Today, she is touring the schools and will give a "progress check" presentation to the BOE tonight. (Click on Dept. of Learning report describing her visit.) It is unclear exactly what she will be addressing or how "in depth" her "progress check" can actually be, since she will only have had 7 hours to visit 9 schools and the hundreds of classes district wide. Certainly she will not have time to write a report. She will not have time to visit all classrooms in all buildings. She will not have time to meet with teachers and engage in meaningful, in depth discussions addressing their questions and concerns. She will not have time to meet with parents, nor have any parent meetings even been scheduled. Despite an obviously compacted schedule, the D181 Department of Learning has already prepared an 8 slide power point presentation for tonight's meeting. (Click to open power point.) This power point is another example of how the Administration continues to represent that what has been implemented over the last two years are Dr. Moon's recommendations. Slide 3, for example, represents that Dr. Moon recommended that the district "accelerate math for all."Anyone who has taken the time to read her report knows that Dr. Moon did not recommend this. Rather, she recommended D181 MIGHT be a candidate for this step, but that first, a feasibility study needed to be conducted. As we pointed out in an earlier post, on page 27 of her report, Dr. Moon stated:
"the diverse group of stakeholders tackling the district's philosophy and definition be charged with investigating the feasibility of accelerating the district wide-mathematics program by one grade level."
(Click to open Dr. Moon's Report.)
Will this recommendation be "clarified" by her during tonight's meeting? Will Dr. Moon address parent concerns regarding the negative impact some students have suffered as a result of the forced math acceleration model? Will she inquire why the district bypassed a feasibility study and simply concluded that math acceleration was appropriate to implement for ALL students?
If there is one meeting that needs to be well attended this year, this is it. If parents do not attend, the board will no doubt conclude that there is no need to make any changes to the Learning for All/Advanced Learning programs. It will discount the comments and concerns of the smaller group of parents who may attend tonight's meeting. That's what this board has done in the past, and that's what we believe they will continue to do. So, if you have questions, concerns or even compliments regarding Dr. Moon's past report, how the administration has used the report to influence the Advanced Learning/Learning for All plans, and the impact felt by your children, you should fill the seats at Elm School tonight. Parents have come forward en mass in the past when they disapproved of the math curriculum materials the BOE wanted approved last Spring. As a result, the board did not approve the Administration's recommendation. Parents have come forward en mass when the mold infestation and health concerns at Hinsdale Middle School were finally revealed to the public last month. As a result, the board was forced to push the administration to take the necessary actions to get the HMS students back into school and implement the split schedule.
Tonight, parents and teachers must come forward again and be heard regarding the sweeping curriculum changes that have been rolled out (and are currently still scheduled to continue to roll out) over the last two years. In our opinion, the program should be modified to address the curriculum needs of every student. If students need or want grade level instruction, it should be available. If students need gifted services, they should be offered. If students want the opportunity to try higher level instruction, but missed the arbitrary cutoffs that were used in the past, they should be allowed to enroll in higher level coursework and only be excluded if they cannot successfully perform at that level. But nothing is going to change unless a large group of concerned parents and teachers come forward to voice their concerns and call for modification of a "plan" that is clearly flawed.
The time is now.