For any teacher or parent that called for less testing and more teaching, district leaders agree – you had it right.
"The good news is the children this fall will be taking less tests," said superintendent Bolgen Vargas.
Vargas, the Rochester City School District superintendent, and Rochester Teachers' Union president Adam Urbanski announced the district turned in a proposal to the state's Education Commissioner to do away with pre-test assessments.
"The time that was devoted to the assessment in the fall is now going to be devoted to the teaching and the learning," said Vargas.
District leaders say the move will free up weeks in the classroom between now and mid-October that would normally be spent on testing. Vargas says this will only impact locally developed tests. It will not affect state exam and core curriculum requirements.
"We are confident that this is within the law. We are confident the commissioner will approve that," said Urbanski.
The district plans to go ahead and move forward with this proposal. They say based on the commissioner's decision, that's when they'll make adjustments.
"If we have to test our kids, then we will do so, but it's very unlikely that will happen," said Vargas.
Vargas says they plan to use the previous year's test as a new baseline to measure student achievement. Urbanski says by dramatically reducing the number of local assessments, it will impact teacher evaluations as part of the Annual Professional Performance Review Process.
"The most immediate danger of that law is overtesting," said Urbanski.
Just months ago, it was released that Rochester had the worst graduation rate in the state.
District leaders hope this is one step to help change that.