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School Board has 'Faith' In Teachers

Details of the independent report on the investigation into alleged test coaching in the Glen Cove City School District became public last week, with an article published in Newsday that sheds light on the findings. The report concludes that teachers at two elementary schools - Connolly and Landing - supplied students with correct answers during state English Language Arts and mathematics exams in spring 2012. The report was completed in mid-March, shortly before the news of the investigation first broke, and disciplinary hearings are still underway. The Glen Cove Board of Education posted a statement on the district’s web site responding to the article.

 

“First, we want the community to know that while the report is a legitimate document being used in the disciplinary proceedings regarding certain Glen Cove school district employees, it was unconscionable for information from this report to end up in a newspaper,” the statement says. “These are closed hearings that are being held before an impartial hearing officer selected through the State Education Department, in accordance with New York education law.”

 

According to the report, there were 22 teachers accused, each of whom “denied, outright, having either provided or witnessed inappropriate staff-directed assistance to students or otherwise failing to comply with the governing rules and procedures” for the tests’ administration.

 

However, the students’ descriptions “were consistent and overwhelming, both in terms of the gravity of the alleged transgressions and the persistence with which they are alleged to have occurred,” it said.

 

The school board hired the law firm Guercio & Guercio to investigate in November after becoming aware of allegations of test coaching by teachers after parents raised concerns. The report’s sole recommendation is that “the matters detailed herein be referred for the consideration of possible disciplinary charges.” The accusations also involved several administrators, for alleged lack of proper oversight.

 

The district faces separate allegations of test-changing on 2012 Regents exams at Glen Cove High School. 

 

Two separate probes of the alleged test-fixing at the two elementary schools and the high school are pending -- one by the Education Department and the other by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, whose office served subpoenas upon the district in April.

 

Glen Cove Teachers Association President Karen Ferguson said,“The district’s investigation continues, and so it would be inappropriate to comment on the specifics of what happened or didn’t happen, or the attorney’s report. However, I can say that the Glen Cove Teachers Association will continue to work aggressively to ensure that our members’ due process rights are protected. In addition, we want to assure parents and the community that Glen Cove’s teachers are highly dedicated professionals and will not let this weekend’s news distract us from our main focus -- ensuring that Glen Cove students continue to receive an excellent education and enjoy a smooth start to the new school year.”

 

“Since the allegations first surfaced nearly one year ago, the district has relied upon guidance and direction from its legal team, the State Education Department, and the Nassau County District Attorney,” said the Board of Education. “There have been many eyes on these proceedings, multiple entities involved, and it has taken much longer than we would have liked... we have faith in our teachers and believe that they have the best interests of Glen Cove students and learning at heart. However, we remain firm in standing up for the integrity of our school district by continuing to address this challenge objectively and factually to achieve appropriate and responsible resolution.”

 

Superintendent Maria L. Rianna declined to comment.


News

Zachary Gotterbarn, a member of Boy Scout Troop 72, is an extraordinary 9-year-old who recently exhibited maturity and courage beyond his years. While riding in a car with his mom, Zachary sprang into action to help his young cousin who was choking on a cookie. Without hesitation, Zachary quickly used the “finger sweep,” a technique he learned in Scouting, and dislodged the cookie blocking his cousin’s airway. Zachary saved his cousin’s life. During a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Reginald Spinello and the City Council commended Zachary for his heroic act. Glen Cove Volunteer EMS Chief Tom Kenary presented Zachary with an honorary EMS member pin and tee-shirt. Zachary is pictured with Mayor Spinello, the City Council, and his family. 


In order to meet the necessary budget requirements, the Glen Cove School District will reduce school staff members, starting in the 2014-15 school year. One administrative staff member and nine instructional staff members will be let go, according to Superintendent

Maria Rianna’s report at the Monday night school board meeting. Staff reductions will also be made to teaching assistants, school monitors, substitute teachers and custodial and maintenance workers. The total savings for the district is $1,227,669.

 

As of March 31, revenues for the district total $79,281,428. The revenues include the tax levy ($64,780,719),  P.I.L.O.T.s ($1,908,060), tax on consumer utility bills ($1,250,000)n use of reserves ($1,250,000), State Aid ($8,751,799), all other revenues ($635,850) and appropriation of unassigned fund balance ($750,000).

 

The total appropriations for the district are $80,509,097 and revenues are $79,281,428 with a budget gap of $1,227,669.


Sports

 

Glen Cove High School players, from left, Tajah Garner, Dejon Taylor, Manny Sican, and Ralik Jackson, after the Long Island Colts u18’s team vs. St. Anthony’s at Robert Finley Middle School last week. Touchdown ‘tries’ by Garner, Taylor and Sican.


The third- and fourth-grade Knights took to the road last weekend as they faced off against Jericho early Sunday morning, April 6.  Jericho’s teamwork and hustle brought down the Knights by a final score of 5 – 0.  The early game may have been a factor as the boys started to play better and more like a team as the game went on.  Once again, goalie Tyler Shea played outstanding in goal and was relieved by Christian Maiorano, who did just as well in the second half.  Andrew Guster played solid defense in the loss.


Calendar

Eggstravaganza - April 16

Live Music - April 16

Community Easter Egg Hunt - April 19


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