August 7, 2013

 Dear Parents and Community Residents,

 You will see in the media an overview of the latest student assessment results reported by the New York State Education Department. Earlier this year, students in grades three through eight were required to participate in New York State’s English language arts and math assessments. These assessments were based upon the new more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards, which were introduced in the 2012-2013 school year.

 Prior to the implementation of these assessments, superintendents cross Long Island and the state expressed our strong concerns to the State Education Department and the Commissioner of Education John B. King. Jr., regarding the validity of the assessment outcomes. These concerns were validated in a memo from Commissioner King dated August 2, 2013. In that memo, he stated, “Scores are expected to be significantly lower than the 2011-2012 scores…effectively creating a new baseline measurement of student learning.”

 We believe the significant decrease in this year’s assessment results, experienced across Long Island, is not attributable to a decline in student performance, but instead, reflect the fact that the assessments were prematurely implemented before students could be effectively instructed in the new, more rigorous, Common Core Learning Standards curriculum. While the SED established the cut scores, which determined the new proficiency levels, it should be further noted that it is impossible to accurately compare student progress using prior year’s assessment results.

 Most importantly, we strongly believe there is no correlation between these latest assessment results and our students’ ability to be college and career ready. This opinion is supported by the high percentage of recent graduates attending many of the most prominent and prestigious colleges and universities in the country, as well as the significant recognitions our students achieved on all grade levels during this past school year.

 While we are obliged to provide you with these assessment results, we feel equally obligated to provide the appropriate information needed to understand the significant difference in individual scores from prior years. We take great pride in the quality education we provide to all students in our school district. Bottom line: this year’s assessment results are not an accurate reflection of our students’ ability to learn or on the instructional skills of our professional staff.

 Sincerely,

Richard S. Rozakis
Superintendent of Schools

ATTACHMENT:   August 7, 2013: Letter from Commissioner John King on State Assessment Results