I would like to welcome you back to a school year where our daily practice will be the ripple of the imagined possibilities for our students – our families – our community – and our staff. I welcome you back to a school year where we will work to make the possibilities a reality.
I am particularly excited to welcome you back as I begin my 46th year in education, eighteenth year in the district and fifth year as superintendent. I continue to be optimistic about the impact the positive work achieved in our schools thus far has had on all students. As a result of dramatic changes in the NYS ELA and Math assessments grades 3 through 8 and the revised Common Core Curriculum, Lindenhurst’s proficiency rates on these state exams have dropped dramatically. The new Common Core assessment results cannot be compared with last year’s proficiency rates since the old scores are from an old test based on the former standards. The Commissioner of Education, Jon King, recently wrote a letter indicating that the change in test scores does not mean that students are learning less or that teachers and schools are performing worse than last year. It is like comparing apples and oranges. Please remember this as you view your child’s scores. Also understand that we can not ignore the scores. We need to look closely at what we must do to help our students rise to the heightened level of expectation. I know our staff has the talent and the will to get our scores where they should be.
We all recognize that ideally, NYSED should have taken more time to develop support for the Common Core standards, should have aligned curriculum and professional development, and should have designed tests that reflected what students had actually been exposed to. I firmly believe that there should have been an opportunity to introduce the new curriculum, giving our students and teachers a chance to acclimate to it and assess students only after they are familiar with it. As a result of federal and state intrusion, sometimes it feels as though everything is being thrown at a wall and whatever sticks, sticks. Someone from SED recently compared the situation to a plane being built while the plane was in midair.
But once again we must focus on the future. We are working hard to get our scores where they should be. These scores create a baseline measure of student learning under the Common Core standards that we can use for comparisons in future years. We will continue to look for ways to make excellence a reality in Lindenhurst.