skip to main content

South Country Named a Top Music Education Community

South Country Named a Top Music Education Community photo
South Country Named a Top Music Education Community photo 2
The NAMM Foundation has designated the district as one of the nation’s 2019 Best Communities for Music Education for its demonstration of exceptionally high commitment to music education and access to music instruction for all district students.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants to advance active participation in music. The district music program was analyzed for funding, staffing of qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction.

The district is proud of its music program which offers instruction in orchestra and band instruments, piano, chorus and music theory. Elementary instruction begins in kindergarten and third grade students may join the chorus, followed by orchestra or band in fourth grade. As students reach the high school level, they have opportunities to perform with the freshman orchestra, string orchestra for grades 10-12, or to audition for membership in the concert orchestra. There is also a high school wind ensemble and symphonic band for students who play band instruments, as well as membership in the school’s mixed chorus. Piano I and II is offered, as well as Music Theory I and Advanced Placement Music Theory for those planning on continuing their education in music on the college level. The district’s various ensembles also compete in the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County festival, the Long Island String Festival Association festival, and the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education All-County festival. Opportunities to perform and compete also include the New York State School Music Association’s Ensemble and Solo and Majors Organization festivals. The district’s most talented student-musicians also apply to participate in NYSSMA’s All-State festival.

Music Chairperson James Uzzi explained that South Country supports the music program in ways other districts do not. “Because of support from Central Administration, the Board of Education and the community, we have the resources to do what it takes to make the music program visible and one that serves all interested students,” he said.  

Celebrating the Season with a Pre-K Spring Sing

Celebrating the Season with a Pre-K Spring Sing photo
The district’s prekindergarten students performed for the first time on stage during Brookhaven Elementary School’s prekindergarten Spring Sing, held on May 3 for parents and faculty. Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond explained that this annual tradition is a chance for the students to celebrate the end of the school year with their families and to show how much they have grown academically and socially during the year. 

Under the direction of teachers Karen Ernst, Kim Lampert and Dawn Sackman, the students sang seven tunes including “America the Beautiful,” “ABC Rock,” “Scat Like That,” “Tiny Tim,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “Baby Shark” and “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Each song was carefully choreographed with minimal props, and select students announced each of the musical selections.

Dr. Raymond noted that the pre-K spring sing ties into the district’s literacy program in that the students learned how to connect language to song. During their practices, the students also learned tempo, beat and performance skills that will last a lifetime.  

Budget Vote Results

Budget Vote Results
Propositions: 
Budget Proposition
Budget Approved/Presupuesto Aprodado 
Yes 1282
No 540


Capital Reserve Expenditure Proposition
Propuesta de Gastos de Reserva de Capital
Approved/Aprodado
Yes 1278
No 508


Liquidation of Property Loss Reserve Fund Proposition
Liquidación de la propuesta del fondo de reserva pérdida de propiedad
Approved/Aprodado
Yes 1055
No 716


Candidates for Board of Education Trustees: (Vote for Four)
Candidatos para miembros de la Junta de Educación: (Vote por cuatro)


*Melissa Aruta Vote Totals 1041
James Ford Vote Totals 530
*E. Anne Hayes Vote Totals  1135
Karen Johnson Vote Totals 435
* Clyde Parker Vote Totals 994
Shawn K. Patrick-Reese Vote Totals 173
Christine Rignola Vote Totals 688
*Cameron Trent Vote Totals 981 


*Elected

South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez

South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez photo
South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez photo 2
South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez photo 3
South Country Receives Visit from NYS Senator Martinez photo 4
The district welcomed New York State Sen. Monica Martinez, who visited the Frank P. Long Intermediate School on May 9.  

During her visit, Sen. Martinez met with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice and Principal Stefanie Rucinski to learn about the school’s programs and initiatives. She also toured the newly constructed courtyard learning lab where students were participating in outdoor learning activities.

Completed with the use of capital reserve funds this past fall, the courtyard learning lab provides an outdoor instructional space flexible enough to allow for large group concerts, plays and presentations, as well as an extension of classroom learning. Through its construction, the courtyard learning lab improved the overall health of the building. Overgrown vegetation was removed and rain gardens now purposely draw water and moisture away from the building. The turf flooring also reduces maintenance and eliminates the need to bring gas operated lawn mowers through the school to cut the courtyard’s grass. There are garden plots where students can plant and observe the growth of flowers and vegetables, a labyrinth and trees under which students can relax.   

The district thanks Sen. Martinez for her interest in visiting the school and the courtyard learning lab. 





Boys' Spring Track 2019 League 4 Champions

Boys' Spring Track 2019 League 4 Champions
Congratulations to SCCSD Boys’ Spring Track 2019 League 4 Champions

An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary

An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary photo
An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary photo 2
An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary photo 3
An author celebration at Verne W. Critz Elementary photo 4
First and second grade students in Tracy Behl’s combined class at Verne W. Critz Elementary School joined faculty and administrators in the sharing of their best writing collected during the school year. Teachers have been teaching writing methods and tools acquired from the Reading and Writing Workshop from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Ms. Behl explained that students have advanced in their writing significantly, starting with basic sketching and labeling of pictures to writing sentences and pages of information. For the author celebration, the students were given a writing assignment that compares and contrasts their favorite book or video to another. They learned how to write transitional sentences to make their comparisons flow and to explain more fluently author techniques that make their books or videos similar or different. Ms. Behl also helped the students type their writing on the computer for the author celebration. Literacy coach Jennifer Hayhurst added that the students recorded their work and that a QR code was created. This step allowed the students to play back their work and to allow parents to hear their children’s writing in verbal form. 

“Not only does recording the work help students feel comfortable listening to their own voice, some of the students have taken the initiative to self-correct their writing,” Ms. Hayhurst added.    

Each of the students rotated to faculty members where they shared their best work. Faculty, in turn, gave feedback of the student’s work by writing a short review.

Long Island’s Best Young Artists

Long Island’s Best Young Artists photo
Bellport High School is proud to announce that art students Courtney Gerard, Maria Slavnova and Gury Umanzor received awards of recognition at the Heckscher Museum’s Long Island’s Best Young Artists 2019 exhibit. 

This 23rd annual program is the only juried exhibition for high school students that provides the opportunity to exhibit in a museum. Students submit work in a broad range of media, styles and subjects, using artwork on view at the museum as the inspiration for their own work. The object labels next to each work include a statement written by the student and an image of the professional work that inspired them. Heckscher Museum Curator Lisa Chalif and guest juror artist Robyn Cooper juried the 2019 exhibition. This year, the museum received 359 artwork entries from 57 schools, with 80 selected for display in the exhibition.

Courtney, a junior, was the winner of the Donald and Gloria Horn Scholarship Award for her digital photo “Yellowstone” printed on vellum with gold leafing. Maria, a sophomore, was the winner of the Andrew Presberg Promising Young Artist Award for his digital art, “Shades of the City.” Gury, also a junior, won the Cozza Family Photography Award for her digital photograph, “Sit with Me.”  

Courtney and Gury are both students of South Country Art Department Chairperson Suzette-Emma Fandale, and Maria is a student of teacher Brandon Payne.

The district congratulates the students on this outstanding artistic accomplishment.

South Country broke out the gardening gloves

South Country broke out the gardening gloves photo
South Country broke out the gardening gloves photo 2
Volunteers for the South Country Community Leadership Network pulled out their gardening gloves and tools during participation in the fifth annual spring Front Yard Cleanup, held on May 11 in Bellport. 

Each year, the Network receives nominations for those whose properties are in need of a little sprucing up and TLC. Winners work alongside the crew of volunteers to beautify the properties through the removal of leaves and yard debris, lawn cutting, hedge trimming and plantings. One hundred percent of materials used during the cleanup are generously donated by local businesses and government. The Network’s goal in hosting the Front Yard Cleanup is to assist residents in making a better first impression of the South Country community.

The South Country Central School District would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their donations: Bloomin Haus, Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco’s office, Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, Home Depot in Bellport, Jason Crane Landscaping, Brookhaven Town Councilman Michael Loguercio’s office, Susan Toplitz, Woodside Nursery and South Country Community Leadership Network volunteers. 

The South Country Community Leadership Network is a network of community organizations within the school district, joined together to assist the community and its residents. Its mission is to assist residents in reaching their highest potential by helping families in crisis, implementing prevention and intervention strategies for at-risk individuals, developing its youth and addressing underlying issues to promote a stronger and safer community.

Bellport High School Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week

Bellport High School Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week
Bellport High School Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week 2
Bellport High School Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week 3
Bellport High School Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week 4
Bellport High School administration and faculty believe that mental health is as important as students’ physical health. During the week of April 29-May 3, the school held its second annual Mental Health Awareness Week to raise awareness of the various and potential mental health needs of students.
 
Assistant Principal Heather Giacomin explained that the event was the brainchild of four current students who recently lost a friend to suicide. To kick off the week, English language arts classes read an article about mindfulness and received a green bracelet to wear in support of Mental Health Awareness Week. Participants wrote messages of encouragement in chalk on the front walkway and on colorful Post-It squares in the school commons. Freshmen and seniors attended a Ryan’s Story assembly, which talked about bullying, depression and suicide. Sophomores and juniors also attended an assembly with former NFL football player Cliff Crosby, who encouraged students to be where they are supposed to be, set goals, get help when needed and become involved. 

“You have to find a way to take care of you,” Mr. Crosby told the audience. “At some point you will need to rely on help.”

Bellport HS Junior Receives George Washington Book Award

Bellport HS Junior Receives George Washington Book Award
Bellport High School junior Carly Diolosa is the recipient of the George Washington University Book Award. Presented by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Alumni Relations at the George Washington University, this prestigious award recognizes high school juniors nationwide who embody the university’s drive and spirit, demonstrated through academic excellence, community leadership, diversity of thought and the ability to put knowledge into action.   

Carly was nominated by school counselor Katelyn Burke and has received a gift of James C. Rees’ book “George Washington’s Leadership Lessons,” which details how the nation’s first president developed his leadership skills and became a visionary in developing this country. If Carly decides to apply to the university after high school graduation next spring, her application fee will be waived and she will be eligible for a scholarship gift for GW Book Award recipients.

Carly is a member of the Math and Science honor societies, as well as the National Honor Society. She is an Advanced Placement student and takes honors classes to round out her challenging academic schedule. While taking time out of her studies, Carly is a three-sport athlete on the school’s varsity soccer, winter track and lacrosse teams. As student council president, she also serves as Ex-Officio Board Member, serving as a liaison to the board of education for the 2018-2019 school year.

The South Country Central School District congratulates Carly for this outstanding academic accomplishment.

South Country Central School District Board Notes – May 8 Budget Hearing

Logo
The May 8 Board of Education meeting and Budget Hearing commenced with a moment of silence for those killed and wounded in the May 5 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. 

Prior to the budget hearing, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani introduced the candidates for the trustee election on May 21 including Melissa Aruta, James Ford, E. Anne Hayes, Karen Johnson, Clyde Parker, Shawn K. Patrick-Reese, Christine Rignola and Cameron Trent. Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice congratulated the candidates for “stepping up,” and noted that the job of board trustee is rewarding.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Dr. Sam Gergis then presented the community with a hearing of the district’s proposed three-part budget, including its components in the areas of administration, capital and programs. He explained that the proposed spending plan, totaling $134,600,063, enhances and supports the district’s quality educational programs while remaining at the allowable 3.6% tax levy limit. The spending plan is a budget-to-budget increase of $2.4 million over the previous year, is a spending increase of 1.8478 %, and will cost the average homeowner $148.94 more per year. 

There are two additional propositions on the ballot. The Capital Reserve Expenditure Proposition seeks the authorization to expend $2.3 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for facility upgrades. In addition, the Liquidation of Property Loss Reserve Fund Proposition asks voters to decide whether to liquidate the district’s Property Loss Reserve Fund in the amount of $490,451 and to transfer this money to the General Fund to be utilized for legal purposes. There are also four board trustee seats to be filled. The three candidates receiving the highest number of votes will fill the terms commencing July 1, 2019 and expiring on June 30, 2022. The candidate receiving the fourth highest number of votes will fill the term commencing May 22, 2019 and expiring on June 30, 2021.  

Dr. Gergis also explained that if the budget fails on May 21, the district has the option to put the same proposed spending plan or a revised budget up for a revote on June 18 or to adopt a contingency budget. If the proposed budget is defeated twice, the district must adopt a contingency budget that does not increase the current tax levy by any amount, imposing a 0 percent tax cap.

Board Vice President Jack Nix said he is excited that the proposed budget includes busing for the district’s pre-kindergarten program, which will be housed in the new South Haven Early Childhood Center this coming fall. Trustee Lisa DiSanto also remarked that the budget experience was the most pleasant experience since seated on the board. She also noted that the district’s proposed spending plan is one of the most fiscally sound budgets being proposed in the area and one that provides students with opportunities that other districts cannot provide. 

Ms. Felice thanked Dr. Giani for including the requests of the Board of Education in the budget and said she looks forward to a successful new year. She reminded the community that voting for the 2019-2020 budget, accompanying propositions and election of trustees take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., at Bellport Middle School. She also urged the community to make an informed vote by reading the district’s budget presentations and online newsletter (English and Spanish translations available). Hard copies will be available at the District Office, local libraries, the Boys and Girls Club and on request. Absentee ballots can also be obtained at the District Office or by calling the district clerk at 631-730-1542.  
 
 

Honors for High School Track and Basketball Athletes

 Honors for High School Track and  Basketball Athletes
During the April 25 board of education meeting, three of Bellport High School’s All-County athletes were honored for their outstanding performance during the winter Sports season. Kyler Pizzo, Jarell White and Emily Zahralban received certificates from the board of education and central administration for their individual accomplishments.

Kyler placed third in the Suffolk County championship tournament in the 55-meter hurdles. He ran a time of 7.68, which was two-tenths of a second off the winning time. With his third-place finish, Kyler qualified for the New York State Championship Tournament where he finished in the top 10. He also competed on the 4x200 relay team, which finished fourth in Suffolk County.

Emily finished second in Suffolk County in the 1500-meter race walk with a time of 7:05. Her time and second-place win qualified Emily for the New York State Championships where she finished fourth and earned All-State honors. Emily continued her top performance with a sixth-place finish at the national championships, earning her the title of All-American.   

In basketball, Jarell led his team to a 20-2 record for the second consecutive year, a League III championship title and a final four finish in the Suffolk County Championship tournament. He was the leading scorer in Suffolk County, averaging more than 30 points per game, and was the leading rebounder with more than 15 rebounds per game. Jarell has been named League III player of the year and Suffolk County Player of the Year. He was also named to the All-Long Island Team for the third consecutive year and will be named to the All-New York State Team in the upcoming weeks.

The district congratulates the athletes on these outstanding athletic accomplishments.


   
 

Bellport HS Art Students Featured Winners at BAFFA

Bellport HS Art Students Featured Winners at BAFFA
Ten of Bellport High School’s most talented artists featured their artwork in the Bay Area Friends of the Arts High School Exhibit on April 7, held at the BAFFA Art Gallery in Sayville. Carolyn Slovensky was the winner of the prestigious Women Sharing Art, Inc. Scholarship, which is given to a graduating female senior who plans on pursuing art education at the college level. She also received a first-place award for her watercolor, “Roman Temple.” In addition, Hannah Tapler received first place in pottery for her work, “Evening Falls.” Kyle Muldoon’s mixed media work, “In Your Likeness,” and Audrey Barry’s acrylic painting on wood, “Point of View,” received third-place awards for mixed media and painting, respectively.

The annual invitational show and juried exhibition is open to high school students in Sayville, Sachem North and South, Connetquot, Bellport, Longwood, William Floyd and Patchogue-Medford. The show is also an opportunity for high school students to showcase their best pieces of artwork and to view the art of high school peers from neighboring districts. 

The district also congratulates the following talented exhibitors:

Monica Balbuca – “The Stain of Hunger,” oil pastel
Isabella Banellis – “Fire at the Net,” computer graphics
Mariz Baslious – “Clouds,” computer graphics
Hanna Lupo – “Self Portrait in the Reeds,” colored pencil
Caitlin Saliba – “The Hunt,” acrylic
Dream Smith – “Our Sunday” Best, acrylic

National Honor Society Inducts 88

National Honor Society Inducts 88 photo
National Honor Society Inducts 88 photo 2
National Honor Society Inducts 88 photo 3

Bellport High School’s National Honor Society inducted 88 new members during a traditional candlelighting ceremony, held in the Ebersole Auditorium on April 30. After the Pledge of Allegiance, led by honor society treasurer Henry Chillogallo, introductions were made by president Chelsea Argueta, vice president Valentina Banellis and secretary Andrew Zimlinghaus. 

While lighting one of four candles representing the pillars of the National Honor Society, each of the officers spoke about scholarship, leadership, service and character. Even though each inductee was tapped to become a member of this prestigious organization based on their adherence to the pillars, they were further encouraged to continue to live up to these ideals through high school and beyond. Each of the inductees received a certificate and white carnation while current members read individual biographies about the society’s newest members. Principal Timothy Hogan then led the inductees in the National Honor Society pledge, making them official members, and congratulated them on this outstanding accomplishment.

Mr. Hogan said he was proud of the work ethic, impact and enthusiasm each of the students bring to the school, “which speaks volumes about you as a person.” He also encouraged the new members to thank their parents and teachers who have helped them in their journey, and to be sure to continue giving back to the community.



South Country Schools Honored Top Wrestlers

South Country Schools Honored Top Wrestlers photo
During its April 25 meeting, the Board of Education and Central Administration honored the district’s top wrestlers, who received All-County designations. Director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education Robert McIntyre announced that Bellport High School student-athletes Wyatt Gentzel, Josh Leidig and Ka’Shaun Parrish received multiple designations that led the team to the League IV championship. Mr. McIntyre also noted that the team was awarded the most improved team in Suffolk County, and the coaching staff received coach of the year honors.  

Wrestler Wyatt Gentzel finished the season with a 32-8 record. He won the Kujan Tournament, held at William Floyd High School, the Walt Whitman High School’s Peers Tournament, and at 99 pounds placed sixth in Suffolk County. Wyatt is only the second wrestler in school history to place in the Suffolk County tournament as a freshman. 

Ka’Shaun Parrish, a sophomore who received All-County football honors in addition to wrestling, finished the season with a 31-5 record. He was also a winner at the Kujan Tournament and placed fourth in the Suffolk County Championships at 170 pounds.

Junior Josh Leidig finished the wrestling season with a 38-3 record. Josh won the Rick Hermann Tournament and the Peers Tournament, and at 160 pounds placed third in the Suffolk County Championships.

The district congratulates the athletes on these outstanding accomplishments. 

Meet the Class of 2019’s Top Three Students

Meet the Class of 2019’s Top Three Students photo
Meet the Class of 2019’s Top Three Students photo 2
The district is pleased to announce that seniors Tyler Brock and Aneeqa Majid have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for the Class of 2019. Grace Armann was also named essayist. The district’s three top students were honored during a reception in the Bellport High School library on April 18, where they were congratulated by the board of education, central administration, faculty and parents.

Principal Timothy Hogan called their being named valedictorian, salutatorian and essayist as a “remarkable achievement.” He said these students “serve as leaders of the building and as role models to other students.”

As valedictorian, Tyler acquired an overall weighted GPA of 102.9919. Tyler is an advanced Placement Scholar with Honors. Prior to his senior year, he successfully completed nine honors and five Advanced Placement classes and is currently enrolled in an additional six AP courses. Tyler will graduate with a Regents diploma with advanced designation and with honors and mastery in math and science. An outstanding athlete, Tyler has been a member of the varsity tennis team for four years, earning a first single position for the past three years of competition and the title of captain. He also ran cross-country for three years and was a member of the 2016 League Championship team. He is also a member of the National, Science and Math honor societies, Student Council, French Club and Students for Environmental Quality. Tyler also played roles in two high school musicals. His volunteer commitments include Safe Halloween, food drives, homework help at the South Country Public Library, math tutoring, Special Olympics and assisting with religious education. He plans on pursuing his interests in either civil engineering or architecture this coming fall.

Salutatorian Aneeqa Majid acquired an overall weighted GPA of 102.6667 and was designated by the College Board as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, having completed five honors and six AP courses prior to senior year and successfully challenging five AP courses this school year. Aneeqa will graduate with a Regents diploma with advanced designation and with mastery and honors in science. Born in Pakistan and fluent in Urdu, Aneeqa moved to the U.S. when she was 9 years old. Having to work hard in fourth grade to make an academic transition, she thrived prior to coming to Bellport High School in ninth grade, evidenced by her membership in the National, Math and Science honor societies. Last school year, Aneeqa was selected to participate in a summer engineering program at Stony Brook University and has been a member of the math team and varsity tennis team.  She writes for the school newspaper, The Clipper, and volunteers at the Brookhaven Public Library as a Junior Ambassador for Suffolk Literacy, where she recruits volunteers to help those who need assistance in learning to read. She also volunteers at Stony Brook Hospital and enjoys drawing and creating crafts. Aneeqa plans on attending Stony Brook University this fall where she will pursue a career in chemical and molecular engineering.

Essayist Grace Armann acquired an overall weighted GPA of 102.3955 and was designated as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. Prior to senior year, she completed nine honors and six AP courses and is completing an additional five AP courses this school year. Grace was recently designated as a National Merit Finalist. She will be graduating with a Regents diploma with advanced designation with honors and mastery in math and science. Her activities include Student Council where she has been class treasurer, class president, student council secretary and student council treasurer. Grace has been a PTSA student member throughout high school and a LEAD Conference representative this year in Washington, D.C. She is also a member of the National, Math and Science honor societies. Her musical accomplishments include Tri-M Music Honor Society, membership in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, concert mistress of both the pit and chamber orchestras and designation as an All-County musician in both the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association and Long Island String Festival Association. Her STEM-related activities include being involved in Women in Science and Engineering at SBU for the past three years, as well as membership in Students for Environmental Quality, math team and Envirothon. In addition, Grace is a reporter for The Clipper, a tutor and a student assistant in the district’s summer music program. Her hobbies include photography, where she recently received an district art award, traveling, reading and music. Grace plans on pursuing a major in journalism and political science and eventually a career in print and broadcast journalism.    

The district looks forward to seeing where Tyler’s, Aneeqa’s and Grace’s futures lie and wish them the best as they continue to make Bellport High School proud.


  

SCCSD Board Notes April 25 Business Meeting

Logo
Upon commencing the board of education meeting, President Cheryl A. Felice thanked the community for its patience in rescheduling the April 17 meeting and asked the community for a few moments of silence to recognize Sgt. Marine Robert A. Hendriks, Staff Sergeant Christopher K.A. Slutman and Sergeant Benjamin Hines who were killed on April 8 in an improvised explosive attack while conducting combat operations in Parwan Province, Afghanistan.

During his superintendent’s report, Dr. Joseph Giani announced that for the sixth consecutive year, the NAMM Foundation has designated the district as a Best Community for Music Education for its demonstration of an exceptionally high commitment to music education and access to music instruction for all students. Director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education Robert McIntyre also recognized the winter season’s most talented athlete’s Wyatt Gentzel (wrestling), Josh Leidig (wrestling), Ka’Shaun Parrish (wrestling), Kyler Pizzo (track), Jarell White (basketball) and Emily Zahralban (track), all of whom received All-County designation in their respective sports. Emily was also congratulated for having been designated as an All-State and All-American athlete. 

The board of education also adopted the 2019-2020 proposed budget and accompanying property tax report card. On Tuesday, May 21, voters will be asked to vote on a spending plan totaling $134,600,063, which remains at the allowable tax levy limit. There will also be two other propositions, the first of which residents will be asked to vote on a capital reserve expenditure proposition to utilize $2.3 million from the 2016 capital reserve fund for facility improvements at Kreamer Street Elementary School. Proposition 3 will ask residents for the authority to liquidate the district’s 2009 Property Loss Reserve Fund totaling $490,451 and to transfer these monies to the general fund to be utilized for legal purposes. Voters will also elect three members of the board of education for a three-year term commencing on July 1, 2019, and expiring on June 30, 2022, and one member of the board of education to fill a trustee vacancy for a term commencing May 22, 2019 and expiring on June 30, 2021. 

Dr. Giani announced that central administration, Ms. Felice and board trustees will visit school PTAs to present the proposed 2019-20 budget. The dates are as follows.

May 7 – Brookhaven Elementary School – 6:50 p.m. 
  Verne W. Critz Elementary School – 7:30 p.m.
May 9 – Bellport MS (joint MS and HS meeting) – 6 p.m.
   Frank P. Long Intermediate School – 7 p.m.
May 15 – Kreamer Street Elementary School – 6 p.m.

There will also be a budget presentation at the South Country Community Leadership Network on May 13 at 10 a.m. A budget hearing will also be held at the district’s administrative offices on May 8 at 7 p.m., followed by the budget vote and trustee election on May 21 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In other business, the board approved board policies (3210) Visitors to the School, (5410) Purchasing and (7530) Child Abuse and Maltreatment. Policy 3210 was updated to include a clause directing board of education trustees to announce their presence to the administrative offices while visiting a school facility.

The board also ratified for the first time a collective bargaining contract with the South Country Guards Association.

The next board of education business meeting will be held on May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
 

Pre K Evening Registration Dates Added

May 16th from 6 PM - 8 PM and June 13th from 6 PM to 8 PM by appointment only. Call Alice Villano at 631-730-1617.

Coding and Makerspace at the Verne W. Critz Library

Coding and Makerspace at the Verne W. Critz Library photo
The district’s libraries are no longer a place to just hear a story and select a book. The district’s librarians have been teaching crucial technology skills that will help prepare students for the 21st Century workplace. Verne W. Critz librarian Lynn Cullen explained that in addition to lessons in research, students are now learning basic coding skills and are inventing and creating in Makerspace labs.  

At Verne W. Critz, students are afforded the opportunity for hands-on activities that require critical thinking skills, problem-solving and collaborative team work. Ms. Cullen, along with the support of Principal Mandy Mazziotti, have furnished the library with engaging products such as PowerClix, Brix, K’nex, Keva, Squigz and IO blocks. The library will soon introduce modular robotics called Cubelets.  

During a recent trip to the library, second grade students collaborated to design an incline plane with Keva wood planks, which allowed a ball to travel without falling off-course. Not only did the students use teamwork to design their course, they utilized science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) principles to acquire their results.

Learning Construction by Making Bird Houses

Learning Construction by Making Bird Houses photo
Bellport Middle School eighth-grade students enrolled in Jeremy Freeman’s principles of engineering class learned the fundamentals of construction by making bird houses. During a unit on construction, the students learned about how a home is built and the materials used during construction.

After designing their birdhouse, the students were given the constraint of using only 36 inches of wood. They used hand saws and scroll saws to cut out each piece, labelled each section and laid the wood out for assembly much like a construction crew. They used glue, nails and hammers to assemble the birdhouses and tar paper and roofing material to waterproof the birdhouse. Some students chose to embellish their project.  

“What better way for students to learn about building a house than to make one for a bird,” Mr. Freeman said. “Overall, this was an excellent way for students to understand how a house is put together.”    

District Help Parents Support Literacy Development

District Help Parents Support Literacy Development photo
Two separate English Language Learners (ELL) Parent Literacy Collaboration Workshops were held at the district’s Family Engagement Center on April 2 and April 4. Director of ELL, Bilingual and World Language Programs Monica Pullows-Tetuan explained that the event was designed to provide parents with tools to assist them in supporting their child’s literacy development.

English as a New Language (ENL) teachers modeled interactive reading and writing activities for parents to use at home and encouraged them to practice these literacy building tools with their children. The interactive activities emphasized multilingual approaches to literature through reading, writing and conversation, as well as thinking strategies that allow parents to play a role in supporting learning at home. The home language was featured as an asset to this work.


Student-Artists Show Their COLORS

Student-Artists Show Their COLORS photo

Students throughout the district showcased their artistic talents at the Long Island Museum’s 21st annual COLORS of Long Island Show, held in Stony Brook on March 3. It was an excellent opportunity to hang their works in a museum and to view the artwork of peers across Long Island and for the district to showcase its excellent fine arts program.

Two students from each of the district’s schools were selected by their teachers to represent South Country amongst student-artists across Nassau and Suffolk counties. The district congratulates the following students who were selected to participate in the annual show: Brookhaven Elementary School – Juan Zometa Farez and Alexander Benitez Guerra; Kreamer Street Elementary School – Aryana Askaripour and Urijah Beemer; Verne W. Critz Elementary School – Giovanna Muro and Marjorie Diaz Sanchez; Frank P. Long Intermediate School – Katherin Cruz Guevara and Penelope Gordon; Bellport Middle School – Eirini Michaels Hrysanthopoulos and Cailin Velazquez; and Bellport High School – Mariz Baslious and Genesis Martinez.



Slimed!

Slimed photo
Slimed photo 2
Second grade students in Melissa Fels class at Verne W. Critz learned important 21st Century skills during a trip to the library to make slime. The activity was an example of how the district’s libraries have also become a hub for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) in addition to traditional research and reading. 

Under the direction of librarian Lynn Cullen, the students used mathematics and science principles to concoct the gooey, slimy substance. In addition to learning to make slime, students honed their measuring skills as they calculated the correct amount of ingredients to create the proper texture and consistency. Teamwork and listening skills were also essential, as well as the ability to correctly read a recipe. Most importantly, the second graders had fun learning.  

Making Real Life Connections in Business

Making Real Life Connections in Business
Making Real Life Connections in Business 2
Making Real Life Connections in Business 3
After learning about various careers and labor unions, students in Matthew Herrschaft's and Sheila Smith's business classes at Bellport High School traveled to Jamaica, Queens to visit the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 15 training center. During the field trip, the students learned about construction union benefits and visited different training areas for a variety of careers. This valuable experience assisted the students in making classroom connections to real-life experiences in the business world.




South Country Central School District Board Notes – March 27 and April 3

Logo
The Board of Education’s March 27 business meeting commenced with a vote to fill the vice president’s seat, left vacant by former trustee Regina Hunt during the March 13 meeting. Jack Nix was unanimously voted to fill the position and was sworn in by District Clerk Christine Flynn. Mr. Nix thanked the trustees for their confidence and Ms. Hunt for being his mentor and said he will enjoy working closely with President Cheryl A. Felice. 

During this same meeting, the board also voted to adjust the district calendar to account for not using days embedded for inclement weather. Students will now have an additional day off, Thursday, May 23, which falls on Memorial Day weekend.

Director of Elementary Education Ms. Amy Brennan and district literacy coaches Keri Paolillo (Frank P. Long), Kim Gosselin (Brookhaven), Vicki Williams (Kreamer Street) and Jenn Hayhurst (Verne W. Critz) also delivered a presentation, “Showing All You’ve Learned Teaching for Transfer.” The panel discussed South Country’s approach to balance literacy through the use of units of study from Teachers College. Ms. Brennan explained how the components of standards, instruction, curriculum and assessments work together while letting the board’s priorities be the guide.

The April 3 workshop meeting opened with a statement from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani about recent errors in calculating the class rank for the Class of 2019’s top seniors. Dr. Giani noted that the error stemmed from issues identified in the student data management system dating as far back as 2014-15, as well as first semester “courses in progress” not being included into final GPA calculations. A review process has been completed, and students and their families were met with individually and presented with an updated copy of their transcript and class rank. A hand-calculated spreadsheet was also provided, which reflected courses and grades used in calculating the students’ final GPAs and ranks, along with a letter of explanation. Dr. Giani also noted that safeguards are now in place to eliminate future reoccurrence.

At both the March 27 and April 3 meetings, reports on the proposed 2019-2020 budget were presented. Dr. Giani and Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and General Administration Nelson Briggs delivered a report on staffing analysis for administration, elementary and secondary staff and non-instructional staff. He projected that there will be an overall districtwide staffing increase of 3.6 with a new administrative position opening for the South Haven Early Childhood Center. They noted that the current budget is program-driven and one that maintains small class sizes, fine and performing arts and interscholastic athletics programs and continued support of K-12 intervention programs. The 2019-2020 budget also includes staffing for the South Haven Early Childhood Center and possible pre-K transportation. The largest challenge to the budget is a projected 11 percent increase in transportation costs, contractual obligation increases totaling $1.7 million, decreased state aid, and the tax cap levy limit.

During the April 3 meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Dr. Sammy Gergis discussed the differences between the tax rate and the tax levy. He explained that the tax levy, determined by a complex, eight-step formula, is projected spending or taxpayer monies collected. Tax rate is the individual dollar rate per one hundred of assessed value of a given property that is used to calculate a tax bill. South Country’s allowable tax levy limit for the 2019-2020 school year is $62,240,685 or 3.36 percent, which is $2,022,996 over the 2018-2019 school year.

During an Expense and Revenue Update, Dr. Giani explained that to eliminate a gap in the projected budget, the board needs to continue the recommended Debt Service Appropriation of $600,000 (year 3 of 5 appropriations), appropriate $200,000 from the workers compensation reserve, appropriate $200,000 from the retirement contribution reserve and designate $3.9 million from the district Fund Balance. With these appropriations, the budget would total $134,600, 063. The adoption of the 2019-2020 budget is scheduled for April 17. The budget vote and election is May 21. 

For those considering a run for the board of education, there are three seats for a three-year term commencing July 1, 2019 and expiring June 30, 2022, and one seat to fill a vacancy for a term commencing May 22, 2019 and expiring June 30, 2021. The candidates receiving the highest number of votes will fill the three seats expiring on June 30, 2022. The candidate receiving the fourth highest number of votes will fill the term commencing on May 22, 2019 and expiring on June 30, 2021. 

The next board of education meeting will be held on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Residents can view all of the district’s budget presentations on the district’s website under the Departments, then Business Office tabs of the homepage. 

Kreamer Elementary Students Host Postcard Exchange

Kreamer Elementary Students Host Postcard Exchange photo
By the end of the school year, second-grade students in Jolene McCarthy’s class at Kreamer Street Elementary will have learned important facts about each of the nation’s states as well as their geographical location. The students have been participating in a postcard exchange with a consortium of classes throughout the country. 

Each week, the students find out who their “mystery state” will be. Before looking at a new postcard, Ms. McCarthy shows the students an outline of the state where the postcard is from. The students have to figure out the state by comparing its shape to all of the states on a map of the United States. After the state has been revealed, the students study the interesting facts on the postcard, including the state bird, flower, nickname, flag and more. 

In addition, the class collectively wrote a blurb of fun facts about New York State and the Bellport community to send to students participating in the postcard exchange in the remaining 49 states.  

Grace Armann Named National Merit Finalist

Grace Armann Named National Merit Finalist photo
Bellport High School senior Grace Armann advanced to a finalist position in the National Merit Scholarship program. Grace now continues alongside 15,000 chosen finalists to compete for one of 7,400 National Merit Scholarships offered this spring. She was named a semifinalist in the 64th annual 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program competition in September 2018, having entered the competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test (PSAT/NMSQT).

At the finalist level of the competition, members of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation evaluate the finalists’ academic records, information about the high school’s curricula and grading system, recommendations, information about activities and leadership and a personal essay.

Grace is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the math and science honor societies. She is an avid musician and is currently concert mistress of the school orchestra and a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is also treasurer of the student council and a member of the Students for Environmental Quality Club. Upon graduation this June, Grace plans to study communications and journalism in college.

The district congratulates Grace on this outstanding accomplishment and sends best wishes for further success in the competition.

South Country Celebrates an Evening of Excellence

1
2
3
4
It was an evening of pride and gratitude as 51 Bellport High School seniors and six of the district’s teachers were honored during the second annual Evening of Excellence, held on March 26. The distinguished seniors recognized were those who have maintained a weighted cumulative average of 92 percent or better for the past seven semesters. The honored teachers were chosen by the students as persons who have been influential and inspirational during their educational journey.

During his opening remarks, Principal Timothy Hogan said “excellence” does not happen by accident. “It is the gradual result of always striving to do your best – with high intention, sincere effort and mindful execution.” 

The evening was punctuated with a performance by the Bellport High School Jazz Combo, and a delicious meal was prepared and served by students enrolled in the high school’s culinary program. The presentation of colors was performed by the high school cadet core, and Kreamer Street Elementary School kindergarten students sang “America the Beautiful” during a taped video recording. Special education students also prepared the flower arrangements and the rotating wooden dessert displays, which complemented the talented artwork of high school students.   
The district congratulates teachers Salvatore Di Puma (Bellport Middle School), Wendy Palladino (Bellport High School), Mary Pettit (Frank P. Long Intermediate) William Pettit (Verne W. Critz Elementary), Jennifer Reynolds (Kreamer Street Elementary) and Brenda Tejeda (Brookhaven Elementary) for having made a difference in the lives of the honored seniors.

The district also congratulates the following students: Chelsea Argueta, Grace Armann, Dimitri Arresto, Angela Aruanna, Valentina Banellis, Marvina Basilious, Megan Berja, Roshnie Bisram, Kristine Britelli, Tyler Brock, Anna Burkhardt, Harrison Burkoff, Angelina Caroli, Henry Chillogallo, Kyle Climan, Ivelisse Diaz, Alexander Erwin, Michael Foley, Katerin Fuentes Velasco, Samuel Hampson, Timothy Harder, Maxwell Kaczmarek, Eloise Kocay, Gabriella Koehler, Shaun Laurinaitis, Theodore Loizides, Nolan Lyons, Aneeqa Majid, Justin Maler, Alyssa Mantione, Carly McEvoy, Grace Minikel, Morgan Monte, Nicholas Nazzaro, Sarah Neese, Rebekah Ofori, Samuel Perez, Juliana Polonski, Andrew Porsche, Kai Rauch, Ahmed Rehman, Daniel Roach, Ciarra Saliba, Savannah Sargent, Chiara Scharpf, Gabrielle Tims, Christopher Tucker, Jonathan Ulloa Fuentes, Gabriela Vazquez, Thomas Wilson IV and Andrew Zimlinghaus. 

Bellport HS Students Honored at Parrish Art Museum

Bellport HS Students Honored at Parrish Art Museum photo

On March 9, five Bellport High School student-artists were honored at the Parrish Art Museum’s annual High School Show. This prestigious show exhibited work amongst students from East End townships in various mediums including computer graphics, photography, sculpture, drawing and painting.

Caroline Slovensky won an honorable mention in pastel, while Mariz Baslious (computer graphics), Courtney Gerard (photography), Dream Smith (drawing) and Cailey Ziegler (computer graphics) won the coveted Ones to Watch award. 

The district also congratulates Grace Armann (digital photography), Audrey Barry (pastel), Robert Menendez (watercolor), Kyle Muldoon (pastel), Yeak Kay Phong (paper), Bryce Reid (pastel), Cameron Kerr-Smith (pencil), Hannah Tapler (ceramics), Nahum Vanegas (weaving) and Kimberly Wilson (black and white photography) who displayed their artwork during the high school exhibit.

The district congratulates the students on this outstanding accomplishment.



Snow Day Give Back 2019 - Letter from the Superintendent

Attachments:

Kreamer Street STEAMs Ahead

Kreamer Street STEAMs Ahead
Kreamer Street STEAMs Ahead 2
Kreamer Street STEAMs Ahead 3
Kreamer Street Elementary School students are regularly exploring and building in their new STEAM lab. The goal of the new STEAM lab is to allow students to explore through doing and to introduce them to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics concepts in tandem with the district’s grade-level curriculum.

The STEAM lab is equipped with a SMART TV, a hydroponics lab, and opportunities to explore, build and fine tune motor skills through the use of Magna Tiles, Legos, and robotics technology. The students visit the lab each week, where Principal Sean Clark says there is a lot of creativity and problem-solving happening each day.

   

Read Something, Write Something

Read Something, Write Something
Read Something, Write Something  2
Read Something, Write Something 3
The Frank P. Long Intermediate School fifth-grade Journal Squad, under the direction of teacher Mary Pettit, touted the merits of journaling about the books they are reading during a visit to William Pettit’s third-grade class at Verne W. Critz Elementary School. 

Ms. Pettit said that she modeled her passion about journaling to her students earlier in the year and the idea was enthusiastically adopted. “I have seen major benefits in my classroom across all subject areas,” Ms. Pettit said. “The students are passionate about the journaling process, so we decided to go on tour and teach others.”

Fifth-graders Tess Adepoju, Makai Alu, Garren Hernandez, Malaya Robinson and Leah Velazquez explained that journaling can be accomplished through sketching, writing or recording ideas about characters, themes and reactions. They also explained that journaling helps to better understand a book, keeps thoughts and information about the book clearly organized and assists in grasping the main ideas. 

The fifth-graders also gave each of the third-graders a gift of their own journal. Teacher William Pettit said he is excited that the students have their new journals and that they will begin to record their ideas about the books they read. 

Kreamer Street is ‘Wild About Reading’

Kreamer Street is ‘Wild About Reading’ photo
Kreamer Street is ‘Wild About Reading’ photo 2
Kreamer Street is ‘Wild About Reading’ photo 3
Kreamer Street Elementary School students went on a Wild About Reading safari adventure as a celebration of the school’s annual Parents as Reading Partners event, held on March 4-19. 

Sponsored by the PTA, PARP encourages students to read an additional 15 minutes per day with a partner of choice, making this important life skill not only a school to home connection, but fun and informative as well. Kreamer Street students already log their daily reading as homework, but PARP is designed to make reading even more enticing and fun.

During the week there were safari-themed dress up days, entertaining school assemblies, a Scholastic Book Fair, a safari-themed Family Fun Night and guest readers. Each class also designed a colorful bulletin board to reflect this year’s theme. To celebrate all of the students’ hard work, Principal Sean Clark dressed up as a safari guide riding a giraffe to the delight of all the students.

Jack Nix to become BOE Vice President

nix pix
During the March 27 Board of Education meeting, the trustees unanimously voted for Jack Nix to take on the position of board vice president. Mr. Nix replaces former vice president Regina Hunt, who announced her resignation from the Board of Education earlier in the month due to residency changes.

Mr. Nix, who was elected to the Board of Education in May 2017, graduated from the district in 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from St. Joseph’s College. Mr. Nix currently serves on the Board of Education’s strategic planning and health and safety committees.

Mr. Nix thanked his fellow trustees upon being sworn in by district clerk Christine Flynn. “I am looking forward to working closely with President Felice,” he said. “I also want to thank Regina Hunt, who was my mentor.”

Seniors and Sophomores Win the Academic Challenge

Seniors and Sophomores Win the Academic Challenge photo
Seniors and Sophomores Win the Academic Challenge photo 2
Seniors and Sophomores Win the Academic Challenge photo 3
Seniors and Sophomores Win the Academic Challenge photo 4
Bellport High School’s senior and sophomore teams were the winners of the annual Academic Challenge, held in the school auditorium on March 20. The annual challenge, similar to Jeopardy, is one of several activities held for Spirit Month. 

Adviser Ellen Hoffman said in her introductory comments, “This is one of the best parts of spirit month and is a way to see how students can perform under pressure.”  

The senior team was paired against the juniors, while the sophomores competed against the freshmen. Topics included New York State history, science, video games, colleges and universities, “Hola, Shalom, Ciao” and politics today. Commentator Wayne White and student council score keepers Carly Diolosa, Karli Monsell and Eliza Ynoa were also on hand to help the program run smoothly. 

The South Country Central School District congratulates the following team members for being chosen by faculty to participate in the Academic Challenge: 

Grade 9: Aqsa Majid, Curren Johnsen, Tarissa Jones, Charlotte Rauch and (alternate) Steven Rodas 
Grade 10: Bobby DeSantis, Anthony Huber, Victoria Monte, Zach Pino and (alternate) Hannah Wilson 
Grade 11: Shaliq Cochran, Liam Murphy, Veronica Riddick and Aidan Sawyer
Grade 12: Ashton Arbus, Tyler Brock, Africa Bryant, (alternate) Saeed Hossain and Shawn Wolf

South Country Students Attend LGBT Conference

South Country Students Attend LGBT Conference photo
Bellport High School’s Gay Straight Alliance Club and South Country Board of Education trustee Jack Nix attended the 23rd annual LGBT Conference, held at Stony Brook University on March 12. LGBT Network Chief Operating Officer Dr. David Kilmnick presented the club with a $250 grant to assist in its expansion.

During the conference, club members attended workshops on youth and community organizing, LGBT history, health issues in the LGBT community and social justice. 

Gay Straight Alliance Club adviser Lisa Conk explained that the club is active in the school community, participating in events including the district’s annual Trick or Treat Street, the annual Day of Silence and various fundraising activities. Attending the LGBT Conference is the highlight of the club members’ year, she said.

   
 

Bellport Middle School Robotics Team Wins Programming Award

Bellport Middle School Robotics Team Wins Programming Award photo
The Bellport Middle School Robo Panthers garnered the Programming Award at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League qualifier tournament, held at Huntington High School on Feb. 3. 

Sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, members of  robotics teams from Nassau and Suffolk counties worked hard to research, design, build, program and test Lego robots that addressed this year’s challenge “Into Orbitism.” Teams, including the Robo Panthers, were instructed to choose and solve a real-world problem faced by humanity during long-term space exploration within the sun’s solar system. Competitors built, programmed and tested an autonomous robot using Lego Mindstorms technology to solve a set of Robot Game missions, operating under FIRST’s core values, teamwork and professionalism.  

Robo Panthers co-adviser Matthew Gualtieri explained that the team was judged on core values and teamwork,  their outer space innovative solution which included the design of an artificial device for astronaut health, and the technology and programmatic components of the robot. Mr. Gualtieri noted that the judges were particularly impressed by the team’s programming in the robot design category.

The South Country Central School District would like to congratulate Robo Panthers team members  Anthony Costanza, Derek Griffin, Dylan Horn, Travis Miller, Caden Rupolo, Dan Slawinski and James Vohrer on a great season.

 

NYS Assessment Testing Letter

Attachments:

Sunday, May 26, 2019
SCCSD Mascot