Thursday, June 7, 2012

College and Career Ready?

On Monday I gave all of you a homework assignment to come up with your own thoughts on what it means to be "College and Career Ready". I hope you spent at least a few minutes thinking about the topic as this buzz phrase is going to occupy the airwaves shortly as New York State ramps up their efforts towards increasing graduation rates.

It is my opinion that in a perfect world college and career ready means that a student has experienced everything that could possibly be offered in a school setting including a full course of academics, electives, clubs, activities, fine arts, and athletics. The student would then be ready to make a well-rounded decision about what they want to do after high school.

New York State feels that being college and career ready means getting a grade of 75 on the 11th grade English Regents Exam and an 80 on ANY Math Regents Exam. It is my view that the danger with their definition versus mine is when you splash in financial instability there might be a lowering of graduation requirements and significantly less emphasis on anything that may not be measured in the long term. I am a realist and understand that lobbying groups for each area will likely extend the life of most opportunities well into the future. However, I thought you would like to know what the baseline is for being college and career ready. So I would like you to erase every other experience you had at school except for your 11th grade English and any Math classes that had a Regents Exam attached and imagine where you might be today.

New York State recently received a waiver from the Federal No Child Left Behind requirements. These requirements placed significant penalties on schools whose students with disabilities or economically disadvantaged students did not perform well on state assessments or in graduation statistics. In my own plain language the waiver essentially lifts those penalties for a longer period of time except for those schools that have been under-performing on a consistent basis. While this seems like a win as most schools have high standards for all students anyway, the flip side is that the Federal Government is going to cut funding for services that are allocated to students with disabilities and students that are economically disadvantaged.  I do not know the impact of that for West Genesee as of yet, but it will need to be dealt with when the time comes and we will make it work.

In my last blog I mentioned how well Caitlyn Barry did singing the National Anthem at the recent Save Modified Sports event. With permission from her parents, here is a link to her performance so you can see and hear for yourselves.  Remember, she is in 7th grade. 

Also the "Mayor" of the high school, student Andrew Bowman, is going to be meeting up with the torch for the Special Olympics State Games on Saturday June 11, at around 2:30 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot in Camillus. He will be there along with the Law Enforcement members who will have run the torch to that location from a variety of areas. Way to go Andrew!

We will also have a ribbon cutting tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at Stonehedge Elementary School for a garden to memorialize 3rd grader Sophie Kawejsza. Sophie lost a hard fought battle with cancer earlier this year. All are welcome to attend.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate all of our seniors as they complete the last week of their high school careers. They were freshman when I started here, and I have had a chance to really get to know them. This is a very special group of young adults and it will be tough to graduate them in a few weeks, but I know in my heart that they have received an education equal to my definition of "College and Career Ready".

Best of luck to the lady Wildcat's tomorrow in the state semi-finals!

Have a great weekend.