04/12/14 1:00pm
The Riverhead Charter School in Calverton.

The Riverhead Charter School in Calverton.

To the editor:

As educators, few would argue that one’s primary responsibility is to the children entrusted to your care. In order to best meet that massive responsibility, one must come to rely on a team that consists of parents, colleagues, administrators, and the students themselves.  (more…)

04/10/14 6:00am
04/10/2014 6:00 AM

The Riverhead Charter School in Calverton. (Credit: file photo)

To the editor:

Regarding “Teachers step up behind charter school principal” by Michael White: Principal Ray Ankrum states in the piece, “My focus is on the top 10 percent of my staff. It’s the 10/80/10 rule of business. The bottom 10 percent will do whatever they can to cause disruption.”  (more…)

04/09/14 2:42pm
04/09/2014 2:42 PM
A large group of Spanish-speaking parents attended Tuesday night's meeting and complained of accessibility to at least one item that was being read only in English. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A large group of Spanish-speaking parents attended Tuesday night’s meeting and complained of accessibility to at least one item that was being read only in English. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The tensions of a divided school community were on full display at the Riverhead Charter School’s board of trustees meeting Tuesday night.

That meeting ended abruptly, when critics and supporters of principal and executive director Ray Ankrum began screaming at one another about what kind of comments should be allowed at such times — until, finally, the board threw the public out and continued the meeting in private.  (more…)

04/03/14 8:00am
04/03/2014 8:00 AM
Riverhead Charter School principal Raymond Ankrum outside the Calverton school Monday morning. Mr. Ankrum is at the center of a dispute among teachers at the school. (Credit: Michael White)

Riverhead Charter School principal Raymond Ankrum outside the Calverton school Monday morning. Mr. Ankrum is at the center of a dispute among teachers at the school.
(Credit: Michael White)

More than a dozen Riverhead Charter School teachers and administrators have come out this week in defense of Ray Ankrum, the school’s principal and executive director, who’s facing “union-busting” accusations that include firings and intimidation tactics directed at staffers sympathetic to the school’s teachers union.

Mr. Ankrum’s supporters include six veteran teachers who are members of the school’s leadership team. The team is also being implicated for taking part in anti-union activities in violation of state labor laws, according to two complaints filed with the state Public Employment Relations Board.

(See the full complaints at the end of this story.) (more…)

01/06/14 7:47pm
01/06/2014 7:47 PM
FILE PHOTO | Check back here for school closing updates.

FILE PHOTO | Check back for school updates.

Updates on school closings, delays, early dismissals and event cancellations:

As of 8:30 p.m. Monday

• Two-hour delayed opening on Tuesday at the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River school districts.

• Two-hour delayed opening on Tuesday at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School.

• St. Isidore School will have a delayed start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

• Peconic Community School will have a delayed start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

• Be sure to click the following links for any cancellations made between updates: Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead School District, Riverhead Charter School, Bishop McGann-Mercy, St. Isidore School, Peconic Community School.

Check back for more information.

12/18/13 8:40am
12/18/2013 8:40 AM
FILE PHOTO | Check back here for school closing updates.

FILE PHOTO | Check back here for school closing updates.

Updates on school closings, early dismissals and event cancellations.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday:

• Two-hour delayed opening at the Shoreham-Wading River School District.

Be sure to click the following links for any cancellations made between updates: Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead School District, Riverhead Charter School, Bishop McGann-Mercy.

Check back for more information.

10/03/13 4:33pm
10/03/2013 4:33 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riverhead Charter School students at Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riverhead Charter School students at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The Riverhead Charter School held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to celebrate the start of its $14.1 million construction project that will accommodate the school’s increasing enrollment.

Charter school principal and executive director Raymond Ankrum gathered with hundreds of students wearing yellow hard hats at the school on Route 25 in Calverton and explained how the new building has been “years in the making.”

“Finally, it’s happening,” he said. “It’s an exciting time for our students and employees. We’re on the verge of big things.”

The 50,000-square foot project is expected to include a two-story building with new classrooms and space for an auditorium, gymnasium, library, administration offices and a kitchen. The design features will include a grand main entrance atrium and a large bay window that will act as a reading area in the front of the building.

Outside, there will be a general grass play area with landscaping, including tree plantings and standing ornamental lampposts.

A new bus loop, parking lot and drainage system will also be constructed.

The school will also get its first gymnasium, and a 150-seat portable bleacher.

Officials said the state Board of Regents approved the charter school’s request in March to expand its program through eighth grade, making it the only K-8 charter school in Suffolk County. The school was established in 2001 as a K-6 program and currently has students enrolled from about 14 local districts.

About a month after the state’s approval, the charter school held a lottery to fill open positions in the school’s kindergarten and grades 1, 2, and 6 programs. Mr. Ankrum had said the lottery was the first of its kind at the school, which saw more applications before the deadline this year than ever before.

Normally, the school will put students on a waiting list if they apply after the April 1 deadline, but this year the school received more applicants before the deadline than they had spots to fill.

Officials said the new facility will be able to accommodate about 500 students, up from its current capacity of 300.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Mr. Ankrum also gathered with representatives involved with the project, including BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers of Patchogue. The company is also involved with capital improvement projects in the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River school districts.

Representatives from Stalco Construction of Islandia; the project’s general contractor, SCC Construction Management Group of Hauppauge; the project’s construction manager, DeLuxe Building Systems of Berwick, Penn.; and PW Grosser Consulting, also attended the event.

The project, which will be paid for through a bond, is expected to be completed next winter.

jennifer@timesreview.com