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Improving School Performance

More time is needed on task on math and English/language arts on the middle school level. So says a committee made up of the principals from both district middle schools and their curriculum associates. The committee made their presentation at the Levittown Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.

Currently, 7th and 8th graders spend five periods a week on both math and ELA. Six graders spend five on math and 10 on ELA. Those students that score a one or a two on the state assessment test get an extra 2.5. periods for either subject.

The committee proposes eliminating the  work study period for non-honor students, and increasing the time spent on math for all grades to 7.5. ELA would also be bumped to 7.5 in seventh and eighth-grade. 

The key element it this would be changes in the academic intervention services (AIS). The new structure would embed AIS into the classroom, without the need to pull a student out of class for extra guidance.

The new format would come at a cost. There would be a need for additional full-time equivalent staff equaling 2.8, or $100,000 per FTE. No additional hires would be necessary, and the committee says that for kids in the accelerated program there would be no changes.

Superintendent Dr. James Grossane supported the plan, saying the structure will provide more consistent instruction across the board, and would better prepare students for high school, reducing the need for extra instruction when they get there.

Board member Frank Ward said on the surface it seems like just throwing money at a problem, and would like to see a more detailed breakdown teacher by teacher.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting:

- The safety committee said a recent lockdown drill at East Broadway was a success, and the district continues to make strides in improving security, such as providing local police with school floorplans, and continuing to beef up the escort process when visitors arrive.

- It was announced that the library budget vote will now be held at the same time as the school budget vote, on May 21. 

- The BOE nominated their candidates for election to the Nassau BOCES board: Ron Ellerbe, Robert Schoen, and Fran Langser.

- The resignation of Division principal Dr. Francesco Ianni was accepted, as he is moving on to become assistant superintendent in another district. 

- East Broadway teacher Robert Galino was honored for securing a classroom makeover through his work with the Nassau Suffolk chapter of the Autism Society of America.

The next regular board meeting will be held April 10.