B y Jaime Thomas
Following a regular business meeting on Monday, the Granville Board of Education held a more casual discussion.
Though the public was invited to attend and share their ideas with the board, few community members showed. The focus of the forum was recently-released state test scores for grades three through eight on which students throughout the state fared poorly.
District Superintendent Mark Bessen opened up the meeting by explaining about the data and the education commissioner’s aim. Despite Granville testing below the state average, all three of the district’s schools are deemed to be in good standing and won’t be penalized by the state.
“The module for this September came in May; the module for last September did not exist,” Bessen said, pointing out once again that this year’s tests were a benchmark for future growth.
Among other changes, Bessen said there will be accountability on attendance—something that was never done before at the elementary levels.
“The state evaluates you on attendance in a subject area, and scores stick with a teacher. If a kid goes to third grade in Granville, and then he moves to Hartford in January and takes tests there, those scores reflect on the teacher in Granville and the teacher in Hartford,” Bessen explained.
Diane Dumas and Jane O’Shea, principals at Mary J. Tanner and Granville Elementary School, respectively, both presented results at the forum as well.
Though Granville scored below the state level, within the county rankings the district moved up.
Granville was fourth out of 10 county schools for fifth-grade ELA, for example, and fifth out of 10 for third-grade ELA.
“We’re doing a really good job of pushing our kids—we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing, because it’s working,” O’Shea said.
Members of the board asked the principals several questions, but mostly took in the data and power point presentation. The board plans to hold more workshops throughout the school year.