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Pointless Stand Against Special Ed Rule

In a symbolic stand against pressure from the New York State Education Department, members of the Levittown Board of Education recently rejected the changes to the special education curriculum. 


Based on the most recent set of rule changes to the statewide Common Core, the Levittown school district, as of July 1, 2013, can no longer dole out IEP diplomas to special education students. 


According to Special Education Director Lisa Carelli-Lang, the state education department has determined the individualized education program [IEP] diploma is “arbitrary” and not “aligned with the Common Core curriculum.” 


Based on a decision made by the state Board of Regents in June, as of the 2013-2014 school year, districts statewide are required to offer Career Development and Occupational Studies [CDOS] Commencement Credential as an alternative certification for students with severe disabilities who are eligible to take the New York State Alternative Assessments. 


The state-mandated curriculum associated with the new credential aims to give special education students a more meaningful education than provided by IEPs.  It prepares eligible students to take the state's new "alternative assessments," which allegedly will provide employers a better gauge of job-readiness.  


“I think students with this diploma will leave in a better position to present this to an employer,” Lang said. 


However, the trustees did not feel as optimistic as Lang. 


“So we’re giving kids more work and taking away the right to a diploma?” asked Trustee Frank Ward. “The state is wrong with this point.” 


The Levittown Board of Education voted 5-to-1 against the implementation of the CDOS Commencement Credentials for students with severe disabilities, with the only vote in favor from the Board President Kevin Regan, who explained that it was a pointless decision. 


“It’s a moot point,” said Trustee Michael Pappas. “It has to be done anyway.”


Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, nearly 2,000 military veterans and Gold Star families in Levittown and Island Trees will have to wait for their tax break until next year. 


Both the Levittown and Island Trees school districts are among several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. Earlier this year, trustees in both districts voted unanimously to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year. 

In response to the criticism from the community over the proposed sale of 11.3 acres of school district property housing the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow school facilities, the Island Trees  Board of Education has revealed the details of an $18 million proposal to develop housing for seniors (age 55 and up).


“People should be aware of the whole story,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “There is this perception that [the board] acted hastily... It was not just a quick decision over chump change.”


Kaitlyn Gerdes and Kelly Gerdes, seniors at MacArthur High School in the Levittown School District, have signed National Letters of Intent to continue playing soccer on the college level at Hofstra University this fall. They will each pursue a degree in exercise science.


Both girls are co-captains of the varsity soccer team and received All-County designations this fall. As sophomores, the twins assisted their team in winning the county, Long Island and New York State championship titles. As a junior, Kaitlyn was designated as an All-

Class player, while Kelly garnered an All-Class designation in her junior year and has been named an All-Long Island and All-Conference player. Kaitlyn and Kelly also play for the Farmingdale United travel soccer team and are peer leaders at their school.


— Submitted by the Levittown Public School District 

An international soccer conference featuring the legendary Pelé is coming to the local area. Soccer as the Beautiful Game: Football’s Artistry, Identity and Politics is at Hofstra University in Hempstead through April 13.


“Pelé transformed and transcended the game of soccer,” said Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz. “While the world first came to know him for extraordinary athletic feats, his soccer career was, in many respects, simply a prelude to an extraordinary life of service as a philanthropist and advocate. He understands the power and responsibility his soccer legacy carries, and has used it to improve the lives of others.”


Members of the Long Island Junior Soccer League are invited to join the conference as a guest and at no charge on Saturday, April 12 at Hofstra University. Panels and discussions on Saturday will include experts in coaching, leagues and sports media and were designed with the soccer enthusiast in mind.


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