A draft policy was shared at the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee on August 13. Since the committee was seeing the policy for the first time at the meeting they were not prepared to refer to the full board for an approval decision. That's why you don't see it on the agenda for the Board's September 5 meeting.
Allow me to offer a little history and context.
- Policy D12.00 has been around for a long time and no one, not in the District nor in the advanced learning community, has ever been happy with it.
- The current policy applies only to APP and not Spectrum. It pre-dates the creation of ALOs so it doesn't apply to them either. The policy is keyed on the state's Highly Capable Students Program grant, and the grant is only for APP.
- The current policy doesn't say anything about a Vision or a Mission for advanced learning programs.
- The only enforceable element in the current policy is one that prohibits the creation of additional program sites except under some strict conditions.
- The current policy has been a clumsy two-sided sword used by either the district or the community as an awkward weapon against the other. It was used successfully to delay a split in middle school APP in 2007.
- The Board voted to suspend the current policy on January 29, 2009 when splitting APP. As part of that resolution, which was in the school closures vote, the Board also voted to direct the superintendent to review the policy and suggest revisions. The superintendent never did any work on the policy. This refusal to perform an action as directed by a majority vote of the Board, all by itself, was grounds for dismissal.
- The Board and the superintendent were reminded on numerous occasions of the direction but never took any follow up action.
- The Board started a project to review and revise all of their policies, but Policy D12.00, despite the Board vote, was not given a priority for review. The review of this policy was scheduled near the middle of Phase II. That's the current point of progress for the Board and so they are considering a revision of the policy now.
- The draft policy comes from Dr. Robert Vaughan, Manager of Advanced Learning. It comes entirely from Dr. Vaughan with no input from any other source.
- There was, for about six months this year, an Advanced Learning Programs Task Force. The Task Force was never asked for any input on the draft policy. The Task Force never volunteered any input on the draft policy. The Task Force was never told that the draft policy was in development.
- The Task Force was dismissed in June.
- Dr. Vaughan has said, at times, that he intends to re-constitute the Task Force. If he does re-create the Task Force in the fall, then he will have written, submitted, and guided this revised policy through Board approval during the brief window of time while the Advanced Learning Programs Task Force was dissolved.
- Even if there was no intention to evade public input on the draft policy, the timing is suspicious.
- It is unclear if the APP Advisory Committee provided any input to the draft policy.
- There are no advisory committees for Spectrum or ALOs. Nor are there advisory committees for AP, IB, or any other programs or services under the Advanced Learning umbrella.
- There is no draft version of the policy available anywhere for the public.
- The draft policy says little, if anything. There is nothing enforceable about it. It mostly a string of aspirational statements. It says, in short, that the District acknowledges the existence and need for some kind of advanced learning and that the District is committed to collecting the state grant. It may be revised before a public version appears.