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Comsewogue

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Comsewogue’s Justin Virga stops the ball at home in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The League VI title is on the line for the Comsewogue baseball team.

The Warriors took one step closer to claiming that elusive title and the first-round bye after topping Westhampton at home Monday afternoon for the team’s seventh win in a row, to break the first place tie, as both teams were tied 15-3 at the top of the standings.

Westhampton scored first, but the Warriors rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning and fended off a late comeback-effort to earn a 7-4 win.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Comsewogue’s bats came alive.

The runs started adding up when Robert Dattoma’s hit drove in Dan Colasanto to tie the game. Jordan Lisco set up the next scoring opportunity when he singled to right field, putting runners on both corners.

Ryan Szalay’s bat spoke next when he hit a line drive to right center that drove home Dattoma for a 2-1 lead, and Mike Stiles struck next when he laid down a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first.

Erik Bono stepped into the batters’ box and waited for his pitch. He smacked the ball deep to right field to bring home Lisco and Szalay, to give the Warriors a 4-1 advantage.

Comsewogue’s Erik Bono takes a cut in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Erik Bono takes a cut in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. Photo by Bill Landon

“I knew it was going to be a tough game today — we had to come out strong after they scored first,” said Lisco, who went 3-for-4 with a run. “We came back and took the lead and we had good, solid defense, and when you can do that, you win baseball games.”

The Warriors weren’t done for the inning.

Vin Velazquez stepped to the plate and hit a fly ball that dropped into the gap to move Bono over to third, and John Braun finished the job with a shot to left field to bring Bono across the plate as the team surged ahead, 5-1.

Having given up five unanswered runs, Westhampton made a pitching change to try to stop further damage from being done, but Colasanto, back at the plate for the second time in the inning, had something to say first, when he ripped one deep for a stand-up double that scored Velazquez for a 6-1 lead.

Comsewogue’s Justin Virga makes a catch at home plate in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Justin Virga makes a catch at home plate in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

“We have a great group of guys,” Szalay said. “Once we get a hit, we all start to hit, and the game- changer was when Dan Colasanto got that RBI-double.”

Westhampton tacked on a run in the top of the fifth, and threatened with one out and two runners in scoring position. Colasanto was able to pitch his way out of the jam though, as he got the batter to ground out to Dattoma, the short stop, who quickly flicked the ball to second and helped his team turn the double play to end the inning.

“We knew coming in we could beat these guys — we all just needed to stay loose,” said Colasanto, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. “I told the team that if we stayed loose, kept the chants going and have some fun, we could win it.”

Mike Stiles took over the mound at the top of the sixth, and Westhampton scored two more runs to bring the score to 6-4 before Stiles was able to work his way out of the inning with a strikeout.

“We’ve been able to play error-free baseball all year long,” Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura said. “Our strong points are our defense and the mound. We’ve struggled with hitting, and obviously you’ve got to hit to score runs to win ball games, but today we finally put a good part of the bat on the ball.”

Comsewogue’s Mike Stiles tosses a pitch in a 1-2-3 inning that helped the Warriors claim a 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Mike Stiles tosses a pitch in a 1-2-3 inning that helped the Warriors claim a 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11 and sole possession of first place in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

In the bottom of the sixth with a man on base, Dattoma cracked one to right field for added insurance.

Comsewogue needed three outs in the top of the seventh and Stiles answered the call, putting the game away with a 1-2-3 inning.

“We knew we needed to win this,” Dattoma said. “It’s been a while since we got a title; we’re hungry. We were looking for a little revenge and we got it today. For the playoffs, we’ve got to stay mentally tough, don’t let bad at-bats get in our head, and just work on the next one.”

With one game left in the regular season, Comsewogue traveled to Harborfields Wednesday, but results were not available by press time. A win would give the Warriors the league title and first-round bye for the playoffs.

“We’re all rested and if we get a bye, that’s huge because it’s all about pitching,” Bonura said. “Anyone’s No. 1 can beat anyone. Our pitching staff is healthy, and I’ve got plenty of them.”

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Comsewogue's Sarah McKoy and Seaver Lipshie double-team a Deer Park player on the way to the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Comsewogue hammered out a 17-7 victory on Monday in a girls’ lacrosse matchup against Deer Park, dominating the home team and scoring seven unanswered goals in a nine-minute span alone.

Hannah Dorney, a Comsewogue midfielder, crosses into Deer Park's zone on her way to a double hat trick and the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Hannah Dorney, a Comsewogue midfielder, crosses into Deer Park’s zone on her way to a double hat trick and the Warriors’ 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With the win, the Warriors improved to 9-3 overall, with an 8-3 mark in Division II.

Comsewogue midfielder Jamie Fischer, a sophomore, won the opening draw and with the game not even two minutes old, freshman midfielder Hannah Dorney fired a shot straight up the center for the first goal. Minutes later, Dorney did it again. The score 2-1 after a Deer Park goal, the Warriors regained possession off a Deer Park save and senior attack Haley Lochren’s shot hit its mark.

Dorney bounced another shot in halfway through the first for a hat trick, then made it 5-1 with an over-the-shoulder shot into the left side of the goal before Deer Park managed to get on the scoreboard again. The Falcons scored again with 10:10 left in the half to bring it to 5-3.

Comsewogue rotated midfielders at the draw and continued to win the ball, keeping it away from the competition. Dorney scored her fifth goal of the game at 9:19, blazing the trail for the team to light up the scoreboard six more times, ending with a Fischer buzzer-beater.

Jamie Fischer, a Comsewogue midfielder, collides with a Deer Park player on the first draw of a game the Warriors' won 17-7 on April 27. Fischer scored a hat trick in the match. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jamie Fischer, a Comsewogue midfielder, collides with a Deer Park player on the first draw of a game the Warriors’ won 17-7 on April 27. Fischer scored a hat trick in the match. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Today we definitely did great on the draw,” Fischer said. “I think that’s so important because we definitely need to keep possession.”

Lochren opened the second half with two straight goals, the first assisted by sophomore Julia Tuohy. After a Deer Park goal brought the score to 14-4, Tuohy scored a goal of her own off a play that began with Fischer winning the draw and carrying it down the field. Fischer passed to senior midfielder Seaver Lipshie at centerfield, who lobbed the ball over to Tuohy. The sophomore stuffed it into the left side of the goal.

The teams got shots past the keepers a few more times, to give the game its final 17-7 score.

Dorney finished the game with six goals and an assist; Lochren and Fischer each added a hat trick; and Tuohy tacked on two goals and four assists. The win was a team effort, with three other players adding a goal apiece and three more finishing with an assist.

Comsewogue's Julia Tuohy carries the ball into Deer Park's zone on the road to the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Comsewogue’s Julia Tuohy carries the ball into Deer Park’s zone on the road to the Warriors’ 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We have a lot of strong players,” Fischer said. “It’s not just one player, two players; we’re a team and we all work well together and we’re all strong together.”

The sophomore said the girls are “becoming less selfish.”

Comsewogue head coach James Fernandes agreed his team has a nice balance on offense and defense in terms of skill sets, and with a handful of underclassmen on the roster, he’s hoping their help will put the Warriors in a good position to make the playoffs.

“We have a very coachable group — the girls have done a great job and we’re building every week,” he said. “The younger girls are like sparkplugs for us. They do everything; they’re all over the place and it’s awesome. We have a seventh-grader out there and the girls, they thrive off her. When she makes a play, they love it.”

The team has three games left. First, the Warriors will travel to Shoreham-Wading River Friday for a game at 4 p.m., then will finish up the season hosting Islip and Miller Place. Fernandes said the team needs to win two out of the three, and Fischer thinks her team has what it takes.

“Our record is so much better than last year,” she said of the team’s 4-10 overall record last season. “We hope we’ll get into playoffs and I think we will.”

While Dorney thinks the team started off the season a little shaky, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by an average of almost 10 goals in the last three games, and will use that momentum to propel them into the end of the league schedule.

“Now, we realize that we’re good enough to hang with the teams that are usually at the top,” Dorney said. “It’s a good win to come up with, and now we have a big game Friday that we have to get ready for, and I think that we’ll come together.”

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The Comsewogue School District will be conducting a lottery to determine which students will be attending its half-day pre-kindergarten program this fall.

The lottery will be held at the district office on Monday, June 15, at 11 a.m.

Applications will be mailed to all district residents and are also available in the main office of each of the district’s schools and at the district office.

Completed applications are due back to the district office by 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 22.

Contact Jennifer Reph, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, at 631-474-8110, with any questions.

The pups at Comsewogue Public Library’s inaugural Pet Adoption Fair couldn’t stop wagging their tails on April 25. Community members came out to pet their soft fur and get some kisses on a beautiful spring Saturday.

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John Swenning is running for a board seat. Photo from the candidate

Three Comsewogue Board of Education seats are up for election this year, but voters who hit the polls on May 19 won’t have a large selection — with Trustee Ed Barry stepping aside, there are only as many candidates as there are slots available.

Barry, a nine-year veteran, said he wants to give others a chance to fill the position he has loved holding.
“It really has been a great experience,” Barry said. “I may consider running again down the road.”

John Swenning
Board President John Swenning has served since 2002 and is running for another term on the board. The Comsewogue graduate said his time with the board has been great, which is why he is running again.
The father of four — one child at Comsewogue High School and three who have already graduated — said he enjoys working with administrators, teachers, parents and students.
“I just like what I do,” Swenning said. “We’ve really made some serious progress in the first few years and I want to keep it going.”

Rick Rennard is running for a board seat. Photo from the candidate
Rick Rennard is running for a board seat. Photo from the candidate

One of the things Swenning would like to see through is the accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that the district applied for last year. The district is undergoing a three-year internal review on the road to receiving the nonprofit’s designation, given to high-performing institutions worldwide.
The board president also wants to restore programs that were cut in recent years to balance budgets.

Rick Rennard
Rick Rennard just finished his first year on the board, completing the term of a former trustee who moved out of the district.
“This one-year experience that I’ve had so far has been so positive,” he said. “I want to continue.”
He said he would like to finish some things the board started this year, such as the accreditation process. He echoed Swenning in saying he wants to restore academic programs.
He also “would like to continue to speak out on behalf of the district to our legislators to get our fair share of funding,” Rennard said. “I will fight for the district.”
The father of three children, 11-year-old Emma, 9-year-old Rickey and 7-year-old Brendan, and a social studies teacher at Newfield High School, he’s been living in the community for almost 11 years.

Louise Melious is running for a board seat. Photo from the candidate
Louise Melious is running for a board seat. Photo from the candidate

Louise Melious
A newcomer, Louise Melious, has decided to run for trustee after years of being on the fence about serving.
“I think I have something to offer and I certainly hope the community can give me this honor,” Melious said.
She has been following the issue of students opting out of taking the state’s standardized tests, she said, and while her children, 18-year-old Victoria and 16-year-old Matthew, are past that testing stage, she would advocate on behalf of other students. She said she feels the testing system is wrong.
If elected, she would like to work on tax relief for older residents, expand district sports programs, and restore other programs that were cut in previous budgets.
“If given this opportunity, I would change what I do and be more involved,” Melious said.

Rally against New York State education changes

A protestor stands on North Country Road in Mount Sinai on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Barbara Donlon

Educators, parents and students gathered outside state Sen. Ken LaValle’s Mount Sinai office Tuesday with one clear message: They won’t forget he voted “yes” on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget when it’s their turn to vote in November 2016.

Nearly 100 people rallied in front of the North Country Road office of LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), holding signs letting the senator and the community know they were upset he voted in favor of a portion of the 2015-16 state budget that amended the teacher evaluation system, lengthened the time before teachers can gain tenure and created new designations for failing schools.

Beth Dimino, president of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association and a John F. Kennedy Middle School teacher, said her association and other groups coordinated the protest to show the senator they don’t take his vote lightly.

“The purpose of this rally is to remind Mr. LaValle that his vote in favor of Mr. Cuomo’s budget and anti-public education agenda will be remembered by the parents and taxpayers in the November elections,” Dimino said.

A child hoists a sign during a public education protest. Photo by Barbara Donlon
A child hoists a sign during a public education protest. Photo by Barbara Donlon

LaValle, who was in Albany at the time of the protest, was just re-elected to his 20th term in the Senate and will be up for election again next year.

He said in a statement Wednesday, “We improved on what the governor put in his budget proposal and I fully expect we will continue to fix the education piece, with the final result addressing parents and educators concerns.”

April Quiggle, a Port Jefferson parent, said she came out to show how disappointed she is in the senator she always supported.

“I feel betrayed by him,” Quiggle said.

Not one person at the education rally was without a sign. Young children also held signs.

Miller Place resident Erik Zalewski, who teaches in the Middle Country school district, said LaValle and other politicians who voted in favor of the governor’s reform sold out educators and kids.

“It seems money is more important than the children,” Zalewski said.

Lucille McKee, president of the Shoreham-Wading River Teachers Association, joined in to let everyone know she is tired of non-educators making decisions about education.

Halfway through the rally supporters broke out in a cheer: “Ken LaValle you let us down, Ken LaValle you let the students down, Ken LaValle we will not forget!”

Many parents at the picket said they tried numerous times to reach out to the senator by phone and email and never heard back.

Hundreds of cars drove by as everyone protested on the corner of the road. Drivers honked, gave thumbs-up signs and cheered, letting the protesters know they supported them.

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Comsewogue’s David Nodeland takes a cut in the Warriors’ 9-4 victory at Sayville Thursday, to win the series 2-3. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

These Warriors are still the superior League VI team.

Despite giving up a 1-0 lead to trail 4-1 in the fifth inning, the Comsewogue baseball team put together an eight-run rally in the top of the seventh to claim a 9-4 victory over Sayville Thursday and take the series by winning two of out three games.

Dan Colasanto crossed the plate first courtesy of Mike Stiles’ stand-up double to take an early lead, but both teams struggled to bring runners home over the next three innings.

Comsewogue pitcher Dan Colasanto hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 9-4 comeback win over Sayville Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue pitcher Dan Colasanto hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 9-4 comeback win over Sayville Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon

“We were all scrappy in the beginning — we had a couple of errors, a couple of bad plays,” Stiles said. “[We just needed] to get a couple of hits, a couple of walks together, and that’s just what we did in that last inning.”

Sayville’s bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth with a four-run rally to take its first lead of the game, which stood until the final inning.

Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura told his team it’s just a three-run deficit, and to keep their composure.

“Let’s have some quality at bats,” he said to his athletes. “It’s just three runs. We just got to get to first base.”

Despite the deficit, Colasanto went back to work in the sixth inning and retired three in a row.

“We just had to keep our heads in the game and I knew my job was to throw strikes,” Colasanto said. “I knew if I could keep it in the strike zone we’d have a chance, because I have a great field behind me.”

Bonura was pleased with his player’s efforts.

“Dan didn’t get rattled after he gave up three runs in the fifth,” Bonura said. “He just stayed the course and didn’t let anyone’s mistakes in the field effect the way he pitched, and everyone feeds off of that. Dan’s been with me four years — he had a great game, he’s a senior captain who’s a team leader.”

In the top of the seventh, Comsewogue’s Vin Velazquez chopped an infield hit that fell into no man’s land to get him to first in time to load the bases with no outs.

James Mimnaugh followed with single that drove home Ryan Szalay to cut the deficit to two, and teammate John Braun smacked the ball into shallow right field for a two-run hit that drove in Robert Dattoma and Jake Sardinia, to even the score at 4-4.

David Nodeland helped the Warriors claim the lead after Braun and Sardinia crossed the plate off of his deep hit, to give his team a 6-4 advantage.

Comsewogue’s Ryan Szalay makes a grab at the warning track in the Warriors 9-4 comeback win over Sayville Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Ryan Szalay makes a grab at the warning track in the Warriors 9-4 comeback win over Sayville Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon

“We all just stayed in it,” Nodeland said. “Everyone stayed alive on the bench and kept it going. Once the hits started coming they just kept rolling, so it was a nice little rally we had.”

Trying to stop the Warriors in their tracks, Sayville made its fourth pitching change of the game, but to no avail.

Colasanto ripped one deep for a stand-up double, driving in Nodeland, and after scoring a run earlier in the inning, Szalay helped Colasanto earn a run of his own with a short fly ball in the gap,

With a full count against him, Velazquez drew a walk with the bases loaded for the final run of the game and the 9-4 win.

“[We didn’t want to do] anything big, just make sure you get on base, and that’s what we did,” Braun said.

On Sayville’s last at-bat, Bonura said Colasanto wanted to close the game out, but was pulled after his pitch count reached 100, to prevent the risk of injury.

Szalay took the mound in place of Colasanto, and finished the job his teammate started,

With the win, Comsewogue improves to 8-1 atop the League VI leaderboard. The team will travel to Westhampton Beach on Tuesday to take on the No. 2 Hurricanes, at 7-2 in the standings, at 4 p.m.

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By Joan Nickeson

I read with interest the recent opinion article by Comsewogue school board trustee Ali Gordon (Team up to starve New York’s testing machine, March 12). I applaud her efforts. She explains how the governor tied his latest education policy to our state budget, a game where no one wins.

As an occasional contributor to this paper, I share thoughts on the organics of life: water conservation and wildlife, civic engagement, writing love letters, and about my daughter preparing for college — all untidy ventures. But being a student is untidy. Educating children is an organic experience; a hands-on, creative occupation. Our teachers tend to our children all day long. Not unlike rangers, they patrol for danger. Like gardeners, they employ means by which to rid the soil of invasive species. Ms. Gordon has shed light on the parasites.

Education’s root word, “educe,” means bring forth or draw out. It is untidy business. As adults, we know children grow at their own pace. A few bloom early, boldly. Some reach for help; others need coaxing. Some never extend themselves. Having tools and space helps to “bring forth” the students, and adequate funding is necessary for this organic endeavor. Forcing children to take poorly-worded standardized tests doesn’t help. Linking teachers’ employment and the health of school district to the results of any test should be actionable.

Whatever nutritive or non-nutritive fuel contributes to children’s abilities during the day, it is the work of the educators to draw out. They know children have learning challenges that are unrelated to curriculum or tests. I think we all know some come to school on empty stomachs. We know some have family trauma. Many lack confidence. Some are angry and conflicted. Some are bullied and, during math, plan how to get on the bus without being confronted. Some at school are ill and unfocused. Some are dreamers engaged in internal dialogs instead of listening. Others are preoccupied about professional sports teams, because that’s the focus of a parent. We know some whose first languages are not English, who risk their lives to cross the U.S. border to connect with a parent living in our districts. Education is fraught with immeasurable obstacles.

But let me see — in the words of Joe Pesci in “My Cousin Vinny” — what else can we pile on? The tax cap! Which could lead to budget cuts to academics, requiring placement of more and more of our budding children into a single classroom. Do it five periods a day. Do it 180 days a year. Force educators and administrators to douse children with tests created by businessmen who have an eye on their ledgers and the charter school lobby, who are literally banking on our students failing the test. It is unconscionable.

Yet our teachers were predominately evaluated effective or highly effective last year in a New York State Education Department-approved evaluation process.

We need to demand participation in state policy through open legislative debate. We need to opt out of the Common Core-linked standardized tests so our teachers can get back to the organic pursuit of education.

Library members in Port Jefferson and Comsewogue approved the two districts’ proposed budgets on Tuesday. Stock photo

Comsewogue and Port Jefferson library district members approved both institutions’ 2015-16 budgets on Tuesday. The Port Jefferson Free Library budget passed with 106 votes in favor and nine against. Comsewogue Public Library’s budget passed with 104 votes in favor and 19 against.

The Port Jefferson budget, which totals $4.33 million, will increase annual taxes by about $10.80 for the average village resident. The budget includes a $107,000 transfer to the library’s capital fund for facility improvements, as the library nears the finish line on forming a strategic plan for how the institution will serve members in the future. That plan includes improving the facilities and considers possible uses for an adjacent residential property on Thompson Street that the library recently purchased.

In Comsewogue, annual taxes will increase by about $11 for the average resident under the approved $5.58 million budget.

The Comsewogue district residents also elected a new trustee, Corinne DeStefano, with 116 votes. The candidate, who ran unopposed for a five-year term, is the wife of Comsewogue school board Trustee Robert DeStefano. A lifelong resident of the district, she works in quality assurance for software corporation CA Technologies.

A sign at Congressman Lee Zeldin’s press conference in Comsewogue on Sunday, April 12, speaks against standardized testing. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Congressman Lee Zeldin announced to Comsewogue teachers, parents and students on Sunday that he is working on a way to reduce state testing, amid a renewed local push against the standardized exams.

The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act, which Zeldin (R-Shirley) is co-sponsoring, has “strong bipartisan support,” he told the crowd at Comsewogue High School. “This legislation would roll back state-mandated testing to pre-No Child Left Behind levels.”

Congressman Lee Zeldin talks about a bill that would reduce standardized testing during an event in Comsewogue on Sunday, April 12, as Superintendent Joe Rella looks on. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Congressman Lee Zeldin talks about a bill that would reduce standardized testing during an event in Comsewogue on Sunday, April 12, as Superintendent Joe Rella looks on. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 required states to create assessments for basic skills in select grade levels. Before the controversial No Child Left Behind, New York State students were tested in both English language arts and math in three different grades, for six total tests. Now students take those exams each year in grades three through eight.

The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act aims to reduce the number of tests to previous levels — so they would be administered once in grades three to five, once in grades six through nine and once in grades 10 through 12 — based on the belief that it would allow for more curriculum flexibility, giving students more time to learn and helping to nurture their creativity.

Gina Rennard, a Comsewogue parent and wife of school board trustee Rick Rennard, has had her children “opt out” of the standardized tests, something many parents have done in opposition to the Common Core Learning Standards and linked state tests.

“These tests are developmentally inappropriate,” Gina Rennard said. “The grades for these tests come out after the students have already gone onto the next education level, therefore the tests have no bearing on their education plan. So why are we torturing them?”

Superintendent Joe Rella hosted the press conference, and said the only goal of testing is “to put public schools out of business and have [charter schools] for profit, because there is nothing about improvement here.”

Rella said he will not stop fighting for change.

The gathering came just a couple of weeks after Rella and Comsewogue school board members considered a proposal to refuse to administer state exams unless the state delivered more education aid and reduced the weight of student test scores on teacher and administrator evaluations. But after the idea created buzz in the community, the officials nixed the proposal on the advice of legal counsel.

Comsewogue Superintendent Joe Rella speaks against standardized testing during an event with Congressman Lee Zeldin on Sunday, April 12. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Comsewogue Superintendent Joe Rella speaks against standardized testing during an event with Congressman Lee Zeldin on Sunday, April 12. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

State Education Law gives the education commissioner power to remove school officials from office if they willfully disobey rules or regulations, and withhold state aid from schools where such action takes place.

Patchogue-Medford Superintendent Michael Hynes said at the event that the pressure on both students and teachers is far too intense.

“If you look at countries whose education systems are performing well, they are doing the opposite of what we’re doing right now,” Hynes said. The crowd roared in agreement.

Jennifer Jenkins moved her family to Comsewogue because of the schools, but said she is no longer confident in the education her kids are getting.

“To have so much of the curriculum based on the testing forces the teachers to focus on standardized testing as a part of the year’s goal,” she said. “Then the teachers have less of an opportunity to build their own curriculum around what’s best for their individual students.”

Zeldin said he is optimistic about the bill’s future in Congress.

“This is where you hold your elected officials accountable, and we will make sure we are doing everything within our power up in Albany and down in Washington to do it on behalf of these kids.”

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