A review of district’s academic performance is the focus of Thursday’s Board of Education meeting.
This story was written by Lauren Urban.
A key focus at Long Beach High School this year will be to increase the percentage of students that graduate on time, according to Principal Dr. Gaurav Passi.
Passi raised the issue during a review of the school district’s academic performance during Thursday’s Board of Education meeting at Lindell School. In 2010-11, the high school’s graduation rate surpassed 90 percent for the first time in more than a decade. The following school year, it increased to 94 percent.
“Our goal is to get our graduation rate to 100 percent for June,” Passi said.
"Guidance counselors and social workers are working hard to identify and help at-risk students before they “slip through the cracks,” he added.
Passi also highlighted the high school’s suspension rate, reporting that it decreased from 20 percent in 2008-2009 to 10 percent in 2011-2012.
“This is something that we are still working on,” he said. “We’d like to see our suspension rate go down to the low single digits.”
To reach this goal, the school is counseling troubled students and
teaching them about good decision making, “rather than simply doling
out punishment,” Passi said.
As to academic expectations, Passi said the high school is now holding high standards for all students, not just a portion of them. “We have made a real effort to get more students to take at least one college level course before they graduate high school,” he added.
This year 500 high school students are enrolled in at least one college level course, up from 450 students last year.
Additionally, 17 students earned International Baccalaureate Diplomas last year and 43 candidates are eligible
this year. The IB program is a two-year academic program designed to prepare students to meet the academic demands of college. Passi said that 31 students from the class of 2012 are attending an Ivy League School or one of US News & World Report’s top 50 colleges.
Dr. Michele Natali, principal of Long Beach Middle School, said that more
middle school students are being encouraged to take high school level
courses, such as algebra or earth science. Support classes are offered, “so students can meet success while taking a risk,” said Natali, who noted that the number of students taking higher-level classes and
mastering them has increased.
However, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Dr. Vincent Butera, said that there is a gap in ELA scores for grades 6, 7 and 8, when Long Beach is compared to Nassau County as a whole.
“This is a target area that needs continued attention,” he said.
The school is addressing this issue via curricular improvement, assessment protocols, monitoring student progress and hiring dual certified teachers for vacancies, Natali said.
Moreover, the suspension rate in the middle school has decreased from 12 percent in 2006-2007 to 1.3 percent in 2011-2012, Natali said.
The deans have taken a proactive role to prevent any potential troublesome situations from developing and the mindset of children has changed from one of telling adults about such situations without thinking of it as tattling.
“This has really changed the culture and climate of the building,” she said.
Become a blogger today!
Get started now