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‘Question Of The Week’

There continues to be much discussion surrounding the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards with nearly daily press coverage on the topic. To address specific concerns in Garden City, Dr. Teresa Prendergast, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, presented a comprehensive report at the Feb. 4 Board of Education Work Session, after which parents posed questions and made statements. The district recognizes and shares many of the concerns expressed by parents and encourages communication with local legislators. As Dr. Feirsen explained, personal letters to these local officials can be the most effective in advocating for change. Dr. Prendergast’s report is available on the home page of the district’s website, under the “Information Updates” tab.

This week’s “Question of the Week” deals with testing. A complete listing of the questions and answers to date is posted on the District website: http://www.gardencity.k12.ny.us, under “Common Core FAQs.”

Q: Parents and teachers have expressed frustration about the number of tests students are sitting for due to the New York State mandates.  What has Garden City Public Schools done to reduce student testing?

A: Garden City was an integral part of advocating for a reduction in state-mandated testing. The district worked with the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA), BOCES, and other professional organizations, and as a result, the duplicate eighth grade testing has been eliminated. The district also eliminated its Acuity testing for grades 3-8, which was originally implemented by direct guidance from the State Education Department. Garden City is seeking testing modifications for English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities.

“We’ve amended our Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan and submitted it to the State Education Department for approval,” explained Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen. Under the previous state-approved APPR plan, Garden City students in grades 3-8 took pre- and post-tests in English language arts and mathematics starting in the 2012-2013 school year. The goal of these tests was to assess a student’s knowledge of the subject matter in the beginning of the school year to compare with the results of a similar test toward the end of the year. The difference was calculated as a “growth score,” and used as part of a teacher’s evaluation. The new plan eliminates these tests. “Administrators have also been working with teachers to identify other ways to assess students and still satisfy with the state regulations,” said Dr. Feirsen.

Watch this column in subsequent weeks for more answers to questions and concerns about the Common Core and other New York State mandates. If you are a resident of the school district and have a specific question you’d like answered about the Common Core or other pertinent education topics, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

- Submitted by the Garden City Public School District

News

The Senior Advisory Committee is the Senior group that helps plan trips, parties, and programs for all seniors in cooperation with the recreation and parks department. It consists of: Kathy Auro, Richard Bankowsky, Evelyn Iagrossi, Joe Leto, Ellen Moynahan, and Gloria Weinrich. Please feel free to suggest trips to anyone on the committee.

Preparedness is the best remedy for Ebola

Winthrop University Hospital hosted a presentation on the current Ebola epidemic, at the Garden City Library, on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sponsored by the village’s Property Owners’ Associations, John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop University Hospital and Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Officer provided an overview of the disease along with an update on Winthrop’s preparedness plan.

Dr. Ammazzalorso began his presentation heeding that despite the waning in the press, the disease is still with us. He provided both historical and current day perspectives regarding the epidemic, advising that Ebola is not a new disease. The medical community has been aware of the disease for at least 40 years. Originating in the Congo, Ebola is a zoonosis a disease which has its reservoir in animals and was known for small sporadic outbreaks associated with people who handled bats and rodents or those who consumed bush meat. The current outbreak originated in West Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He noted in Africa that more than 45,000 people have died from the disease.


Sports

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes begin the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, please visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave. Space is limited so please register early.


Calendar

Sultans of String to play

Friday, November 21

Garden City Chamber Music Society Performance

Sunday, November 23

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com