As we move into the warmer months of spring, new opportunities and activities will present themselves for our children--some welcome and perhaps some less welcome. Increasingly, the politics surrounding the educational reform agenda seems to have presented parents with a decision regarding state testing. Indeed, some parents are struggling to reconcile their political beliefs with sending a message to their child that it is okay to refuse to participate in an experience that may be uncomfortable. How might such an action influence the important lessons of grit and perseverance we all agree are most essential for future success? This question is one that can only be answered by each individual parent, and as the principal, I am not interested in debating these personal decisions. I will only say that we will respect each family’s decision.
That said, it is important for me to communicate that our participation rate on last year’s state assessments fell below the necessary 95 percent needed for a school to meet its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). As a result, we are no longer on the list of Reward Schools. As I have shared, our prior status as a Reward School allowed us to apply and obtain a state grant that brought $50,000 of funding to our school to pay for our Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)--a Tier II research-based reading program for our struggling readers. We are no longer eligible to reapply for this grant for next school year and depending on this year’s participation on state assessments, we may not be eligible for the year thereafter. I share this only to make the community fully aware that individual decisions have a clear impact on how the state designates our school and the grant opportunities that we will be eligible for as a result of such status.
There will be many less than pleasant experiences our children will need to persevere through if they are to build the steadfast and resolute character necessary for their future success. Certainly, we can debate and question the validity of these assessments as they currently exist as a true measure of students’ academic growth and achievement. Regardless, in the end, each parent must weigh their personal views against a potentially larger unintended message that may be sent to their child by refusing to participate.
Video Oct 30, 3 46 03 PM from Simon dudar on Vimeo.
Haldane's Farm to School Initiative inspires young people to eat their veggies and make healthier choices. With our Farmer in the Classroom program, students visit the school garden and learn where their food comes from and how it grows from seed to harvest. Our Chef in the Classroom program brings enthusiastic young chef interns from the Culinary Institute of America into the elementary school classrooms teaching students how to create tasty dishes with a different, locally-sourced vegetable each month. These vegetable dishes are then served in the cafeteria for the whole school to sample at our monthly veggie taste test.
Haldane’s Farm to School Initiative is coordinated by Hudson Valley Farm to School in partnership with Haldane's Wellness Committee and Garden Committee. To get all the recipes from our Chef in the Classroom program, go to Hudson Valley Farm to School's webpage: