Spring 2016 Athletics Highlights!

Mr. Fitzpatrick, our Director of PE, Athletics and Medical Services, provided the following overview of our Spring athletics season.

At the time of this release, The Wheatley School is proud to announce that 51 student-athletes have been recognized by Section VIII-Nassau County Interscholastic Athletic Association for their exceptional performance in athletics, scholarship, and leadership qualities for the Spring 2015 season.  Additionally, all Spring teams were recognized as NYS Scholar-Athlete Team Award winners. The Girls Lacrosse team was recognized as NYS Scholar-Athlete Team Champions.

The Baseball team won the Nassau County Class B and Long Island Class B Championship, Boys Track and Field was Division Champions and the Softball team were Nassau County Class B finalist.

An overview of the individual teams:


Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team
  • Nassau County Class B Champion
  • Long Island Class B Champion

Individual Recognition

  • All County – Anthondy Deodato, John Ryan
  • All Conference – Will Feil
  • All League – Brian Doria, Evan Mattioli


Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team
  • Nassau County Class B Finalist

Individual Recognition

  • All County – Sam Palazzo
  • All County Honorable Mention- Sam Hurtado
  • All Conference – Morgan Tursi
  • Scholar Athlete – Cara Mattioli

Boys Lacrosse

Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team

Individual Recognition

  • All County Honorable Mention – Luke Caliendo
  • All Conference – Lewis Grama, Dom Pascarella (CP), Matt Viscardi

Girls Lacrosse

Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team Champions

Individual Recognition

  • All County – Hannah Woodward
  • All Conference – Sami Rothstein
  • Scholar Athlete – Micki Wain
  • Unsung Hero – Nora Goldbari


Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team

Individual Recognition

  • All State – Teddy Lewis
  • All County – Teddy Lewis
  • All Conference- David Rosenzweig, Jake Williams


Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team

Individual Recognition

  • All County –  Matthew Porges
  • All Conference – Jack Goldman, Ethan Nussdorf, Brandon Zhu
  • All Division – Alec Barres, Evan Hirsch, Austin Pomerantz, Justin Spar, Robert Schoen, Andrew Zuckerman, Shawn Chubalashvili

Girls Track and Field

Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team

Individual Recognition

  • All State – Brianna O’Brien
  • All County – Brianna O’Brien
  • All Division- Sarah Anselem, Brianna O’Brien, Krista Chen (3-time), TBrooke Christman, Taliah Ilyadi, Megan Klein, Chloe Lanese

Boys Track and Field

Team Recognition

  • NYS Scholar Athlete Team
  • Division Champions

Individual Recognition

  • All County – Steven John
  • 3 time All Division -Alec Bernstein, Steven John, Chris Vazquez, Nick Vazquez
  • 2 time All Division –Jared Bernstein, Luke Cuomo, Pedro Lamarre
  • All Division – Antonio Liparoto (Discus), Michael McCleary, Jeff Roudbai



Wheatley Special Sports Award Winners


  • John Ryan– Wildcat Award
  • Brandon Rothstein – Coach’s Award
  • Eric Beierlein – Unsung Hero Award


  • Evan Gitlitz – Spirit Award
  • Cooper Tanenhaus – Spirit Award


  • Theodore Lewis – Wildcat Award
  • David Rosenzweig – Coach’s Award
  • Michael Baltzer – Unsung Hero Award


  • Hannah Woodward – Wildcat Award
  • Allison LaMonica – Coach’s Award
  • Nora Golbari- Unsung Hero Award


  • Matthew Viscardi – Wildcat Award
  • William Liam Spisak – Coach’s Award
  • Fernando Guerra – Unsung Hero Award


  • Devin Brancato – Spirit Award
  • Michael Rappaport  – Spirit Award


  • Samantha Palazzolo – Wildcat Award
  • Samantha Hurtado – Coach’s Award
  • Cara Mattioli – Unsung Hero Award


  • Jamie Horowitz – Spirit Award
  • Emily Schiesser – Spirit Award


  • Matthew Porges –  Coach’s Award
  • Jack Goldman –  Wildcat Award
  • Ethan Nussdorf – Wildcat Award
  • Brandon Zhu –  Unsung Hero Award


  • Matthew Kreitzer – Spirit Award
  • Jordan Soleimani – Spirit Award


  • Nicholas Vazquez- Wildcat Award
  • Alec Bernstein – Coach’s Award
  • Christopher Vazquez – Coach’s Award
  • Jared Bernstein – Unsung Hero Award
  • Pedro Lamarre – Unsung Hero Award


  • Brianna O’Brien – Wildcat Award
  • Gretchen Keller – Coach’s Award
  • Alexa Georgeton – Unsung Hero Award


  • Adena Bernot – Spirit Award
  • Megan Klein – Spirit Award


  • Arturo Asselta (Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis & Wrestling)
  • Vakas Akhtar (Cross Country, Spring Track & Winter Track)
  • Jared Bassman (Fencing & Lacrosse)
  • Adena Bernot (Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Spring Track & Winter Track)
  • Joy Bestourous (Dance, Lacrosse & Soccer)
  • Jessie Cao (Cross Country, Spring Track & Winter Track)
  • Krista Chen (Soccer, Softball, Spring Track &Winter Track)
  • Joseph Cucinella (Baseball, Basketball & Soccer)
  • Luke Cuomo (Cross Country, Spring Track &Winter Track)
  • Anthony Cutinella (Baseball, Basketball & Football)
  • Alexa Georgeton (Cross Country, Dance & Spring Track)
  • Johnny Karikas (Baseball & Basketball)
  • Stephanie Klar (Dance, Lacrosse, Soccer)
  • Sydney Kotin (Basketball & Tennis)
  • Pedro Lamarre (Basketball, Soccer, Spring Track)
  • Cara Mattioli (Softball & Volleyball)
  • Michael McCleary (Basketball &Spring Track)
  • Shannon McLean (Dance Softball & Volleyball)
  • Samantha Palazzolo (Fencing, Field Hockey, Soccer, Softball & Winter Track)
  • Hunter Pomerantz (Baseball & Basketball)
  • Marisa Rios (Dance & Volleyball)
  • John Ryan (Baseball, Basketball & Winter Track)
  • Robert Schoen (Soccer, Spring Track, Tennis &Winter Track)
  • Christopher Shen (Spring Track &Winter Track)
  • Christopher Vazquez (Basketball, Football, Spring Track & Winter Track)
  • Nicholas Vazquez (Baseball, Soccer, Spring Track & Winter Track)
  • Matthew Viscardi (Football & Lacrosse)


The Walter W. Wathey Award

For Athletic Excellence & Outstanding Service
  • Cara Mattioli

The George Glaser Memorial Award

To the Senior Who Most Exemplifies the Qualities of Excellence & Dedication In Our Athletic Program
  • Samantha Palazzolo

Scholar Athlete Award

For Scholastic & Athletic Achievement
  • Adena Bernot
  • Luke Cuomo

Senior Athlete Award

For Outstanding Athletic Achievement Dedication, Sportsmanship & Love of the Game
  • Hannah Woodward

Senior Athlete Award

For Outstanding Athletic Achievement Dedication, Sportsmanship & Love of the Game
  • Pedro Lamarre

Mo Schneider Scholarship

Exemplary academic achievement, positive attitude, promotes fairness and inspires others
  • Andrew Zuckerman
  • Sydney Kotin

Shooting Stars Scholarship

Consistent Effort, Positive Attitude & High Achievement
  • Hunter Pomerantz
  • John Ryan


Our Video Club puts together a compilation of the season. You can view the video below:

Here are some photos from the evening’s festivities…

End of Year Work for EAC

In any school, there are inevitably a variety of activities that take take place as we wrap up one school year and prepare for another. Once such activity that needs to get done is the washing and storing of the scores of recycling containers used throughout the building. This task is handled by our Environmental Action Committee (EAC).

For several decades, now, every classroom and office space at Wheatley has had recycling bins. As part of its commitment to sustainability, members of our EAC empty these recycling bins every week (usually on Wednesday afternoons). This is an arduous task that can often go unnoticed—unless the bins are overflowing from use. It is not unappreciated, however!

At the end of the year, the EAC officers organized the final collection of all recycled paper and the cleaning and storing of the recycling bins until next year!

Thank you to incoming EAC co-president, Alex Kasparian, for the photos, and EAC Faculty advisor Steve Finkelstein for the work he does throughout the year with our EAC students!

Class of 2016 Celebrates Wheatley’s 59th Commencement Exercises!

Earlier today, on a beautiful morning, Wheatley held its 59th Commencement Exercises — this year in celebration of the Class of 2016! With four musical performances and four wonderful student speeches, it was a memorable graduation — one that celebrated the diversity of talents of our wonderful students.

Congratulations to the graduates and their families!

You can view a copy of the Commencement Program here: Graduation Program 2016

[Thank you to Dr. Gately for some of these photos!]


The Complete 10P Talk Presentations!

Last month, students in our English 10P Honors class impressed scores of attendees at the first ever “10P Talks” presentation. Over the course of two hours, students presented their passions and interests to their parents, classmates, friends and supporters.  It was an incredibly successful evening, frustrating only by the fact that the simultaneous nature of the presentations prevented one person from seeing them all in person!

Fortunately, the talents of our students are extensive! Sophomores Vani Kumar and Anne Yan created a website to showcase ALL of the presentations given on that evening! The terrific group of tech students captured each presentation and shared the videos with Vani and Anne. Now, we can all enjoy the wonderful work of our students!

Thanks to Stephen Collier and Lauren Blum for their support of the students and presentations, and Patrick Hurley for helping the students with the video uploads.

The following topics were presented by students:

  • Sufia Ainechi: “Where Are You From?  Our Multiethnic World.”
  • Adeel Anwar: “Meating in the Middle: Meat Eater’s Compromise”
  • Alekya Bokka:  “Rape and Sexual Assault: Fact and Fiction”
  • Devin Brancato:  “Is Willpower Enough?”
  • Jacob Chimerine: “Guilt: Curse or Blessing?”
  • Katie Clark: “The Power of Music”
  • Caroline Crimmins: “:-) The Benefits of Smiling”
  • Meaghan Doherty:  “Title? I’ll Figure That Out Later…”
  • Kim Esquilin: “Is it Really the End of the World?”
  • Sana Haroon: “The Surprising Influence of Language”
  • Emily Freund:  “You Are You, Not Your Older Sibling”
  • Rachel Fuzaylov: “Why Does Feminism Still Matter in 2016?”
  • Rikki Gassman: “Cluttered Room, Cluttered Life.”
  • Roxane Ghadami: “Women’s Educational Rights Internationally
  • Jessica Hastings: “The Team Behind Every Success”
  • Jamie Horowitz: “Why You Depend on Dependence”
  • Alex Kasparian:  “I Present Like a Girl (Just Kidding)”
  • Megan Kirschner: “Concerts: Beyond the Music”
  • Ally Kim:  “Can Money Buy Happiness?”
  • Elizabeth Kokotos: “For the 20%: Educating People About Learning Disabilities”
  • Abhishek Kumar:  “Artificial Intelligence”
  • Vani Kumar: “I Am More Than Just a Number”
  • Eric Lichtenstein: “More than a Game”
  • Michelle Raja: “Antibiotics Can S̶a̶v̶e̶ Kill”
  • Anusha Ramnarayan: “Redefining Expectations”
  • Saman Suleman: “Decide to Decide”
  • Eva Suppa: “Unleashing Your Inner Artist”
  • Justin Vega: “Playing Music With Your Ears”
  • Ally Wang:  “Using Failure as a Weapon”
  • Emily Wang: “Why You Shouldn’t Believe in the Make Believe, But I Do It Anyway”
  • Carol Wu: “How to Choose a President”
  • Anne Yan:  “Our Culture of Appropriation”
  • Alice Ye:  “Sports are the Real MVP in Success”

Click here to view the 10P Talks Web Site

2016-05-23 18.18.52


Wheatley Data Overview

As we approach the end of the year, it is worth reviewing what we know about how Wheatley students are performing based on the metrics so often reported online and in newspapers. As a community, we certainly value the incredible performance of our students on state and national examinations. That said, we also value the many educational opportunities provided to students that never show up as a statistic. These opportunities include our many fine and practical arts activities, our Day of Service and Learning,  our dedication to our Life Skills program, our SWS program, our wonderful travel abroad programs and our celebration of the role teachers play in so many of our students’ lives.

That said, here are some of the more commonly-reported data regarding Wheatley.

Graduation Rates

Over these past several years, Wheatley has had one of the top graduation rates in Long Island. Of particular pride has been our Advanced Designation Diploma Rate, which has steadily climbed. Over the past several years, our graduation rates place us at the top or near the top of all Long Island districts.


Advanced Placement Program

Over the past decade, Wheatley’s Advanced Placement participation, course offerings and results have changed dramatically. AP courses added over this period include: AP Psychology, AP English Language, AP Physics C, AP Human Geography, AP World History, AP Art History and AP Italian. This coming year, we are adding the AP Capstone program to our offerings. As the AP course offerings have expanded, we have steadily removed the many obstacles previously facing students interested in challenging themselves with an AP course, offering open enrollment for all courses. Consequently, student participation — in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population — has increased notably. More students are taking more AP exams than in the past. These students are finding much greater success on these examinations than in the past.

AP Participation, Exams and Passing Rate

AP Passing Rates Wheatley

AP Participation by Class

AP Participation

Notes on AP Participation and Passing Rates

How does Wheatley’s passing rate compare to other schools in Long Island? What about a recent report that Wheatley’s passing rate ranks it near the middle of Long Island schools? As mentioned earlier, over the past 7-8 years, Wheatley has opened access to its AP courses to all students — not just the “high achieving” students. This “self-direction” permits students to challenge themselves upward as they see fit. This is not the practice of most Long Island high schools. The more common restrictive access to AP courses limits the number of students taking AP examinations and ensures that only the “top” students take the exams. As such, the passing rates for these schools can be artificially elevated.

The most recent AP data readily available for Long Island schools are from 2013. Initially, this data set included only the number of students taking AP and the number of students earning scores of at least 3 (considered a “passing” score on the five-point scale). With the assistance of the SED school database, I tallied the number of students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade in order to calculate the “openness” of a school’s AP program. School passing rates should be taken into account with this value.

A snapshot of the 2013 data, sorted by AP passing rate:

AP Passing Rate 2013

Is Wheatley’s passing rate of 76.3% the same as William Floyd High School’s passing rate of 76.3%? Well…yes and no! Whereas William Floyd High School had only 12.1% of its eligible 10-12th graders taking AP examinations, Wheatley had 62.3% of its students involved in AP exams.

What does this list look like when sorted by the percentage of eligible test takers? Here are the same data sorted by the “openness” of the AP program.

AP Passing Rate by Openness 2013

The list looks quite different! This listing provides far more information (and accuracy) regarding AP passing rates than the simplistic listing recently provided in news reports. For a full listing, check out the following: AP Results in Long Island.

AP Scholars Recognized

AP Scholar Awards are given in recognition of exceptional achievement on AP Examinations. Nationally, fewer than 20% of AP students earn this designation. AP Scholars complete three or more AP exams with grades of 3 or higher; AP Scholars with Honor complete an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams, with grades of 3 or higher on at least four of these exams; AP Scholars with Distinction earn an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP exams, with grades of 3 or higher on at least five of these exams; AP National Scholars earn an average grade of at least 4.0 on all AP exams taken, with grades of 4 or higher on at least eight of these exams.

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of designated scholars. (Note that all National Scholars are included in the Scholar Distinction totals.)

AP Scholars

Dual Enrollment (DE)

Even as Wheatley has seen a dramatic increase in AP enrollment and participation, we have expanded our offerings of dual enrollment courses. Dual enrollment courses are offered in conjunction with a local or regional college or university, permitting students to earn college credit while they take the high school class. This college credit is offered at a reduced tuition, often 1/3 to 1/2 the normal credit cost.

For many years, the sole DE program was an English course offered through Syracuse University’s Project Advanced (SUPA) program. In 2009-10, we partnered with Adelphi to offer a dual enrollment course through our business department. Over the following years, we partnered with Molloy College (mathematics), Stony Brook (social studies), St. John’s University (Italian) and Farmingdale College (business). Students have responded well to these increased offerings.


National Rankings

In 1998, a relatively obscure education reporter came up with the idea of “ranking” high schools across the country. High schools were ranked based on an index value that was easy to calculate: the number of AP examinations taken the previous year divided by the size of the graduating class. Schools with an index value of 1.000 or above were included in his list, which came to be known as the Jay Mathews Challenge Index. In 1998, the Wheatley School appeared at the top of this list, with an index value of 2.862 (meaning that there were approximately 2.8 times as many AP exams taken as there were students graduating).

Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of different lists ranking high schools. Each list has its own criteria, emphasizing different aspects of what the list creators value when assessing high schools. The lists attempt to organize and categorize the more than 26,000 public high schools in the United States.

Challenge Index

In April 2016, the Washington Post released the “Challenge Index 2016” rankings. Wheatley ranked #170 in the country.

How does this ranking compare to past rankings? Take a look at the historical data:

Challenge Index Ranking

As you can see from the table, Wheatley was ranked #1 when this list was first released! Is our current ranking of 170 cause for concern? Not at all. A quick glance at the Index Value (which is what determines your placement on the list) demonstrates that this year’s Index value is the highest it has ever been for Wheatley —a nearly 84% improvement over Wheatley’s value when the list debuted.

The very simplicity of this list makes it relatively easy to manipulate. With a relatively stable graduating class size, a school simply needs to make sure more students are taking more AP examinations. Wheatley could improve its ranking with a few actions:

  • Eliminate all SUPA courses, forcing students to take AP Courses instead
  • Eliminate our Dual Enrollment courses, forcing students to take AP Courses instead
  • Follow the lead of other Long Island schools and have all students take AP World
  • Follow the lead of another high performing Long Island school and have all 11th graders take AP English

We do not take these steps because they are not in the interest of our students or school right now. We make decisions based on the internal needs of our students, not the external demands of a ranking system. We have appreciated the tremendous growth of our Dual Enrollment program, which has permitted hundreds of students to receive college credit while completing high school courses in a wide variety of areas (e.g., business, mathematics, engineering, forensics). We also appreciate the approach of our SUPA English courses. Schools interested solely in rankings take steps that are not always in the interest of their students.

US News and World Report

US News and World Report created its own ranking system in 2008-09. Although the system has evolved somewhat over the year, presently, it uses a three-step process as a way to try to account for a school’s expected and actual performance:

  • Comparison of school’s performance on state mathematics and English against the statistically expected performance
  • Comparison of the performance of least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic, low-income) with state-wide results for these same groups.
  • Schools that made it through these first two steps were then judged nationally on college-readiness. This metric took into account AP/IB participation and passing rates using a formula that combined the number of 12th Grade students that took and passed at least one AP/IB exam during high school with a simple AP/IB participation rate.

Unfortunately, this ranking system has been prone to errors, including its 2012 rankings (which were widely criticized for using erroneous data) and its 2015 rankings (which were widely criticized for using inconsistent methodology and inaccurate data).

With these aforementioned caveats in mind, Wheatley has been regularly listed as a “Gold Medal” school — representing the top 500 of all high schools in the country (the top 2%). For 2015-16, Wheatley’s ranking of #225 placed it in the top 0.87% of all public high schools in the country.

US News Rankings

SAT Scores

A recent news report highlighted that Wheatley’s average SAT scores were the 6th best in Long Island. An overview of past scores highlights the overall growth in scores, even as students adapted to the changes in the examination (e.g., the addition of the writing component).

SAT Scores


This has been a long post! Most of the data presented are available through a variety of presentations that have been done at various Board of Education meetings. We pride ourselves on presenting data, learning from data and making adjustments to our programs if necessary.


Wheatley Brainstormers Earn 3rd Place in New York State Columbia Cup Tournament!

Congratulations to the Wheatley School Brainstormers Team, who have won 3rd place at the Columbia Cup Tournament. The School was honored as the 3rd best team in New York State, a first-time achievement for Wheatley’s team!

Varsity Captain Mohammad Khanzada led the team in this accomplishment. Additional members of the team were:

  • Gabriel Besada
  • Luke Cuomo
  • Arihant Jain
  • John Li
  • Christopher Shen
  • Jake Williams

 The Columbia Cup is a series of 3 Quiz Bowl competitions held at Columbia University for High School students in New York and New Jersey. 23 High School teams competed for the top 3 prizes in each state, and Wheatley ended up with the coveted 3rd Place trophy in the New York State Division.

Furthermore, Captain Mohammad Khanzada recently achieved the distinction of being the highest scoring Cumulative Quiz Bowl Scorer in Wheatley history! Mohammad’s five years of hard work and effort culminated in this outstanding distinction. Congratulations to Mohammad! Below is the link to the overall Wheatley School statistics.

Thank you to faculty advisor Joseph Crotty for his work with the team as well as the write-up of this wonderful accomplishment!