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Scores Tumble On New Standardized Test

Educators assure parents

“new baseline” will pay off

Long Island students in grades three through eight saw their New York State test scores plummet by 40 percent compared to last year, but education administrators are telling parents not to fret because this year doesn’t compare to last year.

“The new Common Core assessments and standards are far different than anything New York State students have ever encountered; to compare the results from the Common Core to past exams would be a very unfair comparison,” said Dr. Charles Murphy, superintendent of the Island Trees School District. “These rigorous college readiness standards are far more complex than we ever imagined; in fact, New York State Commissioner of Education, Dr. John King wrote, ‘The change in test scores does not mean that students are learning less or that teachers and school are performing worse than last year.’,” added Murphy. “It’s the matter of more challenging assessments and a shift to a college readiness proficiency benchmark.”

Instead, the scores create a new benchmark for measuring student performance going forward. This test was the first based on the “common core learning standards,” developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in conjunction with state education officers, and voluntarily adopted by the NYS Board of Regents in 2010.

“The world has changed, the economy has changed, and what our students need to know has changed,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “These scores reflect a new baseline and a new beginning.” The first cohort of students required to pass Common Core-aligned Regents exams for high school graduation will be the class of 2017.

Because the common core standards are more rigorous, the drop in scores was not unexpected. Earlier this month, King sent a memo to school district superintendents, urging them to use the new scores judiciously when assessing teachers and students.

“These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century,” King said. “The results we’ve announced today are not a critique of past efforts; they’re a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.”

The state education department is providing guidance for districts to ensure that students are not negatively impacted by the low scores.

“Naturally, the Island Trees staff will use the information gained from the 2013 assessments to improve education for the future,” said Murphy. “In the end, we can only hope the New York State’s Common Core initiative helps raise the academic achievement levels for all students statewide.” The Levittown School District was unable to be reached before press time.

Christy Hinko and Michael Scro contributed to this article.

News

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


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