“Our most important guiding principal is that student achievement is first and foremost,” Superintendent Robert Katulak said as he launched into his during the most recent meeting of the board of education at the .
After from , the district will maintain academic programs and support services, its core instructional programs of English Language Arts, math, social studies and science as well as the arts and music programs. “That was one of the things that came out loud and clear,” Katulak said during the March 12 meeting.
The gifted odyssey program, computer and library as well as science labs, full-day kindergarten and academic intervention programs like English as a second language and speech are also maintained.
“Chorus is an integral part of the whole development of the whole child,” Katulak said, noting arts programs have been “decimated” in “many districts across the state” due to the tax cap.
The superintendent also stated that cutting back on the kindergarten program “is not on our radar” as many other district are doing and going to half-day.
Class sizes of 22-27 in primary and 25-29 in grades four through six would also remain. The current average class size for K through six is 21 students, with the lowest being 14 in kindergarten and one second grade class of 27 students.
Katulak said that the district is committed to maintaining the concept of “highly qualified individuals” with a focus on staff development and “teacher effectiveness” this year, opting to maintain current staff levels and redeploying them instead of any additional hirings. The district is currently working to align the common core learning standards to its existing curriculum and is providing ongoing training for all instructional support staff in order to meet the response to intervention mandates and to keep the focus on “continuous improvement” for students.
“Even if the student meets the benchmark of level four on the New York State tests, we continue to look at other ways in which they can grow,” Katulak said.
In September 2012 the response to intervention program is officially required, but NHP-GCP has been running the program for over a year-and-a-half.
Facilities will remain secured and maintained through the use of capital reserve funds to implement work projects. The adoption of the response to intervention model from kindergarten through sixth grade will occur next year and teachers will continue their integration of thematic curriculum units across subject areas. The district will also continue to use the 5-year plan to help develop budgets.
The purchase of 30 new computer workstations is planned for the expansion of the computer labs at New Hyde Park Road and and implementing the new APPR plan, which must begin on July 1. In 2012-13, each district must conduct an “alternative assessment” on the computer and electronically marked for immediate feedback to inform instruction as part of the “Race to the Top” initiative.
“We have to have those workstations so we can have a class into the lab to offer that and service our tests,” Katulak said.