South Country Central School District Board Notes - July 24 Business Meeting

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The Board of Education held its second meeting of the month on July 24 in the district’s administrative offices. 

During Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani’s report to the community, Waverly Busby was recognized for his retirement, having provided safety and security services to the district since September 2007. Dr. Giani said, “We thank you for your insight that brought about departmental improvements and your unwavering, dedicated service to the children of our school community.”  

Also recognized were five high school students, who were nominated for awards during the 17th annual Teeny Awards, held at Southold High School in June. Thespians David Bellante (pit orchestra), Erin Kelly (lead female in a musical), Katelyn Maddalena (supporting female in a musical), Maya McCullough (assistant director) and Tyler Zapata (lead male in a musical) were each recognized for their demonstration of talent in the school’s rendition of “Rent” and for being invited by the East End Arts Council to attend and perform at this prestigious event, which recognizes the county’s most talented student-actors.

Dr. Giani also announced that the district has a unique opportunity to pilot a vaping detection device by FlySense Technology at both the middle school and high school for the 2019-20 school year and at no charge to the district. Twelve devices in total will be installed (six devices in the high school and six devices in the middle school bathrooms). In return for participation in the program, the district will be featured in a segment on The Today Show prior to the opening of the school year. Administrators, a parent and a student will possibly be interviewed and videotaping will take place between July 31 and Aug. 5. Dr. Giani also noted that this opportunity provides an additional preventative measure in keeping students healthy and safe. The devices are valued at $995 each or $11,940 in total, not including the annual service being waived by FlySense Technology. 
A pre-K lottery was held on July 25 for full-day pre-K placement at the new South Haven Early Childhood Center. Dr. Giani reported that 74 full-day spaces were available. At the time of the meeting, 105 students had registered for the full-day program, and 43 had registered for half-day services. Dr. Giani hopes that parents who do not receive full-day spots will take advantage of the before- and after-care services being provided for a fee.

The summer graduation ceremony will be held on Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. Currently, 25 seniors are enrolled in the summer school program and are looking forward to receiving their high school diplomas. 

The Board of Education trustees will participate in the annual district building walkthroughs on Aug. 30 with each school principal and head custodian.

The ribbon-cutting for the South Haven Early Childhood Center is scheduled for Sept. 3. The district will announce the time of the ceremony prior to the event.  

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Marlon Small and Director of Elementary Education Amy Brennan presented the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan for Brookhaven Elementary School and Bellport Middle School, which was later approved by the trustees. In preparing the report, teachers responsible for teaching each subgroup, parents with children from each identified subgroup and secondary students from each identified subgroup were administered surveys. After analyzing the survey data, the DCIP will make improvements to both schools based on the tenets of systems and organizations, school leadership, curriculum, instruction, social-emotional learning and parent and community engagement. Mr. Small pointed out that the plans are similar for both schools but are not carbon copies. Both of the schools are unique, he said. He also noted that another survey will be administered in April 2020. “There is a lot of strength in the district resources that need to be harvested,” Mr. Small said. Details of the report will be available on the district’s website at, under the Board Docs tab.

The Board is in the process of reading four policies, one of which is a first reading of Policy 7511: Immunization of Students. Under recently passed New York State legislation, the Board must legally remove religious exemptions for immunizations. Currently, 48 district students will be affected by the revisions in this active policy.

The Board of Education also discussed its Board Priorities for the 2019-20 school year. Several of the trustees had suggestions for changes to the language of the document, which will be discussed further during the Board Retreat, to be held at the Post-Morrow Foundation in Brookhaven on Aug. 17.

In personnel news, the Board approved the appointment of Jenna Restiva as the Director of Guidance, effective Sept. 1.  

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m.