Tags Posts tagged with "Comsewogue School District"

Comsewogue School District

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, right photo, speaks to a crowd of residents assembled at the Jefferson Plaza shopping center in Port Jefferson Station on Sunday, Nov. 12. Photos by Carolyn Sackstein

By Carolyn Sackstein

On the first cold day of the season on Sunday, Nov. 12, locals gathered in the parking lot of Jefferson Plaza along Route 112 in Port Jeff Station to discuss the proposed revitalization of the plaza.

In the days before the gathering, Paul Sagliocca and members of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association canvassed the neighborhoods surrounding the shopping center. This preparation brought out roughly 80 residents.

Sagliocca was joined by fellow civic members Lou Antoniello and Jerry Maxim. Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) spoke to the crowd and Suffolk County Legislator-elect Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) — both representing PJS/T in their respective districts — listened to the concerns of attendees.

The speakers called for residents to attend PJSTCA’s upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. at Comsewogue Library. They especially urged residents to speak up during an upcoming meeting of the Brookhaven Town Board to consider a proposed change of zone to a new Commercial Redevelopment District classification on Thursday, Nov. 30.

Questions raised

Owned by Staller Associates, Jefferson Plaza is currently zoned for commercial use. Staller must seek zoning changes from Brookhaven Town for mixed-use development of the property. The proposed revitalization calls for 263 residential units in a four-story structure.

Sagliocca suggested that residents to the west were anxious that the new apartments would have sightlines into their yards and windows. Critics also expressed concerns over increased traffic and possibly rerouting traffic with one-way streets, making accessing their homes inconvenient. 

Others raised concern over the impact of potentially many new residents on the environment, especially the aquifer. They questioned how much more stress the local environment could bear.

Another concern was the blocking of the sun by the height of the new structure. Maxim called for a “shade study” to determine how far the shade would extend into the neighborhood. Sagliocca spoke of the impact on Mather and St. Charles hospitals in Port Jefferson, which serve Coram, Selden and the greater Port Jefferson area. Kornreich emphasized the need for a traffic study to be conducted independently and objectively.

Maxim highlighted the potential impact of the proposed units on the Comsewogue School District. 

Antoniello explained, “I’m not saying we don’t need multifamily housing, but you can’t have it dictated by the people up in Albany. Right now, the development they want for this area is really land abuse, not land use. They are looking for a density that is three times the allowable density that the Town of Brookhaven allows. This will set a precedent for every multifamily project that occurs in Port Jeff Station, Terryville and Port Jefferson village.”

He added, “As per our hamlet and [commercial] hub study, over 80% of the people questioned said they didn’t want multifamily units. We’re now taking studies which cost combined over a hundred thousand dollars. We are throwing them in the trash. Those are our bibles. We have to do it right, we don’t have a choice.”

Photo courtesy CSD

Students at Comsewogue School District’s Clinton Avenue Elementary School kicked off autumn Sunday, Oct. 1, with a harvest festival at the school’s community garden. Children decorated pumpkins, created paper scarecrows, planted bulbs in the garden, played cornhole and took photos at a festive face-in-hole photo booth.

“The district launched its community garden last year, and it is now thriving,” said Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Quinn. “It served as a beautification effort and a way to give back to the community through donations. Our garden is always looking for more volunteers and donations.”

A student decorates pumpkins and creates paper scarecrows during Comsewogue School District’s community garden harvest festival. Photo courtesy CSD

Kelly Klug, school nurse at Clinton Avenue Elementary, spearheaded the community garden and managed it with the help of local volunteers. Throughout the summer, they have been growing flowers, fruits and vegetables. 

They harvest the produce in the fall and donate it to local food banks. The garden also hosts other events throughout the year for children in the community. 

For more information, please visit the district’s website at www.comsewogue.k12.ny.us. Happenings in the district can also be followed on the district’s Facebook page.

Comsewogue High School. File photo
By Nasrin Zahed

Comsewogue School District held its Board of Education meeting Wednesday, Oct. 4, discussing the since-passed homecoming festivities, honoring student achievements, approving motions and introducing behavioral initiatives at the high school.

Brandon, the Comsewogue student representative, overviewed the goings-on for the homecoming and spirit week, highlighting the class competition leading to the weekend’s pep rally and class floats parade. Each class was tasked with creating a float to go along with this year’s theme of “seasons”: seniors as spring, juniors as summer, sophomores as winter and freshmen as fall.

QR codes were made available to all at the homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 7, to vote for which theme students felt was executed best.

Mike Mosca, principal of Comsewogue High School, came forward to award the recipients of the College Board National Merit Awards. The awards were given to students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and who displayed an outstanding performance on the PSAT. Students also received the National Hispanic Recognition Award as well as the National Indigenous Award.

The BOE went on to approve select motions for the evening, such as the approval to purchase iPads for the district’s use. The iPads will be purchased using grants received through the Emergency Connectivity Fund, covering 100% of the cost.

Mosca returned to the floor to discuss the behavioral initiative recently introduced at the high school level, referred to as the reflection room.

He emphasized the push to move into restorative practices as opposed to dismissive punishments such as suspensions. 

“The goal is to maximize students’ time in the classroom,” he said. Instead of taking students out of their learning environment and potentially setting them back in their studies, they want to turn their actions into a learning opportunity.

The goal of the reflection room is to take about two hours out of the student’s day to work one-on-one with advisers to break down the incident that led them there and, in turn, come up with guided corrective actions.

Mosca went on to praise the initiative’s success as there has been a downturn in student infractions as a result. “It’s been very effective so far,” he said.

The BOE ended the evening with what they referred to as “board kudos,” taking the opportunity to acknowledge members of the district’s community. Praise was given to the custodial staff as they installed roughly 30 Smart Boards over the previous weekend, as well as the building and grounds staff who worked to ensure minimal to no damage was caused by the flooding from recent rainfall. 

The BOE will reconvene Monday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m.

Comsewogue High School senior Matt Nowlan is named among Newsday’s top 100 high school football players of 2023. Photo courtesy CSD

Comsewogue High School senior Matt Nowlan has been recognized as one of Long Island’s fiercest contenders on the football field by Newsday, which recently named him among its top 100 high school football players of 2023.

“Matt Nowlan is a top leader of the gridiron, and being named a top 100 Newsday football player is a well-deserved accolade,” said Matteo DeVincenzo, Comsewogue School District director of health, physical education and athletics.

Nowlan, whose positions include offensive and defensive tackle, was highlighted by Newsday as being a top lineman in Suffolk County. He was also lauded for his strength and quickness.

Nowlan and his teammates led Comsewogue to a 43-35 victory in their season opener against Smithtown West on Sept. 1. In the latest game against Hauppauge Sept. 22, Comsewogue won 49-15 and is 2-1 on the season.

Nowlan is also a contender on the baseball field and has committed to play Division II baseball for the Molloy University Lions next year. 

For more information about the Comsewogue School District, please visit the district’s website at www.comsewogue.k12.ny.us. Happenings in the district can also be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/comsewoguesd.

Prospective local officeholders participate in a Meet the Candidates forum hosted by the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association Tuesday, Sept. 26. From left, Jonathan Kornreich, Gary Bodenburg, Anthony Figliola, Steve Englebright, Dan Panico and Lillian Clayman. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson

Major party candidates for three local offices went before the public Tuesday evening, Sept. 26, for a Meet the Candidates forum at the Comsewogue Public Library hosted by the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association.

Brookhaven Town Council

Vying for Brookhaven’s 1st Council District, which encompasses Port Jeff Station/Terryville, incumbent Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) is defending his seat against Republican Party challenger Gary Bodenburg, a special education teacher at South Huntington School District.

Kornreich was first elected to the Town Board in 2021 following a special election for the vacated seat of former Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station).

Kornreich served on the Three Village Central School District Board of Education and as president of the Three Village Civic Association. His professional background is in construction and real estate finance.

“I understand the economics of what drives boom and bust cycles, and how to evaluate our current stock of real estate and what can make a project viable,” he said.

Bodenburg, along with his role as an educator, has conducted local advocacy work for at-risk youth, serving on several committees within the Comsewogue School District.

“I have always been somebody that is willing to help and put my hat in the ring with anything that goes on in our community, and I’m looking forward to expressing that in this capacity as well,” he said.

On land use, Bodenburg objected to the trend of developing new apartment complexes in and around PJS/T.

“I do believe there’s a need for housing,” he said. “Once I’m able to get involved in it and I can see a little deeper, a little clearer, it makes it a lot easier.”

Kornreich said the board needs to incentivize redevelopment, citing mixed-use development as a potential means for making redevelopment economically viable.

“If it were up to me, we wouldn’t add any new residences — I think we’re already at our carrying capacity,” the councilmember said. “We all know traffic is a nightmare, but in order to revitalize these areas, we have to be able to make it work financially for the developers.”

Given some local concerns over traffic impacts from new developments along the Route 112 corridor, Kornreich supported commissioning a comprehensive traffic study to assess interactions between proposed developments.

He warned against the trend of privately commissioned impact assessments. “I think at the town, we have to stop allowing people to just hire their own experts to tell [us] what they’re being paid to say,” the incumbent said.

Bodenburg acknowledged the value of impact assessments, though he warned against studying at the expense of progress.

“I think we need to fully evaluate anything that we’re doing, but there does come a point in time where we can’t continue to just study things and we have to make actual action,” he advised.

When pressed on growing density pressures within the hamlet, Bodenburg said he has been coordinating with a real estate developer and revitalizer interested in working with the town to develop properties and expand affordable housing opportunities for residents.

“We have to be a little more creative than we have been in the past, and I think that that is something that we need to look into,” he said.

Kornreich said the region offers limited residential opportunities for young families with an “insatiable” demand for affordable housing.

“The way that we can address this at the town level is pretty straightforward,” he said. “We have control over local zoning … so we could offer incentives to developers who are going to put affordable units in their development.”

But, he added, “For these projects to work, that’s where we need the state and federal government to do things like providing low-interest loans.”

Suffolk County Legislature

Former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and former NY-1 congressional candidate Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) have both stepped forward to fill the now-vacant 5th District seat of former Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

Figliola, whose professional background is in government relations with related advocacy work for the proposed electrification of the Port Jeff Branch line of the Long Island Rail Road, centered much of his platform around the electrification initiative.

Electrification would cause “less particulates going into the atmosphere,” he said. “Also for economic development, with the revitalization of Port Jefferson Station and all the [stations] along that from St. James all the way to Huntington.”

Englebright served in the county Legislature from 1983-92 and the state Assembly from 1992-2022. A geologist by training, he concentrated his platform around green energy and environmental protection.

“I sponsored most of the laws that set the stage for the creation of a renewable energy program for the state,” the former assemblyman said. “Green energy initiatives are critically important for our future.”

When asked about the future of the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site in Port Jeff Station, Englebright endorsed the idea of relocating the existing rail yard to the property while eliminating the grade crossing on Route 112.

“The whole idea of having a rail yard there and getting rid of the at-grade crossing on 112 is very much with the concept of having a workable and safe environment,” he added.

Figliola said the community is currently on a path toward a renaissance with the site’s eventual redevelopment. He emphasized the need for public input as these local transformations continue.

“Whatever happens, the community needs to be a part of it,” he said. “As your legislator, I will certainly take the lead in working with all the various agencies to ensure that your voice is heard.”

This year’s election comes amid a countywide debate over wastewater infrastructure. When asked about the Republican majority’s recent decision to block the advancement of the Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act from reaching the November ballot, Figliola advocated for more sewer infrastructure.

“I am absolutely for finding dollars where available,” he said, adding, “If the voters so choose that they want to have an extra tax, that’s something that I would be for in the Legislature — for the voters to make that decision.”

Englebright objected to the Legislature’s reversal on wastewater, saying it jeopardizes tourism and agriculture, the county’s two largest industries.

“I do not believe that at the last minute — at the 11th hour — this initiative should not have been given to the public,” he said.

Town supervisor

In a race to succeed outgoing Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) — who is running against businessman Dave Calone (D) for Suffolk County executive — Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville) is squaring off against SUNY Old Westbury adjunct professor Lillian Clayman.

Panico was a practicing attorney and served as senior deputy Suffolk County clerk before entering town government. He served on the Brookhaven Planning Board before his election in 2010 as councilman for the 6th Council District, an office he has held ever since.

Clayman is a Port Jefferson resident who served three terms as mayor of Hamden, Connecticut, before becoming an organizer for health care union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and later as chair of the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee. She currently teaches labor and industrial relations.

Clayman indicated that effective public administration starts with proper personnel decisions. “I surround myself with people who I think are smarter than I am,” she noted.

To streamline the town’s existing administrative structure, she proposed revamping the Building Department, citing voluminous paperwork and other complications within the permitting process.

While Panico referred to himself as “very similar to Supervisor Romaine,” he suggested some differences in administrative approach.

He proposed staffing his administration with “people who want to work, people who care about their jobs, no one looking to clock time or [collect a] pension and people who are honest.”

Each candidate was questioned on how his or her administration would handle the impending closure of the Brookhaven Town Landfill, located on Horseblock Road, and the precipitating loss of public revenue for the town budget.

Panico supported a more aggressive recycling campaign with greater pressure on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for regional sustainable planning.

“What we need to do is enhance recycling and get the DEC to go forward with a comprehensive plan to promote markets for recycling,” he said.

While acknowledging that land use is the primary function of the town government, Clayman said the town has a secondary responsibility to promote environmental protection.

“Brookhaven is supposed to protect the air that we breathe,” she said. “Brookhaven is supposed to protect the people who live around the landfill, who have since 1974 been living with that garbage.”

She added that expanding composting activities within the town would reduce the waste volume entering the landfill.

Voters will decide on these candidates in just over a month: Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

After dropping the first three games of this early season, the Comsewogue boys volleyball team notched its first win defeating Central Islip a day earlier and looked to make it two in a row when hosting West Babylon Thursday, Sept. 14. 

Comsewogue led the first set from start to finish, but the team found itself trailing by five in the second set. 

Still, the Warriors managed to rally back to win it and take the match, sweeping the Eagles 25-21, 25-13, 25-16.

The win lifts the Warriors to 2-3 on the season. They will retake the court with another home game against Smithtown East Sept. 19. Game time is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

– Photos by Bill Landon

Pictured above, Comsewogue High School nominees Angelo Guzman and Alyssa Deacy are flanked by Butch Dellecave Foundation president Mark Dellecave, left, and executive director Guy Dellecave. Photo by Artist Lake Media

Comsewogue High School seniors Angelo Guzman and Alyssa Deacy were recently honored at the 23rd annual Butch Dellecave Awards held at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook.

Named in memory of the legendary educator, official and coach Gaetano “Butch” Dellecave, the award is the product of a 23-year partnership between local school districts in Suffolk County and the award organizers: the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc., the Butch Dellecave Foundation and Newsday.

Athletic directors from all 66 Suffolk County school districts were asked to nominate one male and one female from their high school senior class. Nominees must be students who are not only at the top of their athletic game, but also score high in classroom performance and in their commitment to local community service.

Polling sites for this year’s school budget and BOE elections. Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, left, and Comsewogue High School. Left file photo by Elana Glowatz; right courtesy CSD

Port Jeff and Port Jeff Station/Terryville residents will head to the polls this Tuesday, May 16, for elections that will help shape the complexion and trajectory of their public schools.

Port Jefferson School District

Taxpayers of Port Jefferson School District will weigh in on another proposed capital bond, this time a $15.9 million infrastructure package to upgrade aging and outdated facilities at the high school. The bond vote comes just over six months after district residents rejected a pair of capital bonds in December, which together had totaled nearly $25 million.

District officials suggest the new bond proposal reflects public input and voter feedback received during last year’s election cycle, eliminating the proposed artificial turf athletic field at the high school and scaling down the financial request by about a third. 

“We listened and we pared it down,” Jessica Schmettan, the district’s superintendent of schools, told the Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees during a May 1 public meeting at Village Hall. “It may not be as small as what people would have liked to have, but we really feel like this will get us ahead.”

Among the proposed capital improvements would be updated heating and cooling systems; demolition of the exterior music portable and relocation of music rooms; renovations to locker rooms and related athletic spaces; and repurposing of existing team rooms to accommodate tech ed and makerspace facilities.

Given the logistical constraints of getting these projects approved through voter referendum, the district also aims to restructure its long-term payment strategy, building up capital reserves and incorporating infrastructure investments into future annual budgets.

For more information on the bond proposal, visit www.portjeffschools.org/bond/home.

District voters will also decide upon the proposed annual budget for the 2023-24 school year. At $47.1 million, total appropriations are up slightly from $46.1 million the previous year. The tax levy increase for district taxpayers is 1.98%, which is within the allowable limit.

This year’s election for the district Board of Education will be uncontested, with only two candidates running for three-year terms each. Incumbent trustee David Keegan is seeking reelection, while Shannon Handley, a BOE candidate in 2021, pursues the open seat of trustee Ravi Singh, who is not running for reelection.

Voting will take place Tuesday in the cafeteria at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Comsewogue School District

The proposed 2023-24 annual budget at Comsewogue School District shows $110.8 million in total appropriations, with a tax levy increase of 3.7%. A second proposition will be on the ballot, which, if approved, would authorize the school district to withdraw $4.5 million from its $15 million capital reserve established in 2019.

The proposed capital improvements include the completion of the roof at Comsewogue High School; renovations to the high school’s courtyard; theatrical lighting at John F. Kennedy Middle School; and masonry work at Clinton Avenue Elementary School to fix leaks.

These enhancements qualify for state aid, according to district officials, who estimate these expenses will not affect the tax levy.

In the election for Comsewogue’s Board of Education, incumbent BOE president Alexandra Gordon and trustee James Sanchez are running unopposed.

Voting will be held Tuesday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the gymnasium at Comsewogue High School.

Student Mia Nowlan is reading aloud to a first grade class. Photo courtesy Andrew Harris
By Camila Perez Solis

Comsewogue High School’s work-based learning program is generating momentum, with students taking classes that lead them toward their desired professions. 

The U.S. Department of Education defines work-based learning, or WBL, as “the alignment of classroom and workplace learning; application of academic, technical, and employability skills in a work setting; and support from classroom or workplace mentors.” 

This innovative approach for preparing students for the real world is gaining traction at Comsewogue schools.

Kalliope Gonias is a social studies teacher at CHS who started the Intro to Teaching class. Through this curriculum, students get an up-close look at what it takes to become an educator. 

Gonias offers students a practical approach to teaching, providing hands-on experience at Clinton Avenue Elementary School. Through this unique learning style, the theories and techniques students acquire in the classroom are put into practice.

Due to an overwhelming success and positive student response, plans are already underway to extend the program for a second year. 

Mike Mosca, principal at CHS, commented on the value the WBL program provides for Comsewogue students. “Our goal is to give our students real-world experiences in various careers and fields,” he said. “High school students working with Clinton Avenue Elementary School teachers is just the beginning. We plan to add more opportunities for all our students through our growing community partnerships.”

Nick Trubia is one of Gonias’ Intro to Teaching students. He commented on the unique opportunities the WBL program affords him and his peers. 

“I am going to school for education, and I really enjoy going to the elementary school,” he said. “We are also learning about what education entails, the theory and different kinds of policies,” adding, “It is fun and a great experience if you want to be a teacher.”

Comsewogue Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Quinn noted how WBL lends itself to a different style of classroom engagement. “You can see an immediate change in every student when they are doing hands-on learning,” the district superintendent said. “The teaching experiences are valued by students and staff.” 

She added that she believes these new additions take academics at Comsewogue to a whole new level. 

Camila Perez Solis is a foreign-exchange student from Ecuador and a junior at Comsewogue High School. 

Two students paint birdhouses at the Comsewogue Community Garden. Photo courtesy CSD

Students in the Comsewogue School District showed their green thumbs this Earth Day by coming together with members of the community to recreate the Comsewogue Community Garden. 

Students and their families planted flowers, fruits and vegetables and beautified the garden by creating birdhouses and decorative signs.

“Creating and rebuilding our community garden each spring teaches our students lessons about the importance of community service, taking care of the environment and how to be self-sufficient,” said Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Quinn. “This was a great way to celebrate Earth Day and show our appreciation for our planet and the environment.”

Clinton Avenue Elementary School nurse Kelly Klug spearheaded the garden and organized the Earth Day event for community members to come together and rejuvenate the important resource. All produce grown in the garden is harvested and donated to families in the community facing food insecurity.  

For more information about the Comsewogue School District, please visit the District’s website at www.comsewogue.k12.ny.us.