State mandate embraced by Board of Education

A mandate from the State Education Department for a social/emotional curriculum is being greeted with enthusiasm, Superintendent Brian Doelger said at last week’s Board of Education meeting.

Recognizing that social and emotional components are vital to a student’s ability to perform academically, the curriculum was introduced in May 2018.

“Social/emotional learning tools are not just for our students,” said state education Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “They help parents, teachers and children acquire the knowledge and skills they need to understand and manage their emotions.”

Methods are designed to help students to perform well in school and life, the chancellor added.

The program being introduced to Shelter Island’s prekindergarten through grade 6 students is offered without charge to school districts, teachers and nonprofit organizations by a collaboration between philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and the private, nonprofit San Diego-based National University System.

The program has already been used among 8 million children in 18,000 school districts and sites throughout the nation.

Mr. Doelger presented kits that will be used by all elementary level teachers and said he’s exploring resources to use at the secondary level, even though that’s not mandated by the state.

In other issues addressed, the Board of Education:
• Appointed Allan Gerstenlauer, who served as interim superintendent this summer, to mentor Mr. Doelger at the rate of $400 per day.
• Approved the Cardboard Campout for Monday, Nov. 4, beginning at 6 p.m. and ending the following morning at 6 a.m., to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity.
• Approved the prom for 11th grade students to be held at the Shelter Island Yacht Club on May 30, 2020.
• Accepted the resignation of Mary Kanarvogel as Unity Club adviser and appointed Devon Treharne as the adviser for the current school year. The job carries a $794 stipend.