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Jul 052012

With all of the controversy surrounding the reading program at Nathan Hale Middle School, we decided to take a look at CMT trend data for the  past 6 years.  Nathan Hale consistently outperformed the other middle schools, despite having feeder elementary schools that were not ranked # 1 in their reading  scores.   Did you know that Nathan Hale was #1 in reading scores for 4 out of 6 years in 6th grade and # 1 in 5 out of 6 years for 8th grade from 2006-2011.

6th Grade CMT Scores By Middle School 2006-2011

8th Grade CMT Scores By Middle School 2006-2011


Copy of CMT Scores Reading Middle Schools by class (3 years)

Jun 302012

With the passage of the SB 458 this spring, one of the strengths in the bill is the new legislative language regarding the need to  improve student reading and literacy BY 3rd GRADE.  With that in mind, we thought it beneficial to benchmark the reading scores of  Norwalk’s 12 elementary schools.  While a score of proficient had been an acceptable standard, with Connecticut’s recent promise of reform and federal government waiver of the No Child Left Behind legislation, the real objective for Connecticut’s educators will be the need to be raise the bar and focus on getting students reading at GOAL LEVEL in order to be considered to be on grade level.

Below are the last 3 years of 3rd Grade CMT Data:

2011 3rd Grade CMT Scores By Elementary School

2010 3rd Grade CMT Scores By Elementary School

2009 3rd Grade CMT Scores By Elementary School

Dec 182011

Following is the Policy On Out of District Transfers according to the Norwalk Public School Board of Education Policy Book Section 5117 (a/b)

The Board of Education establishes school boundaries.

The administration of each school is responsible to ensure that students are registered in the school attendance areas.  Exceptions to attend a school other than in the school attendance areas may be granted at the discretion of the Superintendent of School for the reasons listed below.  Included in such consideration is class size and racial balance.  Exceptions are to be reviewed annually.

1.  Physical or emotional handicap

2. Childcare

3. Family removal to new home

4. Emergency and unusual education reasons (the decision may be made only after consultation with, and the approval of the Superintendent of School.

Below is a list of the Out Of District Transfers and the Schools requested:

Out of District Transfer chart 11-12 elmentary

Out of District Transfer chart 11-12 elmentar #2

Out of District Transfer chart 11-12 secondarydoc

Note: Out of District refers to Norwalk residents requesting different schools in the district and not NON-RESIDENTS.

Aug 102011

Last week, The Hour Reported and Norwalk Net blogged about how the staffing of another central office position had come to dominate the BoE discussions of late, as Dr. Marks  has drawn the short end of the staffing straw with regard to the 2011-12 budget cuts, leaving central office staff short-handed.  One of many managerial issues that has emerged, is HOW or WHO should evaluate the principals?  We have provided what we think is simple solution to this particular issue:

What about interim measures for principals that objectively collected a variety of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) by building?

Quite frankly, why doesn’t the board authorize Dr. Marks to hire clerical staff to compile the following types of hard teacher and student data on a per building basis and start benchmarking the elementary, middle and high schools. Certainly that might get folks to look at adult data and provide insight into school operations beyond student test data.

A short list of things to track might include the following:

• turnover
• grievances and complaints
• absences
• average years of service by teacher/subject
• % of teachers rated average
• % of teacher rated exceptional
• % of teachers in need of improvement

Student & Parent Data
• CMT  and other CFA  test data
• Suspension data
• Student absences
• Transfers out of district
• Attrition from elementary to middle
• # of Lawsuits
• # of Complaints

Last spring, I took the position of doing away with the Director of Elementary position (not person), given that I didn’t think that one person could be held responsible for evaluating the principals at this juncture in US education, due to the fierce lobbying efforts by many to keep things status quo and to come up with every excuse known to man as to why evaluations can’t be fair.   Also, until legislation changes, due to incredibly stringent collective bargaining contracts, you can’t get rid of an educational employee  anyway.

Objective data like the KPIs listed above coupled with the pending school climate survey for staff and parents seems to be a pretty good place to start and would yield an un-biased assessment of where school administration and management issues lay, allowing the Superintendent or the BoE to begin questioning principals on why their schools seem to yield best practices or alternatively ask  principals why they think their operational data is not consistent with their peer group in the district .  Additionally, folks could analyze whether there is a correlation between adult operational behavior(S) and data  and student achievement?