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Tammy Howard, director of Accountability Operations for DPI, presented a possible Proof of Concept Study stemming from potential recommendations from the State Board of Education Summative Assessment Task Force.
The Board has been working on a plan that would scrap End-of-Grade Tests through 8th grade and replace them with three interim assessments that can be used by teachers throughout the year to track the progress of their students. There would also be a lower-stake, end-of-grade-like assessment at the end of the year.
Howard’s proposed study would institute the change in assessments in the 2015-16 school year for math in grade 5 and reading in grade 6. If that worked out, then it could be rolled out to the other grades in an expanded “field test.”
“It’s an opportunity to see what we could possibly accomplish with a new assessment,” Howard said. “The whole purpose of the proof of concept is to get more information.”
Take a look at the Proof of Concept Document here.
A.L. Collins, State Board Member and Chair of the Summative Assessment Task Force explained some of the thinking behind the proposed assessment changes.
“If you’re shooting for ducks, you don’t aim where they are, you aim where they’re going.” He said this was an apt analogy for what the task force is trying to do with the assessment changes: figuring out what would be best for future students.
Collins said the task force will provide final testing recommendations to the State Board at some point around June 12 so that the State Board can take them up in July.
Robin Kendall, with the Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Charter Schools, reviewed with the board 18 charter school applicants that were granted preliminary approval by the Charter School Advisory Board.
She brought up two applicants in particular at the beginning of the presentation, Cape Fear Preparatory Academy and Pine Springs Preparatory Academy.
“The Department of Public Instruction has been made recently aware of very serious charges and allegations about an education management organization connected to two applicants,” Kendall said.
That management organization is called Newpoint Education Partners.
Though she didn’t give specifics, Kendall said that the allegations are being investigated, and the recommendation is to send the two charter school applications back to the Charter School Advisory Board. The State Board of Education will decide on that tomorrow.
Kendall went through all 18 schools one by one, stopping to share concerns on some that received close votes; for instance, Charlotte Classical School, which will be in Mecklenburg County and was approved by the Charter School Advisory Board by a 6 to 5 vote. She said one of the concerns was that the school didn’t adequately explain its “classical education.”
Some board members also expressed concerns during the meeting about some of the proposed charter schools that had boards overseeing multiple schools at one time.
After the presentation, State Board Chair Bill Cobey said he wants the Office of Charter Schools to pay close attention to burgeoning charter schools.
“I hope that we can follow the schools that we think are potentially at risk very closely up to the day that they start so that if we have to take action to keep them from opening and failing in the first several months, I think we ought to,” he said.
The schools will come back before the Board tomorrow for further action.
The portion of the State Board of Education meeting devoted to charter schools was a bit more harried than usual due to the departure of Joel Medley. He oversaw the Office of Charter Schools for DPI.
According to a press release, Medley left to become head of N.C. Virtual Academy, run by the for-profit education company K12, Inc. Medley started on June 1.
The Board is looking for a permanent replacement.
The Board also heard briefly about the recommendation to revoke the charter of Dynamic Charter School. The Charter School Advisory Board is recommending revocation, and after a hearing between officials from the school and three members of the State Board of Education, that recommendation stands. The State Board of Education will vote on Dynamic Charter School tomorrow.
Go here to read more about the State Board’s issues with Dynamic.
The State’s Plan for Leandro
Deputy State Superintendent Rebecca Garland outlined the plan the state will be presenting to Judge Howard Manning when officials next meet with him in the Hoke County Board of Education v. State (Leandro). The hearing will be held July 21 through 23.
Manning has asked the state to present a plan that will show how educators will make sure that the lowest performing and most at-risk students in the state get equal access to a high-quality education.
Garland said that the state already has a lot of good programs in place.
“To us, when you put all of this together and you look at it in terms of programs and resources for children in low performing schools, we think we have a solid foundation,” she said.
Garland said she would discuss the plan in greater detail with the board during closed session, but in the open portion of the meeting, she touched upon some of what the state does to help underperforming students.
She stressed that a good teacher is one of the best indicators of success for students.
“That’s what we think is the first basic ingredient,” she said.
She said that she will present to Manning the fact that the state has raised standards for entry into schools of education and into the teaching profession over past years.
She also said she will stress to the judge the importance of partnerships with groups like Teach for America, which are important to the success of lower-performing schools.
“Oftentimes in our low performing schools, these are the partners that our schools have to go to in order to access teachers for those classrooms,” she said.
She also mentioned the importance of principals, and highlighted the state’s partnership with North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA) as one way officials ensure leaders are prepared for their responsibilities.
She said she would demonstrate to Manning the ability of the state’s digital resources to help even the playing field for students, and stress the importance of intervention programs, like those for preventing teen pregnancy.
“We know that teen pregnancy not only has an impact on the level of education of that mother, but then the child is less likely to access education,” she said.
Overall, Garland said she is compiling a list of all resources and programs already in place to present to Manning. Beyond that, her goal will be to see how to expand upon what is already in place to make sure state schools are able to educate all students equally.
Board of Education Member A.L. Collins said the state has many great resources already, and that the hearing will be a chance to tell that to Judge Manning.
“I don’t think we need to lose sight of the fact that it’s a great opportunity to tell a good story,” he said.
Garland said the proposed plan is still in outline form and that staff will continue to work on it.
Ben Matthews, Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Operations for the State Department of Public Instruction, gave an overview of the programs that keep the schools in the state “safe and healthy.” As part of his presentation, he discussed drivers education, which he acknowledged has had a rocky year. It appeared that the General Assembly was not going to provide money for the program, but funding was restored in the recently approved House budget. Matthews said he is hopeful the Senate will follow suit.
“It is our understanding from the back story on the Senate side that we may see the same thing over there,” he said.