Year of change nearing climax in NHP-GCP district

Robert W Katulak

It is hard to believe that another academic year is quickly coming to an end. It has been quite a tumultuous year in regards to all the changes and mandates regarding the New York State Educational System. Many of the excellent reforms that have been driven by the Federal Race to the Top Initiative have been tainted due to poorly executed implementation and alignment with curriculum and assessment. 

Everyone in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District believes that we need to raise the bar on our state standards and all personnel are accountable for doing so. The dilemma that was created by the state, however was that the implementation was too fast, too soon, rolled out before materials and training were delivered, and in many cases, not developmentally appropriate. 

In our district, we have highly qualified administrators and teachers who had one focus in mind and that was to keep all eyes on our students and their academic quest for excellence. Our schools implemented a rich literacy experience for our students wherein, they read an appropriate balance of fiction and non-fiction, and helped students go beyond the who, what, when, and where and answer the why and how questions and related readings to the themes and the author’s point of view in their everyday lives.

In mathematics, our teachers brought our students to a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts, rather than “just” memorizing an algorithm. Students understood what the math was all about, how it applied to everyday life, and how to apply the concept/skill to solve new problems they encountered. Our students met the challenges of the Common Core Standards and Assessments, although challenging, and still remained well rounded students.  Under the leadership of our principals and social workers, they became good models of citizenship by being UPSTANDERS rather than BYSTANDERS if they encountered any aspects of a bully in their classes.

It is with great pride that as a superintendent, I can say we not only survived this year, in spite of what was thrown at us by the state, but we in fact surpassed those challenges. We are a district that does not accept the status quo as our benchmark, and does not shy away from accountability. 

We continue to analyze our data regarding student progress and adjust our programs accordingly.  

All professionals assume accountability for that progress, receive and use feedback for improvement and always remember the privilege that it is in serving to educate our students. 

I thank all of you for your tremendous support in passing our budget, and I wish everyone a safe and happy journey for their summer vacations, and I look forward to another school year in September. 

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Robert W Katulak

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