RBOE Notes: School board approves contract for science curriculum; districtwide safety plan outlined


The Riverhead Board of Education approved a $29,000 cross-deal to purchase educational materials from Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES at last Tuesday night’s regular meeting.

Under the contract, available on the district website, PNW BOCES will provide Science 21 curriculum materials to all elementary schools in the district: Aquebogue, Phillips Avenue, Riley Avenue, and Roanoke Avenue.

According to the PNW BOCES website, the Science 21 program was developed by teachers for teachers, and its “focus is on getting students engaged with science tasks and putting them into practice”. The website also says the curriculum “integrates practices of ELA, math and social studies where they naturally fit.”

The Science 21 program has three units for grades K-2 and four units for grades 3-5. According to the website, each grade level curriculum provides relevant, class-appropriate experiences in science, earth/space science, life sciences, and engineering.

The contract with PNW also states that Riverhead will incur “additional costs that have not yet been determined.”

During last week’s meeting, Board Member Virginia Healy said she was glad the program was being brought to the district, but asked if the administration knew what these additional unspecified costs would cover.

District Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said the additional cost would cover any professional development that would be needed throughout the district.

“As we slowly make the necessary changes to align our elementary schools, we didn’t want to rush this and roll it out, so we’re working with our teachers,” he said. “I don’t expect costs to be extreme this year … but next year as we increase usage and kits, we would need to provide additional professional development for all of our elementary school staff.”

dr Tornatore added that Putnam Northern Westchester would provide professional development.

“Not only do they provide all the kits and all the guidance, they also provide the training,” he said. “PNW BOCES is truly the best BOCES for curriculum support in my opinion.”

dr Tornatore added that Riverhead District is already using them for its elementary school social studies and ELA website.

DISTRICT WIDE SAFETY PLAN

The board of education is expected to adopt a proposed district-wide safety plan within 30 days of holding a public hearing on the plan at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Terry Culhane, District Safety Director, and Rodney Asse, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, gave a brief presentation on the upcoming plan, which included information on the drills each building is required to conduct, as well as drills mandated by the Transportation Department. According to the presentation, there will be 12 drills: eight fire drills and four lockdown drills. At least eight of these must be completed by December 31st.

“We are on time; we are conducting the drills in accordance with Department of Education requirements and Board policies,” said Dr. Asse.

According to the presentation, the transport department conducts drills in September, November and March.

After the brief presentation, a public hearing was held on the proposed draft plan. No public comments were made Tuesday night, but written comments can be emailed to the school board or principal through Oct. 13. The full safety plan is available on the district website.

According to Board Vice President Laurie Downs, the Board will consider a resolution to approve the plan at its first meeting after the 30-day comment period.

THERAPY ANIMAL SERVICES

The Board of Education approved a contract for the Owner of Therapy Animal Services with Karly Lucarelli.

According to the contract, this will allow for the establishment and operation of a therapy animal program at Pulaski Street Elementary School, which will run through June 30, 2023. The purpose of the program, according to the contract, is to provide students with the opportunity to receive social/emotional support in the school environment and animal-assisted intervention.

The contract also specifies that Ms. Lucarelli is the owner of dog Rosie, a duly certified and registered therapy animal.

The resolution on the agenda states that this contract is at no cost to the district.



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