“We’re not a failing district,” Malone said about the drop in scores, which occurred at a similar level in districts throughout Long Island and the state. “This is a little bit of a kick in the teeth, certainly, but in this, there are really, really good things that occurred.”
Each principal did share some test scores that concerned them. John Singleton, principal of Clear Stream Avenue School, said that last year’s sixth-grade class was the lowest performing grade. Responding to that, he said all teachers will receive additional support from the district’s literacy coach, and will also get training for a new math program that will be used.
"Test scores are only a small indicator of the performance of a school," he said. "All teachers and students will continue to receive support in literacy and math in order to meet the demands of the new Common Core Curriculum.
The third-grade scores concerned him as well. Singleton said that school officials will evaluate the second-grade curriculum, to make sure students are being prepared for the expectations of third grade, the first year of state testing.
Singleton said that to meet the new requirements of Common Core, which focuses heavily on analytical and critical thinking, more non-fiction reading will be incorporated into the curriculum. Book clubs will be added so students can discuss, in depth, their reading assignments.
Malone had a particular concern with fourth-grade scores at Forest Road, though she did note that nearly a quarter of students there receive special education services. Statewide, only 5 percent of special needs children passed the tests.
At Shaw Avenue, Pernick noted that fourth-grade had the best scores in the school on math, and the worst in ELA. Fifth-grade, she said, topped the school in ELA scores but was at the bottom for math. “We have to figure out what that anomaly was all about,” she said, adding that administrators are still waiting on specific test data to find out areas where students did not perform well.
The principals talked about the importance of offering additional enrichment opportunities for students, and getting parents more involved. Pernick said she would like to have more workshops for parents on ways they can help their children at home.