The Northern Tioga School District board of directors discussed graduation projects and Keystone testing at the Sept. 28 meeting. Due to the shutdown in 2019-20, some students are struggling to catch up on missed material.

Matthew Sottolano, principal of Cowanesque Valley High School, and Kristopher Kaufman, principal of Williamson High School, requested for a one-year postponing of graduation projects for this year.

Some students are struggling with completing their graduation projects because they cannot complete the hours needed. Places that usually have community service hours available for students are not open due to COVID-19. This is making it challenging for students to complete their projects as required.

The request of postponing graduation projects will be placed on the October board agenda. The board then looked at Keystone exams.

Kaufman said that it is a challenge for the students to catch up for the testing. Dr. Diana Barnes, NTSD superintendent, said she would not be surprised if testing was pushed off for another year as a result of COVID-19.

Last year’s Keystone exams were waived, but if they are not made up, the students will lose two out of five paths to graduation. Barnes said the students will have the option to make up the exams this year. Kaufman said that the best option for the students is needed.

“If tests are not taken, it shuts down the pathways to diploma,” Barnes said.

The board reviewed which subjects should be included in the testing. One member suggested removing biology and geometry from the subjects tested and only testing for algebra. Another member suggested lightening the class load to make it easier for the students to catch up on missed material.

Another matter were discussed at the meeting was disposal of chemicals. Staff will check to make sure any remaining lab chemicals are disposed.

The secure entrance project is delayed until the end of November due to equipment failure. More time is needed to get materials for the project. The materials are expected to arrive in mid-October.

In concluding the meeting, Barnes said that a student told her that they were happy to be back in school. “I think most of them are happy to be back,” Barnes said.

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