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South Country Celebrates Board Recognition Week

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In celebration of Board Recognition Week, the October 30 workshop meeting opened with the trustees being appreciated for their tireless dedication and advocacy. 

Board Recognition Week is an annual celebration sponsored by the New York State School Boards Association, which honors the trustees’ commitment to public education. 

In anticipation of the meeting, Verne W. Critz Elementary School provided a display of student art in the board room as well as a leaf garland, which was crafted by the students and hung on the board’s table. Select students also handed to each trustee a crafted pumpkin and, under the direction of music teacher Christopher Loeschner, students sang a variety of songs to the pleasure of the trustees and parents attending the meeting. 

Board of Education President E. Anne Hayes thanked the students for their thoughtfulness and said she believed they were attending the meeting for the Board to thank them. “Every day you come to school and leave school with a smile, you’ve been successful and made us feel good about that,” Ms. Hayes said. “Thank you so much for being who you are.”     

Bellport High School Presents ‘The Game’s Afoot’

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The talented cast and crew of Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” drew a full house to Bellport High School’s Ebersole Auditorium on Nov. 1-2.

Under the direction of Susan Hartmann and producer Barbara Gallagher, the nine-member cast amused the audience with this witty whodunit murder mystery. At Christmastime in 1936, Broadway star William Gillette (Michael Marziliano), admired for playing Sherlock Holmes, invited cast members to his Connecticut castle for weekend revelry. When one of the guests, Daria Chase (AutumnMargaret Walthers), is found stabbed, Gillette took on the persona of his beloved character to track down the killer and to set Inspector Goring (Emma Butler) in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, as each of the guests, and “Holmes,” hide the clues and the body from the inspector.

The cast also included Jocelyn Marrero (Martha Gillette), Troy Sica (Felix Geisel), Keira Ballan (Madge Geisel), Aidan Gaynor (Simon Bright), Alexa Ferrara (Aggie Wheeler) and understudies Lexington Armann and Joseph Salerno. The success of the performances was also attributed to the nine-member crew, stage managers Juliana Lewkowski and Victoria Pennachio, Vivienne Love, James Gibney and Kieran Sawyer on lighting, Ryan Wilson and music director James Uzzi on sound, art chairperson Suzette Fandale on costumes, James Gibney on set construction and Suzette Fandale and Barbara Gallagher on set design.

The District congratulates the students on their memorable performances.  


South Country Central School District Board Notes Oct. 30 Workshop Meeting

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In celebration of Board Recognition Week, the October 30 workshop meeting opened with the trustees being appreciated for their tireless dedication and advocacy. Board Recognition Week is an annual celebration sponsored by the New York State School Boards Association, which honors the trustees’ commitment to public education. In anticipation of the meeting, Verne W. Critz Elementary School provided a display of student art in the board room as well as a leaf garland, which was crafted by the students and hung on the board’s table. Select students also handed to each trustee a crafted pumpkin and, under the direction of music teacher Christopher Loeschner, students sang a variety of songs to the pleasure of the trustees and parents attending the meeting. 

Board of Education President E. Anne Hayes thanked the students for their thoughtfulness and said she believed they were attending the meeting for the Board to thank them. “Every day you come to school and leave school with a smile, you’ve been successful and made us feel good about that,” Ms. Hayes said. “Thank you so much for being who you are.”     

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Marlon Small delivered a presentation on Student Achievement Data. Director of STEM Jack Burke, Directory of Elementary Education Amy Brennan and Director of Humanities Jaclyn O’Hagan also contributed to the report which looked at grades 3-8 ELA and math assessment scores, test refusals and demographics for the 2018-2019 school year. The report also gave a glance at science, Regents and Advanced Placement results, as well as the graduation rate among all demographics. Mr. Small noted that test refusal rates continue to be a significant problem, but that the lower the grade the higher the participation. He also said the District is examining how to better tailor instruction and educational strategies so as to be aligned with the Board of Education priorities. 

Director of Elementary Education Amy Brennan also delivered a report on NWEA assessments and Response to Intervention. NWEA is an adaptive assessment for learning readiness administered to students in grades K-8 in the fall, winter and spring. She also discussed MAP growth, assessments which provide information about the instructional level of a student and a roadmap toward achieving mastery in core subject areas. Ms. Brennan explained that educators will intervene early and collaborate so as to effectively teach all students and explained how South Country teachers reach students through a multi-layered approach to needed intervention. Ms. Brennan noted that although data tells a story, educators must remember that there are students at the center.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on November 13 at 7:30 p.m.
 

Students Prepare for Their Academic Future

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Juniors and seniors took the next step in their academic futures through attendance at the first of two annual school-sponsored college fairs, held in the gymnasium this fall. More than 100 representatives from local, regional and national colleges set up booths and provided valuable information for students exploring options after graduation. Students from the high school’s culinary program also provided food for the representatives throughout the day. 

Acting Director of Guidance and Counseling Programs Ingrid Hrvatin explained that attendance at the college fair is an opportunity for students to acquire knowledge about a broad range of college options, majors, admissions criteria, campus culture, scholarships, financial aid, athletics and clubs. 

On Nov. 1,  the district also held a workshop for parents and students about early action and early decision, followed by Financial Aid Night on Nov. 7. Students had the opportunity to take the SAT and to visit representatives from regional and state colleges and universities. By logging onto the high school’s page of the district’s website, students can access a wealth of college preparatory information, including Castle Learning Regents Prep, a New York State Excelsior Scholarship presentation, information on how 529 College Savings Plans impact financial aid and more. 

South Country community addresses vaping and opioid overdose

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Parents and community members are now more informed about vaping and use of e-cigarettes after attending a presentation sponsored by COMPASS Unity and Bellport High School, held on October 28. Additionally, participants received training in the application of Naloxone or Narcan in the case of an opioid overdose. The two-hour presentation was held during the District’s annual Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s largest drug awareness campaign and one that teaches students how to develop positive, healthy habits early in life.
Suffolk County Department of Health Supervising Public Health Educator John T. Martin delivered the powerful presentation, The Truth About Vaping and E-Cigarettes, packed with valuable information about the type of e-cigarettes being used, how young people are being targeted and the effects of vaping. One fact discussed during the workshop was that one Juul pod is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine and possesses nicotine, lead and formaldehyde gas.  
“We are up against an industry that is unregulated,” Martin noted. “Vaping opens the door to other possibilities.”  
Bellport High School student Katherine Gaynor, who is working with social worker and COMPASS Unity Project Coordinator Lynette Murphy, described to the community her take on why students begin vaping.   
During the second half of the program, New York Army National Guard Sergeant Sean Cassidy, a civil operations specialist with the Counter Drug Task Force, discussed opioid addiction and the response to an overdose using Narcan, an opioid antagonist that blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication. He discussed what an overdose looks like, the risk factors for overdose, and specifically how to respond to someone who is not breathing or has lost consciousness. 
“It only takes minutes for the brain to shut down, so it is extremely important to know how to respond,” Sgt. Cassidy said.
Participants were given a free Narcan kit and instructions for use after the program.

Monday, November 18, 2019
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