The Malverne school community representatives opened their September meeting in public with awards recognizing successful students and teachers.
Attendees were invited to a BookTalk, the first parent academy of the school year 2015-16. (It took place at Davison Ave school on Sep. 21st). More academies will be coming, but topics, nor dates were disclosed. It appears they’ll be dispersed throughout the year which requires residents to reserve multiple evenings, if topics offered will be interesting. Last year, some academies took place during a Parent-Teacher meetings; one was scheduled for 9:15 in the morning, just so it could be marked “done.”
The top-down style of academies has been fading away for quite some time and is being replaced by community-driven workshops. An example of last year’s workshops is here. This year, the Farmingdale Teacher Center sets an example how districts can proceed on their path to transform schools into hubs of information and community collaboration. Such workshops/academies are grouped to one evening, or held on Saturday. A format that residents, teachers, and businesses can schedule into their daily routines much easier. Another example is South Huntington SD. Their pdf brochure and website dedicated to Parent University show a broad community integration. Organization of such events is not easy and requires a collaboration.
A strategy of collaboration also appeared in few slides the Malverne district management presented to residents. The slides were still in progress under a working title “Continuing Success for Every Child…” Most of the slides consisted of statistical data comparing achievements in various time periods. The statistical data were missing sources which I pointed out later to Mrs. Ricca, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Educational Services. Without verifying the origin of data and methodology of data computing the viewers have no way to determine how accurate and meaningful the data is. As the NYSED continues to expand their data collection, their data reporting inaccuracy increased to 10% margin of error in some instances.
To close, the most informative news disclosed at their meeting in public was that the management compiled a list of assessments that will be administered in the MUFSD during the 2015-16 school year. It’s the third year into the “reform,” but parents really could have appreciated the effort, as the list was released before the September testing. The list (pdf) includes a brief description of each test and thus gives parents the opportunity to better navigate the education of their child. Armed with the list, parents can consult their options with teachers. They can arrange for broader educational goals, rather than follow the “reform” that reduces the education to two subjects only, Math and ELA. They can make sure that their child won’t be pulled out of art, science, or social studies classes in order to get even more “grit” in Math or ELA, or both, just because of test results based on an algorithm.