More than half the eligible students at Frontier Central School District opted out of state tests this year.
That’s one of the reasons Frontier decided to change the rules of the game, instead coming up with standards it says will exceed those of New York State and Common Core, and hopefully gain the confidence of parents.
“So many of our parents do not trust the state testing system,” Superintendent Bret Apthorpe said.
The district took the first step Tuesday night when the School Board adopted district vision and belief statements that will be used this summer by a committee of teachers, parents and administrators to create the graduation standards. In the months after that, teachers will create the curriculum, placing it online for their colleagues.
“So regardless of state politics, regardless of federal politics, regardless of the conflict of the moment, we’re going to guarantee our kids get a world-class education that ensures the values and beliefs of this community are not lost in those conflicts,” Apthorpe said.
The local standards will embody the vision and values of the Frontier community, meaning graduates will have a sense of the value of charity, service and community.
“In other words, Frontier is not waiting for the Board of Regents or the education department to resolve the present conflicts surrounding the Common Core,” Apthorpe said. “We are moving forward now to provide a high-quality Frontier standards-based education.”
The key Frontier values are altruism, versatility, community, individuality, great character and family. The district expects that Frontier education will also lead to a sense of charity, service and community, according to the vision statement.
The board also said the district believes in:
• Community service to support one another with empathy and generosity.
• The idea that all work is dignified and of value to society.
• Compassion and tolerance toward others and self, without sacrificing personal values.
• The responsibility and dependability of students, who demonstrate a commitment to their learning in and outside the classroom.