Principals pleased with FFCS scores in report

FONDA – All three Fonda-Fultonville Central School District principals Tuesday night discussed with the school board the findings of the 2012-13 accountability report card for the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.

The state Education Department releases school report cards on every school and district in the state in the spring. That information includes annual results on Regents examinations, Regents competency tests and English language arts, math and science state tests.

Elementary school Principal Tom Ciaccio said the district’s third-grade students had the best math scores in the region. Fourth-grade students tested in the top 10 percent in the region, he said.

Ciaccio said last school year, he sat down with teachers and discussed the need for change in the district.

The district recently implemented a new math program, called Go Math, as a pilot program in grades three and four, he said. Ciaccio said district teachers have brought in supplemental materials and have taken advantage of resources they have found online to add to the program.

One change Ciaccio plans to implement next year is to increase math instruction time for third- and fourth-graders next year.

Ciaccio said in ELA, a literacy committee was created. He said FFCS is also doing a partnership with Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services for additional training.

Ciaccio said he would like to see a 5 percent increase in students scoring threes and fours, the highest scores, on the state report card.

“We’re happy where we were, but we’re not happy to stay where we are going forward,” Ciaccio said.

Middle school Principal Elizabeth Donovan said in the middle school, the state report card is entirely about standardized testing. Donovan said 100 percent of students were tested in math, which is something not every district achieved. Donovan said 90 percent of the students were proficient or better in state science tests.

Donovan said next year, the middle school will tie together its English language arts and social studies in an 80-minute block, and the math and science programs into another 80-minute block, with two-person teams teaching each class. She said this will allow teachers to tie themes together and increase the amount of instruction time for all four programs.

She said incoming fifth-grade students will continue the elementary school’s Go Math program.

High school Principal David Halloran said the 2009 graduation rate was at 88.6 percent, higher than the state standard of 80 percent, although those numbers are not officially part of the newly released report card.

Halloran said the district graduated 48 percent of its students with an Advanced Regents Degree, 18 percent higher than the state average.

The district also has the highest passing rate in the HFM BOCES region on eight out of 10 state Regents exams.

“In my opinion, these are very good numbers,” Halloran said.