Parents: Homework is too hard

By Jaime Thomas

The Granville board of education is keeping the ball rolling with more public forums to get the community more involved in the district.

Members of the board discussed several forums that were recently held and announced another one coming up in the near future at a meeting Monday night.

Board member John McDermott said he attended a follow up meeting that was held recently to further discuss material that was covered at a public forum on social issues.

That forum, which only a couple dozen people attended, covered such problems as alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, depression and suicide.

“We’re looking into more (psychology) services that are lacking here and in other schools,” McDermott said. Granville is also looking to work with other schools in the area to collaborate for this type of support.

The public is invited to readdress these social issues at another forum on Nov. 4 at 6 p.m.

Suzanne McEachron, another board member, reported her take on a Common Core forum that was held last week. She said she was pleased with a higher than usual attendance, and that people were feeling intense about the new state standards.

She said though many parents were unhappy with the Common Core, the meeting was an important opportunity for them to vent and gain a better understanding of what is changing.

“Everyone isn’t at odds about the Common Core goals, they’re at odds about how it’s being rolled out,” Superintendent Mark Bessen said. He explained that the standards should’ve been implemented to kindergartners and followed them up through the grades, rather than creating a gap for older students who are being tested on material they haven’t been taught.

He was not discreet in his dissatisfaction with the government and money in this implementation.

“If I was, let’s say we’ll use a fake name, Andrew Cuomo, and I came up with this idea. We’ll set this low bar, and then the teachers learn to teach to the standard, and the kids have to background to test better, it’ll look like a lot of improvement. And say I wanted to run for president, I’d look like the smartest governor in the United States,” Bessen said.

Board President John Shaw pointed out that State Education Commissioner John King canceled all of his presentations after getting heckled at one about the Common Core.

“Boy, with that kind of leadership, how are we going to get to the bottom of this? We need help, but where is it coming from?” Shaw asked.

Bessen did say King has finally scheduled a presentation for the region, which will be held in Schroon Lake next month. 

McDermott stressed the importance of the school board, school officials and the community supporting not only students but teachers in learning how to adapt to the new standards.

Internal audit

An internal auditor was present at the meeting to go over the results of her company’s report. Other than several small issues here and there, she deemed the school a low-risk auditee.

“The superintendent and business office were very receptive. Not all of our audits go as well as this one did, and we really appreciate that,” she said.

Appointment, opinions

Also during the meeting, the board voted on either supporting or not supporting a long list of individual resolutions that would be presented at the New York State School Board Association Convention this week.

John Shaw will represent the board as a delegate, so the individual members needed to offer their opinions on such issues as repealing elimination adjustment and underfunded mandates.

At the end of the evening, the board accepted the resignation of Walter West as a math teacher, effective Oct. 20. They then approved the appointment of Timothy Best as a math teacher beginning on Nov. 20.

Lockers, concession stand

New boys gym lockers, which were the subject of much debate during the past several meetings, will finally be installed next month.

On Nov. 12, as long as the material arrives, contractors will begin installing the lockers in a process that is expected to take about three days. Bessen said Athletic Director Steve Palmer will notify students when they need to remove their belongings.

Additionally, the new concession stand that several local contractors have volunteered to build will not be started until spring.

Contractors Shawn Parker, Parrish Roberts and Daryl Daigle originally presented their offer in August, but kinks in state approval slowed down the process.

The next board of education meeting will be held Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.

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