Pat-Med getting ready for school with no new super yet
Acting superintendent of schools Dr. Donna Jones will be welcoming approximately 7,300 students throughout the Patchogue-Medford School District’s 11 schools today, Thursday, Sept. 5.
According to the board of education, the district has spent its focus this summer on “extensive” capital improvement projects. “Once school is open, the board of education will begin the steps necessary to hire an excellent superintendent of schools,” promised board president Anthony O’Brien.
The board has not received any applications, as they have not yet advertised for the position.
Jones was appointed interim super after former superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes issued a surprise resignation in May, announcing his accepted position as superintendent in the Port Washington School District.
“As the interim superintendent, I am charged with bridging the gap between the permanent super and Dr. Hynes. I want to provide stability and normalcy during this process,” explained Jones of her new role. “[They are seeking a new super] and while they make that decision, I am filling in.”
She joined the school district in 2010 as assistant superintendent for business and became deputy superintendent last July. This will be Jones’ 10th year in the district.
It’s Pat-Med High School’s first year implementing the in-house Career & Technical Education program. A new CTE director, Ray Ruiz, has been hired to run it, as well as two teachers for both courses offered: law enforcement and computer technology.
Lori Canetti, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said roughly 50 sophomore and senior students are enrolled in the law enforcement course and 28 in the computer tech. Each course will run in the portable classrooms adjacent to the high school building twice throughout the day, in the morning and afternoon.
Next year the program will roll out two more courses based on which BOCES courses students are most interested in. Enrollment will open in January for incoming sophomores.
“We are very excited about this,” said Jones about the new program. “We spent three to four years developing this plan under Dr. Hynes’ vision and this is a fulfillment of that.”
New playgrounds have been installed at all seven of the district’s elementary school buildings and, according to Jones, should be operational by the start of the school year, weather depending. There is also a new security vestibule at Canaan and a new expanded parking lot at Medford.
Construction has also been underway on the high school’s new greenhouse, which is expected to open come October.Once complete, the greenhouse will be used across all grade levels, the Garden Club, as well as special-needs students, with a vision to eventually use the harvest for boosters as well as in the cafeteria.
Other projects, like the high school gymnasium floor, several ADA-compliancy projects, as well as the Saxton track, have also been completed this summer.
“A lot of great things have been happening operationally,” Jones said. “In general, it has also been a really great summer with a lot of teacher and admin training.”
A survey was conducted this summer including all parents, students and teachers of the district. Among other findings, one particularly stood out, Jones said — the issue of bullying.
Keeping in line with the whole-child approach, she said, the district plans to utilize that feedback and implement more social and emotional development with additional curriculum and support.
“Parents and students felt bullying was a concern and we need to have more support in place to make children more comfortable reporting things of that nature,” she said, assuring that efforts will be made to address the issue.
The results of the survey will be shared in an open discussion with parents during future meetings, Jones said.
The school year begins today, Thursday, Sept. 5. Schools will be closed Monday Sept. 30 and Tuesday Oct. 1 for Rosh Hashanah.
“We are very excited to welcome back all of our children and all of the parents,” she added. “We wish them a wonderful and successful school year.”
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