Thursday, October 17, 2019

Worcester School Committee periodic liveblog

On the agenda tonight is the state presenting on accountability and discipline, but there are also a good number of people presumably in reaction (of various kinds) to the student suspended at Forest Grove.
Petty: work together, and we can do better
"my understanding is the data has gone in a good direction...we have a pretty good school system"

Associate Commissioner of Accountability Rob Curtin
and the presentation just was shared with me and I have shared it here
who leads with his time at Clark
"all that I am presenting for you tonight" is under my purview
notes that he is also in charge of Comprehensive District Reviews, which was done in Worcester in 2017 and was never heard from again
"for the betterment of you all, I did not make this an 100 slide presentation"
"there's a lot of different ways to slice this data"
"that will allow you ask more questions of our office to provide you with information or to ask those questions of the superintendent as well"
will show most recent data that we have
data certified as of July, accountability data in September
all publicly available save the discipline data, not yet released
"won't see any comparison with state" as yet as it hasn't yet become public
"there are more MCAS slides as on other topics...the reason for that is we have a lot of different's a little difficult to fit it all on one slide"

next gen MCAS grades 3-8 look kinda flat over three years

"in the top half of partially meeting expectations"
"almost a meaningful difference in terms of improvement" in ELA
"more sort of neutral" in math over the three years
how does Worcester compare to other urban districts?
higher than a point, green
"the news is quite positive" for African-American students compared to the urban districts
"some really good news there"
"I would generall portray this as a difference between subjects" however
ELA "primarily overall" positive
"whereas in math Worcester does not compare as well" to urban districts across the Commonwealth
how have things changed over three years?
"meeting or exceeding...have increased" ELA and math
"where we'd like to see more movement" in not meeting expectations
ELA 1 in 5 not meeting
math between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5
the top has increased from the middle, not increase from the bottom
some really good news and some areas of concern:
grade 3 ELA: has increased by six over three years
no movement in 7th grade ELA
"across both subjects there are pockets of good news and places to ask questions"
"particularly good news is sixth grade math"
"data are made to lead to questions"
achievement gap has widened in both ELA and math but for different reasons between subjects
gap has widened in ELA because the top group has done exceptionally well
gap has widened in math because BOTH the top group has done well AND the others have fallen
science: "here is where there is certainly room for improvement"
grade 8: more than 1 in 4 not meeting expectations on the science test
first year in grade 10: right on par in ELA, in math "again the results are slightly lower"
"questions and room for improvement"
"achievement is important, but growth is important, too"
"our growth statistics are done compared to their academic peers"

"across the board...for the most part...the growth numbers are on the lower side of typical or the low growth category"
this is not good...growth should be where we're good
"a lot more low growth across the board in subgroups...compared to their academic peers...across the Commonwealth"

"MCAS are the primary driver in our accountability system"
BUT THERE IS MORE as any of you who follow this know: new system
44 schools included in the accountability system
31 schools not requiring assistance or intervention
13 require assistance or intervention: 10 because they are in the lowest 10% in the state; 3 due to a subgroup or more
"there's always going to be a lowest 10%"
the three "had one of the lowest performing subgroups in the state"
"on the extreme positive side" two schools of recognition: West Tatnuck and Belmont Street
"very interesting trend among the schools in Worcester"
there are 10 schools in the lowest ten percent: there is a range of schools across the district,
a range of performance across the district
er, I fear this may be as a result of our not having particularly integrated elementary schools
17 had a higher percentile in 2018 than in 2017
"in addition to thinking about schools...we also do the same for subgroups"
"a real range of performance among your subgroups across the district"
"there are six schools where the Hispanic students in that school are among the lowest performing in the state...but eight schools in which the Hispanic students in which they're the highest performing subgroups in the state"
"a real testiment ot what's happening"

"a core component is how the school is doing compared to itself"
3/4 of schools either are making substantial progress towards their progress or meeting targets in 2019
though I am going to observe that the number of schools that MET progress fell 2019 versus 2018

disciplinary data:
"please, there's a lot of different questions we could have answered here"
"I understand there is a clamoring for additional information, and I'd be happy to answer those questions either with the district or on behalf of the district"
discipline: in school, out of school, emergency removal
at highest level, it is lower than it has been at any point over the past five years
gaps among students being disciplined by race and ethnicity
"those are still significant numbers, and I am sure there are still discussions to be had" about the rates
still over 1000 Hispanic students being disciplined in the 2019
"certainly improvement, while still concentrating on high numbers of students who are being disciplined across the district"
lower numbers than in 2018 by subgroup
"you have improvement from 2018 but there are still major difference that exist between groups even between the types of discipline"
the 1.4% of students who had an emergency removal, a decrease from 1.8% from 2018
"represents a very high percentage compared to the rest of the state"
0.2% for the state in 2018
someone just said "Daaaamn"
chart now shows numbers sorted out on why students are being suspended
"while my main goal here is to present the facts to you without a whole lot of conjecture"
the number of non-criminal non-violent non-drug reasons
most of them are "some sort of...violating school rules" and such
"but it seems to me that there's at least room for examinating a very high number of non-violent non-criminal non-drug offenses in Worcester"
interrupted here by applause
"and whether or not there's other forms that don't involve removing a student from instruction"

real interesting story on chronic absenteeism
missing at least 10% of their days
just under 15% of students were missing at least 10% of their days in a given school year
"students missed less instructional time than other urban districts across the Commonwealth"
the numbers are actually improving
"quite high but lower than other urban districts across the Commonwealth"
"less than 10% of students in elementary school are missing 10% of their days" and those numbers have come down
"and you've seen dramatic improvement across the races"
"but you have a very different story in high school"
while the numbers have come down
"you have more than 1 in 5 students" missing 10% of their days
"attention can be really focused on the high school"

"My mantra is if we can make it public, we should make it public"
"if there are additional email is there"

Petty: non-drug non-violent non-criminal offenses "we should really dig into"
asks for comparison with urban districts
"look at programs later on"
"have this on a semi-annual...have this again and invite you back!"
things we're doing well but we "can't ignore those things that we have to improve"
Petty: not sure how to do, maybe have a special meeting

Foley: this really warrants much more discussion at future meetings
"you can cross-tabulate a lot of this on the website"
"would love to see breakdown by poverty and is that an overriding factor"
"seeing a movement of a cohort" through "is a trend sometimes"
"students with disability, their performance is very very low"
"challenges we're still facing"
Curtin: something to be investigated here and what's happening among different subgroups among different schools
Foley: "we need to have a conversation about emergency removals...what constitutes an emergency removal, why are we so much higher than the rest of the state"
"I don't know what is occuring to cause the removal of a student from school"
"large number of non-drug non-violent can work as a district to keep more of those students in school"
"we have to find a way to keep those students in school"
to applause
The superintendent is referencing a change in the law...there was no change in the law
high rates in October and in May and she's...inventing reasons why?
Superintendent's Advisory Council is making welcoming school books, she says
every school is planning an additional event in October to make school more welcoming
"and we had a tremendous decrease from '16-17"
Foley: "there's a difference between the way Worcester is applying the protocols than other districts across the state"
Binienda: "we have repeated school violations..and that tends to be a this year, we're being more specific" about the reason for the suspensions
so like cutting class and then they're suspended for that

sorry Monfredo spoke there and he wanted to know about poverty and homelessness and then he was pleased by ELA scores but not in math

Comparetto: see two school systems here
look at implementing alternative practices in discipline

McCullough: one of the things I'd like to see is consistency across the district
"it's been a concern of we're not seeing disparities across the district"
see students removed from the environment but not the school
"and work towards that goal"
"perhaps part of the strategic plan is to hold policy forum" and perhaps get additional data from the state

Biancheria: why are schools recognized as a school of recognition?
both were for high growth
and I think she just suggested we should teach to the test for science

Petty "have a meeting to really dissect" the non-drug non-violent non-criminal offenses
"maybe we can get a report on that"

Binienda "really feel that was an excellent report on progress"
"with that I want to thank my staff that's here"
thank the School Committee

student rep: asks why there are fewer subgroups than schools (essentially why every school doesn't have them)
Curtin: not enough students in tested grades
asks about seventh grade: follows it down
"I'd hestitate to comment on specific grades"
asks why detentions aren't included
Curtin: first, we don't collect it
"we also don't think of it as a loss of instruction"
"I tend to focus my remarks around the instructional loss"

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