Tags Posts tagged with "Three Village Central School District"

Three Village Central School District

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Students work to put together a flower order in the pre-K classroom’s flower shop play area, set up in time for Valentine’s Day. Photo by Andrea Paldy

By Andrea Paldy

Big changes are ahead for Three Village’s free prekindergarten program, currently housed at Nassakeag Elementary School.

At an information session Jan. 9, administrators unveiled their plan to expand the pre-K program and to offer a new, tuition-based enrichment program at each of the district’s five elementary schools.

Parents bring their children to the special entrance designated for the prekindergarten program at Nassakeag. Photo by Andrea Paldy

Though current pre-K students are grouped by “home” school at Nassakeag, the district has announced that it will expand the program to its other four buildings in order to “provide a smoother transition to elementary school.” The rationale is that it will allow students to attend classes at the same place where they will eventually be in elementary school.

Additionally, the move would prevent congestion at Nassakeag, since the district anticipates the growing program to require the use of up to 10 classrooms. The other buildings can easily accommodate the preschool program either in their kindergarten wings or nearby, according to school officials.

“We are committed to providing a high-quality pre-K program that provides students with a strong foundation for academic and social success,” said Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich in an email.

With the expansion to the other elementary buildings, next year’s program will continue to run as it currently does. Each school will have a morning and afternoon session that lasts for two and a half hours, and each classroom will have a certified teacher and assistant and up to 20 students.

Sessions at Minnesauke Elementary and Nassakeag will run from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and noon to 2:30 p.m., while those at Arrowhead, Mount and Setauket elementary schools will be held from 8:45 to 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. As with the current pre-K program, students will have access to a special age-appropriate preschool playground. The district says pre-K playgrounds will be built to accommodate the program expansion at the four additional elementary schools.

“We are committed to providing a high-quality pre-K program that provides students with a strong foundation for academic and social success.”

— Cheryl Pedisich

The district is also launching a tuition-based Patriots Plus Pre-K program. Staffed by a certified teaching assistant and a classroom aide, this extended day will offer enrichment in STEM, art, music and movement. Each school will run a morning and an afternoon session for 20 students and will include lunch in the cafeteria (with the option to purchase a meal) and recess. The district’s website says that tuition will be $500 a month.

The district says that there will be no additional cost to distribute the program to the other schools, since staffing for the pre-K curriculum is already covered. Administrators expect the cost of hiring five new teaching assistants and five aides for the enrichment program to be covered by tuition from the Patriots Plus program so that it is self-sustaining. Each enrichment section will need at least 10 students, the district says.

Administrators say parents with older elementary students will have a built-in window — 15 minutes before arrival and 15 minutes after dismissal — to drop off or pick up their prekindergartener and be back at the bus stop in time for older children.

Following feedback from last week’s information session, the district moved up the enrollment period to make it easier for parents to plan for the coming year. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 26. Students must turn 4 by Dec. 1, 2019, to be eligible.

Each school has a 40-student cap with a district cap of 200 students. If the number of applications exceeds the caps, there will be a lottery. Administrators say that students who aren’t selected through the lottery at their home school may attend the program at a different building, if there is room.

Three Village first offered a pre-K program in 2015, when it partnered with SCOPE Education Services to run and staff a fee-based curriculum. The district rolled out a free pre-K, taught by Three Village teachers, in the fall of 2017.

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Emma S. Clark Memorial Library has already collected more than 60 gowns for its upcoming Project Prom Dress event. By Lisa DeVerna

Three Village residents are teaming up with the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library to help students have the prom of a lifetime.

One of the dresses that will be available on the day of the prom gown shopping event. Photo by Lisa DeVerna

On March 9, the library will debut a one-day shopping event called Project Prom Dress where teenagers can walk away with a free gown. Irene Berman, a retired Minnesauke Elementary School teacher, said she was watching a television show featuring a segment about teenagers purchasing prom gowns for a small fee at a library in Parsippany, New Jersey. The dresses were collected by the library’s friends group to help students in need.

“It was so uplifting,” Berman said. “I was actually crying watching it.”

The retired teacher thought it was a good idea to bring to her own area, and she and Kathryn Hunter, who currently teaches fifth grade at Minnesauke, presented the proposal for a prom boutique where students can get dresses for free to a library board trustee.

Library Director Ted Gutmann said the board thought it was a good idea and then formed a team that includes Nanette Feder, teen services librarian; Lisa DeVerna, public relations and community engagement; and Jen Mullen, librarian and public relations.

Berman said the boutique will be opened to residents and nonresidents and is ideal for those on a tight budget or those who want to go green by wearing a recycled dress instead of buying a new one that will most likely only be worn once. Feder added the boutique is also a good opportunity for younger students who are being invited to the senior prom for them to save money on a gown.

The teen services librarian said the library started collecting dresses Jan. 1, and they already have more than 60.

“I’m looking forward to having the students coming in and seeing what the community donated,” Feder said.

“I’m looking forward to having the students coming in and seeing what the community donated.”

— Nanette Feder

Berman said she and Hunter recently visited stores in Stony Brook Village Center to see if any businesses could donate racks to hold the dresses. Ann Taylor Loft, Madison Niche and Chico’s managers offered racks. Once Chico’s manager heard they were trying to help 60 students, she said she will look into the store donating necklaces for each of the promgoers.

In addition to local stores and residents donating dresses, Feder said the night before the prom boutique event, teens will help sort through the dresses and accessories, earning community service credits for their time.

Gutmann said based on the number of dresses received and the response of residents so far, he is optimistic about the prom event and is grateful to Berman and Hunter for reaching out to the library.

“It shows that our community is active in these kinds of things and wants to help out,” Gutmann said.

Residents and nonresidents can drop off prom gowns and accessories at the library through Feb. 14, and donation racks are located in the library lobby. Dresses must be cleaned and in excellent condition with no stains or tears, and the garments must be brought in on a hanger. Purses, shoes, jewelry and other prom accessories will also be accepted.

The library will hold the shopping event Project Prom Dress in the Vincent O’Leary Community Room March 9. Students can schedule an appointment for the Prom Dress Boutique where they can check out the donated prom gowns, try them on and take one home free of charge. Each shopper is limited to one guest to assist them.

Registration begins Feb. 4 for Three Village residents and Feb. 19 for nonresidents, if spots are still available. Snow date is March 23. To reserve a time slot, call 631-941-4080, ext. 127. The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is located at 120 Main St., Setauket.

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Ward Melville High School. File photo by Greg Catalano

Businesspeople are lending a hand in the Three Village Central School District to help students figure out the career path that’s the best fit for them.

Local businesses have partnered with the school district to form the Three Village Industry Advisory Board. Its first initiative is hosting the Ignite Your Career … Discover Your Opportunities career fair Jan. 9, which will give junior and senior high school students the opportunity to learn about potential career paths.

According to a press release from the school district, before the fair, students in grades seven through 12 will take a “career DNA” analysis called the Holland Code. The evaluation reveals career paths that correspond with a student’s personality which is denoted by different colors.

Michael Ardolino, owner of Realty Connect USA/Team Ardolino and co-chair of the advisory board, said the students who sit on the advisory board have contributed many exciting ideas.

He added all the businesses at the career fair will have a table marked with a color from the Holland Code corresponding with the personality that dominates its field, with minor colors that show other types that may be involved in the business.

Businesses are always looking for quality people, Ardolino said, and students can discover interesting information at the event about various fields of industry. One example is how the role of mechanics has changed to where computers are now widely used. Several businesses will also incorporate videos to educate attendees about their selected field.

Ardolino said the school district made the right move in opening the career fair to junior high school students.

“Let’s invite them all here so we can begin to enlighten them to the opportunities of what they can be doing with their lives,” he said.

The event could also be helpful for students to choose elective courses based on their interests and find clarity when it comes to college majors, according to the press release.

“We can learn much from our community partners on what businesses and postsecondary schools need most in terms of the skills that drive their success,” said Alan Baum, executive director of secondary, curriculum and human resources in the school district. “By collaborating with our partners we can learn from them to better inform our own instructional practices. By keeping our eyes open and listening to the business community and our postsecondary colleagues, we hope Three Village remains at the forefront of providing our students with a meaningful education, authentic experiences and equip them with the skills they need for future inquiry and success.”

The career fair will include more than three dozen businesses from across Long Island, including trades and crafts that are in high demand. Local companies participating include Competition Automotive Group, PPS Advisors, Gold Coast Bank, Atlantic Businesses Systems, Camco Services of NY, K&M Truck and Auto Repair, Journey Martial Arts, Equity First Foundation, Realty Connect USA/Team Ardolino, Stafford Associates, Vision World, ProSysCon Computer Technologies, Alternatives For Children, Stony Brook Child Care Services, Bagel Express, Holiday Inn Express, H2M Architects + Engineers, The Meadow Club, The Curry Club, The Meridian Financial Co., Jesco Brick & Concrete, Rossman Tax Service and Bliss restaurant.

The career fair will start at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Ward Melville High School cafeteria.

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Kevin Scanlon, assistant superintendent for educational services, delivered good news about Three Village students tests scores at the Oct. 17 school board meeting. Photo by Andrea Paldy

By Andrea Paldy

The Three Village school district’s 2017–18 report card indicates that Three Village students continue to excel. That’s happening even as the state continues to update standards and tests.

Kevin Scanlon, assistant superintendent for educational services, gave the report at the district’s Oct. 17 school board meeting. He said Three Village students received among the highest Regents scores in the state and provided statistics on the class of 2018.

Three Village students passed English and two social studies Regents exams at rates of 94 to 97 percent, with a majority of students achieving a score of mastery — 85 percent and above — on those exams, Scanlon said. A handful of students — 10 percent — took the old version of the Global History and Geography exam with a 42 percent pass rate.

The rate of passing on the math Regents was equally as impressive, with 92 percent of students passing Algebra, 93 percent passing Geometry and 99 percent passing Algebra II. The mastery rates were 42, 38 and 49 percent, respectively.

Science Regents results showed more than 90 percent of Three Village students passing the exams with rates ranging from 91 to 95 percent and more than half of students achieving mastery in Earth Science, Living Environment and Physics.

Scanlon also reported that 94 percent of the class of 2018 went on to college, while 3 percent went into the workforce. One percent of graduates joined the military, he said.

In other good news, just under half of the class was recognized as Advanced Placement scholars, students who, according to the Advanced Placement website, “have demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement through their performance on AP exams.”

Scanlon also gave an update about the spring 2018 state assessments, administered to students in grades 3 through 8. The assessments tested students on the 2017 Next Generation Standards for English language arts and math. He said the standards have been revised since the rollout of the 2011 Common Core Learning Standards.

Last spring’s testing decreased from three to two days, Scanlon said, adding that since 65 percent of Three Village students opted out of the ELA assessments and 67 percent opted out of math, the scores reflect only about a third of Three Village students in the grades tested.

When compared to nearby districts — Commack, Half Hollow Hills, Harborfields, Hauppauge, Northport, Port Jefferson and Smithtown — Three Village’s fourth-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students had the highest rates of proficiency on the math assessments, Scanlon said.

The rates of proficiency for grades 3 through 7 in Three Village ranged between 76 and 78 percent and were well above those for Suffolk County and New York State, the assistant superintendent said. Lower levels of proficiency on the eighth-grade math assessments are due to the fact that the majority of the district’s eighth-graders take the algebra Regents instead of the state tests,
he said.

The pass rates for the ELA — 62 to 77 percent proficiency — also exceeded the state averages of 45 percent proficiency.

As of Oct 12, the district had an enrollment of 5,884 students, a slight decline from last year’s 6,131, Scanlon said.

Residents of the Three Village Central School District rooted the Patriots on to a homecoming win against Walt Whitman High School Oct. 6.

The Patriots varsity football team beat the Walt Whitman High School Wildcats 32-10. Ward Melville now ranks 5-0 in the league, which is the first time since 1974.

Before the big game, students and families enjoyed a parade and carnival where attendees participated in games, crafts and listened to live music.

The Patriots will travel to William Floyd Oct. 13 and Longwood High School Oct. 20. Their next home game is Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

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Some of the staff members who took the EMT course were recognized by the board at the Aug. 22 BOE meeting. Photo from the Three Village Central School District

By Andrea Paldy

Three Village school district officials devoted a large segment of their second meeting of the new school year to addressing security infrastructure, training and protocols.

Jack Blaum. File photo by Andrea Paldy

Jack Blaum, district security coordinator and chief emergency officer, used the Sept. 5 meeting to review procedures and highlight enhancements for the year ahead. The school district now has 11 new emergency management technicians on staff, he said. These are district employees — among them Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services — who trained with the Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management in the spring.

Three Village is the first K-12 school district in the state to run and graduate students from an EMT course, Blaum said. Having EMTs on staff means school nurses have a support system and additional resources, he said.

During a phone interview, Carlson said it is as important to have personnel trained in “everyday” needs such as CPR and bleed control as it is to be trained in protocol for an active shooter.

“The more people that know CPR, the better for all of us,” he said, adding that having first responders on site could improve recovery time and even chances of survival.

The 200-hour course included hefty reading assignments, homework and weekly tests, in addition to practical instruction in CPR, splinting, patient assessment and transport with other skills required of an EMT, Carlson said. Participants completed hospital and ambulance rotations. To receive certification, they took two New York State exams — one written and one practical — to demonstrate their skills.

The school district plans to offer more EMT courses, Blaum said, adding that he hopes with funding from the county and state, the district could eventually be its own first-responder agency.

Also new to the district’s arsenal of security procedures is an enhanced ID scanner in building entrance vestibules. The district has locked all
entrances to schools during school hours since the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The default lockout system currently in place ensures that visitors enter the building only after scanning an ID and being buzzed through two doors.

New scanner software cross-references the Megan’s Law sex offender database and allows the district administration to add pertinent information to flag individuals who should not enter buildings.

“The more people that know CPR, the better for all of us.”

— Jeff Carlson

These safeguards are in addition to other “target hardening strategies” already in place, such as bullet-resistant film, lockdown drills and interior doors that are lockable with a single key so that a staff member can secure any classroom door from the inside in case of an emergency. Additionally, each building has a hidden “panic system” and an automated lockdown alert system.

Blaum said security guards at each school are either active or retired law enforcement officers. Along with vehicle patrols and interior and exterior camera surveillance, the district works closely with the Setauket and Stony Brook fire departments and has direct lines to the Suffolk County Police Department’s 6th Precinct. There is also district staff trained in bleeding control, lockdown and active shooter options, improvised explosive recognition and planning for bombing incidents, Blaum said.

“Mental well-being is the key to all of this,” he said, explaining that the district’s measures to increase guidance- and mental-health staff can help ensure the well-being of staff and students and assist in keeping the community safe. Even so, Blaum said he and his team remain vigilant and work with administrators, psychologists, social workers and the school resource officer to assess threats.

Though these protocols and infrastructure are in place, Blaum said national events compel him to always look for ways to improve security in the school district. Future enhancements could include upgrades to automated classroom door locks that activate all locks at once, ID scanning to let staff open interior doors with ID badges, and perimeter gates at the high school.

The district will host a safety and security community forum at R.C. Murphy Junior High School, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.

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It felt like the middle of summer outside, but Three Village Central School District students were back to hitting the books Sept. 4.

The children had a lot on their minds on the first day of school.

Hannah La Polla, a kindergartner at William Sydney Mount Elementary School, was looking forward to seeing her teacher Dawn McNally and riding the bus, according to her mother, Tara La Polla.

Then there was 10-year-old Jordyn Zezelic a fifth-grader at Nassakeag Elementary School whose eyes were on the future. She said she was looking forward to graduating in June and attending R. C. Murphy Junior High School next year.

Danielle Werner, a fourth-grader at Arrowhead Elementary School, was thinking about science.

“I am excited about making a project for the fourth-grade science fair,” Danielle said.

Courtney DeVerna, a third-grader at Nassakeag Elementary School, was in a musical mood.

“I’m looking forward to playing the viola,” Courtney said.

Her brother, Ethan DeVerna, who was starting kindergarten, was eager for the ride to school.

“I can’t wait to ride the school bus,” Ethan said. “It’s magic.”

Thank you to the Three Village residents who contributed their photos.

Stony Brook siblings host sixth annual Three Village Kids Lemonade Stand

By Amanda Perelli

What was once a simple lemonade stand in front of a Stony Brook house, has turned into a sweet community-driven event raising thousands each year.

The 6th annual Three Village Kids Lemonade Stand was back at R.C. Murphy Junior High School for the second year on Aug. 8. The event was founded by siblings Maddie and Joseph Mastriano with help from dozens of student volunteers from the Three Village school district.

Fifty-cent cups of lemonade were poured by young student volunteers and kids played games with athletes from Stony Brook University teams. Sales from the lemonade stand benefit Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. At the event, $24,609 was raised and donations were still coming in after Aug. 8. As of Aug. 15, the organizers reached their goal of $30,000.

For more information or to make an online donation, visit www.threevillagekidslemonadestand.com or www.gofundme.com/2018-3village-kids-lemonade-stand.

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Sports agent Burton Rocks, right, a former Three Village Central School District student, recently negotiated a six-year $26 million contract for St. Louis Cardinals’ shortstop Paul DeJong. Photo by Scott Rovak

By Anthony Petriello

A Ward Melville High School grad recently scored a home run in the world of sports.

A success story in the making, Burton Rocks, 46, has overcome great adversity to make history in Major League Baseball as a sports agent. Having worked a historic six-year, $26 million deal for St. Louis Cardinals’ shortstop Paul DeJong in the spring, Burton has now reached the upper echelon of sports agents. DeJong’s contract may be worth more than $51 million due to an option to earn more money in the last two years of the contract, which makes it the largest ever awarded to a first-year player in MLB history.

To garner the tremendous success he has achieved, Rocks has overcome a debilitating illness — life-threatening asthma — which he has suffered with since he was a young child. As a student at Ward Melville High School, Rocks said he missed many days in class due to his constant battle with the most extreme form of asthma. He had a passion for band — having played the clarinet and the saxophone — but was rarely able to play at concerts due to his illness, which continued throughout his school years.

As a middle school student at R.C. Murphy Junior High School, Rocks said he felt like an outsider due to his absences and had an issue with bullying when he was present.

“I was the outsider kid with the inhaler,” he said. “But you have to accept what God gives you and move on, and I don’t hold any grudges.”

Rocks said his parents, who still live in the Three Village area, sacrificed a lot for him. His father, world-renowned chemist and author Lawrence Rocks, spent much of his time caring for his son, in and out of the hospital, during his childhood. Rocks said his father always made sure he came back home each night, even when he was away on business.

“My dad used to bring me up food from the coffee shop as a treat when he would come visit me late at night after a business trip,” he said. “My dad might’ve been Dr. Rocks to the world, but to me he was Dad. He was there in the morning every day to wake me up, and at night every night to tuck me in.”

“I was the outsider kid with the inhaler. But you have to accept what God gives you and move on, and I don’t hold any grudges.”

— Burton Rocks

Burton Rocks’ mother, Marlene, a former substitute teacher at Ward Melville, spent just as much, if not more time by his bedside. Rocks said his mother quit her job as a Spanish teacher in New York City to spend more time with him.

When Rocks was able to attend school, he did his best to overcome the difficulty of missing so much class time. He had a special connection with his eighth-grade social studies teacher, Dan Comerford, with whom he still keeps in touch. Comerford worked at Ward Melville as a teacher from 1968–2001 and now lives in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida, where he is the mayor and the police commissioner. Comerford had fond memories of meeting Rocks in the mid-1980s, when he helped the junior high school student overcome a bullying problem.

“Because he wasn’t there a lot, there was a lot of work to be made up,” Comerford said. “My goal always [with Rocks] was to tell him to relax and take it easy. He was and is a worrier, but that’s what makes him a fantastic agent, he’s a detail man. I made it my mission back then to take care of him and make sure he wasn’t being picked on by anyone.”

Even during high school, Rocks said he frequently visited St. Charles Hospital due to his condition, but was still able to complete multiple Advanced Placement classes including AP Chemistry, AP Calculus and AP Spanish. Rocks graduated in 1990 and attended Stony Book University, where he graduated with a degree in history in 1994. Rocks continued his education at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and graduated with a juris doctor degree in 1997.

During law school, Rocks said he had the unique opportunity to go on scouting missions with the late Clyde King, who was a close friend of Rocks’ father and was special adviser to George Steinbrenner, the late owner of the New York Yankees. Rocks was given the chance to read through the original handwritten scouting reports from Steinbrenner, information that was and still is undisclosed to the public. Rocks also had the opportunity to have an informal pitching tryout at King’s home in North Carolina in 1995, but while he was a great pitcher on his own accord, King did not feel he was ready for the major leagues due to his health issues.

Burton Rocks as a child with his mother Marlene Rocks, a former Ward Melville substitute teacher. Photo from Burton Rocks

The late Norma King, Clyde’s wife, once spoke about Rocks, as recalled by the sports agent: “Clyde always said ‘When one door closes another door opens.’ Burton is living proof of that expression. He threw for Clyde here [in North Carolina] but his health precluded him from playing professionally. When that door closed, he turned to writing.”

After the realization that his option to play professional baseball would not come to fruition, Rocks focused on his writing. He said he worked with King on his memoir “A King’s Legacy: The Clyde King Story” which was released in 1999. Not long after he graduated college, Rocks worked on his second memoir and co-authored the 2003 New York Times best-selling book “Me and My Dad: A Baseball Memoir” with Yankees outfielder Paul O’Neill.

After writing several books, Rocks said he founded the C.L. Rocks Corporation, a sports agency, in 2008. Rocks implemented what he called “the quantified intangibles metric” in his evaluation of MLB players. This metric measured a player’s life experiences and adversities prior to becoming a professional baseball player and took those into account when measuring a player’s value to a team. Rocks looked back at his own adversities as a child and young adult and saw that those life experiences hold value when drafting a player or coach who will be performing in front of millions of people.

“As a kid, you search for answers to feel normal, and this is what I bring to the table,” Rocks said. “That was, for me, a cathartic product of my search. I realized I could apply it to business. I said to myself, ‘Can I find coaches or players that coach or play well because they’ve overcome adversity and know how to channel it into wins?’”

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Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Kevin Scanlon discussed the Advanced Placement Capstone and International Baccalaureate programs at the June 20 board of education meeting. File photo by Andrea Paldy

By Andrea Paldy

Amid the end-of-year festivities, Three Village school officials did not miss a beat when it came to attending to district business. At the last school board meeting before graduation, administrators outlined coming changes to the elementary report card and added rigor to the high school curriculum.

As part of the board’s policy to review programs every five years, a committee of teachers and administrators from elementary and secondary levels reviewed and revised the elementary school report card. Kathryn White, principal at W.S. Mount Elementary School, said that since the last review, there have been changes in educational philosophy and the way teachers assess students and learning behaviors. She said there has also been the introduction of new academic standards, like Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Learning Standards, which also needed to be considered in the two-year review process.

The committee was divided into four separate subcommittees to investigate different aspects of the report card, and the district surveyed faculty and parents on its effectiveness.

New report card notes

C — Consistently exceeds expectations

M — Most times meets expectations

S — Sometimes meets expectations

Y — Not meeting expectations

The committee developed what it believes to be a more simplified format that is easier for parents to understand. Committee member Lauren Horn, a teacher at Mount Elementary, explained that simplicity comes in the form of one achievement grade for each subject. The grades will be on a four-point scale, with a 4 demonstrating work “that exceeds grade level standards.” The scale on the sixth-grade report card will go up to 4.5 to point out “exceptional” students, she said. Effort grades for learning behaviors will represent the “growth mindset” — the concept that student behavior is not set and that students have the potential to improve with continued work, Horn said.

The committee’s report noted that rather than the familiar E (Excellent), G (Good) and I (Improvement needed), these grades will be replaced with C (Consistently exceeds expectations), M (Most times meets expectations), S (Sometimes meets expectations) and Y (Not yet meeting expectations). The comment section will feature a common language for each grade level across the district, said Dawn Alexander, district special education teacher mentor. For the 11 “behaviors related to learning” at the end of the report card, teachers will put an asterisk next to behavior they want to highlight. This is to allow parents to easily see an area in which their child is exceptional or needs more work, Alexander said.

Finally, rather than assigning a Fountas and Pinnell reading level, the report card will show reading level bands, which are a “benchmark and not a grade,” said Diedre Rubenstrunk, a lead instructional technology teacher. This means students are given a reading range based on reading ability and text difficulty.

A second committee that compared two high school diploma programs recommended that the district adopt the four-year-old Advanced Placement Capstone program. This decision came after several years of researching the International Baccalaureate program, an internationally recognized high school course of study that culminates in an International Baccalaureate diploma. The committee spent the past two years comparing the programs, said Kevin Scanlon, assistant superintendent for educational services.

Both programs are rigorous college preparatory study that encourage inquiry, research, analysis and critical thinking, and require long-form writing. To receive the IB diploma, students must take courses in six areas of study — language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and society, math, science and the arts — in addition to a year-long course called Theory of Knowledge for which students write a 1,600-word essay and give an oral presentation. They also must complete a 4,000-word extended essay as well as a community service project, encompassing creativity, activity and service.

Advanced Placement Capstone program requirements

Four AP exams

AP seminar —1,200-word written report, team project, presentation

AP research — 4,000- to 5,000-word essay, presentation, oral defence

Meanwhile, the AP Capstone diploma requires four AP exams, as well as an AP seminar and an AP research class, which are each a year long. The AP seminar includes both a team project and presentation, as well as an individual 1,200-word written report. The writing requirement for AP research is a 4,000- to 5,000-word essay, a presentation and oral defense.

In the case of both the IB extended essay and the AP Capstone essay, the papers are read and graded by readers outside of the high school. Three Village educators noted that the IB extended essay was “decentralized” and not attached to a specific class, which committee members said could be a great disadvantage. They found the AP seminar and AP research courses to offer more hands-on guidance and saw the possibility of pairing the AP research class with the district’s inSTAR science research program.

According to a survey of top colleges conducted by Ward Melville’s guidance department, colleges did not look at one program more favorably than another, said Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich. However, the process of implementing IB or AP Capstone would be drastically different.

The IB program would cost considerably more in application fees — roughly $3,000 — a $7,000 candidacy fee, as well as smaller fees for registration and subjects taught. Once the district’s candidacy was accepted after two years, the district would also have to pay an annual $11,600 fee. There are also costs to cover teacher training and ongoing professional development.

The AP Capstone program would also require teacher training, but the cumulative costs would be considerably less, according to the two program websites.

Since Three Village already offers AP classes, the committee found that adopting the AP Capstone program would be “less of a cultural shift,” and easier to implement. Ward Melville principal Alan Baum said that introducing IB would require new curriculum development and grading schemes and could cause problems for scheduling, maybe even limiting students’ class options.

The committee also pointed out that though some members visited and observed Long Island IB schools, there are not as many IB schools as AP Capstone schools. With the larger number of AP Capstone schools on the Island, Three Village could be a part of a consortium that shares resources and information.

Baum said the program could be more easily adapted to the district’s needs, while still accomplishing the same goals as an IB program. He added that this could all be achieved at a much lower and more sustainable cost to Three Village.

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