Monday, March 14, 2016

Curriculum&Instruction Policy Committee Meeting

Today is the C&I meeting which I reported on in Seattle Schools This Week.  Somehow I missed that it's two meetings.

The first one, starting at 4:30 pm is the regular C&I meeting and the other, starting at 6 pm, is a Committee Meeting of the Whole. 

Why is the Committee Meeting of the Whole happening?  Because they are going to discuss Policy A01.00, Instructional Philosophy, which is a huge policy for teaching and learning for the district.

The opening paragraph is the aspirational part of what SPS and the Board want for students.

Achievement of this goal will be reached through the following:
  • Maintenance of high academic standards for all students, and high expectations by all staff;
  • A rigorous curriculum aligned to college and career readiness standards at all schools and in all programs;
  • Effective teaching, measurable outcomes, ongoing assessment, professional development and continuous improvement at the student, school, and district levels;
  • Programs designed to promote the full development of each student’s capabilities, including social/emotional capabilities, to ensure that all students can meet or exceed college ready standards in addition to state and district performance standards, regardless of the student’s skills upon entering school;
  • Programs designed to provide a broad based education in areas not measured by standardized tests, such as music and visual and performing arts;
  • An expectation that all students will demonstrate critical thinking skills, will communicate effectively with words, numbers, visuals, sounds and symbols, will use technology effectively, and will achieve at levels that meet or exceed college readiness and state performance standards, thus eliminating any achievement gap.
Student success will come through a concerted effort towards these goals by district professionals, school board members, students, families, community partners, and elected leadership. 

In addition to community collaboration and family commitment, quality leadership, effective academic support structures, and efficient operations are key enablers of student success.
So what's the issue? I'm not sure but I don't think this is just some regular "clean-up" of policy that has been on-going over the last several years.

What is more specific is the next policy in this block of policies, Performance Management.  So if you change one, the other might change as well.  (This is all under the heading of Philosophy and Goals and it includes Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity.)

This could be interesting.

5 comments:

disconnect said...

That last bullet point is strangely written. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that we agree with this part:

An expectation that all students will demonstrate critical thinking skills, will communicate effectively with words, numbers, visuals, sounds and symbols, will use technology effectively, and will achieve at levels that meet or exceed college readiness and state performance standards,

I'm trying to figure out how that in any way points to the conclusion:

thus eliminating any achievement gap.

Really?? Are we defining "elimination of the achievement gap" as "all students will meet or exceed (minimal) college readiness"? I guess that's one definition. Good luck even starting to make that happen without addressing the Opportunity Gap, which unfortunately is mostly beyond the scope of what school districts can address by themselves.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if everyone meets college readiness and state performance standards if their achievement therefore is void of "gaps" from student to student. Not unless they want a cap on those who "exceed" those standards. But that is not what they are saying. They are working with a misunderstanding or incorrect definition of what the "gap" is. They are new. Someone will help them fix that, right?

-Hopeful

Ms206 said...

These curriculum and instruction philosophy statements are clearly designed to apply to neurotypical children and children with mild disabilities. What about students with more severe disabilities, like intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, deafness, or blindness. I am aware that altogether, these are a very small percentage of students. But what about them? College is often an inappropriate goal for these students and they need more individualized programs as well as vocational rehabilitation or support services.

Charlie Mas said...

That language looks familiar.

It reminds me of the definition of basic education in RCW 28A.150.200

Melissa Westbrook said...

That was a weird C&I meeting and I left early as they decided they had to reread (silently for minute on end) the policy on Instructional Philosophy.

Charlie, I perceive your perseverance on the issue of policy may be getting some traction. But there also seems a lot of word wrangling and strangling that worries me.