BERLIN - The Berlin Board of Education is considering its next move after the regular meeting on Monday about test scores in the district.
“What’s our priority here?” asked Brian Benigni, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, who will be superintendent on Jan. 3 after current superintendent David B. Erwin retires.
The question came as part of the presentation by Benigni, director of Literacy and Social Studies Laurie Gjerpen and Assistant Principal Kara Watson, to the board, after board members noticed a drop in test scores on the Smarter Balance Assessment test.
Across the district, results showed Berlin ranked 18th out of 24 in English and Language Arts testing against other schools in the state with similiar district profiles.
“If we want to create assessments that are predictive of this high stakes test, than that requires somebody to teach the teachers to develop assessments that are going to be predictive, if this is what we are after,” said McGee Middle School Principal Salvatore Urso.
Board of Education Member Jeff Cugno agreed but said it would take some input from school administrators since they are the ones in the trenches providing the instruction with the students.
Board of Education President Mathew Tencza said the issue would be discussed during the upcoming Board of Education retreat.
The presentation also discussed how the SAT scores in math could be improved – which Benigni said could be addressed by teaching AP math at an earlier age.
Prior to the meeting, library/media specialist Danielle Salina gave a presentation on the Makers Space in the Library/Media Center at Griswold Elementary School, which aims to provide creative, innovation and problem-solving by having students build structures with spaghetti and marshmallows, replicate models with Legos and program robots to travel certain distances at certain speeds. Second-graders Paul Klonowski and Jacoby Romeiko, and fourth-grader Isabella Salina were on hand to share their interest in the space.
During public participation, Mayor Mark Kaczynski spoke to tamp down a rumor printed in a letter to the editor in The Berlin Citizen saying the council has already agreed to cut 20 percent from the school’s budget.
“That’s not true,” said Kaczysnki, adding he hasn’t had any secret meetings nor made such decisions.
The board also heard an update on the healthy foods policy revisiaon from the Student Action Committee, which suggested having celebrations without food from vendors or families outside the district since meeting the healthy foods requirements were too strict.
The committee is expected to bring the item up at the next meeting on Nov. 24.