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Bellport HS robotics team attends TECH Challenge Qualifier

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Bellport High School’s Bellport Clippers Team 12899 participated in the FIRST Long Island TECH Challenge qualifier, a robotics competition, held at William Floyd High School on January 11. Under the direction of  high school technology teacher Jaime Canjura and alumnus Brian Larkin, the 11-member robotics team competed against 21 Long Island teams from Suffolk and Nassau counties. 

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge each year. The team’s next competition will be held on February 2 at the Long Island School for The Gifted in Huntington.

Since the 2018-19 school year, the team has doubled in size and hopes to continue growing due to the interest of incoming eighth grade students participating in the Bellport Middle School FIRST Lego League. 

“The team’s philosophy is to inspire students to be and do their best,” Mr. Canjura explained. “We follow the concept of Gracious Professionalism, a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.”

The District extends team members Joseph Balsamo (lead software engineer and programmer), Jake D’Esposito (programmer and IT), Robert Gronenthal (secretary and robot chassis designer), Isaiah James (team president and lead designer), Chris Lannon, Thomas Miller (treasurer), Ainesis Reid (media, marketing and programming), Soteria Reid (media and marketing specialist), Antonio Suarez (mechanical hardware technician and designer trainee), Jack Stark (mechanical hardware technician and designer trainee) and Michael Vengroski (team captain and lead designer) best wishes for success. 


Fourth Grade Students Think Before They Share

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Frank P. Long fourth grade students attended an assembly with New York State Division of Justice investigative specialist Alexa Benincasa, who spoke about the fundamentals of online safety, as prepared by the New York State Missing Persons Clearinghouse. The presentation taught safe and responsible online and cellphone practices and encouraged students to keep parents and teachers informed about their online activities.  

Principal Stefanie Rucinski explained that the internet and cellphone use of young students has provided countless academic opportunities, but that children need reminding about rules that keep them safe when using technological devices. “Inadvertent exposure to inappropriate material, cyberbullying or enticement can happen to any child at any time and could have devastating effects,” Ms. Rucinski said.

The presentation focused on how to be internet safety smart, to avoid risky behaviors online and protect personal information and their privacy. Cyberbullying was also discussed, as well as how to block a bully. 

South Country Central School District Board Notes - January 8, 2020 Business Meeting

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The public business meeting held on January 8, 2020 commenced with Bellport High School Principal Timothy Hogan introducing Eagle Scout Jake D’Esposito, who erected a Purple Martin colony at Squassux Landing in Brookhaven. Ex-Officio Board Member Carly Dioloso also announced that the Bellport High School’s Bellport’s Got Talent has been postponed to March 20. 

During the superintendent’s report, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani announced that in light of recent amendments to Education Law concerning contracts for School Resource Officers, the District is in the process of making revisions to the proposed agreement with the Suffolk County Police Department for SRO services. The SRO Memorandum of Understanding is posted on the district website for community review. Members of the community who wish to comment or make suggestions to the proposed MOU can send them to the District Clerk no later than January 29, 2020. 

The Board unanimously approved the Shared Decision-Making Plan. Its revision includes greater participation on building-level shared decision-making teams and puts a communication network in place between building teams and the Board’s Advisory Committees, thereby facilitating communication with the Board, administration, faculty, staff, parents and the community.

The Board discussed All Class/Grade Level field trips. Dr. Giani pointed out that the previously approved eighth grade Philadelphia trip has not yet met its goal of 275 students and that an additional 43 students are needed to fill the third bus. He asked the Board for their guidance on “how little is not enough” and what is the Board’s view of a trip running with about two thirds of the grade not attending. He also offered his opinion that a committee be assembled to examine the issue further and to give guidance on field trip policy. President Anne Hayes felt that the different trips should be itemized to make the field trip policy easier to understand, while Trustee Melissa Aruta said she would like to see more ability to fundraise for these trips as well as a committee. Trustee Chris Picini offered that if there is a field trip committee formed, suggestions should come from the teachers and directors and students should witness the uniqueness of Long Island. Carly Diolosa also added that field trips should be available to everyone and that no student should feel excluded due to economic advantage.

In addition to the unanimous approval of policies 7240 and 5684, the Board discussed legislation in Albany mandating all children receive the HPV vaccine regardless of parental consent and administration of the influenza vaccine for persons attending daycare. Mr. Picini said the District needs to take a stand on how these laws will affect the operation of the District’s schools and that he does not want a health care practitioner to vaccinate students without parental consent. Ms. Aruta said she has issue with any law that bypasses  parent consent.

Dr. Giani also announced the tenure of Director of Special Education and Student Support Services Kerry Carson, effective February 11, and Assistant Director of Special Education and Student Support Services Laurie O’Hara, effective February 11. The District also appointed Daniel Maresca as the District’s Network/Systems Administrator, effective February 3. 

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on January 22. During this business meeting, the District will give the first 2020-2021 budget presentation review and discuss long term planning.   

Bellport HS Junior Awarded Rank of Eagle Scout

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During the Janunary 8 Board of Education business meeting, Bellport High School junior Jake D’Esposito was recognized for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jake, a member of Boy Scout Troop 47, worked with a team of individuals to erect a Purple Martin colony, located at Squassux Landing in Brookhaven. The Purple Martin is a bird that resembles a swallow and does not build nests in the wild. The Brookhaven community has been trying to attract these birds back to the community. While working on his project, Jake learned about the Purple Martin’s nesting habits and placement, how to attract the birds, predators, management of the colony, migration patterns, food sources and the need for human intervention.

The District congratulates Jake on this outstanding accomplishment.

Extra Science and Math Work Yields Hockey Tickets

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Additional science and math work paid off for Aimee Volk’s third grade Kreamer Street Elementary School students in the South Country Central School District who all earned and received two free New York Islanders game tickets. 
In addition to their regular course work, the students took a Hockey Scholar Math and Science online course to build their STEM skills. Sponsored by EverFI, Inc. and the New York Islanders, the students volunteered to participate in immersive hockey simulations which explored the real-life applications of fundamental math and STEM concepts. The hockey simulations were designed to build the students’ confidence, mastery and interest in these important 21st-century concepts.   
Principal Sean Clark said he was proud of the students for taking time to participate in this program and wishes the class much success in its science and math studies.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
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