Would you please make a free standing post on the ridiculous excuse for a math ability grouping update in Dr. White's board of education report for Monday's meeting? Parents should be aware that the administration is stalling and asking for more time to collect results on how our kids are doing in math after completing two chapters. The Board told Dr. White math must have ability groups and it looks like this depends on the teacher your kid gets. Also, Dr. T is only working 100 days in the Learning Department. By my count she has already worked about 37 days. What projects has she or will she complete since math ability grouping results won't be reviewed now until sometime in October?
Another waste of time and money. More lip service from the administration.
During last night's board meeting, there were a few brief references by board members to math ability grouping. Board member Gray also asked about quintile data in board questions. Check this Q&A out at http://www.boarddocs.com/il/hccsdil/Board.nsf/files/A2T2BP6EC801/$file/Board%20Questions_9_28_15%20.pdf.
"Q: At the June BOE meeting, there was much discussion from board members and community members surrounding the MAP quintile data. The board was told that the administration would provide to the Board at a later date the quintile data broken down by school. We were also told that an analysis would be performed to compare our quintile data performance to that of other high performing school districts. Has this analysis been performed and has this data been compiled? If yes, can it be provided to the Board, teachers, staff and principals? If no, when should we expect to receive this data? I believe that this information is a critical piece of the puzzle as we analyze the appropriate pace and challenge level for our advanced learners.
A: It is our intention to present this report to the Board at the October 19, 2015 meeting. We are in the process of analyzing and communicating this information amongst administration."
During the meeting Dr. White was once again asked when the quintile data which was buried in his monster data report in the spring, would actually be presented for discussion. In typical administrative fashion, there was more delay and obfuscation. I just about choked on the popcorn I was eating as I listened to the meeting when I heard him suggest that the quintile data had been presented in his report in the spring (I'm not quoting him verbatim....). In my opinion, anyone who has looked at that report, listened to that meeting and waited patiently for the quintile data to be publicly discussed knows that no true effort has been made to shine a light on this damning data that shows that the district's highest performers have not benefitted from the LFA plan.
It has been months since Dr. White's report and yet this is can is being kicked down the road again, this time to October. Pathetic, plain and simple.
By my count, today is Day 38 of Dr. Tornatore's 100 day contract. I'd really like to know what substantive decisions or changes she has actually made/accomplished since she is almost 1/2 done with the time she will have in our district. Attending Learning Committee meetings, dragging out Math ability group testing/assessments until October, and making almost zero presentations to the BOE on curriculum issues is useless unless real and positive changes are made for all of D181's learners and she come out with a declaration on whether or not in her professional expertise the LFA plan was a success or failure, helped all learners (did it really raise the floor AND raise the ceiling) or not. And when will the BOE discuss next steps -- i.e. who will be the administrator to take over when Tornatore's 100 day stint is up. And here's a challenge which no other administrator has been willing to take -- how about holding a TOWN HALL MEETING so parents can tell Tornatore what we really think and ask her questions that should be answered on the spot. While so much time, energy and attention is being spent on whether or not to spend $55+ million on a new HMS, over 3500 students are waiting for the administration to fix the curriculum mess. It is beyond belief that this has been allowed to happen.
As far as I can tell from talking to other parents, we are once again in a state of each school grouping and pacing students differently. While I believe that teachers must have some discretion in grouping and the ability levels of each grade and school will differ, therefore, will not move at exactly the same pace, there must be some generalized guidelines to follow. There must be a standardized scope and sequence otherwise the students will be at a million different places by middle school. A parent at Madison with a student in the advanced class should be able to expect that his/her student will have covered relatively the same material as a student at the Lane.
Here's what I can't figure out - why is everyone having so much trouble with the concept of ability grouping when, up until 3-4 years ago, it was done for a decade in both language arts and math from grades 3-8. Maybe not a perfect identification system but why are we now reinventing the wheel?? Our teachers know how to do this already.
7:23am: good question. The answer is because our teachers and administrators do not want to do it
7:23 you are right. My school is grouping by ability and moving the advanced classes at a faster pace. I know that other schools are not. It isn't fair that some advanced students are reaping the benefits of a faster pace while others are not. Meanwhile, Oak Brook students are doing even more. The MAP quintile data is set to be discussed at the October 19 BOE meeting. It will be interesting to see what that shows for our highest level learners. If the data that was discussed at the June meeting is any indication, our uppermost learners are in trouble. Holding them to grade level materials and "going deeper" isn't going to help.
If there are any teachers reading this, can you tell us if the administration has shared the MAP Math RIT quintile data with you since they received it in May (or maybe sooner?)? It showed that the top 200 students in each grade, district-wide, were meeting growth targets at a significantly lesser rate than other students. Exactly the opposite of what should be happening and what was promised under L4All and inclusive classes. If I were a teacher and I found out that the administration was making policy and asking for opinions on math acceleration and ability grouping without sharing this important information with me, I would be furious. You can't make the best decisions for all students without all of the facts and you can't cherry pick the data to achieve a pre-determined conclusion.
8:45, my teacher told me that she wants to do it but feels that she needs to be quiet about it. Not sure if this is because of parents or administration. Math In Focus grade level materials are far too simplistic for our highest (top 30%) learners. Going too deep is just repetition at this point. We have been misled about how these materials would challenge all students. As demonstrated by MAP scores, many of our students are at > 90%. These students need both depth and above grade level exposure.
I think Math in Focus is a very slow program for advanced kids after seeing my child's homework. I was happy to hear that they were going to allow children to be advanced beyond grade level again this year and finally stop holding kids back. But essentially nothing has changed. As a parent I am disappointed after hearing that this new program would be much more rigorous for all kids.
The administration and some teachers will tell you that MIF goes "deeper" and that the publishers have said that it is challenging enough for all, but that is not the case in our district where 30% or more score in the 90th percentile and above on the MAP test. Those students need above grade level exposure, faster pace AND depth.
Bloggers, I just found out that the Learning Committee is going to be discussing the MAP RIT quintile data at their meeting tonight from 6-8 at the administration offices. The information, including comparisons to other districts and individual schools, is on Boarddocs under meetings. MAP data is now being used for high school placement and has always been used at the middle school level so this data, especially about advanced learners, is very important with long lasting consequences. These meetings are not usually recorded so if you want to hear the discussion you have to go.
If the information discussed at the Learning Committee tonight is going to affect the futures of all of our children, it should be tape recorded and accessible to parents on the website. No final decisions should be made. And parents should know exactly who is making the recommendations, along with what data supports those recommendations. I would expect that Dr. Tornatore, Dr. Schneider, and Ms. Benaitis have been studying this issue all year, and will have a significant amount of data to provide. Also important are the recommendations of the high school staff.
Due to the lack of notice from the district regarding this information, we will not be able to make the meeting. This is another instance of failed transparency to the public. It needs to be corrected.
I just checked and I found a recording of the meeting on the web site.
I hope you all listen to the 3 hour meeting. I attended in person and it was quite enlightening. I was very angry to learn that the new Assessment Director hasn't been given enough information about the history of D181 curriculum and assessment to fully understand the data analysis she was asked to do. There was discussion on this issue during the meeting which everyone should definitely listen to. I am in the process of writing a letter to the BOE and Dr. White about my observations and conclusions, and will submit for posting here once I am done, but I also made a long public comment at the end of the meeting that raised many of the points I will write about in my letter. Another parent also made a very good public comment. There were only 3 parents in attendance in the audience, along with two D181 staff (a teacher and the Lane principal). What a shame that more people didn't attend. No doubt they would have been infuriated, as I was, in what was disclosed about the poor math performance of the top learners in the district.
It's too bad that this meeting wasn't better publicized. I just listened and the information discussed would be very interesting to parents of advanced students - especially those who have been involved in these issues over the years. Basically, most of the parents who have been complaining for the past 4 years about their advanced students being underserved were right. The administration should send out a summary informing all parents that while the "floor" is doing fine, the "ceiling" most definitely is not.
I spent three hours last night listening to the meeting. If you have time to listen to nothing else, jump ahead to the public comments made at the end of the meeting. They start at 2:49:57. Former school board member Yvonne Mayer made a long comment that is worth listening to. Hopefully the new administrators will listen and actually address the concerns that she and the parent who commented after her raised. Everything these two community members said is true and should not be ignored.
Any one know the district mean for 3rd? 4th? and 5th grades in MATH MAP?
I have been following the math debacle in D 181 for the last few years. With the proposed elimination of the Winter MAP and the recent lowering of the criteria for subject acceleration from 90 % to 75 % - 89% for consideration on End of Year Test, I am assuming that the District will have to put forth something to the BOE for consideration and adoption at the October meeting that reflects how children will be assessed and evaluated/considered for advanced and accelerated opportunities going forward this year.
For children who came close or exceeded the 2 standard deviations, without a Winter MAP they are left floating once again in limbo with no appropriate ability grouping. What will happen to those kids? And does anyone at the DOL really understand the magnitude of a child performing at 2 standard deviations above a grade mean? For example, if you have a 3rd grade child scoring at just near or slightly above 2 standard deviations above the district mean for 4th, does the DOL truly recognize how that child is exceeding expectations in the grade level text?If they did, they would have had a plan or discussion in place at the Learning Committee Meeting to discuss and recommend forward to the BOE for adoption. If they did, they would have considered a plan and path for those children that goes beyond revisiting chapter tests; plugging holes in mid year or end of year tests; and reviewing MIF chapters and concepts that they are already beyond.
I am fed up with the communication that our children need to develop "digging deep" thinking skills and critical analysis of their math which dictates them reviewing concepts they may have mastered in a grade before or earlier in their math journey.
Very few classrooms in the district were pilot sites for MIF materials. And yet, some of our higher learners ARE DOING WELL in the MIF materials. So well, that they are able to with little support and example, move onward through the materials explaining their math, bar modelling, and sharing conceptual as well as procedural skills. Why not meet those children and see what it is about their math abilities that enable them to move forward and succeed in the new materials? Why can't higher learners learn new concepts and move forward in their math placement (whether it be single or double acceleration)while learning how to explain their math and draw bar models and pictures? Isn't that what almost all of our students are having to do whether they are in grade level or accelerated math? Isn't it that all students are learning the MIF way? And since when does a program that has enrichment and extra practice meet the needs of high achieving learners simply because they have various workbooks and worksheets that regurgitate the same concept but with different numbers and letters?
Recently, my student came home working on homework that demonstrating a concept she had mastered one year ago. I asked her how she felt about the math. Her words were telling--"I got this wrong because i didn't draw a picture and show the way the teacher wanted me to do it rather than just do the problem the number way. The teacher has a way mom-she has a way that I have to do the math problem. If I do it her way, then I get it right. If I do it my way, I get it wrong. It isn't about the answer. It is about doing it with pictures and letters and these boxes called bar models. "
Why can't a child within shooting range of 2 standard deviations and now in this lowered 75 to 89 % criteria on the End Of Year test be advanced to an appropriate math placement whether that be one or 2 grade levels? And by shooting range I mean +.- 3 or 5 points. Isn't that what NWEA predicts will be the score for a child if taking the exam within a few days from the original test date? It is printed right on the MAP report. Within days, you'll see their success path. And there is no shame in adjusting that. If nothing else, you might just be celebrated for giving children an opportunity they have deserved.
Parents concerned about advanced students need to meet with their teachers. In most cases, this will be very helpful to them. Some schools, teachers, principals, not so much. I'm not sure yet if I'm a long-term fan of Math In Focus and the first 2 chapters this year were a joke from a challenge perspective for my advanced student, but, I met with my teacher and I was impressed with what is coming up this year.
Having sent 2 other advanced students through CHMS and HCHS, I believe that it will give my younger son a good base moving forward. The old system where advanced students moved to 4th grade materials in 3rd grade was fine, but I believe that a system of compacting of materials and faster pacing is better as long as advanced students complete through 6th grade materials by the end of 5th grade so that they will be ready for the accelerated math track in 6th grade and beyond. In my experience, an appropriately differentiated advanced math class is enough challenge for the vast majority of advanced students in this district - and our historical data at HCHS supports this. If you have a child who should needs more than one grade acceleration (which is what is supposed to be happening in advanced math classes in all schools now) then the process is to go to your teacher and principal. There are very few students in our schools who need and would benefit from this much acceleration. Only the 99th percentilers should even be considered for this in most cases. That all being said, if your teacher is not saying that he/she will be moving faster than grade level pace and differentiating between groups in the class if necessary, that is a problem and should be discussed with the principal. Finally, I think that we all need to acknowledge that MIF is a new program for our teachers. It isn't easy for them to make this switch and they have been through a lot over the past few years in math. This year is a big transition year and there is nothing that anyone can do to change that, unfortunately.
To the person who wrote the last comment - even the 99 percentiles kids don't meet the two standard deviations and the principals and teachers and not doing much to help these kids even when approached. Oak brook and our feeder schools are not doing this
If your child doesn't meet the 2 standard deviations and is in an advanced differentiated class, he/she probably does not need to be moved to an above grade level of classroom. There are many students in D181 like that and I think the new/old ability grouped math classrooms will meet their needs in almost all cases as it did in the past. Oak Brook does not put kids in above grade level classes. What other feeder schools are you referring to 11:33? If your principal and teachers don't help that is too bad but that is another issue.
11:07: How can you make a generalized statement that "in most cases", meeting with teachers will be helpful? Perhaps you have had a good experience for your child by speaking with teachers, but I know many parents who have not. And they are not blaming the teachers, they are blaming the change in philosophy and change in standards that the administration has forced down everyone's throats. I have recently seen some emails that another community member FOIA'd from our district and another one (to get emails written by one of D181's DOL administrators) that deal with the LFA plan. It's pretty clear that there was no best practice research or data to support all of the radical changes that impacted our advanced learners. I can't believe that Dr. White and the BOE haven't done something about this.
Remember the disaster of math for the current 6th graders? During it many proclaimed that all kids were getting their needs met and you just need to talk to the teacher and or principal. Look how false that was. Speak for yourself - but don't you dare claim my child in the 99 percentile is having her needs met.
11:07 is talking about the system that was in place before Learning For All. Read the post more carefully. Everyone knows the past 3 years have been a disaster and that there are administrators in place who have done a disservice to this district.
The BOE has been very clear about what should be in place going forward. If it is not, then parents, including teachers need to speak up elsewhere than this blog. If that isn't good enough for your child, and you need something more individualized than the other advanced learners then maybe you should look to a private school for your child. The success of advanced math students at Hinsdale Central for the past few decades is proof that the old, ability grouped system worked for advanced students. If that is implemented with fidelity then things should be fine. If your school/teachers aren't doing it, I agree with the other poster, that is another issue that parents need to speak up about. I have been in this district for 16 years and have very good experiences with my teachers and principals. If that is not the case with others then that is a shame.
Does anyone know how to determine what the rit is that is 2 standard deviations above grade level?
"Don't you dare..." Wow, I hope you don't talk to your teachers like that. 4:15. If you are so unhappy, why don't you send your kids elsewhere? Thanks to the new BOE things are better than they have been in 3 years. Not perfect but improving.
The bottom line is the message of how we advance and accelerate our learners is coming from the Top Down. It is the DOL that is responsible for determining the criteria and it is up to us as parents to voice our concerns. This blog is great as a place to source information but the real value is being heard at BOE meetings. I strongly encourage more parents to come out and voice their concerns and feedback as to the inconsistencies and inequities among schools, buildings and classrooms. I call out those parents who believe their kids are not fairly grouped or are in the wrong group--if your child has two standard deviations above the district mean, challenge your schools and your teachers but also challenge the DOL. Speak up and be heard at BOE meetings. Complaining on this site will not get you anywhere. It is therapeutic to complain I get it. But now is the time to stand up and be heard.
The advanced groups for the most part just started chapter 3. It is almost the end of the first trimester. I don't see how they are going to make a significant dent into the next year's materials by year end.
The ability based grouping system of today is not the same as the tiered system of the past. There is no guarantee it will produce the same results. In the old system the advanced group was given the book the grade ahead starting in third grade. Under this system, the advanced group started chapter 1 grade level. As the above poster mentioned, the groups are 1/3 through the year and on chapter 3ish give or take. There is no guarantee the advanced group will finish 6th grade math by the end of fifth grade. Everything is still "teacher discretion" and "follow the learner".
To October 10th at 12:07pm - Oak Brook (Butler) absolutely does put kids in above grade level classes. For example, a friend of my son's is in 7th grade and is doing Geometry while his sixth grade sister is in Algebra. I believe we call that triple acceleration.
Shame on our administration for holding kids back who need that type of challenge! For the life of me, I can't understand why they want lower the ceiling!
9:28: in order to get an answer to your question of why "they" want to lower the ceiling for the advanced learners, you should demand that Dr. White produce any D181 ( or for that matter, any other district's) data that supports Dr. Schneider's social justice mantra that the learning for all plan was intended to "raise the floor to raise the ceiling." Former board members, current board members and community members have been begging for this data for four years now. Where the h--- is it? Oh yes, it's in the emperor's wardrobe…
12:39 - this is 9:28. I have been one of the parents demanding the data since spring of 2012 when Schuster and crew dismantled our tiering program and left our district's 3rd graders high and dry without a proper math or language arts curriculum. And yes, I know that there isn't any data. I'm right there with you!
Did anyone go to the math night?
Yes. There was just enough time for the presenter to share her presentation and quickly answer a few short questions. Lot of discontent with lack of information to parents about Math in Focus, change in vocabulary, some schools have gotten more information. It seems some parents have gotten online access to Math in Focus resources but we haven't at our school. Neither did other parents. It's October and the teachers are still setting up logins. I'm sure it's a good program for some learners but left feeling very unsettled. No mention of allowing advanced students the opportunity to go faster. Only enrichment. I was not happy to hear that the teachers are learning at the same time as the students. The presenter first said it's great since the teachers are learning with the students and that's a good way for students to see how their teachers are always learning too. When questioned about whether this is really what's best for the students since the teachers haven't been trained completely, she said teachers have been trained but it's ongoing and there are coaches to help the teachers and the presenter comes every 6-8 weeks. One trainer is answering questions from all teachers in addition to doing her full time job of being an elementary school teacher in St. Louis?? The district person, Dawn said the district gave all the materials about Math in Focus to the schools who should be distributing it to the parents. So it's the schools fault essentially is what she said. Well maybe we will get some more information now.
I just reviewed Board Docs for Monday's meeting and am seriously concerned about the Dept. of Learning. The presentation to the full BOE on MAP is cursory at best compared to what was discussed at the Learning Committee meeting. One sentence only addresses the terrible MAP performance/growth data of the top performers. It is really disgraceful.
I also reviewed the Board Docs. Where is the information breakdown by school for this fall's MAP data? I would like to see the overall averages by school for performance breakdown, as well as the district performance overall for all grade levels. I do not see this information posted.
The presentation by the Trainer from MIF was an overview at best of what the program is capable of delivering in our schools. I personally think the new resource is good-changing the way our children think about solving math problems, processing information and understanding the methods is just as important as the computation. Agreed. However I agree with the above statement that there was no mention or discussion (there wasn't even time allowed for questions!!) about how to meet the needs of students who are able to digest, produce and excel in this new resource. Enrichment is not a year's worth of curriculum and programming for a high achieving student. There have to be channels and paths for students who are able to move forward beyond one or two units in the pacing. It is ridiculous to pigeon hole all learners.
I was very concerned about the reference at the math night to Jo Boaler. Google her or search this blog to see what she's all about. Educational social justice.
I am tired of hearing only Leslie Gray, Jennifer Burns and Mridu Garg advocate for our advanced learners. Yes, Rich Giltner and Jill Vorobiev supported flexible ability groups last spring but that is not enough. The implementation and follow through is what is most important here. Is the BOE directive being implemented with fidelity across all schools and grades? Have Gary Clarin or Marty Turek EVER expressed concern for the top third of the district's learners? Do they care about their experience and growth at all? Or will the BOE allow the administration continue to go around town saying that it is only a small group on the BOE and community who are concerned. It may seem like a small group but that is only because the administration has hidden the real data from not only the community but also from the board and the teachers for months if not years! I listened to the learning committee podcast and it is very concerning. I will be listening again tomorrow night and it will be very interesting to see if the administration comes clean about what has been going on and what their "plan" is. Because they are so good at "plans".
9:51: I couldn't agree with you more! There are only 3 board members who seem to really care about curriculum issues and advocating for what is going on INSIDE the classrooms. Sadly, the other four either say almost nothing on any topic or want to spend all their time discussing facilities issues. I can't wait until these four approve going to referendum to raise $65 million for a new middle school and a committee opposing it is formed. I plan to sign up for that citizen's committee. It is unconscionable that they would support raising our property taxes to build a single school when they have ignored the decline in student performance and curriculum chaos that has taken place on Schneider and Benaitis' watch. I recently listened to the last learning committee meeting podcast and was appalled that the new assessment director suggested that administrative turnover may be responsible for any student performance issues the MAP data has flagged. So glad Yvonne Mayer called her out on that during her public comment and reminded her that there are central office administrators who haven't left during this chaotic period. Too bad she didn't tell the assessment director that perhaps the issue with administrative turnover has more to do with the superintendents hiring learn on the job newbies to fill administrative positions that they are simply not qualified or experienced enough to do, or the reality that these administrators have used D181 as a stepping stone to become superintendents in other lower performing districts. I wish people would see the real emperor's clothes and not just blindly create imaginary stuff to suit their personal purposes. Such BS shouldn't be tolerated any longer by parents with students in D181. It is time to say NO MORE CRAP and perhaps the best way will be to vote NO to anything in D181 that will raise our property taxes.
Everyone should check out board questions - wow
So let me get this straight. Earlier this summer Dr. White split Dr. Schneider's job as Asst Sup. of the entire Dept. of Learning back into 2 positions. Dr. Schneider got a raise while also losing some of his job responsibilities -- his new title became Asst. Sup. of Dept. of Learning PPS (which everyone understood to mean he would be running the Special Education department). The rest of the Dept. of Learning -- curriculum and instruction -- was to be supervised by the newly re-created Asst. Sup of Dept. Of Learning - Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Tornatore was hired as the interim Asst. Sup. to oversee the Dept. of Learning Curriculum and Instruction. There were, however, references to Dr. Schneider working alongside Dr. Tornatore in the Dept. of Learning and this was very troubling to many parents in our community.
I and other parents, have spoken to parents who brought met with Dr. White at the end of the summer to discuss serious concerns related to information uncovered in FOIA responses they received from D181 and the University of Wisconsin dealing Dr. Schneider's use of personal emails to conduct D181 business and other accusations and provocative statements made in these emails. During this meeting, Dr. White stated that Dr. Schneider was no longer going to deal with general or advanced learning curriculum matters. Yet today in the board member question and answers posted on board docs, Dr. White reveals that Dr Schneider is going to evaluate the performance of Dr. Larson and Dr. Benaitis, both whose positions are supposed to report to the Asst. Sup. of Curriculum and Instruction, and not report to Dr. Schneider. What is going on with Dr. White that he would flip flop on what he clearly told the concerned parents? Why isn't he going to conduct these evaluations himself if Dr. Tornatore may not be here at the time of the evaluations? I sincerely hope that the BOE members get to the bottom of this and demand an explanation from Dr. White. He certainly is paid enough to handle the evaluation of two of his central office administrators.
Bloggers: Can you create a free standing post to address matters discussed during tonight's (10/19/150 BOE meeting? And can you move the comments you have received so far regarding the board docs to that post?
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