Cappelli Begins City Center Closing. Fleet Bank GONE.

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WPCNR MIDNIGHT EXTRA. By John F. Bailey. UPDATED April 16, 2002 2:15 PM EDT: Paul Wood of the Mayor’s office confirmed to WPCNR that the Cappelli City Center closing was on the way. This was what City Budget Director Eileen Earl reported to the Common Council Monday evening, saying Cappelli Enterprises was to have begun its “closing” sequence on its long-delayed financing of the City Center Monday. Ms. Earl said she expected Cappelli to complete the approximately $280 Million-plus financing for the City Center by Friday of this week.

CITY CENTER SITE AT TWILIGHT MONDAY, viewed from City Hall, across Main Street, showing the demolished Fleet Bank ruins. The City Center site is now completely cleared and ready for a $280 Million cash transfusion.Photo by WPCNR

On Monday, the Fleet Bank branch on Main Street, the last standing building on the Cappelli City Center site, was demolished in less than an hour. Observers watched the demolition from the Mayor’s Office.

Mayor Delfino described it as “one big BOOM,” when the steam shovel began taking the bank down.

The mental health building was totally cleared from the site as of 2 PM Monday, too. At twilight, Monday evening the City Center site was totally cleared.

CITY CENTER SITE AWAITS ARMORED CAR CASH CONVOY: The Fleet Bank Building was pawed down by a hungry steam shovel in less than an hour Monday. The city closed two lanes of traffic on Main Street, while the “claw” did its work. This was the view from City Hall looking Southwest at sunset. Photo by WPCNR

The closing which was expected to take place last September 20, has been postponed to October, November 21, and January, but has apparently got under way at an undisclosed location.

Geoffrey Thompson, of Thompson & Bender, the Cappelli public relations firm returned a call to WPCNR earlier Monday, and said he was unable to confirm or deny that the closing was taking place or its location.

EARL UNLEASHED: Eileen Earl, City Budget Director, (shown passing out copies of her 2002-03 Budget Presentation), reported to the Common Council last night that she expects to bond $21 million of the $23 million the city will pay toward the Cappelli garage in May at the most favorable rates in two decades. $2 million will come from a grant by the Urban Renewal Agency. Photo by WPCNR

Earl: Cappelli financing for 4 floors, not 5

Ms. Earl was asked by Councilman William King how many floors of the City Center Mr. Cappelli was financing. She said it is her understanding “he’s working on the 4 because could not convince his financiers (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Fleet Bank), that he could lease out a fifth floor of retail.”

If Ms. Earl is correct on her 4 floors report, this would mean that the Cappelli vision to the Common Council of a luxury hotel is most likely still in play.

The Cappelli Countdown Continues

We will know soon. Mr. Cappelli has until May 20 to present to the council his plans for either a 4-floor or 5-floor City Center, based on the Council resolution made February 20 to allow him 90 days to either bring in a hotel or stay with a plan for a fifth floor of retail.

The endless bankroll about to be replenished.

As of last month, Mr. Cappelli, by his own statement, has been spending a million dollars a week, non-stop since demolition of the City Center site began last July 17 when a steam shovel poked a hole in the old Macy’s facade.

WPCNR estimates he has poured approximately $60 million of his own capital into the project, ($40 million since beginning demolition, plus $17 million for acquisition of the property), bringing his needs to borrow down to approximately $280 million.

City to bond the $23 million for the City Center Parking Garage in May.

The subject of the Cappelli money came up during Ms. Earl’s discussion of the $23 million the city will contribute towards the construction of the new City Center Parking Structure on Martine Avenue. Earl said the city would be bonding for $21 million of the $23 million in May, after the Cappelli organization has closed and received various tranfer papers and agreements from the city next week.

Earl said, in response to Benjamin Boykin, that the city would go to bond in a very favorable market. She said she expected to float the $21 million bond at about 5%. For a comparison, she said, the city bonded for $30 million to build the Galleria Parking garage in 1983 at a 9.5% rate, which the Parking Authority just finished paying off in December, 2001.

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Amy Paulin’s Albany: Economic Development Programs Vital to County, WP

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Amy Paulin’s Albany by Assembly woman Amy Paulin of the 88th. April 15, 2002. 4 PM EDT:Amy is back in Albany Monday and filed this report to WPCNR on the Assembly’s effort to support new small businesses in Westchester County and White Plains. Ms. Paulin writes exclusively for the CitzeNetReporter.

To reinvigorate our economy, we must make New York – and Westchester – a more affordable place to do business. That means providing the resources and support new businesses need to grow and create good-paying jobs for our working families.

Helping small businesses succeed

The importance of small businesses to our state economy is immeasurable – they make up nine out of every ten businesses in New York. The Assembly recognizes their crucial role by passing legislation to help them access capital, cut red tape and meet environmental standards.

Small businesses often face difficulties accessing much-needed funding for start-up and expansion goals. I supported the law that made permanent the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program, enabling small businesses to secure low-cost loans (Ch. 14 of 2001). This year, I want to take the next step and invest $100 million more in this important program.

To cut through the red tape that hinders small business in New York, I supported a measure that streamlines how the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) – in cooperation with the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) – administers the state’s Regional Revolving Loan Trust Fund. The fund is a great source of capital for businesses, but giving greater local control to ESD’s eleven regional corporations will make the program more flexible and responsive to our small businesses.

And to help small business owners comply with state and federal environmental laws, I supported legislation requiring the state to help small businesses understand and meet environmental and pollution prevention standards (A.4169); and creating funding programs to purchase pollution control devices (A.2008c and A.606c).

Investing in high-tech industries and creating a skilled 21st century workforce

High-tech innovations have the potential to create countless jobs for our families. Small businesses are often the first to develop and promote new technology. To encourage high-tech job growth, I helped pass legislation (A.5172) that creates the Technology Innovation Partnership Investment Program to provide seed and start-up financing to small and medium-sized technology companies.

This legislation builds on my efforts to make our state a high-tech leader. Last year I passed the Assembly’s Jobs Agenda 2001 plan, which would invest in biomedical research and biotechnology development and create the Metropolitan Area Center of Excellence in Software Information Technology to promote collaboration between learning institutions and industry technology. Our proposal also invests in the Centers for Advanced Technology to help our businesses gain a technological edge. It also invests in many downstate medical facilities, such as the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Advanced Biotechnology Incubator Facility and New York University’s School of Medicine.

It is imperative to staff well-trained workers capable of meeting the ever-changing demands of the technology industry. That’s why I’m working to expand the Assembly’s Strategic Training Alliance Program, which links colleges and training providers with businesses. In addition, I helped secure $8.9 million for workforce retention and training for five local health care facilities.

Rebuilding Lower Manhattan

Many Westchester residents work in Lower Manhattan and rebuilding that area is vital to our own economic health. That’s why I helped create the Liberty Zone and Resurgence Zone – to save Lower Manhattan businesses $6 million in power costs (Ch.383 of 2001) and give New York City the ability to issue $2.5 billion in bonds to help reconstruct Lower Manhattan (Ch.297 of 2001).

Ongoing efforts to attract businesses and create jobs for working families

These measures are part of my continuing efforts to help boost our economy and make New York a better place to do business, including expanding the Power for Jobs program – which provides low energy costs for businesses that create jobs for hard-working New Yorkers.

I remain committed to building on this strong record and look forward to finding new, innovative ways to ensure the economic prosperity for Westchester businesses and families.

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National Honor Society Taps 59 Students.

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WPCNR NewsReel. Special to WPCNR from Michelle Schoenfeld.April 15, 2002.: Fifty-nine students were inducted into the National Honor Society of the White Plains High School in an April 10th ceremony. Eight seniors and 51 juniors joined the 63 current members of the organization which recognizes students who excel.
In order to qualify, students must have a cumulative weighted or
unweighted average of 3.75 in all credit-bearing subjects and be enrolled in at least one Honors or Regents class. In addition to
scholarship, students must meet the criteria of service, leadership and

Current Co- Presidents of the organization are Daniel McGrath and Linda Scalici. Other officers are Lucia Bonilla, Michelle Loayza and Benjamin Jurist.

High School Principal William N. Colavito was guest speaker at the
ceremony. Advisor to the group is teacher Ronald Palladino.

# # #

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WPCNR NewsReel. Special to WPCNR from Michelle Schoenfeld. April 15, 2002: Seventeen White Plains High School students were inducted into the National Art Honor Society in a ceremony last month. Selection is based on student portfolios and demonstration of
interest and commitment to the arts, as illustrated by coursework and
outside activities.

Students inducted were Iris Alatovic, Sasha Berger, Tidarut
Hansub-Udom, Steven Hernacki, Julie Horowitz, Amanda Judelson, Sam Kurnit, Daniel Mendelson, Cailin Micari, Ryan Monk, Kim Risotto, Mayra Rodriguez, Jennifer Russell, Jillian Salik, John Segal, Rachel von Glahn and Diana Whitaker.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was Marie McCann-Barab, former art
teacher at the High School. An exhibition of the students’ art work, including painting, photography, pottery, sculpture and jewelry followed.

Joanna Barnum is President of the Society and Mary Fennell is Faculty

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Opening Day In Pictures: Little League Parade Opens 2002 Season

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WPCNR PressboxApril 15, 2002 11:00 AM EDT: The National Pastime returned to White Plains Saturday. The White Plains Little League staged its annual Opening Day Parade Saturday with about 3,000 residents and players participating in the traditional march from Highlands Middle School to beautiful Gedney Field.

DOWN GEDNEY WAY THEY CAME: For 45 minutes approximately 1,000 Little League players, coaches and volunteers marched, team-by-team, down Gedney Way and into Gedney Field Saturday at the third annual Little League Parade for Opening Day of the 2002 seasons.

TALKING OLD TIME BALL: Mayor Joseph Delfino talks old time little league with players just prior to the start of Saturday’s Little League Parade mustering grounds at Highlands Middle School. The hundreds of players marched from Highlands to Gedney Way to the ballpark.

THE PEERLESS LEADER:Mayor Joseph Delfino leads the paraders down Gedney Way towards Gedney Field.

FIELD OF DREAMS: Players march into the Gedney Field outfield to the thundering cadence of the Thomas G. Slater Center Marching Band.

THE LITTLE GUYS MARCH IN: A great turnout, teams took 45 minutes march in to the little big league park on Gedney Way in a very professional, dignified manner, too.

A DAY FOR FATHERS AND SONS, MOMS AND DAUGHTERS: Father and son, The Joseph Nicolettis march into Gedney Field. Joseph “Bud” Nicoletti, Jr., Comissioner of Public Works, architect and supervising engineer who built Gedney Field, its spacious parking lot and immaculate new infield, is seen marching in with his father as part of the parade.

COMMON COUNCIL MARCHES IN: The Common Council, Right to Left, Rita Malmud, Benjamin Boykin, Jr., Robert Greer and Glen Hockley. (Mr. Roach was working the crowd), marching into Gedney Field Saturday.

MAYOR JOSEPH DELFINO DECLARES OPENING DAY HIS FAVORITE DAY: After leading the Parade into the field, “America’s Favorite Mayor,” Joseph Delfino addresses the crowd Saturday, reminiscing about the days when there was no little league and girls did not play, and how the league has grown to be a league which includes everyone where everyone plays.

The Mayor said that the Opening Day Parade was his favorite city event for the way it brings the entire community together. He thanked the volunteers who make the Little League possible, the Common Council and Commissioners Joe Davidson and new Commissioner of Recreation and Parks, Arne Abramowitz for their efforts in maintaining and building the fields. Mr. Abramowitz, welcomed the fans and players, (at the far right in the cap). In his remarks said that he always regretted he was not able to play on Opening Days when, as Administrator of Flushing Meadow Park, he supervised Opening Days at Shea Stadium. He said to the players you get to play on this Opening Day.

LEADER OF THE LITTLE LEAGUE: Rich Massaroni, President of White Plains Little League asked for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the World Trade Center Attack, and introduced the Board of Directors of the WPLL: Dave Corcoran, Joe Palatucci, Tom Gramolini, Pete Bassano, Billy Wooters, Tom Pasqua, Bob Eifler, Greg Prout, Mike Torrez, Jim Tobin, Lou Petralia, Bob Gelston, Todd Oronzio, Mike Leone, Ed Bruno, Al Orfe, Ken Frawley, Frank Rose, John Habermann, Gary Stenson, Bill Yanuck, Lisa Fee, Chet Gottshall, Steve Ryan, Kathy Zaccaria and Bill Ward.

Massaroni thanked them all for their volunteer efforts that have grown the Little League to what it is today. He thanked Candyce Corcoran for organizing and producing the Little League Parade for the third straight year.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Rich Massaroni, WPLL President with retiring Commissioner of Recreation and Parks, Joe Davidson prior to throwing out the first pitch. Davidson, in his short talk to the crowd, remembered when there was no little league when he became commissioner in 1979, and how the program had grown to include both boys and girls in his tenure.

THE CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: Who is that crafty, veteran righthander? Is it Walter Johnson? Is it Phil Niekro? It’s Joe Davidson throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at beautiful Gedney Field, prior to the Minor Girls Opening Day Game. The pitch was a strike!

During the game, the Official Caterers of the Little League, Outback Steakhouse, RC Cola and Sam’s of Gedney Way donated hamburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches and soda as a fundraiser for the Little League. Outback, serving thousands, ran out of hamburgers at about 1 PM.

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In White Plains

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A Support Group is forming for families who have lost a child of any age. Understanding, friendship and hope will be offered at the sessions, which meet on the first, Thursday of the month at 7 PM at White Plains Hospital’s Silberstein Pavilion, 4th Floor.

For more information, call 381-3389.

The group is being sponsored by The Compassionate Friends White Plains Chapter and the Westchester Self-Help Clearinghouse, a program of Westchester Jewish Community Services.

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Gedney and North Street Associations Stage NY Presbyterian Hospital Forum Wednes

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WPCNR Friday Getaway Gazette. Special to WPCNR. April 12, 2002, 9:30 PM EDT: The Gedney and North Street Civic Associations will host the public Wednesday evening, April 17 at Ridgeway School, for an advocacy and question and answer Forum on the New York Presbyterian Hospital plan before the Common Council to bring biotech labs and a proton beam accelerator cancer treat center to the White Plains campus.
The forum will present three points of view: Michael Graessle, former Commissioner of the Department of Planning, will speak on zoning and special permit issues, Thomas Whyatt, attorney, will speak for the Concerned Citizens for Open Space contingency on eminent domain among other topics, and Tim Sheehan, will speak on the hospital position in the matter. The New York Presbyterian Hospital declined to send a representative to the forum.

Sources promoting the forum say the public is not well-informed about the hospital plans, and hope many will come out to learn more about the project so they may take a position on the issue.

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The Quo Warranto Waltz:Delgado Warriors Work to Set up Spitzer Play

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WPCNER Friday Getaway Gazette. By John F. Bailey. April 12, 2002, 9 PM EDT: Jeffrey Binder, of White Plains, an attorney for Larry Delgado, former White Plains City Councilman, whose plea for the New York State Courts to provide a remedy for the effects of a jammed voting machine in District 18 in the fall city election, (denied by the Court of Appeals, March 14), indicated to WPCNR that we should “stay tuned,” that the election dispute was not being dropped.

Binder stopped short of telling WPCNR that Mr. Delgado has decided to “go quo,” and ask Elliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney General to intervene and remove Mr. Hockley from his council seat as a “usurper,” not entitled to the office.

The attorney told WPCNR that there are a number of legal steps that have to be executed carefully to bring a quo warranto action to the Attorney General’s office. He said those steps are being prepared at this time. To date, Mr. Delgado has not confirmed or denied that he is going to take the course of quo warranto. However, his attorney said this week that those steps to prepare a quo warranto are in the works. He declined to elaborate what those steps were.

In discussion of the quo warranto procedure, Binder has said in the past that the Attorney General has to be approached by an office seeker, who must demonstrate to the attorney general, that an office holder is holding an elected position as a “usurper,” that he or she is not entitled to it.

On the White Plains Week television show, March 15, Adam Bradley, Glen Hockley’s attorney who fought the Delgado special election decision to a Court of Appeals reversal, said the Attorney General at this point must decide whether to bring a suit to remove the usurper (in this case, allegedly Mr. Hockley), and show cause. A trial takes place in Supreme Court with the Attorney General’s office representing the allegedly-wronged office-seeker’s interest. The result of that trial can be appealed to Appellate Court, and to the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Binder’s remarks to WPCNR this week raise the prospect that the Hockley-Delgado matter might work its way up through to the Court of Appeals once more.

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2/3 of 4th Graders Pass 2001 State Tests; Exceed Comparable Districts

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WPCNR Afternoon Tribune. By John F. Bailey, April 10, 2002. 4 PM EDT: White Plains Schools State Assessment results from 2001 were given perspective by the School District Research, Testing and Evaluation Administrator, Lawrence Killian, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, JoAnna Maccario Monday at the Board of Education regular meeting before about fifty persons.
White Plains 4th grade students are scoring higher than students in school districts comparable to White Plains in income, population and ethnic mix.
African-American and Hispanic children lag substantially behind their white and Asian contemporaries. However, progress is being made on assessment performance.

HOW ARE WE DOING? Research, Testing and Evaluation Administrator, Lawrence Killian addresses the Board of Education Monday evening, delivering the City School District “Assessment of the Assessments.”Photo by WPCNR

In the first public comment on the test scores released by the state two weeks ago, the district’s testing and curriculum tag team dissected the results in a series of revealing comparison graphs for the 4th grade, 8th grade and high school performances.

Dr. Saul Yanofsky, Superintendent of Schools, prefaced the Killian-Maccario presentation, cautioning that the test results are looked at by his administrators as a means of identifying areas of performance the district needs to improve upon, then turned over the floor to Mr. Killian.

Understanding the “Comparison to Similar Schools” Analogy

Killian’s first charts drew comparisons between White Plains and those school districts the state considers “comparable” to White Plains.

Killian said the city’s elementary schools are measured against 208 “similar schools” across the state, 22 of them in Westchester County. Killian named Elmsford, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester and Tarrytown as the “similar schools” within the County.

The Middle School test results are looked at by the state in comparison with 53 other middle schools, which include schools in three Westchester districts: New Rochelle, Ossining and Port Chester.

White Plains High School is matched up to 62 other schools, including Elmsford, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester, and Tarrytown.

City Resources/Ethnic Mix Considered

Killian remarked that the “similar schools” match White Plains in terms of resources. The School Report Cards Highlights and Summary Report (obtainable at the Board of Education Offices, 5 Homeside Lane, 422-2000) distributed at Monday evening’s meeting, describes the state analysis of White Plains.

According to this report, the state considers White Plains “to have only average resources, relative to our students’ needs,” and “the needs of our students are considered to be high, relative to the other districts in the average resource category.”

Levels 1,2,3,4 Grading Parameters

WPCNR accessed the NYS Education Department School Report Cards site to clarify what Levels 1,2,3,4 mean. According to the “Understanding Your School Report Card” section, Level 4 means “Meeting the Standards with Distinction,” and a student scoring from 85 to 100 is classified as having exceeded the standard.

Level 3 is defined as “Meeting the Standards,” and to do so, a student has to achieve a final score of 65 to 84 on the Assessment tests.

Level 2 is classified as “Not Fully Meeting the Standards,” and students scoring from 58 to 64 are classified in that category.

Level 1 is defined as “Not Meeting the Standards” and students scoring 0 to 57 are placed in that category.

4th Grade Scores on Steady Upward Trend

Killian, using a series of overhead projection slides, showed the overflow crowd the percentage of children passing the State Standards, Levels 3 and 4, and the percentage of children exceeding the standard Level 4. The results showed an upswing in student performance at the elementary level (4th grade) where 66% of the students passed the English Language Arts standard, with 21% of those students exceeding the Level 4 standard.

MOVING THE ELA BAR: This copy of the City School District Elementary 4th Grade ELA Assessment Chart, showing the cumulative score of all 475 4th graders tested, downloaded from the NYS Education Department website, shows the 1999 results in yellow, the 2000 results in blue and the 2001 results in orange. The 3-bar columns represent, left to right, the percentages scoring in Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4, respectively. Note how White Plains in three years has steadily raised the performance of their fourth grades in the Levels 3 and Level 4 columns over three years. The chart on the right side shows the comparison with all of New York State. In every case, White Plains is higher compared to “similar schools.”For a closer look at this chart, please go the the New York State Department of Education website. Photo by WPCNR.

About 100 students per elementary school.

We are dealing with small numbers here, making percentages appear large when actually they involve a handful of students. But, that does not diminish their impact. For example, the number of students taking the Assessments in ELA in the city’s five elementary schools in 2001 were: 83 (Church Street School), 118 (George Washington), 101 (Mamaroneck Avenue School), 81 (Post Road School), and 87 (Ridgeway). Totals of students for the same five schools, were slightly different in the Mathematics assessment, 90, 121, 116, 87, and 98, respectively

Steady upward trend

Killian said that over three years, the number of 4th grade students meeting the Level 3 and 4 standards has gone up from 53% in 1999 to 66% in 2001.

In Mathematics, 4th graders did better, 74% achieving the State Standard, with 32% of those beating the Student Level 4. Over three years, Killian said this figure of those passing the standard has remained steady, 74% up from 72%.

CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 4TH GRADE CUMULATIVE MATH STANDING: Here is the NYS Education Department graph showing Math progress from 1999 to 2001. The White Plains results are on the left half, the state similar scores are on the right. Again, the groups of three bars represent 1999 results in yellow, 2000 results in blue, 2001 in orange. The Levels are, left to right, Level 1, 2,3,4. White Plains, in math, is moving more 4th graders into the Level 3 and 4 zones. Photo by WPCNR.

(To view the results in terms of numbers, and year-to-year progress, click on our “White Plains Links” headline on the upper left of this page, Click on “Schools,” when the links page comes up, and from the “Schools” Section CLICK ON the “School Report Cards” site of the Department of Education.)

Lower level scorers have not diminished.

The White Plains report distributed Monday evening, identifies a steady percentage of children (less than 5%) taking the assessments in each of the last three years of 4th grades in the district remaining at the lowest level in both the ELA and Math categories. The District report describes this group thusly: “There has not been an decrease in the percent of students scoring in the lowest level,” but does not mention a percentage.

In ELA and Math results, the numbers of students in Level 1 are very small, from 2% to under 10%, and ranging from as few as 2 to as many as 16 . Level 2 placers are higher.

District Wide, 35% Do Not Meet Elementary ELA Standards; 25% Do Not Meet Math Standard.

The New York State Education Department Composite Charts of the White Plains Elementary School ELA and Math Assessment scores, show 163 of 475 students taking the test, 35% did not meet the standards in ELA and 134 of 517 students taking the Math, 26% did not meet the State Standards. However, the district is outpacing the similar schools scores where 40% did not pass the ELA standards, and 31% did not pass the Math standard.

According to District figures these students are mainly of African-American and Hispanic ethnicities.

Ebb and Flow of Elementary School Scores

In the 4th Grade English Language Arts test, three White Plains’ Elementary Schools: Church Street (72% to 65%), Mamaroneck Avenue School (74% to 65%), and Ridgeway (67% to 65%) scored higher than the similar schools of Elmsford, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester and Tarrytown.

Two did not. George Washington (58% to 65%) and Post Road (62% to 65%) finished slightly behind the state “similar schools” score.

On the Mathematics 4th Grade 2001 Assessment, two city schools, Church Street and Post Road, finished slightly higher than the average of the “similar schools.” Post Road School and Church Street School 4th graders had identical 79% passing to the state similar school percentage of 76%, with 41% CSS-ers beating the Level 4 standard.

Three schools were slightly lower than their similar school percentage of 76%. George Washington School and Mamaroneck Avenue School each had 73% of their 4th graders passing with 30% and 32% respectively exceeding Level 4 standards.

As to students scoring on the lowest level, the Report released Monday by the School District, again states, on the Mathematics lower level, and “There has not been a decrease in the number of students scoring in the lowest level.”

Killian comments:

In general remarks, Mr. Killian said, “We are concerned about the kids in the lowest levels. We are going to look at the children’s work (now) and see what we can do better.”

He noted that math scores on the 4th grade level were higher than the ELA levels, and pointed out that when White Plains first took the tests in 1999, the White Plains students were ahead of statewide similar districts, 53% to 45% compared to Westchester counterparts, and 53% to 50%, pointing out that on the basis of the 2001 scores, the district continues to keep pace and maintain improvement.

Mr. Killian observed that the 4th grade and 8th grade tests change each year, and actually become more “difficult,” depending on what the State Education Department is looking to measure. He said “The state is doing a good thing by giving a new test every year. The tests become more difficult each year.”

Ethnic Chill: Half of White Plains 4th grade Blacks and Hispanics Pass ELA, 66% Pass the Math.
The test data on ethnic scores indicated, in Mr. Killian’s words, “a substantial gap between White and Asian, Black and Hispanic categories, that are similar in Math, too. There are those categories of students doing relatively well and not doing well that must be the focus of our efforts.”

This was the first public admission and quantifying provided by the School District that a “Minority Achievement Gap” is there in White Plains. The figures Mr. Killian showed provided a look at the 4th Grade Minority Achievement Gap for all to see.

White Plains White students at the 4th grade level are passing on a level of 81% compared to 74% of white students passing in “statewide similar districts.”

Black students in the 2001 4th grade were passing the ELA exam at the rate of 51%, compared to 39% of Blacks passing in the similar districts statewide. A total of 55% of the city Hispanic youngsters passed the ELA. Both White Plains ethnic groups surpassed the state average. Statewide, in similar districts to White Plains, 39% of Blacks passed, and 40% of Hispanics passed.

Turning to math, improvement, but sobering.

In the 4th Grade Math Assessment, White Plains Blacks and Hispanics performed ahead of their ELA scores, with 59% of African-Americans passing, and 67% of our Hispanic youngsters passing. Compare this to the statewide similar district scores of 46% and 49% respectively, and you have to feel the White Plains Elementary Curriculum, substantially revamped to address the influx of Hispanic youngsters and underachievers in the last three years, appears to be having an effect.

Ethnic Scores by School a sticking point

Mr. Killian’s charts on 4th Grade individual Elementary Schools highlighted definite differences between the elementary school scores.

Church Street School had 74% (highest Black performance) of Blacks passing, and 67% of Hispanics passing. In contrast, George Washington School passed 54% of their Blacks and 71% of their Hispanics. Mamaroneck Avenue School’s Blacks passed at a 59% rate, Hispanics, 64%. Ridgeway had 50% of Blacks surpassing Level 3, and 58% of their Hispanics. Post Road’s Black children passed at a 64% rate, the Hispanics at a 74% rate (top Hispanic passing rate among the five schools).

English Language Arts Scores Not as Strong.

All five elementary schools failed to have more than 58% of their Black population pass the English Language Arts. Keep in mind though that the state average is 51%.

Church Street School and Mamaroneck Avenue School each had 58% of their Blacks pass. Post Road saw 57% pass, and Ridgeway, 53%. George Washington School saw 36% of their Black student population pass.

Hispanic Population scores higher on ELA than the African-American Population.

There is a wild swing in Hispanic scores among the five schools. Church Street School passed 79% of their Hispanic 4th graders; Mamaroneck Avenue School, 70%, and Ridgeway School, 52%. Post Road School passed 32%. George Washington School passed 44% of Hispanics, below the state similar district average of 55%.

The Hispanic 4th graders as a group passed at a higher rate than the African-American 4th graders, 55% to 51% on the ELA, which is statistically insignificant and 67% to 59% on the math assessment.

Asian students in White Plains score the highest with 93% of Asian 4th graders passing the ELA Assessment in 2001, and 100% passing the Math assessment.

This is the first part of a series on the Assessment Report given Monday evening. Look for the next installment tomorrow.

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3oth Anniversary Celebration

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The WJCS Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP), formerly called the Mother-Child Home Program, is searching for participants dating back to 1972 to help celebrate its 30th anniversary in June.

Over the past 30 years, more than 2,400 families in Greenburgh, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester and White Plains have participated in the program which promotes the joy of learning.

An award winning program sponsored by Westchester Jewish Community Services, PCHP is an early childhood, parent education and family literacy program designed to prevent school problems for disadvantaged preschoolers and encourages self-esteem and child rearing competence in their parents. During half-hour, twice-weekly visits, trained home visitors use specially selected toys and books to provide cognitive enrichment through verbal interaction and special game play.

“Although we have a good database of program graduates, we have lost touch with many who may have moved or changed their telephone number.” says Patrice Cuddy, Program Director “We would love to reconnect with our former mother and toddler participants. If you remember those twice weekly home visits by a friendly lady who brought you books and toys, or if reading Pat the Bunny or playing with farm animals brings back happy memories, give us a call and tell us how you’re doing.”

Alumni of the Program are urged to contact Mrs. Cuddy at 949-7699, ext. 324.

A celebration recognizing the significant impact the Parent-Child Home Program has had on the community over the past three decades will take place at Westchester Jewish Community Services’ Annual Meeting on June 4 at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. All present and past Program participants will be invited to attend.

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