WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS REPORT CARD DISPATCH. By John F. Bailey. August 26, 2002: Timothy Connors will be leading the White Plains City School District into a new year beginning next week, when he addresses the educators and administrators of the School District September 3. He expects to make his first statements of school district policy since taking over the post of School Superintendent July 15. The district expects 6,657 Students grades K through 12 to report for the first day of school on Thursday September 5. The District will spend an average of $19,065 to educate each student as it begins to spend its highest school budget ever, $126,919,919.
LANDSCAPING IS being applied to the high school grounds over the weekend as high school construction slowly finishes up.
PHOTO BY WPCNR
The high school on North Street will welcome 1,806 students under new principal, Christine Robbins, the first woman principal in the school’s history. The $28 million high school renovation project is now one year late in completion.
Construction crews worked on Sunday clearing up some materials in the courtyard staging area on the south side of the school adjacent to the softball field. The North House which underwent window replacement over the summer is expected to be ready for classes by opening day. Heating and electrical work still needs to be completed on certain new sections of the South wing through the fall.
Tile replacement in the new main entrance hallway is being reinstalled because of an “unforeseen condition” on the concrete base, which caused the new marble tiles to crack in less than a year. That condition is being corrected for an additional $30,000, by the contractor.
Middle School Under Microscope.
The Middle School will welcome 1,548 students to grades seven, eight, and nine. As of this week, the Eastview athletic fields are being resurfaced by the City of White Plains.
POPULAR TRACK & SOCCER FIELD BEING REFURISHED BY CITY: The scene Monday as work was progressing on the Eastview Middle School Campus athletic track and soccer oval.
Photo by WPCNR
Academic Swat Team
The Middle Schools will be receiving an injection of budget money bringing more special efforts to Highlands and Eastview to prepare eighth graders in writing, comprehension and math skills. This will be closely watched because of the performances on the tests in 2001, where less than 50% of White Plains eighth graders scored in the Level 3, “Satisfactory” level of the English Language Arts and Math tests. The district is determined to raise these scores. Most school districts across the state performed substantially worse.
The State Achievement Tests of last spring have not been issued yet by the state, and will not be until spring, 2003.
Jury Out on Curriculum Enhancements to Meet the Standards.
One of the frustrations the school district has had in coping with the New York State Achievement Tests is the standard year delay the state takes in grading and releasing the tests. Unless the state begins to get results out sooner by the fall, or start of the school year, the district will not know if steps taken to help students in their areas of comprehension and study skills are making the difference they want them to make. For example, last year the school district instituted measures to help middle school and high school students. But, with the results of the 2002 Achievement tests not available yet, there is no indication yet that the efforts are having results.
On the Regents Exam level, that is not the case. High School special task forces to aid students at the high school level on passing Regents exams have been very successful in helping seniors, who have failed to pass Regents, pass them the second time they take them.
The present eighth grade in the Middle School is the last eighth grade that did not receive the benefits of the District’s newly configured elementary school curriculum, instituted four years ago. The District is confident that future classes of elementary students who have benefited from three years of fine-tuning to the new state standards will result in steadily improving state achievement test scores.
Schools Filled to Brim.
In the elementary schools, George Washington School will host the most students with 640, followed by Mamaroneck Avenue School with 639, Church Street School with 632 and Ridgeway School with 613, and Post Road School with 478. Alternative programs carry 221 students and 80 students are educated out of district.
Board of Education to Meet Twice A Month
By now all parents should have received the White Plains Public Schools Calendar for 2002-03. The Calendar though does not note the Board of Education’s endorsement of Timothy Connors’ first new initiative: more Board of Education meetings.
Mr. Connors asked the Board to meet twice a month beginning in September. He also asked for a new public forum to be staged before agenda items are discussed. The Board readily agreed, and in September there will be two meetings on September 9 at 7:30 PM (new time) and and September 23.
Facts About the District
The last page of the Calendar cover notes some interesting positive facts about the quality of education in White Plains:
• The District has received over $30 Million in state, federal, and foundation grants in the last seven years.
• In 2002, the District placed 4 National Merit Scholar Finalists, 13 were Commended, and there were 2 National Achievement Scholarship Finalists, 6 National Hispanic Scholarship Students, and 1 Honorable Mention.
• The Midde and High Schools are recognized as National Schools of Excellence.
• The District has 29 Advanced Placement and Honors Courses, 5 Foreign Language Courses.
• In 2002, there were 122 National Honor Society Members, about 7% of the high school student body, and 81 National Junior Honor Society Members, 5% of the Middle School student body.
• White Plains was ranked 7th in the Nation in Music Education.
• There were 85 students in Authentic Science Research Program, one of the largest in the state.
• The Sports Program features 230 New York State Scholar-Athletes participating in its 60 interscholastic sports teams, and 50 High School Clubs.