In mid-July, I wrote a letter to the editor that voiced my concern over the 2012 test scores of the eighth-grade students at Northville in English language arts (70 percent failing to meet the standard) and math (50 percent failing to meet the standard). I also indicated my very deep concern over the reaction of the administration to these scores, which included them saying they were aware of the issues and were working on solutions, and that it's a work "in progress." As I indicated then, this work in progress has been going on since 2005 with no success.
Apparently, the state is tired of waiting as well, and according to a recent edition of The Leader-Herald, Northville's elementary and high schools have been listed as state "focus schools" and must address the issues that have led to them being listed by the end of October. The school must conduct a comprehensive study and suggest a sound, scientifically based program to address these issues. These studies also must be done by the end of October and ready for implementation, the oversight of which will be in the hands of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services superintendent.
The problem Northville faces in doing this is its lack of administration. The high school principal has left, the superintendent is leaving in mid-October, which leaves only the elementary principal to run the building? Who will organize and oversee this soul-searching process of determining the academic problems that exist throughout the district? And as a longtime educator, I can assure you they exist.
I can tell you it is not poverty, and as a matter of fact, the state does not allow schools to use that as an excuse for poor performance. It is not that students don't take the test seriously, as a board member told me in a discussion I had about this issue. That board member also suggested the school should bribe the students with privileges to encourage better performance.
I hope Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel will avail himself to Northville and help them through this process; they will need it.