Attachment: DA presentation.pdf
Ms. Van Meter, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, presented information to the Board and viewing audience regarding Differentiated Accountability, which included:
- 3 DA Support Categories and Identified Schools
- Prevent Schools: Schools w/ a Current Grade of "C"
- Focus Schools: Schools w/ a Current Grade of "D"
- Priority Schools: Schools w/ a Current Grade of "F"
Ms. Henderson asked Ms. Van Meter if teachers were involved in the determining process. Ms. Van Meter stated that she was going to explain later in her presentation what happens in the schools.
Ms. Belford asked Ms. Van Meter how many of the "prevent" schools would have been "focus" or "priority" schools without the safety net. Ms. Van Meter explained that she would get Ms. Belford the information at a later date as there are so many different scenarios that were looked at. She stated that she has information that shows what schools earned and what they should have earned without the safety net.
Mr. Ziegler stated that in this same year we raised cut scores and increased the rigor of the test; therefore, there were schools that increased their school score but were still below the cuts scores so their grades went down. So when we have a conversation about "how do we help the teachers" we have to do it sensitively on how we address this as some of the teachers did a better job in a tougher situation. Ms. Van Meter informed Mr. Ziegler that he was spot on and gave him an example of a school who was affected by this scenario. Ms. Van Meter stated that those were some of the things that the team really looked at as they moved forward to determine which schools really needed the support from the district.
Ms. Van Meter continued with her presentation, and discussed the following:
- DA Changes
- Florida's Continuous Improvement Model
Ms. Kneessy stated that on this slide all that she sees is that the students are getting tested like crazy. Ms. Van Meter responded that the assessments are summative as they can be exit slips, but they still have to monitor whether the child is learning the standards and based on the results they either have to do remediation or push them forward. Ms. Kneessy stated that it concerns here that we are testing the students to death. Ms. Van Meter explained that our elementary assessments actually decreased two years ago and it depends on the child. Ms. Kneessy stated that when she sees the word assessment over and over again, it concerns here because the child is no longer a child but a test score. Ms. Van Meter explained that they were not but you have to have some assessment in order to understand where that child is and their needs for instruction. Ms. Kneessy expressed that it is important that we don't loose the focus that this is a child and Ms. Van Meter agreed.
Ms. Van Meter continued to discus the following:
- DA Schools for 2015-16
- 2015-16 Decision Points
- Regional Executive Director (RED) and BPS Support
- DA Way of Work
- Superintendent's Vision
- Way of Work for 2015-16
- Progress and Next Steps
- Tiered Support Framework Information Gathering Tool
Ms. Henderson stated that in some of these schools there have a been a turn-over in teachers and it has come to her attention that we have hired brand new teachers which is not a bad thing, but they get in the school and after three months they leave because they interned at a non Title I school. If the teacher interned at a Title I school, they would understand and be more empathetic to the issue. When another teacher is hired within the school year it disrupts those students lives and of course you don't know how long that teacher is going to stay. It is about continuity for these kids. Ms. Van Meter stated that Ms. Pace's office has been targeting this issue and has looked at hiring students that have done their internship at a like school and based on the principals recommendation some of them are getting hired on very quickly because they have been successful in a like school.
Ms. Belford asked if there is any variance in staffing allocations for the struggling schools. Ms. Van Meter stated that the "D" and "F" DA schools have to get additional support but the schools in the "C" category do not.
Mr. Craig asked Ms. Van Meter to expand on the teachers needing to be in-field and he asked how it applied to ESOL. Ms. Van Meter stated that if they get a child and they don't have the ESOL certification, they have a certain window to receive it. Dr. Pace explained that one of the things that we have put across the table with BFT is some language that would require our teachers who signed agreements in 1995 to obtain their ESOL requirements over the next two years because as our demographics shift it is becoming more and more of a need. Ms. Pace stated that it is going to be a push over the next few years to make sure we get everyone certified in this area. Mr. Craig asked if ESOL is something that is looked at in determining the DA schools. Ms. Van Meter stated that ESOL is not something that they have considered but that it would be a good addition.
Mr. Craig asked Ms. Van Meter how she as a staff evaluates the effectiveness of this DA program. Ms. Van Meter stated that she gathers data based on assessment sand looks at if they are showing improvement with a focus on getting them out of the "prevent" focus category and up into the "A" or "B" range. She explained that we monitor that the teachers are teaching the standards, adjusting their curriculum based on the needs of their population and then we provide them with the support that they need.
Dr. Blackburn stated that he has so many thoughts and opinions around this topic and he is trying really hard to listen and learn before being critical and offering change unless there is a burning building, which he has articulating to many people and the Board. He explained that this is an area if we have "failing or under-performing" schools and within those schools we have children who are really hurting then it is as close to a burning building that you can get. Dr. Blackburn qualified some of his thoughts around this topic and how we as the district and leaders within the school should be held accountable.
Dr. Blackburn stated that all the DA models come from some noble places but they are assessment driven and that is the format that we are given and there tends to be an absence in dealing with root cause and that is culture and leadership in the school. He stated that he met with the DA regional director as he didn't have the best experiences with the state directed kind of accountability and he wanted to make sure that we didn't have teachers and principals that were trying to be creative and innovative being held back. Dr. Blackburn stated that he was assured of that prior to the meeting and was reinforced during the meeting with the state, so he felt some sort of a comfort level. He explained their conversations on the support being provided and gave an example of a school. Dr. Blackburn stated that the same or similar levels of support are being provided to each school and if one school stands out, than that tells him that there is something going on in that school or community that is allowing them to separate themselves and we need to find out what that is. If it is determined that it is culture or leadership than the support should be directed in that area. Dr. Blackburn stated that if the state is not willing to provide the support needed in the area of culture/leadership or the root cause issues, than he would rather we not waste the teacher or principals time. He stated that it is on his radar to look at what we are doing for at-risk students and at-risk schools.
Ms. Kneessy introduced Janet Stephenson, School Improvement Resource Teacher, who stated that the Board are asking the correct questions as these were questions posed during their DA meetings. The DA's mantra is looking at what we are doing and developing an effective system, because solving problems one school at a time is not effective use of our resources. Ms. Stephenson then explain their on-going efforts to ensure that we are getting the results we want.
Mr. Craig asked how we integrate our top performing school in a peer-to-peer relationship to make sure that we have on-going success. Ms. Van Meter stated that we have voluntary meetings with specified topics and principals come together and they are learning from one another. Ms. Van Meter stated that when new principals come on board, Ms. Pace creates mentorship programs for them to work with a team. She stated that they are always looking for opportunities for people to learn from one another and share their experiences.
Dr. Blackburn said that he is listening and learning and they are definitely talking about the richness of programs and our strategies, but he asked Ms. Van Meter or Area Superintendents what they would we say is missing or what we have yet to do, yet to uncover or a nut that we have yet to crack when it comes to schools who need support. Ms. Van Meter stated that to make a difference in schools it really comes down to the extra people to help (smaller groups, smaller classes, interventions, etc.).
Ms. Kneessy asked to weigh in on this topic. She shared an idea that was brought up to her by Jane Cline, Central Area Superintendent. Ms. Kneessy said that her conversation began with Ms. Cline because she is worried that we spread people so thin and she asked her what would make her job easier. She stated that Ms. Cline had suggested a team of academic coaches who would work with a group of schools instead of having a resource teacher at each school. You could divide up those resources to our Area Superintendents and let them direct how they are to intervene with each school. Ms. Kneessy stated we are doing what we find irritating with what the state is doing and that is too much from the top down as opposed to handling it locally. Instead of having the one district person who jumps from school to school, let's give an Area Superintendent four people who would focus on areas within their feeder chain. This would become a systemic issue that they work on as a team that really has an impact. This was a new way of looking at the resources and it would take people from the district level and into our schools.
Chairman Kneessy called for a brief recess at 10:12 a.m. The workshop resumed at 10:23 a.m.