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Enrichment program in the works for Cutchogue East elementary

05/18/2018 2:21 PM |

Cutchogue East Elementary School is looking to introduce before- and after-school programs. 

The school was approached by Champions, a national before- and after-school-care organization, to offer enrichment programs for kindergarten through sixth grade.

The before-school program would run from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and the after school would run from 3 to 6 p.m., Board of Education member Barbara Talbot said at Thursday night’s meeting.

According to the Champions website, the program would include homework help, daily fitness and healthy snacks and activities in numerous areas, including creative arts, library, math and construction, puzzles and games and more.

For example, math and construction allows children to build bridges, towers and machines using real-life math concepts.

“We did get an agreement from them, Champions, and it’s now with the attorneys,” elementary school principal Kathy Devine said. “So we just don’t have anything further at this point, but we are still in conversation with them.”

Ms. Talbot added that if the program is approved, there is a minimum requirement of 25 participating students.

Superintendent Anne Smith said following the meeting that parents who enroll their children in the program would have to pay for the service. Additionally, the staff for the before- and after-school programs would be chosen by Champion, but the company typically looks to hire community members and teachers within the district.

If approved, this would add a before- and after-school program to the district, which currently doesn’t have either, Dr. Smith said.

She said the district tried to add an after-school program three years ago, but there wasn’t enough interest. Recently, parents have expressed the need for one.

“Once we hear back, we’re going to try our best and see if we can fill those numbers and take full advantage of this opportunity,” Ms. Talbot said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

• In other elementary school news, the district approved entering into contract negotiations with Ilana Finnegan for the new position of instructional support administrator and elementary assistant principal.

As instructional support administrator, Ms. Finnegan would develop curriculum for all grades at the elementary and junior/senior high school.

The current assistant principal, Deborah Guryn, is retiring at the end of the school year. The new position would combine her duties and that of a teacher who spends time on staff development.

“We have this hybrid position where she is part-time teacher and part-time staff developer,” Dr. Smith said. “She did all the curriculum work. We’re taking that position and bringing it to the administrative title.”

She added that it was chosen to combine with the elementary assistant principal due to the trend in declining enrollment at the lower grades.

Dr. Smith added that in addition to curriculum development, Ms. Finnegan will work on teacher evaluations, staff training and more. The teacher who previously held the hybrid position will become a full-time teacher.

“We’re not ready to not have an assistant principal, but we’re trying to align staffing to the needs,” Dr. Smith said. “We’re really combining work that other people do into one location.”

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