PS87 PA General Board Meeting – Mar 8, 2019


Attendance: Board Members: Jenny Licht, Cheryl Bennett Davidowitz, Rebecca Solano, Doug Creps, Shari Greenspan, Dara Cremin, Isabel Vaz Pires, Stacy Cousino, Christine Li, Michelle Brophy Camp- bell, Wendy Flagstad, Jen Hoke, Katie Miller, Gillian Mollod, Melissa Burnazian 

Guests: See parent sign-in sheet held by Officer Ayala 

Quorum was met Called to order by Jenny Licht and Cheryl Bennett Davidowitz 

Board Minutes As the first item of business, a motion was made to approve the Board Minutes from the February 2019 General Parents Association Meeting. The motion was approved. Happy International Women’s Day! 

Auction As the second item of business, Christine and Michelle reported that the Auction is on March 23rd – only 2 weeks away! They encouraged parents to sign-up as volunteers for the P.S. 87 Auction (other than bartenders) as well as the Auction swap at other schools – parents at local schools volunteer at each other’s Auctions so that parents can enjoy as much as their school’s auction as possible. They reported that Teacher Treats and Principal-for-a-Day raffles have opened, and that ticket prices will go up next week. Christine also clarified that while parents are encouraged to dress in their “80s” best, it is not required – you come in jeans and still have a great time! 

New York State Testing Information Session As the third item of business, Kazue Takenaga & Jacqueline Morison along with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers (Andrea Garvey, Zach Howard, Sarah Mankes, Eunji Gioia) presented information regarding the NY State Testing exams for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, which will be given to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes. ELA testing will be held on April 2nd and April 3rd. Math testing will be held on May 1st and May 2nd

Jacqueline noted the following changes to the state testing this year: 

• All tests are now untimed – students can take test as long as needed 

• There are fewer questions and fewer passages to read than in previous tests 

• The tests are now spread across 2 days for testing 

• There was additional teacher input on the formation of the questions 

• The text passages are existing texts, both fiction and non-fiction, and should be known to the students (i.e., reading passages were not written only for this test, rather previously published) 

Each of the teachers went over different sections of each of the ELA and Math tests including multiple choice, short response and extended response questions. Refer to attached hand-outs for question composition, grading rubric and example questions and answers. 

Common misconceptions are that the ELA is a writing test. Rather, this is a test of reading com- prehension, therefore spelling mistakes are not errors as long as the response is understandable to the grader. There is a formula for these tests – the multiple choice will almost always have two obvious wrong answers and one “distractor” answer that seems plausible but is not the best choice using the close reading of the question or passage. In addition, when the Math question asks to show work, the student will not be awarded any points for a correct answer if no work is shown. However, if the student provides the incorrect answer with some work shown, they can receive partial credit depending on the work provided. 

Questions were posed by parents regarding the following topics (responses included): 

• Student’s stamina for long exams. Students are allowed to take bathroom breaks and lunch breaks, if needed, during the test as the test is untimed. 

• Logistics for students needing more time than the rest of their class. Kazue sets up an extended time room as needed. Typically the lower grades take 60-70 minutes on each test day and the upper grades take 80-90 minutes on each test day. 

• Students’ understanding of the rubric. Students are informed of the grading rubric for the tests and many teachers will have the students grade a sample test response so that they understand how it will be graded and discuss test taking strategy. 

• Score release dates. The tests are graded by the end of the academic year but the grades are later normalized based on a bell curve. The date the normalized scores (i.e., 1 through 4) are released depend on the DOE and can be anytime between July and Sep- tember. 

• State test scores used by Middle Schools for admission. Most Middle Schools will use the 4th grade test scores as part of their admission process. 

Further information on NY State Testing can be found on or parents are en- couraged to contact their child’s teacher for specific questions. 

Treasurers’ Report As the fourth item of business, Doug provided an update on the budget as of February 28, 2019 (see attached). Doug also addressed a question as what was “Galaxy payments,” which is the monies provided by the PA to Monica, which pays for budgetary items not covered by the DOE (e.g., kindergarten and 1st grade assistants, closer teachers, etc.). 

Co-Presidents’ Report As the fifth item of business, Jenny and Cheryl provided the following reminders/updates: 

• We no longer have a crossing guard in the morning stationed at 77th and Amsterdam. You can contact 311 to report this as a safety issue. 

• Pan Asian Lunar New Year is tonight (free event), starting at 6:30 (the dragon will be there!) followed by a pot-luck dinner 

• There are a number of PA Board Co-Chair seats available for next year – Fundraising, Wellness, Secretary. Contact Jenny or Cheryl if you are interested. 

Meeting Adjourned at 9:20am. 

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