Posts from April 4th, 2012
April 4, 2012
- A survey found that voters in swing states say education is a top issue for them. (Politics K-12, HuffPo)
- This year’s Broad Prize finalist districts are all in Texas, California, and Florida. (District Dossier)
- N.Y. State paid the Common Core’s founder $76,000 over five months, a FOIL result shows. (Ed Notes)
- Unknit sod at a local park has Bronx Science baseball players still without a home field. (SchoolBook)
- After a decade, a Nevada charter school still faces big challenges. (Las Vegas CityLife via Eduwonk)
- A teacher worries about a smart kid who has resigned himself to failure during test prep. (Mr. Foteah)
- The mother of a child with autism says she doesn’t get parents who prefer exclusion. (Insideschools)
- Panelists who are meant to rewrite federal rules on teacher prep can’t seem to agree. (Teacher Beat)
- The USDOE is withdrawing an offer to forgive districts from cutting special ed services. (On Special Ed)
April 4, 2012
The results of the Department of Education’s learning environment surveys, due tomorrow, aren’t likely to go public until June. But Catina Venning, the executive director of Fahari Academy Charter School, doesn’t want to wait. Since the start of the year, she has been polling Fahari’s families monthly about their satisfaction and tweaking the school’s practice in response.
She launched the polls after Fahari scored a B last year on the section of the progress report that counts survey results — the “environment” section. Looking closer, she found the source of the problem: parents had graded the school poorly for communication.
“We looked at our survey from last year and the numbers were a little bit lower than they were in our first year and that was not pleasing to us at all,” Venning said. “We want to make sure parents are getting the services they’re signing up for.”
The new mini-polls’ instant feedback has already led to some changes. After only 55 percent of parents reported receiving weekly phone calls from their child’s advisors in a fall survey, Venning issued a course correction. Soon, advisors were submitting weekly contact logs to administrators, and parents were receiving not only more frequent reports but also weekly newsletters.
The polling is part of a larger outreach push that includes a new director of family engagement and a parent she’s brought on staff to work with families after school. (more…)
April 4, 2012
Harry S. Truman High School Principal Sana Nasser started making college preparation a priority long before the city began sounding the alarm about poor college readiness rates. She has encouraged students at her large Bronx school to take college level courses at the nearby Mercy College campus, and invited alumni enrolled in college to meet with current students.
But when the city assessed her efforts in its first release of data measuring how schools are preparing students for college academics, Truman fell short of the city’s already dismally low averages in all three college readiness categories. Just ten percent of Truman’s students scored high enough on advanced standardized tests to be considered “college prepared,” according to the city’s rubric.
So Nasser is trying a different approach. She has joined with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and administrators from Mercy College to create a college readiness initiative that target all students and offer the strongest ones a chance to earn a two-year associates degree by the time they graduate from high school.
“I believe some of you can do high school in two years and take college courses,” she told an assembly of honors students in grades nine through twelve seated in the school’s spiffy, first-floor IMAX theater. (more…)
April 4, 2012
Over a hundred teachers, students, and alumni converged at from William Cullen Bryant High School closure hearing last night to warn city officials that undergoing “turnaround” next year would harm the school.
But some teachers said that rapid changes are already hitting the school under the hard-charging leadership of first-year principal Namita Dwarka.
Bryant is one of eight Queens schools proposed for turnaround, which would require them to close and reopen this summer with a new name and many new teachers. The school counts former schools chancellor Joel Klein among its graduates, but it has struggled in recent years to meet the city’s expectations. It landed on the turnaround list because of its lagging graduation rate, which last year was 56.5 percent, slightly lower than the city average.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer invoked Bryant’s century-old legacy in a press conference outside the school and during the hearing. Sporting a lapel pin with the school’s mascot, an owl, and other alumni, Van Bramer said the school’s tradition of excellence brought pride to the community and should be preserved.
Many teachers who spoke at the hearing shared his concern. But others expressed enthusiasm about changes at the school. The conflicting feelings reflected some of the tensions that have arisen since Dwarka took over as principal in September and, according to at least half a dozen teachers who have spoken with GothamSchools, began issuing low ratings to teachers who had never received them before. (more…)
April 4, 2012
- Bloomberg’s lobbyist in Albany will lead a statewide group aimed at influencing the next mayor. (Times)
- A Bronx assistant principal was charged with “forcibly touching” two students. (NY1, Post, Daily News)
- Williamsburg Charter High will close after losing an appeal. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, NY1, Post)
- Chancellor Walcott touted efforts to improve middle schools in a speech. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- The UFT is suing for access to city emails about charter school siting and school closures. (SchoolBook)
- Students and teachers at Maxwell High School say they are thrilled to be spared from turnaround. (NY1)
- The Post says the city’s reversal on its list of banned test words shows it is “capable of embarrassment.”
- An education professor says schools need rigorous, sequential literature curriculums. (Daily News)
- D.C. is considering leasing shuttered public school buildings to charter schools. (Washington Post)