Central Islip school officials have selected a middle school principal, a teacher and a parent for a team to help steer a district middle school out of receivership.
At a meeting Monday night, superintendent Craig G. Carr said the names of the three will be sent Wednesday to state education officials in Albany as part of a process to transform Ralph G. Reed Middle School, which was placed in receivership in July.
Two more people -- a staff member and a student -- must be chosen for the district to comply with state regulations. The Central Islip school was among four on Long Island designated for receivership status as "struggling" last month after falling short of state and federal standards for three consecutive years. The other three such schools on Long Island are in the Hempstead, Roosevelt and Wyandanch districts.
"The school district, including the Reed building, has been improving tremendously over the past five to seven years," Carr said during the meeting before an audience of about 60 at Alfano Elementary School. "The receivership model is just giving us an additional tool to bring about more rapid change."
A fifth Long Island school, Hempstead High School, was placed under receivership in July for "persistently struggling" -- failing to meet state and federal standards for at least a decade. Statewide, 144 schools were placed last month in receivership, which gives local administrators special powers to oversee putting the targeted campuses back in good standing.
Carr said the selections to the community engagement team are the beginning of a process to make Ralph G. Reed Middle School a high performer.
He spent the bulk of the meeting walking community members through the components of a 30-page state handout that outlines districts' requirements under receivership.
Roosevelt officials have said they would challenge the state's designation of its middle school as "struggling," arguing the district had made significant improvements rendering it ineligible for the status.
All four Island districts were required to submit a Comprehensive Education Plan to state officials in July outlining plans to improve student performance at the schools. Although Carr said he has sent Central Islip's plan to state officials, the document, for the purpose of receivership, is still a work in progress. No changes will be implemented when school starts in the fall, Carr said. Modifications will be decided with aid from the community engagement team, he said.
Several meeting attendees asked how team members were chosen. Others bemoaned what they felt was a lack of communication.
"I'm talking about somebody actually being on the team and being engaged and being part of the process," said Beverly Rivera, a 23-year Central Islip resident who said she had hoped the team could use input from more community members. "I would just like to think that it would not be excluding people who could bring so much to the table."
Renee Ortiz, a community member, said she felt the district should do a better job of notifying the public of meetings where they could hear officials explain how the district will operate under receivership, saying the Monday meeting -- announced last week -- was not posted far enough in advance.
"This to me sounds like one of the most critical pieces of this receivership," she said of the team. "This is an opportunity to engage residents."