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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

It was the second annual goal setting workshop at Glen Cove High School on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and both the board of education and the public came up with some sound ideas for the district. School Superintendent Maria Rianna presented a slide show of four main areas that are the focus of district goals.

 

“We began this process last year and these goals are representative of what the community wanted to see,” said Rianna.

Glen Cove residents may see a 1.64 percent increase in the tax levy next year, the amount proposed at last week’s public hearing. Mayor Reginald Spinello and the Glen Cove City Council held an initial reading of the proposed budget for 2015, and will take final vote on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the next city council meeting.

 

“It’s very easy for a first time mayor to raise the taxes and blame it on a prior administration, and that is not what I am doing,” said Mayor Spinello. “In the past three administrations there were budgets with increases of  almost 28 percent to down to 12 percent, but it’s a different time now...I think that the residents are certainly going to feel relief. I put together a budget...that I believe is fair and reasonable and a good budget.”


Sports

The Town of Oyster Bay, in conjunction with the New York Rangers, will once again host a special Try Hockey for Free Program on Sunday morning, Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to noon at ithe Ice Skating Center located in Bethpage Community Park, 1000 Stewart Ave. 

 

The event will allow youngsters a unique opportunity to sample the sport of ice hockey. Four morning sessions will be available. Session times are 8 to 9 a.m., 9 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, North Shore High School quarterback Michael Floccari shattered a school record and tied a Long Island record for the most touchdown passes in a game. This accomplishment ties him with E.J. Clark from Seaford High School (1977) and Joe Capobianco form Lawrence High school (2011). 


Calendar

Harvest Square Dance - October 24

Fall Festival - Octobner 24 - 25

Peace, Politics and Projectiles - October 26


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