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From: Superintendent's Office

Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 4:24 PM

To: Superintendent's Office
Subject: A Message from Dr. Vargas About State Assessments
Dear Colleagues,
I visited many schools that are administering the state ELA exams today, and I was very encouraged by
what I saw.
The overwhelming majority of students in grades 3-8 are taking the assessments. The students who
were taking the exams were well supervised and working hard; I also saw excellent examples of
instruction after tests were complete and in grade levels not taking the assessment. It takes
considerable work from our administrators, teachers and school staffs to administer the tests properly
while supporting our students and maintaining high-quality instruction. I thank you all for your great
I know that our teachers, administrators and school staffs have been working hard all year to help
students meet Common Core learning standards. That is why I believe it is important for our students to
take the assessments. They provide an important measure among many that help us to track the
academic growth of individual students and to compare achievement to other schools and districts
across New York.
I recognize that some people have strong feelings about the assessments and believe that parents
should have their children opt out. This group includes some teachersand although I respectfully
disagree with their opinion, I recognize and support their right to express it. No teacher or other staff
member will face any consequences simply for expressing their personal views.
I have heard from parents that a small number of teachers may have gone further, using class time or
school resources to recruit students and parents to refuse the test. This would violate education law and
is something the District would be required to address. I know that many of you may have seen an email
from a member of my team about this topic. If that email was interpreted as intimidating or offensive in
any way, I apologize. Rest assured that no actions will be taken against any teacher or administrator
engaged in the difficult work of educating our children simply because they expressed their views.
One thing on which we all agree is the need to support all our studentsthose who are taking the
assessments and those are not. I am certain that our employees will maintain the professional
atmosphere and high-quality instruction I witnessed today as we continue to administer the
Thank you for the work you do to treat every child like one of our own.