1. The first question is about the student performance and growth and how it is measured. The answer is the familiar Denver method in which student scores for this year are compared to the other scores for this year by students who had the same score last year, and then the scores are ranked on a percentile basis. This method provides an entirely relative measure without any objective measure. By this method one-third of all students will be labeled as slow growth, one-third as average growth, and one-third as high growth, without regard to whether the cohort as a whole experience low, average, or high growth. In other words, if the median growth for the cohort as a whole was three grade levels in a single year, the student who advanced only two grade levels in that year would be labeled as having slow growth. Similarly, if the average growth for the cohort was negative, the student who maintained their level would be viewed as high growth.
2. There were a lot of questions about the racial breakdown of students in HCC. People are really obsessed with this. There is no breakdown of students in HCC by socio-economic status. Why are people ignoring that?
3. The district misrepresented the review of APP done by the University of Virginia in 2007. The staff claim that the review recommended doing away with the self-contained model in grades K-8. This is not true. I have no idea why the staff would tell such a blatant and easily disproved lie.
6. The staff are asked to estimate the ratio of MTSS interventions for support vs the number for enrichment. The staff refused to make any such estimate and acknowledged that they have absolutely no means of assessing how much, if any, MTSS work is done or what is done.
"Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction teams do not approve and cannot require interventions at the building level. Our teams are able to offer suggested academic interventions and support/training for them, but their implementation is a building-level decision."7. The staff acknowledges, again, that they have no data at all on the implementation of MTSS.
8. More of the same: "Our CAI staff work to provide curricular support to buildings but cannot create accountability structures." It's pretty clear that the staff have no real method of implementing MTSS, and no method of even knowing if it has been implemented. How, exactly, will they measure its progress or know when to declare it done?
9. The district wants to take credit for eliminating pre-qualifications for participation in eligibility evaluation for HCC and Advanced Learning, but they want to impose a pre-qualification: the Smarter Balanced Assessment. So... they're lying.
10. Why were Spectrum/ALO not discussed? "These were not part of the work session. This was a Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction and Highly Capable work session." So when WILL Spectrum and ALO be discussed? Oh, right. Never. Here's a funny thing: look at the next question and answer.
11. "For example, an issue we have had to address multiple times is the claim that “they [AL and district] have done away with Spectrum.” This is simply false. Schools are moving away from a self-contained model, but the Spectrum program very much exists." Waitaminute. I thought that this work session wasn't about Spectrum and ALO and they would not be discussed? Also, how does anyone at the district know that the Spectrum program exists since they don't assess for it?
12. Where is the curriculum for HCC? Nowhere. The staff try, again, to make contradictory statements. They want to say, on one hand, that they are working to align the curriculum among all of the sites and then, on the other hand, say that all of the schools have autonomy in the decision making process. This is a big, fat lie. Schools should not have any more autonomy in setting curriculum for HCC than they have when it comes to general education - none.