March 2016
Dear Friends of the Carmel School Community:
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you my thoughts about theNew York State Education Department’s Grades 3-8 state assessments.Simply put, I encourage participation in the required state testing.
Having clearly heard the concerns of parents regarding the assessments, this year the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has taken steps to decrease the time and accountability related to the Grade 3-8 Math and ELAAssessments. The intensity of the Reform Agenda has dissipated and a number of unwarranted mandates and rigid requirements have been modified. We believe theNYSED responded appropriately to the concerns that were voiced.
As a district, we keep the tests in perspective and use them as one metric of student performance. Local and state assessments provide important information for parents and the school district to determine how well our students are progressing through the rigorouscurriculum. We use both formative and summative assessments to keep a watchful eye on student progress and realize that no single assessment tells the full story.
Our teachers want our students to be successful in meeting higher expectations in allcurriculum areas. They have dedicated themselves to providing a learning environment that will foster growth and intervene if a child is not advancing as quickly as expected oras quickly as he or she has in the past.
The New York State tests are one area that guides the decision-making regarding a child’s level of attainment and helps us determine if and when support systems are needed. If theyare, Academic Intervention Services (AIS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) plans are put into place. These exams are also used as a benchmark to ensure that our students areprogressing at a rate that will allow success on high school Regents exams and beyond. A variety of challenging assessments prepare our students for college and career readiness.
We want to assure you that we take every possible measure to make the testingexperience meaningful and connected to the work that students are involved in duringtheir regular school day. For your information I have also attached a brief explanation of some of the actions taken by NYSED regarding the Grade 3-8 assessments.
We thank you for your consideration.

Andy Irvin

Superintendent of Schools