Sutherland for Schools blog
So it's the day after Income Tax and we're having another budget workshop. That's workshop, not hearing. In the back room, with no cameras. It appears that public comment will not be possible until well into May.
There's been a lot of angst about an unusual complaint against a former AP at Daggett Montessori School by a parent who is also a teacher in the district. The issue appeared to be whether the AP threatened to harm the career of the parent/teacher. Unfortunately, when one of the board members (me) asked staff whether they agreed this was the issue, Mary Ellen Hicks, the grievant's representative, lashed into an egregiously abusive take-down over the silliness of the question, amplified by Cinto Ramos' helpful assertion that the question was improper.
The Texas State Teachers Assn. rep has formally complained to FWISD about disparate treatment of African American bus drivers at the Clark bus lot. He has received a number of complaints about harassment.
Someone sent me a complaint three weeks ago about a coach who, though remaining otherwise employed at the school, was stripped of his coaching duties.
I am posting this because I was informed at Anne Darr's fundraiser last week that some teachers are being assigned seven. If you are asked to teach seven, you should call your employee representative.
Major study of NY city public schools: Climate "deteriorated rapidly" when schools were prevented from suspending students without central office approval.
Interruptions to Instructional Days in Math 2018-2019
Total Student Days = 176
First week of school (First 5) 5 days
MAP Testing BOY 4 days
MOY 3 days
EOY 3 days
Interim Assessments (4) 8 days
Benchmark Testing 4 days
TELPAS Writing (class samples) 2 days
College and Career Readiness Curriculum 3 days
Play Days (fundraisers) 2 days
Suicide Awareness 1 day
Math Pullouts for 7th grade (wonderful by the way) 5 days
Social Media safety 1 day
STAAR 3 days minimum
Finals (Fall and Spring) 10 days
2 Teacher tests/6 weeks (required by district) 12 days
2 Teacher quizzes/6 weeks (required by district) 12 days
Total full non-instructional days 78 days/176 possible days = 44%
Not included in this accounting are the interruptions that only affect some students, and interrupted class time that is not a full day. Examples include: district requirements for Band, Choir, and Orchestra that impact other classes (which total at least 24 days, mostly during Feb/Mar), absences (students and teachers), field trips, assemblies, course selections, online testing for TELPAS, and many other minor disruptions that add up to even less real instructional time, especially as we try to prepare students for STAAR.
Well, we will have to stick it out one more year, but then there will be these plans as Dr. Scribner shared with the board this morning: He writes to the principals:
· We are already well into a planning timeline for the 2019-20 school year. The Master Scheduling Process began back in January. Students have already selected courses and schedules are already established. Our school calendar and “start & end” times have also already been established. A shift to a block schedule at this late date would impact both of these.
· Budgets are already allocated to campuses for next year and you are in the process of assigning those dollars based on student course selection.
· We are four months away from the start of school, and a change to a block schedule requires more detailed planning.
I heard your concerns and will support your collective voice that the answer to changing schedules is not “No” – rather, it is “Not yet.”
Starting now, we are making plans to develop and implement a revised schedule in 2020-21.
Here is what I heard you say that we will collectively address in those plans:
· We will design and deliver additional training for teachers to effectively teach in a 90-minute instructional block.
· We will adjust the curriculum to provide teachers with plans for 90-minutes of instruction.
· We will evaluate the impact of block scheduling on specialized programs (Athletics, Fine Arts, CTE) and will work out a plan to ensure these programs are not short-changed.
Additionally, I will direct our Leadership Team to facilitate a high school bell schedule committee and a separate middle school bell schedule committee.
Here is the bottom line – the most important part of this letter. With the agreed-upon year of planning comes high expectations:
· It is your responsibility to work out a plan to effectively implement the schedule changes in 2020-21 for your individual campuses.
· The plan should include a consistent message for our teachers, students, and students’ families.
· It is also your responsibility to tell us what resources we need to provide you in the planning period leading up to the implementation year.
Tonight's meeting includes a presentation titled "Instructional Planning and Development Update". I'm hoping there will be a change in the 8-period day.
School Enrollment Total cost Cost per student (site only)
Anne Darr, running for District 6, wants to know your views on major current issues. She will publish the results. Here is the link:
Readers will remember my earlier post on the national story that our STAAR tessts are not normed on national standards. To the extent they actually measure the level, the norms are TWO YEARS above a given student's grade level. The AFT reports on a hearing last week:
The earlier comment re spending on the Palazzolo case is mis-directed. The ORR requestor asked for all expenditures from the Brandt firm, but did not single out requests on this old lawsuit. Any payments to Brandt's firm were for other purposes.