The North Bellmore Board of Education welcomed back students, faculty and parents at their first public meeting of the school year, where Superintendent Arnold Goldstein delivered some special news regarding the district’s standing in the eyes of New York State State.
The New York State Department of Education recently identified about 250 elementary, middle and high schools in 154 districts as Reward Schools, according to Goldstein. Reward Schools are the schools that have the highest achievement in the state, and do not have significant gaps in student achievement.
“We had three of our elementary schools - Newbridge Road, Martin Avenue, and Park Avenue – were included in that list of Reward Schools,” he said. “Being selected as a Reward School means that Newbridge, Martin and Park are among the highest achieving schools in New York State. Out of about 2,500 elementary schools in the state, only 101 were selected.”
However, Goldstein was quick to point out the other schools in the North Bellmore district - John G. Dinkelmeyer and Saw Mill Road - measured up just as well in his eyes.
“All of our schools have done very well on the state assessments,” he said. “The scores in our other buildings were certainly comparable to our Reward Schools.”
And although the state did not release the exact criteria for their selection, the designation was largely based on student performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math assessments from the past two years, according to Goldstein.
The Board of Education also voted unanimously to grant tenure to three popular teachers with the district.
Jane Reece, Shagufta Jafri, and Emilie D’Andrilli were welcomed by Goldstein, who lauded each newly tenured teacher for measuring up to the district’s standards.
“Each of these people, I feel I know very well,” he said. “I’ve been in their classrooms many times, observed them, stopped into their classes numerous times, had formal meetings with each of them...and they all meet up to high expectations that we have, and I wish them the best.”
Technology teachers Janet Pollitt and Jason Fischetti held a presentation for the Board and the audience, unveiling the district’s new website. Pollitt said that this new site, which still uses the same web address as the old one, will offer more information and functionality for parents, students, and teachers alike.
“As any website is, this is a work in progress...we worked on it all through the summer,” she said. “It is very user-friendly. We’ve migrated all of the information from the old site to the new one, plus we now have more performance that will help make communication between the district and the public even better.”
Pollitt said the rationale for building the new website was due to the static nature of the original one, which stunted its ability to grow with the times.
“We wanted something a little more dynamic,” she said. “There are a lot of tools built into the website for both teachers and students, and it’s now an online learning environment.”
Roxanne Garcia France, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, gave a presentation of the North Bellmore district’s performance in the 2011-2012 school year’s New York State assessment exams.
According to France, the North Bellmore district as a whole had above above-average scores on both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math assessment tests compared to New York averages.
France also outlined a new program to help students do even better this year.
“We are also implementing a new program where we will be diagnosing and prescribing our focus bases on the state assessments,” she said. “This way, we can see where our students need help, and give them the help they need to succeed.”