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Pelham Schools Chief Sends Message About Common Core Curriculum

Pelham Superintendent of Schools Peter Giarrizzo recently wrote a letter on his views of the Common Core Standards.
Pelham Superintendent of Schools Peter Giarrizzo recently wrote a letter on his views of the Common Core Standards. Photo Credit: File Photo

PELHAM, N.Y. -- Pelham Superintendent of Schools Peter Giarrizzo is letting parents know that he is advocating for quality education.

Giarrizzo recently released a message to parents and students entitled "Advocating for Our Students: Why providing a high quality education is a journey rather than a race," according to the district's website .

Giarrizzo's letter is below:

We continue to monitor and respond to the State-imposed mandates that impact our students, teachers and principals. While the Common Core Learning Standards adopted by New York show tremendous promise toward raising the caliber of student learning, two issues are a cause for concern:

In Pelham, we understand the value and importance of well designed assessments that can inform our teaching and improve learning as well as identify students who are struggling. Purposeful assessments are an important part of our program and are one of many ways we seek information about how ell our students are progressing over the course of the year.

We also recognize that accountability is a necessary part of every organization. We hold our students, our teachers and administrators accountable and I hold myself accountable to the highest standards of excellence.

In holding ourselves accountable to high standards, we developed a robust observation process for the evaluations of our teachers and principals. I believe, however, that linking the new State assessments to the evaluation of teachers and principals last year in such a short time frame did not help us achieve the intended goals of the new standards.

This year, the State is requiring districts participating in the Race To The Top grant to utilize a new data bank managed by a third party vendor named inBloom. Maintaining the privacy of our student data is of critical importance to us and we believe this new data bank could potentially jeopardize that privacy that we so value. Therefore, upon my recommendation, the Board of Education has directed me to withdraw the Pelham Schools from Race To The Top this year. Preserving the integrity of student data is more important than the $7,000 we would have received through the Race To The Top grant. Providing a high quality education to our students is a journey not a race.

Because of Pelham's commitment to the process of continuous improvement, our teachers and administrators are working toward aligning the new standards with our curriculum and I am hopeful that that this work will only strengthen our already college and career ready students.

I will be working in conjunction with the Board of Education and the PTA Council in advocating for the Pelham Schools and will represent our students and staff on Monday (Oct. 28) at a Public Forum on Common Core Learning Standards and Related Matters with Commissioner of Education, Dr. John B. King Jr.

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