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New B-BP Foundation Aims to Seed Educational Enhancements

Group is focused on enriching academic programs through grants.

A new grassroots organization has sprouted in the Bayport-Blue Point community with the goal of enhancing the educational programs for district students and expanding learning experiences and opportunities.

The Student Educational Enrichment and Development Foundation (SEED) was formed by a small group of neighbors, parents and community leaders, several of whom are BBP alumnus, and one thing it is not is a “crutch” to ease district budget constraints.

Its bylaws, in fact, state it will not be a venue for replacing or funding district programs cut due to fiscal issues. It’s for the “extras” that make the educational experience outstanding and memorable, according to a press release issued Thursday by the organization which is led by Chairman Bob Draffin. Draffin is also the current president of the Bayport Civic Association, a group he founded 10 years ago.

“Our concern in these academically competitive times, when the economic strain on school districts is real, is that our schools continue to strive to be top notch and provide every student with enriched experiences that are the hallmark of  a great education," stated Draffin in the release.

The initial step, according to the release, is talking with district educators to gain insight on what additional resources would enhance the learning process and stimulate the student academic experience.

Early suggestions include funding field trips, supporting new presentations such as a motivational speaker to talk with high school students and boosting laboratory resources.

Draffin said the group welcomes curriculum-enhancing suggestions from students, teachers and the community.

“It will be interesting to see what sort of approaches are taken, especially when it comes to suggestions designed to carry content and learning across disciplines,” said Draffin in the release.

Draffin has also served as president of the Bayport-Blue Point Little League for the past two years after serving on its executive board and coaching for the past nine years.

The group plans to make a presentation to the Bayport-Blue Point Board of Education at the Sept. 27 board meeting.

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The SEED group hopes to initiate a mini-grant effort to help fund programs and new initiatives. It is planning a fundraiser at the Grey Horse Tavern on October 11, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be bought at the tavern, Bayport Flower House or through the group's website.

Official founding members beside Draffin include Vice Chairman Karl Auwaerter; Treasurer Howard Rowland and Secretary Daniene Byrne. Board members include Marlene Brennan, Carol Cinelli, Tony Donatelli, Linda Ringhouse, Steve Taitz and Kate Farley.

Ringhouse, Taitz, Draffin and Auwaerter are all B-BP graduates. For more insight on the background of each member click here.

Both Donatelli and Cinelli are former district board of education members. B-BP teacher Katherine Brand, who also serves as the teacher's union chief in the district, is acting as a non-voting advisory member.

For more information check out the group’s website.

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