Pawling Students Excel Among Dutchess Schools

The Pawling Central School District (PCSD) Board of Education convened on Tuesday, October 9, at Pawling High School. The evening would include a presentation from Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Kim Fontana regarding Pawling students and Next Generation Learning Standards, and a proposal regarding the process for securing lights for a nighttime sporting events in the district next year.

Fontana’s presentation addressed NYS Next Generation Learning Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The assessments in these areas for grades 3-8 are competency tests for every student in the program designed to provide information to schools and communities regarding student readiness for Regents exams, college, and careers. Scores on these tests are assessed on a scale that has been largely predictive of performance on later Regents exams.

In 2018, Pawling students outperformed twelve districts within Dutchess County based on multiple achievements in ELA and mathematics. The PCSD was second only to Red Hook in these areas, and Pawling’s ranking has steadily improved each year. According to the NYS Public Data Site, Pawling outperforms other Dutchess County districts at a higher rate in ELA than math.

Fontana also highlighted the district’s ongoing efforts to learn and improve. For ELA, the district is using a Literacy Coach working with grades K-6, and teachers are undergoing ongoing professional development to help augment the Vision of Literacy initiative begun last year. To improve student scores in mathematics, there is coordinated curriculum development between the middle school and high school.

To address education gaps, the PCSD is collaborating with the Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Center as well as the Regional Bilingual Education Network, Fontana explained. District officials remain committed to improving outreach to multilingual families, access to families without economic privilege, and focus on personalized learning to expand the curriculum to ensure relevance for a diverse group of students.

In other business, the Board heard from resident Paul Meissner on behalf of a number of attendants at the meeting. Meissner came before the Board to address the possibility of renting portable light towers so that Pawling athletic teams would be able to play night games next year. The proposal would involve acquiring the lights for a period of one week next fall, with each varsity fall sports team being able to have one night game. Meissner stressed the importance of beginning this process now to secure funds, coordinate the logistics of the project, and allow time for the Athletic Director to fit the events into next year’s schedule.

Board of Education President Jeff Asher and Superintendent William Ward were receptive to the idea, and all Board member were in favor of allowing the process to move forward. However, officials expressed concerns about costs and supervision for the games, which will need to be addressed before fundraising and planning can begin.

The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Monday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Pawling Elementary School, 7 Haight Street.