An all-girls Catholic high school in Kenmore is the latest school to announce it is dropping New York State Regents. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Mount St. Mary Academy will begin a two-year phase out of the exams starting next school year.
“We've had to say - how are our girls best served - how are we teaching and how are we accessing that these girls are learning what they need to go on to do great things,” remarked Katherine Spillman, principal, Mount St. Mary.
Spillman tells WBFO News dropping regents has been under consideration for some time, but they just informed their school board this week about the phase out plan.
The school will continue to use the New York State curriculum, but broaden what is being taught in the classroom to expand learning, giving teachers more time to deliver thoughtful material.
“To do more interdisciplinary work, working within different disciplines. By now not having to prepare for this one-time exam, we’re going to be able to develop assessments, ways of insuring that we know the girls are learning,” Spillman explained.
Traditional exams to gauge student learning will continue. But the school will develop new academic centers, where teachers will collaborate together - combining subjects - like math and science.
“One of our English teachers, she teaches 11th grade English. She has the 11th grade Regents exam and she’ll be able to go deeper with authors that she loves, because she’s going to have a bit more time. She wants to do something with Buffalo authors – now she’s going to not have to kind of feel this pace to get this June date where she has to everything done,” Spillman noted.
Next year the high school will also add new wellness and mental health program, providing what will be known as an 'intentional pause' each day for students. Spillman said she believes this new vision will attract future students to enroll.
This past fall, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Tonawanda also announced a phase out of regents. At least six other area private and catholic schools do not provide regent testing.