I.S. 281 – Joseph B. Cavallaro “Full STEAM Ahead”

We provide rigorous, challenging, and content-rich educational programs so that when students leave I.S. 281, they are prepared for college and career. Staff, parents, and students effectively communicate, collaborate, and support our high academic and behavioral standards. We offer Dual Language Chinese Mandarin, HS Algebra and HS Living Environment accelerated classes. We are a technology-rich school that provides a SmartBoard and student laptops, in every classroom, computer labs, and robotics to cultivate a stimulating learning environment.


Cavallaro's STEM Program


STEM – Science / Engineering / Robotics

Our design lab features 4 brand new Ultimaker 3-D printers as well as a state-of-the-art Stratasys commercial-grade 3-D printer.  Students design and create their own models and get to take them home! Our Vertical Hydroponics Lab has 2 NFT tables, 3 Tower Gardens and a Vine Crop zone.  Students become Urban Farmers and plant their own seeds, maintain the systems, and harvest the delicious fruits and vegetables! We can grow several hundred crops simultaneously and have multiple harvests! Take off with our 15 STEM Pilot Flight Simulators!  Progressively challenging missions take our students up into the sky and learn the skills of a pilot! Aeronautics and aviation are excellent career choices! Pick up your hammers, nails, and saws!  Learn the awesome skills of Woodworking! Students will build fantastic projects with their own hands!  Carpentry is a tremendously useful trade that students will be able to carry with them for their entire lives!  Finally, enter the exciting world of Robotics! Students will build and program LEGO EV3 robots and successfully complete a challenging obstacle course as well as build a mechanical arm that will be able to pick objects up! Cav Tech Toads are a formidable team when entering the First Lego League.

HydroponicsHydroponics Growing CucumbersFlight simulators STEM Lego Robotics Competition


STEM – Technology

The STEM program with a concentration in Technology will focus on several major concepts relating to STEM and building 21st Century skills. The format of the class will center on PBL (Project-Based Learning) and students playing the role of creators. The content of the program will be rigorous, innovative and will cover, but may not be limited to, some of following topics:

Digital Citizenship    Video Game Creation
Computer Science   DDC young engineers
Engineering Design Process Drones    
Architecture / 3-D modeling   City Planning /Design
Mr. Hutton motivates students during competition Students programming in Ms. Zambri's classStudents having lunch during a school trip


STEM – Mathematics

The STEM Math Talent Program is a perfect opportunity for students to learn about financial literacy, investing and entrepreneurship.  Students will have the opportunity to play the “Stock Market Game” where they will learn the ins and outs of the investment world.  We also teach a curriculum called “Virtual Enterprise” where our 7th and 8th graders develop technology, entrepreneurial, and work-based learning skills by starting and managing business ventures.  In 7th grade, they learn about the five different departments that we offer:  Accounting & Finance, Administration, Graphic Design, Human Resources and Marketing.  In 8th grade the students actually start their own virtual company.  This is a great opportunity for our students to get immersed in an entrepreneurial and corporate environment well before they become working adults.

Virtual Enterprise - InterviewStem Math Interviews    

Cavallaro's Fine Arts Program


Students learn the fundamental building blocks of art and how it relates to all art media. Those that have prior experience with art will have opportunities to advance their level to suit individual needs, while beginners will be able to accomplish new goals.

A variety of art styles and materials will be used, such as paint, sculpture, collage and drawing. All grades will have the opportunity to display their work in school as well as outside if they are inspired to take the extra step to enter contests throughout the year.

Counseling is available for students who wish to build art portfolios for specialized high schools.

Student drawing a face during art classStudent making a face shaped collage out of magazine cut outs


Through a formal study of a range of styles, techniques and genres, including their own social dances, students expand their perception of dance and demonstrate a variety of skills.  They learn choreographic principles and demonstrate them in the studio through group tasks and choreography projects.  The culmination of these tasks and projects occurs in our main stage dance productions in the auditorium, when the students apply their choreographic skills for the creation of the performance!  Cavallaro has a beautiful dance studio in the basement of our school, with a brand new dance floor!  All levels will be paid attention to during dance class through differentiated instruction.  Our sequential dance curriculum builds from 6th grade through 8th grade, and the progression and capabilities of our students is beautiful to watch! 

Students stretching in schools' dance roomStudents performing on stage, waving flags

Vocal Music

Students in Vocal Music will not only learn how to sing, but they will learn the basics of Music Theory and how to read basic sheet music.  This includes learning vocabulary and symbols that are not in English.  We cover all genres of music during class, whether we sing songs from those genres or use songs as learning tools for class.  Students will be learning different skills and vocabulary as they progress through their years at Cavallaro.  Each student is expected to participate in all performances. All levels of singers are welcome to join; no prior experience is needed.

Students signing in VA hospital, there is a Christmas tree in the background.Vocal talent puts on a 'Harmony' show, in schools' auditorium


Our Athletics talent program is aligned with the New York State Learning Standards for Physical Education.  Our Magnet Program focuses on the history of sports, strength conditioning, cardiovascular training, speed and agility exercises.  Athletics instruction prepares our students to work as a team, develop healthy personal fitness habits and track their fitness goals now and throughout their lives.  Students develop good sportsmanship, leadership skills, and a strong work ethic leading to success in high school, college and beyond.
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· Athletics