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School Board Notes

Outstanding student achievements, a report on the social studies curriculum, an update on the LIPA grievance and more were all part of the Dec. 13 Board of Ed meeting

Student Achievements

Andrew Manzo, District Chairperson of Social Studies K-12, introduced Chirag Munim, the social studies Student of the Month. In addition to his academic success, Munim is involved with a number of extracurricular activities.  His involvement with the l's Law Club helped him become an Annenberg Foundation scholarship recipient, which enabled him to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with three Supreme Court justices.

Manzo recognized the winners of the Northport Historical Society's "" contest (elementary): Gregory Dilimetin, D.J. Myers, Sean O'Malley,  and Emily Serrao; (middle school): Elizabeth Carr, Nicholas Medaglia, Taylor Pearl, Victoria Porter. The contest, which is in its third year, is open to students in grades 3-8.

Manzo also introduced the recipients of the New York State Archives Awards for their "History of Broadway" project:  Sophie Ambro, Ian Buitenkant, Elizabeth Carr, Gabriella Gucciardo, Delilah Hassan, Devin Navas, Jake Robinson, and Nell Worden.

Manzo introduced Youn-Hee Chung and Timothy Foley, both high school students, who were recognized for their political cartoons which were published in the New York State Council for the Social Studies "Time and Place" newsletter.

Manzo, along with Bob Thomas and Bob Grogan from the , recognized the Boys/Girls State Leadership Program Award Recipients:  Erin O'Brien, Michael Dygulski, Samuel Kim, Kevin Ross, Paul Scancarelli, Luke Stypulkowski, and Ryan Thorne.

Social Studies Presentation

Andrew Manzo gave an overview of the social studies program, which includes an increased fusion of economics into the K-12 curriculum for the current school year. Trustee Donna McNaughton expressed appreciation for the program's 2009-2010 focus on geography.

Manzo noted that even though the state has eliminated testing of grades 5 and 8, it's "business as usual" with initiatives for this school year including a continuation of the DBQ (Document Based Question) initiative of 2009-2010, with particular emphasis on the transition years of grades 5-6 and 8-9 to make up for the lack of data.  There are still two levels of Social Studies testing at the high school level:  Global History and American History, which means that going forward, the first time students will encounter a state Social Studies test will be in the tenth grade. The complete presentation is attached to this article.

Update on LIPA Grievance

Trustee Joe Gannon gave a brief update on the meeting which was held Monday, Dec. 13 to discuss . Some community members expressed frustration that the meeting was closed to the public. Trustee Joe Gannon said it was more of a meet-and-greet session so that members could get to know one another, but that a separate meeting of  Northport community leaders and residents might be possible in the future.

There was much discussion about the impact that the grievance would have on the district. Waldenburg said that between the time the grievance is filed and the time it's settled, the dollar amount increases and payments would have to be made retroactively with interest. That might lead the Town of Huntington to settle more quickly, which Waldenburg said might not be in Northport's best interest.

Resident Joseph Stewart asked if the ongoing contract negotiations with the United Teachers of Northport could take into account the possible ramifications of the tax grievance.  Waldenburg replied, "I want to stay focused on the tax filings and if there's any legal challenge." He said that when LIPA was formed, statement had been made that taxes would not be challenged, but Stewart said he could not find any mention of that in documents on LIPA's website. Trustee Gannon said that the documents would be posted on the School Board's website, but added that it would take some "digging" to make sure that the agreement not to raise taxes would stand in the face of any later agreements.

Dr. Nina Dorata, a member of United Taxpayers of Northport-East Northport, asked the Board to come up with some disaster plans now, rather than waiting. "You need to do some 'what-if' scenarios. That's the prudent thing to do."

School District Officer and Employee Code of Ethics

The Board discussed  the proposed School District Officer and Employee Code of Ethics, which included revising the value of a gift that an employee or Board member could receive from $75 to $25.  A pdf of the document is attached to this article.

Resident Fred Trudwig suggested that nearly everyone in the district might have a conflict of interest because of indirect pension involvement in companies such as Scholastic. The Board voted to withdraw the code for further discussion and possible revision.

Upcoming Meetings

The next Board of Education Meeting will take place on Jan. 10 at 7:30 in the William J. Brosnan School. Expected topics include recognition of the Physical Education Department Student of the Month, Instructional Initiatives for Physical Education and Health, and a presentation by the Superintendent on the 2011-2011 budget process.

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