Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December Board of Ed: Holyoke

Chester: quite heartened by the work that happened in Holyoke in general
Zrike "thinking of this in a really strategic kind of way"
principal of the Morgan school, which was Level 5 before district was, here as well
"putting educators...in charge" (this is the presentation the department is making of what Level 5 does)

Zrike: "double reciever" due to Morgan
"further along in their turnaround efforts...Morgan is leading the way"
"microcosm of what one school is doing effectively in Holyoke"
core values, where we want our students to be when they leave our district
"a pathway for every student"
think critically, and communicate with purpose
valuing themselves, their community
"lead with growth mindset and self management" as two key competency
"of course want to see improved outcomes...want to hear 'Holyoke Public Schools are the first choice for my child.'"
want to be on the front end of things; "on the cutting edge of something in Holyoke"
empowering schools to impact change
"working hard to flip the script"
Key priorities (he said there were five; I struggled to count)
  • early outcomes on literacy: focused on foundation skills (phoenimic awareness, developing langague, aligning to 
  • instructional strategies: feedback to principals about evaluation
  • building instructional teams to look at data: using Star assessment to monitor student progress
  • freshmen academy: multiple alternative pathways for students, pathways for every student
grades in ninth grade and SAT scores linked; 54% of students on track last year; 64% of students on track this year
had over 30 dropouts at high school last year; under 10 across the system this year
"progress at the high school level"
families and communities: citywide PTO group meeting monthly; nearly all schools represented
parent "Power Academy" organized across the city on five topics

receivership more than supporting individual schools: central office "has instructional deficiects that get in the way"
breakfast in the classroom: 2500 meals a day to over 3500
need to improve budget process, transfer and assignment process
HR process needs to be rebooted
not a lot of integration between district and city on procurement; "underestimated how much" of that was necessary

Morgan: great gains in teaching and learning
many staff chose not to reapply first year: only about 5 out of 60 stayed
spent a lot of time building systems that first year
"there wasn't enough traction to focus on systems in year one"
was disappointing in first year
improved use of extended time
strong instructional learning team: needs of adult learners
professional development before students come in
"one of the great successes"
extended time for kids: need a clear plan for additional time
"what do kids need to move forward"
have done a lot with parents
three home visits each marking period
"creating that bond with families, that bond, that trust has really started to move the needle forward"

Sagan: barely getting started: what are your goals?
Srike: "tight systems for the use of time"
"cycles for the use of data"
not "the hope and pray method"
"has the data for where her kids are"
"I really do believe that is the" need in our schools
Chester: think that's a very important question that you asked
reference of Lawrence
"still a long way to go before we call Lawrence a good if not great school district"
but direction of that is direction
Moriarty (note that he is from Holyoke): "leading with third grade reading points, you will always win me over"
"we've gone from ghastly to less ghastly"
"next year you'll be the first fourth year principal of Morgan in a very long time"
Stewart: personalized pathways
Zrike: grades and attendance "can get information in front of teachers"
"have those conversation with teachers"
Univ of Chicago has done a lot of work on this
"more successful on leaving our schools"
Stewart requests a reading list
"more opportunities" for families "beyond bakesales
McKenna: campaign for third grade reading
a couple of things that really make a difference: high quality early ed, attendance, and summer
breakfast makes a difference
"summer learning loss is well documented"
"I wonder what you're thinking about on that"
Zrike: hired new director of extended learning: last year "just to observe"
"not really meaningful time for kids...not only enrichment, but academic as well"
Generation Teach working with them for summer
have had process of charging kids to come back who have fallen behind
"part of this year's plan is to capture the right kids"
ninth graders and middle school students who are clearly at risk and bringing them back on track
Morgan added a preschool year one
interested to see data of those students this year
have added a class every year: up to three preschool classes now
McKenna: "summer learning is not summer school"
"it doesn't have to be every day for six hours"

Sagan: hard work, doesn't get easier, interested in results and in cause

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