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THE BUSINESS COUNCIL'S PATHFINDER AWARD

SPECIAL NOTICE: Because of major changes in the testing systems on which we base the awards, The Business Council will not be able to choose Pathfinder Award winners from 2007.

Traditionally we have chosen schools for the award on the basis of year-to-year improvements in performance on the 4th-grade reading and math tests. Until recently those tests were the only statewide data available on the performance of all elementary schools.

Beginning with the 2005/06 school year, however, the federal No Child Left Behind Act has required that the state test grades 3 through 8. The state has also changed the difficulty level of the 4th-grade math tests. These changes mean that no apples-to-apples performance data are available that will let us assess a schools' improvement in performance in school year 2005/06 relative to 2004/05 -- the comparison period for which the 2007 Pathfinder Award winners would have been established.

The Business Council is proud of the performance gains achieved by so many New York State schools in recent years, and especially of the stellar performance of our previous Pathfinder Award schools. We strongly believe in providing recognition for successful schools. Once reliable and consistent data for comparison again become available, we will work with the state Education Department to develop appropriate recognition programs for 2008 and beyond.


2006 Pathfinder Awards

Twelve New York State elementary schools received the highest honor given to schools by New York State's private sector: the 2006 Pathfinder Award. The Business Council intends for this award to honor schools that show marked improvement from one year to the next on students' state test scores.

Each winning school receives its award at a local ceremony. The Council awards the Pathfinder Award to one or more schools in each of 12 regions of the state based on improvement in students' scores from one year to the next on the state's fourth-grade English Language Arts and math tests.

The 2006 Pathfinder Award winners were:

SCHOOL / SCHOOL DISTRICT
IMPROVEMENT IN TEST SCORES (2004-2005)


English Language Arts
Math
PS 33, the Chelsea School, New York City Geographic School District 2 in Manhattan
182 percent
125 percent
PS 149, the Danny Kaye School, New York City Geographic School District 19 in Brooklyn
133 percent

47 percent

The Turnpike Elementary School, Lansingburgh Central School District in Rensselaer County
71 percent
43 percent
International Charter School of Schenectady in Schenectady County
133 percent
43 percent
The Jerry C. Clough School, Rome City School District in Oneida County
106 percent
65 percent
Broadway Elementary School, Elmira City School District in Chemung County
109 percent
17 percent

North Street Elementary School, Geneva City School District in Ontario County

50 percent
29 percent
Potters Road School, the West Seneca Central School District in Erie County
48 percent
17 percent

Cedar Place Elementary School, Yonkers City School District in Westchester County

110 percent
58 percent
Francis J. O'Neill School, Central Islip Union Free School District in Suffolk County
47 percent
33 percent
Public School 123, New York City Geographic District 27 in Queens
86 percent
40 percent
Public School 75, New York City Geographic District 8 in the Bronx
87 percent
104 percent

Background on the awards: The Business Council selects winning schools based on a range of criteria, including improvement in scores and the number and percentage of students tested. In addition, at least half of a school's students must meet or exceed state standards on the fourth-grade English Language Arts and math tests before the school can qualify for the award. Schools must test approximately the same number of students in comparison years, and the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards can be no less than in the 2003 school year.

The Business Council generally gives Pathfinder Awards to one public school in each of 12 different regions across the state. These regions represent the state's judicial districts In some regions, if two schools show nearly identical levels of improvement, more than one may be recognized. Schools that win the award receive $1,000 for the school's programs, and a trophy in recognition of the achievement. The program is in its sixth year.

Employers that have provided support to the Pathfinder Awards are: Anheuser-Busch, Inc.; Avon; Buck & Pulleyn; CH Energy Group; ChevronTexaco; Consolidated Edison; Corning Incorporated; Duke Energy Corporation; Excellus Health Plan, Inc.; Fleet Bank; Frontier Communications; General Mills; Golub Corporation; HSBC; IBM; KeyBank; KeySpan; MapInfo Corporation; Metropolitan Life; Michael D. Marvin, a founder of MapInfo Corporation; Northrup Grumman; Pfizer; the Pike Company; the Pioneer Development Company; Racemark International, LP; Security Mutual Life Insurance Company; State Farm Insurance Company, and UPS Foundation, Inc.

Background on The Business Council's advocacy for education: The Business Council has long been an active and forceful advocate of policies to strengthen the performance and accountability of the state's public schools, and has long encouraged businesses and business leaders to become active partners with schools in their efforts to improve.

For example, The Public Policy Institute used state data to design the prototype for the state's school report cards. Today school report cards are released annually to give schools, teachers, parents, and students a sense of how their schools are doing compared to schools in similar circumstances and their own performance of the previous year. The Council has also supported the state's new academic standards and the tests based on them to measure the performance of students, teachers, and schools.

In November 2001, The Council's research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, published a summary of The Council's Sept. 21, 2001 panel discussion at which business and school leaders discussed how businesses might help schools improve. For details and a link to the full report, visit www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2001/1115edup.htm.

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