We will continue posting comments, but we are sufficiently concerned with the state of affairs in D181 that we feel compelled to publish, as a free standing post, the following comment we received this afternoon. Please sound off if you agree or disagree with the content. We are very troubled by the implications of this comment and fear that D181 has not "turned the corner" from the darkness that blanketed it under the Schuster/Schneider administration.......
For 2 years the administration used an inclusive philosophy to compact/accelerate students a grade level ahead in math. It was a complete failure for our now 5th graders. Students were kept at the same pace-one grade level ahead. Beginning in 3rd grade (for our now 5th graders) every 3rd grader was taught 2 years of math in 1 calendar year. The term “taught” is used loosely b/c newsflash, most children are not capable of this in the first place, but I digress..... Teachers struggled to meet the needs of learners who were grade level and below. Teachers struggled to meet the needs of students who needed to move faster. Students in the middle didn’t get what they deserved because the teachers were pulled in too many different directions. Students suffered from a self-esteem standpoint. Parents were livid. The district ended up paying teachers to tutor students ON GRADE LEVEL after school so they could learn a grade level ahead during school.
5th grade across the district is now tiered with grade level math, and 2 classes of 6th grade math-one with bubble students just on the cusp of making the cut-off and one class moving at a faster pace. There are also students going to the middle school for math class. And guess what? It’s working. Everything about this works. The district, however, needs a policy to support double acceleration so that schools are applying it consistently across the board (but if the Admin has its way, it looks like this won’t be the case).
This brings us to the INSANITY part.....why is the district trying to implement Common Core with an inclusive philosophy? Common Core is just a set of standards. There is nothing that tells states/districts how to teach it. There is no mandate on how these standards are implemented. Common Core is controversial enough. Why implement it in inclusive classrooms? What in the past, having done this already in this district for 2 years where it failed, makes the Administration think that a teacher can differentiate to 20+ kids in a classroom of students with varying intellectual abilities in math? It doesn’t matter if you’re on grade level or a grade level ahead, an inclusive model will not be successful. Our current 5th grade is proof!
Parents spent 2 years fighting the BOE and Administration to end the now 5th grader’s compacting/accelerated/inclusive nightmare. And now the Administration wants to do it again with Common Core? White, what are you thinking? BOE, what are you thinking? Why are you letting Kurt Schneider once again drive this ship? What’s happening in 5th grade right now is working!! This class should be used as the model for implementing the new curriculum/standards. The Common Core pilot classrooms should have tiers so that teachers can learn how each group of students responds to the new materials.
Is this Administration insane? Insanity-doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I think we can conclude that yes, indeed, they are.