As many as 18 teachers in the Glen Cove school district may have coached students to help them raise low test scores, district officials revealed last week as an inquiry into alleged improprieties in standardized testing intensifies in one of Long Island’s largest public education systems.
Additionally, district officials said that in March, they were alerted to a separate allegation, against Glen Cove High School, regarding a grade change, in which two administrators may be implicated.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office issued two subpoenas in mid-April seeking information on alleged grade changes by administrators in the 2012 Regents exam as well as on the alleged improper test coaching by teachers at the elementary schools.
School district officials, who have been grappling with what might be the district’s largest cheating scandal, said last week that the investigation was launched after some students admitted in interviews that they had been coached by teachers during the administration of the New York State Grade 3, 4 and 5 ELA and math assessments conducted at the Connolly and Landing Elementary schools last year. The teachers were allegedly concerned about low scores.
District officials disclosed the existence of the investigation two weeks ago. None of the teachers were named, nor did district officials say how many students may have been coached. They stressed the investigation is ongoing.
Last week, the school board said in a statement that district officials were “disappointed to hear the initial information this past fall,” and that “the improprieties appear to go beyond one student and one teacher.” The statement said also that it was “particularly problematic, as the allegations suggest, that children were denied educational services that they would have received had their test results been free of teacher assistance.”
Last fall, the board hired independent outside counsel to investigate the allegations in order to determine the “legitimacy and scope” of the allegations, based on advice of outside counsel and input from the New York State Education Department. The investigation has been “professionally led by outside legal counsel,” according to the board’s statement.
The so-called “trigger” for the investigation was a parent’s comment to a teacher which raised suspicions about the possibility of test coaching at the two elementary schools. The parent reportedly requested services for her sixth-grader, who she said was behind in math. The services were denied based on too high a score on a Regents exam, according to officials. The parent is said to have responded by saying that the only reason her daughter did so well was that her teacher helped her, which immediately raised a red flag and opened the door for questioning.
District spokesman Michael Conte said it is common for the DA’s office to request records and conduct interviews with district officials and attorneys before deciding if the evidence warrants a grand jury.
Conte said the investigation is a “process that is codified, and there is “nothing arbitrary” about actions taken. Penalties range from reprimand to suspension without pay to firing, after impartial hearings mandated by state education law.
The board’s statement said, “...if the independent counsel’s report results in the Superintendent of Schools bringing charges against one or more of our employees, the Board of Education will be the arbiter of whether there is probable cause for these charges.”
“Make no mistake - these investigations are warranted based on legitimate, detailed concerns expressed by particular parents of young students, as well as other employees of our district,” the statement said. “We simply want the truth to come out through the process.”
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00
The second meeting of the Powers Chemco property site at Glen Cove City Hall last Thursday night focused on health concerns in the surrounding area. Spokesmen from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Health (DOH) and other environmental experts discussed the extent of the contaminated soil and water at the site. It was a continued discussion on the proposed clean-up of the State Superfund site, which was formerly occupied by the Columbia Ribbon and Carbon
Manufacturing Company, and now located within the 15-acre Konica Minolta property.
“After careful studies, we found that the contaminated soil and water table poses no threat to nearby residences,” said Nathan Epler, a hydrogeologist from the environmental consulting and management firm Roux Associates.
Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00
The Glen Cove Council of PTAs will be holding its Annual Community Scholarship Fund Event at the Swan Club on Sunday, March 9, at 11:30 a.m. The Glen Cove Community Scholarship Fund was founded in 1958, and it annually administers funds in the form of scholarships to deserving Glen Cove High School seniors. All proceeds from this event will be donated to this fund. The event will feature a performance by the High School Jazz Band and a basket raffle. This year’s honorees are Nomi Rosen, Dr. Michael Israel, Rosemarie Sekelsky, Brittney Frank Rifkind, Suzanne Anderson and Mary Murphy.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
The North Shore High School swimming team completed its season with high honors this year. Both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified individual athletes for all-conference and all-county championship competitions.
Coach Samara Weitz has also been honored with the Nassau County Coach of the Year award—motivating many of her athletes to succeed throughout the season, including senior Kristen Stanis.
“She made sure I was working hard, but also having fun,” Stanis said. “She taught me how to balance work and play and how it’s important to maintain it.”
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
It was all fun and games at the fourth annual Winter Classic Hockey tournament at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage on Saturday, Feb. 8. Young adults and kids of all ages from the Long Island Blues Hockey team faced off against three other teams in the event that gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to play ice hockey in an accommodating setting.
Michael Russo, founder of the Long Island Blues team, said he started the program 10 years ago so his son, Nicholas, who has autism, could play hockey.