Long Island’s public school educational leaders congregated at Oakdale’s Bourne Mansion on Aug. 9 for SCOPE Education Service’s 34th annual Dinner Meeting for superintendents and school board members. The event served as a networking opportunity for new and returning superintendents and board of education trustees and other education system professionals.
SCOPE provides a vast array of school district services, such as before and after-school child care programs, school enrichment programs and professional development.
SCOPE Executive Director George L. Duffy told those in attendance that their work is vital and urged them to utilize and benefit from the many programs and services SCOPE provides. He also introduced all newly installed school board members and superintendents and wished them success in their new positions.
Henry Grishman, president of SCOPE’s board of directors, gave valuable advice to the organization’s new guests.
“Leave your school district in far better shape than you found it,” said Grishman.
Speakers included Roger Tilles, who serves as Long Island’s representative on the New York State Board of Regents, and New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia. Both provided updates on education policy changes, such as state assessments, graduation requirements and teacher evaluations.
Tilles said he is examining ways to create opportunities for teacher advancement and noted that while many Long Island districts are receiving national accolades, other districts are struggling.
“We have to remember that those kids are our kids,” said Tilles. “We cannot separate districts doing well from those that aren’t. The equity issue needs to be brought to the forefront.”
Commissioner Elia urged educators to be vocal about the issues surrounding the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the new New York State standards and assessment issues. She said she is most proud of ESSA’s emphasis on civic responsibility and engagement.
“We need to teach students to be critical thinkers that look at issues,” said Elia. “Students need to be aware of civic problems.”
After receiving questions about the controversial opt-out movement, the Annual Professional Performance Review, charter schools and the move for privatization of public schools, Elia encouraged educators to remain steadfast on their focus of what is good and beneficial for students.