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Middle School Shuffles Schedule for State Test

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville Middle School is facing a problem providing enough teachers and faculty members to administer the New York State English Language Arts listening test in April and will be forced to split the grades up into half days on test day, school officials said.

“We’re going to need a lot of adults and we’re not even sure that we’re going to be able to get as many adults as we actually need during this testing,” said Pleasantville Middle School Principal Vivian Ossowski.

Ossowski said that, due to the fact that more than half of the middle schools’ teachers teach two grades added with the high number of teachers needed to proctor the test and monitor the hallways, it would be impossible to provide instruction to the grades not testing during the day. Ossowski recommended to the Board of Education that sixth and eighth grade students come in during the morning to take their tests from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and then go home. The fifth and seventh grade students would then come in to take their test from around 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Board of Education agreed the altered schedule is the best way to accommodate both grades.

“I think that every parent, given our circumstances, would want the optimum testing situation for their child and this is how we can make that happen,” said Dave McCullagh, a Board of Education member.

Ossowski said she realizes that some students may be forced to come to school first thing in the morning in a situation where both parents go to work.

“The best we can do is, if a student is testing later in the day and they need to come in to school in the morning, we can offer some sort of child care for those few hours where they can watch a movie or something,” Ossowski said.  “But ideally, we’d like the student to stay home and rest up for the test.”

Even after splitting the schedule in two, Ossowski said the school may still be short on staff during the test days. The principal said she, along with the Board of Education, will reach out to parents in the middle school PTA to volunteer to work in the school during test day.

English literature testing is scheduled for April 17 and 18.

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