Tag Archive | "Hampton Bays"

East End Towns Budget Money for South Fork Behavioral Health Initiative

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


By Mara Certic

Supervisors in both East Hampton and Southampton kept to their words this week when they put $25,000 aside in their tentative budgets to go towards improving mental healthcare in South Fork school districts.

In April, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle awarded $150,000 in state aid as seed money for the first step of the three-pronged South Fork Behavioral Health Initiative.

Senator LaValle secured an additional $5,000 each for the Sag Harbor, Southampton, East Hampton and Hampton Bays school districts. Each district, in turn, is expected to match that amount.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman managed to get his hands on $17,000 more from the county, bringing the anticipated total funding on the South Fork up to $257,000 for phase one.

This first phase, which Mr. Thiele had anticipated would require $320,000 in total funding, would establish a crisis service that would provide immediate mental and behavioral health needs specifically to South Fork area students. It is proposed one full-time psychiatrist be hired to work at the Family Service League’s East Hampton and Westhampton Mental Health Clinics. The first step is also slated to include the hiring of two full-time social workers.

“It also establishes Family Service League as the interim point of contact for crisis intervention,” Mr. Thiele’s proposal reads. “A permanent point of contact will be established in the second phase, which builds on and expands the crisis service through a mobile unit and community collaboration.”

The third phase would involve seeking out support from Stony Brook University’s psychiatric residency program.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the issue of seriously lacking mental healthcare on the South Fork was first brought to his attention by the East Hampton School District over a year ago.

As it stands now, there is no appropriate process set in place for a student who might be experiencing a crisis at school on the East End, be it threatening self-harm or contemplating suicide. According to Karen Boorshtein, president and CEO of the Family Service League, “When a school district encounters a crisis, they usually need to involve the police and have the youth transported over 60 miles to the psychiatric emergency room at Stony Brook.” Not only does this place strain on local police departments, but more often than not, these troubled children are handcuffed and placed into the back of a police vehicle for their trip up to their evaluation.

Once students return from their emergency evaluations, they then often face long waiting lists at local mental health clinics. There is not a large pool of mental health professionals on the East End, which many attribute to our remote location and rather sparse year-round population. Those who do operate on the South Fork often do not accept insurance and typically charge $200 to $300 an hour, according to Ms. Boorshtein.

“The last two years have seen the completed suicides of three youth and a significant increase in the number of mental health crises being experienced by youth and requiring school districts to respond,” Ms. Boorshtein wrote in a e-mail on Monday.

According to the CDC, the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24 is suicide. In a 2011 nationally representative sample of high school students, 15.8 percent of youths reported they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months preceding the survey.

According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), an organization dedicated to suicide prevention, the strongest risk factor for suicide is depression. The organization also claims that 80 percent of those who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.

“The grant will increase and improve coordination of community mental health services to avoid future mental health crisis and suicides,” Ms. Boorshtein said.

The initiative also calls for telepsychiatry, which will provide secure phone lines on which troubled students can talk to licensed psychiatrists. The American Psychiatric Association recently deemed telepsychiatry “one of the most effective ways to increase access to psychiatric care for individuals living in underserved areas.”

The Family Service League is gearing up to start making these changes, and soon enough, phase one will be implemented on the South Fork. But the battle ahead is long, and much more money will be needed to complete all three of the steps.

“The potential catastrophe here is around the corner if we can’t deal with this better than we have been in the past,” Mr. Cantwell said.

Thursday, October 9 is National Depression Screening Day on which individuals can take a free online mental health screening at helpyourselfhelpothers.org 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Tags: , , , , ,


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Southampton Hospital and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at the hospital have planned a slew of events to increase awareness and raise funds to support local breast cancer survivors, starting with the lighting of a Pink Ribbon Tree at the Southampton Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Other events include a Breast Cancer Awareness Health Fair on Friday, October 3, at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.;  the fourth annual Breast Cancer Summit at The Coral House in Baldwin from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7; the Give Where You Live Campaign Kickoff at Parrish Memorial Hall at Southampton Hospital at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8; Look Good, Feel Better at the Hampton Bays Library on October 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. the Shelter Island 5k Run/Walk on October 18 at 11 a.m. at Crescent Beach on Shelter Island; a Birdhouse Auction at the Southampton Social Club on Elm Street at 6 p.m. on October 18; a Shopping Benefit at Calypso at 21 Newtown Lane in East Hampton on October 23 from 5 to 7 p.m.; and Free Makeovers for Breast Cancer Survivors at Macy’s in Hampton Bays on October 24 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In addition, there will be three Charity of the Month promotions. Sabrosa Mexican Grill on Montauk Highway in Water Mill will donate the total bill amount for the 100th customer each day in October to the Coalition for Women’s Cancers. The Deborah Thompson Day Spa at the Plaza in Montauk will donate 10 percent from all treatments during the month, and Panera Bread on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of pink ribbon bagels to the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program and the The Breast Cancer Research Program at Cold Spring Harbor Research Laboratory during the month.

For more about the various breast cancer awareness events, call (631) 726-8715.

San Gennaro Feast This Weekend

Tags: ,


The annual San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons will take place this weekend in Hampton Bays with a parade, food, music, fireworks and a carnival. The festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  on both Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5 on Good Ground Road next to the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

There will be more than 100 vendors selling food and other wares and a carnival on the grounds of the Hampton Bays Fire Department, with daily, one-price wrist bands available for all rides. There will be a DJ, live bands and “Big Mike” from “American Idol” as well as roaming minstrels and local talent.

The parade, with floats and contingents from neighboring communities, will take place at 10:30 a.m. A Grucci fireworks show will take place on Saturday, October 4, at 8:30 p.m. (with a rain date of Sunday.)

A New Fiat will be raffled off at $50 a ticket (or three for $100) with only 300 tickets being sold. The drawing will take place at dusk on Sunday.

Proceeds from the feast will go to Maureen’s Haven, a homeless shelter that rotates among various houses of worship on the East End; the Hampton Bays High School Scholarship Fund and the Coalition for Women’s Cancer at Southampton Hospital.

For more information, visit sangennarofeastofthehamptons.com.

Sea Turtle Release

Tags: ,


img_0342

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation has invited the public to join it at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, in Hampton Bays for the first sea turtle release of the season.

Estonia, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, was rescued last October from Davis Park, Fire Island. This endangered juvenile was cold stunned and has spent the last nine months being rehabilitated at the foundation’s center in Riverhead.

The meeting place will be in the parking lot at Ponquogue Beach, which is on Dune Road, just east of the Ponquogue Bridge. The town will waive the parking fee beginning 15 minutes before the scheduled release time.

Advocates Discuss Lack of East End Youth Services

Tags: , , , , , ,


By Stephen J. Kotz

East End youth advocates gathered on Thursday, May 29, at the David Crohan Community Center in Flanders to solicit ideas about how Suffolk County could both maintain and improve the services to young people.

The impetus for the forum was the completion of a draft report by an East End subcommittee of the Suffolk County Youth Board Coordinating Council that focused specifically on the East End. The subcommittee was one of four convened by the county, the others being tasked with studying behavioral health issues, teen pregnancy and unemployment.

“There is a lot of agreement that this is an under served community,” said Nancy Lynott, the director of the Southampton Town Youth Bureau in an interview on Monday. She added that while it was reassuring that the county recognized the East End’s special needs, the region must still fight for its fair share of funding.

That will be particularly true in years to come, she said, because of a change in how funding for youth services is doled out at the county level by New York State. “There have been changes that give the county some flexibility in how state funding is used,” she said. “It used to be designated for each municipality, but starting in 2014, it all goes to county” to allocate as it sees fit.

The report, which is due to be completed next month, will be an important tool if East End providers of youth services want to maintain their share of the county pie. “We want to be able to show why East End communities should be getting priority,” she said. “They are aware of our situation, but they wanted not just stories and anecdotes, but hard information.”

What the report found was that it is difficult to get everything from mental health services to employment counseling on the East End because it is so far east of the county’s population centers, there is a lack of public transportation, and services are available on a spotty basis.

“Service delivery is fragmented,” Ms. Lynott added, “with some provided by towns, villages and even the county. We also have 30-some school districts on the East End. So what we have to do is get everybody on the same page.”

Last week’s event was co-sponsored by youth bureaus in Southampton, Riverhead and Southold towns as well as by Suffolk County Legislators Jay Schneiderman, who represents the South Fork, and Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork.

Although the image of the East End is one of wealth and glamor, Ms. Lynott said there is a darkly different reality behind the façade. “We have some terrific wealth out here, but we also have some terrific poverty,” she said.

During her presentation, she said that East End communities routinely turn up in lists of the most underprivileged in the county. Six of the most economically distressed communities in the county found on the East End, with 76 percent of teens between the ages of 16 to 19 unemployed. Seven of the 15 communities with the highest number of uninsured families are also here. East End children also qualify at higher averages for free or reduced-fee school lunches, and young people on the East End “are well above the national average in their use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.”

East End youth are priced out of the housing market and have limited social outlets, the report found. And those who finish school find “they don’t know what they are going to do next and we have we have very little to offer them,” Ms. Lynott said.

“Government doesn’t understand that if you spend $2,000 on prevention, you might save $30,000 to $40,000 down the road” in treatment or jail costs, said Riverhead Councilman Jon Dunleavy, one of several public officials to attend Thursday’s roundtable.

Rachel Toy, a Sag Harbor resident and a recent college graduate, said providing good jobs for local youth is a must.

Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender suggested that local building contractors could be enlisted to launch an apprentice program to help in that effort.

Kerry Laube, a Westhampton Beach Police Department sergeant, said teaching kids about the dangers of substance abuse should be a priority.

Helen Atkinson-Barnes, who runs educational programs at The Retreat, a non-profit that provides shelter and counseling for domestic abuse victims in East Hampton, called on educating young people about the importance of developing healthy relationships. “Underlying a lot of those issues” contained in the report “are unhealthy relationships,” she said.

“First, I want to address transportation,” said Laura Smith of the North Fork Alliance, who said better bus service is needed to help young people get to jobs and appointments.

Improving mental health services was the concern of Andrea Nydegger, who works with the Eastern Suffolk BOCEs on the North Fork. “I have kids who get referred to me constantly,” she said, adding that she tells parents counseling is cheaper than paying for a tutor.

Kim Jones of the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force agreed there was a “dire need” for better mental health services, and said that the community had recently learned of the second suicide this year of a young person.

“Our high school students are not asking ‘where are you going to college?’” she said. ‘They are asking, ‘who do you think is gong to commit suicide next?’”

“We realize this is just the beginning,” Ms. Lynott told the gathering. “I hope we can continue these discussions. Maybe we can get some real changes started.”

Suit Filed Over Deer Cull in East Hampton

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


By Kathryn G. Menu

Two not-for-profit wildlife organizations and a group of individuals have banded together and filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent a regional plan to cull deer with federal sharpshooters beginning this winter.

The Montauk-based East Hampton Group for the Wildlife and the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons in Hampton Bays, along with 15 residents, filed suit in Supreme Court Thursday against East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Town Trustees. In the suit, they ask for a temporary restraining order against the town’s comprehensive deer management plan, and specifically any proposal within that plan that calls for the organized culling of the whitetail deer.

While the lawsuit was served on the town last Thursday and the village on Friday, that same day, the East Hampton Village Board moved forward by passing a resolution to join the Long Island Farm Bureau’s (LIFB) proposal to bring in federal sharpshooters to cull deer herds in municipalities across the East End.

The LIFB’s plan, which it is coordinating with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), entails bringing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sharpshooters to the East End to cull the herd. The program will be funded by the LIFB through $200,000 in funding through the 2013 state budget.

The Farm Bureau has asked East End villages and towns to sign onto the program by committing $15,000 to $25,000, respectively, to have federal riflemen come to their municipalities. The cull will take place in a four or five week window beginning in February, timing Farm Bureau Executive Director Joe Gergela noted was designed to give local hunters a chance to cull the herd themselves during deer season, which runs through late January.

The goal, said Gergela in an interview earlier this month, is to cull 1,000 to 2,000 deer from across the East End. The meat from the culled deer will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island.

The USDA sharpshooters use suppressed rifles and depending on terrain, either trap deer with a drop net, work as a mobile team with a driver, spotter and shooter, or shoot from tree stands. The Farm Bureau will coordinate efforts with municipalities that sign onto the program to identify areas deer herds tend to populate the most.

East Hampton Village has agreed to pay $15,000 into the program and joins East Hampton and Southold town, who have both agreed to provide $25,000 in funding.  Southampton Town has yet to decide on whether or not it will join the regional cull, and Sagaponack officials have said that village would wait until both towns sign on before making its own commitment. The Village of North Haven is pursuing its own organized cull.

While supporters of the plan point to the incidences of tick borne illnesses on the East End, public safety concerns connected to deer and motor vehicle accidents, as well as the financial impact on farms and on private landscaping, critics contend there has been little information provided to show the cull is truly necessary. Local hunters have also opposed the cull, arguing if New York State, and the towns and villages, opened up hunting restrictions, they could thin the deer population themselves.

“There is not enough proof that there is the kind of population that would warrant this,” said Virginia Frati, the Executive Director and Founder of the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. “How can we do this without proof of that?”

“We are not convinced there is an overpopulation of deer,” she continued. “Where is the proof that an overwhelming majority of residents are even for this? Even the hunters are not in favor of this.”

Oddone Conviction Overturned

Tags: , , ,


anthonyoddone3

By Kathryn G. Menu

A manslaughter conviction that carried a 17-year sentence against Anthony Oddone — a caddy charged in the death of a Hampton Bays man —was overturned by the New York State Court of Appeals last Thursday.

Oddone was convicted in 2009 for first-degree manslaughter in the death of Andrew Reister, 40, who Oddone put in a headlock during a confrontation at the Southampton Publick House in 2008. Reister — a retired security guard — was working as a bouncer at the Publick House at the time of the incident and later died of brain injuries caused when his heart stopped during the altercation.

Oddone was originally sentenced in 2010 to 22 years in prison — a sentence the state Appellate Division reduced to 17 years in 2011.

According to the December 12 decision, the Appellate Division ruling — which upheld Oddone’s conviction —has been overturned because of a concern over testimony regarding the length of time Oddone held Reister in a headlock. The defense argued that several of the original trial court’s rulings in admitting and excluding evidence related to that issue were mistaken and that State Supreme Court Justice C. Randall Hinrichs did not allow the defense to “refresh his witness’s recollection with a statement the witness had previously given” regarding the headlock.

According to the December 12 decision, at Oddone’s trial, the prosecution asked seven witnesses to estimate the duration of the headlock. While the estimations varied, most registered the total time of the headlock somewhere near three minutes, according to court records. Two defense witnesses gave shorter estimates, stating the headlock may have lasted less than a minute.

The jury acquitted Oddone of murder, but convicted him of manslaughter in the first degree and the Appellate Court upheld that conviction.

“Of the issues raised by the defendant on this appeal, we find three —all related to what witnesses were or were not allowed to say about the duration of the headlock — that call for discussion,” reads the decision.

Oddone’s defense argued Dr. James Wilson, who performed an autopsy on Reister’s body, was permitted to testify that in his opinion his neck had been compressed for “something in the range of two, three, four minutes.” When a defense witness, Megan Flynn, testified to the duration of the headlock, which she observed, “could have been a minute or so,” defense counsel was not allowed to “refresh her recollection” with a prior statement she made that the headlock could have lasted “maybe six to 10 seconds.”

Oddone’s defense also argued in his appeal that Steven Penrod, “an expert in eyewitness observation” was not permitted in the original trail to testify that “eyewitnesses routinely overestimate, by large margin, the duration of relatively brief events.”

While the court rejects the defense’s attack on Wilson’s testimony, it agreed with the defense that the restriction placed on the questioning of Flynn was an error requiring a new trial.

According to the decision, Flynn — a waitress at the Publick House the night of the incident — told an insurance company investigator that the part of the headlock she saw lasted “for maybe 6 to 10 seconds.” She was not called as a witness by the prosecution, but called by the defense. On the stand, when asked the same question, Flynn said, “I didn’t have a watch. I wasn’t keeping track of time. But it could have been a minute or so. I don’t know.”

When the defense tried to show Flynn her previous statement it was not permitted by the court to do so.

“In this, the trial court erred,” reads the decision. “When a witness, describing an incident more than a year in the past, says that it ‘could have’ lasted ‘a minute or so,’ and adds ‘I don’t know,’ the inference that her recollection could benefit from being refreshed is a compelling one,” reads the decision. “More fundamentally, it was simply unfair to let the jury hear the ‘a minute or so’ testimony — testimony damaging to the defense, from a defense witness’s own lips —

while allowing the defense to make no use at all of an earlier, much more favorable, answer to the same question.”

“Though Flynn was certainly not the central witness in the case, we conclude that the error in limiting counsel’s examination of her was important enough to justify reversal,” continues the decision.

Further, the prosecution would go on to use Flynn’s testimony in closing arguments, noting “Megan Flynn even told you, the defense’s own witness, told you it was one to two minutes.”

The ruling also notes the defense should not have been barred from calling a psychiatrist to the stand to testify on the accuracy of eyewitness accounts.

Attorney Marc Wolincky, a member at The Bridge in Noyac where Oddone was a caddy, argued the case before the Court of Appeals earning Oddone a new trial. Oddone has already served five of 17 years.

Costs Rise for Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum Restoration Projects

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


By Tessa Raebeck

With the first phase of a three-part plan to renovate and restore the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum nearly complete, necessary additional repairs — and fundraising efforts — are on the rise.

Following complaints about the museum’s exterior appearance voiced to building inspector Tim Platt last May, restoration of the historic 1845 building, also the home of the Waponamon Lodge No. 437 Free Masons, began September 15.

“We can certainly say the scope of the project has grown,” Barbara Lobosco, president of the museum board, said Tuesday. “Like most planned undertakings, things crop up during the course of the project.”

The first phase of the plan covers the repairs and painting of the building exterior, including removal of 10 layers of paint — the last being lead.

The contractor, Ince Painting Professional of Westhampton Beach, which has worked on historic buildings like the Hannibal French House in Sag Harbor and the Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, originally estimated the first phase of the project would cost $180,000.

More product removal was required than was originally allotted for and, at this point, the estimated cost for the first phase is closer to $260,000.

“With any project,” Lobosco said Tuesday, “what happens is you underestimate budgets and so on and so forth, other things open up that need to be fixed as well. When you work with an historic building of this age, new doors open up to new repairs.”

The actual application of the new paint is almost entirely completed. The museum is now in the midst of repairs to the porches and gutters, as well as partial repairs to the capital tops of the building columns.

The finials on the roof, which resemble blubber spades and whale teeth, are also undergoing restoration.

The building’s interior is covered by the second phase of the restoration project, which is not expected to begin for a year or so. Several issues have already materialized that necessitate projects the museum had planned to address in the future to be confronted within the next few months.

“We’d rather replace the pipes before they burst,” said Lobosco, referring to deteriorating, galvanized pipes in the basement that need to be restored.

Additionally, the entire basement must be cleaned.

“As we get inside the building,” said Lobosco. “We’ll need more [repairs] as well.”

The third phase of the capital campaign addresses repairs to the building grounds and will likely be implemented prior to the second phase of interior renovations.

“We want to finish the outside first so that it’s cohesive,” said Lobosco.

The museum plans to landscape the property before the summer, fix the front and back porches and repair the exterior fencing.

“The fence is going to be another big issue,” said Lobosco. “We’ve cleaned it up now, but it’s going to cost at least $60,000 just to repair.”

With continuous costs and essential repairs yet to be determined, the museum’s fundraising for the capital campaign is ongoing. Close to $180,000 in funding has been raised so far. The total cost is at present around $260,000, which will only cover the cost of painting. More funding is essential for the museum to move forward with the rest of the restoration process.

Last March, the museum’s fundraising efforts for the capital campaign kicked off with a $50,000 matching grant from the Century Arts Foundation earmarked towards the repair work. The Whaling Museum plans to host three fundraising events this holiday season, exhibit several beneficiary shows this spring and continually solicit private donations throughout the course of the project, according to Lobosco.

This Friday, the museum is hosting an auction at the Peter Marcelle Gallery in Bridgehampton. Available items include a 200-year-old woven basket, gift certificates to a variety of restaurants in Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, donations from In Home and other local stores, and framed film posters from the 1960s and 1970s donated by the notable filmmaking couple Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, who live down the street from the Whaling Museum. Value of auction items range from $50 to $1,000.

“We’ve been getting local donations which have been great,” said Lobosco. “The community’s been terrific, especially with the auction items. The merchants in town have been very supportive of the museum and our efforts to move forward.”

On December 23, the museum will raffle off a brand new 2013 Fiat 500 Cabrio Pop from Brown’s Fiat in Patchogue. The sleek, black convertible has red and ivory seats and an ivory and black interior. Just 350 tickets are for sale at $100 a piece.

To further aid with fundraising, BookHampton is sponsoring a holiday book sale on the museum’s front lawn on weekends throughout the holiday season. The store will match money raised “dollar for dollar,” said Lobosco.

With its interior closed for the winter, the museum plans to reopen for the season on Earth Day with a show by local artist and Pierson Middle/High School art teacher Peter Solow, with sales from his work also earmarked for the capital campaign.

At the official opening on Memorial Day, “a whale show” is going to be on display. Proceeds from the paintings will be split 50/50 between the artists and the restoration project. Funds raised via three additional shows during Summer 2014 will also go towards the restoration efforts. The exact content of the shows is unannounced at this point, but Lobosco said one show will consist of only Sag Harbor artists.

In addition to special events, the museum continues to raise funds through its mail drive and individual donations. Lobosco is also hopeful for another matching grant.

“It will be ongoing for years,” she said of the restoration projects, “so the fundraising efforts will continue.”

Concerned Sag Harbor Parents Crowd Pierson Library for Math Curriculum Workshop

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols presents a workshop on the Math Curriculum in front of concerned parents at Monday evening.

Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols presents a workshop on the Math Curriculum in front of district administrators, the Board of Education and concerned parents Monday evening.

By Tessa Raebeck

Parents told stories of children bursting into tears, berating themselves for being “idiots” and spending hours agonizing over homework at the Sag Harbor School District’s math curriculum workshop Monday night, voicing concern over the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS).

“The first thing we say to her is get out your math homework,” said Christa Schleicher of her daughter, who is in seventh grade at Pierson Middle/High School.

Concerned parents, mostly of seventh graders, filled the Pierson Library to hear a presentation led by Sag Harbor Elementary School Principal Matt Malone and Pierson Principal Jeff Nichols, with assistance from their math teachers.

Developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Common Core is a set of educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that states voluntarily adopt. CCLS has been adopted by 45 states. New York State (NYS) adopted CCLS in July 2010, but it is being phased in over several years.

Every seat in the library was filled as parents showed up to express their discontent with the Common Core program, which many believe was rolled out haphazardly without clear direction from the state and to the detriment of students.

“It’s not specific or indigenous to Sag Harbor,” said Nichols, who has three children in the Southampton Intermediate School. “Everybody is struggling with these same issues.”

“We really want to commend the effort of all the instructors in our district who are working through this new initiative,” said Malone. “There’s a lot of challenges and in a way we’ve all kind of been thrown into it.”

At the end of the 2012/2013 school year, NYS math assessments for students in third through eighth grade measured CCLS. Nichols said state assessments assume kids going into the seventh grade curriculum had Common Core instruction since kindergarten, when in reality, mathematics instruction was not fully aligned with CCLS until the 2012/2013 school year for students in grades three through eight and the 2013/2014 school year for high school students.

“That assumption is a big assumption to me,” Nichols said Monday evening, adding that the pacing of the modules is also inaccurate. “They say a lesson will take 40 minutes…reality is it’s not 40 minutes, it’s 60 or 70 minutes.”

“As a school,” he continued, “what we struggle with and what I’m struggling with is to what extent do we let mathematics dominate the landscape?”

Nichols said about an hour and a half of math homework each night is on pace with the modules, a time requirement many parents said is overwhelming for their kids.

“It’s a lot more rigorous,” said Diana Kolhoff, a Sag Harbor resident and math consultant. “So some of the historical traditions that these schools have had are running into trouble with the Common Core. Things that had worked in the past are no longer working.”

“This is probably the most exciting part but also the most challenging part,” said Malone. “This is the part where you wrestle with, ‘are we presenting things in the best way to kids?’ Because it’s really challenging and it’s causing kids to have to work a lot harder than they had to before.”

“I get it all and I get that they’re reprogramming,” said Schleicher. “My struggle and our struggle at home is the amount of it. My daughter, she’s beginning to despise math because it’s so much…she’s getting it, she’s getting better at it, but it’s just taking too long.”

“I’m dealing with the same thing with my children,” Nichols said, calling it a “juggling act” because by diminishing homework, the students fall behind the state’s expected pace in the classroom. He said they are trying to gauge how fast teachers can go without turning kids off math.

“If we have to tweak our workload and at the end of the day where our students are at, we’ll do so,” said Nichols, who has already implemented a few modifications.

To increase instructional time and hopefully minimize time spent on math at home, Pierson added a lab period designed to reinforce the CCLS lesson for students in seventh grade and algebra classes.

Middle School Assistant Principal Brittany Miaritis said lab time provides the students with far more one-on-one learning instruction than available in the classroom setting. Teacher Richard Terry said it has been “very helpful” for his seventh grade students. Additionally, several senior math teachers were moved from the high school to the middle school two years ago, due to their comprehension of what would be required of those students later on.

Although they recognized its challenges, the teachers in attendance appeared to be proponents of the CCLS methodology. Fifth grade teachers George Kneeland and JoAnn Kelly shared a CCLS fluency activity, a fast-paced drill that is supposed to be a fun way to measure a student’s personal best. Kelly said her students love sprints, asking for them almost every day.

Kneeland then introduced an application problem, or “problem of the day,” which is designed to be strategically linked to previous lessons and concepts.

“We were just taught a methodology for doing it and we did it,” he said of his grade school experience. “The Common Core philosophy is taking a step deeper and looking at things so we get a pictorial understanding and more concrete understanding and then transition to what’s called the standard algorithm.”

Janice Arbia, who has four children in the school district, asked, “When they’re actually grading these tests, does it matter how they do it?”

The intent, Malone said, is for students to grasp what they were asked to do, so they can choose the way of solving the problem that works best for them. Energy is devoted to the concepts instead of the calculations.

“One of the big shifts now,” added Terry, “is rather than have a teacher standing in front of the students doing all of this work, the students are becoming an active participant in the lesson.”

“My students coming up this year in geometry are significantly stronger than they’ve been in the past and I expect that trend to continue,” said high school teacher Chase Malia. “I really think my students are much better prepared than they’ve been in the past.”

The administrators said their model of approach relies on feedback from teachers, parents and students. Nichols said that while some parents say their children are overwhelmed, others say they like the rigor and their kids are thriving. He plans to administer a survey to hear students’ opinions on how much they can handle.

“We do have an obligation to make sure that we safeguard kids’ emotional well being,” said Nichols. “And if in fact we’re asking too much of them in terms of the amount of homework, this survey will be able to generate some data related to that.”

Southampton Town Council: It’s Bender & Glinka, Unofficially

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

By Kathryn G. Menu

While the results have yet to be made official by the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE), according to Southampton Town Democratic Party chairman Gordon Herr, it appears that Independence Party member Brad Bender and Republican Stan Glinka have held on to their Election Day leads and will join the Southampton Town Board in January.

On Wednesday morning, an official with Suffolk County BOE chairman Anita Katz’s office declined comment on the race stating official results would not be available until later this week.

However, Herr said the counting of 879 absentee ballots was completed last Wednesday and that Bender and Glinka have secured seats on the town board.

Bender and Glinka bested Bridgehampton resident Jeff Mansfield and Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone in the town board race.

“I am so very thankful to my friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, everyone who was so generous and encouraging during the campaign,” said Glinka, the town board race’s top vote getter, in a statement on Wednesday. “But more importantly I am thankful to the voters of this great town, my hometown of Southampton, for endorsing me with their vote. I look forward to continuing to listen to all the people and to working on finding balanced solutions to many crucial issues at hand.”

“As I committed to be your full time representative, I am currently winding down my workload and finishing off projects that are in progress,” said Bender, who is in the construction field. “I am excited about this next chapter in my life as a public servant. Working for you the taxpayers to solve problems and protect our community.”