Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00
The first discussion relating to the primary district goals took place at Monday night’s Glen Cove School District Board of Education meeting, held at Robert M. Finley Middle School. Despite the absences of Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria and Trustees Ida McQuair and Gail Nedbor-Gross, the meeting progressed smoothly and the discussion covered a lot of ground.
The evening’s discussion centered around the goals the board created pertaining to improving the percentages of students meeting or exceeding state proficiency standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and math assessment tests for grades three through six; improving the percentage of students graduating from high school, earning a Regents diploma with advanced distinction and reaching a college preparedness performance level; improving the number of students taking advanced placement (AP) courses as well as improving test scores; and completing the alignment of the grade level curricula with the common core standards, which should result in an improvement of scores on the ELA and math assessments in grades three through eight.
“Tonight’s meeting is about disbursing the data and making observations, not trying to identify the cause or offer solutions,” clarified Board President Joel Sunshine. He explained that the board would discuss setting goals of passing grades at the next meeting on September 24, and ask the administration to present recommendations on how to fix the problems at the following meeting, slated to take place on October 15.
Handouts were available showing the data of students’ test scores over the past six school years on ELA and math state assessment scores, Regents exams, AP scores and graduation rates, indicating the changes in percentages of students receiving passing grades from year to year as well as comparing scores to other districts in Nassau County.
Dr. Michael Israel, the newly appointed assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology, was on hand to present some of the discussion items, and he, along with Dr. Hinton, principal at the high school, were able to answer questions from the board members and the public.
“Now we have the data, we have challenges ahead that we need to work toward,” said Dr. Israel. “We are at work at it, and have a lot of work to do.”
While the data presented was meant to give the board an idea of where to begin for making improvements, based on the trends, some felt that it still did not give a complete picture as to what is happening with the district.
“The AP scores is a tool for measuring the upper end; what tools do we have for measuring the kids in the middle, or those who are struggling at the lower level?” said Trustee Donna Brady.
Resident John Maccarone said, “I’ve seen a trend where lower level kids are not getting the attention they deserve. The top 25, they will be fine. You should focus on the other kids.”
The board requested more numbers from the administration to break down the scores of the Regents exams and the district’s dropout rates to get a more accurate idea of where the problems lie and how to proceed.
“The Regents scores have gone up, but we still have more work to do,” said Dr. Hinton.