Board member who quit now urges change

 

KINDERHOOK—Former board member William Murphy addressed the Ichabod Crane School Board at their regular meeting Tuesday night, saying the district needed go further with their educational goals. He said the schools had to “give the kids the education that they need in this very, very competitive world.”

   Board members discussed creating board goals, evaluating their superintendent and the state school report card during the meeting May 5, but they did not address Dr. Murphy’s comments directly. Instead they spoke about successful educational programs in the district and future goals.

   Dr. Murphy and his wife, Sabine, both addressed the board about the quality of the programs at Ichabod Crane. They said they were shocked at the college application process their oldest child had just gone through and the caliber of applicants she was up against. Ms. Murphy said her daughter is “a good student here at Ichabod and one door after another closed for her” while she was applying to college.” She went on to say, “Ichabod Crane lags way behind” other schools.”

   Dr. Murphy said the district needs what he called “clear goals,” and he urged the board to be bold and ambitious with the educational program. He said “a robust academic program puts [our students] in the best position.”

   Ms. Murphy suggested a more rigorous English Department and an overhauling of Math Department. She was also concerned for her son going into middle school next year, saying that parents worried that middle school was a rough time for students.

   Dr. Murphy resigned from the board in February. His seat was left vacant and will be filled by a candidate in the May 19 election.

   At the May 5 meeting the board also discussed the process of evaluating Superintendent James Dexter. Board members received questionnaires to fill out, and they plan to discuss the matter further. Board member Regina Rose pointed out that rating Mr. Dexter now on how he helped meet board goals would mean evaluating him based on goals that the board has not yet defined. Members plan to discuss those goals in committee.

   Assistant Superintendent Maureen VanDeusen reported that all the schools in the district were “in good standing,” according the state Report Card for 2007-08. She said that test scores for elementary school and middle school students mirrored each other, indicating there was no drop in achievement as students advanced. She also said that she was working closely with the College of Nanotechnology in Albany. “We are preparing student for jobs that don’t exist now,” said Ms. VanDeusen.

   The next board meeting will be the annual budget hearing Tuesday, May 12, at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library. The annual budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 19, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the high gchool gymnasium. The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, June 2, at 7 p.m.

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