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District’s Curriculum Associates Provide Updates

Kathleen Auer honored for lifesaving efforts

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time for an update on what’s being done to ensure that Levittown students are getting the same education and opportunities their peers are elsewhere. To that end, each department sent their curriculum associate to the Board of Education meeting at the Levittown Memorial Education Center on Wednesday, Dec. 12.

The common theme was making sure subject matter measured up to the common core standards established by the state. An associate from math, English, social studies, science, world languages and art/technology each gave a brief presentation on what’s going on in their department.

Highlights include the creation of new student learning objectives (SLOs) in math to align with new APPR requirements and the creation of new baseline exams, which were administered in September. 

In foreign language, students can receive an advanced designation on their diplomas by passing a locally developed exam in the absence of assessments by the state.

One key element spanning all the subjects is working with teachers to make sure they have everything they need to foster a positive learning environment.

“I’ve facilitated professional development for teachers in which we’ve examined and discussed sample lesson plans and strategies for the implementation of common core standards in classroom instruction,” said English Curriculum Associate Bill Zimmer.

Other highlights include adding an engineering component to the science curriculum, and the further promotion of AP course offerings in social studies for those who perform exceptionally well on Regents exams.

Financially, the district is also doing exceptionally well, according to a representative from R.S. Abrams, on hand with the district’s audit report.

The firm audited half of the district’s $2 million in federal grants and found that everything was in line with federal regulations. The district’s balance sheet was deemed very strong, noting that money was donated to the employee retirement system, reflecting rising rates in that department. 

Elsewhere, a motion passed to go forward with the refurbishment of the cafeteria, classroom and office space at MacArthur High School, a $2.6 million project that will break ground in June 2014. The matter of possibly eliminating locker space from the cafeteria will also be discussed going forward.

Two $500 scholarships, one each for a student at Division and MacArthur, were accepted from the Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Hempstead Turnpike.

Kathleen Auer, a teacher at Wisdom Lane, was honored for her lifesaving efforts. She recently performed the Heimlich maneuver on a student in distress.

One parent brought up the matter of elementary school grading, specifically the 19-point span that equals a mark of ‘3.’ Some parents use grades to get their children accepted into local gifted programs, such as Hofstra. Now, a straight A student’s average looks more like a series of threes and fours. 

Also brought up was the matter of teachers spending more time outside the classroom being trained on the core curriculum, necessitating an increase in homework. Both issues are being taken into advisement.

The next public meeting of the board will be Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m.