A handful of New York's top education officials visited Poughkeepsie High School, during a site tour made on Tuesday afternoon.
NY State Education Commissioner John King was joined by Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Regent Harry Phillips, and Chief of External Affairs Dennis Tompkins, to meet with local school administrators.
Together, they dropped in on faculty meetings, several classes, and the school computer lab, where they chatted with students, observing how recent grant money has been allocated.
Superintendent Laval Wilson led the tour.
“We just wanted to provide them with the opportunity to see how their school improvement money was being utilized, since we are one of those districts that has a school improvement grant,” said Wilson. Last year, the district received $1.99 million as part of an ongoing funding initiative.
Tisch was impressed by what she saw.
“It shows you that the money is being targeted to raise achievement and it's not just another program where districts were allowed to take the money and do whatever they wanted,” said Tisch. “If you walk through this building, you see that the efficacy of doing this type of grant to a school district has really paid off in Poughkeepsie.”
“There's a real commitment on the part of the district leadership, with the principal, to implement the new common core college and career-ready standards,” noted King. “They're really thinking on how to link effective instruction, and the work on evaluation,” he said.
“It's not just about assessing performance, but it's actually about helping people receive the professional development they need to continuously get better,“ King added.
King said he was also struck by the district's strong collaborative relationship between labor and management. “That makes a huge difference in moving the work forward on evaluation,” King indicated.
“It's an honor to have them here,” commented PHS principal Edgar Glascott. “It's great that our kids can see them here touring the building, to be able to show off all the stuff that they're doing,” he said. “It's nice to be able to show people in this community and this state all the hard work our staff is doing here at the High School.”
When asked by Commissioner King what keeps him up at night, Glascott responded that he worries about keeping kids in school.
“People have no idea what our kids go through, lots of bad situations,” Glascott told the commissioner. “I've gotten phone calls at 3 o'clock in the morning,” he said. “The violence has really picked up in the community.”