Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March meeting of the Board of Ed: opening comments

Posting this morning from the March Board of Ed meeting, which begins at 8:30. The agenda is here.  Starting as usual with opening comments from the Chair, Commissioner, Secretary, and the public.
Updates as we go once we start

Sagan: the Commissioner has a lot of updates
Chester: introducing Southbridge receiver, Jessica Huizenga, assistant superintendent Cambridge
Huizenga: all kids deserve an equitable education, somehow has been lost in Southbridge
personal as her mother came here speaking no English, many kids like that in Southbridge
Willyard: appreciate a face rather than a logo being receiver

Chester: Brockton charter
pre-enrolled over 300 students, most from Brockton, some from Randolph, some from Taunton

have had well over 200 comments on assessment and standards
establishing a panel to revise history and social studies frameworks
in process of soliciting applications: if you know anyone, either give DESE their name or encourage them to apply

College Board has released most recent AP: encouraging to see increase in number who took exam, and how many scored at least 3
MA lead nation in five and ten year gains of those who scored 3 or higher

Had very encouraging meeting with Treasurer Goldberg
ongoing conversation "that seemed to ripen at this meeting" on MSBA providing no interest loans to school districts to upgrade their technology infrastructure
not yet locked in, but was announced to MSBA board
"very hopeful on this development"

MTA/AFT have appealed that they didn't have standing on Level 5 school case

overview on MA approach to teacher evaluation from Center for American Progress

assessment on grade 8 engineering; release coming next week

information on work around use of suspension and expulsion
first year under revised Ch. 222
requires state to identify outliers; districts must have corrective action plan
Holland school: very high rate of suspension
have worked closely "very heartened with their response to this"
"very deliberate, very thoughtful" in their approach to this
bringing schools together with those being successful in approach
will continue to keep Board updated on work
Willyard; why schools suspended before? change?
Chester: have some data; interested in students suspended for safety v dress code, for example
will also dig into question when schools convene
Chester: "want to avoid unintended consequences here"
concern if high rates of suspensions associated with attrition
if it's the same students over and again
interested in better understanding nuances around it
Stewart: BUR's report made it sound very regressive and authoritarian in style
"seeing that it's a Level 5 school, it's under our jurisdiction"
how closely do we need to be involved in the professional development being cried out for?
Chester: "these are our schools"
"ultimately the buck stops with us"
our responsibility to be sure our receiver deals with issues as they arise
Stewart: what is the process?
Chester: individualized by school
Russell Johnston oversees directly, phone contact
Sagan: another way of asking the question: are you suspending kindergartners?
appreciate learning about it primarily through the media, would have liked to have known before
"how can we know the next time that we end up in this situation?"
"we were off the rails somehow"
will this new reporting requirement ensure that we know this?
Chester: reporting will be helpful, won't be sufficient
constantly refining them
Sagan: can we put Johnston on the spot? What have we learned? Is there anything else we should do?
Johnston: report quarterly on Level 5 schools; have meetings internally prior to that
feedback to receiver based on those meetings from what was learned in that prior quarter
this was a learning process for us: what other data do we need to know?
now collecting data on restraint, for example
Sagan: will that now be available to them?
Johnston: suspension data being collected as well
Moriarty: have been at least three meetings at his child's high school; statute is not well understood
understood that this is a bellwether of school culture that needs to change
"if not suspension, then what?"
skepticism on restorative justice
have to look at resources on the ground; choice between books and alternatives to suspensions
underfunded mandate even on data gathering aspect alone
Chester: complex area
how do you teach kids that de-escalate when emotions are triggered?
component around staff training
initial foray for schools that have a rate on this; how are we dealing with this?
Moriarty: do think hearing right thing from DESE on this
Craven: when you look at data, strikes me...are they identifying more kids who have special needs on lower end of scale? Is that something that's being identified...what does that mean for the program that they're doing?
Chester: not aware that this is a dominate issue
look not only at aggregate, but at special ed, race, ethnicity
McKenna; have we looked at other UP Academy schools besides Holland?
"I want to remind people, that we're talking about four year olds here"
support of teachers, socio-emotional training and staff development
classroom management: "we know how to do this, with a range of children, including children with special needs"
"we creating a standards...without resources and systems to do this"
Sagan: introduce people to places it has happened
Peyser: "on one level, I don't think anyone wants to exclude students for a day or even less"
"I don't think we should leave people with the impression that any use of suspension is bad."
safety of students in school, their ability to continue
"other side of suspension"
"the mere fact that a student is being removed" doesn't tell us much
"the lack of suspension can sometimes not be a reflection of strong school culture...but the opposite"
"an interesting dialogue that both sides of the equation might learn from"
Doherty: is UP Holland unique or is it in all UP Academy schools?
Chester: variation among UP schools, varies pretty substantially among schools
decrease in this past year were primarily non-drug, non-violent offenses

comments on DESE reorg on next post

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