District Six Suggestion Box

Regarding reading, I bet that at least 35 other research-based methods with positive effects were not shared with board members! Find the report at Reading Programs That Work.

October, 2006

Suggestion: Please allow our teachers to teach our kids in the manner they deem best. I fear that because of the recent changes to curriculum and the hand-cuffing of our teachers, S. Christa McAuliffe will not be nearly as good a school as it has in the past. I fear the teachers will jump this sinking ship and parents will move their kids to other schools.

Response: The new instructional methods are research-based. The changes in the curriculum were led by district teachers who knew our students could do better no matter the current performance level.

The changes reflect an alignment to state standards. The changes also reflect an increase in individual teacher accountability for the learning of ALL students in their classroom.

Teachers have great flexibility and creativity; in fact they are freed from low level decisions and can now develop great creativity.

We are starting the second month of implementing these changes and principals and teachers have flexibility at each school to make adjustments [but they may not allow students to bring their own favorite books!] as this goes forward. Nothing in the plan holds any classroom or any student from working at their highest level. [According to the Colorado Reading First mandate advanced students may not move up to a higher grade level for reading]

Parents and children deserve to be guaranteed that their child will get high quality instruction regardless of the teacher [quality instruction provides choices for students as that fosters the enjoyment of learning], and the lesson pacing guides ensure that all the material is covered. They also deserve to be guaranteed that all content areas will be taught — and that guarantee was not possible in prior years.

Finally, Christa McAuliffe compared favorably with other district schools; that's true. But comparisons with schools of similar demographics across the state are not particularly favorable. Schools across the state with a higher percentage of free and reduced lunch out-performed Christa McAullife. On reading, for example, some of the school districts with higher performing elementary schools (with the same or higher free and reduced lunch data) include schools in Boulder Valley, St. Vrain, Academy 20, Poudre, Durango, Jefferson County, Westminster 50, Thompson, Adams 12, Pueblo 60, Englewood, Cheyenne Mountain, La Veta, Buffalo, Summit and Colorado Springs 11. [Greeley’s only school within that same percentage of free and reduced lunch students was Frontier Academy.]

Nobody in the school or district administration intends to bring any school "down;" the plan was written by teachers, administrators and the community working together and changes will be made as those reforms are implemented and we learn from experience.

I wonder if the kids in those "better performing" schools who are not on free or reduced lunch come from higher socio-economic backgrounds than the ones at McAuliffe? On the other hand, the CSAP scores of Aspen Elementary students are very similar to those of McAuliffe's.
Schools can be compared at School Accountability Reports.

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