Lake Placid schools deal with mandates

— The Lake Placid Central School District’s previous year was highlighted by a tough budget process, taxpayer animosity toward the school superintendent and the untimely departure of the middle/high school principal.

The new school year will be tough as well, but most of the stress is coming from state mandates in Albany, not from within.

“I’ve never seen this much change in education in such a short amount of time, and it’s going to be overwhelming for a lot of our people,” said School Superintendent Randy Richards. “We’ll meet the challenge, but it will be overwhelming.”

The New York State Education Department this year is requiring a number of new mandates that school districts must follow in order to improve teaching and learning standards. Mandates from the Common Core standards, the state’s new Annual Professional Performance Review Law (teacher evaluations), and the Dignity for All Students Act have changed the landscape of education for the educators and administrators.

“Each one of these is huge, but to combine them together will be challenging,” Richards said.

Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, the content of the grade 3-8 tests will be aligned to the Common Core.

And the Dignity for all Students Act — signed into law on Sept. 13, 2010 — took effect on July 1 of this year. It was designed to provide students “with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.”

The Annual Professional Performance Review Law — signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in February — is now being administered throughout the state, and each district must have its plan approved by the state Education Department. Lake Placid Central School administrators are finishing negotiations with teachers regarding the teacher evaluations, according to Richards.

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