The Glen Cove school district could not escape a decrease in English Language Arts (ELA) and math scores similar to what other schools statewide suffered last year due to tougher testing standards. The ELA and math test scores were brought into question at the latest Board of Education special workshop meeting held at the Robert M. Finley Middle School.
In the meeting, issues were raised concerning Academic Intervention Services (AIS) and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.
AIS are school-level assistance implemented by the New York State Department of Education designed to help struggling students. Recent AIS cutbacks in the Glen Cove school district are a concern to Interim Superintendent of Schools for the Glen Cove School District Joseph A. Laria.
"I think we have to address Academic Intervention Services, extra resources for kids who are deficient, there were cutbacks on those last year," he said. "I think those Academic Intervention Services have to be improved."
"They need more reading, they need more math, they may need more developmental services, and that's required by the commissioner, these are regulations. When kids fall below certain levels in reading and math and science you have to provide Academic Intervention Services, extra help in certain areas."
Another issue Laria addressed concerning the test scores was the lack of ESL teachers in the district. The interim superintendent said the district, which has a 44-percent Hispanic population, is not properly equipped to handle all the ESL needs.
"You get Hispanic kids that are very bright and able but the problem is there's a language barrier so there's a lack of understandable instruction, and that translates into scores," he said.
"They're primary language is Spanish and right now they don't have enough background to learn the English language. They need teachers so that the kids can understand better what the teacher is doing in English."
Laria explained the importance of ESL teachers by posing a hypothetical situation.
"If I went to sit in a Japan classroom, I wouldn't know what they were talking about," he said. "It's the same concept. I would need a person to say, 'this is what the teacher is talking about,' and they would be talking in English to understand what the Japanese teacher s talking about."