Two new language programs are included in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District’s $40.7 million budget. The world languages and coding programs are both at the elementary level.
The district budgeted to hire a world languages teacher to run 30-minute lessons three times a week with students in grades K-3 and a 30-minute cultural awareness class with sixth-graders once a week, Cutchogue East principal Kathy Devine said at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting.
“Research showed we should be starting with the primary grades,” she said. “Children’s brains at that particular point are really susceptible to picking up another language. When you think about a kindergarten classroom the children are learning a language through speaking and listening, so learning another language is not going to be that difficult for them.”
Ms. Devine assured the board that these additional lessons won’t take time from other subjects, but rather will be incorporated into the lessons — especially in music, art, social studies and English Language Arts.
The district plans to evaluate the program throughout the year and implement a world language class for all grades during the 2018-19 school year, board president Laura Jens-Smith said.
Additionally, the district will add a computer coding class for grades 3-8 next school year. The district will offer the class through kidOYO, an online coding program, according to Geraldine Doherty, the school’s director of technology.
The district is looking to partner with other districts on the North and South forks to establish a joint “East End Code” program, Ms. Doherty said. Five districts have expressed interest so far. She is currently working on setting up a contract to present to the school board.
New lunch provider regulations
The board is making a few “changes for consideration” to its food contract as it seeks bids for a food provider for the upcoming school year, board member Barbara Talbot said.
These changes include requirements that all juices be 100 percent fruit juice; that dairy, meat and chicken be hormone- and antibody-free, with no fillers or by-products; that fruits and vegetables be grown in the U.S. whenever possible; that sources within 250 miles of Mattituck be sought first for fruits and vegetables; and that, whenever possible, all foods served contain no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
Ms. Talbot said the board is still deciding between the two food providers who stock the East End and hope to have a bid before the board at next month’s meeting.
These suggestions came after numerous community members voiced concerns throughout the year about the quality of the food the district served.
“It’s important for us because we know as a community a lot of questions came up and we want you know that as a board we are listening and we do take this seriously,” Ms. Talbot said.