Island, East Hampton collaborating on education program

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island School

Shelter Island School District officials are exploring a joint effort with East Hampton aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for students in both districts.

The  collaborative effort was  briefly discussed at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, with the hope of  helping students meet new standards and produce improved scores on standardized tests, according to Academic Administrator Jennifer Rylott.

Superintendent Christine Finn told the Board of Education a lot of research has gone into the development of the East Hampton program and said it represents “a great opportunity” for Shelter Island.

She said the program is in its early stages and she will be meeting with East Hampton school officials to flesh out the program and bring Shelter Island onboard.

Such collaboration between districts is a means of expanding opportunities for a small district like Shelter Island to expand its interrelationships with the larger educational community.

Another effort Ms. Finn is planning is an exchange of teachers at various levels with other teachers in the building. It may be for a single period or an entire day, she said.

In  larger school districts there are several teachers at any level who can share ideas and observations with one another, all aimed at enhancing curriculum and teaching methods. Exchanging roles will enable teachers to bring fresh eyes to the classroom.

There’s also a possibility students might be invited to take over the teaching task while teachers become students. Again, the hope is that a role reversal will provide vital information about what works and what doesn’t.

Ms. Finn and Board members Kathleen Lynch, Margaret Colligan and Jason Lones attended the 99th Annual New York State School Boards Association Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.

They offered their colleagues a look at some of the lessons they’d  learned on a wide range of educational and financial issues and said some of the methods and programs  employed on the Island were  on the cutting edge of educational philosophy.

It was with their experiences in mind that the full board unanimously approved spending $4,478 to continue membership in the New York State School Boards Association.

In a lively discussion between members and the student representative, Nicholas Labrozzi talked about his own experience working with a program linked to the East Hampton-based Retreat that provides services to families afflicted by abuse. Mr. Labrozzi spoke about learning to understand that abuse might be within families, at school or work  and how to read the signals of good relationships versus those where problems existed.

He also spoke about his attendance at a recent leadership program at Suffolk County Community College where discussions ranged from learning to avoid illegal drugs, mental health issues and sexual abuse.

Mr. Labrozzi talked about efforts undertaken by the Student Council this fall and new efforts being planned for the spring semester.

In other actions, the Board of Education:

• Received plaques from the girls and boys varsity cross country teams for their successes at the recent Suffolk County Class D Cross Country Championships.

• Heard from district business leader Linda Haas that she would be taking a tax anticipation note (TAN) to finance the school until tax money flows later in the year. This year’s note will be for $1.7 million, representing $200,000 less than was borrowed last year. TANs are necessary evils that all school districts  take to keep  afloat each year as their fiscal years differ from the fiscal years of municipalities.

• Adopted a budget calendar with meetings beginning in January to craft a spending plan that will be subject to voter approval on May 21, 2019.

• Hired Carolyn Taylor to teach secondary school level science at a salary of $71,714 prorated to $59,407 since the position started on November 12. She will be on a four-year probationary period before being eligible for tenure and must achieve “effective or highly effective” ratings in at least three of the four years and cannot receive an ineffective rating in the final year.

• Appointed Ms. Haas as junior varsity girls basketball team coach.

• Appointed Elizabeth Buel as an additional substitute teacher at the rate of $110 per day.

• Appointed Miguel Mendoz as a substitute custodian at the rate of $15 per hour.

• Approved the 2019 prom to be held at the Ram’s Head Inn on May 17 as presented to the board by student Abby Kotula.

• Heard a request from Michelle Corbett to take 10th graders to the United Nations and the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City on a date in April to be determined. The Board will act on the request in December.

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