The business meeting commenced with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani’s report in which he reiterated instructional plans for the rest of June. Each Friday will continue as Field Day Fridays with no new assignments, although faculty will be available online. June 22-26 is also designated as K-12 Review and Rate Week, which will provide faculty with the opportunity to review and rate student assignments and for students to catch up on work. Again, there will be no new assignments, but faculty will be available online. June 18 has also been set aside for moving-up activities for students in prekindergarten-grades 5. Information on these activities are now posted online.

Dr. Giani and the Board recognized fifth grade Frank P. Long Intermediate School teacher David Perkins, who received the Influential Educator Award during NYS Senator Monica Martinez’s annual Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 28, 2020 at the Boys and Girls Club in Bellport. Mr. Perkins has been teaching in the District for 16 years and is known for holding Bowtie Tuesday. Bowtie Tuesday is a monthly celebration in which students wear bowties and hair bows to feel better about themselves and to remind themselves about goals to become more responsible and mature. The students also listen to speakers who provide tips for success in school and in life.
Dr. Giani said, “Mr. Perkins is a shining example of how to give back to the community, and continually demonstrates a desire to improve our school community through participation in a variety of programs, committees and events. His goal is always the same – to do his best to improve the success of his students academically and in life.”

Dr. Giani also recognized retirees and newly tenured faculty. He noted that the District normally holds a reception but is unable due to the pandemic. There will be a virtual retirement presentation to be posted at a later date, which will reflect those individuals who have not announced their intentions to retire during the window which has not yet closed. He said “Each of our 21 retirees came to South Country with the credentials, talent and the potential to be successful and they have been. You have each done your job well during your time here and have proven your ability to be effective. I thank each of you for your commitment and outstanding service to the District over the years. Congratulations to: Karlyse Antonacci, Christopher Baumann, Susan Biscardi, Loren Brennan, Janet Cardinale, Patricia Collier, Suzette Emma- Fandale, Patricia Fortunato, Patricia Garofola, Glenn Hadzima, Ramona Hadzima, Debra Henriksen, Carole Hilty, Renee Kiss, Gerard O’Hara, Marianne McCann, Timothy Murphy, Andrew Perea, James Uzzi and Teresa Vatalaro.

Three individuals were also recognized for Board of Education Service. Student Ex-Officio Board Member Carly Diolosa, the first serving two consecutive years, will graduate this year. Dr. Giani wished her luck in college and said she “consistently contributed to our Board meetings with both upcoming student events and in sharing the students’ perspective on matters before the Board.” Board President E. Anne Hayes recognized trustee Lisa Di Santo and Jack Nix, who are not seeking reelection to the Board. She noted that with varied perspectives and diverse life experiences, each trustee brought something different to the Board table. What they both shared was a commitment to the District’s students, the improvement of teaching and learning and the betterment of South Country schools.

Dr. Giani mentioned that the Governor’s Executive Order extended acceptance of budget vote and election mail-in ballots to June 16 at 5 p.m. The District will not begin counting the ballots until after the deadline and will probably not know the results until June 17, 2020. As of June 10, the District received 2,739 mail-in ballots. The District generally receives 1,500-1,800 in normal elections. Dr. Giani also explained that a forthcoming executive order will provide additional guidance on protocols for a second budget vote, if the first were to fail. No budget revotes will be held prior to July 9, 2020.

Dr. Giani also reported on the peaceful protest held in Bellport Village last week, which he said was a huge success. What made the event noteworthy was that it was organized by Bellport High School alumni Erin Kelly, Sarah Kinard and Maya McCullough. A very passionate and moving speech was delivered by Bellport High School sophomore Sarah Elbaroudy. “We are very proud of the students and their productive, effective civic engagement,” Dr. Giani said.

The Board also accepted the recommendations for tenure of 24 faculty. Dr. Giani noted that tenure signifies the District’s decision to make a more permanent commitment toward the individual’s professional career. Faculty receiving tenure include: Kristen Acierno, Jacqueline
Benenati, Samantha Berkowitz, Nicole Colao, Dr. M. Jamal Colson, Lori Dougherty, Kelsey Erwin, Stephanie Factor, Amanda Finley, Elizabeth Granata, Joseph Hruby, Patricia Kraker, Carmen Marmol, Meredith Milana-Osher, Jacqueline Oliva, Stephanie Pirozzi, Loreen Ribaudo, Lealand Richard, Shannon Rigney, Daniel Rouse, Kelly Salmon, Joseph Scioli, Erica Vitale and Cailey Williams.

NY State’s new testing calendar now schedules Regents exams on June 1, 2021 Therefore, the Board approved a change in the previously approved consolidated 2020-2021 calendar. June 1, which was previously slated as a snow day, will now be a testing day. Therefore, the snow day scheduled for June 1 has been changed to May 22, 2021.

The next scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on July 1, 2020. At this meeting the Board will reorganize for the 2020-2021 school year. However, the Board intends on scheduling an additional meeting after the mail-in ballots have been counted to accept the budget vote and trustee election results. The new meeting date will be announced on the District website at http://cms.syntaxny4.com/News/www.southcountry.orgwww.southcountry.org.