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Students who opt-out hurt the entire Oyster Bay East Norwich Central School District

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Laurie Kowalsky, the president of the Oyster Bay East Norwich Board of Education said at the Oct. 20 meeting, that parents need to be notified that state exams are mandatory. Opting-out, she said, is hurting the district’s students and teachers. Opting-out, when students stay home rather than take state standardized tests, has occurred often in the past couple of years. When they do, their score is a zero.

“Kids need to learn how to take long tests,” Kowalsky said. “If more than five percent of our kids opt out we can’t become a Blue Ribbon School, which we are not now.”

Exemplary public and non-public schools are recognized yearly by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, a U.S. Department of Education award program which was created in 1982. These schools are honored for exemplary teaching and learning. Three hundred and sixty seven schools were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. Eighteen of these schools were in New York state. 

The Academic Committee is continuing its review of the district’s scores and looking into ways to increase Advanced Placement scores to improve the district’s ratings. 

The turf field at the James Vernon School is nearly complete. The seating areas, which still need to be completed, will be added around the field when weather permits. Poles and netting also need to be added and the lines.

There was some discussion when the turf field’s ribbon cutting would take place. Some board members said it should wait until the scoreboard is in next spring. It was suggested that by then perhaps the current Covid restriction of gatherings not to exceed 50 people would be lifted.

Kowalsky disagreed. “I think we should have the ceremony sooner than later,” she said. “Maybe we should do it while Dr. Seinfeld is still here. We could videotape it for the public.”

Regardless of when the ribbon cutting takes place, the turf field will not be available for outside use until the district’s children have used it.

Board member Todd Cronin said that the traffic light at the entrance of Vernon is not long enough for cars to exit. Legislator Josh Lafazan put a request in and it should be changed soon, Kowalsky said.

Seinfeld said more students would be coming in person to school the second half of the term. She added that there are enough teaching assistants and substitute teachers to handle the increase in students.