MHT Academic Standards(Hour 1b) We bumped in to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “I Know A Little” to help our humble host get started.  Sometimes DJ Dave gets lucky in his music choices.

The song also applies to the lack of transparency in the development of the Manchester Academic Standards.  Is this yet another case of a “pass it to see what’s in it” process by government?

Rich read the most recent e-mail exchange he had with Assistant Superintendent David Ryan.

07-22-2014 Hour 1b

Here are the emails I read during the segment in their entirety.

(From Dr. Sandra Stotsky)


I never asked teachers to require specific American or British works in the standards.  The MA document only suggests examples of texts in order to show what a standard means.

Aside from that, I cannot address these post-hoc comments (I worked with the teachers in April–several months ago).  The proof is in the pudding.  Where is a complete K-12 document showing the Table of Contents and all the strands from K-12, and which standards are part of the Common Core floor and which are above the floor?
On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM, <> wrote:

From David Ryan.

Any comment?

Rich Girard

Humble Host

Girard at Large in the Morning


——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Fwd: [FWD: Re:]
From: Tracy Mancuso <>
Date: Mon, July 21, 2014 10:34 am
To: Rich Girard <>
Cc: David Ryan <>


FYI below

Tracy Mancuso
Assistant to Superintendent Dr. Livingston

Assistant to Assistant Superintendent David Ryan
Manchester School District
195 McGregor Street Suite 201
Manchester, NH 03102
603-624-6300 ext. 122
———- Forwarded message ———-

From: David Ryan <>
Date: Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM
Subject: Fwd: [FWD: Re:]
To: Tracy Mancuso <>

Hi Tracy,

Would you please send the comments below to Rich. They are in response to his question. The responses are relative to the high school and middle school academic standards. Thank you.

High School

What we (HS ELA) took from her suggestions was to refine the general standards, that is, to be more specific about the genres of reading, with specific sub-categories.  For example, we have a heading called Traditional Literature, with categories of Myth, Folklore, Fairy Tales.  We adopted that quite readily.  She did not think we needed a section on the Writing Process, but we insisted that we wished to have clear guidelines for our colleagues in the other disciplines.  She also wanted us to cite specific literature in the standards, such as specific British or American works.  There were a couple of instances when we referenced an example of American non-fiction, but it was simply an example.

Regarding the preponderance of concern about how heavy a reliance we had on CCSS, I just went through our section of the document and listed all our sources.  This is what I found:

Reading: 28 standards, a total of 33 sources were consulted and cited; CCSS is cited ALONE in 6

Writing: 18 standards, a total of 21 sources were consulted and cited; CCSS is cited SOLELY in 12

Language: 9 standards; 10 sources, NONE of which were SOLELY  CCSS

Speaking, Listening, Viewing: 11 standards; 14 sources consulted, 3 of which were SOLELY CCSS


Middle School

The day the middle school team met with Dr. Stotsky we engaged in various conversations and professional collegial debates. The first two hours was spent on our “Table of Contents” in which we had great difficulty understanding each other, as we finally discovered that her understanding was that this document(the table of contents) should address all of the “academic content” we were teaching during the school year. We clarified and stated that this current document was only related to the organization of the sections of the standards that were to follow; like an organizational tool at the beginning of a textbook that states the order of items to follow.  This document was not our curriculum “content” that would be developed later during the next step of the process in which we will take our standards (foundation) and build our curriculum (which will incorporate the more detailed content).


Once we were all on the same page with that discussion, we went through our reading literature section in great depth as well as our writing section. Again we had many great professional debates. We did take her suggestions as to our organization and wording of many of our standards. The biggest change we made in our next day of standards writing was to re-write the whole document. We printed out our most recent draft at that point (April 24th?) and began to highlight and differentiate based on Dr. Stotsky’s suggestion which was to distinguish between the actual skills students would be practicing versus what was the big idea of the content that they would understand based on that practice. Our next published draft, which we sent her, had these changes; however, she did not send back comments. Her only response was for us to outline for her the differences between Common Core and our document. Our document may have some standards that are found in Common Core, the NH GLEs, Massachusetts, Indiana, National Council of Teachers of English, Association for College and Research Libraries (Information Literacy Competency Standards), International Reading Association (Standards for the English Language Arts) but every standard on the middle school document has been worded, re-worded, or crafted by the teachers  in a language they believe that their colleagues will interpret with the intention in which it was written. The goal was to provide our students with a challenging and supportive education so they can realize their full potential and have no limits to the direction of their future.


———- Forwarded message ———-

From: <>
Date: Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 5:23 AM
Subject: [FWD: Re:]
To: David Ryan <>

Hi, David.

Other than what Dr. Stotsky has listed below, what demands did Dr. Stotsky make on the district to enable her further participation?

Rich Girard

Humble Host

Girard at Large in the Morning



David Ryan, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Manchester School District

195 McGregor Street, Suite 201

Manchester, NH  03102

(603) 624-6300