Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
At the July 18 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, the school district addressed a recent response by the State Education Department (SED) in regards to a recent hot-button topic that has many parents, students, and teachers alike up in arms—the rapid and stressful increase in state assessment testing.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth recently received an email from Assistant SED Commissioner Dr. Julia Rafal-Baer, addressing the concerns of both parents and school districts in New York regarding the great deal of stress that many students have been put under as a result of what many have referred to “excessive state testing.”
Many parents and school administrators argue these rob children of valuable classroom learning time in favor of multiple standardized assessment exams designed to gauge teacher performance, and
Rafal-Baer’s email acknowledged the difficulties that many students have been undergoing since the testing was implemented last year.
“The department recognizes that during the first year of Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR), a variety of pressures have resulted in students being tested more than needed or in test preparation that crowds out quality instruction,” she said. “Numerous stakeholders, including—and most importantly —families and students, have raised concerns as a result of these local decisions.”
Rafal-Baer said there is a certain amount of state assessment testing that is required by federal law, but that school districts were being allowed leeway in exactly how much testing they implement—including the ability to drop other existing assessment procedures such as AimsWEB and NorthWest Evaluation Association (NWEA), provided they meet minimum testing levels otherwise.
“As you know, the department has consistently communicated that the amount of testing should be the minimum necessary to inform effective decision-making at the classroom, school, and district/BOCES level,” she said. “Teaching, not testing, is the core of the regents reform agenda.”
However, Bierwirth, after reviewing state suggestions to lower the testing burden on students, stated that the SED’s plans simply weren’t in the best interests of the children under his watch.
“SED does not understand our plan,” he said. “Herricks, along with other districts, has led the way in developing APPR plans which maximized the use of group metrics across as many areas as possible.
SED suggests that we reduce testing by dropping AimsWEB and NWEA and use only NYS assessments. We use AimsWEB and NWEA for instructional purposes. We would happily recommend dropping
NYS assessments as they serve little or no instructional value in Herricks.”
Bierwirth refuted what he called the SED’s “thinly-veiled attempt” to shift the blame from the state themselves to New York school districts in regards the increase in assessment testing.
“Suggesting that none of the over-testing is SED’s responsibility is disingenuous at best,” he said. “If ‘teaching, not testing’ is the core of their agenda, why are grades 3-8 tests so incredibly long and why is New York measuring what students learn in a grade level only two-thirds of the way through the school year? Accountability and testing take precedence all too often over standards, professional development and instruction.”
Bierwirth also noted that Herricks has dropped all remaining stand-alone pre-tests after the first year of APPR.
The next meeting of the Herricks Board of Education will be held on Thursday, Aug. 14.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Saturday, 29 November 2014 00:00
In an effort to optimize energy usage, while minimizing waste, the Sewanhaka Central High School District has contracted Cenergistic, an energy conservation company based in Dallas, TX, to create a plan for the district’s needs.
According to District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie, the district’s goal is to realize energy savings during times when the district’s buildings are non-occupied and to then budget those savings for student programs.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 28 November 2014 00:00
Last year Manhasset Park District Commissioner Mark Sauvigne was thinking about running for the office of Manhasset-Lakeville Fire & Water District Commissioner, but he sensed the timing wasn’t right. The district covers Manhasset and parts of Great Neck and north New Hyde Park. Commissioner terms are for three years.
“About a year ago I was approached by various members of the Manhasset Lakeville Fire Department, asking me if I would be interested in running for the office of the Fire/ Water
Commissioner,” said Sauvigne. “Although I was honored to be considered, I wasn’t sure the timing was right, so I put the decision off for a year. In the meantime, when the communication tower controversy occurred in October of 2013, I knew it was time to get involved.”
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
The students of Herricks High School were treated to a “Blast from the Past” as the Herricks High School Class of 1964 during this year’s Homecoming celebration. Approximately 60 members of the class of 1964 arrived at the high school on homecoming day for a tour of their alma mater. Most of these alumni had not been back to the high school since graduating 50 years ago.
All were impressed with the changes that have taken place and with the friendly demeanor of our high school students. One alumnus became teary eyed when he ventured out into the courtyard.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
Despite a disappointing playoff loss against the Wantagh Warriors, Sewanhaka Indians Head Coach George Kasimatis, is pleased with his football team’s season.
“I’m proud of my team,” he said. “But you are never satisfied unless you win the whole thing.”
The Indians faced a big challenge this year, moving up into Conference II left them as the new kids on the block, unfamiliar with the teams they would be going against.
Kasimatis will have a tall task next year replacing graduating seniors, which made up most of his starting lineup. Kasimatis said most of the offensive line, such as Danny Gianotti, Adrian Gonzalez and Louis Segarra III, and the defensive line, such as Justin Alexandre, Peter LaTorre and Peter Militano are seniors, many of which have started multiple years for him.