02/09/14 12:00pm
02/09/2014 12:00 PM
SANDY KOLBO COURTESY PHOTO | Phillips Avenue Elementary School students pose with their "Kindness Matters" banner.

SANDY KOLBO COURTESY PHOTO | Phillips Avenue Elementary School students pose with their “Kindness Matters” banner.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, students at Phillips Avenue and Roanoke Avenue Elementary Schools in Riverhead have taken the holiday’s message of love to heart by participating in “The Great Kindness Challenge,” a nationwide program in which schools are encouraged to perform as many acts of kindness as possible in one week. (more…)

12/20/13 4:00pm
12/20/2013 4:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Santa visited Phillips Avenue Elementary School students this week.

COURTESY PHOTO | Santa visited Phillips Avenue Elementary School students this week.

Phillips Avenue Elementary School students are participating in the school’s annual “Five Days of Peace and Goodwill,” an event traditionally held the week before the holiday break.

Principal Debra Rodgers said in a press release students will receive one gift a day this week, such as small toys, books, sweatshirts and toothbrushes donated by the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.

“The gifts that our students receive are from some amazing organizations and people that embrace the spirit of giving,” she said. “Throughout the week, we encourage our students to find ways that they can give, as well as receive.”

Students in the dual language kindergarten class performed “The Little Gingerbread Man” in Spanish and English on Monday. The next day students watched “Mad Scientist.” Then on Wednesday, Santa visited students. Elves also arrived at the school Thursday with gifts.

On Friday, Superintendent Nancy Carney was expected to hand out books to the students.

12/03/13 5:11pm

BARBARAELLEN FILE KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead High School band director Lee Hanwick conducts ninth-graders Jessica Sisti (left) and Kayla Myers in playing ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ during the school’s March concert. The orchestra and senior band also performed.

The Riverhead School District has announced its upcoming event and concerts.

• Phillips Avenue’s concert is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the school.

• Riley Avenue’s concert is scheduled for Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

• Aquebogue’s winter concert will take place Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the school.

• Pulaski Street’s winter concert is set for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

• Roanoke Avenue’s winter concert is scheduled for Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the school.

• The middle school’s eighth-grade winter concert will take place Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

• The middle school’s seventh-grade winter concert is set for Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

• The middle school’s choir, chamber orchestra and jazz band will perform at Martha Clara Vineyard on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m.

• The high school’s chamber choir is scheduled to perform at House of Praise on Hubbard Avenue in Riverhead on Dec. 11, at 6 p.m.; and the Jamesport Meeting House next Friday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. On Dec. 15, the chamber choir will also perform at Diliberto Winery at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church located on Northville Turnpike in Riverhead.

• The high school’s winter concert is set for Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the school. Performances include full choir, and 10th-12th grade band and orchestra.

• The high school’s chamber orchestra is scheduled to perform at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Dec. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

• The high school’s ninth-grade band and orchestra is set to perform the second winter concert on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

• Riverhead Free Library is currently exhibiting student art work. Pieces from Pulaski Street will be on display this month; Roanoke Avenue next month; Aquebogue in January; and Phillips Avenue in February. Riley Avenue and high school students’ art work will be displayed in March.

jennifer@timesreview.com

11/22/13 9:37am
11/22/2013 9:37 AM
COURTESY PHOTO |

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead School District elementary school students sign their names to an anti-bullying promise poster.

A group of students from Roanoke Avenue and Phillips Avenue elementary schools are volunteering to spend a portion of their recess to learn how they can help rid their schools of bullying.

The anti-bullying student group, called Peacemakers, was created by Roanoke Avenue Elementary School student Morgan Dunn last year, school officials said.

Students are meeting with school social worker Shannon Kutner of the Riverhead Community Awareness Program and discussing the major points of the anti-bullying group’s mission, which are: “speak up,” “don’t be a bystander,” “forgive others,” “accept others for their differences,” “include others,” “seek help if you need it,” and “we can make a difference.”

At the start of this school year, teachers read “The Juice Box Bully” by Bob Sornson to their students and asked them to sign their names to an anti-bullying promise. They were also asked to “speak up if someone needs help,” school officials said.

The students are also planning to take part in The Great Kindness Challenge in January.

For more information about the anti-bullying program, email Ms. Kutner at shannon.kutner@riverhead.net.

06/02/13 1:00pm
06/02/2013 1:00 PM
The new research area.

Phillips Avenue Elementary students in the school’s research area in March.

A recently released state report shows that two Riverhead elementary schools with poorer and more diverse student bodies are underperforming on English-language arts and math assessments.

The state issued its annual “report cards” for all school districts in March. The reports comprise district demographics, enrollment and student assessment performance information. The number of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch is also included in the report.

Of Riverhead’s four elementary schools, which educate pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students, Phillips Avenue and Roanoke Avenue lagged behind Aquebogue Elementary and Riley Avenue in Calverton. Test scores and information about the Pulaski Street School, which educates the district’s fifth- and sixth-graders, was also included in the report.

While populations of both black or African-American and white students have slightly decreased slightly in the Riverhead School District since the 2010-11 school year, the Latino student population has increased significantly.

Last school year, 2011-12, the Latino student population was 1,384, an increase of 191 students over 2010-11. There were 907 black students enrolled in the district last year, down by 67, and 2,585 white students, a decrease of 35.

Phillips Avenue Elementary in Riverside and Roanoke Elementary in Riverhead had the highest numbers of minority students, and the highest amount of students meeting federal economic standards to qualify for free lunch. The state also reported that Phillips Avenue students had the poorest performance on English-language arts and math assessments.

Following is a summary of report findings for each school.

Phillips Avenue

• The report found that Latinos made up 46 percent of Phillips Avenue’s student population in 2011-12, with 258 students. There were 160 black students and 126 white students. Of those enrolled, 409 students, about 73 percent, were eligible for free lunch and 39 students were eligible for reduced-price lunch.

• About 35 percent of Phillips Avenue third-graders and 23 percent of fourth-graders scored below the state’s English-language arts proficiency standard. About 22 percent of students in third grade and 15 percent in fourth grade didn’t meet math proficiency standards. Nearly 11 percent of students who took the science assessment at Phillips Avenue scored below the state’s proficiency standards.

Roanoke Avenue

• According to the report, 182 Latino students, 124 white students and 66 black students were enrolled at Roanoke Avenue in 2011-12. Of those, 237 students were eligible for free lunch and 24 qualified for reduced-price lunch. Free lunch eligibility nearly doubled compared to 2010-11, up by 116 students.

• Nearly 23 percent of third-graders and 25 percent of fourth-graders scored below state proficiency standard in English-language arts, the report found. In math, about 10 percent of third-graders and 8 percent of fourth-graders failed to meet the state standards. Nearly 8 percent of the students who took the science assessment scored below the state’s proficiency standards.

Aquebogue Elementary

• The report counted 247 white students, 136 Latino students and 71 black students at Aquebogue. Among this population, 189 students qualified for free lunch and 25 for reduced-price lunch.

• Nearly 14 percent of third-graders and 10 percent of fourth-graders scored below the state’s English-language arts proficiency standards, according to the report. About 11 percent in third grade and 6 percent in fourth grade didn’t meet math proficiency standards. Nearly 6 percent of fourth-graders who took the science assessment scored below state standards.

Riley Avenue

• Riley Avenue’s student population included 485 white students, 98 Latino students and 39 black students. Of those, 185 students were eligible for free lunch and 38 for reduced-price lunch during the 2011-12 school year.

• Riley Avenue had the highest percentage of students who met or exceeded state state’s proficiency standards for English-language arts and math. About 5 percent of third-graders and 4 percent of fourth-graders scored below the standard for ELA and about 4 percent in third grade and 2 percent in fourth grade did so in math. All 121 students who took the science assessment scored above the state’s proficiency standards.

Pulaski Street School

• The report found 380 white students, 192 Latino students and 128 black students were enrolled in the school in 2011-12. A reported 285 students qualified for free lunch and 55 for reduced-price lunch.

• In fifth grade, 10 percent of English-language arts assessments and 7 percent of math exams received scores below the state’s proficiency standard. In grade 6, about 8 percent of English-language arts scores and 4 percent of math exams fell below the standard.

Districtwide results

• About 40 percent of all district students, or 2,021, were eligible for free lunch during 2011-12 and another 357 for reduced-price lunch. Those numbers compare with 1,833 students and 336 students, respectively, during the previous year, 2010-11.

• Nearly 12 percent the Riverhead School District’s elementary enrollment during the 2011-12 school year — 596 students — were considered limited English proficient, or LEP, according to the report. That’s an increase of 55 students over the 2010-11 school year, the report shows. LEP refers to students who have not yet developed fluency in reading and writing because their primary language is not English.

• Phillips Avenue had 160 LEP-designated students; Roanoke Avenue had 120; Aquebogue had 73; and Riley Avenue had 60. The Pulaski Street School had 51 LEP students.

• According to the report, the district’s black, Latino, LEP-designated and economically disadvantaged students in grades 3-8, as well as students with disabilities in those grades, failed to make adequate yearly progress in English-language arts assessments. Adequate yearly progress, or AYP, indicates progress toward proficiency for all students.

The same classifications of students in those same grades also failed to make AYP in mathematics last school year.

As for science, as measured in only grades 4 and 8, the district’s black and white students achieved AYP. Riverhead’s secondary students achieved AYP in both English-language arts and math.

• The report also addressed enrollment and graduation rates, documenting a total district enrollment of 5,010 students during 2011-12, up 112 students from the previous year. There were 328 Riverhead High School graduates in 2012, up 20 students from the previous year. However, the total number of dropouts was also up by 10 students, to 71.

jennifer@timesreview.com

06/01/13 2:00pm
06/01/2013 2:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Harry Wilkinson gives children a ride on the ‘trackless train’ he built this past winter.

This past winter Harry Wilkinson of Riverhead engineered a “trackless train,” playfully dubbed the Ole Glory Express. Using a 20-horsepower lawn mower engine, Mr. Wilkinson powered his train Saturday to provide some entertainment for children.

The train was one of many attractions at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School’s Community Festival Saturday. The third-annual festival featured performances by children’s entertainer Brady Rymer and ‘The Little Band That Could.’

Money raised from the event helps fund bringing in visiting artists to the school for cultural affairs as well as funding next year’s event.

Other attractions included a bouncy house, face painting, balloon animals by teacher Kevin Carroll, rock climbing wall and music from volunteer DJ Sergio Falcones of Deer Park. The First Baptist Church’s Family Community Life Center’s volunteers cooked up some hamburgers and sausages and other goodies.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s department gave away 200 free bike helmets, which were provided through a grant from the Governor’s traffic safety department. The sheriff’s were supposed to hold a bike rodeo to teach the children the basics of bike safety, but postponed it until the fall when the weather is cooler.

Principal Debra Rodgers said she was pleased with the turnout.

“Its bigger and better than ever,” she said. “Its an amazing opportunity to come and have fun playing together as families.”

photo@timesreview.com

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Hannah Jaccard, 5, a Phillips pre-k student of Flanders, gets her face painted by Brittany Rocco of Flanders.

05/31/13 2:00pm
05/31/2013 2:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Phillips Avenue Elementary students

COURTESY PHOTO | Phillips Avenue Elementary students at last year’s community festival.

Educators, parents and local residents are ready for the annual community festival at Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside scheduled for Saturday.

The family-friendly event will feature a performance by children’s entertainer Brady Rymer, a BMX stunt show, bike rodeo and petting zoo.

The Carnival of Fun includes: rock wall climb, football throw, bouncy house, face painting, hula hoop contest and other activities.

Members of the local fire departments, Riverhead Parks and Recreation Department and business owners will also have booths at the event to share information with the community.

There will more than 20 vendors, a silent auction, food and beverages.

Tickets cost $3. There is no charge for Phillips Avenue students and children under 2.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The rain date is June 2.

For more information, call 631-369-6786.

jennifer@timesreview.com

05/16/13 8:00am
Riverhead bus barn

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The bus garage is used for mini-bus storage and houses the Riverhead School District’s transportation and maintenance departments.

To the Editor:

We write in response to critics of our approach to address longstanding structural deficiencies at the bus garage. We understand the anger that some feel about the proposal; and with those concerns in mind, we want to explain our reasoning.

Without a doubt, the existing bus garage will need to be addressed in some way in the near future. As photographs posted on our website show, the 1920 transportation department building is deteriorating. We felt the best way to handle this was through the use of a capital reserve, which functions as a savings account. The reserve allows us to save money over time to address the problem rather than incurring more debt. The savings account is budget neutral and does not increase taxes. Thus, Proposition 1 is on the ballot for your approval.

[Previous Coverage: New school bus barn draws opposition]

There are several options on how to best replace our aging facility. One is to renovate in place. Another is to relocate the facility to a different location, thereby creating athletic fields at the current site. In looking for a new location, we had three criteria. The land needed to be: 1) non-residential; 2) centrally located within our 100-square-mile district; and 3) affordable.

[Previous Coverage: Editorial: Riverhead schools mishandled bus barn planning]

We saw many properties that met the first two criteria, but none that were also affordable. Therefore, we investigated using land far behind the Phillips Avenue School for our facility. Property we already own there is large enough for our buses. Solely in order to move the buses without impacting any residents, we are seeking permission to purchase two small tracts of land between Phillips Avenue and Enterprise Zone Drive, an industrial park on Flanders Road.

Critics of this plan have said that it was not properly studied before going to the voters. We feel, however, that it is improper to spend taxpayer dollars on a study before we know if the voters are in agreement with the idea. The ballot proposition to buy the land is just to secure the option to make that purchase. A traffic study will be the first order of business if Proposition 2 is approved by the voters.

We hope that you will take the time to vote on May 21. We hope you will join us at future Board of Education meetings; and we invite you to attend the many wonderful events occurring at Riverhead Central School District schools.

Riverhead Board of Education Members

To read more letters to the editor, pick up a copy of this week’s Riverhead News-Review or click on the E-Paper.