Written by Jordan Lauterbach Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00
The Farmingdale Union Free School District Board of Education administration will remain the same for the 2012-13 school year. Shari Bardash-Eivers was reelected as board president prior to the district’s annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, July 11 at Weldon E. Howitt Middle School. Steve Wilson will return as vice president.
Trustees Kathy Lively and Rick Morrison were also sworn in at the meeting, officially beginning new terms on the seven-person board. Bardash-Eivers was also reelected at the May school board elections.
“I want to congratulate them all on being reelected,” Wilson said. “They all ran unopposed. It’s very nice to see that the community is happy with what we’re doing.”
Thirty-seven appointments were made during the reorganization meeting, including Mary E. Rogers as district clerk and Elizabeth Hrybenko as treasurer.
Wilson announced that the district’s attorneys, Guercio and Guercio, have frozen their fees for the upcoming school year. The district’s internal and external auditors have reduced their fees, according to the board.
“That is commendable to all of them to, in these times, be helping out the district,” Wilson said.
The regular portion of the meeting focused on the district’s newly submitted Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan. New York State law now requires that teachers be given an end-of-year rating, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joan Ripley.
The district will use the 2011 Danielson Model to measure the effectiveness of teachers and a “multi-dimensional principal performance rubric” to evaluate administrators. Both were approved by New York State, according to Ripley.
“They’re all based on the New York State teaching standards and international standards for leadership,” Ripley said of the approved evaluation rubrics. “...Several years before the regulation, we had begun to look at the Danielson framework for all of our new teachers. We found that it really fit into our goals in terms of how we want our teachers to plan (lessons), instructional practice, and professional responsibility.”
Ripley said that the 2011 Danielson Model was attractive because the rubric outlines “concrete examples” of each level of teacher performance. The rubric for administrators is similar to the Danielson Model, giving the district a sense of uniformity.
Following Ripley’s presentation, the board expressed its satisfaction with the completion of the complicated task.
“I’ve been on the board for seven years and, to me, this is one of the most ambitious projects that has ever taken place,” Wilson said. “As a board, we need to thank everyone on the (APPR) committee. As you’ve been hearing throughout the year, it has been such a collaborative effort; everyone will [now] be able to realize that we have highly effective teachers and administrators.”
Trustee Tina Diamond agreed with Wilson and expressed her satisfaction with the plan, as a general concept, to the public.
“What I see out of this APPR [plan] is that there is a focus on the students and their learning,” Diamond said. “If it has to be something that’s started this way, then let’s start it and go for it.”
Resident Ken Obrick wished the board luck with implementing APPR, but criticized the state for implementing a program that “flies in the face of good educational practice.”
“Using standardized testing as part of an employee’s evaluation is questioned by educational experts everywhere,” Obrick said. “What has happened here, especially in this age of tight budgetary control, is that the state has forced this district to take something that works and make the square peg fit into the round hole because it looks good in statistic sheets. I don’t see this as more student-centered.”
Superintendent John Lorentz responded to the comment by outlining the challenges in implementing the plan.
“How do we maintain the integrity of what Farmingdale is and meet all the standards that the state has imposed upon us?” he asked. “There may be some good things that we can pull out of [this]. There will be some processes that we can incorporate into our practices.”
Ripley also presented changes in the district’s Professional Development Plan. This year’s plan will include lessons about student growth, the components of the APPR rubric, and specific details on the Dignity for All Students Act.
The act, signed into law in 2010, “seeks to provide public elementary and secondary students with a safe and supportive environment, free from discrimination, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus, and/or at a school function,” according to the New York State Education Department website.
The board of education will hold a special meeting to set the 2012-13 tax on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m.