With the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District’s 5-year plan coming to a close and in need of preparation for a new one, district director of curriculum and instruction and technology Judith LaRocca reviewed an update to the curriculum, writing and development aspects during a meeting of the board of education at the October 15 meeting at the Manor Oaks School.
The new aspects of the plan must be aligned to new state standards and to support that, there are 4 curriculum committees that the principals chair with teacher representatives from each of the buildings. The committees meet four times per year.
“This year most of the folks from those curriculum committees will be on the new common core learning standards,” LaRocca said.
To meet the new standards, the district implemented the new “Envision” math program for students in grades kindergarten to three as well as an online social studies program in ELA curriculum from the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES, on which teachers were trained on October 15.
As the district replaces its math textbooks, the “Envision” program will expand on what was put in place in the 2011-12 school year, making the move to grade three in 2012-13. The district will put the books in fourth grade through grant funding and is budgeting for the books in grade five.
“The goal is for September next year to be kindergarten through fifth grade with the new Envision program which is very supportive of the common core learning standards,” LaRocca said.
The district continues to support its teachers through professional development, working in differentiated instruction, learning styles, flexible grouping, center-based instruction and reading styles.
“If you walk around our buildings as the administrators and myself do on a regular basis, you will see these things happening in our classrooms on a regular basis,” LaRocca said. “You would be very impressed by the instruction that happens in these areas.”
This year professional development has been driven by the state with the implementation of the common core and annual professional performance review (APPR).
“We have had to help the teachers with the evaluation framework that was chosen in concert with the administrators and the union,” LaRocca said, mentioning the Charles Danielson Standard for Teaching. “We spent a lot of time last year training the teachers, we’ll continue to support them in that initiative as well.”
New Hyde Park-Garden City Park also has common formative assessments that help drive instruction from what children know and what they need to learn, obtaining that information through data analysis on test results. The district belongs to the Nassau BOCES Instructional Data Warehouse that helps provide that information.
“They’re also able to see what particular skills a student may have had difficulty with on the New York State Assessment,” LaRocca said of teachers.
Teachers also have available reading and screening instruments they can use and are also looking at fluency skills for mathematics. Instructors also bring their data to their focus meetings with principals, and study pre- and post- test results as they look at student growth percentiles. The district’s academic intervention plan is reviewed yearly to see if students are in need of targeted assistance. APPR is also a part of the process.
“New York State changed many of the regulations with regard to the APPR plan so we have submitted our plan, you may have heard in the news, you may have seen it on the governor’s website where they’re tracking what district’s plans have been approved,” LaRocca said. “We are hoping to hear back from the state within the week, hopefully.”
The district-wide committee on APPR will hold a meeting towards the end of the year to review the plan and consider what might need to be changed for the 2013-14 school year.
LaRocca said that this year the district will be focusing on completing student learning objectives, implementing STAR assessments for reading and math, providing ongoing professional development for the common core, the teachers looking at Engageny.org, a website from the state devoted to the common core resources, and are providing 2-hour professional development every month in addition to introducing materials aligned to the common core.