Forget anything happening this year.
Yup, because the committee kicked that can right down the road.
As I mentioned previously, Steve S. and Michael DeB stayed on with the committee regulars, Betty P., Peter M. and Harium M-M. So there was quite the discussion but most of it was circular.
Harium started off by saying that this issue was generated by discussion at the Board's retreat. (I didn't attend so I can't fill in the story.) He said they needed to "refine what the true objective is here, what are we trying to fix?" I'm not sure it's fixing something but rather allowing schools to find the best solution.
Michael said he wanted all sites to have the opportunity to examine alternative materials and methods of teaching.
Kay S-B had sent in notes saying she thought there needed to be a simplified procedure for schools, that any changes had to show results and explore grant money to pay for changes.
Kathy Thompson, the assistant superintendent for academics, did a very careful bland explanation. It was clear she doesn't want this at all and you get the feeling she's not really going to lift a finger until directly ordered to do so. She put forth that she was open to the idea but, as usual, it's about the money. She said that they purchased consumables for the two schools this year but the schools had funded the materials themselves in the past. She gave the Board a handout (that I'm still waiting for) that I believe showed the costs between Everyday Math, Saxon and Singapore.
She then went into a bit of a dizzying array of PD and other costs. She said they couldn't use district coaches because they weren't trained in other math methods. (She also said there were only 7 math coaches in the district which I found odd given that we used to have 100+ coaches overall and now we have just 7 math coaches?)
She said her considerations were 1) the challenge to bargaining 2)not able to give PD and 3) being hard-pressed to see how to get everyone up-to-speed.
Michael tried to figure out what the handout was saying and, in the end, concluded it wasn't really an apples to apples examination and not that helpful.
Peter said he had envisioned a goal of flexibility and meeting needs. He said that the two schools had good results but he'd like to see some more "experimentation." He said the process should be clear and open and the schools needed to provide rationale and a plan.
Steve said he imagined a framework like the one Peter described. He said they would probably have to limit the number of waivers (if you get results, why?) and it might need to be geographically done. He said he thought 3 years was enough time to see results.
Michael said they needed a clear policy that delineates goals of Board, pilots some materials and maybe could be in other subjects. Maybe with parent/faculty input. (Michael, that's just crazy talk now.)
Betty seemed doubtful. She put forth that if they decided on a curriculum and bought the materials, why do this and how do we know it will work? It would have been nice if someone had brought some data from North Beach and Schmitz Park but no, there was none available.
Kathy Thompson said something about a principal survey on this but that's all. Was there one?
Peter then said something amusing along the lines of why not try this at the newly reopened schools? Not a bad thought but a little late considering that's the kind of idea you put forth BEFORE they open. Kathy T. said they had already bought materials for those schools.
Steve said they were just beginning a conversation.
And that's it. Kathy Thompson is not going to do anything unless ordered. There was no real firm direction from the Board about what they want to see or when. And that's sad because all the incumbents running said they thought the math curriculum should change. There's no evidence of that from this meeting so it would lead you to believe it's a lot of yada, yada, yada.
Complete and through waste of time.