School Board: More time needed to comply with performance reviews

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO From left, School Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik, Academic Administrator Jennifer Rylott, Director of Physical Education and District Operations Todd Gulluscio and School Board member Alfred Brigham at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | From left, School Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik, Academic Administrator Jennifer Rylott, Director of Physical Education and District Operations Todd Gulluscio and School Board member Alfred Brigham at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

The Shelter Island Board of Education Tuesday night approved filing a hardship waiver to extend a deadline before signing off on a plan for the state-mandated Annual Professional Performance Review.

The district needed to submit and gain approval of its annual plan to implement the controversial performance reviews of educators by November 15. But Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik said that wouldn’t happen because the State Education Department hasn’t yet released all the information the district needs to fully negotiate an agreement on a performance evaluation plan.

District officials have been critical of the process that includes judging teachers partially on how their students perform on standardized tests.

Mr. Skuggevik has consistently said local evaluations of teachers are more accurate than any information that can be interpreted from standardized tests.

All Shelter Island teachers have won positive evaluations in the past.

Objections to standardized test scores used for teacher evaluations have grown since Governor Andrew Cuomo convinced the New York State Legislature to approve his recommendation of judge performances by increasing the emphasis on standardized testing compared with in-school observations.

In other actions, the Board of Education:
• Voted unanimously to change the start time of monthly board meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.
• Heard a report from Guidance Counselor Martha Tuthill on the college credit program the school has with Suffolk Community College and St. John’s University. Board member Elizabeth Melichar said the program is “invaluable” and she “applauds the whole effort.” Member Kathleen Lynch agreed, saying it not only gave students a head start when they enter college but it saves “thousands of dollars” in tuition for families. Mr. Skuggevik said reports show that high school students who take advance placement courses for college credits are 60 percent more likely to graduate from college.
• Offered first readings of policy revisions on non-discrimination and anti-harassment; information security breaches and notifications related to them; data networks and security access; equal employment opportunities; and sexual harassment of students.

They are available on the district’s website at edline.net/pages/Shelter_Island_UFSD.

• Set the district’s tax levy for the school year at $9.44 million.
• Approved salary increases based on completion of course work or degrees for James Bocca, Jessica Bosak, Michael Cox, Bryan Knipfing, Peter Miedema, Debra Sears and James Theinert.
• Approved the National Honor Society request to hold a cardboard campout on school grounds Monday, November 2, to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. In past years, students have assisted in building Habitat for Humanity housing in the area.
• Appointed Katherine Garrison and Mary Theinert as substitute teachers at the rate of $110 per day.
• Appointed Jerome Mundy as an additional athletic chaperone to be paid $94.49 for a single game or $145.02 for back-to-back games.
• Rescinded the appointment of Brian Becker as junior high girls basketball coach and appointed Laura Mayo to the position and Michael Mundy as Junior Varsity girls basketball coach. Ms. Mayo will receive $2,815 and Mr. Mundy will earn $5,160.
• Accepted contributions from the Shelter Island Educational Foundation of $3,000 to fund the trip to see the “Nutcracker” on December 16; $3,000 to fund the May 18 Broadway play trip; $1,850 to fund the New York City Opera trip on Friday; and $138 to pay for guidance materials and supplies.

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