A performance from Syosset Summer Stock,
update on facility projects and other school business
It’s almost that time for Syosset Central School District students to walk through those doors once again for another school year, which begins Sept. 1.
But even during those summer months when many students and faculty were busy soaking up the sun and taking a break from learning five days a week, the district has still been busy between making sure students will be safe this upcoming school year, hosting a summer school at H.B. Thompson Middle School that was designed to provide an academic and enriching experience for students and working on projects at various school buildings.
“I had the opportunity many days to greet children as they were arriving to summer school,” Syosset Central School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Rogers said. “It was a great way to remember that school never stops even though it’s summer… We had a full staff on hand to keep that moving along and we gave the summer school team a challenge this year. We asked them, especially coming out of a pandemic and knowing that our students have some ground to gain but also want to be back with their peers… we asked them to re-imagine summer school, to keep all the great things that we’ve been so proud of in our summer school and add to it with things that kids would find fun and interesting…”
The summer school accomplished that goal, Dr. Rogers said, and it even exceeded his expectations during the summer school’s highest enrollment.
The auditorium at the school did not remain empty either, as program Syosset Summer Stock put on a play called Hats! starring students between sixth- and 10th-grade.
The students performed Hats! A Musical That Celebrates What’s Underneath at the H.B. Thompson Middle School auditorium on Aug. 12. And during the Syosset Central School District Board of Education meeting on Aug. 15, they performed songs “The Perfect Hat for Me” and “Uncle Sam Is Who I Am.”
Faculty, board trustees and attending parents were delighted by the performance, but after the students left the stage it was time for the board of education to get down to business. During Dr. Rogers’ superintendent report, he updated the district on various projects being done at the school buildings.
“The board knows that this is our one time of year to get into the buildings when they’re not full of kids and staff,” Dr. Rogers said.
The Syosset High School main gymnasium had its floor re-surfaced and re-striped. Working with the Athletics Department, the district was also able to provide two additional badminton courts for when the badminton team is competing inter-scholastically. The stands in the gym have also been upgraded to provide a much more professional experience, Dr. Rogers said, and the striping pattern in the gym will make it easier for students to participate in multiple sports.
As part of the district’s goal to become more energy efficient, something that was approved by the board and the community in the Energy Performance Contract a couple years ago, boilers were replaced at three schools and solar panels on school buildings have been installed, among other projects.
The district has also been able to get started on two projects after finally getting approval from the State Department of Education, which Dr. Rogers says has been backed up with work going on at school districts across the state. Work has commenced on the Syosset High School parking lot, which needs resurfacing, and installment of lights for the turf field. Dr. Rogers says the districts hopes to have the turf lights functional by early October in time for earlier sunsets.
After updating the board on these ongoing projects, Dr. Rogerss brought up the fact that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidance relating to COVID-19, which is often refined by the state and then shared with school districts.
“The CDC did not make any major changes to the protocols that were in place at the end of last school year,” Dr. Rogers said. “Governor Hochul said earlier this month that she did not anticipate that masks would be necessary come fall.”
For now, Dr. Rogers said, the district will continue making a slow return to pre-pandmic normal.
Lastly during the superintendent report, Dr. Rogers mentioned how the Nassau Industrial Development Agency’s decision to end the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with Amazon (full story here) is connected with the Syosset Central School District.
As part of the PILOT agreement, the Syosset Central School District would have received approximately $650,000. Those monies would have replaced revenue raised through property taxes. Because those monies are a source of revenue within the 2022 through 2023 budget, the district can not go back and change it.
Chairman of the Nassau IDA, Richard Kessel, said at an Aug. 11 Nassau IDA meeting that he would work with the Syosset Central School District in the face of this potential gap.
“I would say that we were appreciative of Chairman Kessel’s acknowledgment of the issue and we look forward to working with the IDA and making sure the decisions that they’re making to enforce their agreement won’t have a negative impact on the school district and therefore on the young people and families in Syosset,” Dr. Rogers told the Syosset Jericho Tribune.
When asked if he had a message to the Syosset schools community as the first day of school approaches, Dr. Rogers said: “We’re excited to open school again and welcome students back, and restart school in a way that its safe but starts to look like what it did pre-pandmeic.”
For more information about the Syosset Central School District and the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, visit syossetschools.org.