Last Friday, Bridget McGuiggan, D181’s Director of Communications emailed all parents a summary of the June 10 Board Meeting. The summary is not accurate, although we applaud the detail of the meeting provided.
The major discussion item was on the MAP scores. Unfortunately, the summary misrepresented the facts. McGuiggan reported that with regards to the Math data, "Russell explained that the District is doing very well in achievement across grade levels and schools, with student results consistently in the 97th -99th percentile. However, growth data suggests that there are still areas that could be improved."
It is false to state that students are consistently performing in the 97th to 99th percentile. Yes, it is true that some students are performing at this level, but the data that was presented at the meeting was that the "school data" showed that as compared to other schools across the country that give the MAP test, D181 schools are performing at these percentiles.
It is also a distortion of the facts by Dr. Schuster, Dr. Schneider and Mr. Russell to state that the MAP reading scores are the "highest they have been." As Board Member Garg pointed out during the meeting, the reality is that as students progress from grade to grade, their RIT scores will increase, but fall short against the increases demonstrated nationally by children in the same grades. What Schuster and her Administration are failing to report to either the board or in the summary sent to parents is the percentage of students per grade who had zero or negative growth on the MAP test and their subsequent RIT scores.
The only Board members who are asking the necessary questions about the data are Mr Heneghan and Ms. Garg. Where are the other Board members on these disappointing results and why are they not demanding more of our administration?
School Board Best Practices – from February 11, 2011 - Berne, Ohio Local School District will undergo a restructuring in the fall that will expand the elementary school to preschool through grade six and the high school to grades seven through 12.
Berne Union Superintendent Dale Dickson said the change will provide a cost savings to the district through the elimination of one principal position. High school Principal Robert Starr is resigning from the district at the end of this school year.
After the restructuring, Principal Steve Templin will continue to oversee the elementary school, and Steve House, who is the middle school principal, will take over at the high school.
Dickson said the school board has been looking at restructuring the district for about three years but recently decided it was time to put the plan in place.
"We're in deficit spending and have been for several years," said Dickson, adding that the five-year forecast shows the district will have a negative unreserved fund balance by 2014. "We're striving to do this in a way that will preserve high-quality educational opportunities for students while still being responsible with taxpayer dollars."
The district already has implemented a number of cost-saving measures because of the district's financial situation. In 2010, the teachers agreed to a four-year freeze on the base salary, which will be in place until June 2014. In July, the Berne Union and Walnut Township school boards hired Dickson as a shared superintendent. The districts also share a treasurer, Kirk Grandy.
Dickson said eliminating a principal position will save about $60,000 to $70,000.
He said he's looking at other ways to save costs, as well. On Wednesday, he'll speak to the school board about the possibility of a one-year early retirement incentive program for employees.
In that plan, anyone who has 29 years or more with the district would be eligible to retire now. Dickson said a one-year early retirement incentive could save the district about $250,000.
"We have a large number (of employees) who are eligible and probably a smaller number who will actually take advantage of it," he said.
If every eligible employee took part, the savings would be closer to $500,000.
Dickson said because the school board is making it a priority to focus on the operational needs of the district, plans to update the facilities with Ohio School Facilities Commission funds might be put on hold.
In October, the board shared with the community that it was high on the list of districts in Ohio eligible to receive funding from OSFC to help repair or replace its facilities. The board entered into a planning phase to educate the community about the district's options with OSFC and work with architectural firm McDonald, Cassell & Bassett to assess school facilities and conduct an expedite study.
But Dickson said he will recommend on Wednesday the board "slow the process down" so it first can tackle operational budget issues and prepare the district for the restructuring.
"I can defer it for a year, and we'd still be on the list (for OSFC)," Dickson said. "But I need time to talk to the voters and for them to be a part of the process."
MAP tests are increasingly irrelevant and provide little to no backstop against the reverse brain-drain now facing America and threatening its future.
According to a survey the United States may experience reverse brain drain as thousands of Indian IT professionals contemplate returning to India with around 10 per cent are planning to return for they believe their kids will get a better education in India.
"The results are very important for American businesses because they may face challenges in filling the gap of these resources," said Prabakaran Murugaiah, CEO of survey provider by Corp-Corp.com, a US-based technology job portal.
Complete Story via India Times at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Over-50-US-green-card-holders-plan-to-return-home-Survey/articleshow/8161107.cms?intenttarget=no
The simple solution to the simple process of education.
The education lobby, which has no natural enemy to their free-spending ways, has long argued against the proven effectiveness of lower pupil-teacher ratio but the results speak for themselves – and rather consistently at that.
“The few children get lots of attention: Kit Carson's schools have a pupil-to-teacher ratio of seven to one, compared with 18 to one in Denver, the state capital. As a result, they do well in tests. Crime is rare. The community is strikingly cohesive: at the petrol stations that double as cafés, locals do not take empty tables but sit together, as in a school dining room.”
Lower costs, simple management, predicable outcomes, more teachers employed, more kids educated
From 1/17/08 The Economist article http://www.economist.com/node/10534077
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