Letter to Parents from Michael Tierney, Superintendent

Dear Parents/Guardians:

I am writing to remind you that the grades 3 through 8 English Language
Arts and Mathematics testing will begin next week. As has always been the
case, the school district is obligated by New York State to administer these
assessments with fidelity. New York State believes that these examinations offer
important insights into whether a student is making adequate progress toward high
school graduation (i.e. – success on New York State Regents exams).

There is no doubt in my mind that these assessments provide information to parents
and teachers on student achievement. While this information represents a snapshot
of student progress, it does help us to understand both our students’
and programs’ areas of strength and weakness relative to the Common Core Learning
Standards. There are also organizational implications in terms of state and federal
funding for support services and district designations (i.e. – district in good standing,
district in need of improvement).

Recently, there has been a great deal of media attention given to New York State’s
grades 3 through 8 testing regimen. This attention has caused a few parents to
question the value of these assessments and whether an “opt-out” option even
exists. Technically, New York State offers no “opt out” option. There is only
the option “refused to take entire test.”

I have no desire to put any student in the awkward position of deciding whether to
follow direction from a parent or a teacher on test day. If you are directing
your child to refuse to sit for the assessment on test day, please send a signed letter
(emails and phone calls will not be accepted) to your child’s teacher or principal
prior to the test dates. Once again, I encourage you to look beyond the political
implications and recognize the valuable information these assessments provide about
how we can better serve your child and our school district.

Michael Tierney
Superintendent of Schools

Author: Harlem Valley News