Mrs. Bernadette Burns, Superintendent of Schools
Mrs. Patricia Denninger, Administrative Assistant
Dear Parents and Students:
I am delighted to welcome you and your family to an exciting new school year. Throughout the summer, our district staff members have worked diligently to get our buildings and grounds ready for the opening of school and to prepare the programs that will be presented in September.
When you visit our campuses, you will notice that the bond work is ongoing. Lexan window replacements and screen installations are almost completed at the elementary and middle schools. The roofs at Beach Street and Udall Road middle schools are almost finished, with the balance of the work to be accomplished after school hours so as not to interfere with the business of instruction, athletics,and extracurricular activities. Both buildings received new ceilings and lighting, and this has brightened up our hallways and classrooms immensely.
Our outdoor athletic facilities also have a new look. At the high school, a turf field, bleachers and safety netting have been added to the stadium complex at the Barberry Road entrance, and a scoreboard is anticipated within the next few months. A turf baseball field will be added in the fall, and the track at Udall has been upgraded, as well.
The high school performing arts center received a facelift, and the final touches to the stage lighting is being made. On the exterior in that area, safety netting has been applied to the parapet wall adjacent to the auditorium. Work done over the summer identified a deteriorated steel beam that needs to be replaced. We expect that it will be remedied shortly, but until it is, access to and from the building through the auditorium doors is limited to emergency situations only.
Improvements to enhance the security of the district's facilities continues. A security audit was conducted in the spring, and the results are expected within the next few weeks. In the meantime, software for the camera system was updated, allowing improved round-the-clock surveillance throughout our buildings and grounds. Due to the traffic in and out of the high school, contact alarms were added to alert security personnel to doors that may be ajar in the building. Plans for security vestibules in the elementary and middle school buildings have been submitted to the state, and if all goes well, we anticipate construction will begin in the spring, with completion by next summer. The high school vestibules will then follow.
The most important component of any safety and security plan are the people who implement it, and staff continues to be trained in this regard. Some of our practices are changing as well, and more about this will be conveyed as their implementation becomes imminent. Schools will have limited points of entry and egress; all visitors must use the main entrance of a building, be prepared to show identification, and wear a district-generated badge while on the premises during the school day. Effective immediately, all high school students must display their student identification badge, and visitors to the high school must be escorted to their destination by a district staff member.
This year, there are a number of new people to meet and greet in addition to our returning faculty and staff. These appointments reflect the district’s commitment to not only satisfy learning in the content areas, but to advance our safety and technology initiatives and support students’ socio-emotional development. Former Beach Street Assistant Principal Reanna Fulton has been promoted to Director of Technology, and Lorrie Director joins us as Counseling Director K-12. We have added a health teacher at the high school and one more social worker to our middle school team, completing our objective to make certain that each building in the district has sufficient dedicated staff to address our students’ health and wellness needs. Additionally, each elementary building now has two full-time secretaries, ensuring that the main offices are staffed at all times.
The district's emphasis on academics and achievement in many venues continues to be the foundation that ensures our students are prepared for a world beyond our West Islip schools. We will continue to focus on student attendance, as that is the basis for academic success at all levels. We will also evaluate various curricula to ensure that our instruction is aligned to standards and addresses our students’ academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs.
No district can succeed without the collaborative efforts of the Board of Education, administrators,faculty, staff, students, parents and community. These relationships are well established in West Islip,so I am confident that we will continue to work together to ensure that we provide challenging and meaningful learning experiences for all students.
Have a productive 2018-2019 school year. I look forward to your involvement in our schools and community!
Bernadette M. Burns
Superintendent of Schools