Questions and Answers

Over the past few weeks, I have sent several questions to the board and have received answers. Some of these questions came from looking at the board agenda for Feb 24th (those at the bottom dealing with Educational Technology), others came from me stumbling upon one thing or another. My thanks to the various district administration personnel that fielded the questions.

q

I am curious, what does Unit 4 do with Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) responses? This is more of a personal curiosity for me; I don’t think the IYS responses should be public, but I am curious how the response are used by the district and how they inform future decisions.

a

We are doing the Illinois Youth Survey this spring at both high schools. This will be the first time it has been administered in at least the past 3 years according the Joe and Greg. I believe Angela has asked the middle schools to do it as well but not sure. Once we get them the data will be used as part of the school improvement process and most likely will be an update to the board and leadership.

qIn the timeline provided by Codagami in their RFP response, they collected “user stories” by November 27th. Is Unit 4 at liberty to share those stories? Or can you provide some sense of what “users” have said? Will this information trickle down to the Choice Committee at some point?

a

The user stories are simply portions of the dialogue surrounding Codagami’s internal software development process.  There is no formal set of user stories, only informal notes taken by representatives of Codagami which are not in the District’s possession.  These stories are merely an internal tool for Codagami which allows them to arrive at the mockups and end functionality of the application.

qI have been looking through the RPC presentations (in the context of the Central site), and it is not clear to me that a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) has been performed for the sites north of I-74. Curious, do you know if such analysis has been done for the new site? Can the results be shared?

aWe have been in discussions with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) to complete a TIA now that we have a site selected.  This will be in process shortly.

qDoes a map of Unit 4 high school boundaries exist?

a[ sent via email and posted here ] : https://thecitizen4blog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/hsdistrictboundarymap.pdf

qWhen I look back at the Technology Plan presented by Mr. Grinnip on Feb 27, 2012, I see one of the goals is: “The District will increase its achievement levels in mathematics and reading for ALL students to 100% AYP. ” I believe we did not meet that goal, correct?

ahttp://www.illinoisreportcard.com

qSeeing as how we did not meet the goals of 2012, is there any negative ramification?

aDetails of the ramifications are here: http://www.isbe.net/ayp/htmls/faq.htm

qAlso, I am curious, why the range (3%-5%) for the new goals? Why not just say 3% (with the assumption that anything more than that is icing on the cake! *grin*). When we track achievement through the years, do we ever tie it back to these goals in particular?

aThis was a goal that was suggested by the state.  Yes.  When we analyze the effectiveness of initiatives throughout the district one piece of data that is used is our student achievement on test scores.  We will also have other metrics that will track data more specific to our tech plan activities (student surveys, use of technology tools, account accesses, collaboration documents created, etc.)

qAlso, I saw that Unit 4 very recently issued two RFPs for various computer components. It is difficult for me to associate these RFPs with board actions/decisions. Are these tied to the Technology Plan? What is the justification for the RFPs?

aThe computer RFPs are for the schools that are finishing construction.  Just like Carrie Busey and Westview, when the buildings move back in to their renovated (or newly built) schools devices are provided for students and computers are provided for faculty and staff.  They are divided into two bids (one for chromebooks, one for pc’s) in order for more companies to be able to bid on them.  If this was one large RFP it would isolate companies who provided both types of technology.

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One Response to “Questions and Answers”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    I was a little disappointed with the responses about not meeting Educational Technology goals; in 2012, the district said they had a goal for reaching 100% AYP, but then we didn’t and the “ramifications” are listed by the ISBE as putting the school on a special watch list, coming up with remediation plans, yada yada. But nothing as far as the “Educational Technology” goes. I mean, the goal could be the same year after year, 100% meet AYP, and it wouldn’t change anything. I wonder if anyone would notice if they said 110% AYP. *grin*

    As far as “other metrics”, I still have not received a very satisfactory answer in regards to what data is being collected on students. From talking with CFT President Cathy Mannen and a couple teachers, I am led to believe that the teachers have a very good understanding of where each student is at, regardless of data collection and reporting. And I am cool with that, because in my mind’s eye, that is what teachers do. Or at least, good teachers. 🙂 But I also hear that teachers have to do a ton of ancillary data collecting and reporting, which is not “educational time”. If my teachers are putting in so much time on this “extra” stuff, where are the fruits of their labor? I want to see it.

    Also, the integration of technology into the curriculum is a bit dicey, in my opinion. Or perhaps “uncertain” is a better word. Keep in mind, I think the Raspberry Pi is a lot of fun, and I really enjoy eToys, Scratch and other various basic coding practices. But how to make that a part of the curriculum? That part seems utterly left to the teachers. In some ways, that can be a really good thing, if it allows the teacher to adapt the curriculum as they see fit. But with Common Core being pushed so hard, I think what ends up happening is that technology is expected to somehow magically be appended on top of all the other curriculum adaptions already taking place. It is not very smooth, nor well integrated. Additionally, in my experience, it seems the technology is just dumped into a classroom. It is amazing to watch most of the kids adapt and absorb it (they blow my socks off sometimes *grin*), but other children have a really hard time with it. For the latter group, I fear they are developing a negative learning experience in the context of technology.

    Again, Educational Technology is on the Consent Agenda for Monday night. I still do not fully understand the ‘gestalt’ and all the ramifications of the plan, even though I understand the jargon and physical devices, and I have observed a single classroom implementing the plan.


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