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Southold administrators discuss ongoing projects, future plans

Southold school board

Southold School District administrative staff participated in a roundtable discussion with Board of Education members and Superintendent David Gamberg at last week’s regular board meeting.

The dialogue focused on what’s happening this school year as well as goals for the future.

The following are excerpts from each administrator’s comments.

William Galati, high school principal

“I’d like to provide ongoing professional development, especially specific to English language learner students or for staff members to make those accommodations for instruction. In addition, there’s going to be some shifts in social studies. By 2019 there will be a new Global 2 regents examination followed in 2020 by a new U.S. History [exam]. In addition, we have the Next Generation learning standards in science, so there’s needed professional development with that, which will impact elementary instruction in grades 5-6 right through the high school.”

Dr. Lisa Scheffer, pupil personnel services director

“One of the things we’re focused on this year is creating more meaningful professional development and opportunities for our staff … we’re having a guest speaker come in and talk about building a community. We all know that we’ve had some changes in our demographics, so a lot of it is going to be talking about meeting the academic needs, but also the social and emotional needs. So we’re going to talk about having an ongoing theme throughout the year, and that will be one of the workshops that will be offered during our Ed camp on Nov. 8 and we’re hoping to focus one of our faculty meetings during the year on that as well … Just as Mr. Galati said, always looking to create new courses and new opportunities for students with disabilities and English language learners … The other thing I would say is I had submitted a grant to start a new bilingual program back in April. I have yet to hear, still I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I submitted a similar grant months before, during the winter of 2016, and we didn’t get the grant but we did get feedback and so I took that feedback and incorporated it into the new proposal … if we do end up getting this grant, it will create even more opportunities for some of our English language learners.”

Ellen O’Neill, elementary school principal

“We have a cardio fitness room … that came from some other teachers that had the idea, they did the research, that kinesthetic learning – our brains can only take so much of sitting down and learning before we need to get up and move around … our kids and teachers will be doing cardio in short spurts throughout the day. We started that this year. Coaches, the 5K and the athletic association all made this possible; it wasn’t through district funds. And the PTA also donated equipment as well. There are bikes, rowers, steps, a ladder, for doing different activities … the research shows that we need a break throughout the day not on assignment and it’s totally up to the teachers.”

Steven Flanagan, athletic director

“So in my first year as athletic director my goal really is to take inventory of the systems that we have and build on them to improve overall. Specifically, I’m trying to take a look at our data and decrease the liability to the district, such as reviewing a chaperoning situation and increasing AED distribution to our coaches overall. I also want to increase the engagement and capacity by allowing our student body to be photographers for our sports programs or be managers, office interns — do things to get everybody involved in our sports program. I’d also like to increase the expectations of our student athletes by giving more offseason opportunities to train … I’d also like to build on the alumni outreach. We had a great soccer game this past weekend; we’d like to bring that out to baseball, to basketball to really get the alumni involved in our whole athletic program.”

Marcus DaSilva, director of operations

“We have the [district] bond project we’re in the process of organizing. As of right now, we have the public address system, the phone system, the fire alarm and the art room renovation that are up at the state right now awaiting approval. We’re at the mercy of them, so if they approve that anytime soon we can get this thing out to bid and then we can probably start breaking ground. We’re thinking in the summer of 2017 … We just had soil boring and topography work being done in the fields and along the parking lot on the north side of the building. When those go through to the architect we’ll be sending that to our building committee and going over exact locations for our track and field … we can potentially break ground in the end of the summer.”

Ryan Case, director of educational technology

“Our [Google] Chromebook learning continues to be a huge success. We have over 800 Chromebooks in the district, grades 3 through 12, at this point. So every student in grades 3 to12 has one at their disposal. One of the focuses that we were going to be creating this year is to establish [digital] portfolios for students that they will carry through elementary and up into the junior and senior high.”

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Photo: Southold’s director of operations Marcus DaSilva speaks at last Wednesday’s administrator’s round table as elementary principal Ellen O’Neill and pupil personnel services director Dr. Lisa Scheffer look on. (Credit: Nicole Smith)