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South Country Central School District Board of Education Notes April 21, 2021 Business Meeting and Budget Adoption

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To start the meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani announced that Bellport High School artists Maria Slavnova and Giana Porter, were recognized as Long Island’s Best Young Artists. Their works were two of 83 pieces selected for the prestigious annual show out of hundreds of entries. He also announced that the district was selected by the NAMM Foundation for the eighth consecutive year as a Best Community for Music Education. Additionally, he congratulated former student Arella Guiriantes who was recently drafted into the WNBA and will be playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Dr. Giani also announced that Trustee Cheryl A. Felice and Board of Education President E. Anne Hayes were recognized by the New York State School Boards Association for continually striving to expand governance knowledge and skills. Trustee Felice earned a Level 3 Mastery Award and President Hayes earned a Level 2 Board Excellence Award.

During his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Giani announced that the senior prom will be held on June 11, 2021 at Sunset Harbour Catering in East Patchogue. The entire venue will be dedicated to the prom that evening and Sunset Harbor has offered a discounted rate so that a prom ticket will not exceed $75. In addition, they will donate prom favors for the seniors.

The sign dedicating the Bellport Middle School field in memory of John E. Conquest was damaged to a state of disrepair and removed. The district is in the process of replacing the sign to include an image of him.

As of April 20, 2021, there were 3 faculty or staff and 98 students in quarantine as a result of close contact with COVID-19. There have been 101 faculty or staff and 301 student COVID-19 cases in total reported to the district this year.

Dr. Giani also commented, on behalf of the district, on the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. He said, “Yesterday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was a giant step forward, but our work is far from finished in our fight against racism in this country. I want to assure our community that as a district, South Country will do our part as we continue our mission of educating the children in our district, and the development and work of our Equity in Education community is just beginning.”

After Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Christine Costa gave the eighth in a series of budget presentations, the Board adopted the proposed 2021-2022 budget which will be brought forth to the community for a vote on May 18, 2021.
The proposed spending plan totals $145,451,282, a budget-to-budget increase of $7,120,568, and falls within the tax levy cap limit. A budget hearing outlining the proposed budget will be held on May 5, 2021 and the budget vote will take place on May 18, 2021.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Elizabeth Doyle and Director of STEM Jack Burke gave a Science Pathway presentation. The newly proposed pathway would streamline the sequencing of seventh and eighth grade science courses and would provide opportunities for middle school students to take a high school course. The Board decided to review the science pathway proposal for an additional two weeks before deciding on an approval.

The Board unanimously approved Modifications to the Reopening Plan, which will be implemented provided community feedback is positive. The modifications include a reduction of physical distancing requirements to three feet in classrooms; a reduction of physical distancing requirements to six feet for singing and wind instruments; Masks are required, but physical barriers are no longer recommended by CDC with a preference for ventilation and air filtration; a change in international traveler guidance; revised opening plans must be posted online for community feedback.

The Board unanimously approved three policies: Policy 8260 (Title I Parent and Family Engagement), Policy 5741 (Drug and Alcohol Testing for School Bus Drivers and Other Safety-Sensitive Employees) and Policy 5633 (Gender Neutral Restrooms).

The Board also unanimously agreed for presentations to be posted in the public portion of Board Docs. When BoardDocs goes live, the public will have access to the presentation.

Student-Artists Among Long Island’s Best

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The artwork of Bellport High School student-artists Giana Porter and Maria Slavnova were selected from 331 submissions to exhibit at The Heckscher Museum’s Long Island’s Best Young Artists 2021 juried exhibit. Additionally, Giana won the Donald G. Hom, Jr. Scholarship Award for her piece, “The Beauty of Day Dreams.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum is among the most prestigious juried art shows for high school students on Long Island. Of the 50 high schools that participated, only 83 pieces were included in the exhibition, which runs from April 27-May 23.

To be considered for the exhibition, students chose an artwork on display in one of The Heckscher Museum’s artist exhibitions. They then created their own work of art based off of their chosen inspiration piece. Each student wrote a statement as to why they chose that particular piece of art and how it influenced their work.

Both Giana and Maria completed their submitted artwork while enrolled in their current courses at Bellport High School. Maria takes Advanced Placement Studio in Art – 2D with Brandon Payne, while Giana takes Drawing and Painting 2 with Devin Auricchio.

The South Country Central School District congratulates the students on this outstanding artistic achievement.

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