Keep your eyes open

Just a few things to mention.

 

Monday, November 17th is a “special” board meeting, which typically means there are more opportunities for public comment. However the agenda is exceptionally small this time around, with the one and only thing really being discussed is a “public hearing” (*cough cough*) on “Physical Education Waiver Request”.

 

Last Thursday, Tim Ditman wrote an article covering how board member Kerris Lee is “exploring other Central High School sites“. Perhaps what I found most odd is that there are zero (nilch, nada, none) comments to the article. Granted, while Dodds Park and Bristol Park do offer some really interesting possibilities, they seem like extremely remote possibilities, but hey, Kerris is good at getting people to talk, so I dare not say impossible.

 

Next Thursday (November 20th), the national Learning Spaces Collaboratory will be holding a webinar on “Connecting the Dots between Planning and Assessing 21st Century Learning Spaces: Lessons Learned from the Field“. There is a $125 registration fee, so not for the faint of heart. I am hoping to hear from some local folks that attend this webinar and are willing to report out.

 

And lastly, save the dates for a few Saturdays in January; we are starting to make plans to offer design charrettes around the topic of the Unit 4 High Schools. Tentatively you can pencil in January 10th, January 17th and January 24th. I have spoken with the fine folks at the Douglass Center as well as the principal at Stratton and there is a distinct possibility we will be able to use their gyms. Pattsi, how can I help get your “charrettes 101” material online and available to all?

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10 Responses to “Keep your eyes open”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Nicole Lanfond did quite a story in today’s paper:

    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-11-16/new-model-unit-4.html

    • pattsi Says:

      Note online comment. The conversations since the referendum defeat have been exhilarating and all over the place. I believe Charles has already mused that it would have been useful for all of this to happened on the back side of 4 Nov. So maybe we can look at the referendum defeat as a reality check and leverage this toward more constructive and diverse conversations without the fear of chaos.

      • charlesdschultz Says:

        Ms. Lafond’s article is interesting in that regards because it shows us that most decision makers within Unit 4 really have a mindset of “tweaking” the referendum as little as possible, and I would throw the Interstate Drive site into the context of the referendum despite the fact that the referendum does not specify a site because it is clear that those decision makers really really want Interstate Drive.

        One of my fears is that there is an emergant and identifiable “no” side to the referendum which will cause further division as some folks flock to one “side” or the other and are either unwilling or unable to work together. It has been said, many many times, that we have “talked” this thing to death, yet clearly something did not work because the referendum did not pass. Even if the “tweaked” referendum does pass in April, I personally consider it a failure unless a super-majority votes in favor. The goal should be how to get as many of the stakeholders on the same page as possible. Not to push a desired outcome.

        I appreciate Ms. Lafond’s article in that it shows us that some compromises are being considered. But who is active and engaged in that ongoing discussion? Who is involved in the high school programming (and subsequent visioning) project? Among the “no” crowd, who is garnering support for a fully vetted alternate site and/or perspective of the most vexing problems that face our school district and its solution?

        What are our priorities in the first place?

  2. Rebecca Patterson Says:

    Just to cause trouble it would be nice to have one over at Franklin or Judah so people in that neighborhood could come and talk. It’s one thing to talk about a place, it’s another to be there and talk.
    As far as how much talking is going on now vs. before, I don’t think the public was ever truly engaged by the district. Even the polling and the surveys were like so much busy-work instead of looking at what we needed. To me it felt like waiting around to start planning while they wasted money and then they pulled out this plan they had in a back room. Talking requires people to listen. I don’t think we were in the same room.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      It is on my to do list to ask the principal at Garden Hills about their gym, but Franklin and Judah would also make good choices. Let me see what Garden Hills says first.

  3. kshannon617 Says:

    I think the first story didn’t get any comments because it was so small, and buried inside the local section. I didn’t even see it on my first scan of the paper!

    On today’s article, I was struck by how little justification they gave for why they want to build a K-8 school. They say “recent research shows some students benefit,” but they only cite one study, and that’s from 2007. And that’s all they need to pull a school out of a family oriented neighborhood and build it somewhere else, undoubtedly on the very edge of town? Sigh.

    • pattsi Says:

      These may help or further confuse. This was a quick and dirty search.

      http://educationnorthwest.org/news/what-research-says-or-doesnt-say-about-k-8-versus-middle-school-grade-configurations

      http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr06/vol63/num07/Mayhem-in-the-Middle@-Why-We-Should-Shift-to-K%E2%80%938.aspx might be a bit old

      http://www.csos.jhu.edu/new/Comparing%20Achievement.pdf

      https://www.edreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/CER_2008_K-8_Policy_Alert.pdf

      http://educationnext.org/the-middle-school-plunge/

      The relationship among grade configuration, school attachment, and achievement
      Brian V. Carolan, Nataly Z. Chesky
      Middle School Journal, Vol. 43, No. 4 (March 2012), pp. 32-39

      …). There still is no consensus as to which grade configuration best serves young adolescents. States and school districts across the country have been reconsidering the practice of educating young adolescents in stand-alone middle schools, which typically span grades 6 through 8, and replacing them with K-8 schools. Now, reformers…

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      Keep in mind, board member Lynn Stuckey has been pushing K-8 “forever”, long before she was a board member. In this day and age, I generally distrust a lot of research to answer questions like “what is best” simply because research tends to be too generic and too broad – it does well at providing a general framework which might shed some light on how to do things, but in the end, what really matters is how kids learn best in our local public schools. And there is no silver bullet. Therefore, for me personally, having a variety is great because it allows us to see which students thrive in various environments.

      And yes, I realize that we are “experimenting” with education. But in the larger scheme of things, I think experimentation is a good thing, and truth be told, aligns perfectly with the thought that we are all learners (even teachers, administrators and superintendents) and we are all on the path of discovery. #neverstoplearning

      • pattsi Says:

        I challenge your comment that research is too generic and board. That certainly is not the case. If anything, research is narrow making it difficult to extrapolate. In addition, it might be useful to explore the logistics and adjustment factors to having multi focused grade configurations feeding into HS.

      • charlesdschultz Says:

        @Pattsi, I will write a brief response, but I don’t want to sidetrack the rest of this discussion. 🙂

        I concede that you make a good point; I think perhaps the lens I am using comes from the attempted application of research, which as you yourself say, is difficult at best simply because there are most likely many other variables involved.


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