Students in the Mohawk Central School District will undergo testing this week as part of the new annual professional performance review guidelines set in place.
Interim Mohawk Superintendent of Schools Gene Beirne said the Mohawk Teachers’ Association and management agreed to using TerraNova — a series of standardized achievement tests for students in grades K-12 — to assess the quality of its teachers.
“We need a third party assessment,” said Beirne, who noted the purchase of the TerraNova tests was $15,000.
Testing will begin later this week at Harry M. Fisher Elementary School and Gregory B. Jarvis Junior-Senior High School for all students. They will be tested again in May or June to help determine “what type of growth there has been,” said Berine.
Beirne said parents were notified the testing will not go on a child’s report card, and it is strictly part of the APPR assessment.
Fisher Elementary School Principal Colleen Vetere said she believes her teachers and students are ready for the testing. “We’ve planned on this since the beginning of the year. Teachers have been involved with this,” she said.
Vetere said her teachers have done multiple TerraNova training sessions in the past, and the school is a “Reading First” school, which provides pre-assessment tests to students to help boost their reading skills.
In other business, the school board last week heard an update from Jarvis Principal Cindy Stocker about the school’s College Now program, where students can take courses at Herkimer County Community College for college credit. Courses available for study include history and math.
• The board heard from King and King Associates, in Syracuse, that they are still waiting for approval from the state Education Department regarding the EXCEL project. School officials had hoped to have the project completed by the start of the 2012 - 2013 school year, but have had to put the project on delay while waiting for state approval. The project would include the removal of the pool at Fisher Elementary School.
• The board heard from a resident about the issue with skateboarders in front of the high school, according to Beirne. He said there is a skateboarding policy in place at the school and a copy was forwarded to the Mohawk Police Department to ask them to help to enforce it. Beirne said some of the stairs and planters at the school are being damaged by skateboarders. There is a sign posted in front of the school building that states skateboarding and rollerblading is prohibited on school grounds.
• The board heard from Beirne about forming a 2012 - 2013 safety committee. He said the school district always has a safety committee, but particularly need one with a building project coming up in the near future. Beirne said they are looking for a few parents to volunteer from each of the school building to be a part of the committee.
Page 2 of 2 - “We’ll go to the site and review things. To me, [for example] the fencing may look OK, but to a parent with a kindergartner, it may not look,” he said.