Open communication, improved test scores among goals of Riverhead BOE

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney, left, and Board of Education president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse at a meeting earlier this year.

The Riverhead school board adopted a series of goals for the new school year, including open communication with parents and staff, improved test scores, and fiscal responsibility for next year’s budget.

The board will “provide the resources” to “maximize academic support” and raise standardized test scores, as well as look for cost-saving measures through shared programs and energy-efficient means, according to the resolution passed unanimously at the Tuesday night board meeting.

Riverhead School District received a mixed report card from last year’s state standardized testing results, with English scores improving but still lagging behind the state average. Superintendent Nancy Carney said the district will implement more grammar and handwriting courses to improve students’ writing abilities.

The district’s math scores were mostly above average, according to the state’s results.

However, some requested clarifications on how the district would increase test scores without Academic Intervention Services, and how open the board would be toward parents’ concerns.

Riverhead Central Faculty Association president Barbara Barosa asked what the district would do to increase scores without AIS services — extra instruction to help students who are struggling to meet state learning benchmarks.

“We are completely trying to provide whatever support services we need for all of our students based on the resources that we have, and we are committed to doing that in varied ways,” Ms. Carney replied, adding that the district was working on a “response to intervention” program to help struggling students.

Details about that plan were not immediately available.

Resident Laurie Downs, a former president of the Riverhead Parent-Teacher Organization, also spoke before the board and asked about openness for parents to discuss their concerns with the board if they were having issues with school administrators.

School board vice president Greg Meyer said in those instances parents could attend executive sessions to speak with the board privately.

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