Tag Archives: elementary school

Test REFUSAL in Kingston City School District

Letters went home to parents in at least two elementary schools (Edson and Crosby) in the Kingston City School District today telling parents that changes have been made in the New York State testing program and requesting that parents NOT opt their children out of the testing.  I anticipate that similar letters were sent home to parents in the remaining schools in the district or will be sent this week since the NYS ELA test begins next week April 5-7, 2016.

Crosby opt in letter
Crosby opt in letter
Edson opt in letter
Edson opt in letter

 

Even though parents are being encouraged to believe differently, nothing significant has changed with regard to the New York State testing.  The tests are shorter by a question or two but many kids will actually spend longer on testing because the tests are now untimed. Pearson still produced this year’s test questions even though NYS has signed a new contract with Questar. Who knows what the questions will be like as far as quality?  Also every single issue that has existed regarding the adverse impact of the tests for special ed and ELL students still exists.

Please continue to REFUSE the New York State ELA and Math tests for grades 3-8 this April 2016.

By refusing you can be an Upstander.  Even if you feel that your kids are not ‘hurt’ by taking the state tests, other kids are. When you refuse the state tests, you are helping to protect kids all throughout New York State.  Jeanette Deutermann clearly shares the reasons for opting-out in this video.

Deborah Torres Henning, a parent from the Wappingers Central School District who I am very proud to stand beside in the fight against Common Core, has also written an excellent piece on why it is important to refuse the state tests.

Instead of asking “why refuse?” we should be asking “why does the state want the children to take them so badly?”

•    240,000 children did not take the New York State Math and English Language Arts assessments last year.
•    The tests don’t count toward your child’s grades or promotional status.
•    The tests don’t count toward receiving or not receiving special services.
•    The tests are age and developmentally inappropriate.
•    The tests were already too long, and now they are untimed, making them longer.
•    The tests are developed by businessmen and corporations, not teachers.
•    The tests are just another form of data mining. Data is the name of the game.

The state wants you to believe it has dramatically decreased the number of test questions and effectively reduced the time it takes to complete taking the tests. The reduction of one or two test questions is not significant, and the tests are now untimed, which means longer, not shorter. New York State Education Department’s “changes” are as meaningless as the tests themselves.

For those who say, “My child does well on the tests,” what are they doing well on? They are doing well on following orders, filling in bubbles, and navigating an absurd myriad of age and content inappropriate test questions that do not measure what they are learning in class and have no bearing on where they will be placed the following year. All you see is a number (1-4), specific results are not given to school districts or to parents — so there is no information at all on what they’ve learned, where their strengths are, or where they need improvement. The tests do not have any bearing on whether or not your child will or will not receive  Academic Intervention Services or Response to Intervention Plan either.

Refusing the state tests does not mean your child will never have exposure to taking a test, nor does it mean you are teaching your child he or she doesn’t have to fulfill academic responsibility. Refusing means you are aware that these tests mean nothing, and you refuse to have your child be a guinea pig for the state and the test manufacturers.

School districts must make the tests available to all students, that does not mean they can force or “encourage” all students to take them. You have the option of refusing. Parents, you are the primary educator of your child, and you have first and final say. Parents’ rights supersede the rights of the school. Remember that. Always.

Your child provides free labor and research for the test manufacturers. Your schools have sold your child into indentured servitude in order to get grant money and the test manufacturers are cashing in.

The state Education Department and test manufacturers rely on your obedience to make your child take the tests, and they love to use threats to get you to do so. Don’t believe the threats you hear about losing funding or testing counting against your child’s teacher, these are scare tactics, and they work on people who don’t know the facts.

In a most recent development, our newly appointed Board of Regents Chancellor (and technically Commissioner Elia’s boss), Mrs. Betty Rosa, went on record to say, if she were a parent of a 3rd through 8th-grader today, she would refuse the tests. When the agency that supervises state Education Department and Mrs. Elia supports refusals, it is time for everyone to refuse!

I am for tests that measure my child’s growth and progress. I am for tests that give teachers and parents a dashboard to look at and pinpoint what questions they are struggling with or excelling in. I am for tests that are staggered throughout their school years and do not last for days. I am for meaningful testing.

I want my children educated when they go to school. I don’t send my children to test-taking school — I send them to school, just school. Please stop the rampant, abusive, useless testing and lets get back to educating the whole child. That won’t happen unless we all refuse these tests.

refusal_letter_2015-2016__8_

Update 4/4/16: Letters from other KCSD schools

Chambers opt in letter
Chambers opt in letter
GW testing letter
GW testing letter

 

GW testing letter in Spanish
GW testing letter in Spanish
JFK opt in letter
JFK opt in letter
Miller opt in letter
Miller opt in letter
Myer opt in letter
Myer opt in letter

Matters Helping All Parents: Conflicts for Positive Change

Have you checked out the Matters Helping All Parents:  Conflicts for Positive Change posts that MHA in Ulster County has posted this month?

Week 1 kicked off the theme with a video of Practical Tips to Reduce Conflicts with Parents and Children.

Week 2 provided resources on No Drama Discipline

Week 3 gave parents the opportunity to share stories of successful conflict management in the home.

Week 4 (this week) talked about how mistakes can be OPPORTUNITIES to help our children learn.  I particularly liked this portion from the “Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” article for this week:

So much parenting and teaching is based on fear. Adults fear they aren’t doing a good job if they don’t make children do better. Too many are more concerned about what the neighbors will think than about what their children are learning.  Others are afraid that children will never learn to do better if they don’t instill them with fear and humiliation.  Most are afraid because they don’t know what else to do—and fear that if they don’t inflict blame, shame and pain, they will be acting permissively.

There is another way.  It is not permissive, and it truly motivates children to do better without paying the price of a lowered sense of self-worth. Teach children to be excited about mistakes as opportunities to learn.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear an adult say to a child, “You made a mistake. That is fantastic. What can we learn from it?” And I do mean “we.” Many mistakes are made because we haven’t taken time for training and encouragement. We often provoke rebellion instead of inspiring improvement.

SchoolHomeMatters2

#MHAParents

HOPE 2015 on November 14, 2015 canceled

 

H O P E

Helping Others Protect Everyone

Ways to resolve conflicts and improve relationships in our homes and communities

November 14, 2015 9am – Noon

CANCELED due to unexpected circumstances

The HOPE conference will not be rescheduled.

The KHS PA knows that bullying and the broader scope of conflict are pervasive problems in our society that not only impact the education of our students but their entire lives. Since the HOPE workshops were providing information intended to help parents and students deal with conflict more successfully as well as help each person feel more empowered to help others and protect themselves, the KHS PA is making arrangements to offer the workshops as part of upcoming KHS Parents Association meetings.

Mark your calendar to attend the KHS PA meetings now and watch the KHS PA webpage for meeting topics.

The next meeting is December 3, 2015 at 6:30pm

How to live with your teen without losing your mind

Adoring and adorable children can become adolescents who say and do things that result in hurt, anger, conflict, and fears for their safety. In plain language, learn about exciting new research that sheds light on “why did you do that?” and “what were you thinking?!”. Practical tools for retaining your sanity will be shared.

Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Teen Dating Violence 101: Recognizing and Responding to Physical and Emotional Violence in Teen Romantic Relationships. A workshop for parents and teens in middle school and high school.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Are you or someone you know or love suffering from depression? How do you tell? What can you do? Come and learn some of the signs of depression and how you can help.

While you are waiting for the next KHS PA meeting, check out this video posted as part of the monthly Matters Helping All Parents program from MHA in Ulster County.  “Practical Tips to Reduce Conflicts with Parents and Children”

HOPE 2015 – November 14, 2015

HOPE 2015 CANCELED as of 11/10/15 – details here

The Kingston High School Parents Association (KHS PA) is excited to present HOPE 2015 on Saturday November 14, 2015.

Bullying and the broader scope of conflict are pervasive problems in our society that not only impact the education of our students but their entire lives.

It is our desire with HOPE that students, parents and our community as a whole will learn information that will help each person to deal with conflict more successfully whether it is in their own life or in the life of a friend or loved one. We want each person leaving HOPE to feel more empowered to help others and protect themselves.

HOPE 2015 flyer

HOPE 2015 Flyer

 

Cultural Competency

Matters Helping All Parents, the new monthly program from the Mental Health Association in Ulster County, Inc., has focused on Cultural Competency for the month of October.

Cultural competence consists of knowledge and interpersonal skills that help people better understand, appreciate and work with individuals from cultures other than their own.  Culture does not just refer to nationality.  It can refer to ethnicity, nationality, language, religion and many other factors.

Cultural Competency Week 1 included tips for parents in addressing cultural issues with our children.

Cultural Competency Week 2 focused on common misconceptions about cultural competency/diversity issues.

Cultural Competency Week 3, which is this week, asks parents to share success stories navigating cultural competency with our child/ren.  You can read and respond on the MHA website or on the MHA facebook page.

SchoolHomeMatters2

 

Matters Helping All Parents

The Mental Health Association in Ulster County (MHA in Ulster County) kicked off a year-long program Matters Helping All Parents in August 2015.

This program will feature a different topic each month with a new post each week providing information to help parents be successful as well as opportunities for parents to discuss the information and/or share experiences regarding the particular topic.  One of the most exciting aspects of this program for me personally is that the information is not just for parents of younger children – parents of middle school and high school students will find much information to help them with understanding their kids and figuring out how to successfully parent through the challenging teen years.

The topic for August was Matters Helping All Parents:  School Achievement and here is a peek at the first week’s post:

At MHA we believe that all parents want to be successful.  Over the next year we want to share information and support on topics important to you and your child.  We begin with school achievement.

A number of factors can influence your child’s school achievement.  Here are some resources we think can help navigate common concerns.

(1) School Stress – Helping to Overcome Elementary Anxiety: here

(2) School Phobia/School Avoidance/School Refusal: A handout for Parents:http://www.adlit.org/article/5907/?theme=print, or here

(3) School Avoidance in Teens: http://teenology101.seattlechildrens.org/school-avoidance-in-teens/, or here

The post for School Achievement Week 2 included information regarding the legal aspects of school attendance and a discussion of school refusal and truancy.

School Achievement Week 3 gave parents the opportunity to share success stories of dealing with school avoidance.  If you have worked through this challenging area, please share your story to help other parents who might be dealing with similar challenges.

School Achievement Week 4 focused on helping to reduce your child’s school stress.

MHA introduced the topic Matters Helping All Parents: Understanding Child/Adolescent Development in September with some videos regarding the psychology of child and adolescent development in week 1, development charts in week 2,  the opportunity to share success stories in week 3 and age-specific (infant through age 17) positive parenting tips in week 4.

Matters Helping All Parents information can be found on the MHA website, the MHA facebook page or by searching #MHAParents

 

 

HOPE 2015 – Helping Others Protect Everyone

HOPE 2015 CANCELED as of 11/10/15 – details here

Save the date!

 HOPE 2015

Helping Others Protect Everyone

Ways to resolve conflict and improve relationships in our homes and communities

Saturday November 14, 2015  9am-Noon

Kingston High School

 Workshops will address the different ways conflict, including bullying, manifest itself in family relationships, friend relationships and dating relationships.  A variety of workshops will be available for elementary, middle school and high school students as well as for parents and community members.

HOPE 2015 Save the date flyer 6 8 15

HOPE 2015 – Helping Others Protect Everyone

HOPE 2015 CANCELED as of 11/10/15 – details here

The Kingston High School Parents Association (KHS PA) invites students, parents and community members to mark your calendar for the HOPE 2015 conference this fall.

HOPE 2015

Helping Others Protect Everyone

Ways to resolve conflict and improve relationships in our homes and communities

Saturday November 14, 2015  9am-Noon

 Workshops will address the different ways conflict, including bullying, manifest itself in family relationships, friend relationships and dating relationships.  A variety of workshops will be available for elementary, middle school and high school students as well as for parents and community members.

HOPE 2015 Save the date flyer 6 8 15

 

If you have any questions about the conference, suggestions for workshops or you would like to volunteer to help with bringing this conference to  our community, you can RSVP as above or fill out the form below since I happen to be the contact person for the conference.

 

Location change for KCSD board of education meetings being considered

KCSD Board of Education member James Shaughnessy has posted the following on facebook:

School Board President Nora Scherer and Superintendent Dr. Paul Padalino have prepared a school board meeting schedule for 2015-2016 that eliminates the practice of holding one meeting annually in each elementary school. The reason given is that the district’s broadcast equipment is not well suited for use outside of the Cioni administration building. One meeting each year would continue to be held at the high school and each middle school. Please comment your opinion. Thank you.

I appreciate that Mr. Shaughnessy is reaching out to the community to seek our opinion on this matter.

I personally would be disappointed if the practice of holding one board of education meeting annually in each elementary school is eliminated.  I like the opportunity to hear from each school principal and visit each school throughout the school year.  I particularly appreciated when the school presentation portion was moved to after the executive session so that the public didn’t have to sit through the executive session time slot to attend both the school presentation and the rest of the board of education meeting.  I feel that it would be a loss to stop having board meetings at the elementary schools and I have emailed my opinion to the KCSD board members.  I have no idea if I am in the minority or the majority though.  I do know that the microphone system is a challenge at times for those who wish to watch the board of education meetings from home.

If you have thoughts on the location of the board meetings, please communicate them to Mr. Shaughnessy and/or the other KCSD board of education members.

James Shaughnessy (845) 339-5262 jshaughnessy@kingstoncityschools.org

Contact information for all KCSD board members is available here.