Board of Ed: Vocational programs are critical

For the second successive month, Board of Education members continued working to develop district goals, this time focusing on elements unique to Shelter Island.

On Feb. 10, members discussed the importance of ensuring that each child is helped to find a path that is fulfilling. For some, that will be college. But for others it will be in trades where they can apply vocational educational tools.

“There’s a niche for every kid here,” Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D. said.

Every student reaches his or her potential at different points, board member Linda Eklund said. Here students have an opportunity to try many different things to help develop interests and abilities, she added.

The board wants to focus on each student along the way and not wait until remediation is necessary.

While many aspects of the physical plant apply to general use of the school and grounds, there are some special needs that will also come under goals relating to use of space and equipment necessary to the educational process.

That’s particularly true of the science program, which thanks to teacher Dan Williams, affords Island students with advanced opportunities. Mr. Williams has provided experiences for his students to use facilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. But when it comes to much of their everyday work, it’s crammed into a classroom that needs to be expanded. There will also be the need for increasingly sophisticated science equipment in the future, the board agreed.

The main thrust of the educational process at Shelter Island School should be to put students in educational situations where they’re happy, enjoying work best suited to their interests and abilities, Board President Kathleen Lynch said.

The administration and Board of Education will continue to discuss district plans at sessions slated for 5 p.m. before each 6 p.m. regular meeting. The next session is March 16.

At the same time, it’s budget season and a budget workshop is slated for 6 p.m. Monday, March 2, to be followed by one on March 16 after the goals discussion. The board’s regular monthly meeting will also be held on March 16 after the budget workshop.

All sessions are open to the public and Mr. Doelger said he’s encouraging people to come to as many sessions as possible to make their thoughts known about goals, budget and other issues. All budget workshops are being televised.