The big news on Tuesday night was the budget vote, but the Mamaroneck School Board met earlier in the evening to approve the hiring of an assistant principal at Chatsworth Elementary School. They also heard department chairs at the Hommocks and the high school report on their goals.
New Assistant Principal at Chatsworth
Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried introduced Katie Andersen, newly hired as assistant principal at Chatsworth. She will begin July 1.
Ms. Andersen has been an assistant principal at the Yung Wing Elementary School (PS 124) in Chinatown since September 2007. Previously, she was a staff developer and an elementary classroom teacher at PS 124, and an elementary teacher in Monticello.
According to Dr. Fried, Ms. Andersen emerged as one of two top candidates from a field of 130 initial candidates. She was the unanimous favorite of the interview committee and central staff.
“I’m very excited,” said Ms. Andersen in very brief remarks.
“Me, too!” added Chatsworth principal Gail Boyle.
High School and Hommocks Departments Work on Assessments
Working under time pressure caused by the planned adjournment to receive results of the budget vote, 18 presenters gave brief highlights of the goals work of the 11 different departmental areas in the secondary schools. Many of the presentations addressed assessments, also the focus of the board members’ visits to the schools last month.
The brief highlights did not allow for any in-depth discussion, and many presenters shared questions that their departments have not yet answered.
Questions Being Examined: APPLE Coordinator Nick Cucchiarella explained that they are examining how to best support students who may enter the 9th grade without having mastered some 7th and 8th grade standards. Does it make sense to begin the 9th grade curriculum, or would students be better served by a battery of diagnostic tests? Does that mean Regents tests required for graduation should be delayed for some students?
Guidance Chair Nick Kourabas shared some work his department has begun this year. Concerned about the stress many high school students experience – and the lack of sleep – the guidance department has been surveying students and neighboring districts to determine how those issues might best be alleviated.
Some topics being considered: Should the schedule be adjusted so that tests are spread out during the week, rather than occurring mostly on “Day 5” of the high school’s five-day rotation? How much should Regents scores, midterms and final grades count toward a student’s final grade? Should Mamaroneck consider dropping Advanced Placement classes, like Scarsdale has done?
Discussion will continue in the fall.
How to Place Students Appropriately: Liz Clain, head of MHS social studies, said her department is piloting something new with assessment and placement for next year. Thirty struggling 10th grade students will be pulled out of regular social studies classes, split into two classes and taught at a slower pace, using more appropriate reading material.
The MHS science department is also working on placement issues, noted its head, Miguel Nunes. They are re-examining the way in which they assess readiness for Advanced Placement exams.
Next Steps on Goals
The school board will meet on Tuesday, June 1 to hear about progress on building and district goals.
Two weeks later, on June 15, the board will honor retirees and host a presentation of the Rockefeller Arts awards.