Re: [March4Education] Follow up the the NCLB Study Session
- Hi All
First, I want to thank Elizabeth Jaeger for her graphic overview that
compared each PI 4 Restructuring Plan. It was very helpful in processing all the
information that was presented at the study session. Secondly, I want to thank
Mike for keeping the district school board members focused in the letter he
Since the study session I have been reviewing comments. I have to point out
that Roberto makes a very important observation. He put forth a couple of
valid questions: "What happens under the UTR plan if there is a labor dispute?
Who makes the decisions at the school site if the oversight group is stacked
with UTR and they are out on strike?"...
This is something that needs to be considered under the UTR Plan. In our
small group discussion, I asked Lily Hickman if our contract was in conflict
with the UTR Plan? She said, "NO.
" What UTR needs to consider is not the issue of the contract being
conflict, but the question is: Were we waving our contractual rights? SUCH AS : Hours
of employment, (with pay) increased work load, and yearly teacher
evaluations (tenured teachers are evaluated every two years) Is extra money worth
waving our contract?
Someone of you pointed out that extending the day may or may not be the best
way to address the achievement gap. I'm not totally committed to any one
plan. I agree with Mike that there needs to be more discussion. We must proceed
cautiously Each school must play a major role in the restructuring of their
schools. I also agree their should be radical change. I would like to have
the luxury of teaching a rich, creative, balanced curriculum. Thank all of you
for your thought provoking comments and ideas.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Thanks Michael for this and for the time and energy you are putting into this--
> issue. Please communicate to everyone at March 4 Education my deep thanks for
> your participation in the 1/31 study session.
> By and large, the written feedback we received on the study session was
> excellent and there were some great suggestions for how to improve such
> meetings in the future. It is the board’s intent to keep working on ways to
> improve community participation in the governance of the district and to do so
> we we will need to keep learning together how to effectively build this
> capacity, starting with ourselves as a board. Our joint meeting on Wednesday,
> February 2, with the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee was another step in
> this direction.
> Thanks for sending along your attachments. I intend to look at these over the
> weekend. I have also, because of the crush of board meetings we had last week
> (four!) alongside a massive workload in my business, not yet had the chance to
> actually read the UTR proposal, which I am also looking forward to reading
> this weekend.
> Very best wishes,
President, Board of Trustees
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> To: WCCUSD School Board Members
> Fr: Michael McDonald
> Re: Follow Up to the NCLB Study Session
> Dear School Board Members,
> Thank you for hosting the NCLB Study Session on Monday. It was an informative
> and necessary step in WCCUSD‚s attempt to understand and deal with a complex
> and burdensome law. Thank you again for letting March 4 Education present its
> plan for restructuring the Year 4 PI schools to the community.
> I want to raise several points that I hope the Board will consider before
> making its decision on restructuring the Year 4 schools. I have also attached
> a chart done by Elizabeth Jaeger that compares the three proposals presented
> to the community on Monday.
> I caution the Board not to rush to a decision on the restructuring of the
> schools. I understand that there is a sense of urgency to make a decision
> because of the teachers‚ union contract and because of a desire at the Year 4
> schools to know what will happen next year. As you can see on the comparison
> chart, none of the three plans that were presented on Monday call for any
> staff changes, with the possible exception of the principal under the UTR
> proposal. The Board can tell UTR and the Year 4 schools that there will be no
> significant staff changes next year. The Board does not have to pass a final
> restructuring plan on February 9.
> The NCLB Program Improvement School Requirements chart passed out by the
> district Monday clearly states in the Year 4 column that the LEA (the School
> Board) and the Year 4 School are to „prepare plan for alternative governance
> of school.‰ It is a requirement of the law that the School Board work with
> the Year 4 School itself to plan for possible restructuring. The Board should
> take the ideas for alternative governance to the individual sites and decide
> with the sites what will work best for the schools.
> From the study session on Monday, it is apparent that the communities are very
> interested in site based governance at the Year 4 Schools. The Board should
> honor this sentiment. I urge you to include the entire school community when
> working with the schools. The school is not just the principal or the
> teachers. The parents, students, staff and community members have a right to
> be part of the decision making process. A major difference between the M4E
> plan and the UTR proposal is that the M4E plan calls for input from the whole
> school community when considering how to proceed with restructuring, while the
> UTR proposal puts the decision to adopt site based management governance in
> the hands of the teachers. The NCLB law‚s intent can be read as calling on the
> entire school community to help decide how to restructure a school. I hope
> that it is the School Board‚s intent to include the community in this most
> important decision.
> Another major difference between the M4E and UTR plans concerns the mandated
> longer school day in the UTR proposal. While a longer school day may be
> desirable, it is a decision that should be made by individual sites. There are
> many things to consider when contemplating a longer school day: Will there be
> enough qualified staff teachers willing and able to work the extra hours? Will
> it be beneficial to have all students stay longer, or might a site want to
> focus on individual needs and small group instruction during the extended day?
> If a teacher is unable to work past the regular six hour day, what will the
> ramifications be if another teacher has to teach that class for two hours
> everyday? Do parents want their children in school for 8 hours every day?
> I think most people would agree that the philosophy behind the UTR‚s proposal
> regarding an extended day is sound, but as the UTR plan is written, it does
> not offer individual sites flexibility to decide how to best implement a
> longer day for the school. Overall, the UTR proposal has many good aspects,
> but it does not give individual sites enough flexibility to do what is best
> for their schools.
> The superintendent‚s plan calls for more centralized decision making. WCCUSD
> has tried a centralized system of governance and it has not worked to the
> satisfaction of many people in the community. On Monday, the Board heard that
> the community wants to restructure the Year 4 schools using site based
> The superintendent‚s plan also proposes that the district wait until September
> to decide how to restructure schools in hopes that the 10 Year 4 schools will
> make their AYP‚s. NCLB states that an alternative governance plan must be
> prepared in Year 4 for Year 5. Waiting until September to decide how to
> restructure is not an option under the law. Also, it is not realistic to
> expect that any of the Year 4 schools will make their AYP‚s, much less all 10.
> On the last page of the district packet, a chart from State Superintendent
> Jack O‚Connell documents that out of 266 Year 4 schools in California, only 1
> school has managed to make its AYP, while 265 schools have advanced to Year 5.
> Both the UTR and the superintendent‚s proposals stress the importance of the
> „major restructuring‰ aspects of their plans. In UTR‚s proposal, it is the
> extended day, and in the superintendent‚s plan, it is by taking away the
> decision making power of the SSC‚s. Both the M4E and UTR plans call for strong
> site based decision making bodies. For WCCUSD, site based decision making is
> „major restructuring.‰ Decisions have become more and more centralized over
> the last few years, with the implementation of the Open Court scripted
> curriculum being the most obvious example. Giving individual sites control of
> all their monies and the power to make curriculum decision would satisfy
> NCLB‚s requirements for „major restructuring.‰
> Ideally, it would best serve the Year 4 schools for the Board to pull together
> aspects from both the M4E and UTR proposals and offer the sites a template to
> design their own restructuring plan. While this may seem like a big task, I
> think the Board has the beginnings of such a template with the comparison
> chart that Elizabeth Jaeger has provided and with some of the ideas that have
> been raised from the study session. Once a template has been approved, sites
> will be able to design a strong restructuring plan unique to their individual
> schools. I urge you to hold off on a final decision on restructuring until
> after the February 9 meeting. Please take the necessary time to develop a plan
> that will best meet the needs of the Year 4 schools and their students.
> Michael McDonald