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Commack School District

Excellence in Education

Challenge & Discovery

Schoolwide Enrichment

At Burr Intermediate School and Mandracchia-Sawmill Intermediate School, each class attends school-wide enrichment every other week for a 50-minute session. In addition, the collaborative school culture allows for the extension of these enrichment activities in special area classes.

What is STEAM?

STEAM education refers to the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  STEAM education incorporates the “A” for the arts - recognizing that to be successful in technical fields, individuals must also be creative and use critical thinking skills which are best developed through exposure to the arts. STEAM initiates are means to encourage, educate, and prepare today’s youth to pursue careers in STEAM-related fields.

School-wide Enrichment Philosophy

  • Experiences and activities are purposefully designed to expose students to a wide variety of disciplines and topics that are not ordinarily covered in the regular curriculum.

  • Developing self-directed learning skills in the areas of planning, organization, resource utilization, time management, decision-making, and self-evaluation.

  • Developing task commitment, self-confidence, and feelings of creative accomplishment

Lunch ‘N Learn

This enrichment branch provides opportunities for applying interest, knowledge, creative ideas, and task commitment to a self-selected problem or area of study. Students can choose to bring their lunches to the enrichment room to eat and learn!

Enrichment Teachers:

Ms. Persichilli -  Mandracchia-Sawmill    Mrs. Ryback - Burr

Challenge & Discovery

Selection Process

Students who have outstanding scores on the Test of Cognitive Abilities, and achievement tests, and consistently perform at the highest standards in their classroom may be selected to participate in the program.


Challenge & Discovery Mission

  • Enrichment is necessary because children differ. Our Challenge & Discovery program exists so that academically gifted children can experience the enriched, accelerated education they need to reach their potential while working in a flexible setting with classmates who have similar learning styles.

  • Our enriched educational environment is designed to develop critical thinking skills and to help students become real-world problem solvers.  

  • Our program is committed to developing leadership skills, personal responsibility, and task commitment with a focus on both group and independent learning.

  • The teacher of the Challenge & Discovery program is committed to sharing her expertise with the larger community for the educational enrichment of all children.

Overview of the program


3rd Grade

  • Ancient Cultures/civilizations

  • Scientific Investigations

  • Math in the Real World

  • Archaeology/Investigating Artifacts

  • Mythology

  • Elementary Engineering

  • Reader’s Theatre

  • Field trips aligned with the curriculum


4th Grade

  • Microcosmos

  • 5 Kingdoms of Life

  • Reader’s Theatre

  • The Diversity of Life & DNA

  • Study of Physics and Energy through toys and building

  • Math Challenge

  • Field trips aligned with the curriculum


5th Grade

  • Reader’s Theatre

  • Polyhedraville: mathematics and financial budget study

  • Learning About Learning

  • Building using new tools, studying hydraulics

  • Math Challenge

  • Greek and Roman Mythology

  • Field trips aligned with the curriculum

Challenge & Discovery teacher:

Burr & Mandraccia-Sawmill: Ms. Mazur