Common Core Task Force recommendations need review: Celano

Herricks school Superintendent Fino Celano expressed reservations Thursday about the findings of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force, but said he was pleased with parts of a new federal education law. 

The recommendations of the task force, created to perform comprehensive review of learning standards, curriculum and testing in New York State, must be “looked at, reviewed and revised,” Celano said at last Thursday’s school board meeting.

But Celano lauded the newly passed Elementary and Secondary School Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2015.

The new law, which replaces 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act, will hand educational authority to states and includes Title I funding allocations for New York Schools. 

“Although the new law isn’t perfect,” Celano said, “it will give back educational powers, decisions and control back to the state.” 

A parent, though strongly opposed to the No Child Left Behind law the federal government imposed on the states, expressed concerns about how teachers will now be held accountable under the Elementary and Secondary School Act. 

“We have rigorous measures in place for teachers lagging behind on their curriculum even though that isn’t the case in this school district,” Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Christine Finn said. 

Tales of woes of the No Child Left Behind Act, signed by former President George W. Bush, were revisited as board members described the unfairness of the program to teachers and students.

“Let’s not even count the monetary losses on the program,” school board Trustee Jim Gounaris said. “If we had to convert the amount of time we wasted on the program.”

“$70,000?” the parent interjected.

“Way more than that,” Gounaris said.

The school board also welcomed a full house of parents with their children in tow as the board recognized the outstanding student achievements of 2015. 

The board recognized Herricks High School juniors Grace Robinson, Nicole Jara, Holly Triebe and David Fisher who were among the winners of the New York Times Editorial Cartoon contest in 2015 for their political cartoons on the Times’ Learning Network blog. 

Adam Cordero and Mikayla Chan, a woodwind and a violinist were also recognized for their musical achievements. They will both travel to Indianapolis in March to play in Honor Band and Honor Orchestra of America, respectively. 

High schoolers Sabreen Bhuiya, Ayesha Chhugani and Vikram Krishnamoorthy were recognized for proceeding to the semifinals of the Intel Talent Search Science Competition.

Three high school and four middle school students were also accepted into the New York State Honor Band Festivals. 

“We’re very proud of our students’ achievements in the sciences and arts,” said Christine Finn, assistant superintendent for instruction. “And it is a testament to the work that our teachers are doing.”

In other business:

The board unanimously voted to approve Seneca Consulting Group to aid in the preparation, filing and mailing of forms 1095C and 1095B with the IRS before being mailed to employees. The consulting firm is being tasked with the process by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services on behalf of districts in Nassau County.

Employers of labor with more than 50 employees are expected to file both forms with the IRS to determine the health-care status of its employees. The approximated 1,200 forms is expected to cost about an estimate of $1,500.

The board unanimously voted to appoint Trustees Juleigh Chin and Brian Hassan as school board liaisons to the District-Wide Facilities Committee for the 2015-2016 school year. 

Chin and Hassan were elected to the school board in 2013 and 2013, respectively. 

The board also voted to approve the award of mini-grants from Herricks Community Fund to staff members totaling $7,450. 

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Adedamola Agboola

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