October 19, 2021

Regents canceled; options weighed

After the June Regents exam was canceled last week by the state Department of Education, school districts in the greater Cortland area have been discussing what comes next.

“This was a difficult decision for Commissioner (Shannon) Tahoe and the leadership at NYSED,” said Cincinnatus Superintendent Todd Freeman in an email. “But I feel they made a thoughtful decision for both students and staff in regards to cancelling regents examinations.”

The exams were canceled because nobody really knows when regular in-class teaching will resume — New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has canceled classes there for the rest of the academic year — and whether students would be adequately prepared to take the exam without in class instruction.

Students who are passing their courses at the end of the school year will get Regents credit, Freeman said. Students who are not passing a course in June will have to take a summer course to get credit for it.

In school districts like McGraw Central School District, high school Principal Mark Dimorier and elementary school Principal Susan Prince have been visiting students’ homes in person to make sure they have essential resources, Superintendent Melinda McCool said in an email.

“It is important that we continue to offer the continuity of instruction that is the right of every child,” she said. “Our teachers care about the whole child and will work with families in an equitable manner.”

Freeman said he was not sure if the district will institute final exams in place of the Regents exam, but did say that the district is having discus- sions about how it will determine students’ final grades.

McCool said teachers in her district have discussed using programs like Castle Learning, which offers tests online as a way of potentially conducting final exams remotely.

“The staff at Cincinnatus have done a great job preparing materials,” Freeman said. “Whether it be traditional paper and pencil work or using remote tools such as Google Classroom, Google Meets, Class Dojo, Youtube, Remind App, or other digital tools that allow for new learning.”