06/24/15 5:59am
06/24/2015 5:59 AM
Greenport Elementary School's fifth-graders demonstrated Tuesday how their videos on local history are attached to QR codes. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

Greenport Elementary School fifth-graders demonstrated Tuesday how their videos on local history are attached to QR codes. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

You could call a class project completed by fifth-graders at Greenport Elementary School a win-win: the kids got to enjoy a creative project that took them out of the classroom and into Greenport Village, and the teachers still managed to impart crucial lessons on history, technology and teamwork. (more…)

05/17/13 6:00pm
05/17/2013 6:00 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A Greenport art student works with local sculptor Arden Scott during a workshop at Brecknock Hall last week.

In the expansive dining room of the stone mansion that is Brecknock Hall, 18 fourth-grade students sit at plastic tables, their small hands constructing sculptures out of little but construction paper and their imaginations.

At one table, an older hand, wizened by age, reaches for a multicolored pipe cleaner and gently secures it around a rectangular piece of paper one girl has fashioned to stand upright, like a tall building.

“Now your skyscraper has some decoration,” the person with the older hands tells the student, who beams.

This was the scene last week when students from Lisa Baglivi’s art class at Greenport Elementary School visited Brecknock Hall, on the grounds of the Peconic Landing lifecare community, to create paper sculptures under the guidance of five local artists for the first-ever Brecknock Art Project, organized by Peconic Landing’s cultural arts coordinator, Dominic Antignano.

“It was all about [creating] something intercommunity and intergenerational,” said Mr. Antignano, who created the program to inspire local children through contact with established area artists. “If one or two of these 18 students gets inspired, that’s a home run.”

The artists participating in the program were Robert Strimban and Arden Scott, both of Greenport, and Peconic Landing residents Fay Moore, Doris Hock and Jean Shaw.

“I love children’s art,” said Mr. Strimban, an 89-year-old World War II veteran who worked as an illustrator for publications like the New York Times and Esquire magazine. “While they’re young they express themselves in a very individual way, more so than when they get older. A lot of children’s art is very charming. It’s very inventive. I love to see them work and I love their work.”

Ms. Baglivi’s students enjoyed working under the supervision of the celebrated artists, too.

“She has a big heart,” Nicole Gomez said of Ms. Hock, whose artwork focuses on nature. The 10-year-old from Greenport said Ms. Hock had suggested adding lots of color to her project, a house with a pipe cleaner flag.

“She told me it would look nice if I changed it a little bit, and I did,” Nicole said. “I think Long Island is a beautiful place, so there’s beautiful people here.”

Some students said they needed no external encouragement to construct their projects, crafted primarily of construction paper, pipe cleaners and glue.

“I’m just inspiring myself,” said 10-year-old Ayda Terry.

Where does she get that inspiration?

“From my head and my heart,” the Greenport girl said.

“I’m amazed at their sophistication,” said Ms. Scott, a sculptor who has lived in Greenport since 1978. She taught some of the students how to make their sculptures stand on their own. “For fourth-graders, they have one good art teacher,” she said.

“They all seemed to have their own idea of where to go,” added Ms. Shaw, who owned an art gallery in Sag Harbor.

Ms. Baglivi, who has taught K-12 art in Greenport for 10 years, said she was proud of her students.

“We can learn from each other,” she said. “I think it’s awesome.”

Each of the local artists expressed enthusiasm about participating in future art projects at Brecknock Hall.

“Oh, the children are just so outgoing and lovely,” said Ms. Moore, a painter. “I wish I could spend another week with them.”

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03/02/13 10:00am
03/02/2013 10:00 AM
Greenport principal gets tenure

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Joseph Tsaveras says a big challenge as an educator is keeping focus on education and not letting outside influences interfere.

Greenport Elementary School principal Joseph Tsaveras is getting cozy in the post he’s held for the past three years.

That’s because Mr. Tsaveras, 43, of East Quogue, was granted tenure last Monday night during the school board’s regular meeting. The board voted 4-0 to approve Mr. Tsaveras’ permanent post, scheduled to begin July 1. Board member Michael Mazzaferro was absent from the meeting.

Prior to coming to Greenport, Mr. Tsaveras, who is married and has two small children, worked as a district administrator at the William Floyd School District in Mastic Beach. He said he decided to switch careers and become a principal when the position opened at Greenport Elementary School because he wanted to have more direct involvement with students’ education.

Mr. Tsaveras said he was excited when he recently found out the district wanted to keep him long term.

“I must be doing something right,” a smiling Mr. Tsaveras said this week. “It’s more of a feeling of accomplishment … looked at as in a positive note.”

We interviewed Mr. Tsaveras moments before he was granted tenure. The following was excerpted from our conversation:

Q: Why did you decide to become an elementary school principal?

A: My first goal getting into education was to help kids … Both my parents were very involved in my life and supported me. My parents started a parents club in 1980 at my high school [Valley Stream North High School] and it’s still running today. It was for all extracurricular activities.

From the football team to the chess team, they would sponsor and help support the kids that went to all of those activities … When you’re in the classroom, you make a difference for the kids who are directly in front of you. When you’re overseeing the building, you get to make a difference for all of the kids.

Q: What are some of the challenges facing elementary school principals?

A: I think the biggest challenge is trying to keep the staff and the kids focused on the goal, which is educating and making kids smarter and not let all of those outside influences derail what we’re trying to do. We’ve developed more open communication and support for the teachers in order to take stress off and let them know that they are doing a great job, which they are.

A person that is happy and loves their job tends to do a better job. I think some of our parents feel the stress, too, because they’re seeing things that they didn’t see when they were kids. We try to support our families as well by sending as much information home as possible in both languages, English and Spanish. We invite them into the school so they’re a part of what goes on in the classroom, in our assemblies, programs and celebrations.

It’s challenging because their lives are busy as well and we try to keep them aware of what’s going on.

Q: Which accomplishments are you most proud of?

A: Keeping with traditions and building on the success Greenport has had over the years. The staff here has always been a family and worked close together. I always felt to build on that was to make more opportunities for teachers to collaborate and work together. I didn’t feel I had to come in and make changes on what went on here because it was a [national] Blue Ribbon school my first year here. It was more about how to make it flourish even better by making schedules that matched the needs of the staff and students.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: My favorite part of the job is dealing with the kids and working closely with the teachers. There’s nothing like walking into a kindergarten class. If you’re having one of those days, you walk in there and it all goes away. They are just great … I think my long-term goal as principal is to build on the success we have here at Greenport and to continue to move in the right direction for our kids.

My personal goal is to stay in Greenport, grow with the district and face the challenges along the way.

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