The school board requests that the superintendent ask the state department of education to relax some terms of the APPR and the three-day ELA/Math testing.
Story and photos by Joley Welkowitz
State testing and its impact on the
Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) - a state-mandated teacher,
student and administrator evaluation plan - was the main subject of discussion
at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting at Long Beach High School.
Trustee Dr. Dennis Ryan asked
Superintendent Dr. David Weiss if he would consider drafting a letter, along
with other local superintendents, to the commissioner of the state Department
of Education, asking to relax some terms of the three-day ELA/Math testing.
“I think part of it is dealing
with the madness of the state assessment and giving the state a message, but
also sending a message to our teachers in the district, that we understand the
pressure they are under,” Ryan said.
This is the first school year the
APPR program would be implemented, but Ryan and other trustees believe that, in
the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this year wouldn’t be an appropriate time to use
the results of the ELA/Math test to judge both teachers and students.
“I do think that given the
circumstances Long Beach has been under, that we should take a lead in lobbying
for our kids and our teachers,” Ryan said.
Board President Roy Lester and
Trustee Patrick Gallagher agreed with Ryan.
“I think it is fair to recognize
that our students have a disadvantage of some sort,” Gallagher said.
Due to the nearly two weeks of
school that Long Beach students missed in the wake of the hurricane, the
district decided to make up for those days by eliminating multiple vacation
days on the school calendar. The concern of the trustees and some parents is
that students will not have the same amount of time in the classroom by April
and May, when the ELA tests are issued, compared to other students in the state
who were unaffected by Hurricane Sandy.
Ari Pine, a parent, voiced his worry to the board. “My
concern is whether or not the curriculum will be complete this year,” said
Pine. “It makes me very nervous and wary to hear these issues that you are
bringing up,” he continued.
Superintendent Weiss reassured Pine that expectation for
both students and teachers have not changed. “I do not think we are taking our
eyes off of the standards or the outcomes, but I think we can relieve some
things in the system that will allow us to really focus on the whole child and
on academic results at the same time.”
APPR is an evaluation system for
teachers, principals, psychologists and central office administrators that New
York State was required to implement in order to continue receiving federal
Race to the Top funds, which is money the U.S. Department of
Education awards districts based on boosting student achievement on assessments. APPR is based on multiple measures
of performance including student achievement and classroom observations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
announced in his State of the State address this past January that any district
without an approved APPR plan by Jan. 17, 2013 would lose state aid. Districts
will also be faced with additional costs for training, record keeping and
grading of assessments.
Andrew Coen contributed to this
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