03/15/15 7:00am
03/15/2015 7:00 AM

Administrators with the Riverhead Central School District and Eastern Suffolk BOCES should be commended for putting together a creative, pragmatic approach to a unique problem precipitated by last summer’s influx of young people fleeing violence-torn regions of Central America.

And they did it on relatively short notice.  (more…)

03/10/15 8:00am
03/10/2015 8:00 AM
Culinary instructor Eric Rickmers talk to the new students in the commercial kitchen Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Culinary instructor Eric Rickmers talks to the new students in the Riverhead school’s commercial kitchen Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Monday marked the first day in a new Riverhead school for a small group of teens living in a country still very new to them.

At the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Alternative High School English Language Learner Program, teenagers referred to as SIFE students — or students with interrupted formal education — will learn English and math and acquire job skills such as culinary arts and maintenance work, BOCES officials said. (more…)

09/15/14 12:50pm
09/15/2014 12:50 PM
Andrew Hubner of Shoreham-Wading River High School, physics teacher Andrew Kolchin, Asia McElroy from Riverhead High School and former Riverhead High School student Phil Becker of Bay Shore do some experiments with Newtown's Cradle Friday at BOCES' new Regional STEM high school in Bellport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Andrew Hubner of Shoreham-Wading River High School, physics teacher Andrew Kolchin, Asia McElroy from Riverhead High School and former Riverhead High School student Phil Becker of Bay Shore do some experiments with Newton’s Cradle Friday at BOCES’ new Regional STEM high school in Bellport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

How often do high school graduates wonder how they will ever use the things they learned in high school once they get into the “real world?”

For Andrew Hubner of Shoreham, at least, that’s not a question right now.  (more…)

05/28/14 9:53am
05/28/2014 9:53 AM
School board members (L-R) Tom Carson, Amelia Lantz, Sue Koukounas, and Kim Ligon. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

School board members (L-R) Tom Carson, Amelia Lantz, Sue Koukounas, and Kim Ligon. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

The Riverhead school board unanimously approved a study Tuesday night to determine if the district should reconfigure its elementary school boundaries in the wake of concerns raised by local residents about the demographic makeup of the schools. (more…)

02/15/14 11:00am
02/15/2014 11:00 AM
BOCES COURTESY PHOTO | Holding the big scissors is Sister Margaret Smyth of North Fork Spanish Apostolate at 220 Roanoke Ave. Riverhead.

BOCES COURTESY PHOTO | Holding the big scissors is Sister Margaret Smyth of North Fork Spanish Apostolate at 220 Roanoke Ave. Riverhead.

A new program in Riverhead is hoping to provide “a pathway out of poverty,” helping struggling Riverhead families and residents receive the education they need to get ahead.

Two weeks ago, Eastern Suffolk BOCES opened the doors to the state’s 51st Literacy Zone — a state-funded reform initiative aimed at aiding the community’s poorest — by helping residents gain English language proficiency.

Riverhead’s Literacy Zone, located at the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, will offer a variety of courses to meet the literacy needs of residents, from birth through adulthood.

The center will operate as a collaboration between ESBOCES staff, the Riverhead School District, Riverhead Library, Riverhead Senior Center and Suffolk County Department of Labor — just to name a few. Executive director and founder of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, Sister Margret Smyth — well known for her commitment helping residents who struggle with English — will serve as an educator at the Literacy Zone.

As a matter of fact, Sister Margaret said, an employee funded through the program will operate out of the Apostolate, located at 220 Roanoke Ave.

Though the employee hasn’t started working full-time yet, Sister Margaret said about 20 people have still signed up for the Literacy Zone courses.

“The idea behind it is to really offer a service for people, particularly in language, and our office usually has tons of people going through here” who could use those services, she said.

Classes will include everything from after-school enrichment programs for children to workforce development programs that include work site tours, job shadowing, internships and apprenticeship opportunities for adults.

The framework enables multiple local outreach groups to reduce duplication of services and enhance and expand supportive services to help residents overcome barriers, according to Barbara Egloff, who serves as divisional administrator of career, technology, and adult education for ESBOCES.

“We are looking forward to working with Sister Margret,” ESBOCES spokesperson Nancy Lenz. “She is a staple in this community.”

The center is expected to grow its resources and expand by the start of next school year, Ms. Lenz said.

“We are just getting started,” she said.

02/23/13 2:19pm
02/23/2013 2:19 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Elected officials met with education advocates Saturday in Middle Island.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Elected officials met with education advocates Saturday in Middle Island.

Local elected officials told a group of Long Island educators Saturday that they believe the majority of education cuts in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state budget will be restored.

Educators attending the annual Longwood Regional Legislative Breakfast — including superintendents from the Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead, Mattituck-Cutchouge and Southold school districts — urged their elected representatives to help ensure Long Island doesn’t bear the brunt of the governor’s proposed cuts in his $146.6 billion budget.

While districts across New York would see an average state aid increase of 3 percent next school year, each of the districts in Southold Town is slated to lose money. In all, 23 Suffolk County districts would lose aid under the governor’s proposal. Fifteen of those school systems are on the East End.

Gary Bixhorn, chief operating officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, which cosponsored the event at Longwood Middle School, suggested in his presentation that school administrators focus their rally on having a $65 million reduction in high cost aid restored, which is a budget line item that has been used to provide additional aid to districts that rely more heavily on property taxes to balance their budgets. He also said attention should be focused on restoring funding from the Gap Elimination Adjustment, another factor in the state aid formula. It should be split more equitably, Mr. Bixhorn said, because while schools across the state are only losing 9 percent of this portion of aid, Long Island schools will receive 12 percent less.

“We’re losing more and getting less back,” he said. “That is, basically, a double whammy.”

Local Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said after the meeting that he’s confident high tax aid and the gap elimination adjustment will be restored.

“We in the Legislature are going to do it,” he said. “It’s a priority … I think those two things will be restored in a way that’s beneficial to Long Island school districts.”

In Southold, where the school district would lose $190,000, high tax aid would drop by more than $200,000. While other aid lines would increase, the high tax support would drop dramatically.  Southold would receive just under $1.4 million in total state aid next school year.

Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said after the meeting that he believes the annual gathering of school officials and politicians plays an important role in making sure local districts get their fair share of support from the state.

“We come here each year with the hope that the voices of many districts are going to provide the ammunition our local legislators need to fight for us,” Mr. Gamberg said.

Riverhead is the only East End town where district aid would increase. Both the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River school districts would receive increases of more than 5.5 percent next school year.

During the meeting, Superintendent Steven Cohen asked the panel if they would support legislation to exclude school security costs from the tax cap, as well as provide support for the newly mandated annual professional performance review plan, known as APPR.

“Our district will have to hire two new clerical positions to deal with the reporting process and that will be a permanent cost to the district,” he said.

Mr. LaValle said a provision was added in last year’s state budget to reimburse school districts for expenses related to APPR, but couldn’t immediately give a dollar amount.

No North Fork district was hit harder in the Governor’s budget than Oysterponds, which would see a 20 percent drop if the budget were approved in its current state, down to $245,000 from just over $300,000 this school year. Greenport’s state aid would remain nearly flat under the governor’s proposal, falling by just $10,000 to $1.12 million for the next school year. Administrators from both districts did not attend Saturday’s meeting.

Longwood officials said Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict. The original date of the breakfast was changed from Feb. 9 due to the blizzard that fell that weekend.

The state Legislature is expected to approve its budget by April 1.

[email protected]

09/08/11 4:11pm
09/08/2011 4:11 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Eastern Suffolk BOCES board president Lisa Israel of Greenport cuts the ribbon. Looking on are (from left) director of career and and technical adult education Dean Lucera, chief operating officer of BOCES Gary Bixhorn, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Legislator Ed Romaine, Assemblyman Dan Losquadro and divisional administrator of career technical adult education Barbara Egloff.

East End adults looking to expand their resumes to include a cosmetology license or a clinical medical assistant certificate are in luck.

The H.B. Ward Career and Technical Center of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, located on North Griffing Avenue in Riverhead, will now be offering daytime classes and an expanded catalog of courses for adult education.

Building 5 of the Riverhead campus will now be exclusively devoted to those courses, something BOCES administrators described as an affordable alternative to four-year degrees. Classes start Sept. 19.

“Our costs are significantly lower than other places,” said program administrator William Lombardo. The space formerly housed special education classes during the day, though those courses have been moved elsewhere, he said.

Tuition costs entirely finance adult education and will not cost BOCES any additional funds, Mr. Lombardo said. Adult education, which being part of BOCES means it is nonprofit, is run like a business — with all earnings invested back into the program, he added.

Vice principal Marie Davis said the campus will now be offering daytime adult ed classes, because there has been an increase in demand in the down economy. The school previously only administered a limited selection of classes and only at night. Students must have a high school diploma to enroll in career course, which include medical billing and comprehensive automotive skills, she said.

Local officials hope the new programs will help the unemployed looking to reenter the workforce.

“People can’t get a job because they don’t have the training they need,” Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine said during a ribbon cutting for the new center Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Lombardo noted some classes had already filled up or were nearing capacity.

“Certainly, our classes are very hot in the market place,” he said.

To register, visit www.esboves.org/aev or call 369-8104.

[email protected]