Malverne prepares for tough year

Common Core, poor academic rankings challenge district


Before its schools open their doors on Sept. 9, the Malverne district has already begun focusing on lifting one of them from among the state’s lowest academic rankings.

One month after receiving word on the poor outcome of state assessment scores for Malverne students — 40 percent of seventh-graders passed the English Language Arts exam, while 33.8 percent passed the math exam, both of which were based on the newly mandated Common Core curriculum — administrators found Davison Avenue Intermediate School listed under the Department of Education’s Local Assistance Plan, a watch list of schools that are at risk of falling into the bottom 10 percent of the department’s rankings.

According to Superintendent of Schools James Hunderfund, the Malverne district was notified in July 2012 that the Education Department had begun evaluating its schools with a “gap criteria,” which compared student performance in 2010-11 with 2011-12 to determine a standard for improvement.

Based on a document released by the Education Department, the Local Assistance Plan lists schools in which the performance of one or more student subgroups — those with disabilities or other minorities — differs most dramatically from that of other students, and where there is substandard yearly progress in three consecutive years for the same subgroup.

Hunderfund said that the Education Department ranked Davison’s 2011-12 third grade special education class — which numbered 110 students — one of the lowest -performing subgroups when compared to larger, general-education classes in that school.

“I think it’s irrelevant in terms of a category, because it has nothing to do with Common Core curriculum,” Hunderfund said of Davison’s addition to the list. “All of the stuff that happened three years ago has nothing to do with kids reaching the Common Core standard now.”

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