Important Notification from Dr. Cook – Over-utilization of Snow Days and Grades 3-8 Assessments

March 13, 2018

Dear Catskill CSD Community:

As we approach the spring season, I want to provide you with an update regarding the over-utilization of snow days. The District has utilized an additional day beyond our allotment of 5 snow days. As a result, we need to make up a day of school to ensure that our total calculation is 180 school days. The District calendar currently illustrates a specific sequence of restoration days if there was an over-utilization of more than 5 school days. The sequence is as follows: April 6, April 5, April 4, April 3 and April 2.

At the March 21, 2018 Board of Education Meeting, I will be making a recommendation to the Board to amend the approved District calendar. Instead of disrupting Spring Break for students, I am recommending the following sequence of restoration days: June 7, April 6, April 5, April 4, April 3. This means that June 7, 2018, would be a full day of school for students. It was originally scheduled as a day off for students and a Professional Development Day for staff.

Our Professional Development Day for staff, that was originally scheduled for June 7, 2018, would take place on Friday, March 30, 2018. As a result, there would be no disruption of Spring Break for students.

Secondly, the annual New York State Assessments for students in Grades 3-8 will be conducted on the following days:

Assessments Administration Dates Make-Up Dates
English Language Arts April 11-13, 2018 April 16-18, 2018
Mathematics May 1-3, 2018 May 4-9, 2018
Science- Written June 4, 2018 June 5-6, 2018

This year’s assessments include new changes to the format and how the tests are administered. Some of the changes include the following:

  • Tests are reduced from three days to two days
  • Shorter, untimed tests
  • Teachers’ evaluations will not be affected by students’ scores
  • Students with reading accommodations as documented on his / her IEP or 504 plan can have the test read to them.

The District is fully invested to ensure that all students take the 3-8 New York State assessments. Our elementary and middle schools are designated as “Focus Schools” primarily due to the student participation rate. We need 100% of our student population to take the assessments. Ninety-five percent is the minimum student participation rate required by SED to appeal to our “Focus School” designation.

Operation “Opt-In” is in full effect. Both schools have scheduled parent workshops to review the changes in the assessments. The elementary school’s workshop is scheduled for March 22, 2018 at 6:30pm, in the CES Cafeteria. The middle school’s workshop is scheduled for March 21, 2018 at 6:00pm, in the CMS Auditorium.

In closing, our graduation rate for the 2016-17 school year was 90 percent. This data demonstrates that our students have the capacity to complete assessments with proficiency. Again, we just need them to take the assessments. The results from the assessments will assist us with the following:

  1. Appeal to the State Department of Education to remove our schools off the Focus School designation list.
  2. Serve as a source of data used to provide students with targeted intervention, instruction and enrichment.

As always, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at (518) 943-4696.



Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools

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