Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Notes on public testimony

including remarks on principals, charter schools, Holyoke, vocational education

Jason Williams, Stand for Children with a survey done by Mass Inc
"our intention with the survey was...to" see how principals view issues
statistically significant sample of principals
survey results were weighted along demographic prinicpals
see both Common Core and PARCC as being more demanding and having a positive impact on learning
2/3rd on Common Core, 71% on PARCC
90% or more positive impact on writing, critcial thinking
overall principals see both as having a positive impact, but looking for communication and support
few say they are completely or mostly ready
communication, particularly on PARCC is necessary
technology most often cited concern
more PD to make teachers familiarity with questions and format
teachers, principals, and parents key in communication on PARCC
principals think teacher evaluation a good "management tool"

Sergio Paez, superintendent, Holyoke Public Schools
turns his time over to School Committee member Dennis Birks
Note: MassLive has Birks' full remarks here
have been on SC for 7 years, have been on 2 superintendent searches
had been a Level 4 district
very little was done during previous superintendent
"if a receiver were appointed two years ago, I almost would have understood, but not now"
Pre-K expanded throughout the district
two way language program
program for students who have dropped out or at risk of dropping out
dropout rate decreased, high school graduation rate increased
more progress made in past year than previous five
cites widespread support of community for public schools and for Paez
"now is not the time to appoint a receiver, now is not the time to start over"
"anything any receiver would do is being done"
new reforms that have been implementated have been shown to be effective

vocational ed testimony:
" not the same vocational ed, whatsoever"
"exceeding most people's expectation"
particularly around dropout rates
collaboration with districts on new regs on voke-ed
concern around timing, as students who have been admitted might run into new regs

Superintendent Belson from Medford
modify ch 74 regulations: most of the issues before you are not new and have been debated for some time
our collaborative works together to provide vocational ed to students with little or no costs to districts
committed to enhancing vocational opportunity
wish to invest in our own programs
exploratory program should be in grade 9 in the member regions
out-of-disrict 9th graders was never cover in regs
never approved by Board as a regulatory change
admission should realistically check student interest
support tuition and transportation limits
adding capital costs may extend beyond authority of state
Commissioner has the right to set fee structure; capital a new charge
our recommendations to you do not deny student choice
makes sure that "students will have resources they need"
regional schools should be require to support the space and need of their members

Minuteman Regional superintendent:
limits to number of out of district students
"more barriers in the pathway" of students
no curriculum frameworks for exploratory programs
"making this change effective this July makes even less sense"
recommend that be delayed at least one full school year

Mayor Driscoll of Salem: on Bentley (Horace Mann) charter
Bentley designated a Level 4 school : really reengage in all of our public schools
got a state redesign grant
"we were delighted with the model that had come together"
but weren't necessarily seeing the results we were looking for
Bentley in bottom 3%, now in bottom 7%
weren't seeing hoped-for progress, started looking for other options
has sometimes been criticized as privitization due bringing in Blueprint
have a board running
their second Horace Mann
"underscores how incredibly hard the work is"
"level 4 school not a level 4 city"
adding another model in our district
Chester praises outside the box thinking and attention of Mayor to this

Justin Vernon, principal of Bentley grade 3-5 (and proposed head of school for charter)
restarted a year ago, he came on a year ago
students take lots o' assessments 
show grade 3-5 outpacing the average of all of those in those taking the test
voluntary acceleration academy over break; 30% attending
Saturday academies as well
overwhelmingly positive of parents wanting their students to return
"charter status would solidify the continued success of the Bentley"
not sure why they need to be a charter and not an innovation, then, hmmmm

MA charter school association: take us back to discussion last night
"clear that the Board is understanding why charter growth has slowed"
"unintended consequences of polciy...and regulations"
lists of charter cap, 2%,
Proven providers
"creating a mom and pop" "an intense amount of work" even before submission to state
"when charter schools have been proven in all by 2 charter schools as Level 1 and 2"
calls on Board to lobby Leg to eliminate not less than 2 Commonwealth Charters
statute and regs on proven providers to be eliminated (my words)
"biased in favor of Horace Mann charters and proven providers"

New Heights charter school in Brockton
"don't like Commissioner's recommendation, we can respect it"
thought we could get support of politicians, quickly learned we could not
went to parents and children instead: "enlightening...probably the most fulfilling and positive thing I've ever done"
disappointed we let them down: another year of planning sounds like an eternity to me
in process of looking at the comments
hope they'll change no more than 2 provision

Barbara Madeloni, MTA president: speaking in opposition to state takeover in Holyoke
facilitator of working group in one of Holyoke's schools
suffers ac
"grossly inadequately funding"
28% ELL
1/4 learning disabilities
"Holyoke students need a lot"
"what they don't need is another new plan"
America's Choice in 2003, very disruptive, overall plan did not work
private/public partnership rarely works (cites Globe article)
Story of Holyoke under state intervention not of unconditional positive regard
what children need is not found in private entitites
working together to provide schools Holyoke children deserve
ensure Holyoke has resources deserves

And hey! I got to close it out! 

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