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Education Forums Will Focus on Learning-Assessment Tests

Feb. 4, 2009 — The Education Department will hold a series of community forums in February called "Expectations for Education."
"I call on all residents to join us during our series of meetings," said Education Commissioner La Verne Terry, according to a news release issued Tuesday. "We welcome your dialogue and collaboration toward positive outcomes and improved services to our students and the community."
The forums kick off Feb. 12 at the Educational Complex on St. Croix. The St. John forum is scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Julius E. Sprauve School cafeteria. On St. Thomas, the forum will take place Feb. 18 at the Charlotte Amalie High School auditorium. The 1.5-hour forums all begin at 6 p.m.
This series of meetings will focus on preparing students and parents for the upcoming V.I. Territorial Assessment of Learning tests in March. Those tests are given to students in grades two through eight and in grade 11 to assess basic skills in reading and math.
The department is looking for input from a cross-section of the community — parents, students, current and retired teachers and administrators, business persons, and anyone that has a vested interest in the education of the territory's students and improving the quality of life in the territory.
Terry urged all parents to bring their concerns to the meetings — and particularly the parents of bilingual, English-as-a-second-language and special-needs students. In the past, the biggest testing issues concerned students in those categories, said Education Department spokesman Juel Anderson.
Terry has several areas of particular concern, which Anderson said may come up at the forums. They include increased parent involvement — melding the home and school families; vocational education/career development; parents and educators of students with special needs; maintenance of facilities; staffing issues; overcrowding at several schools; and the future of the department.
To submit comments or suggest topics, visit the department's website at doe.vi/forum.
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