School district report cards were released for primary schools across New York State this past week. The evaluations covered each school in the district, rating their performance and examination scores for math, science, English-language arts as well as information on enrollment and attendance.
Cazenovia Central School District students scored fairly well this past year; 135 teachers instructed 1670 pupils among the three facilities. Enrollment in each school has been slowly declining, but the students have consistently posted strong scores. District Superintendent Bob Dubik attributes the fragile real-estate market to the low attendance and tells that the district’s strong foundation will continue the tradition of excellence.
“The reason we do well is very simple; we have hard-working teachers, hard-working students and involved parents who all expect the best,” Dubik said. “That breeds success. We have been able to meet and exceed learning standards for all subjects.”
Fewer families have been moving to Cazenovia in recent years, and with every graduating class of seniors, a smaller class of kindergarteners enrolls.
“It’s a big issue, I’ve talked to the Chamber of Commerce about it, I’ve talked to the town and village officials; there has to be a plan to entice young couples to move to Cazenovia. The schools will keep doing their part.” Dubik said.
Burton Street Elementary School attendance increased by about 4 students in individual grades, but overall enrollment has declined over the previous two years. In the 2009-10 school year, Burton Street Elementary housed 569 students. This is down from 582 during 2008-09, and 611 total students for the 2007-08 school year.
As enrollments decline, so have the number of teaching positions at Burton Street. Five positions have been eliminated in the past three years. This past year, 41 teachers were employed at the Elementary School. Accordingly, the average class size has stayed consistent over the past three years, at about 21 students per class.
Six members of “other professional staff” are employed at Burton Street, providing students with services other than instruction. “Other professional staff” includes administrators, guidance counselors, nurses, psychologists and all other employees who devote more than half of their time to non-teaching duties.
Although staff and student numbers have been down, test scores are holding up. The school is listed as “in good standing” for mathematics, science and English-language arts, and the students have successfully shown “adequate yearly progress” in all subjects.
Third and fourth-graders were tested in math and ELA. During the 2009-10 year, 76 percent of third-graders and 89 percent of fourth graders met learning standards for mathematics. Testing for ELA showed that 76 percent of third-graders and 84 percent of fourth-graders had gained understanding of the subject. Only fourth-graders were tested in science and 98 percent of students comprehended the material; many “met learning standards with distinction.”
Cazenovia Middle School also had a decreasing number of students, but high test scores during the 2009-10 school year; despite a decreasing number of students, they still posted high scores. 392 students attended the school last year; this was down from 402 students for the previous term and 417 students for the 2007-08 year. The middle school includes just the fifth, sixth a seventh grades. As students move into the high school, enrollment numbers seem to fluctuate; although the grade sizes seem to be consistent.
“We need to keep moving forward,” Dubik said. “Budget times are tough, and our schools will be affected. Class sizes will be affected slightly. The state wants to cap how we raise taxes and they also want to take state aid away. Those are our two main sources of revenue.”
The number of teaching positions in the middle school has stayed consistent in recent years, although the number of classes offered had increased. 26 teachers instruct the enrolled students in 120 classes; 100 of those being core courses, such as English, math, science, social studies, art, music and foreign languages.
Examination results showed strong numbers among enrolled students. Test scores placed the school in good standing, with students making adequate yearly progress.
All grades met learning standards in all subjects. 79 percent of fifth-graders achieved a satisfactory understanding of math, as well as ELA, where 58 percent of students displayed comprehension. 81 percent of sixth-graders met learning standards for Math, and 71 percent for ELA. Seventh-graders also scored well in math and ELA, as 84 percent and 64 percent of students met learning standards, respectively. Female students academically outperformed their male counterparts in the middle school, except for math scores in sixth and seventh grades.
The high school has also experienced declining enrollment in the past three years, although the matriculation percentage remains high. Cazenovia High School includes grades 8 through 12, which was comprised of 709 students during the 09-10 term. Throughout the 2008-09 school year, 711 students were enrolled, which isn’t a large drop in attendance, but during 2007-08 term 750 students attended the school.
Teaching positions and the number of offered courses rose in the past three years. 54 teachers are employed within the five grades in the high school. This is an increase of four from the 2007-08 school year. Along with a growing staff, more classes have been available to students at Cazenovia High School.
Last year, 257 classes were offered, including 208 core classes. Numbers are up from the previous years, when 254 classes were available (204 being core courses) for the 2009-08 term, and 237 classes (with 198 core classes) were conducted over the 2008-07 school year.
Examinations in each major academic subject showed that high school students were also in good standing and making adequate yearly progress, as the younger students had. In the eighth grade, 80 percent of students met learning standards in Math, and so did 66 percent of students for ELA. 100 percent of eighth-grade students tested met learning standards for Science, and 74 percent did so “with distinction,” as they exhibited thorough understanding of the subject material.
Once students officially enter the ranks of high school their scholastic proficiency is tested through state-wide administered Regents exams. Freshman through senior students complete standardized tests on subjects including comprehensive English, integrated algebra geometry, trigonometry, global history and geography, U.S. history and government, living environment, earth science, chemistry, as well as physics.
Of all the tests taken in the 2009-10 school year, over 90 percent of Cazenovia students were able to pass each exam. The highest percentages came with the U.S history and government regents, as 99 percent passed, and of those students, 74 percent achieved higher than a score of 85 on the test. The lowest scores registered last year were on the chemistry regents, a notoriously difficult subject. Of the 113 students that took the exam, 98 percent of pupils had a score of 55 or more and 88 percent scored higher than 65. About 31 percent of students were able to score 85 or higher on the exam.
Cazenovia High School has traditionally had a high rate of graduation, and not much has changed in recent years. During the 09-10 term, 122 students graduated from the district; 117 students received at least a Regents Diploma and 82 students’ averages awarded them Regents Diplomas with Advanced Recognition. Of those that successfully graduated, 83 went on to 4-year colleges, 17 went to 2-year colleges, five students entered the military and 15 found full-time employment.
To access the charts and further examine the district’s report card, visit nystart.gov/publicweb online. Information on the individual schools in Cazenovia’s district is available, as well as districts across New York State.