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PRINCIPAL SAYS SCHOOL CAN DO MORE TO HELP IN COLLEGE CHOICE

Orchard Park Central High School can do more to help parents choose a safe college for their children, the school's principal, Robert Farwell, said Monday night.

"It would be nice to seize the moment when parents and students visit campuses (this fall)," Farwell told the School Board Monday.

Farwell was responding to the board's inquiry on what the schools and community can do to help other students in the wake of the death of Scott Krueger.

The June graduate of Orchard Park High School died last month after drinking too much at a college fraternity party in Boston, Mass.

"What's so tragic about it is that was every one of our sons and daughters," Trustee Richard Marcklinger said.

He said graduates should know how much the community cares for and supports them when they go away to college.

Farwell said the high school will add a new seminar on campus safety to Wednesday's College Night program for high school students and their parents.

Parents and students looking at colleges should take the official tours, but they also should try to get off the beaten track and check out off campus housing or how the college enforces drug and alcohol policies, Farwell said.

"If I were a college president right now, I think I would be very sensitive to the issue," he said.

By the time seniors graduate from high school, Farwell said, they have been exposed to a great deal of useful information, including a college skills course that explores decision making.

"Making good decisions doesn't start at the high school level," he added.

Also Monday, the board discussed alternative scoring on Regents exams for students with special needs with Dennis Igoe, assistant superintendent for curriculum.

Igoe said the Regents competency exams are being phased out, and this year's fifth-grade class will be the first required to take all Regents exams when they reach high school.

"For some kids, school can be a hard place to be," Igoe acknowledged.

The borderline learners and those with special needs may have the option of taking Regents competency tests or having a lower passing grade on the Regents, he said.

He said the Board of Regents is to address graduation requirements next month, and he suggested that the board make its decision on offering the scoring option after the Regents act.

In most subjects, 70 percent or more of high school students take and pass the Regents exams, he said.

The board also heard a request from John Barry of Meadowbrook Drive for the district to vote in favor of allowing the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association join Section VI.

"Section VI is one of only two sections in New York State that don't allow private schools to join," he said.

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