Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:28
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.
- Submitted by the Garden City Public School District