Great Neck dilemma: graduation or regents exam

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A last-minute change in the New York State regents schedule has forced some Great Neck families to choose between sending their child to the geometry regents or the high school graduation of a sibling.

The New York State Board of Regents notified schools in mid-April that the geometry exam was being rescheduled to June 23 – the same day as the Great Neck North High School graduation, Great Neck Superintendent of Schools Tom Dolan said at a school board meeting on May 9.

“A lot of the schools don’t have graduation at that time,” he said. “For 99 percent of the schools in the state, it probably isn’t a problem.”

It is a problem for dozens of geometry students in Great Neck who have an older sibling graduating high school this year. Although Great Neck South High School graduates on June 23, the exam does not conflict.

“The kids are very upset,” said special education teacher Donna Kramer. Of her 27 geometry students, 10 have conflicts with graduation.

“They say, ‘Our parents won’t let us take the test. They said we have to be at graduation,'” Kramer said. “They worked so hard to get through the regents and now they’re not taking it.”

One option is a staggered exam schedule.

Great Neck school officials offered to bus students to the exam site early for a start time of 7 a.m. rather than after 8 a.m.

Dolan said the option will be left open even until the last minute.

“We’d do everything we could to make this work,” he said.

Board of Regents officials have not yet announced if the exam will also be offered in August.

In other business, Dolan announced a pilot program that will feature the first Great Neck school district sponsored volleyball camp.

“We certainly hope to get more proposals in the future,” Dolan said.

In a policy proposed by the board of education and required by the state, students and their parents must be notified of the right to opt out of animal dissection.

Since 1994, students in New York have been allowed to opt out of animal dissection if they notify the school in writing and complete an alternative project approved by their teacher.

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