RBOE Notes: School board approves contract for science curriculum; districtwide safety plan outlined

The Riverhead Board of Education approved a $29,000 cross contract to purchase instructional materials from Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES at last Tuesday night’s regular meeting.

According to the contract, available on the district website, PNW BOCES will provide Science 21 curriculum materials for all district elementary schools: Aquebogue, Phillips Avenue, Riley Avenue and Roanoke Avenue.

According to the PNW BOCES website, the Science 21 program is designed by teachers for teachers, and its “focus is to have students engage in minds-on and hands-on science tasks.” The site also says the curriculum “integrates practices of ELA, Math and Social Studies where they fit naturally.” 

The Science 21 program includes three units at grades K-2 and four units for grades 3-5. According to the website, each grade level curriculum provides relevant, grade-appropriate experiences in physical science, earth/space science, life science, and engineering.

The contract with PNW also states that Riverhead would incur “additional costs that have not yet been determined.”

During last week’s meeting Board member Virginia Healy said she was happy the program was being brought into the district, but asked whether the administration knew what those additional undetermined costs would pay for. 

District Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said the additional costs would cover any professional development that would be needed districtwide.

“As we are slowly making the necessary changes to align our elementary schools, we did not want to rush and roll this out, so we are working with our teachers,” he said. “I do not anticipate that the costs for this year would be extreme … but certainly next year, as we increase the usage and the kits, we would need to provide additional professional development for all our elementary staff.”

Dr. Tornatore added that the professional development would be provided by Putnam Northern Westchester.

“They do not only offer all of the kits and all of the guidance but they offer the training as well,” he said. “PNW BOCES, in my opinion really is the best BOCES to go to for any curricular supports.”

Dr. Tornatore added that the Riverhead district already uses them for their social studies and their ELA website on the elementary level. 


The Board of Education is expected to adopt a proposed districtwide safety plan within 30 days after holding a public hearing on the plan at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Terry Culhane, director of security for the district, and Rodney Asse, assistant superintendent for business, gave a brief presentation on the pending plan that included information on the drills each building is required to conduct as well as drills required by the transportation department. According to the presentation, there will be 12 drills: eight fire drills and four lockdown drills. At least eight of these must be completed by Dec. 31.

“We are on time; we are conducting the drills as required by the department of education and also board policies,” Dr. Asse said.

The transportation department conducts drills in September, November and March, according to the presentation.

After the brief presentation, there was a public hearing on the proposed draft of the plan. No public comments were made Tuesday night, but written comments may be emailed to the school board or superintendent until Oct. 13. The complete safety plan is available on the district website.

At its first meeting after the 30-day comment period, according to board vice president Laurie Downs, the board will consider a resolution to adopt the plan, 


The Board of Education approved an Owner of Therapy Animal Services contract with Karly Lucarelli. 

According to contract, this allows for the establishment and implementation of a therapy animal program at Pulaski Street Elementary School that will run through June 30, 2023. The purpose of the program, according to the contract, is to provide students with the opportunity to receive social/emotional support in the school setting and animal-assisted intervention. 

The contract also specifies that Ms. Lucarelli is the owner of the dog Rosie, a duly certified and registered therapy animal. 

The resolution on the agenda states that this contract is at no cost to the district.