Sutherland for Schools blog
In February 2014 we had 2,133 children on our wait lists for our GSPOC programs. This fall, at the end of the first six weeks, there were still 1725 waiting.
|Trimble Tech Culinary Arts||107|
|Trimble Tech Health Sciences||159|
|J.P.Elder Academy of Science & Art||158|
|Applied Learning Academy||49|
|Stripling TABS Prep||144|
|Daggett Montessori K-8||158|
|Dagget Montessori Middle||110|
|Total waiting list||1725|
Adding $21 million to support staff rather than using funds to keep class sizes low is having the expected consequences. Here is the report for grades K-4.
Refusing to repeat what she had told a board member twice on different occasions, acting CFO Elsie Schiro on Oct 14 refused to say that the revised budget being presented to the board on November 11 will contain sufficient reserves over three years to avoid audit flags, leading to possible layoffs after the district added 300 new staff and $21 million in new programs in the current year's budget.
I received this post which is too important to append to a previous item.
Thanks Dr. Sutherland for the support that you has always offered to our community. Testing Madness is also affecting our Pre-Kinder Students! I have taught PK for over six years in the FWISD. Three times a year we have been assessing our students in different areas (letter recognition and sounds, phonemic awareness, rhyming,onset rhyming, Math, early writing and observables that included emotional and social behavior. The assessment is conducted online with the child next to us and it normally took 45 minutes. This year the assessment has increased drastically. Today I tested one student in two sessions as a 4 year old attention spam is so short and each area to be assessed had a least 7 to 8 questions each. It took over an hour and thirty minutes. This year teachers are required to assess Science, Social Studies and other areas that was not part of the assessment before. Unfortunately I need to spend 20 days testing my 22 students and that means that my small group instruction has to suffer. Immediately after the assessment window ends on Nov 15 I need to assess letters and sounds to all the students as this assessment does not assess all the letters of the alphabet, which I am required to assess for the report card due in 5 weeks!. After 15 minutes my students are rolling their eyes and feel overwhelmed. Below you can see the areas that our district required teachers to assess and dates. I am truly concerned that this testing madness is affecting our youngest ones too. FWISD – CIRCLE Assessment Administration Dates Assessment Dates 1 - BOY October 15 – November 15 2 - MOY January 15 – February 15 3 - EOY April 15 – May 15 Measures District Required Direct Measures Rapid Letter X Rapid Vocabulary X Phonological Awareness X Mathematics X Science X Social Studies X Story Retell Optional Letter Sound Correspondence X Observables Social and Emotional X Book and Print X Early Writing X Approaches to Learning X Physical Health & Development Optional
I've filed complaint with TEA over our continuing use of SCAs. Also possible problem with legal opinion.
I've asked our staff for a legal opinion on the SCA projects. I finally got a response on Thursday; she says"benchmark assessment instruments for purposes of Section 39.0263 of the Texas Education Code. Although the statute is rather ambiguous, until there is a legal challenge where a judicial body makes a definitive ruling, the District must rely on the legal opinion of counsel and the interpretation by the administration."
The October 14 agenda and backup material are now available on the data tab.
As teachers are administering SCAs again today, I have advice from our IT department:
I am hopeful that our 140 schools will have more freedom to operate in ways they think will work better than some of the strictures imposed by our division of Leadership, Learning and Student Support in the coming months.
At a recent meeting the FWISD board voted to amend the bond plan as it relates to a provision allocating $1 million to each high school for improved field houses.
We have an enrollment of approximately 86,200 children, an increase over the previous year, according to the latest data. We are funded for 94.7% of these children which is pretty respectable (that's why teachers get hounded about attendance). Funding for each of these is about $7800 after all the weights are added for extra needs. (It was an error in the weightings that caused the need to return the $37 million to TEA).
|Grade span||Dropouts||Students||Rate (%)|
I received the report on promethean board and laptop refresh and install yesterday afternoon after my fourth request.
I have asked for an opinion from our attorneys on the legality of these short cycle assessments. Our attorneys usually support the administration (and the 8-1 board vote . . . ) on these tests but I am hopeful.
“Short cycle assessments are intended to be formative assessments. Formative assessments “inform” teachers about the effectiveness of the teaching of the TEKS of a particular grade level.”—M. Sorum