Editor’s note: In her letter to parents in the latest edition of the Ellicottville Elementary Newsletter (check your children’s backpacks!), Principal Connie Poulin provided advice on what parents can do to prepare students for upcoming State Assessments for grades 3-8.

While some school districts in the state are resisting – even protesting – the Common Core, ECS has embraced it at every level. Superintendent Mark Ward and the Board of Education have stated on numerous occasions that the program teaches what children need to know to be successful. Teachers and administrators have taken the program seriously, and as a result, they are seeing the entire school community becoming more “test-wise” and more confident. We reprint this part of her letter with permission.

The students are proud of themselves! 

By Connie Poulin, Ellicottville Elementary School Principal /CSE-CPSE Chairperson

With the recent changes in curriculum, we are all heartened by the work we see students accomplishing. The students are proud of themselves! We are very proud of how the students have stepped up to meet the demands of the Common Core. I am thrilled with how our ECS teachers have dug into their work and diligently planned for how to best move students forward to meet success with the more rigorous curriculum. We can all use the challenge of the upcoming state assessments as an opportunity to remain energized. As a school, we work well together and benefit greatly from how parents take pride in their child’s ECS education.

When the testing results come back, while the results will provide only a thumbnail sketch of who a child is academically, reviewing the results is an important leadership moment for both parents and school personnel across New York State. We have been repeatedly told by professionals in the State Education Department that the assessment results are consistent with other indicators of the college and career readiness of New York State students, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), NYS student performance on the SAT and PSAT, and college and career-ready scores on New York State’s high school Regents exams. Thank you for allowing us to fully participate in the information gathering opportunity the Grades 3-8 State Assessments provide. Albeit limited, the assessments do provide us data regarding student preparation. The opportunity to reflect on student preparedness, in comparison to students across the state, will continue to be both important and motivating.

While I encourage all of us to continue to celebrate our school’s academic success, we cannot solely focus on these upcoming State Assessments and scores as our only measure for success at the risk of overlooking the other great work that is being done in character and social development. We will continue to strive to support families as we work together to create the best possible school environment, and also look forward to the upcoming event of the NYS Assessments with enthusiasm.