The summer brought many changes for schools west of the Shinnecock Canal, including a significant amount of construction in the Eastport South Manor, Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays school districts.
Meanwhile, the smaller districts—East Quogue, Quogue and Remsenburg-Speonk—saw some minor staff changes and curriculum upgrades, and all administrators and educators are preparing themselves for another year of adjustment to the new Common Core standards.
Various renovations were completed this summer in Westhampton Beach schools, and several additional projects are planned for this fall.
Two bathrooms in the middle school were upgraded and the school’s fence on Mill Road was replaced during summer recess, Schools Superintendent Michael Radday wrote in an email this week. “The building and grounds look great and are ready for the opening of school,” Mr. Radday added.
In the coming weeks the district plans on beginning work on a greenhouse that will be constructed on a piece of town-owned property next to the athletic fields at the elementary school. The greenhouse, which will be run by the school and also host some classes, will be installed using funds donated from the Hurricane Educational Foundation, Mr. Radday said. It should open early in the school year.
The school year begins on Wednesday, September 3.
Three of the district’s elementary schools—Eastport, Dayton Avenue and South Street—underwent renovations this summer, work that culminated with the demolition of the portable classrooms that have sat on the Eastport Elementary campus for the past 40 years.
The units were demolished at the end of July, months after the opening of the new Tuttle Avenue School. Now, Eastport Elementary will house students in grades three through six, while the new Tuttle Avenue School is home to some of the district’s kindergartners and first- and second-graders.
The demolition and removal of the portables, as well as classroom and office upgrades at the Dayton Avenue and South Street schools in Manorville, were covered as part of a previously secured $60.8 million bond. The final $10 million of that bond was set aside to cover this summer’s renovations.
At their meeting last week, the Board of Education tabled a decision to implement restrictions on varsity athletes, citing the absence of members Kevin Gleason and Patricia Harron. If the selective classification resolution passes, seventh- and eighth-graders interested in playing high school level sports would first have to be screened by a panel of teachers, faculty and administrators to determine if the student is mature enough to play.
The resolution, which would ban seventh-graders from playing varsity sports, will be discussed at the board’s next meeting on Wednesday, September 3, at 7 p.m., which is also the first day of school.
Hampton Bays will roll out two programs this fall, instruction that has traditionally been offered off-campus in past years, on its home campus when school resumes on Wednesday, September 3.
Juniors and seniors interested in the culinary arts can now take classes through Suffolk County Community College at the Hampton Bays High School. The two-part program has been offered for the past few years, Superintendent Lars Clemensen explained, but students had to be bused to the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services campus. Now, students who take the course can earn seven credits toward the Suffolk County Community College culinary arts program.
Similarly, the elementary school now boasts its own life skills program for students with learning disabilities. Previously, the district had to bus those students to Mattituck in order for them to receive instruction on beginning level reading, math, social and life skills.
“That’s actually a cost savings, bringing them back from Mattituck,” Mr. Clemensen said, “between paying tuition and the cost of transporting them out there.”
Hampton Bays also is winding down a renovation project focusing on the high school, work that will retrofit four science classrooms, two art classrooms, and a room for the district’s brand new family and consumer sciences program with new plumbing, electrical and gas infrastructures. The two main bathrooms in the school’s lobby also will be upgraded to the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Sixth-graders at the East Quogue Elementary School can look forward to a new science program this year.
Principal Robert Long said both he and the teachers have been working throughout the summer on the science curriculum that will give students more hands-on opportunities through field trips and in the classroom.
As with other districts, this will be the second year that teachers and administrators will be adapting to the new Common Core standards. Additionally, students can look forward to a new drug and alcohol awareness program that, according to Mr. Long, will begin this fall.
Classes begin on Wednesday, September 3, and the district’s annual school open house is scheduled for Thursday, September 11, at 7 p.m.
A parking lot renovation project could be in the works this year at the elementary school on Mill Road in Remsenburg, courtesy of local Girl Scout Emma Galasso. Emma is now working to raise the required funds to fix parts of the playground and also repaint the map of the United States, as well as hopscotch and foursquare boards at the site. She also hopes to install new hoops at the basketball court.
“We’re still trying to get those plans finalized, but we’re very excited,” said Ronald Masera, the superintendent and principal of the elementary school.
He also noted that the teachers and staff are gearing up for the first day of school on Wednesday, September 3, and looking forward to the Parent Teacher Organization’s annual ice cream social on Thursday, September 11, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Students return to the Edgewood Road School on Wednesday, September 3. At the end of last year, four longtime teachers said their goodbyes and retired, leaving openings in the classrooms.
Richard Benson, superintendent and principal of the one-school district, was not available for comment this week.
The school’s open house is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17, and begins at 6 p.m.