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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Final Meeting

So, in what seems very fitting, my last School Committee meeting occurred last night - with a public forum on elementary math.  I thank Irv Rhodes for his kind remarks about my service at the end of the meeting, and the many parents and staff members who expressed their support for my work after the meeting.  Here is a link to the Gazette article about the meeting:


Caren Rotello said...

I'd like to thank Catherine one more time for her dedicated service to the SC, and to remind everyone to vote next Tuesday (3/29). I plan to WRITE IN my preferred candidate for SC -- Catherine Sanderson -- and I encourage like-minded folks to do the same.

Tammy Rahhal said...

Ditto to all that Caren just said. Catherine, there are many of us (who never post...until now) that support you completely and will be so sad to see you go. Thanks so much for all of your hard work.

Larry Orloff said...

I've been reading Catherine's column fairly regularly for quite some time, though my grandkids live elsewhere. The educational issues Catherine blogs on are very interesting and of importance to every person who has a stake in Amherst.

I will miss Catherine's blog dearly.

Anonymous said...

I hope that some thick skinned soul will take up where you left off and continue on with a blog that isn't watered down or one sided.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It is fitting that your final school committee meeting was about math -- and frustrating no doubt. My basic question is did the curriculum director and the K-16 Math Council do any assessment or research into any of Dr. Chen's recommendations in the past 5 months? Beth Graham said at the meeting that no research was done on Dr. Chen's suggestion that the better math teachers teach math. So I am wondering what was being looked at by the K-16 Math Council and the curriculum director?
(Can anyone from K-16 help here?)

The math action plan defers for further study:
1) Dr. Chen's recommendation that the better math teachers teach math,
2) Dr. Chen's recommendation that Investigations be replaced with Primary (Singapore) Math,
3) grouping kids (presumably based on Dr. Chen's suggestion that it is easier to teach math to kids at the same level),
4) team teaching.

It also defers for further study:
1) math coaching models,
2) ways to close the achievement gap.

So what's been happening since November, 2010? Math programs were not compared.

Also, what research supports the effectiveness of math coaching at the elementary level? And the effectiveness of professional development? I know the district committed itself to using evidence-based practices, so I guess my question is where is the evidence? I am not against math coaching or professional development, since both sound good but lots of things sound good. Are they proven to be good?

Finally, Dr. Chen recommended that the high school's IMP program be strengthened by improving computational skills. Did that get addressed in the math action plan?

Janet McGowan

Anonymous said...

Here's another WRITE IN for Sanderson. Don't let the self-appointed rulers of this town, who want us to expand the tax base, vote for every override, but exempt the schools from accountability, think that you've given up.

Anonymous said...

JANET MCGOWAN for School Committee!

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Thanks to all for the kind words (Caren, Tammy, Larry, anonymous) ... and I share Janet's concerns re. the math action plan ... and would certainly support Janet for SC next year!