Northport Schools Notebook: Science Initiatives; Health Curriculum

Notes from the Feb. 27 Board of Education meeting.

Science Student of the Month

Northport High School senior Eric Drewitz was recognized as Science Department Student of the Month. Drewitz earned eleven credits in the subject over a four year period, including four years of science research and three AP classes.

Special Award for Aidan Dwyer

Noting that there is no Student of the Month award at the middle school level, District Chairperson Robert McGrath presented Northport Middle School student Aidan Dwyer with a special award for his utilizing the Fibonacci Sequence found in nature. 

Dwyer also participated in the Second Annual White House Science Fair in February where he.

Science Initiatives

McGrath presented an overview of the science department curriculum initiatives, which include creating guidelines and procedures for implementing an all Regents level curriculum in eighth grade beginning with fifty percent in September 2012. He noted that achievement at the middle school level continues to be very strong with students scoring at levels 3 and 4 on state assessments district-wide.

One of the goals at the high school level has been to improve the level of mastery in Chemistry. McGrath said that in 2011 the Suffolk County level of mastery was 19 percent compared to Northport’s level of 28.15 percent. A PDF of the entire presentation is attached to this article.

Health Curriculum Questioned

During the public portion of the meeting, parent Rachel Friedman expressed concern that students aren’t being taught the health curriculum as mandated by New York State since the health program was suspended at the elementary school level.  “Is our district meeting those standards?” she asked. Athletic Director Drew Cronin said components of the curriculum are incorporated in the physical ed program wherever appropriate.

Superintendent McDermott said that in the past, students were taught 13 lessons, and the goal is to restructure the program so that even more material can be taught in the future. “We need to look at this comprehensively,” she said, adding that she wants to bring the issue to the elementary curriculum council. “I think we can utilize the staff we have.”

Policies on Animals in the Classroom and Homeless Students

The Board received two policies for a first reading. Both policies are attached in pdf form to this article. Policy 4850 relates to animals in schools, including dissection lessons. Students can opt-out of experiments involving dissection for religious or moral reasons in accordance with state law. Live animals used for assistance such as guide dogs are allowed by state law. Other live animals are not permitted in the classroom or on property unless it relates directly to curriculum.

Policy 5151 states that homeless students have the right to attend school in either the district of origin (i.e., where he/she resided before becoming homeless), the district of current location, or a district participating in a regional placement plan. The homeless child is entitled to attend the designated school district on a tuition-free basis for the duration of his or her homelessness. If the child is relocated to temporary housing outside the district, or to a different attendance zone or community school district within the district, the child is entitled to continue attendance in the same school building until the end of the school year and for one additional year if that year constitutes the student's final year in that building.


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