Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Public comment at the Board of Ed on charters and votes on charters

recess as Higher Ed Board leaves
agenda is here 

comments on charter schools then votes on charter schools

Matt Holzer (?) Boston Green Horace Mann Academy testifying
charter renewal last year; significant turnaround
one of most diverse population enrolled in BPS (or Boston charters)
probation extended for 2016
difference in performance between middle and high school
think it is important to understand in context
"like the Commissioner we are not satisfied with this"
also echo concerns about "making decisions based solely on PARCC scores"
Scott Carpenter, Monomoy Regional
united voice from Cape Cod superintendent
director of Sturgis said that 400 students was optimal size, then told his Board otherwise
why expand Sturgis by 50 seats or 6%? should it be tied to larger student enrollment
pluck 5 more high achieving student and districts will lose an AP class or other high performing class
"the demographics of Sturgis do not mirror the students of the Cape"
"segregating our public school system was not the intent of the education reform act"
"a disproportionate number of students achieved high MCAS scores prior to entering Sturgis"
requests that Board not approve expansion

Boston Green Academy Horace Mann; recommending extension of probation period
"a lot that's positive and promising"
but remain concerned
school was essentially a school turnaround than a new school
progress was rocky early on, but results are very good
have expanded and added 6, 7, 8, and that's where we need to see improvement
recommending the recommendation be extended through 2019

Sagan: "i think this Board wants to be supportive of indistrict efforts to turnaround schools"
motion passes

Chester: recommending enrollment increasees for two Boston charter schools
received amendment requests for seven seat increases in Boston
Boston has between 800 and 850 seats under the cap
"has our practice not to award all seats available at one time"
fluctuates according to spending and enrollment
recommend 335 seats; keeps a reserve of about 4%
where we have requests that exceed our ability to award seats, I'm looking for the schools that I feel most exemplify the
Boston Collegiate 35 new seats
Boston Preparatory Charter 300 new seats
Sagan: pretty sad that you have demands, but our hands are now tied
Stewart: both schools have higher than average discipline issue
response: greater focus on discipline in all schools
"not at greatest" number
also look at outcomes
and in both cases, attrition is quite low
"a lot of schools looking at their data and looking at why students are being disciplined"
Stewart won't be supporting this; would like to see more about dissemination around charters and discipline
Doherty: ballot question is still a reality and I think it's a message we should pay attention to
McKenna; what are the suspension rates?
Boston Collegiate: 6.6% out; 4.4% in
not that much higher than the statewide average
68 kids
motion carries 6-3, McKenna, Stewart, Doherty opposed

Boston Prep: school acknowledges still room for improvement
below 10% until 2013 when it ticked up to 13% in school
2012 out of school 35%; now 14.6%
9th grade academy
"there are a number of ways we see these schools making progress"
recommendation highlights our confidence that they will continue making strides
attrition rates still coming down
significantly increased date transparency
long running conversation around access and equity issues
Stewart: well over 100 days of missed instruction
"I need to see a lot more improvement on this before asking Boston to give up more money for this"
Peyser: "I don't think that we should assume that suspension is necessarily the wrong solution to a problem"
should be seen in context in attrition and performance
Moriarty: "it's a highly structured school and it's results are well-documented"
think it should be up to parents to determine in looking at data points like this and decide if it right for their families
rather than decide in a "paternalistic manner" for them
Morton: what is the suspension rate for Boston?
McKenna: 4.7%
Chuang: higher than average for suspension rates
"part of the charter model is autonomy"
Sagan: "telling that the demand far outstrips supply"
McKenna: "I hear what you're saying about parents making a decision and I absolutely respect that...my concern is with all of that taken to jump 300 students seems not the wisest course"
would say if it were half this amount this time and half next time
"doing this to a school that is dealing with this seems to be unwise"
long term impacts in terms of the abilities to make decisions on your own
6-3 motion carries

Chester: a various interesting institution
provides IB to students
a lot of concern "in the early years" in population Sturgis served, if it was reflective of population of Cape
since 2013 "I am confident that this school has gotten that message and has gotten population of disadvantaged youth"
"have demonstrated to me that they've taken that concern seriously"
Noyce: information about demographics of entering class?
Chuang: upward trajectory of economically disadvantaged overall, 9th grade even higher
17% for students, 23% of 9th grade
still lower than many of sending districts
note the sibling preference as a constraint on enrollment
Noyce: ELL and special needs?
school has built infrastructure to serve students then to build connections within population
Stewart: found compelling superintendents opposed, as do delegation
"I can't just blindly go into..."
district that is Level 1 and 2 and a charter that requests expansion
McKenna asks about data
vote is 6-3, Stewart, Doherty, McKenna opposed

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