Tuesday, November 29, 2016

the Mattahunt (Board of Ed)

also dealt with here

Chester: question is what is the better path for the students in that school going to be?
receivership one option
Commerce into empowerment zone
solution Boston brought "made sense to me"

at the Mattahunt that "despite the number of years being in the turnaround status, despite the substantial additional dollars in the program" 1 in 5 on test levels
"longer we leave students in that situation" the harder it will be turn them out
students get first dibs on open seats and counseling in finding seats
comment from crowd "we don't want counseling"
"process that meets the criteria of giving me optimism about those children's future"
"so he knows better than the parents do"
concern that students will have better options

Thanks from BPS to parents from coming: decision to close "was not easy"
build "on part that has shown on promise of success"
gains made in literacy in kindergarten exceeded those districtwide
"trauma-infused practices" (can we find a new term? That always sounds like we're adding trauma)
recognition of Haitian culture
families whose children are in those grades may choose to enroll
school will close officially on June 30, but enrollment process starts in January
Sagan is attempting to sort out if families can stay; basically yes, though they have to do new applications
300 students up through first grade
630 students in all of school
McKenna: families who are in the school now are guaranteed a place in the school next year for those grades?
A: there will be seats enough, yes
Stewart: timing rollout in community?
BPS had a meeting with staff when letter was received in September, then with parents
then a focus group with teachers and with family members for what they felt a "reimagined school could look like"
district reviewed what that looked like; came back to community
"that's the early November 1"
via robocall and a letter in backpacks including plan to be discussed
then several additional meetings at school with community
Doherty: accurate that decision to close school is a direct result of Commissioner's decision to go to Level 5
A: never received anything indicated that Commissioner would declare Level 5
initially discussed closing school last summer
crowd is surprised? interested? to hear this
Q: were other options discussed?
A: were talked about at school committee meeting, but nowhere else
crowd not happy to hear this
options put forward by community were not discussed with Commissioner
BPS concerned that students going on where going on to next level very very unprepared
Craven: Board has a responsibility to oversee use of increased input
took that to heart
local stakeholder group? Were people here part of that?
lots of "no" from crowd
can't say what was makeup then (admin is all new)
concern with classroom work as reviewed by outside observers
improvement of school not all of one piece
amount of teacher turnover, admin turnover in past years
wish to build a strong school there from an effective foundation
Craven asks again about local stakeholders...and gets not much of an answer
Fryer: money spent on? Additional time on learning and additional professional development
additional assessment; teachers came back early
Fryer: real breakdown in number of kids in ELL
BPS: sent back for more
McKenna: in your own data, it says 80% in one place and in 20% in another
Fryer: would love to clarify the ELL data, would like to dig in on progress "one would expect"
have mentioned preference: ?
BPS: engagement office "is going to set up one on one opportunities with representatives"
arranging logistics of parents visiting schools of interest (with transportation)
"will have the equivalent of sibling preference on every school that shows up on their home base list"
"are hoping it will include 11 schools, all above Level 4 school status"
"no child will be required to go into a Level 4 school"
Doherty: if Commissioner had indicated that the school would stay Level 4, would the Superintendent have decided to close?
"took a binding vote"
Doherty: "can they unbind it?"
"I get the sense that there's a game of chicken going on, and the parents and families are in the middle"
Sagan: "the system has failed the students"
Doherty: "we have put ourselves into a test, and rate and punish mode, rather than a test and evaluate and support mode"
McKenna: was 2012-13 declared?
so this is the fourth year
"to me it sounds as if you've had every entity in Boston involved in the school"
"it seems to me as if there's been a lot of pieces and no overall looking strategy"
back and forth here about amount of grant
McKenna: "I have a viseral reaction to chopping up schools more"
"I saw Michael O'Neil's comment and what he said was 'the Commissioner's going to take over our school; we have to close it.'"
if the district had decided to make the change, that's one thing
"if this is the result of the Commissioner looming over you and saying 'I'm going to make you a Dever or a Holland,' that's something else."
"the results of the Dever or the Holland are not unjustified"
BPS had a series of conversations prior to receiving the letter
"did we think it was a strong possibility that we might go to a Level 5? Absolutely."
McKenna; if you had had another year, would you have gone for it?
BPS: there wasn't a single answer
Sagan: "we can't make up facts"
Commissioner wasn't asked for an extra year; we don't have the power to change it
"don't know that we have any recourse to change it at this point"
McKenna; when we did this last time, there were plans submitted, and Boston did everything possible to try to change the state's mind?
"they lost the last time when they tried everything"
"it doesn't mean that history predicts the future...but it's not totally irrational to say they may have learned something"
"they made the decision, and we have to learn from it"
Doherty: likes Sagan's suggestion
"I don't think there's any who's more concerned about the parents and the community leaders that are here"
think that if we signal to the superintendent that he could have another year, if he wants to work in that direction, he could
Noyce: if there were another year, we'd be in position as soon as test scores came out next fall
how can we get higher achieving teachers at these schools?
what support to fourth and fifth graders leaving the Mattahunt?
BPS: what can we expect different this year? New principal
some results in place that look promising
fewer partners with tighter oversight at school with new leadership
acceleration academy during both vacations
making sure receiving schools have supports in place as well
Moore (student rep): suggest letter to superintendent allowing a additional year
new principal came in in August "and made decision to close the school this year"
cuts it off a bit early, in my opinion
suggests less on extended day than on teacher turnover
"in my opinion switching schools is going to setting you back a lot more than having a new teacher"
Stewart: growth scores of what goes on in schools
last line in regulation gives Commissioner discretion over Level 4
"I think that's a loophole for us"
"school has implemented all the autonomies"
"something is awry when the only real option is closure"
"how do we validated what is happening in that regard?"
"if we gave Boston the option to consider, of course they could reconsider it"
Moriarty: concern about change to early learning center
"I think parents need to hear that you've got a problem if your school isn't teaching little kids how to read"
BPS: did look at various configurations within BPS
plan on around literacy going forward; need for early childhood in neighborhood
attrition and mobility high at school
don't have foundation moving up
Sagan: Board does not have jurisdiction to change district decision
"we don't have all the facts'
to Chester: "this is part of an ongoing discussion that I know you've been having"
"it's not my style to browbeat, but this is a school that is among the lowest performing the state"
"depending on the metric being used, bottom percentage in state"
some of lowest performing growth in state
"falling further and further behind"
"the last time we went to the dance with the district was the Dearborn with the current mayor, leading to a proposal other than closure"
"so any notion that there's this cloud that the only examples out there are the Holland and the Dever are inaccurate"
appreciate thoughtfulness of Boston admin
how to narrow feeder pattern that so parents know what to expect, while "still addressing the overcapacity"
"think it would be a mistake to second guess the school committee in any way"
"take comfort that children are going to be in a better situation than they have been in coming years"

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