Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mass Inc "Community Conversation on ESSA and School Accountability"

Forman, Mass Inc.
Gateway Cities "Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems"
  • early education
  • social and emotional growth
  • college and career pathways
  • newcomers
"we haven't seen the kind of resources that Gateway City leaders feel are necessary"

"what is the opportunity in this legislation" for the work
federal act is about protecting students
"big dialogue over the past six months about accountability and how it plays it out in Gateway Cities"
"considerable consensus that what we've done over the past twenty years has been effective"
think that testing has been successful
progress in low income subgroups: number one in the country
"by and large a tribute to Gateway Cities educators"
"can't discount the role of accountability in getting all Gateway Cities educators" working on making all work together
"in some ways you'd expect that things might be moving the opposite direction" as need has become only more concentrated
but gaps are closing
"have learned a tremendous amount about what does and what doesn't"
"only focus on math scores and English scores, what about the emotional skills"
what about gifted students? testing getting people only over the bar
systems "not necessarily great at dealing the complex environment in our urban public schools"
"when you're only looking at statistics, it can be deceiving"
lower test scores lower property values; increases neighborhood instability
"evidence that teachers leave schools as accountability levels fall, and the teachers that leave are the most talented"
"there has to be buy-in on the legitimacy of the data"
"teachers have said, 'these data don't honor or reflect our work'"
misspecificiation of the problem and the solution
"if we say the schools are terrible...we don't address all of the other issues that are contributing"
steep increase on concentrated poverty; reduces our property values
"if our school quality figures aren't right" it takes away resources that are needed
accurately capture the performance of inclusive urban public schools
"we know how to control for factors" and really look at what schools are doing
"look at accountability from a local perspective"
"the state really can't do all of the accountability work"
need to say that these are our priorities as a community
need to build in improvement
"need multiple measures and lots of indicators" to know how schools are doing
"overwhelmingly, people do see a local responsibility for local accountability"
"less trust in government at higher levels today"

Matt Denniger (whose name I may well be misspelling): ESSA outreach
has been doing such sessions across the state
"can't go around the state without hearing all of our educators say we really need to concentrate on [social emotional] now"
"we feel like we've got a good recipe here"
"I think that there's acknowledgement statewide that there's so much that we could be doing better"
ESSA signed a year ago
reauthorized ESEA; replaced NCLB
implementation for much of the law starts at the beginning of the year
"timelines could vary a bit" due to change in administration
"there's nothing that gives us pause...our work is our work"
"we're pushing forward"
five level accountability system; ESSA doesn't change that we have to differentiate schools
"it doesn't have to look exactly like this going forward"
ESSA "gives us a window to change our accountability system"
core indicators: test scores, test score growth, graduation rate, dropout rate, ELL proficiency
considering: absenteeism, climate and culture, 9th grade course passing, annual course taking in high school, access to arts, access to a well-rounded curriculum, advanced courses
"met with largely positive responses"
will present plan in January to Board, revisions, final plan in April

panel: Roger Nugent, EAW president
Kevin (dagnamit, missed his last name), senior at Burncoat High
Marie Morse, now working curriculum in WPS admin
Morse: was appointed in 2010 to Union Hill when it went Level 4
"how messy and complex school improvement can be"
"if we can do it, anyone can do it. It just takes a spirit of belief and hopefulness."
all kids deserve great teachers
Nugent: privilege to represent 2900 professional educators
Kevin: have had a blessed academic track in many ways

Q: what attributes have you found that have contributed to success?
Kevin: guidance and college guidance counselors
put opportunities my way
strong support system
Q: affect teacher practices?
Morse: happy to see that the perspective is beyond qualitative
well rounded component: arts, projects going to be equally valued
"redefining what a school for a 21st century needs to be"
"really looking at whole child"
"not just learning things...acquiring skills that they can then apply to making a difference in their communities and in their schools"
"open up...innovative experiences in their schools"
open up the creativity
Q: contracts allow for
Nugent: two different ways of going to the same place
"workable process at all times"

Q (from crowd): what we can be doing better in higher education to reach students?
Kevin: a lot of friends have college in mind, most of them are very motivated
not being sure, being afraid to ask questions
"college process is very tricky, very hard to do, especially by themselves"

Q; (crowd) additional indicators? particularly interested in 9th grade indicator
Kevin: 9th grade was definitely a monumental year for me
got straight A's for the first time; being motivated
"making learning something that kids want to do"
changing curriculum and making school into something that students want to do every day

Q (crowd) after school, summer time?
Morse: "if it's just rote, drill and kill, it's not going to make the difference"
such programming "done well and done right, are the way to go"
Nugent: have to consider wages, working conditions
air conditioning
Kevin: summer program: Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America
Need to fund outside of classroom hours

Rep Keefe Q: community schools: parent involvement
Morse: would not have been able to succeed at all if we weren't able to engage with parents
had a voice in direction of school
"very connected to many folks in our neighborhood"
home visits, went to family events
first year: people were pretty upset, people felt they didn't have a voice
became very friendly, "trusting us to do our best by their kids"
"humbling because we were so trusted"
did a lot of things with the staff to have them understand what things were like
"still feel connected to that school and think I always will"

Q (UMass Dartmouth): agree that accountability expanding "which is a great thing, I think, personally"
"to what extent does that also raise you feel prepared in terms of what you have in a meaningful way"
Morse: tension in what change is going to look like
"freeing creative feeling for schools"
"overemphasis on what testing does to a school can turn into...classroom teaching is only about outcomes on tests"
three year donation to get kids outside of classroom and neighborhood
"great outcomes in student writing and discussion"
"if culture means we begin to get kids beyond the walls of the school"
that effects teaching and learning
"what good schools look like everywhere in Worcester"
Nugent: look at kids at the whole child, not just their scores
"seek out their talents in each and every child"

Q on what is expected when kids get to school
Morse: many families locked out
almost in a holding pattern: Kids go to school at five, then parents can go back to work (due to limits on vouchers for preschool)
opportunity before they get to school just isn't enough
Harlem Children's Zone: from birth to five
babies on up
"lots of places we can look at things that were very successful"

Binienda: accountability and support for struggling schools, but really for all schools
a lot of respect for urban educators
expand vocational school use, expand career pathways
five of high schools in AP Capstone
annual assessment
"focus on daily assessment of student learning"
difference between management and fieldwork
being in schools daily: "you don't need to be in an office talking about policy"
students from every country in the world
value and branding in diversity of student body
what do we need? "We really need the foundation budget"

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