About the Superintendent
Superintendent Dr. Aurelia L. Henriquez
Address: District Office
700 Osborn Ave.
Riverhead, NY 11901
Message from Superintendent of Schools
As an educator and a parent, I often find myself engaged in conversations about the importance of teaching our children 21st-century skills that will shape their futures and lead to academic success.
In Riverhead, we recognize that there is no ‘one size fits all’ model to teaching these skills, that all students are motivated differently and each have individual passions. That is why we offer a number of paths for students to attain and enhance skills that will aid them in this increasingly complex global society.
One of these avenues is through the arts. The arts foster creativity, self-discipline, initiative, innovation, commitment, perseverance, collaboration, leadership and decision-making — all invaluable lessons for our future leaders. The arts also provide students with a supportive and engaging environment that attaches joy to the learning experience.
That is why it is vital that the arts are held in high esteem and fully supported within the learning community. To that end, the district continues to promote and foster its stellar arts courses and extracurricular programs.
The Visual Arts
We are proud of our district’s diverse sequential visual arts program that students have the opportunity to explore throughout their educational journeys.
Beginning in elementary school, our students learn contemporary and digital techniques, as well as the foundation of more traditional and analog practices that may not typically be explored in public schools.
For example, at the high school, students can build their portfolio by enrolling in computer graphics classes that provide the most current design software from the professional field or explore analog black-and-white photography and grasp the process of traditional photographic film. In ceramics class, students master both hand-building techniques and work on a pottery wheel.
Other high school options include an all-encompassing studio art course, drawing and painting, and a fully developed traditional crafts class in which students use tactile mediums to gain an understanding of how crafts have shaped and enriched our lives and economy.
Over the years, our visual art students have been recognized in the Teen Art Show at the Riverhead Free Library, at the Parrish Art Museum, the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, the Peconic Ballet Theatre and through our own district Art-in Action event. We are especially proud of the many art students who have gone on to attend prestigious art schools throughout the country.
The same is true of our student-musicians, who have been commended by the New York State School Music Association, the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education, the Suffolk County Music Educators Association, the Hampton Music Educators Association and the Music in the Parks festival.
We are equally as proud of these accolades, which have been accomplished through dedication, hard work and as part of our district’s mission to promote a love of music within all students.
Music education starts at the elementary level, where general music classes are integrated with the curriculum as students deepen their understanding of reading, writing, social studies and mathematics through the power of music. It is here that our children grasp the fundamental skills needed to experience a life filled with the joy of music.
Music education is enhanced in the fourth grade when students are encouraged to participate in an ensemble (chorus, band or orchestra) and as they graduate to the middle school, their skills are further developed. Instrumental and vocal techniques are emphasized and students may participate in general music theory and appreciation courses, as well as a fundamental piano skills course that takes place in a state-of-the-art iPad lab.
In high school, students are provided with additional opportunities to perform and improve their musical abilities through several electives, including an Advanced Placement Music Theory class.
In addition to our in-school arts offerings, our district provides opportunities for students to explore their artistic abilities outside the regular school day.
Our high school offers a variety of opportunities for artists, including yearbook and photography club, as well as an art club.
For students interested in dance, the school provides a kick line and a step and dance club that provide outlets for students to develop their dance skills in a collaborative and supportive group setting.
Musicians interested in expanding their knowledge can choose to take on more challenging music in small ensembles. These students complete an audition process and perform throughout Suffolk County at musical competitions. Musicians can also choose to participate in the Pep Band.
Music and art students all collaborate as members of the Blue Masques Drama Club, which works each year to produce Broadway-style productions. Musicians add to the production as members of the pit orchestra, artists create playbills and posters and students interested in acting and dance perform on stage. Opportunities to work behind the scenes provide students interested in learning the technical side of a production with hands-on experience.
We look forward to watching our music and art students learn and grow and continue to take pride in our arts programs. I’d like to thank Lauren Lewonka (Director of Fine Arts) and our extraordinary teachers of the arts. Thank you for the difference you make in the lives of our students.