The Greenport School District has decided to eliminate midterm exams week starting next school year as a way to provide extra classroom time for its secondary students.
During a school board meeting June 18, Superintendent Michael Comanda said the decision to provide teachers with an additional week of instructional time was made to help students achieve rigorous academic goals known as the Common Core State Standards.
“It’s just trying to give us more instructional time within that 182 days,” he said. “[The administrators] felt the best way to gain five days of instruction was during that midterm week. If a teacher wants to give a midterm, they can give a midterm.”
After high school principal Leonard Skuggevik met with the district’s department chairs to find out the best way to add five days of instruction, he determined midterm week should be eliminated.
Mr. Skuggevik said in an email Monday, June 23, that although classes will no longer be cancelled a week for midterm exams, teachers can still give midterms or quarterly exams during class time.
“We believe that our students no longer need the ‘practice’ of three-hour exams for midterms, as they are tested more than enough as it is,” he said. “With our scores on the rise, we want to continue the momentum and do everything in our power to increase student time in classes with their teachers.”
After school board vice president Dan Creedon questioned if teachers were consulted about the decision at the June 18 meeting, Mr. Comanda said they weren’t because it’s an “instructional decision made by the administration.”
“It’s not a decision for teachers,” Mr. Comanda said. “This is strictly for instructional purposes and not a union issue.”
Greenport Teachers Association co-presidents Carolyn Burke and Cynthia Goldsmith-Agosta, the representatives for the district’s teachers’ union, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment for this story.