LCOR to Present Revised Affordable Housing/Mixed Use Apartment Project for 55 Bank Street Today

2014813lcor 008

Municipal Commuter Parking Lot at 55 Bank Street site of proposed 55 Bank Street LCOR project. The national developer, LCOR, will give a presentation to the Common Council this evening on their current proposal for the project.

WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. AUGUST 21, 2014:

The City Clerk’s Office “noticed” to the media at 6:15 P.M. last night,  yet another Special Meeting of the Common Council on 24 hours official notice  which will begin this evening at 6 P.M., with the highlight being a scheduled presentation of the new, scaled back 55 Bank Street project.

The project was detailed to the Planning Board 10 months ago in October.

The public may attend the meeting in the Mayor’s conference room at 6. The 55 Bank Street project has been on hold due to the recession since 2007.

The Mayor’s Office has not returned requests by phone and e-mail by WPCNR as to whether LCOR resumed payments on the municipal commuter parking lot  last year (as Council President John Martin told WPCNR last week), that LCOR agreed to buy in order to build the project, said to now total 581 units, with 20% set aside for affordable work force housing.  The Mayor’s Office also did not return WPCNR’s request for how much more money LCOR owes the city for the commuter lot  at this time or whether the payments have been completed quietly.

Maggie Meluzio, of Quinn, a public relations firm that handles the press for LCOR, issued this statement to WPCNR last week when asked for the updated nature of the project and whether a payment was made last year, breaking approximately six years of debt payment suspension by the city, pending the start of the project:

“At this stage, there are no updates or details to provide on this project. We will surely keep you updated once more info is available.”

Perhaps this evening will lift the mystery around this project. The Fisher Hill Association has advised WPCNR that it is the association understanding that  a hotel, previously part of the project is no longer contemplated.

The council will also discuss the following Capital Project matters, noted in the City Clerk’s  Special Meeting notification:

Dam Rehabilitation

Automated Meter Reading System

Lexington Grove Garages (at The Galleria Mall) East and West Rehabilitation

Miscellaneous Street Reconstruction FY 2015

Municipal Parking Structure Rehabilitation FY 2015

Posted in Uncategorized

Greenburgh Assistant Principal Pleads Guilty in Embezzling $794,865 from Greenburgh Teacher’s Welfare Fund

frankgluberman

WPCNR Crime and Punishment. . From the Office of the Westchester County District Attorney. August 20, 2014 UPDATED AUGUST 21, 2014 :

County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced that Frank Gluberman (DOB 08/16/47) of 47 Waters Edge, Congers, New York pled guilty today to:

  • one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony.

(Editor’s note: Mr. Gluberman has been reported by The Journal News as being on paid administrative leave from the Greenburgh Central School District and out on bail since his arrest. He remains on bail until his sentencing. The School District Superintendent’s office and Board of Education did not return a call from WPCNR inquiring about Mr. Gluberman’s employment status with the district.)

The defendant is the Assistant Principal at Woodlands High School in the Hamlet of Hartsdale and former Treasurer of the Greenburgh Teacher’s Federation (GTF) and the Greenburgh Teacher’s Welfare Fund.

The GTF Welfare Fund receives taxpayer money, which is negotiated by the GTF, to pay for benefits such as: dental, optical, legal services, for school teachers and administrators of the school district.

Over a period of seven years, from 2006 to 2013, the defendant wrote checks to himself from the Greenburgh Teacher’s Fund checking account and GTF Welfare Fund totaling more that $794,865.

The defendant forged the signature of the president of the GTF, as he needed dual signature authorization to make payments.

The checks written by the defendant were to himself, his two daughters, and to pay property taxes on two homes that he owns.

The larceny came to light when in September 2012, the defendant was promoted to Assistant Principal and had to relinquish his position at the treasurer of the union funds.

Greenburgh police and the District Attorney’s office were contacted and initiated an investigation.

The defendant was arrested in January 2014 by Greenburgh Police.

Bail was continued at $50,000 cash over $100,000 bond.

Sentencing will be on December 14th, 2014.

The defendant is expected to pay full restitution up-front on the day of sentencing.

The defendant faces a maximum sentence of fifteen years in state prison.

Assistant District Attorney Stephen Ronco of the Public Integrity Bureau is prosecuting the case.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Police Release First Look at Tourneau Robbers–Do you Recognize these Men? Call 422-6200 or 422-6223

2014820wpw 002

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. AUGUST 20, 2014:

White Plains police released pictures of three men in the act of taking watches from display cases at Tourneau Jewelers in The Westchester Mall  Sunday morning.

The freeze of the video shot has been cropped by WPCNR to show closeups of the perpetrators committing the robbery.

The police are looking for three black males.

Suspect number one (Bottom of photo) is described by Lieutenant Fischer as 5 foot 11, 240 pounds, wearing khaki pants, dark jacket and a baseball cap. The suspect had a scruffy beard,

Suspect Two (middle of photo) does not have a height description, was also wearing dark clothing, a baseball cap and had scruffy facial hair.

Suspect three (top of photo)  is described as 5 foot 7 to 5 foot 8, thin build, scruffy facial hair and a white long sleeve jacket.

The police said previously they are looking for a person at top of photo, dressed in a white sweatshirt and khaki pants, with scruffy facial hair and baseball cap.

 If you recognize or have any information about these men, contact the police at 914-422-6200 or 914-422-6223. Your identifty will be kept confidential.

Posted in Uncategorized

Westchester’s Choice of Public School Educations: One for White Majority Districts, one for Minority Majority Districts. Minority Majority Districts Inept in Westchester Common Core Achievement Tests.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. News & Comment By John F. Bailey. August 19, 2014:

The state Education leaders said last week in a press release:

“Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today released the results of the spring 2014 Grades 3-8 Math and English Language Arts (ELA) assessments. Students statewide made significant progress in math, including students in every need/resource group (urban, suburban, and rural).  Statewide, the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level and above in math rose from 31.2 to 35.8 across all grades combined.

The percentage of students scoring at the partial proficiency level and above also rose in math, from 66.9 to 69.6 percent.  Students made slight progress in ELA, (the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level and above rose 31.3 to 31.4 percent across all grades combined), though progress varied across the need/resource categories. The percentage of students scoring at the partial proficiency level and above in ELA also rose slightly, from 69 to 70 percent.  Encouraging gains were made by Black and Latino students, particularly in New York City”
“The test scores show that students from all economic, race, ethnicity and geographic backgrounds can and are making progress,” Tisch said.  “This is still a transition period.  It will take time before the changes taking place in our classrooms are fully reflected in the test scores. But the growth we see is directly attributable to the dedication and determination of so many classroom teachers and school leaders across the state. When school districts focus on providing the resources and professional development teachers need, their students do better.  Parents want the best education possible for their children, and the tests are one of multiple measures we need to make sure we’re moving in that direction.”

Commissioner of Education, John King said:
“New York has completed the fourth year of a 12-year Common Core phase-in,” King said.  “Like more than 40 other states, we’re in a period of transition; for us, that transition began with the adoption of higher standards in 2010.  We’ve invested millions of dollars in training to support educators to better prepare students for college and career success, and we will invest millions more in the years ahead.  These assessment results, along with our college- and career-ready high school graduation rate and NAEP scores, show we have a lot of important work ahead of us to ensure the success of all our students.  But with proper support and resources and an intense focus on continuous improvement of instruction, New York’s educators and parents will help our students develop the skills they need for success in the 21st century.”

I repeat these quotes  because they are worth referring back to when you read what follows.

The school districts in Westchester County that have a largely white student body and an affluent population are adjusting to the Common Core Assessments. You’ve got 50% to 75% of students in these districts with white majority students bodies meeting 8th Grade ELA and 8th Grade Math Passing Levels on the 2014 Common Core Assessment tests.

I choose to write about 8th Grade ELA and Math results because this is 8 years of education and if they are not ready for high school they are not going to be changed much. Their die is cast. Their future unless high school teachers can pull a miracle is bleak if they are not ready.

The districts in the county that have a majority of African-American and Latino students, unlike the districts that have a white majortiy are simply not adjusting at all to the standards if you look at the results.

Incremental increases on low scores to begin with is not progress. Small progress. Insignificant progress. And when you see the raw scores that achieve passing results, it puts the results in a very troubling light in my opinion.

At the rate of improvement ballyhooed by the State Education Department  last week (see quotes above), it will take another ten years maybe to get minority-dominant school districts to passing status, and that is just a guess. Is less than one-third of students across the state passing good?

The State Education Department thinks so.

The White Plains City School District two years ago had 53% Hispanic Students, 15% Black and 27% White. The Hispanic percentage has gone up slightly.

In last spring’s tests  32% of 8th Graders passed the English Language Assessment, that grade is now going into high school this fall. Math, 13% passed.

I want to repeat that paragraph:

In White Plains City School District 32% of 8th Graders passed the English Language Assessment, that grade is now going into high school this fall. Math, 13% passed.

The White Plains City School District 3rd to 5th grade passing scores averaged 41% passing in Math, in ELA, 41% passed. That says to me they are not getting reading and writing and computing by they time they hit middle school. (Sixth Grade).

In White Plains as a whole, Grades 3 to 8 saw 163 less students pass the second year of these tests over all 6 Grades Tested.

New Rochelle is comparable to White Plains results and composition of student body:.

In New Ro, 42% of students are Hispanic 23% Black, and 30% White as of two years ago.

In the 2014 assessments, 35% of  New Ro 8th graders passed the ELA and 33% passed math. In the lower grades, 3rd to 5th graders averaged 32% Passing ELA and 42% on the Math.

Do we see a pattern here?

Port Chester-Rye,( heavily Hispanic), just two years ago was previously held as a model for educating Latino students:  the district had 74% Latino students, 7 % Black and 17% White back then.

The Port Chester Rye students simply could not cope with the 2014 Assessments, 15% of Port Chester-Rye students passed 8th Grade ELA, 2% (that is not a misprint) passed 8th Grade Math. In the 3,4,5 grades they averaged 15% Passing ELA, 23%. My God, is all I can say and my heart goes out to those parents in that district.

In the Tarrytowns, with a heavy Latino population, 36% passed 8th Grade English and Math.

In Greenburgh, A heavy minority district, 35% Passed 8th Grade ELA, and 34% 8th Grade Math.

Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Ossining also with high minority populations performed similarly or worse.

But how did white majority student districts do?

In Scarsdale, 75% passed 8th Grade English. 59% 8th Grade Math.

Harrison: 45% Passed 8th Grade English; 73%. 8th Math

Chappaqua: 65% Passed 8th Grade English,  81% 8th Grade Math.

Mt. Pleasant, 48% Passed 8th Grade ELA;  21% Math.

Pleasantville, 70% Passed 8th Grade ELA AND MATH

Mamaroneck Union Free School District, is notable for having a 42% Minority and 47% white population and passing 64% of their students on 8th Grade ELA and 33% on 8th Grade Math.

This is a random sampling, but in Westchester County as a whole, the average passing rate for 8th Grade ELA was 35% and 34% in 8th Grade math.

I have been reporting on Education from  the White Plains School District perspective for 15 years. I have seen what the state has had to say. All the state results. The hand-wringing on the achievement gap,( now an academic galactic gap), I have heard all the excuses. I  have seen the solutions that have not worked.

The Common Core Assessments show that.  They show no progress.

The bottom line on August 19, 2014, almost 15 years later is we have lost a decade of thousands of students.

We have not taught them how to read, write, or compute mathematics well, or at the very least a work ethic. We have hurt them irretrievably

We have not taught them respect for learning. That learning, real learning is work. It is not fun.

In contrast, there’s a little school in Brooklyn,  Public School 321 in Park Slope Brooklyn, which teaches just Grades 3,4,5 and has been run for 27 years by Principal Elizabeth Phillips, whom WPCNR interviewed in May had far more successful results in grades 3,4,5.

William Penn has a school enrollment as of 2 years ago of 72% white, 8% Black, 9% Latino and 7% Asian.

In downtown Brooklyn, New York  USA, her William Penn School saw 83% of its 5th graders pass 5th Grade ELA, and  80% Pass 5th Grade Math in 2014. Contrast that with 6th grader results in our Westchester districts. In White Plains in 5th Grade 34% Passed 5th Grade ELA and 46% passed Math. William Penn 5th Graders outperformed Scarsdale, Pleasantville, Chappaqua and just edged Mamaroneck on the 5th Grade levels.

Why isn’t the state looking at how this school teaches its minority students, and its white students? They get the Common Core at 10 years of age more than our students going into high school at 14. Why? It’s not all race balance.

The State Education Department should go and look and work with Principals like Ms. Phillips and her outstanding faculty. Once again Little P.S. 321 in Brooklyn shows the state how to teach and learn the Common Core and test successfully, with no help from the state Common Core materials which as we all know arrived too late and behind schedule.

It makes you wonder if the education department and the Board of Regents don’t want what works, they just want the methods they promote to work and say they work even when they don’t.

Posted in Uncategorized

All Day Pre-K comes to White Plains Public Schools. Procedure to enroll for fall not in place because state is late announcing it.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. August 19, 2014:

Assisistant Superintendent for Business for White Plains Schools Fred Seiler told WPCNR Tuesday morning   the $1.073 million announced by Governer Andrew M. Cuomo to fund White Plains All-Day Pre-Kindergarten programs yesterday would enable White Plains to expand its privately provided present 2-1/2 hour a day Pre-K program for 300 students to a full day of 5 to 6 hours.

An enrollment procedure and an expansion of enrollment for those already in the program has not been finalized yet.

Seiler said the district is working with four or five private providers to see if more  parents with children could be added to the programs on a full day basis, and how many parents with children not in Pre-K (because they need all-day day care) could be added to the programs (given present staffing).

The largest provider of Pre-K for the City Schools is Family Services of Westchester, which White Plains pays for. Seiler said the expanded day care would not cost White Plains more because of the awarding of the state grant.

Seiler said the district had applied for the state grant, but notice of the grant has come from the state 3 to 4 weeks later than expected.

At this time, a procedure of how new applicants would be added to the program has not been determined, Seiler said.

According to Governor’s office news release Monday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced  the recipients of $340 million (including the $1.073 Million for White Plains City School District)  in full-day pre-kindergarten funding for 81 school districts and Community Based Organizations statewide, opening full-day classroom slots to nearly 37,000 children. The funding, included in the 2014-15 State Budget, is the first installment as part of the State’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over five years to build a Statewide Universal Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten program. The State’s full-day pre-kindergarten program is designed to incentivize innovation and encourage creativity through competition.

Posted in Uncategorized

FASNY RESPONDS TO QUERIES ABOUT ITS FINANCES IN A STATEMENT TO WPCNR.

WPCNR SOUTH END TIMES. Statement From The French American School of New York. August 19, 2014:

In recent letters to WPCNR, opponents of the French American School of New York raised questions about the school statement that it would execute its new campus  project in two phases finishing by 2025, due to a need to “replenish” its financing. WPCNR asked if they wished to repond to clarify their financing status.

The school issued this statement to WPCNR:

“As a not-for-profit, our financial records are public.  We have the financial ability to finance our new campus. 

The school is currently conducting a search for a new development director.  Our former development director left on good terms to join Burke Rehabilitation Center, one of our White Plains neighbors.

The capital campaign for the new campus is in its early stages and has enjoyed an enthusiastic response from the FASNY community and will accelerate as the plans for the campus move forward.      

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Sought in Tourneau Jewelry Robbery Sunday at The Westchester Mall

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. August 18, 2014:

White Plains Police are seeking any information from the public (your anonymity will be preserved) on the identities of three suspects who robbed the Tourneau Jewlery store in the Westchester Mall Sunday.

The suspects, according to Lieutenant Eric Fischer, White Plains Police, entered the Tourneau jewelry store at 11:38 A.M. Sunday morning and took 8 to 12 “high end” watches. Fischer said the store armed security guard drew his weapon and attempted to apprehend the three, but they escaped on foot. Fischer said no shots were fired.

Fischer said the police are at this time attempting to get hold of the Tourneau inside surveillance video so they may release pictures of the suspects.

Fischer also reported that some of the stolen merchandise had been recovered

The police are looking for three black males.

Suspect number one  is described by Lieutenant Fischer as 5 foot 11, 240 pounds, wearing khaki pants, dark jacket and a baseball cap. The suspect had a scruffy beard,

Suspect Two does not have a height description, was also wearing dark clothing, a baseball cap and had scruffy facial hair.

Suspect three is described as 5 foot 7 to 5 foot 8, thin build, scruffy facial hair and a white long sleeve jacket.

Fischer asked members of the public that if they had any information on the suspects, or knew them they can contact the police at 914-422-6223 or 914-422-6200 and share the information anonymously.

Fischer noted that the police were aware of recent previous larceny cases involving the Tourneau store.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hathaway Lane Closure Discussion

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. August 17, 2014:

Dear Mayor Roach and Members of the Common Council:

We write to voice our objections to FASNY’s proposal to close Hathaway Lane south of 57 Hathaway Lane. The analyses by FASNY and TRC of impact of this proposal on the contiguous neighborhood, and in particular, on the residents of Gedney Esplanade, Hotel Drive, and Murchison Place, do not support the proposal. Accordingly, the Council should deny this application.

 

  1. A.         FASNY’s analysis of this proposal contained in the FEIS is grossly                        inadequate.

 

The single page of handwritten notes of FASNY’s consultant enclosed herewith only addresses a.m. and p.m. peak hours, and only on one single day. This analysis is inadequate because the closure will have an impact on a 24/7 basis. Further, FASNY did not conduct a traffic count analysis on Hathaway Lane between Ridgeway and Gedney Esplanade, and did not conduct any traffic counts or any other analysis on the impacted alternative route, Gedney Esplanade, Hotel Drive and Murchison Place.

 

B.         The analysis contained in the TRC report from the fall of 2013 is wholly insufficient and factually incorrect.

We have enclosed the pertinent portion of the TRC report to this letter. We are astounded that this is all that the City’s independent traffic consultant had to say regarding closure of one end of the only two-way north-south route in the neighborhood.

  1. TRC states that the closure would involve local traffic only. This is false because Hathaway is a main cut through street used by a large number of nonresidents. There is significant cut through traffic in both the a.m. and p.m. peak hours on Hathaway, including many students traveling to and from White Plains High School.

 

  1. TRC claims that the closure would decrease cut through traffic, as the “efficiency” of the cut through would be lost. TRC does not support this conclusion with any facts, and in fact, we do not believe that the closure would decrease the cut-through traffic.

Drivers that currently use the Hathaway cut through will still use it, as it is not a meaningful inconvenience for them to access Ridgeway via Murchison Lane as opposed to Hathaway Lane.  Drivers who currently travel eastbound on Ridgeway will turn left onto Murchison rather than at Hathaway in order to avoid the North Street/Ridgeway intersection. Further, drivers who currently come from the north and east and use Bryant Avenue to make a left onto Hathaway to cut through the neighborhood do so to avoid congestion on North Street. They will still avoid congestion on North Street and use Hathaway, and will simply go down Gedney Esplanade, around Hotel onto Murchison to access Ridgeway.

  1. In fact, FASNY will likely increase the cut through traffic onto Hathaway and surrounding streets.  With additional traffic from the FASNY development in the general neighborhood, this will increase the bottleneck at North Street and Ridgeway, and create a new bottleneck at the FASNY North Street entrance opposite White Plains HS. This, in turn, will create a greater incentive for non-neighborhood traffic to cut through the neighborhood rather than encounter these new and increased bottlenecks.

 

  1. TRC utterly failed to consider the differences in character of the Ridgeway/Hathaway intersection and the Ridgeway/Murchison intersection.  A photo of this intersection from Murchison facing south is enclosed.

Ridgway/Hathaway is a three-way intersection, while Ridgeway/Murchison is a four-way intersection, as Murchison crosses Ridgeway to become Richbell.  Secondly, the Ridgeway/Murchison intersection contains a school crossing across Ridgeway. This will likely create a negative safety issue in that the closure of Hathaway Lane will shunt more traffic to an intersection that contains a school crossing. This school crossing is the pedestrian access route to and from Ridgeway School by students living on Richbell and related streets.

TRC failed to analyze whether closure of Hathaway will lead to an increased safety hazard for pedestrians, including school children, at this intersection. By contrast, Hathaway at Ridgeway has very little, if any, pedestrian traffic, and there are no pedestrian cross walks or school crossings.

  1. TRC did not analyze the character of the alternate access Gedney Esplanade/Hotel Drive/Murchison access route. Hathaway south of 57 Hathaway has no homes, and no parking is permitted south of 57 Hathaway. By contrast, the new route has several homes on both sides of the street and parking on one side.

 

  1. TRC did not analyze whether Gedney Esplanade can handle the additional traffic. This is a country lane and it is already burdened by existing traffic. We walk on Gedney Esplanade on a near daily basis and can tell you that it is not wide enough, particularly between Oxford Road and Hotel Drive for vehicles going both ways and pedestrians. Can this already problematic road handle the additional traffic in a safe manner?

 

  1. All of the deficiencies in the TRC report outlined above also apply to FASNY’s analysis. These are simple common sense issues. Why didn’t FASNY did include analysis of these issues in its application to close Hathaway Lane? Did FASNY study these issues but decide not to include submit its analysis because its analysis revealed negative impacts? Or did the FASNY willfully ignore these issues and submit a bare-bones, shoddy report? Either way, FASNY has utterly failed to show that its proposal is sound and safe.

 

Discussion

 

            This letter contains the observations of two residents of the neighborhood who do not have expertise in traffic management and safety. However, as 24-year residents of the neighborhood, we have the several concerns that we discussed above. We respectfully suggest that both the FASNY and TRC analyses of the closure of Hathaway Lane do not support this extraordinary proposal.

We also believe that the proposal to close Hathaway Lane shows that the FASNY development is utterly inappropriate for the Ridgeway property. Simply put, it is the wrong proposal in the wrong place. Placing the FASNY complex in context going back over three years, FASNY first proposed the Ridgeway entrance to its complex. This was soundly rejected. In the next iteration of the plan, FASNY adopted the North Street entrance, which FASNY itself had rejected in the initial proposal.  Now, FASNY proposes yet another bad traffic plan. No matter how hard FASNY tries, it has not shown, and can never show, that this development is an appropriate fit for the surrounding neighborhood. Quite simply, enough is enough.

In the absence of a thorough analysis that demonstrates that the closure of Hathaway Lane will not have a detrimental impact, we ask that you deny FASNY’s application. FASNY should not be heard to complain if you deny its application. FASNY has the burden of demonstrating the soundness of its proposal, but has utterly failed to do so.  We also implore you to ignore any explicit or implicit threats of a lawsuit by FASNY if you deny this application. While this well-funded developer certainly has the resources to sue, FASNY’s failure to demonstrate the propriety of its proposal dooms any lawsuit.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Denise and Joseph DeMarzo

Posted in Uncategorized

White Plains Students Performances on 2014 State Common Core Assessments Flat. No significant progress in Lifting Number of Students Passing. State Declares Progress Statewide

1-WPW-FIRST OPENER

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey  (article followed by the official New York State News Release commenting on statewide results) August 15, 2014:

The White Plains City School District test scores on the 2014 second year of Common Core Assessment Tests were released by the State Education Department Thursday.

WP Elementaries improve in math.

The city’s five elementary schools performances on Math assessments were the only signs of significant improvement with 39% of students passing the third and 4th grade math assessments and 46% passing at the 5th grade level.  This math improvement at the 5th grade level is 14% better than what the 5th graders achieved in 2013.

Math performance in the 8th grade level at the Middle School (students now entering high school in September) saw  32% of students passing at the Level 3 and above. In 7th Grade, 28% passed. In 6th grade, 33% passed.

The English Language Arts Common Core Assessments were flat. No significant improvement.

In the elementary grades ELA Common Core Assessments, grades 3, 4,5,   29% passed in 3rd grade; 29% in 4th grade, and 34% in 5th grade.

In the Middle School, performance in passing ELA Common Core standards was worse.

In the first year of Middle School, 6th Grade (2013-14) was the first year of the  Middle School Academy at Eastview where all sixth graders attended one middle school in an effort  to upgrade their academic adjustment to middle school work and concentrate on Common Core Skills.

Of those sixth graders, 33% passed English Language Arts.

In 2012-13  those sixth graders were in 5th grade, and 29% passed the first ELA Common Core Exam. Their  2013-14 ELA Common Core performance improved 4 percentage points in year.

On the 7th Grade 2014 ELA assessments, 25% passed.

In the 8th Grade 2014 ELA assessments, 32% passed.

(Editor’s Note:)To see the actual chart above go to 

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/ela-math/2014/201314-ELAandMath-UnmatchedStudents.pdf      

Scroll down to District number 662200010000. You will see the White Plains District Results for Grades 3 through 8 and results by White Plains School.

Comparison of the 5th Grade  and 8th grade Common Core assessments of 2013 show not much progress in passing the tests (prepared by the education giant publisher Pearson) by White Plains students and statewide.

The first time new 5th Grade Common Core aligned tests prepared by Pearson were administered in spring 2013, the number passing ELA from 2012(a different, obviously easier test) went down to 29%. A shock to this district as well as virtually every school district in the state triggered a wave of protest against the tests. White Plains “passing rate” went from  roughly over 50% down to 29% on both ELA and Math, producing an uproar.  In Math, the 2013 Fifth Graders passing math dropped to 28.2% — down 36%.

At the 8th grade level, in 2013, 36.6% of Eighters passed the ELA Assessment — down 23%. In math just 34.3%  of White Plains Eighth Graders passed — down 40%.

At the third Grade Level  in 2013, 33.1% passed ELA  and 31.8% passed math.

Not much improvement has been made in White Plains students being able to cope with the Pearson and Stated Education Department and Board of Regents vision of the kind of questions and skills needed to answer them to pass these state-prepared and approved by educators who know what questions children can answer.

In the official news release on the test results, the Commissioner of Education, John King, Jr. and the head of the Board of Regents, and educators across the state cited significant process here is that news release. (The Governor of the State of New York has no statement on the results in this release):

Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today released the results of the spring 2014 Grades 3-8 Math and English Language Arts (ELA) assessments. Students statewide made significant progress in math, including students in every need/resource group (urban, suburban, and rural).  Statewide, the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level and above in math rose from 31.2 to 35.8 across all grades combined.  The percentage of students scoring at the partial proficiency level and above also rose in math, from 66.9 to 69.6 percent.  Students made slight progress in ELA, (the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level and above rose 31.3 to 31.4 percent across all grades combined), though progress varied across the need/resource categories. The percentage of students scoring at the partial proficiency level and above in ELA also rose slightly, from 69 to 70 percent.  Encouraging gains were made by Black and Latino students, particularly in New York City.

This year, for the first time, assessment results are presented based on the performance of all students who took an exam last year (2013) compared with those same students in the following year (2014) at the next grade level. This “matched students” approach focuses on growth in student learning and provides more useful data than an approach that compares the performance of one year’s students at a particular grade level against the next year’s cohort of students at that same grade level.  This matched approach is consistent with New York’s USED waiver from No Child Left Behind and New York’s teacher/principal evaluation system.  For Grades 3-8 ELA and math, students at Levels 2 and above are on track for current graduation requirements.  Students at Levels 3 and above are on track to graduate at the aspirational college- and career-ready level (indicating readiness to succeed in credit-bearing first year college courses). 

“The test scores show that students from all economic, race, ethnicity and geographic backgrounds can and are making progress,” Tisch said.  “This is still a transition period.  It will take time before the changes taking place in our classrooms are fully reflected in the test scores. But the growth we see is directly attributable to the dedication and determination of so many classroom teachers and school leaders across the state. When school districts focus on providing the resources and professional development teachers need, their students do better.  Parents want the best education possible for their children, and the tests are one of multiple measures we need to make sure we’re moving in that direction.”

“New York has completed the fourth year of a 12-year Common Core phase-in,” King said.  “Like more than 40 other states, we’re in a period of transition; for us, that transition began with the adoption of higher standards in 2010.  We’ve invested millions of dollars in training to support educators to better prepare students for college and career success, and we will invest millions more in the years ahead.  These assessment results, along with our college- and career-ready high school graduation rate and NAEP scores, show we have a lot of important work ahead of us to ensure the success of all our students.  But with proper support and resources and an intense focus on continuous improvement of instruction, New York’s educators and parents will help our students develop the skills they need for success in the 21st century.”

Although there is some correlation between 2014 math and ELA performance and poverty, there are many examples of schools outperforming demographically similar peer schools.  See http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/pressRelease/20140814/home.html for a list of higher achieving schools and higher growth schools at both higher and lower levels of wealth.    

Hundreds of New York educators helped to develop New York’s Common Core assessments.  Every question that appears on a state exam is reviewed by New York educators.  The assessment results announced today follow related data releases earlier this summer. In July, the Department authorized Regional Information Centers (RICs) to release secure instructional reports to districts and schools (for samples of reports, seehttp://www.boces.org/Portals/0/Web%20Docs/RIC%20Reports/NYSRICsCognos.pdf(link is external) ).

These reports can be used to analyze student performance at the student, class, school, district, and regional levels. Earlier this month, the Department also released 50 percent of the 2014 Grades 3-8 ELA and math test questions (an increase from 25 percent for the 2013 tests), with detailed explanations for correct and incorrect responses (2014 annotated items can be found at https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-common-core-sample-questions ). Released test questions help teachers and families better understand how the standards were measured and the reasons why students may have responded incorrectly. 

Summary of 3-8 Exam Results:

Mathematics

  • Students statewide are doing better in math. The percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency standard (by scoring at a Level 3 or 4) increased from 31.2 to 35.8 across all grades combined.  The percentage of students scoring at the partial proficiency level and above also rose, from 66.9 percent to 69.6 percent. 
  • A smaller percentage of students met or exceeded the proficiency standard (by scoring at a Level 3 or 4) in the Big 4 city school districts than statewide. However, year-to-year performance increased in each Big 5 city school district, and New York City performance approached statewide levels.

    • Buffalo: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 11.4 in 2013 to 13.1 in 2014.
    • New York City: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 30.1 in 2013 to 34.5 in 2014.
    • Syracuse: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 7.2 in 2013 to 7.6 in 2014.
    • Rochester: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 4.8 in 2013 to 6.8 in 2014.
    • Yonkers: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 16.1 in 2013 to 21.1 in 2014.
  • Although the achievement gap remains statewide, an increased percentage of students across all race/ethnicity groups met or exceeded the proficiency standard (by scoring at a Level 3 or 4).

    • Black students: the statewide percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above across all grades combined improved from 16.1 in 2013 to 19.3 in 2014.
    • Hispanic students: the statewide percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above across all grades combined improved from 18.9 in 2013 to 23.1 in 2014.

 ELA

  • Students statewide are doing slightly better in ELA. The percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency standard (by scoring at a Level 3 or 4) increased from 31.3 to 31.4 across grades combined.  The percentage of students scoring at the partial proficiency level and above also rose, from 69.0 percent to 70.0 percent. 
  • A smaller percentage of students met or exceeded the proficiency standard (by scoring at a Level 3 or 4) in the Big 4 city school districts than statewide. Year-to-year performance increases were largest in New York City and Yonkers, and New York City’s performance approached statewide levels.

    • Buffalo: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 12.1 in 2013 to 12.2 in 2014.
    • New York City: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 27.4 in 2013 to 29.4 in 2014.
    • Syracuse: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above stayed the same, at 8.5, from 2013 to 2014.
    • Rochester: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 5.6 in 2013 to 5.7 in 2014.
    • Yonkers: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above improved from 16.9 in 2013 to 18.7 in 2014.
  • In New York City, an increased percentage of students in all race/ethnicity groups met or exceeded the proficiency standard (by scoring at a Level 3 or 4). For example:

    • Black students: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above across all grades combined improved from 17.2 in 2013 to 18.6 in 2014.
    • Hispanic students: the percentage of students scoring at Level 3 and above across all grades combined improved from 17.2 in 2013 to 18.7 in 2014.

The Department continues to provide professional development support and resources for educators seeking to improve their understanding and implementation of the Common Core.  For example:

  • Earlier this week, the Department  awarded Teaching is the Core grants to districts to support teams of administrators and teachers in reviewing all local assessments given in the district, eliminating non-essential assessments, and improving districts practices around the use of assessment to inform high-quality instruction.
  • The Department is providing $500 million of Race to the Top funding to school districts to support their work to raise standards for teaching and learning:
    The Department supported almost 12,000 principal and teacher leaders and regional professional development coordinators on ways to successfully implement the Common Core, through 23 multi-day Network Team Institutes in Albany. 

    • Approximately $350 million was provided through Race to the Top formula grants available to all districts, along with approximately $150 million in competitive grants to districts and higher education partners, including several focused on career ladder models in which highly effective teachers and principals coach their colleagues and strengthen district professional development support for schools.
  • The Department provided teachers with tools and resources to successfully implement the Common Core, including exemplar curricular materials and videos of excellent instruction, through its EngageNY.org website.  Recognized nationally as an excellent source of high quality teaching materials, EngageNY.org has had over 73 million page views and the optional curriculum materials have been downloaded over 8 million times.

A summary of the test results, as well as individual school and district results, are available at:http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/pressRelease/20140814/home.html

Educators from across the State offer perspectives on the value of the data and how they’ll use it to inform instructional decisions:https://www.engageny.org/resource/educator-perspectives-3-8-grade-assessment-score-release

NOTE: Following are statements from educators and business leaders in reaction to today’s release.

Statements on the 2013-2014 Grade 3-8 Score Release

  1. “I am encouraged to see New York State students trending in a positive direction as we continue to implement the higher Common Core standards.  Parents, teachers, school leaders, and community partners should be proud of the progress we are making, but our collective efforts must continue in order to deliver the best possible results for our children. As we move forward with the Common Core and work together to address current achievement gaps, these positive student outcomes will only improve.” - Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, The State University of New York
  2. “We are pleased and encouraged by the test results released today. In a knowledge-based global economy, a highly educated workforce is a critical competitive advantage to a region and country. High standards are essential and the results achieved thus far, as measured by the indicators reported today, represent important progress that should serve as further incentive for educators, parents, students, and policymakers. At the end of the day, students will be in much better position to take full advantage of the educational opportunities at universities such as CUNY if the achievement levels in the early grades through high school substantially improve. For our part, we are committed to continuing to partner with schools to provide effective teacher and staff preparation and to conduct significant research. We join with our colleagues in thanking all those who contributed to the successes thus far, while recognizing the importance of making additional gains in the future.” - James B. Milliken, Chancellor, The City University of New York
  3. “The new, more rigorous standards will help ensure that students are appropriately prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.  The skills gap must be addressed on the state and national level if we want to remain competitive in the global arena.” - Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State
  4. “The state of New York has been a leader in raising standards. We’ve worked with NYSED since 2009 to support the state in making necessary shifts, for example using text evidence in reading and prioritizing arithmetic within elementary grades math. We know that not enough students in this country are on track for success in college and careers—assessments show us what’s working and what isn’t. New York is helping educators understand the work that lies ahead to help ensure that New York students are college- and career-ready.” - Susan Pimentel and Jason Zimba, Founding Partners of Student Achievement Partners, Contributing Authors of the Common Core
  5. “The teachers of mathematics, their students and parents are very fortunate.  Based on a review of the New York State 2014 released mathematics assessment items for grades 3 to 8 in, one finds many elements that everyone should expect and welcome in a high-quality assessment of mathematical skills, concepts and applications.” - Steven Leinwand, American Institutes for Research (Washington, DC), Principal Research Analyst
  6. “Our teachers really worked incredibly hard. They took time as grade teams to unpack the modules. They decided collaboratively what they needed to cut as well as augment in order to adapt the modules to fit the needs of our students.  We partnered with another district in this work and teachers saw great value in the opportunity to work together, share ideas and strategies, and problem-solve around challenges with pacing.  They saw the work as valuable and through collaboration they accomplished a seemingly overwhelming task.  We believe in professional learning communities, collaborative teams, embedded professional development led by teacher leaders.  We have partnered with a neighboring district and with our BOCES in an effort to ensure the success of every student.  This year we’ll be even more informed about the decisions we need to make with regard to curriculum and instruction.  Our teachers are able to tell the teachers who will serve their students next – what these kids know and where they continue to struggle. Our 4th grade teachers are now able to say to our 5th grade teachers, ‘Here is what is surprising me about what these kids can now do!  I’ve never known entering 5th graders who could do this before’. Probably most importantly, this work took place while still providing a positive learning environment and incredible opportunities for our students both in and outside of the classroom.” - Jason A. Andrews, Superintendent, Windsor Central School District
  7. “We were hoping for better results to reinforce all of the hard work our teachers have done around Common Core implementation. Our teachers are getting better at ensuring our students do the tough work in our classrooms each day. This means supporting our teachers who are getting better at letting kids do the analysis when they are reading. I think implementing the modules in and of itself is not enough. We have to really change how we do our work and that is going to happen by ensuring our leaders and teachers continue to work collaboratively, learn from the test results and reach our goals for this coming school year.” - Paul Casciano, Ed.D, Superintendent, William Floyd School District
  8. “Our gains in student achievement speak to the hard work of our Milton Terrace North teachers who have worked tirelessly in our classrooms every day to help our students achieve higher standards. Our entire school community has worked extremely hard to provide our students with an exceptional instructional program, social emotional supports, and strong home-school connections. We are excited to see the continued academic growth of our students and we remain committed to our focus on the progress of every child.” - Kathleen Chaucer, Principal, Milton Terrace North Elementary School, Ballston Spa School District
  9. “In the past year, where we’ve been using the modules and where we’ve been aligning our practice, we are seeing things work for our students. We’re not even close to where we need or want to be, but we believe in our hearts and souls we are headed in the right direction. As hard as we’re working at it, parents, teachers, students, and administrators will still be concerned about the time that genuine growth requires.  We’re moving forward with the idea that our students can and will achieve and our job is to be keep spirits high and provide teachers, parents, and students with both the tools and confidence to achieve.” - David Bennardo, Superintendent, South Huntington School District
  10. “We are a learning community and so we will dig into the data to see what we can learn from it.  It will take time.  I am disappointed in the overall ELA results and wonder what the impact the opt-out has on the results; however we will not make excuses.  We have seen growth in our instructional spaces as a result of our focus on Common Core.  There is still work to be done.  This is serious work. I have to ask myself, ‘Do I want to make the future different or not?’   This may be difficult, but we must – for our students- press on.” - Lorna Lewis, Superintendent, Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District
  11.  “We are intentional about meeting as a leadership team. We are getting synchronized as a district. We are in this boat as a team. We know we need to learn together and work towards solving our most complex challenges. Right now, literacy across the curriculum is our greatest challenge and we are using learning walks, professional development and constant conversation to get us where we need to be. We know our students can reach the higher standards that the Common Core demands. We are just now beginning to see the changes in academics.” - Nicole Williams, Superintendent, Poughkeepsie City School District
  12. “I am extremely proud of our teachers, administrators, and parents for their work in implementing the new Common Core State Standards for our students. While change is never easy, and while we did have our share of resistance from some, we are pleased that our resolve to remain steadfast in our commitment to quality instruction has been borne out in the New York State Education Department’s recently released student growth data for our district.” - Louis De Angelo, Superintendent, East Meadow Union Free School District
  13. “We’ve really, really focused on supporting our teachers with professional development opportunities that are consistent throughout the district.  One thing that stuck w/ me from the feedback of our Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness review for our district’s Focus status was that we didn’t yet have enough consistency in our district wide systems.  We needed to focus on our systems. One mechanism for doing this was to create opportunities for teacher collaboration through monthly grade level meetings in our elementary schools.  In our secondary schools, we have implemented professional learning communities.  These meetings include teachers and administrators from across the district getting together to plan, collaborate, and produce items that they can use in the classroom.  We have also created enhanced opportunities for administrators to collaborate through monthly meetings and professional development.  Internal district mobility is less of an issue for us now because of the consistency of program and instruction we are able to provide our students and families.  We know that our kids need to hit the ground running no matter what school they are in.  Our teachers are a very collaborative group and have done an excellent job of supporting one another through the leadership of their Administrative teams.  As a district, we have both adopted and adapted the use of the modules.  Our work will continue next year as we dig deeper into our data and broaden our opportunities to support teachers and administrators.” – Hilary Austin, Superintendent, Elmira City Schools
Posted in Uncategorized