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Tarrytown School Board to Study Honors Enrichment

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – An honors-based enrichment program in the humanities for grades six, seven and eight is something the Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns should explore, school board member Vincent Nadile said at a recent board meeting.

Nadile said he would like to see something similar to what's being done at Washington Irving Intermediate, which is a supplemental program.

“Right now, there's nothing that serves those students,” he said.

Nadile noted that sixth-grade students were getting an enrichment program at Washington Irving when the grade was at the school, but it's no longer present since the grade was moved to Sleepy Hollow Middle School.

He also pointed out that the new assistant principal has experience with an honors-based program, saying TUFSD should take advantage of that for students who need to be challenged.

SHMS does have a supplemental program for English-language arts, although it has an open enrollment, Assistant Superintendent Barbarann Tantillo said. School Board President B. Joseph Lillis noted that Nadile's concern isn't new.

“It's been a nagging concern for 20 years that we're not meeting the needs of the top-end kids in English-Language Arts and Social Sciences in grades seven, eight and now six,” he said.

Lillis said he'd like to see the issue discussed at an upcoming meeting. School board members Mimi Godwin and Katharine Swibold also said they wanted to see the school board address the issue this year.

Board member Sheila Conklin noted that such a program would help students prepare for the SATs in high school. Godwin, too, noted that having more rigorous preparation before high school would help students make the transition to challenging AP classes.

The earlier a student gets introduced to complex concepts, “the better a student will be,” Nadile said. Nadile said he thought the district was doing a disservice by not giving advanced students a truly rigorous program.

Superintendent Howard Smith said he would add the issue to the board's agenda for the year and the district would begin looking at practices throughout the region, potential costs for the program and whether a program would fit into students' schedules.

Swibold added that TUFSD shouldn't leave out students who were not at the top of their class, saying she thought the district should be constantly raising the bar for all students.

Should the TUFSD create a more rigorous enrichment program for its top-tiered students?

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