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From the Principal's Desk

Photo of Amy Laverty

April 14, 2022
Dear Scraggy Hill Families,

Spring is finally here and we are in the last nine weeks of the 2021-2022 school year! Hopefully our students experience a relaxing spring break and return eager to learn and grow.

In recent months, the children have been enjoying the return of assemblies and events to our school. Our goal is to continue to hold these important events that strengthen the partnerships and relationships with our parents and students. In addition, when we return from spring break, students will have the opportunity to sit with more of their classmates at their lunch tables. Students will continue to eat with their own class, but will be socially distanced three-feet apart as per CDC recommendations. I know they will be excited to socialize with more of their friends during their lunch periods.

Last month, the PTA sponsored the Virtual Music Technology assembly hosted by producer/composer, Brent Daniels. The children had a blast seeing and learning how music is produced for commercials and movies using voice-overs and sound effects. Mr. Daniels even allowed students to use their own voices to create sound bites!

This month, the return of the Boys Event was a huge success thanks to our PTA and all of the generous parent donations. Seeing the excitement on the childrens’ faces and watching them enjoy the event outside of school hours brought back the sense of community we love here in Port Jefferson. We cannot wait for the upcoming Sweetheart Dance next month!

We also enjoyed a visit by some of our Varsity Student Athletes this week. The high school students read a book to each of our kindergarten through grade four classes and then met with our fifth graders outside on the Scraggy Fields for our Spring Sports Fair. The purpose of this event was to educate our fifth graders on the athletic opportunities they will have as middle school students and to build a connection with our student-athletes. We are excited to also start building connections between our student athletes and our younger students.

On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, our fifth grade met with Officer Tom, our School Relations Officer. Officer Tom works with school districts across Suffolk County. During his time in our school he educated our students on internet safety. We look forward to a growing relationship with Officer Tom as we work with families to monitor students’ use of their devices and different online apps.

The spring quickly becomes a fury of fun-filled end-of-the-year activities. Please refer to our district calendar for upcoming events. Be sure to check the school website often for updates and flyers in the virtual backpack. Please call the main office with any questions regarding spring events at 631-791-4300.

As always, I hope you reach out with any questions or concerns. I look forward to seeing you at some of our upcoming events!

Stay well,
Amy Laverty

December 2021 
Dear Edna Louise Spear Families, 

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed some time with your families. The holiday time always passes by quickly, so I hope you stop to create sweet and memorable moments with your children. 

First, I would like to thank you for your understanding and support with the changes to our arrival and dismissal procedures. These adjustments have helped tremendously in ensuring the safety of our students. 

We enjoyed the Winter Concert for our fifth grade students during the first week of December. This was their first in-person concert and their hard work certainly paid off! Thank you to our families for encouraging at-home practice and getting them to school for early morning rehearsals. We are so proud of all of them. Our musicians also performed at various performances around town as part of the Dickens Festival. Whether caroling by the Village Center or performing in the library, the beautiful sounds of our students certainly put us all in the holiday spirit! 

The building was definitely more festive with some special events planned and hosted by our amazing PTA. Students shopped for loved ones at the holiday boutique on December 9 and 10. They were bustling with excitement! The PTA also organized the staff luncheon, which was appreciated and enjoyed by all. Thank you to all of the parents that contributed to the delicious sandwiches, refreshments and treats. 

This month, we also enjoyed our annual assembly presented by St. Charles Hospital. During this virtual event, students learned about the different food groups and the power of healthy eating. They shared which fruits and vegetables are their favorites and also learned about eating the rainbow. Perhaps students will request more fruits and veggies for snacks! 

I can hardly believe the snow at the end of November; it was quite magical for our students! It is also a good reminder that we will be going outdoors for recess and physical education, whenever possible. Coats, gloves, and hats will be helpful to keep the youngsters warm while enjoying fresh air. 

Please remember to take great care of Chromebooks. We have a limited number of loaners and most or all of them are being used each day. It is a good idea to keep them in backpacks until needed, designate a spot for supervised use, set up a charging station each night and make packing it a regular part of the morning routine. 

Finally, thank you for your diligence in following our COVID-19 protocols. Please remember to keep children home if they are not feeling well and reach out to our health office for guidance. If students have two or more symptoms of COVID, or if they have a fever, they must have a negative COVID-19 test to return to school. While this may be an inconvenience for something that may seem like the common cold, it is instrumental in helping us keep staff and students safe. Our goal is to keep students in school for in-person instruction! 

Spirit days were celebrated during the last two weeks. Nothing says holiday magic like antlers, lighted necklaces, festive shirts and cozy holiday pajamas. The childrens' faces were filled with hope and excitement. Happy holidays, happy New Year, and see you in 2022! 

Amy Laverty


Dear Scraggy Hill Families,

It is amazing how quickly this year has gone! As spring begins, we are looking forward to many activities for our students, as well as planning for the upcoming school year.

Many of our typical end-of-the-year events will be reimagined for our students, so they may enjoy them but with continued social distancing, keeping of cohorts intact, and limitation of visitors to the building. The health and safety of our staff and the students remains our utmost priority. As the time nears I will share more information about the Scraggy Run/Walk, Field Day, and the special events for our fifth-grade students. 

I would like to share a few reminders with you for the remainder of this school year:

* School begins at 9:00 A.M. Students arriving after 9:05 A.M. are considered to be tardy. 

* As the weather gets warmer, please send students with a light jacket or sweatshirt. It is often breezy and still chilly in the morning hours during Physical Education classes and recess.

* Cell phones and all other electronic devices are not permitted. These items have been lost and damaged and are unnecessary in the elementary setting.
*As you know, our students have not had the opportunity to interact with peers in other classes during the school year due to our social distancing procedures. This familiarity may lead to negative interactions between students within their cohort. Please talk openly with your child about their behavior and social interactions. You are paramount in helping them problem solve situations that arise with their peers. This is the time for them to learn how to show compassion, advocate for themselves, and to notice and respond to the subtleties and intricacies of peer relationships.
* Please speak to your third, fourth, and fifth-grade children about digital citizenship, it is important they use technology in a responsible and respectful manner with their online activities.

* Please limit your child’s screen time at home and encourage free play and outdoor play!

Visit the Virtual Backpack on our school website for more information about state testing, class placement, and the Therapy Dog Program.

I want to express my sincere gratitude for your patience, understanding, and support with the evolving procedures that are in place for this school year. Thanks to your diligent efforts and that of our dedicated staff, we have had a smooth, successful year to-date!

Amy Laverty

Dear Scraggy Hill Families,

It is with great honor and pride that I write this letter to you as the new principal of Edna Louise Spear Elementary School. It has not taken long for me to realize how exceptional this school community is, and I could not be more excited to continue the traditions, and make some new memories, for many years to come.

Prior to coming to Port Jefferson as the PreK-8 assistant principal, I taught in various educational settings in Northport- East Northport. I learned from each experience, and quickly realized the importance of teaching and supporting my colleagues. My last role in Northport was that of Instructional Curriculum Coordinator, where I engrossed myself in curriculum and instruction and worked alongside fellow teachers to improve pedagogy and meet the needs of our students. This particular role led me to furthering my career in administration, and taking on the role of K-8 Summer School Principal before coming to Port Jefferson School District.

I look forward to deepening my connection with the Port Jefferson community. It is a community I have frequented with my family over the years, and have grown to love even more as I furthered my career here. In fact, over the weekends, you may find Landon, Reese, Greyson and my husband and I enjoying gourmet doughnuts, skating at the Village Center, or taking a stroll through Harborfront Park. If you do, do not hesitate; I would love to introduce you to my family.

While in the school building, you will find me talking and laughing with students as I get to know their personalities, learning styles and interests. I treat your children as my own. I support teachers so they can in turn support your children. I believe in learning from mistakes, respecting ourselves and each other, and keeping students at the heart of all decisions.

It is no secret that we have been through a lot together over the past year. It has shown us the importance of family, of partnering together for the success of our students, and of taking care of each other. While my utmost priority remains the health and safety of staff and students, I know that our dedicated teachers are creating learning experiences that are meaningful, engaging and effective. I also know that we will get through this, together.

I welcome your conversation and positive input throughout the school year, and look forward to working closely with you.

Warm Regards,
Amy Laverty