Home Forums Live Blog Forum Manchester School Board on December 14, 2015

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  • #37544
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Coming in during the PACE presentation.

    Beaudry asking the pertinent questions: How could you do this without board approval? Will the test affect grades? How will it be scored, objectively or subjectively and how will that be done? Will parents be able to opt out? (Yes, but how if it is necessary to determine whether or not the kids are competent?)

    Connors: How does district’s math fluency testing fit into PACE? It doesn’t. It’s another way to test, but we may find we don’t need it as we get underway with PACE.

    EVERYTHING THEY’RE SAYING IS PRESUMING THE DISTRICT IS MOVING FORWARD.

    Van Houten: Who is providing the continuing ed? CCE, Center for Collaborative Education out of Boston.

    Van Houten: How does “common performance assessment” fit with our MA Standards?

    DLiv: Edubabble response. Takes 3 or 4 years to get to a point where tests can be utilized. Will be taught how to validate.

    Van Houten: Will we be using performance assessments created by other districts, will we collaborate with them? Maybe, but will collaborate with schools in district to develop our own specific assessments.

    #37545
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Desrochers: Was school lunch presentation a PACE kind of activity? Yup.

    Tessier: Are teachers getting stipend for coming in? Nope, on their own time.

    Langton: What does PACE mean? DLiv doesn’t know. Has to do with performance assessment. Where did it originate? NH DoE. What has it cost? Nothing, it’s a grant through the state from Nellie Mae. the state is driving the whole thing. They tell us when and where to show up and we do.

    #37546
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Avard; who determines whether or not our questions are meeting our standards? Is that all in house or does the state have to approve it? AAllen, confusing answer…we do it ourselves, but we’ll compare to what other districts are doing at the same grade level.

    Gatsas: Ms. Allen…looks like you’re in Tier II. Does that mean you were in Tier I last year? Nope, we did some work over the summer and were able to jump ahead.

    Gatsas: So, this is been happening for a long time and we’re now only giving a presentation. I’d like to see the minutes of the meeting where we authorized this. Don’t disagree with what I’m hearing, but not liking the process.

    Connors: We did discuss it when we discussed the Smarter Balanced.

    Gatsas: Was there a presentation? Did they bring any information forward for us to review and support? It was a discussion, but no action taken. Certainly, if we’d discussed it like this back then, I would have mentioned my testing comment (like he did tonight) about the waiver question he asked in Bedford and was told that they didn’t know what they’d do if the waiver went away and it did.

    Avard: Recounts what we all know, Gatsas inquired about why we weren’t part of it and it went from there.

    Gatsas agrees with Avard, and notes that it was a discussion, not a presentation, not a decision.

    Beaudry agreeing, slams administration for not coming to the board for approval. Cart before the horse. Doesn’t know what the right way to go is, but the board should decide.

    Gatsas: There was nothing decided by the board and outside of a brief blurb in C & I where it wasn’t even on the agenda, there’s been no mention of it.

    Beaudry: Missed it.

    #37547
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Gatsas: Hammering administration for not coming forward with information requested at the special meeting about all the difficulties the kids at Beech St. School during the test and why didn’t anybody from the district come forward and defend the school with this information? They were quoted in a recent article about how bad the school was.

    Beaudry: Yeah, they were supposed to come back to us and tell us whether or not zeros were counted either.

    Gatsas questioning a bunch of stuff about PACE…somebody at the state had to know there was a waiver coming. Those districts didn’t have to worry about losing federal funds.

    Avard: Sounds like this is an opportunity for us to develop our own assessments. If we need to, I’ll make a motion to give the administration to latitude to continue with this professional development so we can develop our own assessments.

    Gatsas: don’t disagree, but we need something from the state DoE, not in their gobbledygook, that tells us in clear, simple language what we can and cannot do because who knows when it will change or how.

    Avard: yes, but if we can get those dollars and continue the professional development, why not.

    Gatsas: Why wouldn’t we just look for a way to get out of Smarter Balanced altogether, but hey this is the first time we’ve heard of it, so it sounds like a good idea, so why not?

    Langton: Who pays for the subs to fill in for the teachers who are getting the professional development…using Title I funds.

    Langton: Will something be entered into the state database…don’t know

    Gatsas: does anybody? Nope.

    Here’s the upshot: Administration got caught doing something the board didn’t approve and is fighting a rear guard action with the help of the usual accomplices.

    #37548
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Q & A between Connors and DLiv: it’ll take years for us to convert the district.

    Gatsas: why can’t they all start at the entry level in September?

    DLiv: not possible.

    Gatsas: someone sat in that chair several years ago in April and told us that we couldn’t start a 4 year high school at MST by September, and lo and behold we did. (Avard looks like he’s going to burst.)

    Beaudry: What happens if PACE shoots this down?

    DLiv: don’t know.

    Beaudry: Aren’t grants supposed to go through committee to be approved and accepted?

    DLiv: Grant doesn’t come to the city, so it doesn’t have to go through the process. All done by the state (yes, but we have to agree to participate)

    Gatsas: What does it cost? Does anybody know how much money that consultant from Boston is getting paid. Has anybody asked?

    Beaudry: Who pays for the subs? We do, via Title I…so it is costing us money indirectly.

    Staub: given the new federal law that just passed, we should take a step back and and see what that law means for us before we go off in any direction. (reasonable.)

    #37549
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    you know, nobody’s asked how the district got involved in this in the first place.

    #37550
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Gatsas: questioning waiver question.

    Dliv: the Waiver we currently have expires on August 1, 2016

    Gatsas: so, we could have this in place for the next school year?

    DLiv: yes, but there’s a whole lot of professional development that needs to happen before we get into this.

    Gatsas: Where’s Gossler in the process?

    they just have coaches.

    so we could have coaches in all of the schools by September? Yes, but there’s an A team and a B team…it takes time to get teachers ready. Using coaching/sports analogy. this process is very deep and there’s a lot of learning that goes in. I don’t think I could say to a principal that you’re going to do this next year. They’re all different.

    Gatsas; I notice you use sports analogies a lot. Sometimes kids without coaching do very well because they’ve got the talent…true.

    Avard: moves to enable admin to continue with process of learning and investigating with the requirement that they come before the board for approvals before taking any more steps. Connors seconds (of course)

    Beaudry: Seems like we make motions to get the administration out of trouble. I’m going to oppose this because I think this needs to be further vetted before we allow it to continue. I want the public to be able to weigh in and have the discussions we need to have to make the decisions that’s right for us.

    #37551
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Passes with Langton, Tesiser, Beaudry and Van Houten opposed.

    Beaudry moves to send PACE to C & I to vet it out after the new board is seated. Langton seconds.

    Terrio: Isn’t that contrary to what we just did? We just gave them the go ahead to expand the program.

    Avard: No, we’re going to need to understand what we’re looking at. There’s a difference between getting the training and giving the test.

    Passes, Rokas abstains because he won’t be on the new board.

    #37552
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Redistricting: where are we? (hard to tell when ones head is planted in a dark, odoriferous place.)

    prior underuse of facilities ahs chanbed because of full day k, new special programs, previous attempts met unfavorably by community.

    she’s addressing the 2007 study for West, discounting it.

    #37553
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    the redistricting plan does not include any grade reconfiguration.

    #37554
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Hey, we have yet another number of students…now they’re saying we have 14633 as of 10.1.15 Saying the district’s population has exceeded projections.

    #37555
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    >100 out of district in Elementary School
    >135 at Middle School
    >380 at High schools.

    so, current out of district students in district is 600. lot in high school, less in middle because of kids who move and want to finish in the school they’ve started. (how does Southside have “high numbers” when it has more than 300 fewer kids than in 2001?)

    #37556
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    6 portables removed (4 @ beech, [email protected], [email protected])
    12 to go

    Avard: How many of the portables have students and how many have something else? About half have students, the rest have something else, mostly storage.

    #37557
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    what’s taking up space.

    computer Labs, art/music/health classrooms (can go on carts, but she’s very opposed to this) 5 kindergarten classrooms to meet all day goal, shifted pre-K/added special classrooms (Smyth Rd…moved some pre-K to Highland as a result.)

    #37559
    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Oooo, new city housing construction info from the planning board…who knew that could be done?

    Most new construction has high end price point, young, high tech professionals (really?) Ah, she’s talking rentals/town houses (yeah, the ones with playgrounds!)

    They yield fewer children…Citizens Bank, BUT Northwest Elementary will be dramatically challenged by growth in next couple of years (Duh…that’s what happens when you build nearly 200 high density multi unit 3 bedroom rentals.)

    Refugee and immigrant needs, static city population which is aging (which should forecast decreasing student enrollments. IMHO)

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