7th grade Color Wars permission slips are due today and should be placed into the drop box in the Main Office by the end of the day.     


NYSSMA medals may still be picked up from the music teachers today. 


Adventureland permission slips and payments are due to the Main Office drop box by Friday, May 27. Please note that no late payments will be accepted. If payment is made online, a signed paper copy of the permission slip still needs to be handed in; otherwise you will not be permitted to go on the trip. If you have questions please see Ms. Merlo in room 209 during homeroom only. 
The following will be held after school TODAY:
* The following will be held after school TODAY:
* HMS Garden Club w/Mrs. Marzillier & Mr. Kaur in the 6th courtyard
* CANCELLED 7th and 8th Softball practice



7th Boys’ Baseball is away against Berner @ 4:45 pm
CORRECTION: CANCELLED 8th Boys’ Lacrosse against Berner (rescheduled 5/31)
7th/8th Boys/Girls’ Track is away at Plainedge HS @ 4:45 pm
CORRECTION: 8th Boys’ Baseball is home against Berner @ 4:45 pm

COLOR WARS - 7th Grade

Tuesday, May 31, after school in the West Gym. Permission slips are due to the Main Office by Friday, May 20.



Monday, June 13
Signed permission slips (even if payment is made online) and payment ($50) due by Friday, May 27.



Students who are feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed can start their day with a sense of calm and ease at Mrs. Hallahan's Morning Mindfulness Workshop. Meetings will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7:25 am in room 523. All are welcome!



Howitt’s school store, The Lion's Den, is open for business and they sell Daler gear, school supplies & various novelty items. It is located on the first floor of the West building and is open during periods 6 & 7.



The Student of the Quarter award is given to students chosen by their teachers. Students selected demonstrate excellence in leadership, participation, attendance, work ethic and citizenship. 
Click here for the complete list.



The After School Grab & Go Snack Line is now open in the East Cafeteria Monday through Friday from 2:50 - 3:00 PM.



Water bottles, books, clothing, sweatshirts, shoes/sneakers are placed in the back of both cafeterias. Eye glasses, jewelry, pocketbooks, cell phones are in the Main Office.



Students who arrive early at Howitt may go to the East Gym with Mr. Leary from 7:20 am to 7:50 am. 



(5/25, 5/26)

Students who enjoy having fun at recess or during the Morning Rec Program should join the Afternoon Rec Program w/Mr. Lizana after school on the blacktop, weather permitting.



Available to all students in the morning in the East & West Cafeterias. Students may obtain a pass from any of the offices.



NOTE: There will be a limited number of yearbooks available to purchase, on a first come first serve basis, for $75 in June.

Current News

New Principal for HMS

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Farmingdale School District is proud to announce the selection of Michael Gavalas for the position of principal of Weldon E. Howitt Middle School. The Farmingdale Board of Education is expected to officially appoint Mr. Gavalas at the next board meeting, scheduled for May 6, 2020. The current principal, Mr. Luis Pena, will be retiring at the end of June.

Mr. Gavalas is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience, most recently as the Assistant Principal of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, NY. He served as Assistant Principal at Hauppauge High School from 2012-2017. Prior to becoming an administrator, he taught social studies for twelve years at Hauppauge High School and two years at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, NY. 

Mr. Gavalas earned his Master of Science in Education and his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Social Studies Education from Queens College, NY. He also holds an Advanced Certificate in School Building Leader from Queens College. He is married with two boys, Gianni and Pano, and resides in Astoria, Queens.

“The hiring process for such a critical position during a pandemic was challenging,” said Assistant Superintendent Glen Zakian. “We began the process in early February, bringing in a group of candidates for screening interviews with the Superintendent's Cabinet,” he explained. “The school closing forced us to continue the interview process online. There were four additional rounds of interviews to be completed, with numerous members of the faculty and staff participating in a committee format. The selection committee narrowed the candidate list to a few finalists who then met with Superintendent Defendini and eventually the Board of Education. There were a lot of steps to this process but it was well worth it.”

Mr. Gavalas feels well suited for the middle school environment, a challenging time for most students and a place he remembers as being “scary” in his youth. “There’s a certain safety that exists in elementary school, but when you leave and enter the middle school you leave that safety,” he said. “Your competencies get questioned and the big message is that you need to use this time to get ready for high school. Consequently, the middle school experience gets lost. I see this time as an opportunity to build resiliency and make students focus on the here and now. I want them to find joy in this growth period of their education.”

“I was as much interested in learning about Michael as I was watching our constituents respond to him during the interview process,” said Superintendent Paul Defendini. “He had a way of deeply connecting with the groups even though it was done on a virtual platform. He will make a great addition and I am very excited to welcome him to the Daler family.”

Mr. Gavalas will begin his tenure July 1, 2020, but hopes to get some face time with faculty and staff before that, either virtually, or in meetings that practice social distancing if the school is  permitted to do so. “I want to meet everyone, learn what’s on everyone’s minds, and hear about their dreams for the school,” he said. 

“I was impressed by all the final candidates,” said Board of Education President Michael Goldberg. “They all brought something different to the table but there was an immediate connection that we felt to Michael. The board agreed that he’ll do a great job as our next middle school principal.”

“During the time I was under consideration for the position, I took a ride with my family to explore Farmingdale,” he said. “We went into the village and drove around and I got that sense of community I had heard about.” But words spoken during an early conversation with Superintendent Defendini and all the assistant superintendents had already sold him on joining the district. “They told me that their fundamental mission was to do what is the absolute best for the students, the teachers, and the community. Right then, I knew this was where I wanted to be.”

Farmingdale Schools Donate Supplies

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Farmingdale Schools RN Dawn Esposito with Jim Spencer from Catholic Health Services at Weldon E. Howitt Middle School.
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The FHS Interact Club Officers left to right: Advisor Sue McDonough, Allison Contreras, Briana Eugene, Kim Dort, Nuo Yan Huang, and Tasnim Rauzat.
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Supplies piled up in the back of Superintendent Defendini’s truck
The Farmingdale School District is stepping up to help local hospitals with badly-needed medical supplies. With schools closed and students learning remotely, administrators, teachers, and students mobilized to take an inventory of what they could donate to those working on the frontline.

“It started with an email thread to share ideas of how we could help health care workers, and the ideas just kept coming in,” said Superintendent Paul Defendini. 

Lead nurse Dawn Esposito, RN, who oversees the school district’s fourteen nurses, was tasked with finding a point person to shepherd the donations. “I know how scary things are on the front line,” said Ms. Esposito. “We really wanted our donations to help local hospitals, like St. Joseph’s, Good Samaritan, and Mercy Hospital— the places who take care of the kids in our community.” 

She contacted Jim Spencer from Catholic Health Services, who today, arrived at Weldon E. Howitt Middle School to pick up the donations in the parking lot, where they had been collected in the back of Superintendent Defendini’s truck. Mr. Defendini and Ms. Esposito were on site to greet Mr. Spencer, all the while keeping social distancing protocols in place. 

Farmingdale Schools Science Director Dr. Kristen Cummings gave an inventory of the items that she and the science teachers gathered from the labs at the middle school and the high school: 14 boxes of small and medium exam gloves, 101 clear goggles, 152 colored goggles, 33 safety glasses, and a UV goggle cabinet that decontaminates them after use. “We gathered up any supplies that we knew wouldn’t be needed for the rest of the calendar year,” said Ms. Cummings. 

Also included were 500 hundred masks, donated by a friend of Albany Avenue Assistant Principal Victoria LoRusso. “When my friend in Vermont heard about our supply drive, she made the masks and shipped them down to us so we could distribute them locally,” said Ms. LoRusso.

The Farmingdale Interact Club (a club that promotes community service and charitable donations) donated the balance of their club funds—six hundred dollars— to the district wide effort. “They decided the money should go to buying meals for the healthcare workers at St. Joseph's Hospital in appreciation of all of their hard work,” said Club Advisor Sue McDonough. “I’m so proud of their generosity.”

In an email to Ms. Esposito this afternoon, Mr. Spencer thanked the district, writing, “We are very thankful for the donation. The health care workers will be touched by the thoughtfulness of you and the students. We will make sure the funds go to feeding the health care workers, many who are working 12 hour shifts.”

“This is all part of Dalers helping Dalers,” said Superintendent Paul Defendini. “It was an honor to deliver these donations to Mr. Spencer today, and we will continue to do all we can to help our community get through this difficult time.”

Sewers Mobilize at Farmingdale Schools

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Over two hundred masks have been stitched and donated to essential workers in the greater Farmingdale area—courtesy of dozens of aides and monitors from the Farmingdale School District.

Lisa Bell— a Woodward Parkway Elementary School aide, seamstress, and member of the Facebook group, Stitched Together Long Island, went to work right after school buildings were closed to help produce the protective equipment in short supply in our metro area. Soon afterwards, she partnered with Aides and Monitors CSEA Union President Margee Erdody to expand the mask production into a districtwide effort. Presently, there are dozens of Farmingdale district aides and monitors pooling both their sewing talents and their available supplies to make masks, headbands, and surgical caps.

“People have anonymously left fabric and money at my front door,” said Ms. Bell, a long-time Farmingdale resident. “Many are asking how they can help. Right now, only five of us have sewing machines, the rest are sewing by hand. We could use more sewers with machines. Donations of fabric are better than money right now, because stores are closed and ordering fabric takes weeks.” 

Fabric donations need to be cotton or a cotton blend, and at least 10 x 14 inches. Anyone with fabric to donate, or the ability and time to sew, can contact Ms. Bell at the following email:

“Lisa is such a Daler through and through. She has a tremendous heart and she is always looking for ways to help our school and our community,” said Woodward Parkway Elementary School Principal Patrick Klocek. “Her leadership and willingness to use her talents to ensure that our healthcare workers get the protective equipment they need is inspiring! We are so proud of her partnership with Margee and we are grateful to the team of aides and monitors who are involved in this work!”

Thank you Cafeteria & Transportation Staff!

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Cafeteria Staff
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A big shout out to our cafeteria and transportation staff!
Every morning at 6am, with assembly-line precision in the west cafeteria of HMS, the Farmingdale School District’s cafeteria staff are preparing and bagging approximately 300 free/reduced-price meals for students in need. These meals are being picked up and delivered by staffers Larry Mattei and Brian Sammut, with extra help from Marc Medina and Troy Hill from our District Transportation Office. 
Thank you to them for making this possible!

Thank you to our Custodial Staff!

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Custodial Staff
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Custodial Staff
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Custodial Staff
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Custodial Staff
Much gratitude for our custodial staff!
Every day since the closure, the Farmingdale School District custodial staff has reported to work to deep clean all six of our school buildings—scouring desks, walls, and floors across the district. They are disinfecting thousands of surfaces to ensure our students and staff come back to a safe and clean environment. At a time when most people are avoiding public areas of congregation, our custodial team has thrust themselves into that very environment without reservation.
“I want to express my deep appreciation for our crews! They cleaned every inch of 500,000 square feet of space,” said Martin Dar Conte, Operation and Maintenance for Farmingdale Schools. “It was a monumental task and I am so proud to be a part of this group. Thank you!”
“Heroes come in all shapes and sizes,” said Superintendent Paul Defendini. “Today, our heroes are these brave and giving custodians. Thank you, team, for putting yourself out there for our safety. Your efforts do not go unnoticed!”

By The Numbers