South Orangetown Central School District

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Rudy Arietta

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction hosted the District’s first-ever Acceleration Meeting last night to provide parents of students in grades five through eight with information regarding options for math and science course sequencing.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Rudy Arietta emphasized that the goal is for all students to take four years each of math and science at Tappan Zee High School and that a range of differentiated courses are available to support this.

With regard to single-grade, subject acceleration–the opportunity for a student to take math or science coursework above their current grade level–the District has an open enrollment policy. Teachers provide course recommendations based on students’ performance for the first two quarters of the school year, test/quiz averages and STAR reading scores. Parents and their children may override the teacher recommendation and opt to accelerate–or not.

“Parents have a voice in this process,” Arietta explained. “We want to give you as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Ultimately, this is a family decision about your child’s achievement, work ethic and passion for the subject area.

The presentation included an overview of the course sequencing for students who accelerate in science and math at the middle school level, as well as on-ramps for those seeking to advance through the curriculum at a faster pace once they get to high school.

“It’s not a now or never proposition. There are options,” said Arietta, who discussed characteristics of students who accelerate successfully. “The desire students have to challenge themselves should be paired with a tolerance for being uncomfortable. They may be accustomed to getting high scores all the time; this may be the first time that they have to work to get good grades. When you challenge yourself, you change your limits. How comfortable are they with struggling? How comfortable are you with seeing your child experience struggle?”

Following the presentation, middle and high school principals, school counselors and math and science team leaders fielded questions from attendees.

Parents of current South Orangetown Middle School sixth-graders can expect to receive an email in early April regarding teacher recommendations for their children’s seventh grade placements in math and science.

View the presentation slides here.