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Northport-East Northport BOE Examines Goals

Three-pronged effort emphasizes differentiated instruction, alignment to NYS Common Core standards and ‘fostering a culture of respect’ district-wide.

The Northport-East Northport Board of Education received a detailed report on district ‘Goals and Objectives’ at its public work session on Monday.

The report, presented by Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Matthew Nelson, delineated a three pronged plan to a) align local school policy with New York State Common Core standards; b) enhance ‘differentiated’ instruction methodologies to ‘reach children where they are;’ and c) foster a culture of respect among students.

Nelson’s introductory presentation was supplemented by department-specific goals and initiatives from the school district’s departments of visual arts, English language arts and mathematics.

In turn, Julia Lang-Shapiro (Visual Arts), Dr. Patricia Schmitt (English Language Arts), and Robin Rann (Mathematics) detailed their goals and initiatives which were closely tailored to align local school efforts to the three goals described by Nelson.

“Differentiated instruction is a core of visual arts education at Northport,” said Lang-Shapiro.

Added Schmitt: ”We make a point to introduce material in English that encourages tolerance and awareness of social injustice.”

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On Jan. 10, 2011, the New York State Board of Regents approved the recommended additions to the Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy and for Mathematics, plus a new set of Pre-Kindergarten standards. The recommendations are part of a joint effort by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to develop a “common core of standards that are internationally benchmarked, aligned with work and post-secondary education expectations, and inclusive of the higher order skills that students need.”  

According to the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials, differentiated instruction applies an approach to teaching and learning that gives students multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas. Differentiated instruction is a teaching theory based on the premise that instructional approaches should vary and be adapted in relation to individual and diverse students in classrooms.

New York State’s Dignity Act, which took effect on July 1, calls for instruction in civility, citizenship, and character education in the state’s schools, by expanding the concepts of tolerance, respect for others and dignity to include: an awareness and sensitivity in the relations of people, including but not limited to, different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, gender identity, and sexes.

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