All Systems Go in Montauk

    The Montauk School is all spruced up and ready for classes to begin on Sept. 4. There are new teachers, new equipment, new programs, and a new security system. Lee White, the newest school board member, was elected in May and has already taken his place on the board for several meetings this summer.

    Mary Jo Walker, whose position was eliminated three years ago, has been reinstated as promised and will teach kindergarten, first and second-grade math, reading, and language arts. She is replacing Richard Larsen, who will teach fifth grade, replacing Sue Nicoletti, who retired in June.

    Louis Guzman has been hired to teach Spanish, replacing Kathleen Byrd, who also retired in June. Will Collins of East Hampton replaces John Salmon, the physical education teacher, another June retiree.

    During budget meetings in March and April, Jack Perna, the school superintendent, pitched a plan for tighter security at the school, especially after the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn. The new system, still under construction, features a set of glass doors that can only be accessed by staff when they swipe an identification card. The new doors are set back from the entrance doors, leaving a glass vestibule for visitors to wait until they are identified and buzzed in by a staff member. All other entrance doors will be retrofitted in the fall, but are always locked during school hours.

    There are new laptop computers in the library/media center to replace the older models. The laptops can be moved around to classrooms as needed, which could free up the computer room throughout the day, said Mr. Perna.

    The Spanish program has been expanded in grades one and two. In other grades, in addition to the two regular Spanish classes per week, there will be two computer classes and one library class run by Spanish teachers in cooperation with the school librarian, Rachel Kleinberg. Some classes will be bilingual.

    Finally, new hanging light fixtures have been installed in the school entrance hall; the library has new and different fixtures.
    Everything will be ready on the first day of school, Mr. Perna promised. It might take a while for the staff to adapt to the new security system, but adapt they will, he said.