Some changes in store for Riverhead students

Riverhead High School custodians Daniel Ramirez (left) and Cornelius Trent strip the floor Friday in the school’s new foreign language computer lab, which was created by partitioning a foreign language classroom.

The end of summer — and the first day of school — are right around the corner. The heads of Riverhead’s public schools say students can expect a few changes when classes resume Tuesday.

In the Riverhead School District, 12 full-time teachers and four part-time teachers have been hired to replace last year’s retirees, resulting in a net loss of four full-time teachers, said Superintendent Nancy Carney. And Lois Etzel was selected as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, the post formerly held by Ms. Carney, who replaced former Superintendent Diane Scricca this summer.

Ms. Carney said students in kindergarten through second grade will for the first time participate in the Full Option Science System, or FOSS, a program created at the University of California at Berkeley to help engage students in science.

The high school will now offer an A.P. world history course for 10th-graders and a new English elective about heroes in literature.

This summer, for the first time, the school held a leadership academy in collaboration with Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, a safe haven for adolescent boys in Riverhead. Selected students participated in course work and a retreat at the ranch. The program will continue throughout the year, Ms. Carney said. Ideally, she said, students will begin the program in middle school and continue until graduation.

“We’re trying to help some students really be successful,” she said.

The superintendent also said the school is in the process of forming a pep band.

At Riverhead Charter School, an alternative public school that enrolls kindergarten through sixth grade students from 16 districts, students can expect changes in their uniforms. For the past 10 years, girls have worn yellow polo shirts and boys have worn light blue. Principal Dorothy Porteus said this year, at parents’ insistence, all students will wear white polo shirts. “[Parents] say they can’t get stains out of yellow,” Ms. Porteus said.

The school also hired five new teachers this year. Between 300 and 400 people applied for the five spots, Ms. Porteus said. “We had a huge number of applicants,” she said. “We had people applying with 10 to 15 years’ experience.”

Students will return to classes at the Route 25 campus for the first time since a fire in February destroyed two classrooms in a modular building. The school held classes at the St. John the Evangelist campus in Riverhead for the remainder of the year. (See story, page 3.)

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