Although I understand the Mayor's frustration and commend her efforts, I feel that she needs to surround herself with "true" educational experts who truly understand the educational situation the district continues to face. There are many of us out here that have experience and knowledge on how to turn around struggling schools but we get overlooked because we chose to remain true to our cause and NOT embrace the rhetoric of educational politics.
The focus on turning around schools and districts in receivership is very focused but practical. This District suffers from a systemic history of disconnected leaders and a school board unable to provide stability due to their lack of strong background in education and leadership!
I would advise the Mayor to hold an Educational Leadership conference and/or assemble a "Think Tank" group of non-traditional, non-political educators committed solely to the cause of turning around Rochester schools!
It is important to understand that the search committee is not narrowing down the selection. This is the sole doing of the school board! If a candidate is afraid to face public scrutiny in the application phase, how can we expect them to be able to face the public while in the job? If you believe that you are a strong, indispensable candidate then you should not care who knows you've applied. In fact, those not chosen might receive higher value on their current job. But for the person who is chosen, it is totally unfair to inform their employer that they found another job and must start on July 1, 2016. It shows a lack of respect for their current employer. Isn't this how Jean Claude Brizard left the RCSD? I can only conclude from this pattern of behavior of this board that the candidate that will be chosen is a local district employee.
I am one who totally embrace technology. I have pioneered the use of technology in the RCSD for over 20 years. But I have several concerns that should be considered.
1) The RCSD has always been fast to jump on grant-driven programs with no sustainability plan to continue the initiative when the grant runs out. Someone has to pay the bill. Will this eventually become a tax payer obligation?
2) Allowing students to take devices home presents numerous potential problems such as theft and damaged devices. Students are already being assaulted and robbed for their cell phones. Giving them high-tech devices to take home makes them and even high target.
3) Providing digital devices for instruction must be aligned with acceptable instructional goals that require their use. In a "blend-and-flip" instructional format
students use technology in phases that are mixed with classroom style instruction. This process is best accomplished in an instructional learning lab where the teacher is present and leading the instruction.
4) Social media is causing a major problem with urban youth using the internet for entirely wrong purposes. How is the district going to ensure that this problem is not exacerbated by this initiative?
5) Where will the budget for the yearly repair and replacement cost come from?
6) When did doing homework requiring the use of a computer and internet become the new standard?
7) Students completing applications for jobs or college is best handled at school under the supervision of a trained professional who can help them navigate the system?
8) New York State currently does not allow students to take high school courses online outside of the school building. Is the District considering approaching the State to get them to change this policy?
9)Companies that provide Extended-Day programs that utilize web-base programs must have their programs approved by the NYSED, which is a rigorous process. Also, extended-day program are provided at school buildings. So providing this level of internet access to home has NO relationship to extended-day programs.
10) Rochester concentration of high-poverty citizens are primarily renters, and not home owners. These folks are very transient moving from apartment to apartment, and home to home frequently. How will the district manage this problem since many of the residences are NOT owned by District families?
These are just a few things that should be considered, in my opinion!
I would like to make an adjustment to my comments above. The number of students moved from East to Edison was near 50, not 500. I hope that this measure has a positive impact on outcomes for both schools!
The district must seriously consider innovative approaches to reaching our most difficult to educate students while continuing to challenge and enrich the experiences of our most eager to learn!
Not all of our students are performing poorly. We need to get more students performing well and increase successful outcomes, such as graduation rate, college enrollment, and transition into meaningful employment opportunities.
This is not an easy task, but with the right leadership and support from parents & community I truly believe that we can accomplish our mission!
Lessons "learned" from East are not realistic for other schools. East removed 500 of the most undesirable students and transferred them over at Edison creating a chaotic situation at Edison! This practice should not be repeated anywhere!
The "intent" of Urban-Suburban is to cream off the City's brightest and most motivated students. Its built into the entire process and continues to occur! There is no other realistic explanation! After all, isn't this the same process that took place with regards to the East program?
In terms of Urban-Suburban, it is obvious why students from Urban backgrounds do better. They are hand chosen! Back to your comment about "creaming off the city's brightest." You answered your own question!
It's going to take more than a few program changes , lessons from East and a new superintendent to address the numerous challenges facing the RCSD!
Over the past 25 years, I've seen a lot of evaluation practices come and go. One thing that has remained consistent is the inability to close the achievement gap between city and suburban students. Maybe we should stop attempting to close gaps and makes comparisons and simply teach students "where they are!"
There is great research out of the Center for Education and the Economy that highlights what it takes for students to be college and career ready. Instead of the state using research to guide us through multiple paths, they have used politics to guide us to a one-size-fits-all approach to educating students and evaluating teachers. This is an empty-headed approach that only benefits the state's "numbers game" making for easy data tabulation to justify political agendas.
If student achievement is truly at the heart of every educational policy makers vision, then they will develop and implement a system of education that had multiple paths to obtaining an education, with career in technical education as one of the focus areas. This would undoubtedly change to achievement outcomes for many student, as well as, improve performance scores for teachers!
Student who want to go to college will still be able to do so, under the Regents pathway. But students who prefer to go to work, get a skilled trade career, or enter the military won't be denied an opportunity just because they could not pass 5 regents exams and courses like Geometry Regents, Algebra II and Trigonometry, courses that less than 5% of the nation needs to pursue certain fields of study in college!
What's the BIG SECRET? Well, we all know that their is a lot of money to be made in failing public schools in high poverty area. But this mindset is developed through what I call "Big Business Conditioning." As we can see, this approach has only worked for Big Businesses that services schools. But it has had a devastating impact on businesses that serve the local community due to the lack of a continual pouring in of a qualified workforce for the school district.
If we are serious about combating poverty, than we must first reverse this condition!
In addition to Joan's comments, which I fully support, City teachers work under much more stringent conditions than teachers in Victor [no comparison]. Until you've spent a few years in schools in the RCSD, you can't imagine the complexities of the job, especially in the high schools! Attempting comparisons is frivolous at best.
One parent homes does not necessarily correlate to poverty, which is also NOT the key reason for failing schools in RCSD [all are not failing]. These are presumptions from a standpoint of being out of touch with the community and speaking from the outside looking in, in my opinion.
When their is a point to be made, over-exaggerating the situations causes your point to be lost, or not well received. We all need to find a way to help improve the situation in Rochester, without looking to point out all the negatives!
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