We then heard an update on the district website and received information on the district MCAS scores. The bulk of the meeting (nearly two hours) focused on the superintendent search process, and in particular crafting an ad and a brochure for this position. The committee basically agreed on some text for both of these, and the ad will be submitted to Education Week by early October (with a deadline of mid-December). Hiring a new superintendent who is truly committed to academic excellence for all students is obviously the most important thing the School Committee will do this year, and I'm very hopeful that we can find someone great. It will be very important to have parent/community input on this process later this year, when we bring candidates to town for public visits -- please keep that in mind!
My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.
Friday, October 10, 2008
This meeting focused largely on the superintendent search process (and more on this soon). The only real discussion that focused on academics was a result of the public comment section. Steve Rivkin asked a question about the 9th grade science review, and in particular expressed concern about the nature of that review. (I've read this review, and it is available on the district homepage -- and unfortunately the review fails to really examine the key question, which is to characterize the experience of 9th graders in honors biology versus earth science so that we have a good baseline with which to assess the new required ecology/environmental science course.) The Superintendent and School Committee Chair suggested all questions on this be referred to Mark Jackson, the high school principal. This advice frankly seems very surprising to me, given that it was the School Committee vote that brought this new required course -- and at the time, each member of the committee assured the public that this course would be evaluated. Again, it just seems like the high school principal should not be tasked with creating empirical evaluations, and I was surprised at the total lack of interest/support on the part of the School Committee for conducting a thorough evaluation.
Posted by Catherine A. Sanderson at 9:41 AM