Written by sUperintendent Michael Nagler Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:00
I am still surprised how many people mistakenly believe that the Common Core Standards and the State’s Common Core Curriculum are the same thing; they are not. The State has provided a curriculum guideline that may be followed to help children reach the standards. Districts may or may not decide to use these curricula material; it is completely a local decision. Mineola has used a combination of State materials and our own teacher created materials.
I analogize the standards and curriculum to Equestrian show jumping. In show jumping the course is comprised of a set of obstacles that every horse must complete; the obstacles are not moved, lowered or changed to accommodate the horse. The common core standards were created with the same premise; a universal set of requirements that every student should meet. Obviously there are many other factors that determine whether those standards are met.
The most important ingredient to successful show jumping is the horse, followed quickly by the rider. Not every horse can be a show jumper. You wouldn’t ask a Clydesdale to jump fences (although some do in commercials). Grooming and training the right horse to jump is critical to successful completion of the course. In teaching, the horse is the curriculum, and the rider is the teacher.
Not only do you need the right horse you need significant time to develop the relationship between the rider and the horse. The most successful equestrians have a symbiotic relationship between rider and horse, each knowing how the other will react to a given obstacle. Teachers and the curriculum are no different. Teachers need to be comfortable in the content they are teaching- but more importantly need to know if the curriculum is meeting the standards.
Sometimes, no matter how well trained, a rider can be thrown by a horse. The horse believes that the obstacle is too hard to overcome. In these cases the rider’s patience and experience is most crucial. It is imperative that our curricula address the students that may have difficulty meeting the standards. In these cases our teachers are the most important. We need to develop appropriate materials that enable our student to progress and exceed the standards.
Starting now and continuing throughout the summer we will provide time and opportunities for teachers to work with his/her grade level curriculum. We are committed to making sure the materials we teach are engaging and appropriate. Most importantly we want our daily assessments to measure standards and track student growth in the standards. We have helped develop a software program that will allow us to do this electronically.
We are convinced that all our students can meet the standards. We will continue to modify and refine our curriculum to make sure our students are properly prepared. Our teachers and administrators will continue to be a vital part of developing curricula that is appropriate and challenging to help students meet and exceed the standards. I am confident that our teachers and administrators are up for this task.
This column previously appeared on “Nagler’s Notions” at blog.mineola.k12.ny.us/?p=1626
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.
East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.
“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”
Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.
The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.