Bellmore-Merrick Central District officials lambast state exams

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Only two states — New York and Kentucky — began testing students in grades three to eight according to the new standards in 2012-13. The other states, DeTommaso said, will begin doing so over the next two years, allowing greater time to implement the standards before students must sit for state exams.

“I am for academic rigor,” DeTommaso said. “But I am not for the way this was jammed down the throats of school districts.”

Parent Lisa Katz of North Merrick asked whether the superintendent would take a more public position opposing the new exams, as some Long Island superintendents have.

DeTommaso said that Nassau County superintendents would meet in the near future to address the new tests. “I don’t know what direction the superintendents will go in,” he said.

But, he added, he would not be shy about expressing his “outrage” over the state’s implementation of the new exams.

What the Central District is doing about the Common Core

Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District administrators and teachers are already at work, preparing for next year’s state English Language Arts and math exams for grades three to eight, said Caryn Blum, the district’s assistant superintendent for instruction.

Central officials have rewritten 20 curricula in the past year and are rewriting others, mostly to address the Common Core State Standards. The district will also offer five-hour before- and after-school courses on the Common Core for teachers as part of its new Professional Development Academy, which will focus not only on the Common Core, but also on a host of education issues, with a special focus on technology. Teachers will receive in-service credits for attending the mini-courses.

And this past year, students in grades seven and eight received new literature textbooks with higher-level readings, along with new and improved math materials.

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