Pupil Services Committee meeting:
Committee members in attendance: Chair Linda Raileanu, Susan Tiernan, Maria PimleyNon-committee members in attendance: Board President Vince Murphy, Vice President Karen Miller, Ed Coyle
Review of WCASD alternative education program
- bring students back to the district (Least Restrictive Environment)
- increase graduation rates of students in AE programs
- provide quality program utilizing district curriculum - if AE students are being taught district curriculum, it is much easier to transition them back into district schools.
March Education Committee meeting:
Committee Members in attendance; Chair Maria Pimley, Susan Tiernan, Linda RaileanuNon committee members in attendance: Board President Vince Murphy, Vice President Karen Miller, Ed Coyle
A Child’s Place, the District’s before/after care provider will pilot a half-day program to offset kindergarten. The program will run at Starkweather, East Bradford and Fern Hill and will reinforce the WCASD curriculum. The child will not be graded on work completed in the Child’s Place program, but a portfolio will be kept. Child’s Place has hired a supervisor for the WCASD and certified teachers will run the program at all 3 schools. The classes will hold a maximum of 25 students for AM and PM and placement will be based on a lottery system to ensure fairness. Dr. Missett states there are currently about 50 children signed up. The children will eat lunch at school with the first grade. In addition, students will be using school playgrounds, but Child’s Place employees will be responsible for oversight. She clarifies that building principal and staff will not be responsible for this program and the district will not provide transportation to/from the participating schools for students attending from other District elementary schools- that remains the parent’s responsibility. A Child’s Place leases facilities from WCASD and parents pay tuition directly to Child’s Place, thus it is a revenue-producing venture.
Chester County Family Academy Charter renewal
This K-2 charter school, located on East Gay Street, was one of the first in PA, originating in 1997. It offers a year round 8AM-4PM program for approximately 60 children. By admission, Family Academy offers “responsive support to low income challenges”. Dr. Scanlon and Dr. Missett have asked for the school’s annual report and are planning a visit. The Board will ultimately vote to renew charter or not by April board meeting.
Dr. Fraser reported on this evaluation tool at February Education Committee, promising to give more detail this month. In light of the fact that PA Dept. of Education has postponed the School Performance Profile until fall 2013, opting to use 2012-13 data instead of 2011-12 data, Dr. Fraser has elected to postpone his analysis. He does elaborate on one of the data elements of the profile, “Closing the Achievement Gap”. As discussed last month, this particular measure will be cumulative, with “success” defined as closing one-half of the gap for “all students” and “historically underperforming students” over a six year period. Dr. Fraser also explains that, in an effort to identify “gaps” more efficiently, PA has lowered the minimum number of students to be considered: From PDE:
“To include more students in the accountability system, Pennsylvania has lowered from 40 to 11 the minimum number of students to be considered (known as n size) for both reporting and accountability purposes. The State combines historically underperforming students into a gap group to increase accountability. For example, a school with only five students with disabilities, three English Language Learners, and three economically disadvantaged students will be counted in the historically underperforming students with this lowered n count of 11; thus, this change will help to identify existing gaps in more schools.”
At this point, there is a question from Linda Raileanu concerning the composition of these smaller "gap groups". She cites particular ethnic groups, noting they are likely to be in the "historically underperforming" group, and verifies with Dr. Fraser they would be accounted for in the new system. While one is confident that Ms. Raileanu was indeed simply attempting to clarify "gap groups" and confirm those students are included, some in the room heard, and sadly took away, the opposite of her query.
Dr. Fraser feels there will be additional changes to the Profile and will keep us updated. He also informs us that PA has officially submitted an ESEA flexibility request (NCLB waiver) to US Department of Education and there are no surprises: Common Core/Keystones, teacher evaluation and PA Performance Profile are included. Confused as to exactly how these systems correspond to Pennsylvania’s request for flexibility? Simply put, a state waiver asks for “flexibility” in meeting the “federally-defined principles” of NCLB: college and career readiness, supporting effective leadership and state accountability. The Common Core/Keystone assessments claim to support college and career readiness, the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system proposes to support effective leadership and the PA Performance Profile serves as an accountability system. The waiver was submitted on February 28 - a summary can be viewed here. For the complete version, visit PDE, click Forms and Documents on left menu and enter “ESEA waiver” in Forms Search.
Adoption of Middle School Math Textbook
If you have not done so already, please take some time to remember, honor and celebrate women in history. Visit the online exhibits at the National Women’s History Museum http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/