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Hammond super outlines plans to improve district

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HAMMOND — Big changes are coming to Hammond Central School.

Randy C. Richards, who was appointed as the district’s interim superintendent Tuesday, rolled out his plans this week to improve communication and student report cards and push for data-driven instruction during his one year with the district.

“This is the greatest amount of change in public education, in my view, since the Industrial Revolution,” Mr. Richards said. “You’ve got higher accountability, but fewer resources to do it with. More is less is the mantra.”

But Mr. Richards said he has a plan to tackle the “fast and furious” education reforms developed by New York state.

He plans to introduce himself to parents and to discuss Common Core standards during an informational meeting with parents this month. The meeting date has not yet been set, he said.

“A lot of Common Core standards are coming under fire with a lot of parents,” Mr. Richards said. “We want to explain what it is and the history of it and how we’re approaching it here.

Plans for a new, revamped school website are underway to improve communication with parents.

“The website is only as good as the information you post on it, and ours is an old version,” Mr. Richards said. “And it’s not even supported by regional BOCES. We hope to move to a site that is the same model used by other local districts.”

He and faculty members were planning to join peers from Parishville-Hopkinton Central School at the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Board of Cooperative Educational Services to explore new methods in data-driven instruction.

“It’s a really focused approach to looking at student results that’s not just big exams, but smaller formative assessments,” he said.

Faculty and administration are working to create a more comprehensive student report card, aimed at measuring proficiency in individual lessons rather than average numerical grades for each subject, Mr. Richards said.

Students will be assessed on a 4-point scale, ranging from Exemplary to Proficient, Developing or Emerging.

The move from numerical grades means more personalized learning, Mr. Richards said.

“It gives parents direct feedback what skill or standard the student is not or is performing well at,” he said. “That’s pretty exciting. I dare say a lot of districts haven’t made that jump yet, but this is a big jump for us.”

Mr. Richards plans to present a final draft form to the district board at its next meeting Nov. 12.

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