Board Notes - Oct. 24 Meeting

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Children’s voices filled the air during the first portion of the Oct. 24 public meeting of the Board of Education. Under the direction of music teacher Michelle Stiriz, the Kreamer Street Elementary School third-grade chorus sang “Gratitude, Attitude” for the trustees in honor of School Board Recognition Week. School Board Recognition Week is an annual celebration sponsored by the New York State School Boards Association, which honors the trustees’ commitment to public education. In addition, the PTA provided a catered dinner for the trustees before the meeting. 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Mr. Marlon Small gave a presentation on student achievement results. The report identified where gaps in achievement exist, established where added support is needed and articulated action plans. He noted that the biggest challenge in accurately assessing student achievement lies in the high number of test refusals, which grow as students proceed to the higher grades. He also noted that the student achievement results do not paint the whole picture of how South Country students are doing. 

A presentation previously given to the Teaching and Learning Committee was presented at the Board meeting which discussed the possibility of implementing College Board’s Advanced Placement Capstone Program, designed to develop 21st-century learning skills. The two-year program would introduce two new courses, Seminar and Research, and would allow opportunities for students to delve deeply into a subject in which they are interested. The AP Capstone Program would also develop skills for subsequent AP courses. If approved by the Board, the first stage of implementation would occur during the 2020-21 school year.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani also updated the Board about district safety and security measures. He noted that the Oct. 2 active shooter training was a success. On Nov. 15, gang awareness training for administrators will be held. The district is also updating its security vestibules, and each of the schools now have “lockout” capabilities in which there will be no access to the building from the outside. New photos are being taken for ID access, and a tap-in, tap-out capability will provide the district with information about who is in the building during an emergency. The district is also discussing the scheduling of a random canine sweep to locate illegal substances in lockers.

The Board also invited the community to Bellport High School’s drama production “Moon Over Buffalo,” which will take place Nov. 2. Tickets are $10 each and will be sold at the door.