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Archive for September, 2006

Site-based management

One of the arguments for charter schools is that they give more control over a school to those who run the school on a day to day basis. In Providence, this is already happening at some public schools. For instance, Vartan Gregorian uses a form of site-based management.

Fans of site-based management also point to increased parental involvment in school management decisions as one of its benefits.

Julia Steiny has a recent ProJo article that discusses creating a form of site-based managment by giving more power to School Improvement Teams (SITs). She doesn’t discuss whether the current SITs (which every school already has) would need to be reconstituted before giving them more power, to make sure that top-down management is replaced by a responsible and accountable form of governance. Nonetheless, it’s a thought-provoking read. Here’s a link to the article.

And here are some links to site discussing site-based management:

Ed Web

North Central Educational Laboratory

NCEL 2

National Educational Association

NWREL

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Web pages and education resources

I’ve posted a link in the top banner to a page of links to education resources, local and national.  Please feel free to suggest links to add.

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School Report Cards

As noted in the ProJo last week, school NCLB reportcards have been released. I thought it might be useful to post links for the East Side elementary schools. Since a number of East Siders also attend Greene, I’ve included that school also.

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

Vartan Gregorian Elementary School

Nathanael Greene Middle School  (See comment below)

You can search all schools at https://www.eride.ri.gov/reportcard/06/schools.aspx

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The items below appear as comments to an earlier post. They deserve a post of their own. They explain how some East Siders are missing out on good public schools.

Kim Rohm writes of our forum on K-8 vs middle school:

One of the most compellng moments of the evening for me was when a father stood up and questioned Superintendent Evans regarding enrollment in neighborhood schools and that it is well known that East Siders don’t send their children to public school. The father challenged that notion by saying that he did enroll his child in public school and was assigned to a school across town and only after working on the issue was able to get their child enrolled in their neighborhood school. After carefully considering whether my daughter would attend public or private school, we registered her to attend our neighborhood public school. We were put on a waiting list to attend King. After a great deal of work and many calls she did get in and I am happy to say is having a wonderful experience in first grade there. I just wonder how many other East Side families were put on waiting lists to attend their neighborhood public school.

And Harlan Rich responds

First and most important, I’m glad to hear that you and your family are having a great experience at King.

The school choice formula stipulates that for kindergarten, 75% of the kids should be neighborhood kids who picked the school as their first choice. 5% should be neighborhood kids who picked the school as their second choice. 20% are kids not from the neighborhood who picked the school as their first choice. The neighborhood is defined by a 1 mile circle around the elementary school, but I believe for the East Side that King and Gregorian are both considered neighborhood schools. Siblings of kids already in the school get the same priority as kids from the neighborhood. That said, it should not be too hard to get a child from the East Side into King or Gregorian when applying to kindergarten.

If neighborhood kids don’t fill the seats, they are filled with kids from outside the neighborhood.

Many East Siders are sending their children to local/pre-school kindergartens. If they then apply for a seat in their Public School in first grade or beyond, the same assignment policy applies, but only for the open seats. If there is little attrition, there may not be seats available to anyone.

As Tom points out, we want to try to put together a user friendly manual which reviews all of the vagaries of getting into the Public schools. The school department has already helped by sending us their official manual on the school assignment/choice program (outlined above).

I think that getting other parents involved will also be important. These individuals could either give tours or at least be available to answer specific questions from prospective parents about the schools. I hope that we can set that up as well, and make it widely available.

The more East Siders push to get their kids into the public schools, and the more data we can collect about how many were turned away, or why, the stronger will our call be for maintaining seats for public education on the East Side.

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Open Post

Here’s a place to post comments that don’t directly address any of the main posts.  Just click on “comments” below.

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Bishop Committee Update

The Superintendent’s committee on Nathan Bishop met on Thursday, 9/21.  It will meet again on 10/5 and 10/19.  The committee is working toward a recommendation to the School Board for the configuration and programming for Bishop when it reopens.

At the 9/21 meeting, the subcommittee on grade configuration presented the results of its review of the research on the performance of K-8 and middle schools. The full committee unanimously endorsed the subcommittee’s recommendations, and they are being forwarded to the Superintendent.

The endorsed plan calls for Bishop reopening as a mid-sized middle school (grades 6-8) with about 150 seats in each grade. This is large enough to support diverse academic programming but small enough to provide more personal attention to students.

The plan calls for opening one grade per year, beginning with the 6th grade class. This will allow the careful development of a school culture that fosters academic rigor and appropriate behavior.

The school will adopt a full compliment of “best practices”, including team teaching and student advisories.  Strong leadership is essential, and the choice of a principal is critical.  Site-based management will allow the school leadership greater control over the operation of the school.  Teacher commitment to the success of the school, perhaps through a sign-on contract, as at Hope High School, is also foreseen.

The next phase for the committee is the consideration of programming. Advanced academic programs, such as are already in place at Nathanael Greene, International Baccalaureate programs, and magnet school designs are being considered.

There are 4 ESPEC steering committee members on the Bishop Committee, and we are asking for your input as we continue to work on this.  Click on “comments” below to speak out.

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VIPS 1/2 Marathon

Volunteers in Providence Schools (VIPS) is organizing a 1/2 marathon for Nov. 4. There’s a relay feature, so two or three people can enter as a team and split the distance among them.

VIPS is a great organization through which volunteers help individual students learn. You can learn about VIPS and register for the race at http://www.vips4kids.org/

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