Home Forums Live Blog Forum Manchester School Board on 2/11/15

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    Rich Girard

    Here’s the agenda. https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B6cNHOSIYKNZbDJkNDYwaTByN2c&usp=sharing

    Of course, the big item won’t be there…it’s the fight over whether or not to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

    Rich Girard

    Presentations being made. Student from Webster, Nikita Bhat, wins Martin Luther King, Jr. arts competition. Congrats!

    Memorial Principal Arthur Adamakos being recognized for winning NH Principal of the Year Award. Giving a very gracious “acceptance” speech. Well done, classy.

    Rich Girard

    public forum:

    Patrice Benard (YAY! She sent her comments electronically!)

    As the parent of three school-age children, I have been watching your discussions of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Test (SBAT) closely. One of my children is a Seventh Grader in a local Public Charter School and his school is also being told that they MUST administer the SBAT. As a parent, who is responsible for my son’s education, I will refuse to have my child take this test. For my home schooled First Grader, I will have him take the California Achievement Test Survey, to see how he stacks up to the rest of the nation in English and Math.

    I hope that the Manchester BOSC will continue to stand-up to the State, Federal, and Local bullies who are threatening to withhold funds unless you cave in and administer the SBAT. Why should anyone outside of Manchester get to choose what test our city’s children should be taking? Why has this state’s DOE decided to force everyone to take the SBAT when it is NOT a national test (only 12 states have signed up for this), it is not validated (it is brand new and is unlike any test ever given before), and it does NOT align completely with the Manchester version of the CCSS?

    This is an Assessment test, not an Achievement test. I assume that my child is assessed by his teachers every day in the classroom. What I am looking for is bragging rights and to shut-up the naysayers. When I give my children an Achievement test, I can clearly state that my kids know more basic skills than 90% of the rest of the children in their grades across this nation. Is Manchester looking for a comparison to the rest of the nation, or, is Manchester simply looking to fulfill state and federal requirements?

    If you are worried about losing federal and state Title 1 money, I would ask you to consider just what, if anything, you are losing. There are some schools in this District that do NOT receive Title 1 funds. Has the lack of money reduce their test scores? Or is it really the opposite – are the schools who ARE receiving extra funds continuing to have lower test scores? Maybe you should refuse ALL federal and state funds for these extra programs as they have proven only to keep the poorer children in academically failing schools. Maybe if we truly level the playing field, teachers will learn to teach whatever children are in front of them and will stop relying on crutches provided by all these special programs.

    Lastly, this is a fight about principles and values. Mayor Gatsas, I sat here late last summer and begged you to not adopt the CCSS as it would bring in the testing that nobody thought was a good idea. You made it a point to speak up and assure me, as well as every parent and taxpayer in the city, that we would NOT be giving the SBAT. You said the Commissioner gave you assurances that you could use an alternative test. Lying is wrong in principle. Someone lied. Either you lied to me or you were lied to. I do not allow my children to get away with lying. If they do something wrong and come clean, they are punished appropriately. But if they lie and I find out about it – the punishment is worse. Somebody lied here. Somebody should be punished. If an elected official lies, he should be voted out of office. If an unelected state official lies, there should be some form of punishment. I really hope that I don’t find out that YOU were the one who lied to me. And I hope that you will convey the disgust of Manchester residents to the powers that be on the state level if it was Virginia Barry who turns out to be the liar.

    In case you were wondering about what other tests are available, I did some research:

    Cost of Nationally Standardized Tests – NOT aligned to the CCSS

    These are costs that I found that are available to Homeschoolers. I am sure a District could get a much better price.

    The TerraNova – http://www.setontesting.com/terranova/ $40 per child

    The TerraNova 2, also known as the CAT 6, is the newest form of the California Achievement Test available for homeschool testing. It is a nationally-recognized, norm-referenced test that meets most states’ annual testing requirements. The TerraNova/CAT 6 was normed in 2005, and replaces the CAT 5. It provides a series of tests that are easy to administer, stimulating to take, and most importantly extremely accurate in their assessment of student achievement. This test is the updated CAT 5. TerraNova 2/CAT 6 tests can be purchased by homeschools, private schools (on school letterhead) and public schools (on school letterhead). NO BACHELOR’S DEGREE REQUIRED!

    The California Achievement Test – http://www.setontesting.com/cat/ $29 per child
    The California Achievement Test, CAT E/Survey (Grades 2, 4-12) is a nationally normed standardized test that measures achievement in the areas of Reading, Language Arts and Math. It meets most states’ requirements for an annual assessment for homeschool and private school use. This is a Core Battery/Survey Edition and takes approximately 2½ hours to administer. NO BACHELOR’S DEGREE REQUIRED!

    The Iowa Test of Basic Skills – http://www.setontesting.com/iowa-tests/ $29 per child

    The Iowa Tests meet most state’s requirements for an annual, nationally normed standardized test and offer educators a diagnostic look at how their students are progressing in key academic areas.
    Available for Kindergarten to Grade 12, the Iowa tests allow educators to trace student achievement growth continuously. These tests can be administered year-round by someone with at least a B.A. degree.

    The Stanford Achievement Test Online – http://www.setontesting.com/stanford-10-online/ $35 per child

    The Stanford 10 Online Achievement Test (SAT 10) is the ONLINE version of the Stanford 10, normed in 2007. This nationally normed, standardized achievement test is done online from your computer at a mutually agreed upon time. The Stanford is an untimed, multiple choice assessment that follows an easy-hard-easy question format where items are arranged to facilitate student engagement and test completion. A Lexile® Measurement is included with the Full Battery.
    The Stanford 10 (SAT 10) is available in both Full Battery with Lexile® and Abbreviated Battery. Everything you need to test is included in one price:
    Practice Tests (online for grades 3-9) day of the test
    Directions for Administration
    Online testing tools such as ruler, highlighter, and mathematics reference sheet
    Automated System Check
    Secure Pearson Browser
    Score Reports
    The Abbreviated Battery has the same subtests as the Full Battery but fewer questions and requires less testing time. No Degree Required. Seton is the Test Administrator!

    All these testing companies also offer tests aligned to the CCSS. They are more expensive and those figures are not available on the web. These testing companies have been in the business of testing students nationally for many decades and have survived because of their standards and reputation.

    Rich Girard

    Lisa Witte: Former Ward 7 school board candidate and former district employee.

    Tremendous amount of misinformation driving Manchester to boycott Smarter Balanced. Saying facts don’t seem to matter, so let’s talk about impact of losing federal funds for not using the test. Detailing what will be lost to struggling students if Title 1 funding goes away. Saying the board can save the funds and also meet goals in strategic plan.

    If board votes to boycott Smarter Balanced, it does so at the expense of students and families already facing disadvantages. Their well being is more important than proving a political point.

    Rich Girard

    Glen Ouellette.

    SBAC cruel and unfair to students whose parents are not informed about the assessment and won’t opt them out. Talk about misinformation! Adding hours of testing on top of NEWA test you’ve already chosen is cruel and unfair to students. Saying 21 states aren’t using Smarter Balanced or PARCC assessments and they’re not losing federal funding. Why would we. Don’t change your mind. Stand up for what’s important to our kids.

    Rich Girard

    Hooksett School Board Chair Joanne McHugh

    14 Jefferson Drive

    Here on behalf of the Hooksett School Board. Been given directive to present letter to Mayor and Board of School Committee requesting to know when the Board will take the vote to accept the 1 year extension of the legal settlement. Doesn’t read letter.

    Hm, No further comments.

    Rich Girard

    Hooksett tuition contract now on deck.

    Confusion over a wording change…starting versus enrolling.

    Gatsas clarifying the what the language should be, pertaining to terms for entering freshmen. He’s right in his reading.

    Beaudry seems to be agreeing with Gatsas’ interpretation…(wow, it must really be cold.)

    Rich Girard

    Here’s the disputed language:

    2. Hooksett shall pay to Manchester annual tuition for each Hooksett student starting
    2018-2019 School Year at a Manchester high school based on Manchester’s actual cost per
    student for that School Year (as determined by DOE – 25 and consistent with Manchester’s past
    practice) plus 10%.

    What it should say is “Hooksett shall pay to Manchester annual tuition for each Hooksett student with a graduation date of 2018-2019…

    Ambrogi comes up with different language that seems to also solve the problem.

    Rich Girard

    Ambrogi’s language: each Hooksett student entering their senior year in 2018-2019

    Rich Girard

    Ambrogi clarifying that the intent is to restrict the agreement to those entering school this year as freshmen or those who enroll at a later date so long as they graduate in 18-19

    Beaudry: Says it in paragraph 1, so it’s redundant, but I’ll support it.

    Here’s what Beaudry’s referring to. He’s also right:

    1. Hooksett students wishing to enter Manchester high schools as freshmen in the
    2015-2016 School Year shall be entitled to do so and to complete their Senior Year at
    Manchester high schools in the 2018-2019 School Year.

    Rich Girard

    Stewart: Opposed because he doesn’t believe that Manchester taxpayers should be subsidizing Hooksett students by not recovering capital costs.

    Dunphy agrees,

    Beaudry: We’ve got to allow these freshman to know they can stay in this district. He won’t support eliminating capital costs in the future unless they step up give us all their students. We’ve only got 41 students coming in this year out of a class of 168. They agreed to capital costs 20 years ago and they should honor it.

    Gatsas agrees it’s subsidizing Hooksett. Spouts numbers. Hammers board members who changed and voted against their own negotiating position. A precedent has been set against collecting capital costs.

    Rich Girard

    N G, 3, 5, 6, 12
    Y 1, 2, 4, S, 7, 8, 9, 11
    Absent W, 10

    That was close.

    Rich Girard

    Time for the hidden agenda, Superintendent’s report.

    She presents Anthem to answer questions about data hack.

    Rich Girard

    Anthem a victim of a “sophisticated cyber attack” which was discovered internally. Reached out to FBI and cyber security firm to assess damage and discover what has been lost. Will give information as it comes available. They’re communicating daily with HR dept. On 2/13, there will be more information on the Web site…how members can sign up for credit protection, other alerts to protect. No charge to members for 2 years, industry standard is 1 year. http://www.Anthemfacts.com is where members can sign up.

    Rich Girard

    Has doubled IT securty budget in 28 months. Have rebuffed 65 BILLION attacks in last calendar year. 200 serious threats a day that get investigated. This successful one was an organized effort by a sophisticated tech company that breached security.

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