At Thursday evening's Board of Education Meeting, the women's and men's cross country teams were each honored for winning the Nassau County Championship.
SCHOOL BOARD PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING ON STATE TO REFORM HIGH STAKES TESTING POLICIES; OUTLINES APPROACH TO MINIMIZE IMPACT OF TESTS ON STUDENTS AND TEACHERS
November 22, 2013 -- On Thursday evening, the North Shore School District joined more than 100 other school systems across New York State in passing a resolution calling on Albany to reform its high stakes testing policies that are administered annually in grades 3-8, and to rethink the manner in which the new Common Core Learning Standards have been implemented. The resolution was crafted by trustees Sarah Jones and Toni Labbatte and introduced at the November 7th Board of Education meeting, and passed unanimously on Thursday night.
During the discussion at the November 7 meeting, the board agreed to have the district’s legal counsel review the resolution before putting it up for a vote. The lawyers made minimal changes, adding “to the extent allowed by law” to the end of a few of the resolves.
With regard to high stakes standardized testing, the resolution states that “overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators' efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy. “ In addition, it continues, “ the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate.”
The resolution then calls on state and federal education officials to reexamine their current student and teacher assessment policies, and “to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools . . . and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.”
In addition to calling for state and federal reforms, the resolution expands on the district’s mission and vision statements.
“The mission of the North Shore Central School District” one “whereas” clause reads, “is to inspire all students to be confident, passionate learners with the courage and skills to lead their lives with integrity, while contributing to our global community with creativity and compassion;” and that “prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation’s social and economic well-being.”
The statement then calls on the district to minimize the impact of high stakes testing on the district’s educational program by emphasizing “district measures of teacher effectiveness” and “district measures of authentic student progress and engagement over state measures and standardized test scores.” It continues, “scores from state mandated testing will not be used beyond what state and federal law requires.” In addition, the resolution states that the District “will minimize the impact of standardized testing by limiting test practice.”
With regard to the new Common Core Curriculum, the resolution states that the standards will be evaluated “to determine which are not developmentally appropriate for our students and minimize their impact on our teaching and learning.” In addition, the district “will emphasize a curriculum rich in all areas of education including but not limited to art, music, science, social studies and foreign languages, and will actively work to prevent a narrowing of our educational standards to match those of Common Core Learning Standards.”
During the Board discussion at the November 21st meeting, Trustee Amy Beyer questioned whether “the cart was being put before the horse” in adopting the resolution before the district’s white paper on state assessments and mission and vision statements had been updated by a recently formed committee.
Both Trustee Jones and Trustee Labbate replied that they believed that this was the appropriate order as the resolution would provide guidance to the committee.
After the resolution passed, residents expressed support for the Board’s action.
North Shore Parent Action Committee (NSPAC) member, Tom Murphy, stated he appreciated the resolution and that it would help to give the group guidance.
Parent Noah Blumenthal said that he was thrilled with the resolution, but that it is the implementation of it that is most important.
Trustee Labbate later said that she and Trustee Beyer had met with school board members of nearby districts, and that she believed North Shore should work with those districts, in particular Roslyn and Manhasset, through the Legislative Action Committee, to create a single resolution for adoption by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA), that would then become a part of that organization’s legislative agenda.
Click Here for November 7 Resolution.
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