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School Board has 'Faith' In Teachers

Details of the independent report on the investigation into alleged test coaching in the Glen Cove City School District became public last week, with an article published in Newsday that sheds light on the findings. The report concludes that teachers at two elementary schools - Connolly and Landing - supplied students with correct answers during state English Language Arts and mathematics exams in spring 2012. The report was completed in mid-March, shortly before the news of the investigation first broke, and disciplinary hearings are still underway. The Glen Cove Board of Education posted a statement on the district’s web site responding to the article.

 

“First, we want the community to know that while the report is a legitimate document being used in the disciplinary proceedings regarding certain Glen Cove school district employees, it was unconscionable for information from this report to end up in a newspaper,” the statement says. “These are closed hearings that are being held before an impartial hearing officer selected through the State Education Department, in accordance with New York education law.”

 

According to the report, there were 22 teachers accused, each of whom “denied, outright, having either provided or witnessed inappropriate staff-directed assistance to students or otherwise failing to comply with the governing rules and procedures” for the tests’ administration.

 

However, the students’ descriptions “were consistent and overwhelming, both in terms of the gravity of the alleged transgressions and the persistence with which they are alleged to have occurred,” it said.

 

The school board hired the law firm Guercio & Guercio to investigate in November after becoming aware of allegations of test coaching by teachers after parents raised concerns. The report’s sole recommendation is that “the matters detailed herein be referred for the consideration of possible disciplinary charges.” The accusations also involved several administrators, for alleged lack of proper oversight.

 

The district faces separate allegations of test-changing on 2012 Regents exams at Glen Cove High School. 

 

Two separate probes of the alleged test-fixing at the two elementary schools and the high school are pending -- one by the Education Department and the other by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, whose office served subpoenas upon the district in April.

 

Glen Cove Teachers Association President Karen Ferguson said,“The district’s investigation continues, and so it would be inappropriate to comment on the specifics of what happened or didn’t happen, or the attorney’s report. However, I can say that the Glen Cove Teachers Association will continue to work aggressively to ensure that our members’ due process rights are protected. In addition, we want to assure parents and the community that Glen Cove’s teachers are highly dedicated professionals and will not let this weekend’s news distract us from our main focus -- ensuring that Glen Cove students continue to receive an excellent education and enjoy a smooth start to the new school year.”

 

“Since the allegations first surfaced nearly one year ago, the district has relied upon guidance and direction from its legal team, the State Education Department, and the Nassau County District Attorney,” said the Board of Education. “There have been many eyes on these proceedings, multiple entities involved, and it has taken much longer than we would have liked... we have faith in our teachers and believe that they have the best interests of Glen Cove students and learning at heart. However, we remain firm in standing up for the integrity of our school district by continuing to address this challenge objectively and factually to achieve appropriate and responsible resolution.”

 

Superintendent Maria L. Rianna declined to comment.


News

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

 

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”

If Heather Lehrman is not yet a familiar face to local pet owners, her name is likely to soon become a household name to dog lovers and families with young children, as her children’s book, Bullied at the Dog Park, was released this week. The book is based on a real-life incident with her own dog, Herbie, and fans will have a chance to meet her and Herbie at a book signing at Petco in Glen Cove on Saturday, Oct. 25.

 

“I wanted to help get the message out in my own way about the effects of bullying,” says Lehrman, a resident of Great Neck. “This book teaches children valuable lessons about treating all dogs (and people) with respect, and the importance of simple kindness.”


Sports

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, the Glen Cove Finley Middle School opened their football season with a home game against Thompson Middle School. The game opened with the Glen Cove offense going on a nice drive, which saw quarterback Mike Vaughan score on a 30-yard touchdown run. 

Six North Shore High School athletes competed in the 2014 JCC Maccabi Games and led the New York Delegation to victory, winning gold. The students included Jacob Abramowitz, Brett Bennett, Drew Jacklin, Ben Lerner, Josh Mandell, and Ben Saltzman. The Maccabi Games is a week-long Olympic tournament for Jewish teenage athletes, ages 14-16 years old. It is held in numerous venues across the United States. 

 

Bennett proudly said, “Competing in the Maccabi Games was a unique and thrilling experience for me. It not only was a highly competitive basketball tournament, but it also emphasized the importance of building strong values such as good sportsmanship, leadership, team unity, compassion and respect.

This, for me, was an experience of a lifetime!” 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 15

Live Music - October 16

Wine Tasting - October 17


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com