Thursday, November 5, 2015

Report of the superintendent: alternative education

the report is here as held from the previous meeting

Boone: not just say we're doing things, but evaluate how they're put in place
last month presented information on the arts magnet pathway in the city
have done the same thing with alternative education
"should not be substandard education"
Rodrigues: received an alternative education grant for this evaluation
Education Development Center looked at Creamer Center, Challenge Academy, Reach Academy, Safety center, transition center, Woodward Day (under the collaborative)
effective alternative education programs:
  • small in size
  • flexible schedules and structures
  • faculty adjusts approaches to meet their students needs
since this report was provided to us, already able to put recommendations into action
evaluator really saw a lot of strengths in our program

Gribouski speaking to what has already been implemented: building out a multi-tiered system of supports in a universal design for learning
have 24 pilot classrooms
launching a study group for leaders and potential leaders of alternative programs
clear descriptions of all the alternative programs
draft of Challege Academy clear program descriptions
criteria for entry and for moving back
will be sharing with principals later this month to share and monitor entry of students at middle school level to help then at high school area
adequate staffing: reviewed annually in budget allocation
be sure students can meet MassCore requirements for graduation
content area teams developed for 9th grade (last year) 8th grade (this year)
students can demonstrate content knowledge in multiple ways
social-emotional curriculum: review curriculum : students build capacity to pause
"to thoughtfully select words and actions that will really be constructive"
Restorative Justice: have really used implementation at North as a model ("extraordinarily positive) to support implementation at Claremont and now at alternative programs
standard criteria for entering credit recovery
exploring use of computer based courses for career and technical education
continuing professional learning: working with curriculum liaisons

O'Connell: range of pupils who are in the program have evolved over time, so has scope of need
programs have sought to evolve
"but some of these do take money"
request report from admin in implementing changes that require budgetary considerations for March
(warning: I'm nearly out of battery power here)

Ramirez: increasing number of students who stay longer than the program is designed to have them
Rodrigues: transition program no longer exists: was designed for students who came to the district with no documents whatsoever
under change in 222, School Committee no longer meets to decide student placement; no longer an issue
Ramirez: students in STEP programs then referred to alternative placement; have you evaluated STEP programs?
Rodrigues: yes, when a student is failing in any area, a school has SSP process; team comes together to ensure strategies are in place to support the students
"only after that do you go into the process for referring to special education"

Biancheria: offering technical education to the alternative programs
(refers to TLSS)
concerned with teachers that are tired (teaching in the night program, as they also teach during the day)

North High student rep speaks of success of Restorative Justice program
student benefit of their own education

Foley: have heard great things about North High's program
disperate programs in one report
"complexities involved in" work across the district
taking students out of a building..."they go someplace"
alignment of right students to right program
"have we assigned a gatekeeper from a districtwide perspective?"
Rodrigues: as we develop criteria for admission, then there will be a process
Foley: taking a hard look at last resort being an alternative placement
Are we implementing all cost-neutral recommendations?
Rodrigues: yes
teacher being able to teach a single class (teacher that we already employ); just finding proper alignment of teachers
Foley: that's the best part of the report that I saw, we can tweak using resources we already have
support recommended cost report
"looking forward to a challenging budget year...and these recommendation:

Novick: just what we should be using consultants for
appreciate report that already is fixing things
tie of alternative education increase to changes in ch 222; there was no increase in funding
no mention of alternative ed in Foundation Budget Review Commission report, however, wraparound services were
recommend tie of ch 222 changes to funding issue in discussions with Legislature

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