The Sidewalks of White Plains


Curriculum Boss to present WINGS alternatives to parents at Highlands and Eastview meetings June 5 and 12

Says WINGS budget for 8th grade still there and will address how district might use it for providing a different kind of WINGS experience for 8th graders.

Education Department promulgates murky objectives for new Technology and Family/Consumer Science courses that BUMP WINGS from the schedule.

By John F. Bailey, Interview with Caroline Iervolino, City School District


CityLine: May 31, 2001 -- Education House

The White Plains City School District is committed to providing a WINGS alternative for its 8th graders, according to Dr. Caroline Iervolino, it just cannot be executed during the school day next year.

In an interview with WPCNR, Dr. Iervolino explained that the money earmarked for administering the WINGS program next year is still there in the new school budget and can be used for providing enhancement programs for high-achieving students who were in WINGS in the 7th grade when they move into 8th in the 01-02 school year.

"The District remains committed to the needs of its most accomplished students, " Iervolino told us. "The resources (funds) are there for eighth grade WINGS. They have not been pulled out of the budget. We have an option to do something else. The (8th grade WINGS) trips can remain. WINGS cannot be administered in the same way with the schedule the way it was before."

"Just because students are ahead, doesn't mean they will stay ahead," Iervolino said, and revealed that she has WINGS alternatives she plans to present to parents at scheduled meetings at Highlands on June 5 and at Eastview June 12. She declined to elaborate on the nature of these alternatives.

Asked about the Technology and Family and Consumer Science courses the district is mandated to teach next year by the Department of Education, which has necessitated the jettisoning of WINGS from the standard school schedule, Iervolino said the first Technology Achievement Test will be administered this June 11 to 8th graders.

She added that the Technology course is now 1 credit beginning next year, whereas previously it was "a requirement." The actual state mandate in Title VIII of the Education Act, provided to WPCNR by the Department of Education Communications office reads:

"Technology education means a program of instruction designed to assist all students in meeting State intermediate standards for technology. Technology education uses concepts of science, mathematics, social science, and language arts in a hands-on, systems-based approach to problem solving that guides students in the understanding, design and development of systems, devices and products to serve human needs and wants."

Iervolino said that the district is in the process of designing a curriculum to teach this technology course, but did not have the time to go into details. She described the technology piece as "not just computers, but teaching systems and system design."

She said the School District would "have a better idea" of how to prepare the course after the eight graders take the Technology Assessment June 11.

The Family and Consumer Sciences Course is described in the Department of Education Act in this manner:

"Home and Career Skills means a program of instruction designed to assist all students in meeting State intermediate learning standards for family and consumer sciences and to assist all students to develop strategies to manage multiple individual, family, career, and community roles and responsibilities through instructional activities which incorporate concepts of science, mathematics, social science and language arts."

Dr. Iervolino explained this course as being "all kinds of practical skills like purchasing, being a savvy consumer, what to look for, on-the job skills," but indicated it was still in the course of development.

Bill Hurschen, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Education Communications told WPCNR that the Department of Education does not mandate what should be taught in the Technology and Family/Consumer Sciences courses, and school districts are given the right to design their own curriculum to instill the skills outlined in the Title 8 Education Law, as reprinted above.

The Assistant Superintendent added that "People have called and said well we don't think you should have those courses (Technology and Family/Consumer Sciences) at all. Cut them out. But, we can't, the state has mandated them."

Iervolino encouraged parents to attend the two meetings at Highlands and Eastview to bring ideas for WINGS, and to come and learn about the two new courses of study.

She said the letter announcing the removal of WINGS from the 8th grade class schedule was intended to provoke parent suggestions, and by no means said that it was going to be eliminated, pointing to the sentence: "We will continue to search for ways to enrich the existing curriculum, and will be exploring ways to bring WINGS students together in the eighth grade outside the regular school day."

The Highlands meeting is on Tuesday, June 5 at 7 PM in Room 261 at Highlands.

The Eastview Parents Meeting is on Tuesday, June 12 at 7 PM in the LGI room on the First Floor of Eastview.

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