At the district’s recent annual Superintendent’s Conference Day, speakers delved into revised New York State regulations for both English as a New Language and the Annual Professional Performance Review.
Kicking off the morning’s presentations, Gina Palasciano, the district’s curriculum associate for world languages and ENL, introduced Dr. Maria Dove, an author and professor at Molloy College.
Dove explained that in the past, ENL –formerly known as ESL, or English as a Second Language – consisted of standalone programs, with a segregated population and specialized ESL curriculum. The new format features collaborative teacher teams of ESOL and content teachers, offering integrated instructional services to an integrated student population, for a curriculum that combines content and language.
“The new ENL program is research-based and consists of two components: a content area, with instructional component in English, and an English-language developmental component,” she said. “Integrating students and curriculum goes hand in hand with the ‘new three R’s’ of rigor, relevance and research.”
Dove stressed the need to develop collaborative teaching teams, and demonstrated classroom models of co-teaching.
“You can’t do this work alone,” she told the assembled teachers. “All team members need ongoing opportunities to learn.”
Superintendent of Schools Eva J. Demyen began by introducing numerous new directors and teachers, using OMI’s No. 1 hit song “Cheerleader” to illustrate her credo of supporting and developing her staff.
“We are cheerleaders for each other,” she told them. “Teach to your best ability, the students you know and love.”
She noted that she had met with the state’s new education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, saying, “I think she’s going to help us make some much needed changes.”
Demyen’s presentation focused on discussing new regulations for the state’s APPR, which has moved from three components to just two: student performance and observation.
One of the main elements of the new APPR is that principals and teachers of students in courses that culminate in state exams will receive state-provided growth scores, while those with students in courses that don’t culminate in a state exam will utilize SLOs, or student learning objectives, to set growth targets that show at least one year of expected growth. The targets, process and assessments that are used will be approved by the state.
Citing the short timetable as an impediment, Demyen said that the district will apply for an APPR waiver in October; it can then apply for a second waiver next March.
“We want to do this right – efficiently and educationally sound,” said Demyen. “So we will do it over time, and start fresh next year.”