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Principals report tests are ‘stressful,’ ‘intensive’   ADVERTISEMENT

Principals report tests are ‘stressful,’ ‘intensive’

WATKINS GLEN—Two Watkins Glen principals reported on the new testing measures for English language arts in grades three through eight at the Monday, April 22, school board meeting.
Elementary Principal Rod Weeden addressed some of the questions asked in the exams last week. He explained the state education department used some questions the students will see in future grade levels as well as to see what questions are appropriate for the current grade levels. Weeden said, “it’s way too much. It doesn’t need to be as intensive.”
“The most depressing thing is good students feeling like they failed,” he said, adding teachers are asking when they can get back to teaching.
Middle school Principal Kristine Somerville added the three-day tests are long for some students. She said on the second day of testing she had two high achieving students in her office crying because they couldn’t finish the tests. Somerville added the third day was better.
“I said to them, ‘do your best,’” she said. “It’s very stressful.”
The third through eighth grade students have math exams this week. Superintendent Tom Phillips said he wrote a “curt” letter to the state department deputy commissioner about the ELA tests. He added he got quick reply promising for their “people” to meet following the completion of the math tests.
“My issue is not with what they’re trying to do,” said Phillips about the rigor. “They can’t roll this out with (staff) assessments and say ‘we’ll get you the curriculum in a few years.’”
In other business:
• The board approved the property tax report card. Business Manager Gayle Sedlack said the report explains the proposed budget and is available to the public. Overall spending in the 2013-14 budget is up .56 percent over the current year. Sedlack added she estimates student enrollment will be down next year, 1,115 students from 1,134.
• An easement for Frog Hollow Marina was approved. Phillips explained this is just to allow the marina to connect to a gas line.
• The board also approved a refunding bond resolution. Phillips said this will save the district $720,867 in interest over the remaining life of the bond.
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7. It is anticipated to begin at 6:30 p.m. This will also be the budget hearing.





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