Tag Archive | "Bridgehampton"

Planners Say Konner Development Will Be Discussed April 16

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The vacant Konner property on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. 

By Mara Certic

It’s hard to tell by looking at the empty lot at the western entrance to Bridgehampton, but over the past few months, planners, developers and community members have spent many hours trying to determine what would be most appropriate for the 13-acre Konner property and on Thursday, April 16, a draft of their conceptual plan will be placed before the town board.

After the land lay untouched for five years, plans to create a development on the property across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons resurfaced in October.

The site is currently zoned for a mix of highway business and residential uses. The highway business zoning restricts the type of businesses allowed in the development to shops one might see alongside County Road 39.

For that reason, the owner, Konner Development, is asking the town to change the zoning to a Planned Development District (PDD), which would allow the town board to rezone the lots for a use it believes could better serve the community and also allow board members and the community to have a say in the development process.

One of the benefits of PDDs is that community benefit, planners say.

According to Amy Pfeiffer, a principal planner in the town’s long-range planning department, the developer is currently permitted to have 90,000 square feet of retail space. Just under one third of that will be an Equinox gym, which has already been approved for the property. The property will also include some affordable housing units; Ms. Pfeiffer said it will likely be between 20 and 30 new units, and that it has a lot to do with how septic flow is handled for the property.

An advisory committee composed of planners, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the consultants and approximately eight Bridgehampton residents have met three times to discuss the details of the project.

According to Ms. Pfeiffer and members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee who are involved in the planning process, the development has been designed bearing the hamlet’s agricultural heritage in mind.

“The whole front is a really nice green pasture area, and it will have an agricultural look,” Ms. Pfeiffer said in a recent phone interview.  “All the buildings will be designed in that way and there’s a lot of planting,” she added.

The consultants have started the environmental review process, she said, which should move quickly because a large portion of that process was done when the project was last discussed five years ago.

Members of the Bridgehampton CAC said at their meeting last month that they wanted the development to be a socializing, activity-driven place. Several residents suggested the developers look at Amagansett Square, which they said is the type of project they would like to see in Bridgehampton.

 

 

School Merger Forum

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With property taxes on the rise and tuition rates a bone of contention, the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons will hold a forum, “School Mergers: What You Need to Know,” at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 13, at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton.

The program will feature a panel of experts including New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who will speak on the state’s role in school mergers; Eastern Suffolk BOCES chief operating officer Dr. Julie Lutz, who will explain BOCES’ role; Tuckahoe Superintendent of Schools Chris Dyer, who will address the academic and extracurricular impact on students of merging or not merging; and Southampton School Board President Heather McCallion, who will cover the financial impact on budgets and taxes of merging or not.

The panel will be moderated by Judi Roth, the league’s Education Committee chairwoman, who will also field questions from the audience.

“I encourage stakeholders from all Hampton districts to attend; we plan to recognize audience members who wish to add to this on-going conversation,” said Ms. Roth.

Southampton Town’s SEA-TV, Channel 22, will tape and later air the program. For more information, contact Ms. Roth at 283-0759.

Team Supreme Lives The Dream: Bridgehampton Robotics Team Headed to Nationals

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Bridgehampton’s Team Supreme celebrated qualifying for Nationals, last weekend, and now has the hard task of raising $15,000 in three weeks. Photo courtesy Kenny Giosi.

By Mara Certic

The East End was well represented last weekend at the Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition when Bridgehampton High School’s rookie Team Supreme surprised everyone by finishing in the top eight and qualifying for the FIRST Robotics Competition in St. Louis. Pierson High School’s team brought home an award for creativity.

A total of 51 schools competed in the Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition last week from March 26 to 28 at Hofstra University, to fight for a place at the International Robotics Competition in St. Louis later this month.

Robotics teams that compete in the FIRST tournaments are given a specific challenge in January, and then have about a month until “Stop Build Day” to build a robot capable of completing that task.

This year, teams were given the job of building a robot that is able to stack totes on top of one other, and for even more points, to place garbage cans on top of the totes.

Members of Bridgehampton’s Team Supreme (or Team 5659) were as surprised as most onlookers when they landed themselves a spot in the top eight in their first ever FIRST competition, qualifying them to compete in St. Louis.

Team Supreme co-captains Claudio Figueroa and Dylan Breault said they definitely wouldn’t have done so well if not for the help of the Pierson Robotics Team, whose prepared them for what to expect in the competition, as well as holding practice games with them before the tournament.

“They were the most essential team to our success,” Dylan said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have even gotten into the competition.”

At the end of the qualifying games, each of the top eight teams was allowed to choose two teams to bring as an “ally” to the finals. So when Bridgehampton qualified, its members knew they would ask Pierson’s Team 28 to accompany them to the playoffs. The alliance from Bridgehampton, Hicksville and Sag Harbor lost out in the quarterfinals, but the Team Supreme still finished with enough points to receive an invitation to St. Louis.

The team’s mentor, Mark McLeod, provided a lot of insight and support to the team, and attended meetings of the club once a week since October, forcing the teens to program and re-program robots, until it became second nature.

His hard work, and that of staff advisors Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz and Kenny Giosi, helped Team 5659 make their dream of qualifying come true.

“Honestly, I can’t explain how euphoric the experience was,” said Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz, who added that announcers and volunteers throughout the weekend repeated how much they loved Team Supreme. An alumni organization at Hofstra liked the team so much it offered to raise money to help send the rookie team to Missouri.

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The Pierson High School Robotics team earned a creativity award at the Robotics First Competition. Photo courtesy of the Sag Harbor School District

“None of us could have ever imagined that our first year in robotics would be so momentous and empowering,” she said. “It was not only the toughest fun that we could ever have, in a strange way, it was the funnest fun that we could ever have.”

Pierson’s veteran First Robotics Competition Team 28 won the Xerox creativity award for its robot, parts of which were made with a 3-D printer won by team members in an essay competition earlier this year.

“It was pretty cool stuff,” said Clint Schulman, the faculty advisor to the robotics team.

East Hampton High School, which doesn’t have its own team, had three students and their tech teacher, Trevor Gregory, accompany and compete alongside Pierson’s team. Local mentors Rick Pickering, Rob Coe and Jim Ritter contributed hours of help to Pierson’s team and “were really fundamental in the mechanics aspects of the program,” according to Mr. Schulman.

“At the end of the qualifications, we finished 29th, which was a little disappointing,” Mr. Schulman said. The co-captain of team, Kevin Spolarich, nevertheless felt that “the competition went pretty well for us overall.”

“We were really impressed with how well Bridgehampton did as a rookie team,” Kevin said. “They managed to build a really good robot despite lacking the experience or resources of other teams.”

Bridgehampton’s team now has three weeks to raise $15,000, which would be enough money to send all of the team members to the competition in St. Louis which will take place from April 22 through 25.

“We have an extremely supportive school district,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said, but still the team needs to work harder than ever to raise the money it needs to make the trip.

From now until then, with its robot sealed in a bag in a corner of its work room, Team Supreme has three things on its to do list: Raise money, breathe, and make it become a reality.

For more information, or to donate money to Bridgehampton’s Team Supreme, contact team5659@gmail.com or call Dr. Lois Favre at (631) 537-0271, extension 1310.

Local Girl Scout Troop Sells Bricks for Mashashimuet Park

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By Mara Certic

 Discussions about today’s youth often range from test scores to crime rates and drug abuse, and fail to touch on the many ways young people are looking to give back to their communities.

But on the East End of Long Island, large groups of children and teenagers are working hard to come up with new ways to provide services for and improve their neighborhoods and towns, and are raising more money along the way.

Sag Harbor’s Girl Scout Troop 152 actually broke down into smaller groups in order to choose whom to help for its Bronze Award project. The nine girls, who are mostly fifth-graders, decided to do something for Mashashimuet Park after committees met with the park board, library board and members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

“The girls voted on the park,” said Scout Leader Jen Glass. “They wanted to give back to the park and would like to see some new stuff; that equipment’s been there since I was a child and I’m 44.” she said on Tuesday.

The troop has decided to raise their money by starting a buy-a-brick program Ms. Glass explained. Bricks will be placed in a new walkway on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike-side of the park.

“It’ll open up into a patio and we’ll lay the bricks we sell there in that area,” she said. “And then the park will continue to raise funds and can expand the sidewalk.” The bricks cost $50 apiece and can fit up to three lines of text with 18 to 20 characters per line.

Troop 152 is trying to do all of the brick-selling by May, in order to install the bricks before the end of the school year. The Girl Scouts will then use the money earned selling bricks to purchase a new piece of play equipment for the park.

The girls are also working with local artist Chris Nielson to design a new welcome sign for the park.

One of the scouts has created order forms for those interested in purchasing bricks, which are available at mashashimuetpark.com.

“It’s where these girls have enjoyed their time and they’re getting older now so they just want to give back,” Ms. Glass said.

For the past four years, as part of an effort spearheaded by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the Town of Southampton has been helping those who want to give back by offering small grants to youth groups or individuals who need financial support to perform a community service.

Last week, the town board and the town’s Youth Bureau awarded almost $3,000 in grants to 11 different applicants.

“Some of the ideas that the kids are proposing are really interesting and different,” said Nancy Lynott, the bureau’s director. “We have kids of all ages. That’s another thing I really like about it,” she said.

Three siblings in the Westhampton Beach School District won a grant for their community service project called Builders and Books, which provides bookshelves full of age-appropriate-books to kids in need.

“[Our mom] is the Reading Coordinator at Tuckahoe School in Southampton,” One of those children, Emilee Downs, 14, in an email last week, explained that their mother is the reading coordinator at Tuckahoe School in Southampton. “She told us how some of her students were in need of books to read and that some of them weren’t able to get to the public library because they didn’t have transportation or their parents work a lot,” she wrote.

So Emilee and her brother Zach, 18, and sister Ally, 12, started organizing book drives and asked construction companies to donate bookshelves. The teens then curate the selection, choosing books they think specific children would like the most, and they’re delivered to homes in the Tuckahoe and Westhampton Beach school districts. This school year, they have already given out nine bookshelves, each one stocked with anywhere from 200 to 400 books.

This grant will allow them to deliver 11 more fully stocked bookshelves.

“It’s really a great feeling to see how excited the families are to receive them,” Emilee wrote.  “At one house, the two little boys were smiling and laughing and jumping up and down like it was Christmas.”

 

 

 

 

 

In Push Toward Inclusion, a Need for Teachers Certified in Special Education

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Bridgehampton School teacher Sarina Peddy, with students Avery McCleland and Neo Simmons, is pursuing a master's degree in special education to help the school meet the need for more inclusion of children with disabilities in general education classrooms. Photo by Carolyn Dyer.

Bridgehampton School teacher Sarina Peddy, with students Avery McCleland and Neo Simmons, is pursuing a master’s degree in special education to help the school meet the need for more inclusion of children with disabilities in general education classrooms. Photo by Carolyn Dyer.

By Tessa Raebeck 

With research and federal law both supporting increased inclusion of children with disabilities in general education classrooms, American school districts are working on getting as many teachers certified in special education as possible, and developing sound systems for early intervention and response.

Research on inclusion has found that students with disabilities who spend more time in classrooms with their peers not only have higher tests scores and better job prospects, but are also less likely to miss school or act out in class. In response, many districts are trying to shift from general education classrooms to those with teachers who are also certified in special education. But, at a time when school districts are contending with less state aid and a cap on the taxes they can levy, many have found inclusion difficult to implement and struggle to find sufficient resources, funding and teachers who are dual certified in both general and special education.

Aleta Parker, director of Response to Intervention (RTI), the special education program in the Bridgehampton School District, said RTI and the push toward inclusion at Bridgehampton has been “very effective…we’re proud of it and it’s growing and so are we.”

At the Bridgehampton School, which, like many schools nationwide, still has separate special education classrooms, administrators are encouraging teachers to pursue master’s degrees in special education to help the school meet the demands of increased inclusion.

“With this change, students with disabilities now get the opportunity to be educated alongside their non-disabled peers with the full or part-time support of a special education teacher to assist in adapting and modifying instruction,” said Sarina Peddy, who started teaching at the school this year.

Since early intervention is a key component of successful inclusion, there is an ever-increasing need for childhood education teachers who are certified in special education. Ms. Peddy has a bachelor’s degree in childhood education and is in the process of applying to universities where she can earn her master’s degree in special education.

The degree takes two to three years to complete and includes 18 different courses and fieldwork. The district has funding to pay for a portion of its teachers’ tuition rates, but the budget is administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Ms. Peddy is on the waiting list.

Like many districts nationwide, Bridgehampton uses two models to address the special needs of students: Response to Intervention (RTI) and Instructional Support Teams (IST).

Beginning with the screening of all children in general education classrooms, RTI is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and continuing support of students that relies on high-quality, attentive instruction. IST involves collaboration between specialists, teachers and, ideally, parents and uses a team approach to screen students. The models aim to shift the question from, “What’s wrong with the student?” to “What resources can we use to increase the student’s chance for success?”

“That used to be the old model—if there was something wrong with a student, the immediate response was to throw them in special education,” said Ms. Parker.

Dr. Lois Favre, the district’s superintendent and principal, who has a background in special education, agreed, saying the approach used to be, “Get them out of my room, put them in special ed. What did you do to help them? Nothing, put them in special ed…RTI has really changed the look of how we talk about students and their progress in a really positive way.”

“It really is a teacher initiative,” said Ms. Parker, adding that parents are invited to meetings and encouraged to be involved. The team of teachers works hard to identify students early, address the whole issue, including what may be going on at home, and treat each student as an individual when figuring out how to best educate them.

In 1970, four out of five children with disabilities were denied a public education in America, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Many states had laws excluding students from attending public schools, including those who were deaf, blind or “emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded.” Students with disabilities were either excluded from public schools altogether or were kept out of sight of their peers.

Based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act changed the model in federal law, if not in practice. Enacted in 1975, it mandated that school districts provide a free education that was appropriate for the child’s need in a public school and that the “least restrictive” placement for that student was always sought, defining the ideal placement as in the child’s local school in a general education classroom.

As recently as 2011, however, students with disabilities in New York spent more time in school isolated from students without disabilities than their peers in any other state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the IDEA Data Center.

Stepping Around Snow, the Bridgehampton School Prepares its Gardens for Spring

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Justin LaPointe waters a seedbed during a spring cleaning of the Bridgehampton School's greenhouse on Saturday, March 7. Photo by Michael Heller.

Justin LaPointe waters a seedbed during a spring cleaning of the Bridgehampton School’s greenhouse on Saturday, March 7. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

Despite the snow piles, the potholes, and the threat of more 30-degree weather on the horizon, spring is on its way—at least at the Bridgehampton School.

A group of parents, teachers, and students came to school on Saturday, March 7, to clean up the school’s greenhouse before spring and prepare for the coming season.

For the past five years, the Bridgehampton School has been planting a garden on its grounds, primarily tended by the students and led by teacher Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, who is also the chair of Slow Food East End, with help from a few other teachers. It evolved into a community garden about two years ago, and production is increasing this year, as a committed group of Bridgehampton parents has joined in, coming each Monday to work in the greenhouse.

Philippe Cheng, a parent at the school, redesigned the greenhouse layout this year to make more room—and grow more lettuce. The goal is to increase production and bring more fresh produce into the school’s cafeteria, while educating the students and community about the importance of slow food.

As part of its commitment to community-minded farming, healthy, mindful eating and sustainable, farm-to-table production practices, Slow Food East End funds master farmers for local school gardens. Zachary Johnson, a farmer at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, has been supervising and lending a hand in Bridgehampton.

Working together with Mr. Johnson and the school’s cafeteria staff, this season the gardeners will be producing different varieties of lettuce and snap peas, and in the long run onions, potatoes, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and plenty of beets and carrots.

“We really hope to supply all of the lettuce that the cafeteria uses for the week, and to at least provide a vegetable throughout the year, that would be our goal,” said Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz.

Coursework aligns with the garden’s mission. There is a botany and agricultural production elective for Bridgehampton students to learn about growing food and the nutrition and culinary arts elective teaches them how to prepare and eat it.

“It’s very much about those principles of eating good, clean and fair food,” said Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz, who teaches the nutrition and culinary arts elective. Using the garden, students can learn about the creativity behind cooking.

While the students have been involved since the beginning through in-school electives and after-school clubs, two years ago Bridgehampton started the community garden with the goal of involving more people outside the school. The greenhouse now has 13 raised beds, 8-by 4-feet each, that members of the community can take over and use to grow whatever they please in exchange for helping out in the garden.

“That brought more people in, but it’s really the fact that the parents have come in [this year] and so now we have parents, faculty, and students, so we have the whole package—and an extremely supportive administration,” said Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz. “Everything is in place and—it’s just very exciting.”

As the school community has become more involved, so has the greater Bridgehampton community surrounding it. Local farmer Jenn Halsey Dupree will be coming to the school to help the gardeners plant some apple trees. There is already a small strawberry patch and blueberry bushes, and new raspberry bushes will soon be planted.

“Children are all excited about the fruit, they just love it,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said.

On Saturday, the group made plans for future expansion and even greater involvement. Mr. Cheng came up with the concept of modeling the project off of a “field of dreams,” where you build it and they will come.

“I just loved that concept, because we’ve been working on that, but if we reach out and really get more and more people involved and have them have ownership in the garden, that could only make the project grow,” she said, adding the concept could potentially be brought to all the local school gardens.

The Bridgehampton garden team will be building two raised beds in the greenhouse using a grant received from Slow Food East End, and the ultimate goal is to raise enough funds for six more.

“Our idea is, well, let’s build them, we’ll build the two and people will see what it’s like and get excited and be part of the growth going forward, so that we can carry on building them and get community support for them,” she said.

Encouraging anyone who’s interested to stop by and become involved in any way they can, the gardeners at Bridgehampton School hope to continually raise community involvement not just to expand the raised beds in the greenhouse, but also the mission behind them; to raise awareness about what real food is, where it comes from, what to eat and how to eat it.

Sorry Kids, Sag Harbor Spring Break Affected by Snow Days Again this Year

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As his friends look on, Philip Miller catches air on Pierson Hill following the Blizzard of 2015 on Tuesday, 1/27/15

Making the best of the biggest blizzard in years, Philip Miller shreds a buried bench on Pierson Hill as his friends look on on Tuesday, January 27. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

After Sag Harbor students enjoyed their fourth snow day off this school year on Thursday, March 5, Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Katy Graves announced they would have to make up for the loss of one day of instructional time. As a result, students will lose the last week day of their scheduled spring break and will be required to attend school on Friday, April 10.

“We encourage you to have your children come to school on April 10, but we are understanding if your family has made other plans. Our parents are our children’s finest teachers; time spent with your children is never wasted,” Ms. Graves said in an email to the school community.

Required by law to have 180 full days of instruction each year, school districts are faced with the tricky task of balancing breaks with preparation for inclement weather, which has become a more pressing concern with the extreme storms and conditions in recent years. Extra snow days cut into the scheduled spring break last year, as did Hurricane Sandy the year before.

“I am hopeful that the adage is true that when March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb,” Ms. Graves said in her email. “We certainly have seen March’s winter claws, but we have also enjoyed the beauty of Pierson Hill deep in snow.”

Dr. Lois Favre, the superintendent of the Bridgehampton School District, said it had 180 school days scheduled and would not have to make up any lost days unless school is canceled again.

Ms. Graves said on Tuesday that if the district were to need another snow day, which could occur along with the forecasts of inclement weather for this coming weekend, “we’ll continue to carve away at that vacation time, but we’re really hoping that that’s not going to be the case.”

The next vacation day to be turned into a school day would be Thursday, April 9, also during the spring recess.

In its contract with the Teachers Association of Sag Harbor (TASH), the district pledged to never start school before Labor Day, “which is good for our families and our district and it works also for our teachers… we have to respect that,” Ms. Graves said.

The provision is intended to protect members of the community and staff who work second jobs during the summer months and rent their homes out during Sag Harbor’s busy resort season.

Planning for the upcoming 2015-16 school year poses extra challenges because Labor Day is late this year, falling on Monday, September 7. That means the window for the school year is narrower than it normal is. Because Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday in September, the district faces such a situation once every seven years.

“We’re adopting a calendar that right now only has two snow days built in, so we’re probably going to have to continue to be thoughtful about this,” said Ms. Graves. “We’re going to have to continue sitting down with our teachers association, PTA [Parent Teachers Association] and the Board of Education and probably coming up with a contingency plan.”

One option she mentioned is adding flex dates during the summer, when children have a day off but faculty and staff come in for training.

“I don’t know what those other options look like right now, but the New York State Department of Education gives us just a tiny little bit of latitude and that’s what we might need to bring to the table—is just a little bit of latitude and to see what we can do for next year,” Ms. Graves said.

Bridgehampton School Teachers Update Board on Evolving Pedagogy

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By Tessa Raebeck 

Bridgehampton School teachers updated the Board of Education Wednesday, February 25, on their teaching methods and PBIS, the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention System.

Special education science and math teacher Jeff Neubauer showed videos and shared the science and thinking behind “these new ways of approaching education.” Bridgehampton teachers Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, who teaches environmental design and runs the up-and-coming robotics program, and Helen Wolfe, a math and science teacher, were also there in support of Mr. Neubauer.

In drafting this philosophy, the teachers took their academic experiences in a special education classroom and transferred those lessons to apply the methods to the larger student body.

The three core tenets of the philosophy, which was fostered by a handful of Bridgehampton teachers with help from Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre, is a diversity of instruction methods and teaching styles, a focus on rewards rather than punishment in terms of student behavior, and a focus on transition, or accurately preparing students for work in a modern world through programs like robotics and coding, Mr. Neubauer said.

Special education teachers, Mr. Neubauer told the board, are able to work together in the classroom and thus, “we get to see a myriad of teaching styles.”

“The real thing we came to,” he said of he and his colleagues, “was that diversifying instruction and motivation really became the pillars of what we wanted [education at Bridgehampton] to be.”

The Positive Behavior Intervention System, or PBIS, focuses on rewarding good behavior in students, rather than punishing bad behavior. Originating in the district about five years ago, the system was designed to provide good behavior with rewards in a consistent fashion across grade levels and classrooms.

Good behavior in the classroom, Mr. Neubauer said, allows for a safer environment, where students can feel comfortable learning, asking questions, and expressing their creativity. With the slogan that ease of use equals implementation, the teachers created a Bridgehampton PBIS website. The platform, which uses technology to streamline the process, has earned recognition at the local, state and regional levels.

All behavioral actions are logged onto the PBIS website by teachers, producing a vast display of data on behavior trends in Bridgehampton.

Teachers can use the extensive data to make informed decisions on how best to deal with behavioral issues. They can track, for instance, that most of the negative write-ups for a student occurred during first period, then see that they were predominately for tardiness. The data allows teachers to “isolate the problem and try to solve it,” Mr. Neubauer said.

“We want to make school a place where you don’t have behavior issues, so every kid can learn and be able to be creative and have this freedom,” he added.

In other school board news, the board decided to pursue a budget that will not pierce the state-mandated property tax cap, which it expects to adopt at its meeting on April 22.

The annual community forum on the budget will be held Wednesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium. The next meeting of the school board is March 25 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria.

“Clyborne Park” Opens March 12 At Hampton Theatre Company

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postCard-clybourne-park-patronMail

“Clybourne Park”—the wickedly funny and provocative play by Bruce Norris about how the different faces and shades of racism can make a straightforward real estate transaction anything but—will be the third production of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 30th anniversary season. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play opens on March 12 at the Quogue Community Hall and will run through March 29.

The two acts of “Clybourne Park” are in fact two separate plays set 50 years apart and spinning off Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama, “A Raisin in the Sun.” With a cast of seven taking on different roles in the play’s two halves, act one is set in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to stand fast against the onslaught of gentrification.

Calling the play, which won the Olivier and Evening Standard awards for its London production, a “sharp-witted, sharp-toothed comedy of American uneasiness,” Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times that “the very structure of ‘Clybourne Park’ posits the idea of a nation (and even a world) trapped in a societal purgatory of ineptitude and anxiety.”

The cast of “Clybourne Park” features four Hampton Theatre Company veterans and three newcomers. Matt Conlon was most recently on the Quogue stage in the fall in the role of Ellwood P. Dowd in “Harvey,” following his turn in the title role in “The Foreigner” last March. Joe Pallister, who also appeared in “The Foreigner,” was last on the Quogue stage in last spring’s production of “God of Carnage.”  Ben Schnickel is familiar to Hampton Theatre Company audiences from “The Foreigner,” as well as “The Drawer Boy,” “Becky’s New Car,” and “Rabbit Hole.” Returning to the Quogue stage for the first time since her appearance in “Desperate Affection,” Rebecca Edana first appeared with the HTC in the company’s revival of “Bedroom Farce.” Rounding out the cast and trailing extensive lists of New York and regional credits are Juanita Frederick, Shonn McCloud, and Anette Michelle Sanders. HTC Executive Director Sarah Hunnewell will direct.

“Clybourne Park” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from March 12 through 29, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Information is available at hamptontheatre.org. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 1 (866) 811-4111.

 

Almond Expands Into Tribeca

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Chef Jason Weiner.

Chef Jason Weiner.

By Gianna Volpe

Chef Jason Weiner now has another Almond to love, which brings the count up to four if one considers his lovely wife – namesake to the now three Almond restaurants owned by Mr. Weiner and partner, Eric Lemonides – as the brand-new Tribeca location had its official opening last Wednesday night.

“We had a press dinner, then four nights of friends and families,” Chef Weiner said of private events that led up to Almond Tribeca’s opening night. “Before that we had a mock service where half of our staff sat down and ate while the other half took orders and then we flipped it around. That’s part of the process, so by opening night it’s almost old hat because we’ve been doing it for more than a week.”

This is a common service tightening ritual among experienced restaurateurs and one that should not be ignored, according to Chef Weiner.

“It’s so important,” he said of practicing mock service trials before opening a new restaurant. “The last thing we want to do is charge people money when we don’t really have it together.”

Lovers of Bridgehampton and Manhattan’s Almond locations will be happy to learn the menu in Tribeca includes the restaurant’s tri-steak standard, as well as its signature Caesar salad and Brussels sprouts two ways, but may be thrilled by its new roast chicken for two and a unique duck dish Chef Weiner said is simply bursting with Long Island flavor.
He said the duck breast dish combines the Amber Waves Farm sweet potato and Long Island Mushroom Company shitake ravioli that can found at Almond Bridgehampton with a Crescent Farms duck breast that is served with house-made Sirracha at its Tribeca location and a l’orange in Manhattan.

“We’re also doing a super fantastic lobster sausage appetizer, which is delicious and getting some great feedback,” Chef Weiner said of the menu at Almond Tribeca. “I’m still keeping as local as possible, but bringing stuff from my friends on Long Island. If you know us from other places, the menu will have familiarity to you, but there are some things on there that are specific to the new space.”

That includes the décor at Almond on Tribeca’s Franklin Street, which East Enders may also be pleased to learn includes the red-back dropped zebra herd found in the signature Scalamandre wallpaper found at Almond’s Bridgehampton location.

“It has a lot of warmth to it, but is airy and Tribeca-ish in its own right; we like our places to stand on their own,” said Chef Weiner.

He added Almond Tribeca is a “pretty, cool place” that can be found “smack dab” between TriBeCa Grill and Nobu, which belongs to Myriad Restaurant Group’s Drew Nieporent.

“Eric [Lemonides] worked for him as the general manager of Della Femina 20 years ago,” Chef Weiner said of Mr. Nieporent. “We’ve been building the place since October, so he’s been popping in to give us some informal advice and wish us well. He’s a good guy…a real trailblazer. They opened TriBeCa grill 25 years ago when there really wasn’t much down there, so the guy’s a visionary, obviously.”
Chef Weiner said today the area’s unique dichotomy – where “families and commerce” set streets a-bustle by day leaving behind “ a lot of dark alleyways” by night – is one in which he and his team are excited to join.

“Tribeca is very specific” he said of the new Almond location. “We’re really psyched to be down there.”

Almond Tribeca is located at 186 Franklin Street in New York City. Almond NYC is located at 12 East 22nd Street in New York City. Almond Bridgehampton is located at One Ocean Road in Bridgehampton. For more information, visit almon