Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Buffalo to look at Syracuse city school district and Poughkeepsie for good school plan models

A team of Buffalo Schools  central office administrators along with  principals and assistant principals traveled to  the  State Education Department Office of School Innovation for two days on Monday and Tuesday this week to learn  from a Harvard professor about the turnaround  school reform model commented Debbie Sykes, Associate Superintendent Teaching & Learning at the Board Student Achievement Committee meeting tonight. Mary Pasciak,  Buffalo News education blogger recorded the meeting and the comments of the board members in her live blog in the School Zone.
As usual the State Ed folks are looking for dramatic and comprehensive intervention with a quick rise in student achievement.  Sykes said that all 13 persistently lowest achieving schools (PLA) submitted  new annual performance plans had spent a couple of weeks reviewing the plans  and  had benchmark  where they are at setting targets. So they now have real targets they monitor during the year. 
The State Ed folks to do on-site monitoring visits next week to  Riverside and Burgard High School issuing a report a few weeks later. Sykes commented they are meeting with the seven PLA schools to get input from them on the model.  She said "will conduct a bidders webex." She said, "state has suggested we look at Syracuse and Poughkeepsie for what good plans look like, a variety of approaches, a portfolio." 
This has to be determined because they have to write the plans in November for January deadline. Interim Super Amber Dixon commented it's up to the board to choose the model after presented with the feedback from the schools.  The plans have to be into the State Ed by January 1 and they could approve them as early as this spring for 2012-13.  Dixon said, 
"We're under the gun for these seven. We have until January. We were specifically told by the commissioner if we don't have approved plan for Lafayette by January, he may close that school. Lafayette has had two plans rejected, and that's important to note."
Board President Lou Petrucci asked what is different now than last year about the turnaround model. Sykes responded more time to talk with the Buffalo Teachers Federation regarding the 50% what it would look like---shifting teachers around again.  Dixon commented they have started discussion with Phil Rumore , BTF President about all the models, including looking at the turnaround model through a different lens. At October 12 meeting Sykes bringing copies of the Syracuse and Poughkeepsie models for board members to review.

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo