Did administrators at Manchester Memorial High School engage in pressure tactics and bribery to persuade kids to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment at a school assembly on Monday? That’s the question we raised yesterday after receiving parental posts making the allegations.
“We have had several inquiries about the Smarter Balanced at Memorial High School.
Principal Adamakos held an assembly, as he has each year since the NHIEAP testing, to talk to students about the test and how best to take it. Mr. Adamakos told students they should do their best and try. Students who worked in earnest for 90% of the testing time were qualified for an incentive raffle to win a gift card, funded through the student activity account. This has been replicated each year since the NHIEAP was introduced in 2002.
Three parents have emailed Arthur refusing to permit their child to take the test. In response, Arthur has sent the following email:
‘I am aware that you wish to have your daughter not take the Smarter Balanced assessment.
Please submit in writing your request (not email) and indicate the wording “I am requesting that my daughter have excused absences during the Smarter Balanced testing” since, technically, students cannot opt-out.
Her lack of participation has to count against our total participation rate for our school and she will be marked as not participating.’
In speaking to Arthur this morning, we have reiterated there is no minimum threshold for participation in this assessment and to exclude that sentence from any further communication regarding refusals.
As for the students scoring proficient or higher and earning exemptions from final exams, this was approved by the district administration years ago.
Mr. Adamakos is emphatic in stating he has not challenged any of the three students with their refusals, is not bribing students with headphones to participate in the test (headphones are required for the audio portion of the test and have been provided to all students by the school district), and apologized for his mistake in believing there was still a 95% minimum participation requirement for the assessment.”
Livingston’s email did not address Adamakos’ requirement that a specifically worded letter be sent, rather than an email which, according to the letter sent by the district advising parents they could refuse their child’s participation, is allowed.
In an interview with Girard at Large, Adamakos denied telling the assembled students that opting out of the test would harm the school, as alleged. However, he did admit to telling them that it would count against the school’s participation rate. He also confirmed that he’s been holding the assemblies for several years and that nothing special or different was done this year versus previous years. In addition, he forwarded an email he sent to parents via the district’s Aspen Parent Portal, which reads as follows:
Parents/Guardians and Grade 11 students:
Earlier in the year I was informed at the state level that there was a participation rate for the SBAC that had to be met similar to our NECAP and NHEIAP assessments that were taken in the past.
Today, I was alerted to the participation rate and that no such conditions for Manchester are in effect. Students who do not participate in the SBAC program have no effect on our school-wide results.
If you wish to have your student not participate in the SBAC, please submit your request in writing (not email) to the main office by this Friday.
Adamakos said “being informed at the state level,” referred to a workshop that he attended in January sponsored by N H Association of School Principals where a presenter from the NHDOE was asked a question about participation rate. He also said Assistant Superintendent David Ryan advised him that the participation rate wasn’t going to be counted this year because it was the first year using the assessment. Adamakos didn’t know if that meant a participation rate would be imposed in subsequent years. Ryan did not return our call yesterday seeking clarification.
Adamakos also told us he’s received thirty eight refusal letters had opted their students out of the assessment. Out of 366 kids, that’s more than ten percent of the Junior Class has refused the test. Students not taking the test will remain in class during the test as the school is testing kids in alphabetic groups in the school’s computer labs exlained Adamakos who also said he’s asking parents for letters to have their signature and ensure an email isn’t missed.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The New Hampshire Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee heard a bill yesterday that would require voters to live in the state and county for at least 30 days before casting a ballot in an election. Senate Bill One Seventy Nine, introduced by District Fourteen State Senator Sharon Carson, Republican from Londonderry, would add a 30 day residency requirement to the existing voting law. Quote “This bill serves to restore meaningful elections in the state of New Hampshire by assuring the law is clear for those citizens who want to vote and invest in the New Hampshire way of life” said Carson, who went on to say that Secretary of State Bill Gardner supported the bill. According to Carson’s press statement on the matter, seventeen states require voters to live in theri state for up to 30 days before being allowed to vote.
The Easter Bunny Breakfast at the Bartlett Elementary School on Mast Road in scenic Pinardville will take place this Saturday, regardless of weather, from 8 A M to Noon. It’s a week early this year and organizers want to make sure folks don’t miss out on this beloved event as a result. It’s a great community tradition for all ages and affordable too, with FREE egg hunts outside, by age group, face painting, a cake walk, arts and crafts sponsored by the Goffstown Library and OOOHHH sooo much more, like photos with the Easter Bunny and really cool basket raffles prepared by the staff and parents – mostly kid-related, but stuff for mom and dad, too. Be sure to take it all in!
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.