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Long Beach Seeks Exemptions from New Evaluation Plan

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.

Ari Pine, a parent, voiced his concerns to the board.
Ari Pine, a parent, voiced his concerns to the board.
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 story.
       
Jack December 14, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Typical of the LB publics school district employees to take advantage of a disaster in order to protect their salaries. Its also very telling that the school board's concern was to protect the teachers and not the taxpayers who are supposed to be represented by the school board. In reality the school board members all have ties to the educational bureacracy and that is where their loyalty lies. The board should convene an emergency budget vote to reduce the school budget and the taxpayers school taxes so that the taxpayers can use the savings to fix up their destroyed homes otherwise there will be a severe drop in taxes because of all the homeowners who will be walking away from their mortgages.
anna December 15, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Many school districts all over Long Island missed 2 weeks of school. Keeping up with the curriculum should be a part of getting back to normal.
Jack December 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM
In Long Beach missing 2 weeks of school won't make a difference for the few students who actually study and do their homework. however for the students who skate and glide through school will use this as an excuse for the laziness.
Hamburger December 16, 2012 at 09:02 AM
Elephants built the boardwalk
goodroots December 16, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The district should draft the letter to be exempted from the APPR plan for this year. The new statewide APPR regulations are useless and bad for kids. Way too much high stakes testing...
Kristine Weinstein January 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM
The kids lost more than 2wks.. When the children went back to school, some kids were still missing because they could not go back to their homes.. Also all of our schools had damage.. The least damaged schools housed all of our students so they could get back to some type of routine. During this time they were not "prepping" the kids for the ELA's.. So it's more like 6 wks or more. Please don't forget faculty members, parents and students lives were turned upside down, some lost cars, homes and personal belongings.. It would be unfair to have this APPR plan in effect this year for Long Beach after so much chaos.

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