Massena Central board members want to assess recent graduate success following graduation
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
MASSENA — Massena Central School District board members want to assess how recent graduates are faring in their future endeavors in an effort to improve and enhance the district’s curriculum.
Officials say feedback solicited will allow the district to determine the value of education received through the district.According to Nicole Charleson, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, officials hope to focus on increasing graduation rates, improving attendance and reducing dropout rates. Those goals set in the 2023-24 Professional Learning Plan mirror the district’s goals from 2022-23.
Charleson said the data supports the notion that the district should stay the course and continue to focus on those three objectives for the current school year.
Board members say they hope to solicit feedback from recent graduates to obtain hard data that would allow the board to create a device to track students “so that we can gauge our success.”
Though the idea of gathering information appeared to have support from board members, Superintendent Ron Burke said it would be difficult in obtaining enough information.
Burke told board members his prior experience with BOCES makes him leery of the idea.
“I get a little nervous because when we start talking about postgraduate data, my prior experience at BOCES says we are required to track that for our CTE (Career Technical Education) students and it becomes quite an undertaking without a lot of success in terms of return rate,” he said.
The idea of an outside organization or state agency taking over the project was a possibility, like the New York State School Boards Association.
“I think we can begin gathering potential partners and then we can select a partner based on what kind of data we are looking for. Which potential partner is able to help us glean that data as we go over time,” Burke said.
Board member Patricia Murphy said it is crucial the district begins to gather the information, saying if the district has a learning plan but isn’t sure of the degree of success in implementing it “then it’s kind of a moot point.”
The sentiment was echoed by board Vice President Kevin Perretta, who said he has seen many curricular changes in his time on the board without a full assessment of what has been successful in the past.
“This is the new thing we’re going to do and we don’t know if the old one was wrong. We don’t really know what actually worked or didn’t work because I don’t think it’s tracked far enough,” he said.
Perretta said post-graduation information is the missing piece the district needs to solve.
“There’s social media connections. There’s all sorts of new ways to connect, and if we can make those connections while they’re still in school with the understanding that we want to hear from you later,” he said.
Soliciting information will have to begin with a grassroots movement to obtain the necessary information, Perretta said.
“That gives you some information anyway. What’s wrong with being connected to the school after you leave anyway? That’s not a bad thing,” he said.