Thanks sancho for asking. I like several of the ideas proposed by "dave" above, and to them I would add and echo the following (as a beginning):
1. The School Board should publicly announce that it will not place a bond issue on the ballot until August.
2. The School Board needs publicly to indicate that the proposed new construction and/or renovation bond issue is separate and distinct from the district's possible adoption of the "Academy" organizational model.
3. The School Board needs to withold approval for 2013-2014 Professional Development expenditures unless the district's Professional Development Committee (PDC) which recommends those expenditures provides those recommendations indexed to reference any one of the following:
A. The grade level and subject matter of state-mandated assessments (upon which the district's accreditation status is partially based) that those professional developent expenditures are meant to improve, and/or
B. Any of the non-mandated assessment-based standards currently used by the state to determine district success/performance/accreditation (i.e. dropout rate, graduation rate, ACT performance, ACT participation, etc.) that expenditure is meant to improve, and/or
C. Any other student achievement performance-based indicator, documented by data to be in need of improvement, identified by the district, providing data-based improvement goals to be measured and reported to the board prior to the next request for professional development funds.
4. The School Board needs to charge the Superintendent with ensuring that not later than August, 2014, every class in the core subjects (math, english, social studies, and science) has a district-identified performance standard correlated to the Common Core standards (required for implementation by the feds and the state within the next twenty-four months) that can be measured with a pre-test and post-test to provide meaningful data on actual student learning as defined by the district; and to require the same for ALL district-offered instruction not later than August, 2015.
5. The School Board needs to charge the Superintendent with demonstrating the district's implementation of the new Missouri Educator Effectiveness (teacher and principal performance evaluation) system, not later than August, 2013.
6. The School Board needs to make readily available to the public data-driven evidence of the Academy organizational model used in a high school of similar size as JCHS, from ANY STATE IN THE UNION, which shows an improvement in student achievement and district performance that correlates directly to the implementation of that organizational model.
There are more ideas I have, sancho, but those are a start, and NT prohibits long/complex posts.
It is not disrespectful to continue repeating the same question when it has yet to be answered.
Quoting an unconvincing website is not a convincing thing to do.
Acting offended because someone disagrees with your views and then being offensive towards others who disagree with your views is hypocrisy.
The school district does not have a monopoly on public forums, or on which forums are acceptable for the open exchange of ideas regarding schools. I know that is part of the plan to control public opinion, and I have used it myself, in schools settings, in bigger districts and more expensive projects than this one. This too is a forum, Sancho--it's just not the school's forum.
It's not that I don't respect you--I don't know you; it's just that I disagree with you. If the "ideas of others" never go beyond building unnecessary buildings and adopting unproven organizational models in lieu of providing successful instruction that guarantees learning for all, I'll continue to point out the weaknesses of those ideas.
All we need are some Missouri-specific examples of large high schools with demographics comparable to JCHS who can provide meaningful data over a three-year trendline showing that the Academy approach improved student achievement from average or below-average levels to levels above state average or even significantly above state average. Until then, the drumbeat of criticism will continue, and appropriately so.
If the "research" of the school board/district is so comprehensive, and the participation of yay-sayers has been so fruitful, surely this request is an easy one to satisfy.
And one more thing. The phrases "21st century learning" and "21st century jobs" are jokes. It's 2012 (check your watch, soon to be 2013) We're already 1/8th of the way through the 21st century. Anyone who's got a job RIGHT NOW has a 21st century job, and has for over a decade. JCPS, whether it owns the fact or not, is engaging students in 21st century learning EVERY DAY, and doing only poor-to-middling at it.
NO ONE has any more of a clue about preparing kids for jobs as-yet-unimagined and twenty or more years away today than a person in 1912 had a clue about preparing kids for jobs in the 1930's and 40's and after. Which is to say, the answer is the same for the century we are already in as it was for the twentieth century--you give kids the deepest exposure you can to current technology, you prepare them to think deeply and critically no matter what their vocation may be, you teach them how to express themselves precisely and persuasively in written and spoken language no matter what their vocation may be, you give them an accurate sense of the history of their country no matter what their vocation may be,, equip them with the civics understanding to make a difference in their society, teach them sufficient mathematics to understand logic and the physical world around them no matter what their vocation may be, excite them to science so that they will stick with it as scientific knowledge rapidly changes throughout whatever career they end up in, and then you turn them loose to enter the world. Doing so is the focus of the schools IN MISSOURI that are outperforming JCPS. Doing so is the focus of the schools in nations all around the world that are outperforming the U.S. Doing so was the focus of schools 100 years ago as they prepared those generations that led America out of 19th century thought and into and through the American century.
Grouping teenagers by the jobs they think they might have in fifteen years and then giving them focused instruction in that area is not "21st century learning". It's trade school teaching, and it's what Earnest? (can't remember his first name) Simonsen was promoting when he donated the land for the school that bears his name a few years after the Civil War. Only in Jefferson City could the notion be confused with modernity. The world beyond Cole County is an inclusive world, not a segregating one. It is a world democratized by technology, not a classist world shaped by presumptions based on a child's socio-economic status/
Quite apart from the research-disproven simply WRONG and outdated premise of the "Academy" approach, just sample any 100 Jefferson City residents. Ask how many ended up in the careers they thought they'd have when they were fourteen. Ask those who went to college how well they would have done if their high school preparation had been shaped by what they thought their career would be when they were fourteen.
If you are going to have "smaller learning communities" than you have now, the only way to do that is by increasing the number of staff. The law is written so that schools do not receive funding support anymore for those hours when students are taught by a teacher not certified in the subject matter of that particular class. If you are going to make the "learning communities" (which is a fluff term, by the way--used to promote a concept that the district shows no understanding to deeply implementing, and learning communities are not impactful on student achievement except when they are deeply implemented) smaller, the only way to do so--the only way to have students in smaller groups, is to have more teachers.
The fact that KC schools were required to build more expensive buildings was in fact the result of a federal judge's decision--you are correct about that. And federal judges did guarantee that the district and city complied with those decisions. The design of the buildings however, and the elements within them, and the organizational models used to execute teaching and learning in those buildings were all controlled by the school board and the district administration, just as they are in Jefferson City. The Paseo Academy is a Missouri-specific example of the Academy model being employed in a new construction AND renovation project. It is not in Texas, it is not in Tennessee, it is not in Georgia, and it is not a middle school.
Saying that one is going to spend 31% of a levy on professional developmment is not the an answer to the question regarding what type of professional development will be offered. Where is JCPS going to find proven professional development offerings that are going to teach current teachers how to be effective in an instructional and organizational model they are strangers to, when they cannot even be more effective than average schools in a conventional model that is used statewide by high schools routinely outperforming JCHS? Quoting prices and projected expenditures is NOT an answer to the request for hard data that shows student achievement improvement in exceptionally large high schools in Missouri with similar demographics to JCPS.
Repeating campaign propaganda and talking building budget numbers is not a response to the real issue--what is the most cost-effective, field-proven, data-evidenced way to improve student learning in JCPs to at least state averages?
I read the entire New JCHS website. I found it repetitive and self-serving, but lacking any data about achievement, lacking any Missouri examples, and lacking any specifics showing a real grasp by the board or superintendent of how to address the PROBLEM of ineffective teaching and learning. New buildings and different organizational models are a shell game.
Building expensive, new buildings does not imply more effective instruction or higher levels of student learning. Just ask the citizens of Kansas City.
Sancho--Is it then a reasonable conclusion that Lincoln/Linn Tech expect to spend thirty or forty million dollars completely to renovate the old buildings? Strange that's not mentioned in any of the articles about the fire sale. It's almost as if they think the facilities are ready for effective instruction as is.
Also, you here repeat an undocumented claim of the "Academy" proposal--that it will result in smaller learning communities. I'm sure you know that the only way to have smaller learning communities is to have more teaching faculty, right? So, how many more faculty will be required in the Academy model, what's the price of that faculty, and how soon after the bond issue camnpaign to build the new mega-school will the voters be asked to supprot the tax levy increase that will pay for that price?
Also, if you're moving from four principals to seven, what's that cost?
And could you provide any insight into the professional developent offerings and costs necessary to make all those new (and old) teachers more effective, or are you satisfied to let JCHS continue it's below-state-average performance in all of the state's measured post-secondary success indicators?
I don't really think it matters what process has been used by the school district. If there's not unaminous support for a bond proposal even among the board, if there as many public questions left unanswered as there are demonstrated here and elsewhere, if the district and new high school websites don't provide any specific hard data to show that a single mega-school and/or an Academy approach is likely to improve the district's lackluster academic performance, and if no one at the district is asking or answering questions about teaching and learning in a meaningful way, then it's not yet time to support a bond issue at the polls. The Board and its Superintendent need to get on the stick and provide specific data to show how what they're asking for will make a difference, or they need to postpone the issue until August or drop it entirely. Just because meetings are held doesn't make a process meaningful. Just because people attend those meetings doesn't mean all the important questions have been asked and answered.
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