Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Southbridge School Committee Debate - June 5, 2014

1 comment:

  1. I think that Chris Olivo is correct that we have become a testing culture, but it is not a teacher problem in an under-performing district. It is an administrative problem, especially here in Southbridge. Administrator's live and die by data collection. If they are not getting the data they want in the shortest amount of time, they institute a new change. These constant changes in direction serve neither the students nor the teachers.

    Under the current administration it has be a policy of my way or the highway. This is evident in the high rate of teaching staff turn-over. In just two short years this administration has terminated or chased away a staff that took years to build at the high school level and that was getting the job done. That staff, under the direction of Bill Bishop identified some major problems the students were having with the MCAS test and worked to correct them.

    The biggest problem identified was that students were not completing the open response questions on the test. It was then that Bill Bishop mandated the Collin's Writing System for all disciplines and that each class would start with a writing prompt. The staff embraced this and along with requiring the freshman and sophomore classes to have an MCAS prep class twice a week is how the high school reached a level one status. All these things ceased to happen when we moved into the new school.

    To address Chris Olivo's point of letting teachers teach and engage students, the reforms instituted above freed the teachers from concentrating solely on MCAS. However, I fear that those days are gone and forgotten and all those teachers have found better jobs in districts where they are not under-performing.

    In closing, I once heard it said that if you traded the staffs between an under-performing school and a super performing school that the staff of the under-performing school would take that super-performing school to new heights and that the staff from the super-performing school would fail miserably in the under-performing school.


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