NY’s 2013 ‘High School Principal of Year’ is fighting state over reform

New York State’s new High School Principal of the Year is Carol Burris, a school leader in Long Island who has been a leader in a fight with state officials over reforms, including standardized test-based educator evaluations.

Burris, a frequent guest blogger on The Answer Sheet, was given the award jointly by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Burris has been principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre Union Free School District for 13 years. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.

What is especially interesting about this new award is that Burris is a leader in the fight against test-based accountability in New York State. She is one of the co-authors of a principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by  more than 1,500 New York principals. She has written powerfully (see below) about the damage standardized tests are doing to students, and about the evaluation system that New York officials are imposing on educators that is heavily based on student standardized test scores and that is being implemented before it is fully designed.

The release announcing her newest award says in part:

Burris is most widely lauded for her ardent efforts to eliminate tracking at the high school – offering paths of more rigorous study and increased opportunity for each and every  student. By raising expectations, opening doors, and using high quality curriculum models such as the International Baccalaureate, Southside saw 99 percent of all its students, including 95 percent of minority students, graduate with a Regents diploma last year. Said Assistant Principal Brett Rosenthal of Burris, “I have never seen a principal work more to promote education equity for all social, economic, and racial/ethnic groups.”

 

A strong instructional leader, Burris has more than earned the respect of her teaching staff – working with teachers regularly to analyze data, develop lessons, improve instruction, and align curriculum across subject areas. Veteran South Side teacher Russell Reid captures Burris in this way, “… Dr. Carol Burris is the most concerned, dynamic, and effective building principal leader that I have known”….

 

 

You might think that New York education officials would want to hear about what’s actually going on in schools from such a spectacular principal, but, alas, if you did, you’d be wrong.

Here are some of her Answer Sheet pieces:

Principal to parents: Don’t buy the ‘bunk’ over Common Core tests

New teacher evaluations start to hurt students

‘You are so smart. Why did you become a teacher?

10-year-old: ‘I want to know why after vacation I have to take test after test’

The dangers of building a plane in the air

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · April 12, 2013