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Tarrytown Schools Show Steady Academic Improvement

Kathleen Conley, chief information officer for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, discusses student performance on the 2011-12 state assessments.
Kathleen Conley, chief information officer for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, discusses student performance on the 2011-12 state assessments. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns continue to see steady academic growth but can expect new challenges as state assessments become more rigorous, school officials said Thursday.

“We have seen and show steady process — incremental growth every year,” Superintendent Howard Smith said. “It's not an overnight process. There's still a lot of issues that we continue to face."

School officials outlined student performance on the 2011-12 state assessments during Thursday's Board of Education meeting. The annual performance report included an assessment from each school principal on the strengths and weaknesses they have seen in student data. A presentation of the report will be posted on the district's website Friday.

The school district has been designated “in good standing” after New York State was granted a waiver in the No Child Left Behind program. The new accountability ratings are based on student academic growth, Smith said.

School officials identified areas of concern to address this year, including emphasis on academic vocabulary and critical thinking skills. This is because of changes to state assessments and the implementation of the Common Core Standards. The changes will affect the Tarrytown school district more than some others because of the demographics, officials said.

“When you have a large percentage of the population that is language challenged, it makes it all that more challenging,” Assistant Superintendent Barbarann Tantillo said, noting that school officials are working to prepare students.

Last year's efforts to focus on several weak learning areas have paid off, school officials said.

Washington Irving Intermediate School principal Debbie Hand said her school had met goals to address certain areas of weakness designated at the beginning of the year.

Sleepy Hollow Middle School principal Elizabeth Lopez also noted student improvement. This year, the middle school is continuing to address learning gaps between the Regents exam and state assessments, Lopez said.

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