March Letter from Dr. Pitterson

Dear Parent/Guardian:

We are now in what I consider the busiest time of the school year. Third quarter progress reports are out and in the blink of an eye will be followed by the end of the quarter reports. We are also only a month away from the beginning of our Grade 7 and 8 State Assessments in English. The English Assessments will begin on April 10 and there will be two major changes in the administering of the assessments this year.

The first change is that our seventh grade students will be doing the assessment in English on the computer. Our students and staff have been preparing for this change in exam format. In the next few weeks, all seventh grade students will be given practice time to get familiar with the computer tools and aides that they will be allowed to utilize in doing the English Assessment. The students are already quite computer and technology savvy so I have no doubt that they will like this new method of assessment.  

The second change this year is that all students will be scheduled for the assessments. There will be no alternative schedule or assignment for students during the examination. The results of the assessments help families know if their child’s learning is on track, or if extra help is needed. Here at BKW we also use the results to inform us in creating accelerated learning opportunities and remediation assistance programs.

Whenever students do not take the assessments not only are we not able to appropriately schedule them in classes but they are counted by New York State among the number of students who do not meet the standards established by the state. This is reflected in what the state calls the Accountability Index. Schools and districts that fall below a 95 percent participation rate on state assessments are not eligible for any state or federal awards or recognitions. In addition, schools with low participation rates on New York State Assessments can eventually be labeled as “schools in need of improvement” even if they have good passing rates. New York State had suspended the enforcement of this policy in recent years, but it has now been reinstated. I am therefore counting on your support in having all our seventh and eighth grade students take the assessments.

Please come out and support the students at our annual musical production scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24 at 7:00 PM and on Sunday, March 25 at 3:00 PM. 

On Tuesday, March 27, BKW Secondary School will be hosting three Anti-Bullying Workshops in the school’s auditorium. The Assembly will be conducted by Ms. Michele Geresi. The middle school will have its workshop from 8:45 to 9:30 and the high school workshop will be from 10:16 to 11:00. There will also be a parent workshop from 12:00 to 12:45. Unfortunately Ms. Geresi is traveling to Berne from Pennsylvania and will not be able to host an evening workshop for the parents. All available parents are welcome. Berne-Knox-Westerlo Secondary School is grateful to the Kiwanis Club of Berne for connecting us with Ms. Geresi and in making this important workshop come to fruition.

Finally, I want to remind you that there will be no school for students on Friday, March 16 due to a Superintendent’s Conference Day Workshop for all staff.


Mark A. Pitterson, Ed.
Secondary School Principal