Riverhead school board notes

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Aquebogue Elementary principal Phil Kent discusses Common Core at Tuesday night's board of education meeting.
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Aquebogue Elementary principal Phil Kent discusses Common Core at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.

Riverhead third-graders are learning how to attribute information in their writing and are building a stronger foundation in math fundamentals under the new Common Core guidelines, administrators said Tuesday night.

Aquebogue Elementary School principal Phil Kent and school literacy coach Vanessa Williams gave a presentation about Common Core practices within third grade at this week’s school board meeting at the Riverhead High School auditorium.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a new set of benchmarks that require instructors to teach more non-fiction and rigorous math to students at a younger age to better prepare them for college and careers. After New York adopted Common Core, the state published lesson plans for teachers to help students achieve the new standards. The state doesn’t mandate that schools use these lesson plans, but they are available online at

Related: Common Core meeting with State Education Commissioner John King to be held later this month in Manorville

Ms. Williams said teachers are receiving professional development and lessons plans from Engage NY and Teachers College at Columbia University, which the district has used for several years. During her presentation, she talked about how ELA is changing under Common Core, including how third-graders are asked to read more texts about history, social studies and science.

“They’re answering questions about what they’ve learned based on the text itself — not prior knowledge,” she said. “That’s a really big emphasis with Common Core.”

As for math, Mr. Kent said third-graders are focusing on building a foundation with multiplication and division before moving on to learning about the area of objects, fractions and measuring weight and volume.

Last month, Riley Avenue Elementary School principal David Enos and Roanoke Avenue Elementary School principal Thomas Payton gave a joint presentation about Common Core practices within ELA and math in kindergarten through second grade.


The school board unanimously approved a resolution to finalize the district’s Tuthill Lane land deal with the county.

Assistant superintendent Sam Schneider said the development rights for the nearly 23-acre property in Aquebogue were sold for about $53,000 per acre. The land deal, which was struck in 2012, totals about $1.2 million.

The district had planned to use those proceeds to purchase land near Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside to relocate the bus garage, but scrapped the proposal after voters rejected a proposition that would have allowed the district to explore the feasibility of acquiring the Riverside property.

The district is currently forming a volunteer committee tasked with finding a way to deal with the district’s crumbling bus barn.


The Riverhead Police Department is investigating an unspecified incident at Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Police were called to the school shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, officials said. Police declined further comment because the investigation involves juveniles.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said no injuries were reported and “nothing materialized” from the incident. She said the district follows its code of conduct with all reported incidents and declined further comment, citing student privacy reasons.

No other information about the incident was immediately available.