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June 11, 2013
Survey says: Grads grade school experience, good and bad
How well has Shelter Island School prepared students for the rigors of college and the job market? Not well enough in some ways, according to a new survey.
Conducted by guidance counselor Mark Palios of students who graduated between 2008 and 2012, the survey results were shared with the Board of Education at last Thursday’s meeting.
The survey included questions about how the students ranked with their counterparts from other high schools in reading, writing, mathematics and research. Graduates were also asked about how well prepared they were in terms of social adjustment when they left the school.
The good news: Many thought they were well prepared socially to make transitions from high school and also found their math studies had prepared them to do well. But they were less prepared when it came to critical reading and writing, according to the survey.
What would they change about their high school education? The grads — 24 percent of 98 students surveyed responded — said they would have liked more advanced placement classes with longer class time; a more professional classroom environment; more opportunities for research and formal papers; more course options; and more focus on business and personal finance.
One former student described his writing skills as weak and said he would have liked more emphasis on grammar and writing organization.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Hynes said the results correlated well with what he and academic administrator Jennifer Rylott had concluded in stepping up programs to help local students be better critical readers and writers.
Teacher Daniel Williams and students from the school’s Intel program demonstrated experiences they are having in doing scientific research that is innovative and involves learning by trial and error. Three students — Tommy Card, Richard Ruscica and Olivia Garrison — have been involved in the program dealing with scientific research into cancer causes. Mr. Card and Mr. Ruscica were at the meeting to explain their experiences with the program while Mr. Williams told the board the students are so enthusiastic about the program that they are putting in more hours than required.
All is not well with the district’s efforts to beef up security, according to one mother who said her 7-year-old child ran out a door he wasn’t supposed to use and was told he would have to walk all around the outside of the school in 23-degree weather to come back in through the lobby entrance. She acknowledged the boy wasn’t supposed to go out the door, but said the child was attracted by snow on the playground.
Another of her sons told board members that a child having to walk alone all the way around the outside of the building could be in danger of being kidnapped.
Dr. Hynes acknowledged the mother’s concerns and said he would take it up with a committee organized to tighten security.
Junior Quinn Hundgen told the board the prom committee has made plans to hold this year’s event at Dering Harbor Inn on June 7 from 7 to 11 p.m. The cost for the space is $500 that will be raised by the students.
The board approved the following coaches for the season: Kimberly Clark, junior varsity girls softball, at $4,419; Hope Kanarvogel, junior high boys volleyball, at $2,653 retroactive to January 22; Ian Kanarvogel, junior varsity boys baseball at $4,319; and Peter Miedema, varsity boys baseball at $5,302.
Substitute teachers who are certified or have a four-year college degree and are paid $110 per day are Catherine Brigham, Elizabeth Eklund, Margaret Larsen and Perter Waldner. The appointments of Ms. Larsen and Mr. Waldner are subject to results of fingerprinting required of all school personnel who come in contact with students.
Mentors, who each receive a $1,500 stipend are Ann Marie Galasso, mentoring James Theinert; Janine Mahoney, mentoring Debra Sears; Devon Treharne, mentoring James Bocca; and Cheryl Wood, mentoring Michael Cox.