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NY Mills teachers make progress on curriculum

Pinpointing district-wide standards for New York Mills School is the ultimate goal of an ongoing curriculum alignment process.

In workshops last month, administration and teachers began analyzing current standards against current curriculum, Elementary Principal Judith Brockway reported to the NY Mills School Board last week.

"We started in twelfth grade and worked down to kindergarten to figure out what we expect students to know at every grade level," Brockway said.

Brockway held up a 148-page document of current social studies standards the teachers recently analyzed, and said, "Going through the curriculum is arduous work. The work is not easy."

After going through the curriculum, teachers wrote "I can" statements to help other teachers, students and parents understand exactly what is expected.

The statements, "help us be clear. It helps bring a focus to it," Brockway explained.

So far the teachers have waded through standards and curriculum in social studies, math and science.

"We need to keep going. We started a really great thing here in New York Mills," Brockway said. "Our challenge going forward is finding time for the teachers to continue."

Teachers are partially through analyzing English and language arts curriculum. Next week, teachers will begin going through music, physical education and art.

Next steps include publishing results on the school website and writing formative assessments to help analyze student progress in the classroom.

When standards change, as they often do, teachers will have to analyze the curriculum against that new data. It's a constant process, but getting the work done the first time will make it easier to update in the future, Brockway said.

In other business, the board:

-Heard a report from Amy Sobieski and Jennifer Parta Arno, of the Community Supporting Classrooms Committee, on the outcome of the second annual fall carnival, held last month at the school.

There were more than 175 volunteers helping throughout the night, they said, with an estimated 1,000 people attending the carnival and silent auction.

The final amount raised by the event has not yet been calculated, but the group estimates $10,000 - similar to last year. All proceeds will go to elementary classroom enhancements.

-Heard a report from Athletics Director Matt Radniecki. He said all three of the fall team athletes received academic gold achievement awards for high grade point averages. He also said the fall musical was well attended.