Red Ribbon Contest Winners Honored by BOE

Winners of the Red Ribbon slogan contest were announced at the December 8 monthly Board of Education meeting. Fifth-graders Marykate Carroll of Timber Point Elementary, Jody Fragala of John F. Kennedy Elementary, Nicole LaPort of Ruth C. Kinney Elementary and James Sullivan of Connetquot Elementary were all recognized. Presenting the awards and prizes were Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) advisor Bridget Lopiccolo and SADD members from East Islip High School – Micaela Alberti, Julie Bonessi, Lea Briscoe, Amber Capobianco, Jonathan Gutierrez, Rachel Lopiccolo, Nicole DeRosa Padden, Kaitlyn Seltzer and Kinza Zia – who were also honored for their selfless work in speaking to the younger students during Red Ribbon Week.

During his report to the Board, Superintendent John J. Finello discussed that morning’s power outage and decision to close East Islip Middle School for the day, praising the district’s staff response to the incident. “They took care of the kids and kept them safe. Everyone chipped in to help in our time of need,” he said.

Finello also noted his appreciation for the efforts by N.Y. State Sen. Lee M. Zeldin, who had called to inform Finello that he would be voting to repeal the MTA payroll tax. The tax was in fact repealed, and East Islip School District will be exempt. The status of the bridge that overpasses the Southern State Parkway adjacent to school grounds also was addressed. Finello said “We’re making some progress,” and explained that due to Zeldin’s assistance, New York State Department of Transportation workers had visited East Islip to remove debris and trees surrounding the bridge, and that the Town of Islip will soon be repairing lights and fencing at the bridge site.

Both Finello and Board President Glenn Reed expressed how much they have enjoyed the ongoing Winter Concert series at the high school auditorium, urging community members to attend one of the shows and hear the exceptional musicianship for themselves.

Reed discussed the importance of upcoming budget meetings, including the Budget Advisory Committee Meeting to be held December 13. “On budget issues, we need to become an aware and informed community,” he said.

The Board of Education also approved appointing administrative tenure to Math & Science Director Kristen Cummings and teaching assistant Christine O’Connell, and accepted two exemplary donations: iPads, office equipment and gardening tools from the EJ Autism Foundation, to create an "office" for the school district's older special needs children; and $5000 from the Connetquot Student Activity Fund for the school's new playground.

The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Jan. 12, 2012.