Here's what she said at the Board meeting on January 4, 2017 during a discussion of the CSIPs and, specifically, the description of advanced learning services in those CSIPs:
"I’m glad that you brought up the Advanced Learning piece because thinking about this it is an outward-facing document. And facing a decision through the Student Assignment Plan to have to create another self-contained school is really creating a real problem for me.Director Geary gets it.
"And I think it stems -
"The burgeoning of the Highly Capable Cohort, in part, stems from the fact that people don’t have faith that the needs of their student are going to be met. And so it’s going to be important that while Advanced Learning, of course, is a piece of differentiated learning embedded in MTSS, that this is a population that’s going to be very specifically looking because they have an opportunity to make a choice. That is part of our system. And if it says nothing in the school that they are facing then, of course, they will choose the one that has the mission in a self-contained environment to serve their student.
"So it’s very important to me, and to the extent that we want consistency, and we want to hold people accountable with regard to the services provided as Advanced Learning Opportunities for any student really – not just ones that are tested or designated or pointed to because we want to try and close the opportunity gap as well - that we make sure that if you need it then you need to be working with the other members of this district to come up with what we can provide as assurances through our advanced learning. And I know that this is something that’s an ongoing piece of work, but it’s got to keep wrapping around and as that advanced learning piece is developed for a district-wide approach, that we are, as quickly as possible, making sure that is known within our schools what the expectation is and that it is showing up in our CSIPs because I, personally, do not want any more self-contained schools in this district.
"I think that they are a form of institutional and structural racism that I simply cannot support. So let’s try to really focus in on what it is that is causing that problem and try to untangle it each little place we can.
It is not a moral choice to deny children an education, so if you oppose self-contained advanced learning services, then the only moral path you can follow is to encourage schools to develop effective inclusive advanced learning services that make self-contained programs unnecessary.
Unfortunately, the very people who are most opposed to HCC are, in many cases, the same people who oppose the creation of authentic advanced learning services in neighborhood schools. This reflects a failure to understand that HCC growth has been fueled by the refusal of neighborhood schools to serve advanced learners. If families are refused service in their neighborhood school - often explicitly, they will seek it at the school which promises to provide the service.
We need clear, meaningful descriptions of advanced learning services in CSIPs - not to serve one part of the community over others, but to keep the community united. While there are many who pit the interests of various sub-groups against each other, Director Geary highlighted how everyone's interests are actually aligned.