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More students scoring below standard

WATKINS GLEN—Due to changes by the state to the grading cut off levels, 40 percent of third to eighth graders at Watkins Glen no longer meet the minimum standards.
Superintendent Tom Phillips made the announcement about the change at the Monday, Aug. 2 school board meeting. He said New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner made the announcement that affects students in every school district in the state, July 28. Phillips said many students ended the school year thinking they scored well in math and English Language Arts, but this change in scoring means many are now below proficiency. He added the state has said school districts are not required to give Academic Intervention Services (AIS), like it normally would have to for these students.
“Kids who showed growth, dropped a level,” explained Phillips.
Students are evaluated out of four levels, with three and up meaning they met the required proficiency or comprehension in math and ELA. Phillips said before the change, 90 percent of Watkins Glen students were at least meeting level three, or the state’s proficiency cut off. He explained some students who were a three, are now at a one.
Phillips explained this was done to show the federal government the state needs the Race to the Top funds. New York state is one of the finalists for the federal monies. Even though Watkins has a one year reprieve from being required to offer AIS to the students below the proficiency level, Phillips said “we’re seriously going to help these kids.”
In other business:
• The board accepted the internal audit report for 2010-11. A review of the audit was done by Jessica Lawrence at the meeting. She said the only two problems were that a purchase was made without an order first, and a purchase made with no quotes provided. She said these were minor, and had been dealt with already.
• The board approved the creation of two courses: ACE French and Current Issues in Science, Technology, and Society. Principal Dave Warren said the French course is actually making an Advanced class into one with college credit. He explained the Current Issue course ties in with the $86,300 grant the district received for alternative energy curriculum.
• An agreement for a Together Including Every Student (TIES) coordinator was approved for the 2010-11 school year. Phillips explained it is student resource.
• The board also approved the Parent/Student Handbooks for 2010-11.
The next regular board meeting is Monday, Aug. 16. It is expected to start at 6:30 p.m., following an executive session at 5:45 p.m.


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