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Jun 242011

Below is a letter that was sent to the BoE, Superintendent, Union Heads and Mayor PRIOR to Thursday night’s Special BoE  Meeting to vote on which administrative positions to put back into the budget.

I just read in the Hour where the BoE is reconsidering putting back middle management administrative positions at the expense of teaching positions in the classroom, when we really don’t know what enrollment and class sizes will look like (by school) until August.  Teaching positions should be placed ahead of any middle management positions.

For example, if the Middle School AP Position was to be reinstated (and I understand we would have to move someone into the position(s) as they have been vacated) then BoE members must be prepared to JUSTIFY the need for a second AP.  According to the NPS Operating Budget, Nathan Hale functioned with one AP, and a student population of 632 this year and with 615 projected for next year.  West Rocks had 670 students this year and 653 projected for next. year. The net student difference of 33 students for 2010-11 and the projected difference of 38 students next year does not seem to warrant the additional expense during these tough economic times.

I completely understand why Roton has one AP.  But I share with Dr. Moore the inconsistency as to why the BoE chose only to cut the second West Rocks AP position and not the Ponus AP position as well?  As the mother of two middle school- aged children, wouldn’t middle school students better benefit from smaller class sizes in math and language arts where discipline problems start, and not AFTER THE FACT, in the disciplinary role of the AP position?

When will the BoE start looking at improving the outcomes of student academic achievement instead of giving into the status quo and the way and/or staff positions of the way we have always done things?

I have sat in DDDMT meetings for 3 years and listened to the non-sense about SRBI and how teachers can take care of the wide learning disparency inside the classroom.  I have also heard at the same time,  high school principals talk about middle school students NOT being prepared for 9th grade.  What about all the remedial courses that high school students take at NCC after graduating high school?

Insanity is defined as doing the same things over and over again hoping for a different outcome.

I have absolutely NO problem if the BoE was to allow both West Rocks and/or Ponus to keep the AP funding but direct it to something like a dedicated reading specialist or math intervention specialist or whatever Dr. Moore and Ms. Sumpter deemed most necessary from an academic standpoint, in order to best serve their student populations.  I want to make it perfectly clear, this is not about trying to take money away from either of these two middle schools.

It’s about getting the BoE and the union heads to figure out which building level POSITIONS are the most effective in driving up student achievement. I fail to understand how a second AP fulfills that role.  More middle management for discipline is not the answer.  More academic focus on the kids who need it in the classroom is!

I implore the BoE and union leadership to turn these troubling economic times into an opportunity to begin to try different things to drive up student achievement and to think outside of the box.

Respectfully submitted ,

Lisa Thomson

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