Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Holyoke update

Receiver Zrike updating on Holyoke (which doesn't have a backup)
Sagan points out that they don't have results yet (yeah, about that...remind me to talk about Holyoke's MCAS scores)
Zrike: goals of the plan
  • build on what is working and fix what is not
  • empower staff and hold them accountable
  • extend time for learning
  • establish pathways to career and/or college success (clear rework of secondary)
  • invest in partners strategically ("and all kinds of partners: charter partners, private partners")
  • repair relationships with families ("they'd walk if they could")
special education review process scheduled to begin
comprehensive strategies to address needs of ELLs: "how you can best use the first language to develop the second language"
structures around instruction of the plan: redesign secondary educational experiences: grades 6-12
"it's gotta be more than saying we have two high schools"
need multiple pathways, beyond two
climate and culture: pilot director of culture and climate (licensed social worker)
teachers feel as though they have nowhere to go beyond special ed, not all kids have special ed needs
"looking at outside partners with track records"
"create an activist parent and family engagement office"
developing leadership in the district: "just rolled out a new ed eval" model
thought previous eval "was a compliance document"
organziation "all about feedback"
"just because you get feedback doesn't mean you're going to fired"
need to hang onto people he has "need work to do to build those systems" of new leadership
see a lot of people who aren't engaging with kids, then see classes sizes of 30
"particularly as we're spending more than most urban districts" on administration
has a "chief of implementation"
alternative programs for overage and under credited
schools fully engaged in operational schedules to use time

Stewart: when is budget approved in Holyoke?
began this winter into spring
"that seems late in terms of recruting and some of what you're talking about"
"not holding back on the budget" in recruiting
Stewart: how families are being integrated into the work? Particularly at Dean and Morgan
Zrike: doing a lot of meetings in housing development
had visits to homes
"we're going to come to your home or your neighborhood"
Morgan school "really have flipped" "because of some of the relationship wth families"
"that's the beginning of the relationship"

Doherty: has been built on other successful turnaround plans
"can you cite two or three significant differences between the Holyoke" plan and Lawrence?
Zrike: secondary redesign
some of the work around family engagement "given what I've heard about the context in Holyoke very early on"
"didn't want to be solely influenced" by a single model

Willyard "have done a fantastic job in the district"
Have seen benefits of breakfast in the classroom
don't think experience around arts is as strong as it should be
"have places of it, it's not consistent enough"
"look at what those look like" especially outside of secondary
built into extended school day

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