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August 31, 2013

Area schools: Stakes have been raised

New mandates mean more pressure for students, teachers

(Continued)

With the initiative, “the state is moving forward in a positive direction,” she said, in improving the skills and knowledge students have upon graduation. But the state has moved too fast with the process, leaving teachers and administrators without adequate time to absorb or implement it.

Wenck added that the APPR probably won’t be as helpful as the state had hoped. Every school negotiated with its teachers for an individual systems of review, she said, but the state needs to standardize the requirements so they aren’t as burdensome to implement. The time could have been better spent aligning the curriculum, she said.

Despite her concerns, she said she was looking forward to a successful year.

“I have very engaged teachers” providing a lot of opportunity for students, Wenck said.

Unadilla Valley Central School Superintendent Robert Mackey said the first day of school for students is Wednesday.

“It’s always fun to see the kids come back,” he said, adding he will see many during back-to-school night Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The main issue during the year will be the continued implementation of the Common Core. The expectations for learning will be higher but results should be better because teachers have had more time to review and prepare, he said. The teachers are excited and nervous because it will mean continued changes for all involved, he said, including parents who will see their kids coming home with more work, he said.

“We will continue to expand the APPR to cover more elements,” he said.

While some schools started with everything, “we started small.” It will be an important resource as teachers make shifts in their lessons to better align with the common core.

With the help of administrators, he was certain scores would improve. “I’m excited to see how well our students can learn.”

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