A private, all-boys Catholic high school is dropping the state Regents curriculum. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Tonawanda will be phasing out the use of Regents exams.
"I've received dozens of emails – all positive about the change. I think people are really excited,” said Chris Fulco, St. Joe’s president.
After a three-year evaluation by a Teaching and Learning Committee, school leadership decided to end Regents at St. Joe's. Fulco tells WBFO News it's time to walk away from the Regents and allow students to participate in a more dynamic learning to better prepare them for college.
“Students are being assessed by doing rather than by sitting in a desk, bubbling in circles. They’re doing labs, they’re writing papers, they’re doing independent studies, they’re doing internships, they’re creating rather than just regurgitating and so I think this is really a unique opportunity for us to mimic what’s happening on the college level,” remarked Fulco.
“The feedback we heard has been overwhelming positive,” replied James Spillman, St. Joe's principal.
Spillman said this will provide more freedom for how they will assess student learning. But it does not mean academics will be easier.
“It’s certainly not going to decrease the rigor of our program. It should actually increase that. I think our students are going to be challenged in some new and different ways and our teachers are going to be challenged in some new and different ways too, but I think we are all ready for that,” noted Spillman.
This was the first major decision made by Principal Spillman and President Fulco. They both began their new jobs just months ago. Spillman is a '95-graduate of St. Joe's.
The phase out begins next school year. All incoming freshmen and sophomores will not take Regents exams. By the 2020-21 school year, Regents will no longer be offered at St. Joe's.
Other area private high schools including Canisius High School, Nardin Academy, Nichols School, The Park School of Buffalo, The Gow School and Buffalo Seminary do not follow a Regents program.