Back to School: Riverhead, SWR outline goals as new year begins

This school year the main focus of Riverhead Central School District faculty and administration will be on how to increase student achievement, superintendent Aurelia Henriquez said. 

The staff worked together this summer to devise a comprehensive plan to monitor student achievement in each school building that is also consistent throughout the district. 

This year students will have increased opportunities for targeted instruction in math and literacy with before- and/or after-school extra help. Students in pre-K through second grade will see a change in their literacy program that will align the teachings in all the elementary buildings and the district’s universal pre-K providers, she said. Faculty districtwide is also working to develop ways to improve math assessments in grades 3-6.

Riverhead will also have Lisa Boerum, from Eastern Suffolk BOCES, visit all schools and work with teachers on data-driven instruction and best practices to create the same professional development and goals throughout the district, Dr. Henriquez said.

The district also plans to continue instructional rounds and the whole child approach, which were both implemented in 2017-18. During instructional rounds faculty and administration visit classrooms and work together to improve teachings throughout each building. The whole child approach focuses on providing social and emotional support for all students throughout the school day. Another main focus for 2018-19 will be creating shared expectation for the bilingual and English as a New Language students to help increase student achievement, she said. The district is hoping to accomplish all these goals through data-driven analysis. 

The first day for all schools in the district is Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Shoreham-Wading River

The 2018-19 school year will see the addition of numerous extracurricular offerings at all grade levels. These include an outdoor adventure club and Play Pals group at Miller Avenue Elementary School; a coding club, student council and science olympiads at Wading River Elementary School; a cheer club at the middle school; and a yoga club at the high school, superintendent Gerard Poole said.

High school students will also be offered new electives, including website design, sports literature, fashion design, Long Island sustainability, and film criticism classes.

At the elementary level, students in grades K-5 will embark on a new math program called Eureka Math. The Chromebook program will be expanded to grades seven and eight, enabling all middle school students to use a laptop in and out of school. 

A new psychiatrist position was created to handle extra work and create a proactive approach in addressing mental health concerns. Twice a week at the secondary buildings a psychiatrist will be on hand for extra hours to work with students and parents, Mr. Poole said.

A security vestibule is currently being built at the high school and two additional security guards were added in the budget for this year. 

The district has completed capital bond projects in the middle and high schools. The middle school library and main offices received total renovations, and new floors and bleachers were installed in the middle school gym. Most notably, a brand-new cafeteria is being built and is expected to open in the winter of 2019.

At the high school, the main gym now has new bleachers and new lockers were installed in both athletic locker rooms. The high school auditorium is currently being renovated and is expected to be complete by Oct. 1.

The first day of school for students is Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Riverhead Charter School

The biggest change this upcoming school year will be the opening of the original building as a middle school for grades 6-8. It marks the first time students in these grades will be in their own building, middle school principal Patrick McKinney said. Previously, all students in the K-8 district were in one building. 

Mr. McKinney added that the goal is to prepare the middle school students for high school and allow them to develop their own identity. A main focus this year will be on organizational skills at those grade levels, he added. 

In order to prepare the building for the opening of the school year a new elevator was installed along with new windows and flooring, and the classrooms were repainted, elementary principal Laura Arcuri said. 

At the elementary level, the curriculum will remain relatively the same and will focus on expanding its offerings as the sections in each grade increase, she said. Students in all grades will have classes in theater, library, music, art and physical education.

The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 4. 

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River students will have the opportunity to participate in numerous new extracurriculars, including student council, coding and outdoor adventure clubs, during the 2018-19 school year. (Nicole Smith file photo)