Shelter Island School District revises math, science program

Three Shelter Island School teachers have revised the curriculum with respect to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum.

Math teacher and information technology specialist Walter Brigham, guidance counselor Martha Tuthill and Director of Pupil Personnel, Data & Instruction Reports Jennifer Rylott worked on the program to provide more effective use of teachers’ and students’ time without raising costs to the district.

The changes will enable more students to achieve higher math and science scores while affording greater fluidity between advanced and regular course work, Mr. Brigham told Board of Education members at their Tuesday night meeting. Collaborative planning and teaching will make for a more creative learning environment, he added.

It will also provide opportunities for students transferring into the district to have their needs met based on the abilities they bring, Ms. Rylott said. With colleges requiring greater math and science proficiency than in the past, Shelter Island students will be better able to compete for admission.

The transition is already underway, but will take two years to be fully implemented, Mr. Brigham said.

Immunization policy

The Board of Education provided a first look at a proposed policy involving the state-mandated immunization schedule. Under the proposal, the district can’t allow a student more than 14 days to prove having had the required immunizations to attend classes. That stretches to 30 days for an out-of-state or international student transferring into the district.

The board faced a group of parents in the past year who objected to the state requirement, but Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ph.D., explained the district had no choice but to enforce the state-mandated policy or pay heavy fines.

Bills attempting to include the HPV vaccine are pending in Albany, but Mr. Doelger has said he’s been told the bills won’t succeed after the ruckus raised last year over the other vaccines.

In other actions, the Board of Education:

• Approved the emergency expenditure of $3,052 for asbestos abatement in the plumbing wall of the elementary wing. Mr. Doelger said whenever work is done in an area of the school that may have been untouched for some 40 years, there remains the possible need for asbestos removal, but agreed with the board that in the future, he would consider adding a line to the budget to be spent for this purpose. Another $2,415 had to be spent on air monitoring during the asbestos removal.

• Accepted contributions from the Shelter Island Educational Foundation for $2,000 for the Broadway field trip; $2,000 for the Nutcracker field trip; $1,376 for the Music in the Park field trip; and $250 for an opera field trip.