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Ripley Central School Board affirms support of Common Core

April 2, 2015
Westfield Republican

By David Prenatt

editorial@westfieldrepublican.com

Ripley Central School District's Board of Education affirmed its solid support of the Common Core testing process Thursday despite growing debate in the state legislature.

"In a nutshell, we're supportive of Common Core and of the kids taking the test," said board President Robert Bentley. "We want to know how we are doing and where the kids are in their learning."

There has been much media attention given to a bill introduced into the New York state Legislature that would give parents the right to have their children opt out of Common Core testing. According to news sources in Albany: "The bill is in response to the growing concerns of parents and teachers about the over-testing of children, particularly through the Common Core standards.

Bentley said he felt the board needed to respond to the ongoing debate about Common Core testing warrants a response from Ripley Central School. The district has openly embraced the Common Core standards and modules since they were introduced three years ago.

Ripley Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby agreed that a response was needed. "What's going on in the media, students hear about it and it creates fears where there don't need to be any," she said.

Ormsby said that the quantity of tests is about the same as it was before Common Core. "Generally speaking, the students are not spending hours and hours taking tests. It's a small part of the day and a small part of the year," she said. "We do not spend time prepping the kids for tests."

Bentley said that faculty and staff at Ripley have worked together to implement Common Core. "We can be grateful that our faculty and our staff are 100 percent supporting us and working with us," he said.

In another matter, Ormsby updated board members on the district's capital project, saying that the state is behind on approving projects. "We may not get as much work done this building season as we had hoped," said Ormsby. "The longer we wait for approval, the longer we must wait to get bids. The roof is our priority. We really need a roof."

Ormsby shared a video that was completed at the school earlier in the year featuring ELA teacher Karen Kondrick's Reading Foundation Literacy Centers. The video is being used throughout the country for professional development and can also be viewed on the "Engage New York" website, she said.

According to the students in Kondrick's class, literacy centers are helping them with reading and giving them a greater appreciation for the written word. Pupils were shown working at five Literacy Centers. "Show the Rule" spotlights rules of grammar. "Fluency" focuses on oral reading of poetry. "Word Work" is geared toward strengthening vocabulary. "Complex Text" focuses on annotating and summarizing written material. The fifth is "Independent Reading," which aims to make voracious readers of the students.

Ormsby brought board members up to date on the school's alliance with the town. "We discussed our summer program. We talked about allowing them to use our facility when there is thunder and lightning" she added. In the past, children in the town's summer programs had to be sent home in the event of a thunder storm.

District Clerk Vicki Carris noted that only one seat on the board, that of Michael Boll, is up for election. For anyone wishing to run for the seat, the first notice is due by April 4 and a petition with at least 25 signatures is needed by April 20. Applications can be picked up in the district office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Finally, Dr. Ormsby presented next year's school calendar, emphasizing that it is very similar to the 2014-2015 schedule. "There will be one spring break because we prefer to get out a little earlier in June," commented Ormsby. "That allows us to prepare for Eagle University which starts two weeks after school lets out"

Bentley informed the board that students at Chautauqua Lake School had an excellent winter sports season and that many students from Ripley were members of the successful teams. "It is nice to see our kids contributing," said Bentley.

 
 
 

 

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