The Riverhead School Board of Education is leaning toward filling two open seats, left vacant following the abrupt resignations of Amelia Lantz and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse last month, with candidates they hope to appoint after an interview process.
Former Riverhead Board of Education member Amelia Lantz has publicly backed Ann Cotten-DeGrasse’s claims that the board has violated New York State Education Department law. They both resigned from the board June 20.
Riverhead school board president Susan Koukounas, speaking for the first time following the abrupt resignation of two fellow board members, denied claims of procedural violations following Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. READ
Riverhead Board of Education vice president Amelia Lantz has decided to resign after serving serving for seven years, according to Tuesday’s updated school board agenda.
First-year Riverhead Board of Education trustee Laurie Downs said Tuesday that she’d like to see the district include the salaries and educational backgrounds of new hires on school board agendas. READ
Addressing ballooning student enrollment while enhancing programs under the tax cap and ensuring that administrators adhere to policies are top priorities for this year’s Riverhead school board candidates.
Angry Riverhead School District parents and residents are expressing their frustration over new Common Core materials for elementary school students, particularly new math curriculum.
During the school board’s regular meeting Tuesday night, parent Yolanda Thompson said she’s upset because she and her husband have been unable to properly assist their third-grade daughter with the new homework. She said she fears students aren’t exposed to building a strong foundation in math before moving onto more complex arithmetic.
“As parents, we’re wondering if we’re further confusing our children,” said Ms. Thompson, who provided the school board with handouts of her daughter’s homework. “There’s tears. There’s frustration.”
School board member Amelia Lantz said she’s concerned about her daughter’s fifth grade math homework that’s sponsored by the state because she has found it to be riddled with misspellings and errors.
Like Ms. Thompson, Ms. Lantz said she’s frustrated that she can’t help her daughter with her homework.
“Myself or my husband are trying to teach this to a child the way we learned it,” she said. “Now you’ve got three things going on in there and you’ve got one very frustrated child. That’s the gap that really concerns me.”
The Common Core State Standards has been nationally recognized and adopted by most states across the country that claims to better prepare students for college and careers by requiring instructors to teach more non-fiction and rigorous math to students at a younger age.
After New York adopted Common Core, the state published lesson plans for teachers to help students achieve the new standards. The state doesn’t mandate that schools use these lesson plans, but they are available online at engageny.org.
The public discussion came after Phillips Avenue Elementary School principal Debra Rodgers gave a presentation about Common Core practices within fourth-grade English Language Arts and math.
She said fourth grades teachers district-wide are collaborating together and combining current curriculum with state lessons plans Riverhead educators have deemed will be beneficial to students.
As for math, Ms. Rodgers conceded parents are most frustrated with not knowing how to help their children with math homework and suggested they contact the student’s teacher as soon as possible. Notifying the school will help to let the teacher know if the lesson needs to be repeated in class, she said.
“Close the book and send it back to the teacher,” Ms. Rodgers said.
Superintendent Nancy Carney reiterated that the district hasn’t “blindly adopted” the state’s recommended curriculum and is moving in a “slow and careful manner” when developing curriculum aimed at achieving the Common Core standards.
She also asked parents to be opened minded to new learning methods and gave an example of how children are able to use technology more readily than their parents.
“There are going to be new ways of learning, thinking and doing,” she said. “We need to be sure as parents and educators that we don’t frustrate kids. That’s very important to us.
“Please keep articulating to your building principals and your classroom teachers what your kids are struggling with so we can have those conversations and figure how to move forward.”
Riverhead school board candidates introduced themselves to the community Wednesday at the Greater Calverton Civic Association’s meeting and answered questions.
Challenger Christopher Dorr of Baiting Hollow will face incumbents Jeff Falisi of Calverton and Amelia Lantz of Riverhead. There are two seats carrying three-year terms up for grabs on the seven-member board.
Residents will go to the polls to vote on the budget and school board election May 21.
Pick up the May 16 issue of the Riverhead News-Review for full coverage.